SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) —The birth of Islam introduced to mankind a new standard of living, filled with true belief along with a new hope and essence to a populace of rather harsh and heartless idol worshipers, polytheist, fire worshipers, atheist, etc¦ In fact Islam introduced to all mankind a true divine agenda perfectly created for the human being, in the most natural and fulfilling way for him. Islam is the single biggest event to shape mankind, in all of the history of creation, never has one single movement change so many lives, reach to such great distances and change the entire intellectual, spiritual, scientific, ethical, theoretical, linguistics point of view, so quickly and so accurately as did Islam. The Islamic agenda in all its perfection is not only a religious movement, but is in fact a complete and comprehensive programme that touches absolutely all aspects of the human being. Islam’s positive and natural progression for mankind was as much a crucial part of its beginning as it is today, tomorrow and until the Day of Resurrection.
As Islam was introduced and propagated by the seal and the master of the Prophets; Muhammad (saww) by the revelation of the Holy Qur’an, Prophet Muhammad (saww) in his infallible and perfect conduct lead mankind to become a new nation, a nation not based on a class system, racial system, nationalist nation or tyrannical system, but he (saww) led mankind to the brotherhood of the true godly celestial system, that was perfectly created by ALLAH (swt) for all mankind.
Lady Fatimah Az-Zahra (s-a) said: My father the Prophet Muhammad (saww) stood up with his guidance among the people. And saved them from perversion and aberration, and turned their blindness into enlightenment and guided them towards the firm religion. And invited them to the straight path. (Ayan u Shia Ataba Al-Jadeed vol 1, p.316)
It must then be understood that in order to keep such a divinely blessed system to survive until the Day of Resurrection, it must always be guided by a divinely appointed Infallible Imam and not by one who may make errors in judgement and be overcome by his base desires and ethical shortcomings. It is therefore the natural course for Islam to, at all times, have a divinely blessed and chosen leader (the Imam) to lead man to the right ways which lead to the straight path. Therefore it is also natural that amongst the divinely blessed Imams (a-s), the final one would provide the solace, relief, comfort, support, reinforcement and final victory to the true believers. And as the followers of Prophet Muhammad (saww) had responsibilities and duties to perform, so did each believer in the time of the past Imams (a-s), and we also have responsibilities and duties to perform during this time, the time of the present day Imam (a-s); Imam Al-Hujjah Al-Mahdi (a-s) (may ALLAH (swt) hasten his re-appearance).
In this 2nd part of this study, Insha’ALLAH we will explore our duties towards Imam Al-Mahdi (a-s), during the time of occultation and upon his (a-s) advent. I have based this study on teachings of the Holy Qur’an, Prophet Muhammad (saww) and his Ahlul-Bayt (a-s). I’ve divided this second part in 3 sections which will contain sub-divisions. Here is a list of the 3 sections:
2nd Part: Our Duties: A-Morality: Our behaviour and conduct. B-Training: Our preparation for our meeting with Imam Al-Mahdi (a-s). C- Assignment: Our Islamic Mission.
Insha’ALLAH Ta’ala may ALLAH Azz wa Jall guide me throughout this study and bless us all with more knowledge, understanding, patients and purified hearts full of remembrance of ALLAH (swt).
A-Morality: Our behaviour and conduct.
An example for all mankind: The sacrifice of Imam Hussayn (a-s) and the Behaviour of his followers:
In our rich Islamic culture we have been told by Prophet Muhammad (saww) to seek knowledge and wisdom, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saww) said: He who searches for knowledge is similar to a person who fasts during the day and keeps vigil at night and is busy worshipping. If a person acquires a branch of knowledge, it is better for him than possessing as much gold as the height of Mount Abuqubais which he would distribute in the way of ALLAH. (Bihar-ul-Anwar, vol. 1, p. 184) History is one of the greatest tools in order to learn and expand one’s knowledge and wisdom, ALLAH (swt) says: In their histories there is certainly a lesson for men of understanding. It is not a narrative which could be forged, but a verification of what is before it and a distinct explanation of all things and a guide and a mercy to a people who believe. (The Holy Qur’an 12 Yusuf-111)
A particular part of history that we hold close to our heart is the tragedy of Karbala and the Martyrdom of Imam Hussayn (a-s) and his family and companions. Imam Hussayn (a-s) one of the divinely chosen Holy Imams, who was the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (saww), Prophet Muhammad (saww) himself proclaimed his grandsons Imam Hasan (a-s) and Imam Hussayn (a-s) has being of the Divinely guided Imams by ALLAH (swt), the Holy Prophet (saww) said: These two sons of mine are Imams who will experience difficulties. (Kitab Al-Irshad, chap: Imam Hussayn (a-s) Eng translation p. 298, Shaykh Al-Mufid (r-a)).
