In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
And we desired to bestow a favor upon those who were deemed weak in the land, and to make them the Imams (Leaders of mankind), and to make them the heirs. (Quran, 28:5)
At dawn, on the 15th Sha’ban 255 A.H., the rays of the illuminating world shone with a powerful shaft of light into a human form, which became the source of existence for the universe.
Yes, finally, the Divine promise was fulfilled and Imam al- Mahdi (A.S) was born in spite of the efforts of those who denied him:
Indeed, what day does people with such elation and glory revere like this day?
It is on his birthday that he will bring the east and west of the world to justice, and by his powerful hand annihilates demons (‘ifrit), infidelity and irreligiousness.
On this day, the authority of the Last Luminous Jewel of Allah will be established on the face of the earth. He it is who will decide the end of the long struggle between truth and falsehood. His appearance will mean a victory for truth and the annihilation of falsehood.
He will remove ignorance and class-discrimination from the world and will establish equality instead; he will exploit the earth’s resources distribute them among the poor and make them sufficient.
The outburst of enthusiasm and happiness will at that time cause tears to flow down the cheeks of enthusiasts, and the lustrous and mournful eyes of the awaiting people will be filled with light.
Mahdism is the most genuine and fundamental Islamic belief, which even a person with a limited knowledge of Islam will surely accept.
Shaikh Mofeed, a distinguished Shiite scholar, also wrote is Irshad:
“When Imam Hassan al-Askari (A.S) passed away, the caliph of that time pursued his son. Because the Shiite Imamyya’s belief was famous and was spread about that the Shiites were awaiting his Eminence.
Mu’tadid, one of the tyrant Abbasid caliphs who ruled from 279 to 289 A.H., decided all at once to destroy the entire family of al-Askari when he heard that more of Imam Hassan Askari (A.S) and that he was still living in spite of the attempts of the preceding caliph to kill him.
One of Mu’tadid’s officers said:
“Mu’tadid has ordered me and two other persons, each of us to mount a horse and to proceed to Samara in full speed without even stopping for prayer. He gave us the address of Imam al-Askari (AS) and instructed us to enter his house without his permission and to bring hem the head of whoever we find there.”
As a matter of fact, they were unaware that the same power that had protected the Imam from the former caliphs would give him protection from his evil, because:
Allah disdains (nothing) save that He shall perfect his light, however much the disbelievers are averse. (Quran, 9:32)
Indeed what an immature thought and foolish act it was! If the Devine will bears on some matter, can a person revolt against it and combat it? Is it possible that definite divine promises may not be compiled whit? Or is it possible that the reins of oppressive impostors who fight against the divine decree will not cut?
Is it not more amazing that Peerless, Almighty Allah has shown His power many times before, so that after that all men should know that if He wishes to give His chosen servant government and sovereignty and to destroy infidelity and irreligiousness through him, then there is no one who can disrupt his rule.
Fortunately, this sensational story is mentioned in the holy Quran: Pharaoh, the great emperor of Egypt, who had great power and pride, claimed the divinity for himself. He determined to kill all the youths and boy children of Bani Isra’il as a result of what he had heard about a son being born who would destroy his empire and divinity.
He shed the blood of innocents, and banished many persons to unknown regions; but see how Almighty Allah restored His Prophet and how the Divine will worked to protect the life of Musa (Moses (A.S)) and destroy Pharaoh:
“And we revealed to Musa’s Mother saying: Give him such. Then when you fear for him, cast him i nto the river and don not fear nor grieve. Surely we will bring him back to you and make him one of the apostles. And Pharaoh’s family took him up that he might be and enemy and a grief for them. Surely Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts were wrong-doers”..……. So we gave him back to his mother that her eye might be refreshed, and that she might not grieve, and that she might know that the promise of Allah is true, but most of them do not know (Quran, 28:7-13)
Yes, Allah will protect His proof (Hojjah) and will fulfill His promises and glad tidings because His decision is based on its execution, although most people do not know it.
