Our Duties – Awaiting Imam Mahdi’s (as) Reappearance

One of the best acts during the Ghaybat of Imam Mahdi (as) is Intezar or Awaiting his reappearance. This discussion consists of a number of aspects and for each aspect there are numerous supporting traditions.

Awaiting Imam Mahdi (as) is the best act

Firstly the virtue of awaiting is evident from the traditions of the Messenger of Allah (sawa) and the Holy Imams (as). An example of this is the praise for awaiters in the words of Imam Sajjad (as) in his supplication on the day of Arafah, in which he has prayed for those who await for the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (as); after which he prayed for Imam Mahdi (as) also. In addition to this, there are many traditions that prove the excellence of Intezar.

Imam Sadiq (as) said, One who dies awaiting for Imam Mahdi (as), dies the death of one who was with him in his tent. (Kamaluddin volume 2 page 644 chapter 55 tradition no. 1)


 

Imam Sadiq (as) said, One of you who dies awaiting for Imam Mahdi (as) dies as if he was with him in his tent. (Kamaluddin chapter 55 tradition no. 1)


Imam Sadiq (as) said, Fortunate are the Shias of our Qaem who during the period of his occultation wait for his reappearance and who obey him during the period of his reappearance. They are Awliya (friends) of Allah for whom there shall be neither fear nor grief. (Kamaluddin volume 2 page 357 chapter 33 tradition no. 54)


Imam Sajjad (as) said، Awaiting for the reappearance is the best worship act. (Kamaluddin volume 2 page 320 chapter 31 tradition no. 2)

Awaiting the Imam (as) is a natural outcome of love

When a father is employed far away from home and telephones his child, the first question that is asked by his child is, father, when are you coming home? This question is not taught to him, rather it is purely out of love and his natural instinct that makes the child spontaneously ask this question to his father. Not only this, the child constantly remembers his father and often while playing with his friends, he is heard to say, my father had called! He is going to come soon!

How nice it would be if our love for Imam Mahdi (as) was as natural unconditional and pure as the love of a child for his father. Surely to await the Imam (as) is a sign of our love for him as Imam Sadiq (as) says, await the reappearance of your Imam in the morning and evening.

A poet has said these beautiful sentences about awaiting for Imam (as) –

“Allah is witness that I do not remember you.
But how can I remember you when I never forget you”

(Mikyalul Makarem volume 2 page 308)

Surely, the true meaning of Intezar is that we never remove the remembrance of the Imam of the Time from our hearts.

Ameerul Momineen (as) said, Await for the reappearance and do not despair of the mercy of Allah, indeed the deed liked best by Allah, the Mighty and Sublime is to await for the reappearance. (Beharul Anwar volume 52 page 123 tradition no 7)


Imam Mahdi (as) said, One who acts on our command will tomorrow [in Qiyamat] be with us in Khazeeratul Quds [loftiest station in Paradise] and one who awaits for our kingdom is like one who rolls in his blood on the path of Allah. (Beharul Anwar volume 52 page 123 tradition no 7)


Imam Sadiq (as) that he said: Whoever from among you dies waiting for reappearance is like one who has been with the Qaem (as) in his tent. Then he paused for a moment and then said: Rather he is like one who fights in his service. Then he said: By Allah, he is like one who is martyred in the company of the Holy Prophet (sawa). (Beharul Anwar volume 52 page 126 tradition no 18)


 

Imam Sadiq (as) said, The closest servants of Allah and those with whom Allah is pleased are those who when the proof of Allah (the Imam) disappears from sight and they don’t know about his location, yet they continue to have faith that the Proof of Allah can never be invalid and day and night they continue to wait for him. And the wrath of Allah is on those of His enemies who when the proof of Allah disappears from sight, they fall into doubts and denial. He (Allah) knew that His special servants will never fall into doubts and if it were not so He would not have taken away His Proof from their sight even for a moment. (Kamaluddin volume 2 page 340 tradition no. 20)

Imam Sadiq (as) and the grieving old person

In Tafseer Burhan it is narrated from Masad that he said, I was in the company of Imam Sadiq (as) when a very old man taking the support of a walking stick, came there, saluted and Imam Sadiq (as) replied to him.

The man said: O son of Allah’s Messenger, give me your hand so that I may kiss it. So Imam (as) gave his hand and he kissed it, then he began to weep.

Imam Sadiq (as) asked, O elderly man, why do you weep? He replied: May I be sacrificed on you, O son of Allah’s Messenger, I have waited a hundred years for the advent of your Qaem, saying it would be this month, this year even though I have reached old age and my bones have weakened and my death has come near and I have not yet seen that which I hope for you. I have seen you all being killed and rendered homeless while your enemies scaled heights of power, so why should I not weep?

The eyes of Imam Sadiq (as) filled with tears and he said, O elderly one, if Allah keeps you alive till you see our Qaem, you will have a great status and if your death comes, on Judgment Day you will be raised with important trusts of Mohammed (sawa) and we are his important trusts as indeed he (sawa) said, I leave behind among you two weighty things, so remain attached to them and you will never go astray, they are the book of Allah and my progeny my Ahle Bayt.

The elderly man said: Now that I have heard this report I have got peace of mind.

