Friday, June 5, 2009
Imam AL-MAHDI (a-s)
“In the Name of ALLAH the Merciful, the Compassionate”
We are the followers of the true and original Islam. We, the Shi’a of the Prophet Muhammad (saww) and his Ahlul-Bayt (a-s), we have in our beliefs and values many different responsibilities and duties. As well as our religious daily duties, we also have many different individual and social duties to perform, all in the goal of closeness and nearness to ALLAH (swt). We perform each duty with knowledge that it will bring us a deeper comprehension of our reality, which in return brings up our intellectual and spiritual capacities, which drives away our inner base desires, which cleans and purifies our hearts (soul) from all sorts of pollution and corruption, which in fact brings us closer to our LORD, MASTER and CREATOR ALLAH Azz wa Jall.
We try to live our days in performing the best deeds possible and we try to refrain from our desires and laziness that in the long run will bring us nothing else but pain, sorrow and self-destruction. Too often, we forget our destination and towards what we are headed, we become to self centered, we unfortunately over focus and concentrate on this transient life and its idle attractions. We then completely lose touch with the Afterlife and our salvation, for it is after we demise and leave this transitory life that our real eternal life begins and it will depend on how we spent this short time on this earth. We must work hard now and move forward and collect the best deeds possible and put ourselves in check against sin and base desires, in order to achieve our goals in the Hereafter. Therefore we must grip onto and hold tight to our Islamic beliefs, for they are our guides to salvation. Imam Al-Mahdi (a-s) is one of these tools of hope and one of these beliefs; in fact he is our current Imam and is the one who will deliver onto us solace and relief. (Please read article: ‘The advent of IMAM AL-MAHDI (a-s), the natural course for humanity, HIS LIFE AND HIS LINEAGE’. For more information on this subject. coming soon).
In this particular article we will look at the 1st part on the Occultation of Imam Al-Mahdi Al-Qa’im (a-s) and the 2nd part our duties during this time, here is how we will divide these subjects:
1st Part: The Occultation: A- Scientifically: A scientific discourse on Occultation. B- Theoretically: A theoretical discourse on Occultation. C- Religiously / Traditionally: Occultation from the Hadiths of the Ahlul-Bayt (a-s).
2nd Part: Our Duties: A-Morality: Our behaviour and conduct. B-Training: Our preparation for our meeting with Imam Al-Mahdi (a-s). C- Assignment: Our Islamic Mission.
A SCIENTIFIC DISCOURSE ON OCCULTATION.
In my research on possibilities of a human being living very long periods of time such as 500 years and more, I came across many very interesting articles and studies on the issue of prolonged existence. Nowhere did I find in any of my investigation, any information that would confirm that the life of a being has a certain time of ending. In fact, most of the scientific proof on prolonged existence and longevity prove that prolonged existence is feasible and science may break the code of what ages man and in fact shortens his life, for his organs have been created without any kind of time limit. There are in many laboratories throughout the world organs of human beings being kept alive in what we can call artificial environments. In these environments these living organs are kept alive free from bacteria, pollution, stress, poisons and injuries, which are what most scientists in this field say produce illness and makes the human being age. In fact because of the abuse we put our bodies through every second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day, most scientist say the human life span is greatly reduced. The human cells and organs that these scientists keep in these protected environments can live for hundreds and even thousands of years. In other words, many of these scientists claim that aging is a slow accruing condition that slowly deteriorates the human’s physical body. In other words, they are saying that things such as the food we eat, air we breathe (pollution), the stress we suffer, the injuries and physical shocks we receive are all factors that weaken our bodies’ defences and make our bodies victim of the illness that very gradually sicken the cells, the result of this is weakening of the organs and aging of the human being.
Surely through the genes and hereditary traits, many of these offensive poisons are passed from generation to generation, other factors that may infect the body with these cell killers are through the environment (climate, pollution and weather), profession or occupation (over stressful work and harsh working conditions are a cause, however, laziness, idleness and lethargy are extreme deadly attributes that will most certainly add to the infection of the cells, for when the human body become inactive it definitely deteriorates), of course there is the nutrition factor (we are finding more and more diseases that originate from bad eating habits, in the Occident, obesity, high cholesterol, heart failure are becoming dilemmas of the society there), social and leisure time can also weaken the body and allow these cell killers into the system, for if the person is doing extreme sports or activities that may injure his body and organs or as well for the one who abuses sleep and rest time and engages himself into perversion and sinful acts (such as alcoholism, drugs, dancing, sexual perversion and deviation, etc…)
I also found a very interesting write up in a book by Ayatollah Ibrahim Amini, it was written by a specialist in the field of longevity by the name of Dr. Abū Tūrāb Nafῑsῑ, he spoke of hibernation of animals and how in their state of hibernation their need for food vanishes and wear and tear on the body decreases anywhere from 30% to 100%. The temperature of their body drops down to 39-41 degrees Fahrenheit. Both the breathing becomes slow and the heart rate random and sluggish.
