Every religion and community recommends a general or specific greeting before starting any conversation. This greeting is like a practice which everyone is commonly expected to adhere to. Islam has also put a lot of emphasis that when Muslims meet, either in person or communicate with each other through letters or any other medium, they should first convey “salaam” (peace) to each other or in other words effectively pray for peace upon the other.
Allah has used the words “salaam” or its derivatives 42 times in the Holy Quran. Sometimes He has said “Salaam upon Nuh”; at other places He said “Salaam upon Musa” or “Salaam upon Ibrahim.” The traditions which have reached us through the Holy Imams (as) have also stressed upon the importance of conveying “salaam.”
Some traditions on conveying salaam
Imam Sadiq (as) said, “Salaam is a gift for our community” (Beharul Anwar volume 76 page 12)
The Holy Prophet (sawa) said, “Good words and conveying salaams are amongst the causes for forgiveness” (Beharul Anwar volume 76 page 11)
The Holy Prophet (sawa), Imam Husayn (as) and Imam Sadiq (as) said, “To convey salaams is worship and to reply to salaam is obligatory” (Beharul Anwar vol 78 page 243; Tafseer Noorus Saqalayn volume 1 page 525)
Importance of reciting ziyarat
Dear readers, this practice of conveying salaams upon a person, whether dead or alive is called “Ziyarat.” Imams (as) have put a lot of emphasis for this as well.
Imam Sadiq (as) said, “One who visits his brother for the sake of Allah and for seeking His pleasure, he will be granted clothes of light on the Day of Judgment. Wherever he will pass from, the entire area will be illuminated by his light.”
Imam Reza (as) said, “Every Imam (as) has a covenant upon his Shiah and those who love him (as). This covenant is fulfilled satisfactorily only by visiting their graves. Therefore every person who, while desiring their ziyarat and acknowledging their rights, visits their grave, will receive their intercession on the day of Judgement.”
Imam Kazim (as) said, “One who visits our first is like the one who also visited the last amongst us. One who visits our last is like the one who also visited the first amongst us. One who befriends our first is like the one who also befriended the last amongst us. One who befriends the last is like the one who also befriended the first amongst us.”
History informs us that after the demise of the Holy Prophet (sawa) in Medina, once Imam Ali (as) entered his house in such a condition that he was crying profusely. His loving wife, Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) asked him the reason for his lamentation. He remained quiet for a long time and then said, ‘O Fatemah! I have been so alienated in Medina that people do not convey salaam to me anymore. Moreover, when I convey salaam, they do not reply to me.’ Dear readers, in this age of Ghaybat Kubra, perhaps the last son of Ameerul Momeneen (as), Hazrat Mahdi (as) has the same grievance from us that we, his Shiah, his children and those who love him are negligent in conveying our salaam to him. For Imam Mahdi (as), distance does not matter, whether we are close to him or afar, our salutation reaches him.
When Imam Reza (as), reached Khorasan, he participated in the funeral ceremony of one of his Shiah. A person present there asked the Imam (as), ‘do you know this person who has died.’ The Imam (as) replied, ‘yes’. The person said, ‘but you have come to Khorasan for the first time and this person had never left Khorasan, so how do you know him?’ The Imam (as) replied, ‘we are the Imam of the Time. For us, distance is of no consequence. We are observing him at the time of death in the same way as we were observing him in his lifetime.’
We should convey salaam to Imam Mahdi (as) everyday without fail
Dear readers, a father has this much right upon his children that they convey salaam to him at least once every day. In the same way, we should convey our salaam to Imam Mahdi (as) at least once every day.
A person can recite different ziyarats everyday. Some special ziyarats of Imam Mahdi (as) are:
- Ziyarat Ale Yaseen
- Ziyarat Haqqil Jadeed
- Ziyarat Khalifatullah
- Ziyarat Salamullah
- Ziyarat Jameah
- Friday Ziyarat
A person says that during the lifetime of the prophet (sawa), I used to begin my day by visiting Masjidun Nabawi and conveying my salaam to the prophet (sawa). If ever I encountered a crowd, I would stand on the tips of my toes and stretch myself to catch a glance of the prophet (sawa), convey salaam and then leave from there to continue with my work. He says that one day when I went to the Masjid, I saw that the companions had surrounded the Holy Prophet (sawa) in such a manner that I could not reach him. Therefore I conveyed salaam to him from afar and went about with my daily work. He says that hardly some time had passed when I felt a desire in my heart to visit the Prophet (sawa) and again convey my salaam to him. I retraced my steps and entered the mosque. This time I saw that the crowd was a lot less. I was able to meet the prophet (sawa) and convey salaam to him. He (sawa) said, what is the matter that you came twice to meet me today? I replied, I don’t know what happened today. When I left for my work after saying salaam to you for the first time, a desire arose in my heart and I was restless to meet you again. Therefore I came again to meet you. The Prophet (sawa) replied, This is because when you left the first time, I raised my hands and prayed to Allah that O Lord! Increase my love in his heart! Allah accepted my prayers and his increase in my love in your heart caused you to return and convey salaam to me.
For some days this person did not come to the mosque. So the prophet (sawa) went out to look for him and reached his tribe. The members of his tribe informed the prophet (sawa) that he passed away. They complained to the prophet about his bad deeds. The prophet (sawa) replied, since he greeted me every morning, Allah has forgiven all his sins.
Some lessons for us
- We should convey salaams upon the chosen representative of Allah for the age, who in this time and age is the last son of Holy Prophet (sawa), Imam Mahdi (as).
- This salaam, whether we are able to see him or not, reaches him (as).
- This salaam becomes the cause of receiving his special attention and includes us in his prayers.
- This salaam becomes the cause of the increase in our love for him in our heart.
- This salaam will Inshallah become the cause for turning towards the Imam of the Time (as), and may offer us an opportunity to meet him in person. At the time of death, we may be blessed by his visitation.
- While conveying salaam is mustahab (recommended), replying to salaam is wajib (obligatory). When we convey salaam, we will receive the reply in return which in itself is his dua for peace upon us. Our prayers may be rejected in the presence of Allah, but the prayer of the Imam (as) in our favour will not be rejected by Allah.
- Our sins are forgiven because of this salaam to the Imam of the Time (as).
- By the blessings of this salaam, we will be protected from the fitnah (corruption) of the last age.