'Awaiting for the 'Faraj' (deliverance) is the best act of worship.' The author of 'Manaqib' says: Awaiting for the 'Faraj' means awaiting for Mahdi's emergence.
Author says: Shii'te traditions corroborate the afore-mentioned tradition.
MEANING OF INTEZAR' (AWAITING):
'Intezar' means gaining and achieving an affair for which one awaits. The reformatory affair with regards to Mahdi's emergence is not hidden and concealed for any individual let alone the social board, especially the Shia-Imamiyahs.
Firstly, 'Intezar' (Awaiting) by itself invites the satisfaction of Mahdi so much so that it is said:
'Intezar' is more sever than killing. The essential condition for Awaiting for the 'Faraj' is employing the mental faculties and fixing the mind in the direction of the affair for which one is awaiting. This matter will forcibly become the cause of two affairs: One that the mental faculty will bring an increase in power and the other that man can concentrate his entire power on one affair. Moreover than that two affairs, are amongst the most important things required by man for his subsistence and future life.
Secondly, the suppression of misfortunes will become easy for man because he knows that these misfortunes are subject to amends and provisions. A vast difference exists between those misfortunes which are known by man to be capable of amendment or not, especially when he presumes that soon everything will be prepared and Mahdi by his emergence, will fill the earth with Justice and equity.
Thirdly, the necessary condition, for 'Intezar' is this that man should adore to be amongst the companions and Shias of Mahdi and rather amongst his helpers. This requires that Mahdi's Shia should strive in rectifying his Own self and making good his morals so that he can be worthy enough of becoming Mahdi's companion and engaging in holy war for him. Verily, this prosperity requires such ethics which is scarse today amongst us.
Fourthly, just as 'Intezar' becomes the cause of rectification of the self and rather the cause of rectification of others, it also becomes the cause of preparation of the rudiments for Mahdi's victory over his enemies. The essential condition for this victory is that one should acquire knowledge and insight especially so when man knows that Mahdi's victory over his enemies would take place through ordinary channels.
These were some of the effects which would arise from the act of 'Intezar' (Awaiting) - if at all 'Intezar' is done in its true sense. Besides, Intezar discovers good and pleasing qualities which are as follows:
Firstly, it explores the perfection of wisdom and verity of perception because a 'Muntazir' (i.e. an Awaiter) believes that an Imam should exist at all times and knows that the Imam of today is MAHDI. Thus he brings faith in Mahdi without having seen him. In short, one could believe in Hazrat without coming into contact with him.
Secondly 'Intezar' for deliverance discovers such affairs as love for establishment of truth and justice, implementation of Divine Commands and limitations, execution of the affairs on the basis of a correct and fundamental pivot and man's achievement of the goals for which he has been created.
Thirdly, it would reveal the veracity of man's love and friendship towards Ahl-e-bayt and kin of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) because it is by Mahdi's emergence that the Government of Ahl-e-bayt will be embarked upon, the act of command and prohibition will be at their liberty and their rights will return back to them.
Fourthly, it reveals the veracity and virtue of man's faith in Mahdi and his filling of the earth with equity and justice and in his Imamate.
Fifthly, it reveals man's affection towards his fellow creature and his desire for rectifying them because the goodness and prosperity which would arise from Mahdi's emergence would be experienced by all the creatures.
Most of the points that we have mentioned have come down in traditions too such as: Important affairs which arise from 'Intezar' (Awaiting) of Mahdi's emergence and the good qualities which are discovered by means of his emergence. Mentioning one of the traditions or rather one sentence of it causes great surprise in me.
In the book 'Kamaluddin', Shaikh Saduq has narrated from Ammar Sabaaty' a lengthy tradition where Imam Sadiq (A.S.) says: 'Ibadat' (worship)during the rein of a wicked Government is better and more virtuous than worship during the rein of a right Government. Moreover, reward of worship is much more under a wicked Government than under a right Government.
Ammar says: I told Imam: 'May my life be sacrificed for you. Is it that we should not desire to be amongst the Qaem's companions at the time of the emergence of truth? Is it that our actions under the bond of your leadership and obedience is more virtious than the actions of companions during the true Government!?
Imam Sadiq (A.S.) replied: 'Glory be to Allah! Do we not wish that Allah, the Blessed, the Sublime should make the Truth and Justice appear in the lands? That the common condition of the people improves? That Allah should cause (people's) speech to harmonize and that Allah should invite the diverse hearts of people? That they should not disobey Allah on the earth? That His restrictions should apply among His creatures and that Allah should return the rights to His people so that it may become manifest, so that nothing of the truth might be concealed through fear of any one of (His) creatures......