I also discovered longevity to be an extremely big and booming business; the internet is full of advertisers trying to sell their products to reduce aging. When I investigated them closer, I discovered that the big majority of them are based on cleansing and regeneration of the organs and or the blood system. It seems they have based themselves on the research we have found and mentioned above.
There is absolutely no reason to refute any claim of human beings living as long as thousands of years, for this theory is very acceptable and backed up by scientific proof, that the body may indeed live 10 or 20 times longer under controlled conditions and protected against the cell killers that slowly poison the human organs and age man prematurely. However, only the Almighty ALLAH (swt), decides the time that man shall live in this transitory world and it is said to those who deny this truthful fact in the Holy Qur’an: “And they say: There is nothing but our life in this world; we live and die and nothing destroys us but time, and they have no knowledge of that; they only conjecture”. (The Holy Qur’an 45 Al-Jātiya-24)
In conclusion, if our limited knowledge and science is discovering more and more facts that refute the claim of the impossibility of a man living for extreme long periods of time, then surely ALLAH Azz wa Jall Who has the most perfect science can achieve things that we can not understand. If today we now can keep organs of humans to live for extremely long periods of time by protecting them against bacteria and microbes that attack the cells and begin the aging process, then in complete certainty we can say and belief without any doubt that a human being under the Divine protection of ALLAH (swt) can live until the Day of Reckoning. One who does not believe in this surely cannot believe that ALLAH (swt) is the Originator and Creator of all existence and the Only Lord and Master of all creation; therefore he cannot belief that ALLAH (swt) will resurrect all mankind on the Day of Judgement, then we can conclude that such a person is an atheist and is in no way a Muslim.
A THEORETICAL DISCOURSE ON OCCULTATION.
A POPULAR THEORY:
One of the popular theories I came across about soul and body separation is that many scholars (Especially in the Occident) have the theory that as the body is worn and weakens it expels the soul of man causing death to the human being. In my opinion, I cannot accept this theory for as we all know in our Islamic beliefs based on the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, man’s goal in this transient life is to perfect and purify his soul in order to achieve proximity and nearness to ALLAH (swt). Therefore I believe the soul is the pilot and the body the vehicle in the Holy Qur’an it says: “And the soul and HIM who made it perfect, then HE inspired it to understand what is right and what is wrong for it; He will indeed be successful who purifies it, and he will indeed fail who corrupts it”. (The Holy Qur’an 91 Al-Shams 7-10) By this verse we can understand that truly ALLAH (swt) created man for perfecting his soul, therefore surely the body could not expel the soul. In other words, if the soul is the source to purification and proximity to ALLAH (swt), logically it would not be up to the body to expel the soul. If I am to accept this theory it would mean I would have to re-analyze all that I have studied about the soul, the body, the human being, creation and the Creator. Although I am not an expert, this theory doesn’t fulfill my expectations of the human soul and body separation. I did find a theory in a book by Ayatollah Ibrahim Amini that comes from the great scholar Mulla Sadra. I found it to be nearer to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (saww) and the Holy Imams.
THE THEORY BY MULLA SADRA:
The theory by Mulla Sadra is without doubt a very well reflected theory, which on its own, answers all the questions about prolonged existence and soul and body separation. Before we look into this theory let us review some of our fundamental beliefs about our existence. As we have already mentioned man’s goal is to perfect himself and purify his soul in order to achieve closeness and nearness to ALLAH (swt). And by understanding this point, man will conduct himself and behave in such a manner, that a purifying effect will take place over him, which in return leads him on the Straight Path, that brings him closer to his Only Lord ALLAH Azz wa Jall. Now understanding this simple process completely and without doubt, we must admit then that surely the soul is the pilot and the body the vehicle.
