By Syed Mohsen Rizvi
وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقًا وَعَدْلً
“And the word of your Lord has been accomplished truly and justly” 6:115
The idea of proximity with the Imam of the time (ajtfs) is directly related to our knowledge about the Imam (ajts). The knowledge of such divine affairs that causes a reaction in our heart towards the Imam (ajtfs), is not the same as the knowledge of the signs of reappearance, and the journey of the Imam in establishing his divine kingdom, that we hear every day. There is certain knowledge that causes the devotee to dive deep in the ocean of love for the Imam (ajtf) where the concerns of the Master become the concerns of the slave, where the fire to please the master burns high and bright in the hearts of his devotees. In this humble effort, we will try to explore certain aspects of the Imam (ajts) that are not commonly discussed and that may lead us to a point where we really come to terms with the fact that the Imam of the time is witnessing our lives, our struggles, our challenges, our actions, our good deeds and our longing for his appearance. Let us try to make that connection strong.
There are so many facets to the merits of Imam Az-Zamana (ajtfs) that the caravan of our life will come to an end but the journey of the realities and merits of the divine leader on earth will not finish. The most important station of the divine leaders on earth is the station of their Hujjiyat/ Divine affirmation over the creation. This is the most commonly used word however the essence of this important word is more stratified than any other word. Among various meanings of the word Al-Hujjah (الحُجّة) there are two facets that are very closely related to the essence of the station of the divine leader. The first meaning of the word relates to the proof of the existence of Allah (swt), and the second meaning relates to affirming of the supreme authority and prowess of Allah (swt). The word Al-Hujjah is a noun (al-Ism), and a noun is an attribute (al-Sifat) of the one who is attributed (al-Mausoof). Even though all the eleven divine leaders are demonstrative evidence of the existence of Allah (swt) in their own being, however, the authority & prowess reflected in the kingdom of Allah is not established by any of the eleven Imams (as). Hence, the Imam of the time (ajtfs) will not only affirm to the existence of Allah (swt) but also demonstrate to the world the authority and prowess of Allah (swt) by establishing the Kingdom of the Divine. So when we read these words next time we must remember the special station of Imam Al-Mahdi (ajtfs) –
السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا حُجَّةَ اللَّهِ عَلَى الْخَلْق
Salutations be upon you O The Divine proof over The Creation!
The first premise of our discussion is that whether one acknowledges or not, whoever’s Lord is Allah (swt), Mahdi (ajtfs) is the appointed guardian over them. Imam Mahdi (ajtfs) is one whose being in itself is the evidence that Allah (swt) exists, and upon His reappearance all the argument and evidence – of the existence of Allah (swt) will be brought forth for the creation to witness. The absolute divine authority of Allah (swt) in the form of a divine Kingdom will be established. Then, after the reappearance no witnessing eyes will be given respite to bring counter evidence to prove the religion of Islam wrong, or a peevish heart with the stains of doubts will be offered any supportive evidence to prove the religion of Islam is right.
Present and Witnessing
The unique attribute of the final divine leader is that Allah (swt) has kept Imam Mahdi (ajtfs) alive! The wisdom behind the decision of Allah (swt) is because Allah (swt) gave respite to Shaitan until the Day of Judgment, as Quran says –
قَالَ رَبِّ فَأَنظِرْنِي إِلَى يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ قَالَ فَإِنَّكَ مِنَ الْمُنظَرِينَ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْوَقْتِ الْمَعْلُومِ
He said: My Lord! then respite me till the time when they are raised. He said: So surely you are of the respited ones till the period of the time made known
The question is, will it not be injustice in favor of human beings for Allah (swt) to allow a lengthy life to Shaitan not seizing his ability to reach anywhere, with the purpose to misguide and ambush the sons of Adam (as), and not protect mankind in any way? In order for Shaitan to misguide us, he has to be present in all ages and times, and witness the actions of human being. How is it then that while Allah (swt) is absolute just (Adil) that Shaitan remains alive being present and witnessing until the Day of Judgment, and there is no divine guide to come for help? Hence, to counter Shaitan’s misguidance, Allah (swt) has kept the Imam (ajtfs) alive so that Allah (swt) can guide mankind through the Imam (ajtfs) whenever Shaitan conspires to misguide the mankind.