Regarding the time of Mahdi's emergence, my father has narrated from his father and they from the Messenger of Allah as such:
The example of Mahdi is like the example of Qiyamat which will not come but all of a sudden'.
The author says: In some of the traditions about occultation it has come down that Mahdi shall emerge like a glittering star. Yet some other traditions mention that God would set right Mahdi's affairs in one night.
It appears that all these sayings refer to this fact that Mahdi's emergence is unknown and except for the One who has created him, none are aware of the time of his reappearance.
Verily, amongst the affairs which has greatly been emphasised in the tradition for us (i.e. the Shias) is the non - fixation of the time of Mahdi's emergence and leaving this matter to Almighty Allah.
Yet some traditions mention that those who ordain a time for his emergence are liars.
It can be said that the philosophy of not fixing his reappearing at any time and in any year, month and on any Friday may be due to the following:
Firstly, the divine Bada' (change) in which we Shias believe plays interference in the matter of Mahdi's emergence and is resolute. Verily, the Will of Allah proceeds in all the Divine Destinies and it is proper to reverse the order and bring change in His Destinies. Mahdi's emergence too falls in the category of those incidents in which 'Bada' is akin to occur just as the same has been clearly stipulated in the Shiite traditions.
As a matter of fact, if the time of Hazrat's emergence had been fixed and the matter of 'Bada' (too) would have played its role, then the very matter of (tradition of) emergence along with its narrator would have been subject to doubt and suspicions. Thus Imam (A.S.) has said: 'We have not fixed the time of Hazrat's emergence nor shall we do so in the future.'
Secondly, refraining from ascertaining the time of emergence and leaving it to Divine discretion of and considering the possibility of Mahdi emerging today or tomorrow forcibly creates an urge and desire in praying for his early reappearance since it is possible that his emergence may be linked to 'dua' (praying)and insistence in request.
Thirdly, the period of Mahdi's emergence is known and the people are aware of this matter even though they may belong to the few special class, it would mean that Hazrat has to emerge forcibly and the special and ordinary class of people especially those desirous of this matter, must recognize him and the enemies themselves right form the beginning of his emergence in killing him. Amongst the impossible affairs is this that on the day of Mahdi's emergence, his powers will be the same as the powers of his enemies.
Fourthly, when the affairs of the people are in Imam's hands, he would be the pivot of the millstone of the Muslims and the focal point of their social body. Undoubtedly Imam's occultation even though for a short period will bring the movement of that society to a standstill. However if the people bring faith in his emergence and have hope in his return especially so in the near future, it would then be possible for that society to remain protected from disorder.
Fifthly, Awaiting for emergence at any period will bring an acceleration in the reformity movement. A person who awaits the arrival of his companion will be bound to make speed in the preliminary preparation for his arrival lest his friend arrives suddenly and he may not have fulfilled his duty.
Truly if 'Intezar' (Awaiting) for Mahdi's emergence is based on sincerity and non-fixation of time (of his emergence) it would indeed be regarded as two important factors for the salvation and comfort of a society.
I wish that the author of 'Tafseer-e-Al-Minar' would take back some of his words in this regard.
'At the end of time, a severe calamity shall overtake my nation.... Allah will send a man from my progeny or he said: from my Ahl-e-bayt who shall fill the earth with equity and Justice.
Ibn-Hajar in 'Sawa'eq' (page 98) has narrated from Ahmad and Muslim who in turn have narrated from the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W .A.) as saying:
'At the end of time, a Caliph will be present who would distribute wealth without any account....
The author of 'Esaaf-ur-Raghebeen' has narrated the same tradition on page 149 of his afore-said book.
The author says: 'Caliph' in the above tradition refers to Mahdi as per the context of some other traditions.
The author of 'Eqdud-Durar' narrates from Imam Abu Omar Mada'eni who narrates from Abu Sa'eed Khudri that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.A.) said: At the end of time a youth with a handsome face and protracted nose shall emerge from my progeny and he shall fill the earth with equity and Justice just as it was previously filled with cruelty and tyranny.
The author of Yanabi-ul-Muwadda' (on page 430) narrates from the author of 'Mashkat-ul-Masabeeh' who narrates from Muslim (from his book 'Sahih') and Ahmad (from his book 'Musnad') who narrate from Jabir-ibn-Abdullah Ansari that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.A.) said:
'At the end of time, a Caliph will be present who would distribute' wealth without any 'account.'
Yet another tradition says: At the time of the end of my nation, a Caliph will come who would distribute' wealth without any reckoning.'