Would Allah wish to save the life of Prophet Musa (A.S) who has only a messenger to a certain nation and tribe, and yield the Imam of the Age (Imam-e-Zaman) into the hands of Mu’tamid and Mu’tadid?
Would Allah protect the life of Musa (AS) while he was in the middle of the roaring waves of river, and give no security to the Imam of the Age who was in the house of his father, Imam Hassan Askari (AS)?
Would the sustaining Allah protect prophet Ibraheem the middle of the flaming fire, but allow the last pearl of the prophet’s Progeny to be a victim of the lust and anger of the Abbasid caliphs?
We said: O’ fire be a comfort and peace to Ibraheem (Quran, 21:69)
Really how do false thinkers and feeble-minded people judge?
At dawn, on the middle day of Shabaan in the year 255 A.H., Imam Hassan al Askari (AS) beheld the heavenly, shining face of his son who was to full fill all divine promises and glad tiding. Not more than three days had passed after his birth when the eleventh Imam took the holy child to his companions and told them:
After me this will be your master of authority and my successor, and hi is the support (al-Qaaim) for whose appearance all people will wait; when the earth is full of injustice and tyranny, he will full it with peace and justice.
Imam Hassan al Askari (AS) prepared a true Government for his fruitful son. He kept secret the birth of his son and other related matters, because his Eminence was living in a difficult time when the caliphs were intensively searching for his son and were keeping a close eye on the affairs of Imam Hassan al Askari. This is because the Shiites imamia belief about the Imam al Mahdi (A.S) had become so current that they were waiting for his Eminence hence Imam Hassan al Askari (A.S) did not show his son, and, therefore, the enemies could not recognize Imam al-Mahdi (A.S) after the demise of his Eminence (father).
Abo Omari and Ahwazi reported:
Abo Muhammad (Imam Hassan al Askari) showed me his son and told me, this is your master (sahib).
Yes in this manner was the Imam of the age born and kept hidden from the reach of strangers. On some occasions only were virtuous Shiites allowed to see him until the year 260a.h.,when the eleventh Imam expired, and by divine decree the office of divine leadership (imamate) was vested in the master of the authority (Sahibol-Amr).
The Minor Occultation:
When Imam Hassan al Askari (AS) martyred the office of divine leadership (Imamate) was transferred to the last luminous pearl of the household of the Holy Prophet Imam al-Mahdi (AS) although His Eminence did not appear amongst the people, some persons in whom the he had trust the confidence were allowed to visit him and present him the problems and questions of the Shiites. And in due time they conveyed the guidance of his eminence to the people.
Among the companions of Imam-e-Zaman , four became his most famous and confidential deputies who acted as mediators between the Imam and the people, and they are known as the as-Nawab-e-Arba’a (the four deputies).
1.Otham bin Saeed Omari
2.Abo Jaffar Muhammad bin Othman
3.Abol-Qasim hossain bin Roh Nawbakhti.
4.Abol-Hassan Ali bin Muhammad Saimari.
This honorable figure was the last special deputy (Naibol-Khass) of the holy Imam-e-Zaman (AS). Imam announced the death of Ali bin Muhammad and the end of the deputation.
The last letter of Imam-e-Zaman to Saimari:
In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful.
You are going to die in six days, may Allah grant patience to your brother’s in faith on your departure. So, be prepared, but appoint no one in your place, because from the day of your death the period of my major occultation (al ghaybatul kubra) will begin. Hence forth, no one will see me, unless and until Allah makes me appear.
My reappearance will take place after a very long time when people will have grown tired of waiting and those who are weak in there faith will say: What! Is he still alive?
When will men become cruel and inconsiderate, and the world will bi full of injustice and violence. Very soon some men will claim to have see me. Beware! Anyone who makes such a claim before the coming out of Sufyani and the sound from heaven announcing my reappearance is a liar and impostor. There is no might or strength except in Allah.