As part of our belief, we believe that Khidr (as) is a holy personality who was neither a messenger nor a successor but Allah (swt) will keep Khidr (as) alive until the Day of Judgment. There is a tradition that says,
سمعت أباالحسن علي بن موسي الرضا عليهما السلام قول: إن الخضر عليه السلام شرب من ماء الحياة فهوحي لايموت حتي ينفخ في الصور
We heard from Imam Ridha (as) who said: Khidr drank from the spring of life hence he is alive and will not die until the day trumphet is blown
We understand the reason why Allah (swt) kept Imam Mehdi (ajtfs) alive until the Day of Judgment, but why did Allah (swt) keep Khidr (as) alive? The reason is, that the belief of occultation (Ghayba) of the Imam (ajtfs) is a fundamental doctrine of the religion of Islam. However, majority of Muslims comprehend and embrace the idea that Shaitan is kept alive to misguide us until the Day of Judgment, but they cannot swallow the idea that Imam Mehdi (ajrfs) is kept alive to guide us until the Day of Judgment. Nevertheless, there shall not be any justification left in front of Allah (swt) for not accepting the occultation of the Imam (ajtfs), and this is the very reason Allah (swt) kept Kidhr (as) alive. Regarding the longevity of Al-Khidr, it is narrated from Sadeer As-sayrafi, Al Mufadhal ibn Omar, Abu Baseer and Abaan ibn Taghlib who asked Imam As’Sadiq (as) about the life of al-Khidr. The Imam (as) replied:
طول عمر العبد الصالح من غير سبب أوجب ذلك إلا لعلة الاستدلال به على عمر القائم عليه السلام
The long life of abd as’Salih (al-Khidr) is not without a reason, rather made it a necessary proof over the life of al-Qa’im (ajtfs)
The reason Allah (swt) has given an extended life to Khidr (as) so that there is no justification left in the minds of those who question this idea. The human being may come to comprehend the secret behind the lasting age of the Imam Mahdi (ajtf) through the life of Khidr (as).
The partner of the holy book:
The existence of the holy book and the holy Imam (ajtfs) are necessary pillars for the life to exist, as we have come across the following words of the Prophet (saw) innumerable times –
إني تارك فيكم الثقلين: كتاب الله وعترتي
I am leaving behind over you the Two (significantly high ranking) heavy Things (al-thaqalayn): the Book of Allah and my offspring, my Ahl al-Bayt.
In the last words of the tradition, it is mentioned that –
وإنهما لن يتفرقا حتى يردا علي الحوض
Verily, both shall never separate from each other until they meet me at the pond.
It means that the holy Quran and (at least) one holy being from Ahlul Bayt (as) will always exist together until the Day of Judgment, and the reverse of it is, that the world will not exist if one or either of the two doesn’t exist. Since the world exists, it is concrete that Quran and Imam both exists, and this is the real meaning of the word Shareek al –Quran when we remember Imam Mahdi (ajtfs) in our salutations every day.
السلام عليك يا شريك القرآن
Peace be upon you O the partner of The Quran
It is easy to assume that Quran and Imam are equal partners, but in this case the Imam (ajtfs) is given the title Shareek ul-Quran but the Quran is not given the title Shareek ul-Imam, because the book is the words of Allah (swt), and the knowledge of Allah (swt) is greater than His words. The Imams (as) are not only the guardian of the words of Allah (swt) on earth, but also the Imam (as) are the treasure of the knowledge of Allah (swt). Regarding the station of the divine leadership, the Sixth Imam (as) says –
عن أبي جعفر (عليه السلام) قال: قلت له:
جعلت فداك ما أنتم؟ قال: نحن خزان علم الله، ونحن تراجمة وحي الله، ونحن الحجة البالغة على من دون السماء ومن فوق الارض
The Imam (as) said, “We are the treasurers of the knowledge of Allah. We are the translators of the revelations of Allah. We possess complete Divine authority over all that is under the heavens and those above the earth.”
The holy book is a silent proof of Allah (swt) and the Imam (ajtfs) is the speaking proof of Allah (swt). Hence the Imam (ajtfs) can be the partner of Quran, but Quran cannot be a partner with the Imam (ajtfs). The Quran says (45:29) –
هَـٰذَا كِتَابُنَا يَنطِقُ عَلَيْكُم بِالْحَقِّ
This is Our book that speaks against you with justice
Regarding the verse Imam Sadiq (as) said –
قال : إن الكتاب لا ينطق ولكن محمدا وأهل بيته هم الناطقون بالكتاب
Indeed the book doesn’t speak. However, Mohammed and His household are the speaker in the book
Fountainhead of Life –
The Imam of the time (ajtfs) has a unique station granted by Allah (swt). Imam Mahdi (ajtfs) is the fountainhead of life (Ayn ul Hayat), and the source of all existence (masdar ul-Hayat), we read the supplication Nudba in which the words of the Imam cries to our conscience saying –
Peace be upon you, O the fountainhead of life!
In Du’a Adeela you will find the following words about the Imam of the time (ajtfs), that we read almost every Friday, however we fail to ponder on the words. The meaning of Baq’a (بَقَاء) is continuous existence and with this meaning in mind we must read the following lines in the supplication about Imam Mahdi (ajtfs) –
ٱلَّذِي بِبَقَائِهِ بَقِيَتِ ٱلدُّنْيَا
He, on account of whose continuous existence, this universe remains
وَبِوُجُودِهِ ثَبَتَتِ ٱلارْضُ وَٱلسَّمَاءُ
And on account of whose Presence (وُجُود), the earth and the sky are kept in firmness
وَبِيُمْنِهِ رُزِقَ ٱلْوَرَى
And on account of whose blessings (يَمْنَة) the creation is given sustenance.
