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The Promised Savior
Why did the Imam disappear? How can we benefit from him, given he is not among us now?
Firstly, it has to be kept in mind that the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.H.) who being the most truthful one was appointed as prophet, reminded us of his occultation and that he was an Imam decades before he was born.
There are many authentic traditions that deal with Mahdī's Imamate and occultation. According to these traditions:
Imam Mahdī (P.B.U.H.) is appointed as an Imam by Allah.
He will disappear.
His life and Imamate are useful, for Allah does not do anything useless.
Let's now study some of these traditions. Based on a tradition, Jābir b. ʿAbdullāh Anṣārī says: When this verse was revealed:
“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to Allah and the Apostle, if you believe in Allah and the last day; this is better and very good in the end.” (4:59)
I said, “O Messenger of Allah! We know Allah and His Messenger but we do not know 'those in authority' whose obedience is equal to your obedience. Who are they?”
The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H. & .H.H.) answered, “O Jabir, they are my successors and leaders of Muslims after me. The first of them is ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib, then Ḥasan and Ḥusayn, then ʿAlī b. Ḥusayn, then Muḥammad b. ʿAlī, known as Bāqir in the Torah. You will see him. When you see him, greet him on my behalf. Then comes Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq and after him Mūsā b. Jaʿfar and after him Muḥammad b, ʿAlī and finally one who has my name and will be Allah’s Argument (ḥujjatullāh) on the earth, the son of Ḥasan, the same Imam whom Allah has appointed to conquer east and west, the same Imam will be hidden from the eyes of the Shīʿas and his friends. At that time, no one will be firm in his belief in his Imamate unless those whom Allah has purified their hearts for faith.”
Jābir says, “O Messenger of Allah! Can his Shīʿas benefit from him during his occultation?”
Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.H.) said, “Yes. By Allah who appointed me as a Messenger they will benefit from the rays of the light of his Imamate during his occultation. [He will be useful during his occultation] just as the sun hidden behind the clouds is useful for people. O Jābir! This is one of the secrets of Allah and the remaining of His knowledge and therefore keep it secret from unworthy people.”
In another tradition, Imam Ṣādiq (P.B.U.H.) narrates from his forefathers from the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.H.) who says, “Mahdī is from my descendants. His name and tittle are the same as mine. He resembles me more than anyone else in terms of physical complexion and moral values. His occultation will last as long as people will become perplexed and as a result abandon their religion. It is under such circumstances that he will appear just like a meteor, eliminating all the darkness at once. He will fill in the earth with justice and equity just as it was filled with injustice and cruelty.”
In another tradition, Imam Ṣādiq (P.B.U.H.) quotes the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.H.) as saying, “Lucky is he who sees our Qāʿim (Mahdī) and before his uprising, he; however, follows him and his guided predecessors and hates their enemies. They are my friends and companions and the best of my community.”
Imam Ṣādiq (P.B.U.H.) quotes the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.H.) as having also said, “Lucky is he who sees our Qāʿim while he follows him during his occultation before his uprising, befriends his friends and antagonizes his enemies. He is among my friends and sympathizers and the best of my community until the Day of Judgment.”
Imam Ṣādiq (P.B.U.H.) similarly says that the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H. & H.H.) said, “He who denies Qāʿim (Mahdī) from my offspring in the period of his occultation dies the death of ignorance.”
. Taken from the book “The Promised Savior” by Sayyid Ali al-Husayni al-Milani.
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