Now we can look deeper and understand the theory of the great philosopher Mulla Sadra. He claimed that the administration and fortification of the living being is the responsibility of the soul. It is the soul that controls the body in all ways. So for however long the soul needs the body in order to progress, it keeps its body healthy and alive. Once it has obtained its objectives, it no longer needs its human body and begins to drift away from it, the result as the soul leaves the body, the body then deteriorates and dies. So if this theory is correct then certainly a man who is sent to earth as the liberator and one who brings solace to all mankind can live 500 years, 1000 years or even 10000 years. For his mission he needs a strong soul and in order to achieve victory a strong body. His soul will keep his body in the best of condition until he has achieved his Mission.
Question: How can Mulla Sadra’s theory be correct, when some men are evil and do not live to purify their souls and perfect themselves? If this theory is correct, then wouldn’t wrong doers die right away because their souls would be corrupt and their mission meaningless?
First: we must remember as we spoke about in ‘The advent of IMAM AL-MAHDI (a-s), the natural course for humanity, HIS LIFE AND HIS LINEAGE’ (coming soon) the natural course for humanity is to progress and to go forward in action and with hope of solace in the future. This is a Divine blessing from ALLAH (swt) for all mankind, the chance to better ones self freely and not under any kind of compulsion. Therefore ALLAH (swt) the Most Merciful Creator gives this chance to all. If man starts his life in wrongness and evildoing, he may at any point repent and perhaps maybe even become one of the most pious, generous, caring, helpful, straight, moral, and best behaved amongst mankind. ALLAH (swt) has created us all equal and with the same chances to better ourselves, therefore a tyrant today can be a saintly person tomorrow, this is part of the never ending Generosity of ALLAH (swt).
“Yet surely your Lord, with respect to those who do an evil in ignorance, then turn after that and make amends, most surely your Lord after that after that is Forgiving, Merciful”. (The Holy Qur’an 16 Al-Nahl-119)
“And HE it is who accepts repentance from HIS servants and pardons the evil deeds and HE knows what you do”. (The Holy Qur’an 42 Ash-Shura-25)
Second: A wrong doer does only harm to himself, when he closes his heart to the Mercy and Generosity of ALLAH (swt), his own deception drifts him farther away from the truth until he has completely lost himself in falsehood. His own soul opens to the accursed Shaïton and his filthy and polluted heart fools him in thinking he is right and above all others. As the fool turns his back on ALLAH (swt), his heart becomes cold and his mind fills with ignorance. And as they choose not to know the truth ALLAH (swt) puts a seal on their hearts making them drift ever farther from the light of guidance. We must not forget man’s real punishment will come on the Day of Judgement and for all eternity. There are many proofs of this in the Holy Qur’an.
“And when it is said to them: believe as the people believe, they say: Shall we believe as fools believe? Now surely they themselves are the fools, but they do not know”. (The Holy Qur’an 2 AL-Baqarah-13)
“Surely those who disbelieve, it being alike to them whether you warn them, or do not warn them, will not believe. ALLAH has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing and there is a covering over their eyes, and there is a great punishment for them”. (The Holy Qur’an 2 Al-Baqarah-6 and 7)
“These are they on whose hearts and their hearing and their eyes ALLAH has set a seal and these are the heedless ones”. (The holy Qur’an 16 An-Nahl-108)
This is only a theory, however, we can find in our pure and perfect teachings from the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad (saww) and his Ahlul-Bayt (a-s) a deeper understanding about Spirit and Body separation, which is the basis of this theory. However, for this article we only wanted to show how according to this theory, a man who was chosen for relieving mankind of all the Tyranny and corruption, his divinely gifted soul from ALLAH (swt), could keep him alive for a very long time, until his Mission was completed. Another interesting fact is if we look in History, many great people knew ahead of time when their death was to come, long before sickness struck them. For example The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saww) announced his death before his sickness; his Mission was completed, when he announced to all mankind, that his successor was to be Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a-s). Therefore it was not his body that was ready to leave this transient life, but it was his soul. There are many other examples in history of such cases just read about the Holy Imams who all predicted their deaths ahead of time and many very pious and believing people as well as many Scholars have also done this. Anyhow this is enough on this subject for this article, we must move on.
OCCULTATION FROM THE HADITHS OF THE AHLUL-BAYT (A-S).
Below I have only chosen some of the many hadiths about Occultation and tried to keep only the hadiths which speak about occultation. However, in the upcoming articles we will touch on many other subjects of hadiths that have to do with the advent of Imam Al-Mahdi (a-s).