He (saww) also said: Hasan and Hussayn are both the masters of all the youth of Paradise. (Tabaqat-e ibn Sa’d 28)
He (saww) also said: Hussayn is of me and I am of him, ALLAH (swt) loves one who loves Hussayn. (Tabaqat-e ibn Sa’d 27)
As per the order in the will of Mu’awiya, the new heir of the Umayyad dynasty, the cursed Yazid stepped forward to take the thrown from his dead father Mu’awiya. (This went against the peace treaty that he signed, where he was to hand over the position of the Khilafah to Imam Hasan (a-s) or Imam Hussayn (a-s)). At the beginning of his rule, Yazid demanded that all pledge allegiance to him, including the people of Ahlul-Bayt (a-s). For Imam Hussayn (a-s) and his family and true followers this was an absolute prohibited act since the Khilafah was rightfully Imam Hussayn’s. Imam Hussayn (a-s) denied making any sort of pledge to such a dreadful and horrible tyrant. Yazid had only awful crimes and disgusting sins to his merit, he was in absolutely no way fit to represent a zoo, so how could any truthful and righteous thinking man ever accept such a hooligan and thug as the leader and representative of the most perfectly divine religious, social, ethical, moral, political, spiritual movement for all human kind since the beginning of time. Yes as we spoke of in the article: The advent of IMAM AL-MAHDI (a-s), the natural course for humanity, HIS LIFE AND HIS LINEAGE PART1. Islam’s essence being of a celestial nature perfectly originated and created for mankind by ALLAH (swt), then surely it most certainly could not have a foolish clown such as Yazid to lead it. For a few of Yazid’s horrendous crimes were reported to be such things as; From early youth, Yazid took to evil ways and led a dissolute life. He trained a monkey to ride an ass and compete in races against reputed horsemen’. (Shahid-e-Insaniyyat chapt: 13, p. 45: Allamah Ali Naqi Naqvi) Al-Waqidi quoted Abd Allah ibn Hanzala as saying: During Yazid’s rule we feared that stones would rain upon us as he did not spare his step-mothers, daughters and sisters from his lustful advances. He drank liquor freely and neglected to offer prayers’. (Shahid-e-Insaniyyat chapt: 13, p. 46: Allamah Ali Naqi Naqvi / Al-Sawa’iq, 135).
Of course we understand that Imam Hussayn (a-s) had to make a stand against such a profane deviation and fraudulent heresy of Islam. At the moment that he did, the majority of the Muslims pulled away from him, either in fear of their lives or by being influenced by bribes and high position. (Much like the Islamic Ummah did to his brother Hasan (a-s) and his father Imam Ali (a-s) on a numerous occasions including: When they turned away from Imam Ali (a-s) from being their rightful leader and the divinely chosen successor of the Holy Prophet (saww), as commanded by ALLAH (swt) and announced to the whole nation at Ghadir Khumm by Prophet Muhammad (saww) when he said: ALLAH gave me wilÄyah (authority) and I am more worthy than the believers and the followers themselves. Therefore, to whosoever I am his wali (master) and guardian, Ali is his master and guardian too. O ALLAH! Be the friend of his friends and the enemy of his enemies. Help anyone who helps him and punish anyone who rebels against him. Now everyone who is present must tell those who are absent. (Al-Amini: Al-Ghadir). Another time, was when he (a-s) decided to defend the true Islam, against the tyranny of Mu’awiya (father of Yazid) at the battle of Siffin. These are only 2 examples of many of the times the majority turned away from the truth in order to satisfy their own personal needs and base desires, we have many examples of this in history and in the world today).
