Our responsibilities during the major occultation (Ghaibat) of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) have been dealt with in great detail in the book, 'Mikyalul Makarem Fi Favaidid Dua lil Qaem' (a.t.f.s.) by Ayatullah Muhammad Taqi Musawi Isfahani (r.a.).
Just by looking at the responsibilities outlined in the book it should be clear to the reader that fulfilling these duties is beneficial to us and forsaking them is detrimental to our interests. We realise that executing these responsibilities is proof of our love and attachment for Imam (a.t.f.s.). Performance of action is an important indication of strength of faith. Moreover, it makes one successful in this world and the hereafter. Inshallah, we will discuss another important responsibility, which is fairly easy to observe and very beneficial. The duty is remembering Imam (a.t.f.s.) and reminding others about him (a.t.f.s.). This responsibility can be accomplished individually as well as socially.
The first step in fulfilling this duty is to increase our love towards Ahle Bait (descenant of the prophent of islam). Books are laden with traditions regarding the love of Ahle Bait (a.s.).Here, we will outline three traditions dealing with the topic:
(1) Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) says:
'Surely for every act of worship, there is another superior to it and the love of us - Ahle Bait - is the most superior act of worship.'
(Beharul Anwaar, vol. 27, pg. 91, trad. 148)
We are thankful to Allah that we were born in a family where the love of Ahle Bait (a.s.) was continuously infused in our hearts, just as food and water was constantly fed into our bodies.
(2) The standard for perfect faith and glad tidings on the Day of Judgement is the love of Imam Zaman (a.t.f.s.). The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) declared:'(If one wishes) to have perfect faith and desires that his Islam is best, then he should love Hujjat - Sahebuz Zamana Al Muntazar (Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.)). Whoever loves them (Imams (a.s.)) and accepts their mastership, then I take guarantee from Allah, the High, for Paradise.'(Beharul Anwar, vol. 36, pg. 296)
The only way to increase the , love of Ahle Bait (a.s.) is their remembrance. An important benefit of this remembrance is that we will be safe from the assaults of Shaitan. A great scholar used to explain to his students that Shaitan is smarter than we are. He has promised Allah that he will deviate the progeny of Adam (a.s.). To achieve his aim he employs various tactics to deviate us. The easiest and the most successful way to save ourselves from his deceit is puting the shield of remembrance of Ahle Bait (a.s.) between ourselves and Shaitan. We find a similar concept in traditions as explained by the scholar to his students. Shaitan stays away from those who are busy in the remembrance of Ahle Bait (a.s.).
(3) Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said to his famous companion, Dawood bin Sarhan:
'O Dawood, give my salutations to my Shias(the followers) and convey my message to them that when two persons meet and discuss our traditions then Allah's mercy is on both of them. The third between them is an angel who seeks forgiveness for them. No two persons meet and discuss about us but Allah prides Himself on this fact among His angels. (I order you) whenever you meet keep yourself busy in our remembrance. This remembrance enlivens our affairs. The best people after us are those who narrate our traditions and invite people towards them.'(Beharul Anwaar, vol. 1, pg. 200)
Imam (a.s.) in this brief tradition, has conveyed some important points:
1) Whenever two persons discuss the traditions of the Holy Infallibles (a.s.), the third entity among them is an angel and not Shaitan.
2) The angel seeks forgiveness for all persons participating in the discussion. It is quite
possible that our repentance is not accepted by Allah, but the supplications of angels is always accepted.
3)The holy Infallible Imam (a.s.) is constantly praying for Allah's mercy for all these persons who discuss the traditions.
4) Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) has ordered us to gather and discuss traditions of the Ahle Bait (a.s.).
5) When their traditions are discussed, the affairs of the holy Infallibles (a.s.) are enlivened.
6) Allah, the Almighty, prides over such gatherings.
7) Such people will be enumerated among the best people.
An Arab poet who was intensely attached to Imam Zamana (a.t.f.s.) has recited the following couplet:
knows that I don't remember (you) How do I remember you when I don't
forget you.' (Mikyalul Makarem Fi Favaidid Dua Lil Qaem, vol.2,pg.308)The
above couplets are an example of the tradition of Imam Moosa Kazim
(a.s.) when a person asked him whether the twelfth Imam (a.s.)will be
unseen? Imam (a.s.) replied:
'Yes, physically he will be unseen but
his remembrance will not be absent from the hearts of the believers and
he is the twelfth one from us.'(Kamaluddin WaTamamun Nemah, chap. 34, trad. No. 6)
our lives be sacrificed for Babul Hawaij -Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.). Most
of his life was spent in worshipping Allah in the dreadful and
uncomfortable prison of the Abbasides. In the above tradition, he
emphasises the importance of remembering our last Imam (a.t.f.s.) at all
In another incident we leam the significance of remembering
Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). Once an old person from Syria came to Imam Jafar
Sadiq (a.s.). He saluted Imam (a.s.), kissed his hand and started
crying. Imam (a.s.) consoled him and asked him the reason for crying. He
said: O Master! After the incident of Karbala, every day I have been
anticipating that maybe today or tomorrow, this week or the next week,
this month or the next month, this year or the next year, an individual
from the progeny of Imam Husain (a.s.) will rise and avenge his blood.
But I do not see any sign of this (rising) in you.'
After hearing this, Imam (a.s.) cried even more than the old man and said:
old man, I am not that individual (who is to rise) but he is the last
from us, Hujjat b. Hasan Askari (a.t.f.s.). As you have his love in your
heart and you await him, even if you die before his reappearance he
will raise you from your grave."(Muntahul Aamaal, Shaykh Abbas-e-Qummi (r.a.)