The Holy Prophet and Messenger of ALLAH, Muhammad (saww) said: “Bliss be for the person who will be in the time of the Qā’im of my Ahlul-Bayt (a-s), who follows the Qā’im during his occultation before his rise and loves his lovers and despises his enemies. Such a person is of my friends and lovers and he is the most honourable of my Ummah to me on the Day of Judgement”. (Bihar Al-Anwar (Kitab al-Ghaibah) vol. 51, p.126 with English translation. Allama al-Majlisi (r-a). / Ikmāl al-Dῑn.)
Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a-s) said: “The earth does never remain without a Hujjah; either apparent and known or afraid and unknown lest ALLAH (swt)’s proofs and signs will be invalid” (Mo’jam Ahadeeth al-Imam al-Mahdi, vol.3 p.67)
Amir ul-Mu’mineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a-s) said: “The earth will become full of oppression and injustice, so much so that no one will be able to utter ALLAH’s (swt) name but secretly. Then ALLAH Azz wa Jall will bring a virtuous congregation, who will fill it with equity and justice, as it will be full of oppression and injustice”. (Al-Amali of Shaykh Tusi (r-a) / Bihar Al-Anwar (Kitab al-Ghaibah) vol. 51, p.186 with English translation. Allama al-Majlisi (r-a)).
Amir ul-Mu’mineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a-s) said: “The Qā’im of this Ummah is from my offspring. He is the one about whom it will be said, he has died, perished, no rather, has threaded to some valley”. (Al- Ghayba. Shaykh Ibn Abu Zaynab An-Nu’mani (r-a) / Biharul Anwar, Vol. 51 p.184 English translation Allama al-Majlisi (r-a)).
Amir ul-Mu’mineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a-s) said: “Al-Mahdi occultation will be so long that an ignorant person will say: God does not need the Ahlul-Bayt”. (Ithbat al-Hudat, Vol. 2, p. 393)
Imam Hussayn Ibn Ali (a-s) said: “The Qā’im of this Ummah is the ninth from my progeny. He is the man of the occultation. And he is the one whose inheritance is split up while he is alive”. (Bihar Al-Anwar (Kitab al-Ghaibah) vol. 51, p.198 with English translation. Allama al-Majlisi (r-a) / Ikmāl al-Dῑn.)
Imam Ali Ibn Al-Hussayn (a-s) said: “The birth of our Qā’im will be hidden from the people, so they will say that he is not born yet. He will rise at the time of his rise, without any pledge of allegiance to anyone on his shoulders”. (Bihar Al-Anwar (Kitab al-Ghaibah) vol. 51, p.202 with English translation. Allama al-Majlisi (r-a). / Ikmāl al-Dῑn.)
Imam Muhammad Ibn Ali Al-Baqir (a-s) Answered: “O Umm Hani’, it is an Imam receding until his news will be ignored by the people in the year 260 and then immediately he will appear like a burning meteor in a dark night. If you remain alive until that time, then your eyes will be delighted!” (Al- Ghayba. P. 195-196 English translation: Shaykh Ibn Abu Zaynab An-Nu’mani (r-a) / Biharul Anwar, Vol. 51 p.137 / Tafseer al-Burhan, Vol.4 p.433 / Al-Mahajja feema nazala fil Hujjah p.244-245, Mo’jam Ahadeeth al-Imam al-Mahdi, Vol. 5 p. 480) ** Holy Qur’an 81:15-16.
Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (a-s) said: “If there are no people on the earth except two men, one of them must be al-Hujjah (Imam Al-Mahdi a-s)”. (Al-Kafi, vol. 1 p. 180. Ash-Shaykh Al-Kulayni (r-a) / Al- Ghayba. Shaykh Ibn Abu Zaynab An-Nu’mani (r-a))
Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (a-s) said: “A tradition that you perceive is better that ten that you narrate (without perceiving them). Every truth has a fact and every rightness has a light. By ALLAH (swt) we do not consider a Shiite as a jurisprudent until it is mistaken before him and he notices the mistake. Amirul Mu’mineen (a-s) has said from upon the minbar of Kufa: “There will be dark, blind and dim seditions awaiting you, from which no one will be saved except the Nooma”
People asked: “What is the Nooma?”
He (a-s) said: “It is the one, who knows people but people do not know him”.