Imam Hussayn (a-s) on his way to Kufa (which brought him to Karbala) in a very eloquent sermon, spoke of how the evil tyrannical regime was trying to change Islam and how through this, man was put to a test to see where he stood: With truth and purity or with heresy and filth. In that speech Imam Hussayn (a-s) said: You see what has happened and the world is reversed. What was good is turned aside and remained nothing but a left-over like the water left in a vessel and thrown away and life is mean like an unpleasant pasture land. Do you see not the divine truth (Haqq) is trampled and the creedal error (Batil) is embraced; the faithful must seek the truth and be inclined towards meeting the LORD. I find in death only Martyrdom and co-living with despot tyrants nothing but humiliation. (Tarikh-I Tabari, 403.5, / Tuhaf Al-Uquul, maxims of Imam Hussayn (a-s))
However, some true believers did join Imam Hussayn and his family and kinfolk on this Holy Mission that would forever change the history of mankind. All his companions and supporters who followed and stayed with him at Karbala knew for sure that they were to meet their death there; however, they stayed bravely along side Imam Hussayn (a-s), for they had absolutely no doubt that Imam Hussayn’s (a-s) movement was a divinely commanded movement in the name of ALLAH Azz wa Jall and that Imam Hussayn (a-s) was one of those who ALLAH (swt) commanded to obey and follow: O you who believe! Obey ALLAH and obey the Apostle and those in authority from amongst you. (Holy Qur’an 4 Surah An-Nisa 59). On many occasions they were offered to leave without any kind of harm done to them, but these great companions of true Islamic behaviour, refused all offers and were martyred along with their beloved Imam Hussayn (a-s). This would re-open the Muslims’ eyes to the original Message and Mission of Islam as commanded by ALLAH (swt) and taught by Prophet Muhammad (saww) and his Ahlul-Bayt (a-s).
Today, as in history, the majority have chosen to stay in ignorance, away from any kind of belief in ALLAH (swt), others follow innovations of the true Islam and use ignorance and falsification to defend their position. However, Imam Hussayn (a-s) in his Mission to Karbala, along with his followers the faithful and true servants of ALLAH Azz wa Jall would truly re-build and re-initiate the original call to Islam and the Holy Qur’an at a crucial point in time, when the little reminisces of true Islam were about to drowned in the sea of ignorance and deceit.
Imam Hussayn (a-s) said about the majority of mankind: People are the servants of the world and they imagine the religion is something tasteful, as long as it is with a sensible taste, they keep it and if it is a matter that tests them, then there are few religious people. (Imam Hussayn (a-s) and the tragic saga of Karbala. By: Ali Nazari munfared / Bihar Al-Anwar 383.44 and 116.75 / Tuhaf Al-Uquul maxims of Imam Hussayn (a-s)).
This historical event contained vast amounts of lessons for mankind in many different aspects, including a very veracious narrative of how followers of Islam should stand behind the words of ALLAH (swt) at all times and in all situations. Imam Hussayn’s (a-s) family, friends, companions and followers are the greatest example of humankind’s responsibilities and duties towards their living Holy Imam (a-s). We must investigate, study, learn and adopt this behaviour for ourselves in order to be ready for the re-appearance of our Imam; Imam Al-Mahdi (a-s).
Our behaviour towards Imam Al-Mahdi (a-s) (May ALLAH (swt) hasten his return):
One of the reasons I started this part of the article with a brief look at the behaviour of the followers (his (a-s) family, children, friends, companions and supporters) of Imam Hussayn (a-s) on the day of Ashura at Karbala in the year 61a-h, was so we can understand the true dedication of those who love ALLAH (swt) above everything. So now theoretically, we have an example of what behaviour and duties are for true believers. Now let us look at this theory closer to see how we can use it in action providing for us eternal felicity and true happiness. The question that comes immediately to mind is: How can we transform the theory of good moral conduct into actions? We will use this question as basis of our discourse on this subject and to prepare our understanding for our training.
How can we transform the theory of good moral conduct into actions?
