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Anticipating the Dawn of Justice: Commemorating 9th Rabi’ al-Awwal

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The 9th of Rabi’ al-Awwal every lunar Hijri year marks the commencement of the imamate of the radiant sun of humanity and the luminous pearl of the infallible and pure household of the Prophet, peace be upon them all. This day celebrates Imam al-Mahdi, the true heir to the greatest Prophet and the infallible Imams. He revives religious landmarks, destroys oppressors, and establishes a reign of justice worldwide. He is the grand herald of monotheism and justice.

On this auspicious and historical occasion, I draw the esteemed readers’ attention to a brief article about him, the characteristics of his occultation period, his close companions, and the phenomenon of the Islamic Revolution:

birth of  imam mahdi

The Birth of Light

Imam Mahdi, peace be upon him, was born in the middle of the blessed month of Sha’ban in the year 255 AH [1]. His revered father was Imam Hasan al-Askari, and his esteemed mother was Lady Narjis (or Nargis) Khatoon.

On the night of his birth, Imam Askari’s aunt, Lady Hakima Khatoon, stayed at his house upon his request. The Imam informed her, “Tonight, I anticipate the birth of a child from Narjis.” She expressed her astonishment, questioning its possibility, for she saw no signs of pregnancy. The Imam responded that it was similar to the mother of Moses, whose pregnancy was hidden because Pharaoh was slaying pregnant women’s infants.

According to Hakima’s narration, Allah granted Imam Askari a child that night, decreeing that enemies would never lay their hands on him. Allah intended him to be the “heir of the oppressed” on Earth: “And We wanted to confer favor upon those who were oppressed in the land, and make them leaders, and make them inheritors.” [2]

According to divine wisdom, between the years 255 and 260 Hijri, Imam Mahdi led a concealed life, preparing to assume the mantle of imamate and leadership of the Muslims under the guidance of his revered father.

Upon the martyrdom of Imam Askari in 260 Hijri, the period of occultation began. For 75 years (known as the Minor Occultation), Imam Mahdi lived in seclusion. Direct access to him was not possible for the masses, yet they continuously benefited from his spiritual grace. Through his special representatives, the public could reach him from the year 255 to 330 Hijri.

The Mystery of Occultation

The true rationale behind the occultation is not disclosed to the general public, known only to divinely chosen ones – the Prophets and the infallible Imams. However, from logical and transmitted evidence, some benefits can be inferred:

A) Test and Trial

The period of occultation serves as a divine test. It’s to discern if individuals genuinely believe in the Creator’s plan. The true faithful, especially when direct access to their leaders isn’t possible, need to be identified. Mere claims of belief in Allah and His appointed leaders, the infallible Imams, aren’t sufficient. During the occultation, those who steadfastly adhere to divine mandates, undeterred by challenges, and faithfully follow religious duties and beliefs are truly deemed as genuine believers and the saved ones.

B) Preservation from Allegiance

One reason for the occultation is to protect the Imam from pledging allegiance to tyrants and oppressors. This ensures that upon his reappearance, his stance remains unambiguous. As narrated by Imam Ali Musa al-Ridha: “It seems to me that after the death of my third son, my Shi’a will search for their Imam but will not find him.” When asked why, he responded, “Because their Imam will be in occultation.” Upon further inquiry as to why he would be hidden, he explained, “So when he revolts with the sword (or arms), no one’s allegiance is upon him.” [3].

C) Fear of Assassination

One of the significant reasons for the occultation is to safeguard Imam Mahdi from potential assassination by malevolent forces and enemies of humanity. This ensures that the revered figure of the Imam remains intact until his divinely ordained emergence, a time known only to the Almighty. At that point, he will rise to abolish tyranny and establish justice worldwide.

It’s imperative not to equate the possibility of Imam Mahdi’s assassination with the martyrdom of his venerable ancestors. The circumstances and eras differ. While previous infallible Imams met martyrdom, another Imam succeeded them. But by divine design, the line of imamate concludes with Imam Mahdi. Were he not in occultation and met with martyrdom, it would have been against Allah’s plan, leaving the Earth devoid of a divine guide. Allah’s will is for truth to triumph over falsehood, and this divine decree will materialize through the blessed hands of Imam Mahdi in the end times.

Awaiting Salvation

Imam Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, once stated, “Awaiting salvation is awaiting the power of Islam.”[4]. This statement is deeply profound. The concept of “waiting” bears immense significance in Islamic literature and culture. Moreover, the notion of the end times and awaiting Imam Mahdi’s reappearance has exalted and sacred implications. As the noble Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is reported to have said: “The best deed of my community is awaiting Allah’s salvation.” [5]. It is evident that true salvation is the establishment of justice in place of oppression and disbelief on Earth. According to Quranic verses and Islamic narrations, this realization will transpire in the end times.