Then he (a-s) added: “Know well that the world will not be empty of a Hujjah (an authority) from ALLAH Azz wa Jall but ALLAH (swt) will make HIS people not see HIS Hujjah (an authority) because of their injustice, oppression and excessiveness in disobedience. If the world remains without a Hujjah fro ALLAH (swt) for an hour, it will sink with its people. The Hujjah knows the people but they don’t know him. It is like Prophet Yussef (a-s), who knew people but they denied him. ‘Alas for MY servants! There comes not to them a messenger but they mock him. **’””. (Al- Ghayba. P. 185-186 English translation: Shaykh Ibn Abu Zaynab An-Nu’mani (r-a) / Biharul Anwar, vol. 51, p. 112 Allama al- Majlisi (r-a) / Ithbat al-Huddat, Vol3 p.532 / Awalim al-Uloom, Vol.3 p. 526, Mo’jam Ahadeeth Al-Imam Al- Mahdi, Vol.5 p.366) ** Holy Qur’an 36:30.
Umm Hani’ had asked Imam Muhammad Ibn Ali Al-Baqir (a-s): “What is the meaning of the Qur’anic verse: “But nay! I swear by the stars that recede**”?”
Imam Ja’far Ibn Muhammad As-Sadiq (a-s) said: “The benefit for people from the Imam, who is in occultation, is in the same way as they benefit from the sun behind the clouds”. (Yanabi al-Mawadda, Vol. 2, p. 317)
Imam Musa Ibn Ja’far Al-Kadhim (a-s) said: “The Qā’im is the castaway, the loner, away from his home, hidden from his family, the son of an un-avenged father”. (Bihar Al-Anwar (Kitab al-Ghaibah) vol. 51, p.222 with English translation. Allama al-Majlisi (r-a). / Ikmāl al-Dῑn.)
Imam Ali Ibn Musa Al-Rida (a-s) said: “They will be tested through something that is severer and greater. They will be tested with a fetus in the abdomen of his mother and the suckling baby, until it is said that he disappeared and that he is dead. They will say: ‘There is no Imam’. However, even the Messenger of ALLAH (saww) disappeared, and many, many others disappeared. And here I am awaiting a death in the bed”. (Al- Ghayba. Shaykh Ibn Abu Zaynab An-Nu’mani (r-a) / Biharul Anwar (Kitab al-Ghaibah) vol. 51, p.228 with English translation. Allama al-Majlisi (r-a).).
Imam Muhammad Ibn Ali Al-Jawād (a-s): “When my son Ali dies, the light after him will come into view and then disappear. Woe is for the doubter and bliss is for the believer, who will run with his religion for refuge. Then after that there will be events in which forelocks would go grey and times will be very severe”. (Al- Ghayba. Shaykh Ibn Abu Zaynab An-Nu’mani (r-a) / Biharul Anwar (Kitab al-Ghaibah) vol. 51, p.230 with English translation. Allama al-Majlisi (r-a).).
Imam Ali Ibn Muhammad Al-Hadi (a-s) said: “When your Hujjah will disappear from abode of the oppressors, expect relief”. (Bihar Al-Anwar (Kitab al-Ghaibah) vol. 51, p.234 with English translation. Allama al-Majlisi (r-a). / Kifaya al-Athar.)
Imam Hasan Al-Askari (a-s) said: “All praise is due to ALLAH (swt) who did not take me out of the world until HE showed me my successor; most resembling the Holy Messenger of ALLAH (saww) in features and character. ALLAH (swt) will keep him safe during his occultation, then HE will make him reappear; and he will fill the earth with equity and justice as it would be filled with injustice and oppression”. (Mukhtasaru Ithbāti’r-Raj’ah Hadith # 10. Al-Fadl ibn Shadhan (r-a))
Imam Muhammad Ibn Hasan Al-Mahdi Al-Hujjah Al-Qā’im (a-s) said: “So indeed the major occultation has taken place therefore, there is no advent except when ALLAH (swt) gives permission”. (Kamal Uddin Vol. 2, p. 516)
Imam Muhammad Ibn Hasan Al-Mahdi Al-Hujjah Al-Qā’im (a-s) said: “Those who fix a time for my advent are liars”. (Kamal Uddin Vol. 2, p. 483)
Imam Muhammad Ibn Hasan Al-Mahdi Al-Hujjah Al-Qā’im (a-s) said: “And when I appear then at that time of my advent there would be no oath of allegiance taking for the Shaïtins on my neck”. (Bihar Al-Anwar Vol. 78, p. 380)