If one considers our duties of conduct while awaiting the re-appearance of Imam Al-Mahdi (a-s) as only; to recite the occasional Du’aa (supplication) and to hope for his appearance every time something goes wrong in our life, then we have no substance for this discourse and we must end it here. However, if we consider our duties of conduct while awaiting the re-appearance of Imam Al-Mahdi; to be performing our religious duties properly, to do and promote goodness at all times, to avoid and fight against all types of evil at all times, to expand our knowledge, to be truthful in all our actions and transactions, to spend our earnings, our time, our physical strengths, our intellectual strength in the path of ALLAH (swt), to understand, realize and to conduct all our actions as if we were already in the time of the appearance of Imam Al-Mahdi (a-s), at all times know that ALLAH (swt) has given us so many blessings that we cannot count them And if you would count ALLAH’s favours, you would not be able to number them. Surely ALLAH is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (The Holy Qur’an 16 Al-Nahl-18) and ALLAH (swt) is watching us at all times. If we are of this group and truly think this way, in this case we have a large amount of subject matter for this discourse and we must continue Insha’ALLAH.
At no time did Imam Hussayn’s (a-s) followers think they would get any kind of material reward in this life for the effort they made. In fact all that they could see in front of them was death, many of these people had lives, wives, children, work, homes, and some material comfort of some sort exactly as we all do. But that fact did not detour them from their Mission that became their one and only focus. What was it that had captured their hearts so and that had kept all their attention until their martyrdom? What made newlyweds, children, youth, women, men, brothers, sisters, daughters, brothers, army commanders, soldiers, merchants, Christians to convert to Islam, government servants, etc¦ to turn away from everything in order to stand behind Imam Hussayn (a-s) and his cause? There is only one answer to this question and that is their pure and true faith in ALLAH Azz wa Jall and HIS Promise: ALLAH has promised the righteously striving believers to appoint them as HIS deputies on earth, as HE had appointed those who lived before. HE will make the religion that HE has chosen for them to stand supreme. HE will replace their fear with peace and security. They will worship their LORD without fear and will not submit to anyone other than HIM and will associate nothing with HIS worship and obedience. (The Holy Qur’an Surah al-Qasas, 28-5)
Now some may ask: How could they have done it for this particular promise if they knew without any doubt they would be killed and if they knew and believed (according to all mutawatir traditions about Imam Al-Mahdi (a-s)) that the time of Imam Al-Mahdi (a-s) would be too far in the future for them to live in that time?
There’s a very logical answers to this:
All true believing Muslims will in a blink of an eye drop all, in order to assist in the progression or defence of Islam, for this is the true Jihad as commanded to us in the Holy Qur’an: And fight in the way of ALLAH with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits surely ALLAH does not love those who exceed the limits. (The Holy Qur’an 2 Al Baqarah-216). We must understand this command properly, for this command is a far cry away and has absolutely nothing to do with the horrible blood baths and vicious killings of our own innocent children, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters (as we have been seeing in Iraq, Pakistan, etc¦ May ALLAH (swt) bless all of these Martyrs who were killed at the hands of these haters of Islam) in the name of hypocritical multi-millionaires, who’s only true goal in life is to destroy Islam and gain a sense of fanatical power over the ignorant, oh, yes the followers of the Umayyad Dynasty are still very much alive and surely these are those who exceed all limits, in fact these terrible people are those described to us as the dwellers of the Hell Fire: And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his punishment is hell; he shall abide in it, and ALLAH will send HIS wrath on him and curse him and prepare for him a painful chastisement. (The Holy Qur’an 4 An-Nisa-93). So we must understand that the followers of Imam Hussayn (a-s) were true believers and would never turn away from their Islamic duties, they preferred to sacrifice their comfort in this transient life than to live under tyrannical rule or to know their brothers and sisters were trapped under such oppression. They, as a matter of fact, followed in the footsteps of the supporters of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saww) who fought by his side in the battle of Badr and of those that are announced in Mutawatir Hadith, who will be the companions of Imam Mahdi (a-s).