Then Imam Sadiq (as) said, O elderly one, know that our Qaem will be born from the loins of Hasan Askari and Hasan will be born to Ali and Ali from Mohammed, and Mohammed from Ali and Ali from my son, Musa and Musa is my son; we are twelve and all of us are pure and infallible… (Beharul Anwar volume 36, page  408 tradition no. 17; Kifayatul Athar page 35)

Imam Baqir (as) and the person of Paradise

Hakam bin Utaibah said, When I was in the company of Imam Baqir (as) the house was full of people; at that time an old man arrived supporting himself with a walking stick and standing at the door said, Peace be on you, O son of Allah’s Messenger and the mercy and blessings of Allah. Then he fell silent.

Imam Baqir (as) said, And peace be on you and the mercy and blessings of Allah.

Then the old man faced the audience and said, Peace be on you all. They all replied to his salutation.

The man turned to Imam Baqir (as) and said, O son of Allah’s Messenger, may I be sacrificed on you, allow me a place near you because I love you and love those who love you. By Allah, My love for you and for those who love you is not for material benefits. I am inimical to your enemies and aloof from them. By Allah, my enmity of them and aloofness from them is not due to personal hatred between us. By Allah, I follow your commands and prohibition and anticipate your rule. So tell me, may I be sacrificed on you, how do you think my end would be?

Imam Baqir (as) said: To me. To me! And he made the old man sit on his side. Then he said, O elderly one, a man also came to my father Ali bin Husain (as) and posed a question like you. My father told him: If you die you will go and meet the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), Ali, Hasan, Husain and Ali bin Husain and your heart will be cooled and your eye will be refreshed and you will see salvation with the two scribe angels before you when the time of your death comes – and he pointed to his throat – and if you remain alive you will see what will refresh your eyes and you will be with us in the lofty Paradise.

The man asked, How do you say that, O Abu Jafar (as)?

Imam Baqir (as) repeated his statement.

The old man said: Allah is the greatest, O Abu Jafar, if I die I will go and meet the Messenger of Allah (sawa), Ali, Hasan, Husain and Ali bin Husain and my heart will be cooled and my eye will be refreshed and I will see salvation with the two scribe angels welcoming me when my life comes here – and he pointed to his throat – and if I remain alive I will see what will refresh my eyes and I will be with you in the lofty Paradise.

Then the old man wept and wailed much and fell to the ground. Seeing him in this condition, all the people present there also began to weep.

Imam Baqir (as) wiped off his tears; the old man raised his head and said, O son of Allah’s Messenger, give me your hand, may I be sacrificed on you.

The Imam (as) gave his hand. He kissed the Imam’s hand and put it to his eyes and face; then he moved the cloth from his stomach and chest and rubbed it there also. Then he arose and said, Peace be on you. Imam Baqir (as) looked at him and he departed from there.

The Imam addressed the audience and said: One who likes to look at an inmate of Paradise should look at this man. Hakam bin Utaibah said: I have not seen so much weeping and wailing in any gathering as I saw in that gathering. (Raudatul Kafi page 76 tradition 30)

Awaiting the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (as) is obligatory for all

In a tradition while replying to a person, Imam Jawad (as), O Abal Qasim, the Qaem is from us and he is the Mahdi. It is obligatory to wait for him in his occultation and to obey him in his appearance. He is the third from my descendants… (Kamaluddin volume 2 page 377 chapter 36 tradition 1)

What is the real meaning of Intezar (Awaiting)

Awaiting is a psychological condition of the person who is waiting for someone. The opposite of Intezar is usually expressed as despair etc. Thus the more hopeful you are for the arrival of a particular person, the more particular you shall be in making arrangements to receive him. And as the time of his arrival nears, you become more expectant and eager for him. So much so, that one ultimately starts spending sleepless nights. The more a person is attached to the one who he’s expecting, the more severe and painful his wait shall be. Therefore those are waiting for their Imam (as) their waiting is proportionate to their love for him.

Imam Sadiq (as) said: One who wants to be a companion of the Qaem, should await for him and in the condition of awaiting, he should be pious and perform righteous deeds; in case he dies and the Qaem reappears after that, his reward is same as that of one who lives till the time of the Imam (as).

Intezar is the opposite of despair or hopelessness

To be absolutely hopeless of the reappearance of Hazrat Qaem (as) is definitely haraam. The belief in the reappearance of Imam (as) is necessity of the Shiite creed. To despair of Imam Mahdi’s (as) reappearance is to deny the Prophethood of Holy Prophet (sawa). One must not lose hope in the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (as) nor put a time limit to it. For example, if on the basis of ones personal opinion or conjecture, a person has lost all hopes that reappearance will occur within fifty years. This hopelessness is haraam, because a study of traditions shows that we are supposed to await for the reappearance of Imam (as) day and night.

The implication of ‘waiting for reappearance day and night’ means that at any possible moment the promised reappearance of the Imam may happen. Therefore it is necessary to continue to wait as without any doubt the Imam can appear on any day in any year by the order of the Almighty Allah, therefore it is obligatory on all to be in anticipation of the Imam’s reappearance.

Likewise, to lose hope that the time of reappearance and advent of Imam Mahdi (as) is near is also forbidden. The time of reappearance is kept confidential so that believers expect it every moment. Any kind of hopelessness is not compatible with Intezar (awaiting)

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