These are the realities of our Master that we need to ponder and enlighten our hearts with the love and obedience to the one who stands between the creation and the Creator as the means for the abundant divine mercy, and will continue to stand when creation shall seize to exist as the sixth Imam (ajts) says –
إِنَّمَا سُمِّيَ الْقَائِمُ [قَائِماً] لِأَنَّهُ يَقُومُ بَعْدَ مَا يَمُوت
Indeed the name (of Imam Mahdi) is al-Qa’im because He will be standing after everything perishes
In actuality these words mean that the Asl (أصْل) the roots of life that exists IS Imam Mahdi (ajtfs) himself.
With the understanding of what we have discussed, we will conclude with our effort to truly understand these few lines of supplication of the Munajat of Shabaniyah. It is a virtuous night from the time Allah (swt) had created night and day. It is recommended to read the supplication during the night of fourteenth of the month of Shaban. The supplication begins:
O Allah: I beseech You in the name of this night,
And (by the child) who was born (in this night)
And (by him) who is Your divine Proof (HUJJAT) and who you promised to send (in this night)
The night is that that in which You have revealed a new virtue (Merit) of Yours to its already existing many merits,
Our Imam represents the eminence of Allah (swt), and if the divine eminence is boundless then Imam Mahdi (ajtfs) at the stage of affirmation of the divine eminence is also limitless in nobility and loftiness! The Imam of the time (ajtfs) is the criteria and the evidence of the eminence of Allah (swt). Tonight is the night when Allah (swt) revealed His eminence to the creation in the form of Imam Al-Mahdi (ajtfs) and sealed the divine words with absolute truth and justice –
The Word of Allah (swt) is completed with truth and justice
Allah (swt) considers the Kalima (testimony of faith) as incomplete even if it embraces the testimony of Towheed and Nabuwat. The testimony of faith reaches its perfection with the testimony of Imamate, and the testimony of Imamate reaches its perfection when the last Imam (ajtfs) is revealed to this world.
Tonight, every celestial existent is seeking the abundant mercy of Allah (swt) on the arrival of Imam Mahdi (ajtfs), and those who are waiting on earth are pleading with their longing hearts to see the divine countenance and presenting their needs in the presence of the Imam (ajtfs). Imam Sadiq (as) says –
إن الأعمال تعرض على في كل خميس فإذا كان الهلال أكملت فإذا كان النصف من شعبان عرضت على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وعلى على ثم ينسخ في الذكر الحكيم
Indeed the deeds (of the believers) are presented to me every Thursday (for approval) So when the crescent completed (the new month begins ) and when the middle of Shaban comes to pass the deeds are presented before the Prophet (Saw) and then passed to the next infallible (as) until it reached the last Imam (ajtfs) (if the last Imam (ajtf) approves the deeds) then divine command is transcribed on the Dhikr Al Hakeem (LAWH AL-MAHFUD).
The guarded tablet waits for the approval of the Imam of the time (ajtfs). If the Imam (ajtfs) approves then the deeds are accepted and preserved in the tablet but if the Imam (ajtfs) disapproves then all the deeds are worthless.
My dear brothers and sisters, before asking for you needs tonight, contemplate on what to ask. Since, Imam Mahdi (ajtfs) is the manifestation of The Most Generous, it is only appropriate to ask for the most precious of things from the most gracious of all.
 In his book Kamal at-Din wa Tamam An-Naemah, sheikh Sudooq narrates this hadith with his chain
 Ikmaal Ad-din, page 340/344/ Al Ghayba by At-Tusi]
 Al-Wasa’il, chapter-5 Hadith 18-20
 Du’a Adeela [http://www.duas.org/adeelaa.htm]
 In Kitab al-Ghaybah
 Iqbal Al A’amal by Ali Ibn Tawuss, vol. 2, also in Mafatih ul Jinan by Shaikh Abbas al Qummi [http://www.duas.org/15shabanamal.htm]
 Translator’s note: It is a verse of Qur’an that explicates the condition that the complete article of faith incorporates Tawheed, nabuwah and Imamate.
 Bassaa’ir Ad-darajat by Mohammeb ben Al Hassan Assaffaar, page 444
 In his book Kamal at-Din wa Tamam An-Naemah, sheikh Sudooq narrates this hadith with his chain  Ikmaal Ad-din, page 340/344/ Al Ghayba by At-Tusi]  Al-Wasa’il, chapter-5 Hadith 18-20  Du’a Adeela [http://www.duas.org/adeelaa.htm]  In Kitab al-Ghaybah  Iqbal Al A’amal by Ali Ibn Tawuss, vol. 2, also in Mafatih ul Jinan by Shaikh Abbas al Qummi [http://www.duas.org/15shabanamal.htm]  Translator’s note: It is a verse of Qur’an that explicates the condition that the complete article of faith incorporates Tawheed, nabuwah and Imamate.  Bassaa’ir Ad-darajat by Mohammeb ben Al Hassan Assaffaar, page 444