We must understand at all time that we are alive in this transient life, we must be committed to and accumulate the most possible good actions for the Hereafter and as we all know by constantly living within the realization that when we die, from that second on all that we will have done in this life will come back to us either in delightful rewards and happiness or in horrible pain and terrifying punishment, depending on our behaviour. Also, it is possible that we will see the advent of Imam Al-Mahdi (a-s) and surely we will want to be amongst the true companions to him (a-s) in action and in theory, therefore it is in our very best interests to be prepared for his return.
B-Training: Our preparation for our meeting with Imam Al-Mahdi (a-s):
Now that we investigated all the different dimensions of the Occultation and its possibilities, we have an understanding of our behaviour and conduct during this time. We are now ready to understand how to prepare for the promised advent. During this period, it is crucial for us to prepare ourselves in the upmost ways possible and the best way to do that is be productive in our individual mission and our social mission. And since Islam makes an emphasis on our individual and social duties, we must not neglect any of them, especially if we are to expect relief and solace soon.
Perhaps for some, this time of waiting is rather simple, they are the ones who do little true effort to help the great Islamic Mission move ahead, and their attitude about it is to sit back and watch other’s efforts and to make an official or unofficial complaint and comment every so often. These people are often professionals in innovation, for when you ask them to help they deny helping with an answer containing a Hadith or Qur’anic verse wrongly interpreted. They are the ones who seem to love what suits them and what profits them, in fact their idea of struggle in the Path of ALLAH (swt) is nothing more than following their base desires and personal needs, remember when; Imam Hussayn (a-s) said: People are the servants of the world and they imagine the religion is something tasteful, as long as it is with a sensible taste, they keep it and if it is a matter that tests them, then there are few religious people. (Imam Hussayn (a-s) and the tragic saga of Karbala. By: Ali Nazari munfared / Bihar Al-Anwar 383.44 and 116.75 / Tuhaf Al-Uquul maxims of Imam Hussayn (a-s)).
These people are those who await the reform but don’t follow the reformers, in their ideology, they may indulge in every kind of sin and perversion, while at the same time criticise the true believers who strive in the path of ALLAH (swt), who are trying to initiate reform against the present day tyrants. Their slogan being: The ends justify the means! which opens them to use unlimited corruption and devious schemes in order to obtain their daily fill of material perversion. These are the haters of those who: Enjoin the good and forbid evil After all to their ignorant way of seeing things, those who strive in the path of ALLAH (swt) are those who are stalling the coming advent, since they think all must be rotten before it becomes good. These are the people who think good will come from evil, they feel people must suffer and stand still during it in order to get something positive in this life. That is as long as they are not the ones suffering of course. They are the ones who call their sins; experience and don’t repent. In other words they are the loudest ones to complain about the systems injustices and problems, when in fact they are one of the major causes of the problems. This of course goes against all the teachings of Islam about the preparation of the meeting with Imam Al-Mahdi (a-s). They are the ones who say: We want solace to come, but on our terms only.
ALLAH (swt) says about these people: Surely the hypocrites strive to deceive ALLAH, and HE shall requite their deceit to them, and when they stand up to prayer, they stand up sluggishly; they do it only to be seen of men and do not remember ALLAH save a little (The Holy Qur’an 4 An-Nisa-142) and HE (swt) also says: Who hinder from ALLAH’s way and seek to make it crooked, and they are disbelievers in the Hereafter. (The Noble Qur’an 7 Al-A’raf-45)
Imam Al-Sadiq (a-s) said: Prepare yourselves for the revolution of our Qa’im, even if it means to gather an arrow (for fighting ALLAH’s enemies). (Ibid, p. 366)
Therefore we understand that our training and preparation for the great Advent of Imam Mahdi (a-s) is a full time effort in the way of ALLAH (swt). We must be at all times in tune with our inner spirit and perfect it and to fight our inner base desires. As well we must fight the injustices of this world, our social duties are as important as our individual duties. By all that we have spoken about until now and with the example of the great followers of Imam Hussayn (a-s) we can truly understand that what is expected of us during this period of waiting. Patience in the face of adversity and steadfastness in our Islamic beliefs are two major keys in our preparation of the awaited Mahdi (a-s) (may ALLAH (swt) hasten his return). We must be as good companions for Imam Mahdi (a-s) (may ALLAH (swt) hasten his return) as the companions of Imam Hussayn (a-s) were for him. For this period will truly be a difficult test for the majority, to such a point many will begin to deny the existence of Imam Mahdi (a-s).