The author of 'Yanabi-ul-Muwadda' narrates from the author of 'Fara'ed-ul-Semtain' who narrates from Ali-ibn-Hallal who narrates from his father that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) said: 'Mahdi will come at the end of time and will fill the earth with equity and Justice just as it was previously filled with cruelty and oppression.'
The author says: In most of our Shi'ite traditions as well as the traditions of our Sunni brethrens the word of «--» (the end of time) and the occurrence of some of the important events, the greatest of them being the emergence of the Promised Mahdi can be seen. However it is a fact that sometimes it is said: The word «--» and its meaning is literal as can be understood from these two words i.e. before 'Qiyamat'. Sometimes too, it is said: « refers to some part of a time which when compared to the past times is placed at the last. Just as we say: Hazrat Muhammad-ibn-Abdullah (S.A.W.A.) is the Prophet of «--» (the end of time) i.e. the period of his Prophethood Messengership, Precepts and Laws is put last as compared to the period of Messengership of the previous Prophets. Thus in absolute terms, the Holy Prophet is the last Prophet which means that the Prophet should come after him, otherwise he will not be called the Last Prophet.
Sometimes «--» is used and it refers to the last period of the Holy Prophet's Messengership. In other words, if we divide the period of his Prophethood into certain portions, the last portion of it would be the «--» (end of time) and the Holy Prophet's sentence: 'The nation wherein I am placed in the beginning, Mahdi is the middle and Isa in the end will never be destroyed' refers to the same.
Now that you have understood these meanings it should be said that such sayings as: Mahdi will emerge in «--» (end of time) or that: He is the Caliph of «--» refers to the last meaning which means that the last part of the period in which Mahdi is supposed to emerge is the last part from the parts of time.
The author of 'Eqdud-Durar' (in chapter seven) narrates from Hafez Abu Abdullah (from the book of Mustadrak) who narrates from Abu Sa'eed Khudri that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.A.) said:
'Mahdi shall emerge with the sword at the time of the end of my nation. Allah shall send rain, the land Will cause its own plants to grow, (Mahdi) will bestow wealth in the right manner....
Hakim says: This tradition is correct as far as its chain of transmission is concerned but Muslim and Bukhari have not narrated it.
Again, the author of 'Eqdud-Durar' in the afore-said chapter narrates from Hafiz Na'eem-ibn- Hemad (from the book 'Fatan') that Amir-ul- Mumineen Ali (A.S.) said in one tradition about Mahdi as such: 'Mahdi will rise when he would be thirty or forty years of age....
In the same chapter of the afore-said book its author narrates from Abu Abdullah Mada'eni and Abu Bakr Baihaqi that Ibn-Abbass said: I have hope that days and nights will not pass until Allah will appoint a youth from us, Ahl-e-bayt while conspiracies will not befall him and he too will not be entangled in conspiracies. He will establish the affairs of this nation just as Allah commenced the affairs of this nation through us. It is my expectation that the affairs would end too in us.
Narrator says: I told Ibn-Abbass: Are your aged helpless in this matter that you have hope in your youths? He replied: Allah does whatever He wishes.
In the same chapter of the same book, its author narrates from Imam Hussein-ibn-Ali (A.S.) as such: When Mahdi will emerge, the people will deny him because he will have returned to them looking like a youth. The greatest calamity is that their master will approach them in the state of youth while they would think him to be old and senile....
In section one, chapter four of the same book, its author narrates from Hafiz Abu Abdullah (from the book of Mustadrak) who narrates from Sanban that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.A.) said:- 'Three offsprings of a Caliph will be killed near your treasure.... When you see him (i.e. youth) swear allegiance to him because, he is Mahdi, the Caliph of Allah.
Hakim says: 'This tradition is an authentic tradition provided it has been narrated by Bukhari and Muslim.
In the seventh chapter of the same book, its author narrates from Hafiz Abu Abdullah Na'eem-ibn-Hemad (from the book 'Fatan') who narrates from Ishaaq-ibn-Yahaya-ibn-Talha that Ta'oos said: Omar-ibn-Khattab bid farewell to his family and said: What is wrong if I spend the treasures of the Ka'aba and the weapons in the way of Allah? Ali said: 'O Amir-ul-Mumineen! Refrain from such thoughts. You are not the owner of Ka'aba. The owner of Ka'aba is a youth from Quraish who will donate the wealth of Ka'aba in the way of Allah at the end of time.
The author says: The manifestation of this tradition is such that it cannot be denied and evidences and contexts too exist for them. Some of the traditions mention: The one who will see Mahdi on the day of his emergence will reckon him to be a youth of forty or his age to be between thirty and forty. However it does not mean that this is his true age.