Ghaybat has been discussed extensively in the Quran and in traditions of the Holy Prophet (sawa) and Aimmah (as). According to traditions, Ghaybat was not for Imam Mahdi (as) alone. Allah has kept sufficient examples in previous prophets which include Hazrat Yunus (as), Hazrat Saleh (as), Hazrat Yusuf (as) who were hidden from the eyes of their nation for a long period of time.In the Quran we find several verses which Aimmah explained that refer to Ghaybat. These verses have to be understood in the light of the traditions of Ahle Bayt (as). This practice is as per the advice of the Holy Prophet of Islam (sawa) who said, “I leave behind two valuable things after me – the Quran and the Ahle Bayt (as). They will never be separated from each other till they reach me at the Pond of Kawthar.”
The Prophet (sawa) advised people to remain attached to both Quran and Ahle Bayt (as) to prevent deviation from religion. Therefore it is imperative that we always refer to the words of the Ahle Bayt (as) while analysing any verse of the Quran. The Ahle Bayt (as) are the ones blessed with the correct knowledge and interpretation of the Quran. Any analysis of the Quran without their input is worthless.
The discussion of Ghaybat is initiated right at the beginning of the Holy Quran.
Yahya bin (Abi) Qasem said, “I asked Imam Sadiq (as) about the verse – “Alif Lam Mim. This Book, there is no doubt in it, is a guide to those who guard (against evil). Those who believe in the unseen and keep up prayer and spend out of what We have given them.” (Surah Baqarah, verses 1-3).
The Imam (as) replied, “Those who are pious” are the Shiahs of Ali. ‘The unseen’ is the Decisive Proof (Imam Mahdi) who will be in Ghaybat. The supporting evidence for this is the following verse, “And they say: Why is not a sign sent down to him from his Lord’ Say: ‘Verily, the unseen is only for Allah (to know) therefore wait; verily I am with you, among those who wait” (Surah Yunus, verse 20)
The book “al-Muhajjah Fee Maa Nazala Ala Qaem al-Hujjah” by Sayyed Hashim Bahrani brings more than 120 verses from Quran which are regarding Imam Mahdi (as). The topic of Ghaybat has been discussed in Quran through different aspects:
- Ghaybat is a period of examinations – Surah Baqarah, verse 155
- Companions of Imam (as) will also be tried – Surah Baqarah, verse 249
- Ghaybat was prophesied by Holy Prophet (sawa) – Surah Nisa, verse 59
- Ghaybat requires waiting and patience – Surah Yunus, verse 20
- Ghaybat will end suddenly – Surah Mohammed, verse 18
- Length of Ghaybat will harden the hearts of disbelievers – Surah Hadid, verse 16
- Ghaybat is by Allah and nobody can advance or postpone reappearance except Allah – Surah Mulk, verse 30
- Ghaybat is like the hiding of stars – Surah Takweer, verses 15-16
- Ghaybat was found in other prophets too – Surah Inshiqaq, verse 19
- Time of Ghaybat requires enjoining patience – Surah Asr, verse 1-3
Some of these verses and their explanation are given below
Surah Baqarah, verse 155 – Ghaybat is a Test for the Believers
Mohammed Ibne Muslim says that regarding the verse, “And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient” (Surah Baqarah, verse 155),
Imam Sadiq said, “Allah will test the believers with different trial before the rising of the Qaem.”
“What are the trials?” I asked. Imam replied: “We shall surely try you with something of fear, and hunger, and loss of wealth, and lives, and fruits; and give glad tidings to the patient ones”
“We shall surely try you” refers to the believers;
“with something of fear” refers to fear of the oppressive rulers – who will be the children of someone – in the last days of their reign;
“and hunger” refers to the inflation of prices;
“and loss of wealth” refers to the lack of profits business will earn;
“and lives” refers to sudden death;
“and fruits” refers to earning little from farming and reduction in the blessings of the harvest.
“And give glad tidings to the patient ones” means (that when you see these signs), “give glad tidings” about the rising of the Qaem.
Then Imam said, “O Mohammed! This is the Taweel (hidden interpretation) of these verse and as Allah says, None knows its hidden interpretation except Allah and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge” (Surah Ale Imran, verse 7) (al-Ghaybah by Nomani, page 132)
Abu Baseer said Imam Sadiq (as) said, “The year before the Qaem rises, the following will surely occur – people wil experience hunger, people will face extreme fear of being killed, and people will suffer loss of wealth, life and livelihood. Allah clearly explains this in His book, “We shall surely try you with something of fear, and hunger, and loss of wealth, and lives, and fruits; and give glad tidings to the patient ones” (Surah Baqarah, verse 155) (al-Ghaybah by Nomani, page 132)
Surah Nisa, verse 59 – Ghaybat was Prophesied by Holy Prophet (sawa)
Jabir Ibne Abdullah Ansari said, when the verse, “O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and those vested with authority (by Allah) from among you” (Surah Nisa, verse 59) was revealed, I asked the Messenger of Allah (sawa) – O Messenger of Allah! We understood Allah and His Messenger but who are “those vested with authority (by Allah)” whose obedience Allah has paired with your obedience?
The Prophet (sawa) replied, O Jabir! They are my caliphs and they are the Imams of the Muslims after me. The first one is Ali Ibne Abi Talib, after him Hasan is the Imam, after him Husain, then Ali Ibne Husain, then Mohammed Ibne Ali, who is known in the Torah as Baqir. And you O Jabir, will meet him. So when you do, convey my salam to him.