O lovers of the oppressed Imam (a.s.)! Oaggrieved ones for Imam Husain (a.s.) - the
of the Holy Prophet's (s.a.w.a.) daughter (s.a.)! Is it possible that
we be negligent of Imam Husain's (a.s.) heir and abandon his remembrance
from our hearts and gatherings? Remember, if we are the true lovers
of Imam (a.t.f.s.), then we should remember the avenger of Imam Husain's
(a.s.) blood just like that old Syrian who came in Imam Sadiq's (a.s.)
presence. Like him we must also cry and beseech Allah for Imam's
(a.t.f.s.) earliest reappearance. We should know that the one who is
fully aware of the incident of Karbala and of the oppression inflicted
upon Janabe Zahra (s.a.) remembers his Shias by saying:
'Surely we are never negligent of your affairs nor do we forget your remembrance.' After
witnessing such affection on Imam's (a.t.f.s.) part, does it behove us
to remember him (a.t.f.s.) only on 15th Shabaan? According to reliable
traditions, our deeds are presented to Imam (a.t.f.s.) twice a week.
When he (a.t.f.s.) glances at our bad deeds he (a.t.f.s.) cries
intensely and supplicates to Allah that their (Shias) hearts are filled
with the love of my ancestors (a.s.), therefore forgive their sins.
readers, let us resolve that from today, we will perform certain
recommended acts to remember Imam (a.t.f.s.) and through it, we will
save ourselves from the attacks of Shaitan. With this we will include
ourselves amongst those people for whom the angels seek forgiveness and
Allah prides over them. In this manner we will be under Allah's
perpetual mercy and will be included among the true lovers of Imam
Husain (a.s.) and
not be the cause of Imam's (a.t.f.s.) sorrow and grief.
To recite Dua-e-Ahd after every morning prayer. It is narrated from
Imam Jafer Sadiq (a.s.) that one who recites Dua-e-Ahad for forty
mornings, then Inshallah, he will be included among the companions and
helpers of Imam (a.t.f.s.) at the time of his (a.t.f.s.) reappearance.
If he dies before Imam's (a.t.f.s.) reappearance, he (a.t.f.s.) will
raise him from his grave. We remember Imam (a.t.f.s.) in this Dua with
these beautiful words:
They (enemies) perceive your reappearance as distant but we consider it as near.'
my Allah, if death comes between me and him (Imam (a.t.f.s.)), which
you have decreed as a certainty for your servants, then raise me from my
grave, enshrouded, my sword uncovered, wielding a naked spear answering
to the call of the caller in cities as well as deserts!'
Every Friday morning to organise an assembly for Dua-e-Nudba in the
house and/or in the locality. Nudba means intense wailing. In this Dua,
the lovers of Imam Husain (a.s.) in the condition of waiting asks
:'Where is the one who will take the revenge of the blood of the martyrs
ofKarbala ? 'I wish I had known where you are living!''May
my life be sacrificed for you, you are the desire of every believing
man and woman who has remembered you and sympathised with you.'This
supplication can also be found in Mafateehul Jinaan
To organise gatherings and assemblies (majaalis) wherein Imam-e-Zamana
(a.t.f.s.) is remembered. Enliven the hearts of your children and
believers. It is narrated in traditions that hearts are enlivened with
the remembrance of Imam (a.t.f.s.) and sins are forgiven. The hearts
will remain alive on that Day when all other hearts will be dead. For
more details, refer Beharul Anwaar, vol. 1, pg. 200.
4) Read and
narrate the incidents of people who have met Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) so
that the desire and love of meeting Imam (a.t.f.s.) is revived in the
hearts. A lover of Imam (a.t.f.s.) has stated beautifully:
'We desire to see you but this journey is not possible. If we are unable to reach you, then you only come to us.'
5) As it is commanded in the last verse of Surah Aal-e-Imran, (varabetu) 'And be in contact'.Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) says'Be
in contact with your Imam, the Awaited One'. Day and night whenever you
get the time be in contact with your Imam (a.t.f.s.).Rabetu in
occultation means to always remember Imam (a.t.f.s.), to seek mediation
(tawaasul) through him (a.t.f.s.) and to seek solution of all our
problems through him (a.t.f.s.) only.
6) Shaikh Abu Amr has narrated
'Dua-e-Ghaibat' from Imam (a.s.). This supplication should be recited on
Friday. Shaykh Abbas-e-Qummi (r.a.) has narrated in his book, 'Muntahal
Aamaal' that even if no recommended action is performed on Friday then
at least one should read this supplication and should never abandon it
as it is prayed to have perfect belief in Imam (a.t.f.s.) in the period
of occultation. This supplication can be found in Mafateehul Jinaan.
7) Before performing any action we must think whether Imam (a.t.f.s.) will be pleased with it or not?"O
Allah, by the right of Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) fill our hearts with the
love of Imam (a.t.f.s.) and give us the taufeeq to remember him
(a.t.f.s.) and make others remember him (a.t.f.s.)."
8) In the month
of Muharram or even otherwise, whenever we cry for the martyrs of
Karbala and the prisoners of Ahle Bait (a.s.), we should offer our
condolences to the one who will avenge the blood of Imam Husain (a.s.)
and we should pray for his earliest reappearance.
9) We must
celebrate the birthday of Imam (a.t.f.s.) on 15th Shabaan in such a way
that people inquire about the occasion. Apart from reciting verses in
praise of Imam (a.t.f.s.), we should organise other programmes so that
people can increase their recognition (ma'refat) of Imam (a.t.f.s.) and
attain proximity towards him (a.t.f.s.).