As can be seen from this, it is the last order, in which the door of special deputation is closed by the death of Ali bin Muhammad; Hence, any one who claim to be a mediator, or claims that the Imam can be seen, is a lair.
Yes, the four deputies who were at the highest level of faith and confidence for many years were the blessed mediators between the Imam and the people till in the year 329 A.H. when the deputation was closed, and on the basis of the Divine Will the major occultation of Imam-e-Zaman, commenced. This was the very occultation, which was prophesied a log time previously by holy prophet and the Shiites Imam and Muslims keep patient in this period of test, till by the order of Almighty Allah, the awaited Imam will appear, and the Divine Aim will reach its fulfillment.
The Major Occultation
In the holy Imam traditions, the purpose of the Imam’s going in to occultation is compared to the sun being behind the clouds yet being a source of vitality and life for living creatures, likewise; while the Imam is behind the curtain of occultation he is still a source of the existence and remaining of the world.
I asked Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (A.S): How will people benefit from the hidden proof in the occultation? He replied: They will derive benefit when the sun is behind clouds.
In the Islamic tradition when the subject of occultation of the Twelfth Imam is discussed, reference is made to the complex nature of the Divine test, in this Divine test the faithful Shiites are distinguished from the others” and become as pure as a pure gold.
In Islamic tradition, a comparison is drawn between the sincere faithful of the Shiites and faith of a few followers of the prophet Nuh (AS), who remained faithful despite their very difficult, and who, by boarding the ark with prophet Nuh (AS), were save from the deluge.
Therefore, blessed are those who have passed this Divine test; we hope to be among their rank.
The Shiites During The Imam’s Occultation
So now what is a duty of Shiite?
What responsibilities does he have?
Truly, are we reckoned among the real followers of His Eminence (Imam al Mahdi (AS))?
If we study the lives of the devout Shiites (followers) of the Holy Imams before the Twelfth Imam and consider their sacrifices without the slightest hesitation, we shall at once awake from our neglectful slumber and realize our weakness and guilt.
Were not Salman al-Farsi, Abo Zar al-Ghaffari, Ammar bin Yasir and Malik-e-Ashtar the followers of Imam Ali, Ameer al Momineen (AS), and are we too the followers of Imam of our Age?
Were not the martyrs of Karbala, who with love strove in the way of defending the Imam of their time, Hussein (AS), and were martyred, the followers of His Eminence, and are we too, who refuse to give our wealth, lives and other mean in the way of the Imam of our time, His Eminence’s followers?
Is a person like Hisham bin Hakam, who in his extraordinary and valuable debates crushed and defamed the opponents of the Devine Leadership (Imamate) in such a way that he was called the “assistant of the Imam” by Imam as-Sadiq (AS), a Shiite? And are we too, who are sluggish in fulfilling our foremost duty to recognize the Imam of our time, Shiites?
From what we read of the glad tiding in the Quran and the traditions of the Holy Prophet and the infallible Imam, the Imam of the Age (Imam-e-Zaman) has special responsibilities that other Imams did not have Imam-e-Zaman will establish Universal Government. He will fill the earth with righteousness and justice, He will exploit the earth’s treasures and natural resources, He will improve and develop the land, and in this way people’s awareness and understanding will improve.
The duty of Shiites during the major occultation, is the Holy Imam have alluded to, so the question of being ready for the savior.
One who is waiting and preparing himself for the appearance of the Imam must have characters and merits of the companions of Imam al-Mahdi (AS). So, we should pray to Allah that He may include us among those who are waiting for the Imam of the age, and that our acts and conduct may also symbolize the truth of our claim.
Shiites must have a devout link with His Eminence during the occultation. Their prayers should be to ask for blessing of Allah to be showered on His Eminence, and their supplication should be of salvation. Their existence should be one welded and fused unit, and their life should blaze with love for him.