The true awaiters of Imam Mahdi, throughout history and even now, yearn for the realization of genuine internal and external justice. Essential components of this justice encompass hope, activism, enthusiasm, epic spirit, resistance, rejecting falsehood, seeking truth, fervor, resilience, and revolt (against stagnation and complacency), accompanied by a genuine belief in monotheism, the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, allegiance to Imam Ali, and adhering to religious obligations while avoiding prohibitions.

Alongside these obligations, (indeed, within the fabric of these actions) the duty of enjoining good and forbidding evil, adherence to the exemplary Islamic morals, and military readiness hold special significance.

How can a Muslim individual, who awaits a grand uprising and a monumental global revolution, be unprepared to participate in and support this struggle?

Imam Sadiq, peace be upon him, states: “One of you should prepare for the rise of the Qa’im [the Awaited Imam Mahdi], even if it’s just a single arrow. If Allah perceives such intention, I hope that He will prolong his life to witness and participate in the Imam’s emergence, becoming one of his supporters and aides.”[6]

It is here that the flawed and misguided mindset of those who falsely claimed to support Imam Mahdi, like the Hujjatiyya Society before the Islamic Revolution, becomes evident. Their stance is utterly disheartening and counterproductive to the essence of awaiting. For they never took the effort to truly understand the philosophy behind the occultation and the meaning of anticipation.

They perceive awaiting and supporting Imam Mahdi, peace be upon him, as synonymous with indirectly aiding the increase of oppression and injustice, accompanied by silence, inactivity, and passivity. In their view, to await is to embrace incompetence and absence. They seem to have overlooked narrations that speak of the uprising of righteous and revolutionary individuals during the occultation era. These narrations discuss the rise of a group from the East, setting the stage for Imam Mahdi’s global emergence and uprising.

We must be vigilant and appreciate the values achieved through the magnificent Islamic Revolution of Iran. These values were attained through the sacrifices of devoted youths, martyrs, war veterans, prisoners of war, and many more. We should recognize the worth of these achievements and not be deceived by the sly games of cunning entities and other misguided movements. By wholeheartedly supporting the Islamic system, we hope to witness the advent of the world’s savior, Imam Mahdi, in the near future, Allah willing.

The Islamic Revolution: Paving the Way for the Global Uprising of Imam Mahdi

Numerous narrations in the books of Hadith and Tafsir, sourced from the noble Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and his progeny, and the infallible Imams, underscore truths such as the unparalleled loyalty of Persia to Islam or their profound benefit from the teachings of Islam.

One narration quotes Imam Sadiq saying, “The world will not come to an end until a time when Persians, based on the interpretation of the Quran, wage a war against you, the Arabs, just as you once fought them based on the Quran’s revelation.” [7]

Furthermore, the noble Prophet declared: “People will emerge from the East, preparing the ground for the authority of Imam Mahdi.”[8] This indicates that, in the end times, a group from the East will rise, creating a conducive environment for Imam Mahdi’s global revolution.

In another narration, Imam Muhammad Baqir, peace be upon him, stated: “I envision a group rising in the East in search of truth. They won’t be given what they seek initially. They’ll persistently demand their rights, facing refusal. Upon such denial, they’ll ‘draw their swords’ (a metaphor for taking serious action) until they’re granted their demands. Still, they won’t accept the mere fulfillment of their requests but will persist until they hand over the reins of power to your Imam (referring to Imam Mahdi).”[9]

It’s in this context that the detrimental ideology of groups opposing Imam Mahdi’s awaited return becomes evident. Without understanding the essence of ‘awaiting’ and the philosophy behind the occultation, they misconstrue the profound reality. Allah willing, with unwavering support for the Islamic system, we’ll witness the emergence of the global savior, Imam Mahdi.

Footnotes:

[1] Sheikh Mufid; Al-Irshad, p. 346, Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 51.

[2] Surah Al-Qasas / 5.

[3] Amini, Justice of the World, p. 229.

[4] Imam Khomeini, Sahifeh Noor.

[5] Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 52.

[6] Ibid., vol. 52.

[7] Mohammadi Reyshahri, Continuation of the Islamic Revolution of Iran until the Global Revolution of Imam Mahdi, p. 25.

[8] Ibid., p. 35.

[9] Ibid., p. 26.

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