The Holy Prophet (saww) said: Al-Mahdi is the one who will be concealed from his Shi’a and friends such a concealment that none shall remain firm in belief in his Imamate except one whose heart ALLAH has tested for faith. (A’lam al-Wara p. 397)
Amir ul-Mu’mineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a-s) said: How lengthy is this adversity, and how distant is this hope! (Nahj al-Balagha, Sermon187, part 4)
Imam Ali Ibn Musa Al-Rida (a-s) said: They will be tested through something that is severer and greater. They will be tested with a fetus in the abdomen of his mother and the suckling baby, until it is said that he disappeared and that he is dead. They will say: There is no Imam’. However, even the Messenger of ALLAH (saww) disappeared, and many, many others disappeared. And here I am awaiting a death in the bed. (Al- Ghayba. Shaykh Ibn Abu Zaynab An-Nu’mani (r-a) / Biharul Anwar (Kitab al-Ghaibah) vol. 51, p.228 with English translation. Allama al-Majlisi (r-a).).
C- Assignment: Our Islamic Mission
In the following two series of studies titled: Imam AL-MAHDI (a-s) OCCULTATION AND OUR DUTIES and The advent of IMAM AL-MAHDI (a-s), the natural course for humanity, HIS LIFE AND HIS LINEAGE we have studied many of the different questions that may be asked about the awaited Imam (a-s). As we have come to the conclusion that the awaited return of Imam Mahdi (a-s) necessitates a certain behaviour and conduct upon the Muslims. This behaviour and conduct is related directly with our Islamic Mission, in fact they are the key to Paradise and the purpose of our creation. The hope for solace and the waiting of ALLAH’s (swt) last viceroy (Imam Mahdi (a-s)) is an essential part of Islam. Let us in conclusion of this study, look deeper into our Islamic Mission.
As the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saww) was sent as a mercy to mankind; Surely WE have sent you as a witness and as a bearer of good news and as a warner. (The Holy Qur’an 48 Al-Fath-8). His (saww) Message was clear and it was for man to take the Straight Path to human perfection, enjoin the good and forbid evil, to strive in the way of ALLAH Azz wa Jall in order to purify the heart and gain closeness and nearness to ALLAH (swt). The promise to man is that all mankind, without exception, will be gathered on the Day of Judgement and ALLAH (swt) will pass Divine Judgement on all. Therefore man who has received the great blessing of the spirit from ALLAH (swt); So when I have made him and have breathed into him of MY Spirit, do ye fall down, prostrating yourselves to him. (The Holy Qur’an 15 Al-Hijr 29) has the responsibility to perfect his being, and in order to stay on a progressive path towards perfection, man needs guides to guide him within the great Islamic Mission as taught to mankind from Prophet Muhammad (saww). Our Holy Imams (a-s) from the Ahlul-Bayt (a-s) are our divinely commanded guides. Therefore we turn to them for guidance as revealed to them by ALLAH (swt), they are our ropes of hope to solace and relief in this transient life, our teachers about conduct in order to achieve felicity, happiness and blessings in the Hereafter. All the Mutawatir Hadiths about the Mahdi (a-s) without a doubt point to Imam Muhammad Ibn Hasan Askari Al-Mahdi (a-s) as the Qa’im who will save us from tyranny and corruption. Therefore we as Muslims, believers of the One God; ALLAH (swt) , HIS Messenger and Prophet Muhammad (saww) and his Ahlul-Bayt (a-s) are absolutely the followers and supporters of the current day Imam; Imam Al-Mahdi (a-s) (may ALLAH (swt) hasten his advent), as commanded to us by ALLAH (swt). And to live our lives in accordance with Islamic teachings is the natural course for all humanity and our believing and supporting of Imam Mahdi (a-s) is part of that course.— www.shafaqna.com/english/