During the period of Shaykh Mufeed, a person from the village region came to him and asked him, Sir! A pregnant lady has passed away, but the child in her womb is alive. Should the womb of this lady be cut to extract the child or should she be buried in the same condition? Shaykh Mufeed replied, the lady should be buried in this condition only.Having received a reply, the person left from there. However, not much time had elapsed when he sensed that a person is coming behind him on horseback. The horse rider called out to him, Mister! Shaykh Mufeed has said that the womb of the lady should be cut, the child should be taken out and then the lady should be buried. The person returned back to his village and acted as per the directive of the fatwa (religious decree).
After a few years, the villager narrated the entire episode of the horse rider to Shaykh Mufeed.
He said, I did not send any person after you. Therefore the person who guided you was none other than Imam Mahdi (as). This means that I have made an error of judgement in issuing fatwas regarding the laws of the faith. Therefore from today I will not issue any further fatwas.
Saying this, Shaykh Mufeed closed the door of his house and did not leave his house. He was in a state of remorse and regret. However in a short time, a tauqee (letter) was issued by Imam Mahdi (as) in favour of Shaykh Mufeed, the gist of which was, your duty is to issue the fatwa. My responsibility is to correct it. Have faith that I will not allow you to fall into error.
Thus, after receiving this letter, Shaykh Mufeed resumed the issue of fatwas from his side.
Ref: Barakaate’ Hazrat Wali-e-Asr, page 172
Lessons from this incident
There are many lessons which can be learnt from this incident. Some of these lessons are given below.
The greatness of Shaikh Mufeed can be estimated from the fact that after his death, Imam Mahdi (as) addressed him as “O my brother!” He was the teacher of Sayyed Razi and Sayyed Murtuza – both great Shiah scholars.
In the period of Ghaybat, Imam (as) is a proof upon the scholars and Allah is a proof upon the Imam. This incident shows that the Imam (as) helps the scholars in their efforts and therefore it is our duty to follow the judgements of the scholars with full confidence.
Imam (as) guided Shaikh Mufeed to continue to take effort to issue religious judgements. The Imam (as) encourages them by saying that they are rewarded twice for every right fatwa and once for every wrong fatwa; and that the responsibility of the correction in fatwa is upon the Imam (as).
Shaikh Mufeed is buried in Kazmain, Iraq in the shrine of Hazrat Imam Kazim (as) and Hazrat Imam Jawad (as). It is our duty that we should visit his grave and recite Surah Fateha for him.