After Mohammed Ibne Ali it is the truthful, Jafar Ibne Mohammed, then Musa Ibne Jafar, then Ali Ibne Musa, then Mohammed Ibne Ali, then Ali Ibne Mohammed, and then Hasan Ibne Ali.
After him, it will be the one who bears the same name and title as mine. He is Allah’s Decisive Proof (Hujjat) on His land and he is the Remainder of Allah (Baqiyatullah) on His creation. He is the son of Hasan Ibne Ali. Allah will achieve victory throughout His land through him. He is the one who will disappear from his Shiah and his lovers for (a period of time) during which only whose hearts Allah has tested, will stay steady in believing in his Imamate.
Jabir asked, “O Messenger of Allah! Will the Shiah benefit from him when he is in occultation?”
The Prophet (sawa) replied, Yes! I swear to He who sent me as a prophet, that they will. They will see with his light and benefit from his Mastership (wilayah) just like people benefit from the sun when it is behind the clouds. O Jabir! This is one of the secrets of Allah which is contained in His knowledge. Do not share it except with the right people.
Surah Takweer, verses 15-16 – Ghaybat is Like the Hiding of Stars
When Umm Haani asked Imam Baqir (as) regarding verse 16 from Surah Takweer, “But nay! I swear by the stars that run their course (and) hide themselves”, Imam (as) replied, “Yes, you have indeed asked a question, O Umm Haani. This verse is about the boy who will be born in the last era. He is the Mahdi from this progeny. There will be confusion pertaining to him and an occultation in which some groups will be deviated and others will be guided. Congratulations to you, if you find him and congratulations to anyone who finds him.’” (Muntakhabul Asar chapter 38, footnote of tradition 614)
Surah Mohammed, verse 18 – Ghaybat Will End Suddenly
Mufazzal Ibne Omar said, I asked my master Imam Sadiq (as), “Is there a fixed time of which people are aware for the awaited Mahdi?” Imam (as) replied, “Allah forbids to a fix a time for him.”
I asked, “O my master! Why is that?”
Imam (as) replied, “Because it is the hour that Allah mentions in the verse, “They ask you about the hour: When is its fixed time? Say: Only my Lord has the knowledge. None shall manifest it at its time but He. Heavy shall it be in the heavens and the earth. It ill not come to you but suddenly. They ask you as if you are familiar with it. Say: Knowledge thereof is with Allah only. But most people do not know” (Surah Aaraf, verse 187).
Allah says in this verse that He alone knows the time of “the hour.”
Allah says in (another) verse, “Do they wait for anything but the hour, that it may come on them all of a sudden? Its signs have (already) appeared. How can the reminder be of any use to them when it (the hour) has come to them?” (Surah Mohammed verse 18).
Allah says in (another) verse, “The hour has come near and the moon is rent asunder” ( Surah Qamar, verse 1).
Allah says in (another) verse, “What shall make you know? It may be that the hour is near. Those who do not believe in it seek to hasten it, while those who believe are alert of it, and know that it is the truth. Beware! Verily those who dispute about the hour are (wandering) far astray” (Surah Shurah, verses 17-18)
I asked, “O my master! What does “disputing about the hour” mean?”
Imam replied, They ask, “When was he (the Qaem) born? Who has seen him? Where is he? And when will he reappear?” They ask all of these questions because they seek to challenge it, wondering if it is the truth, for they doubt the Will and the Power of Allah. They are those who have lost their souls in this life and in the Hereafter. And verily for the disbelievers there is an evil place of final return.
I asked, “O my master! Then will you not appoint a time for him?” Imam replied, “O Mufazzal! Do not (seek to) appoint a time for him, because those who appoint a time for him (claim) to be partners with Allah in His knowledge and claim that Allah has revealed His knowledge and His secrets to them.” (al-Hidaya al-Kubra page 392)
Ghaybat is Established in Quran
The above verses are some amongst many verses in the Quran which talk about Ghaybat, that it will be a period of test for the believers, that many will be deviated due to their lack of faith and patience in its regard.
Shaykh Kulaini (ra) reports a tradition from Muffazal (ra), who narrates from Imam Sadiq (as), “By Allah, your Imam will be hidden from you for a long time till it will be said – where has he gone? Has he been killed? Or has he died? Or has he been destroyed? .. and you will be tested in such a manner that tears will flow from the eyes of believers who are grieved with his separation. Troubles and difficulties will afflict you in such a manner as a ship is trapped in a storm. Then except for those who are firm in their pledge with Allah and whose faith has been established and engraved in their hearts, nobody else will be saved.” (al-Kafi, Book of Divine Proof, chapter of Ghaybat)
May Allah guide us in this difficult period and allow our hearts to remain firm on the path of Ahle Bayt (as) during Ghaybat and also at the time of reappearance of Imam Mahdi (as). Ameen!
Read More About Ghaybat
- Where is Imam Mahdi (as) Today?
- Has Ghaybat been discussed in Quran?
- Has Ghaybat Been Discussed in Traditions?
- Understanding the Meaning of Ghaybat
- Is Ghaybat Unique to Imam Mahdi (as)?
- Ghaybat Sughra – The Four Special Deputies
- Hidden Imam Is Like The Sun Behind The Clouds
- Why Imam Mahdi (as) Is In Ghaybat?
- Scholars Are The Protectors of Wilayat