مهدويت | Mahdawiyat
Below are some of the things we can do to seek the pleasure of Allah and His Hujja (AS) so that Allah may decide to waive the remaining time of occultation. There are many traditions that support each item below, but here we only quote a few:
Avoiding a hasty action
The traditions also differentiate between hastening (Isti'jaal) and praying to Allah to hasten the universal government. The former is prohibited while the latter is commanded. For instance, Abdurrahman Ibn Kathir narrated:
I was with Imam al-Sadiq (AS) when Mahzam al-Asadi came to him and asked him, "May I be sacrificed for you! When will be the time of this rising for which you wait? It has become too long." He (AS) said, "O Mahzam! Verily those who appoint time are liars, and those who hasten (Musta'jilun) shall perish, and those who are submissive (to Allah's orders and decrees) shall be saved."Ibrahim Ibn Mihzam narrated from his father who said:
We mentioned such and such kings in the presence of Imam al-Sadiq (AS). He (AS) said, "Indeed, people have perished due to their haste (Isti'jal) for this kingdom. Verily, Allah does not hasten for the hasty action of people. For this kingdom there is a final end that will reach it."In another sermon in Nahj al-Balagha, Imam Ali (AS) said:"
Be steady on the earth, be patient in afflictions, do not move your hands and swords after the liking of your tongues, and do not make haste (Isti'jal) in what Allah has not expedited for you. Thus, any one of you who dies in his bed while he recognizes the rights of Allah and the rights of His Apostle (PBUH&HF) and his Ahl al-Bait (AS) has died a martyr. His reward is on Allah, and he is eligible for the reward of what good acts he has intended to do, since his intention has taken the place of drawing his sword. Certainly, for everything there is a period and an appointed time."
Allah, the Glorious, also prohibited Isti'jal in Quran in many verses. For instance:
"Man is a creature of haste. I shall soon show you My signs. So hasten not! (21:37)" In another famous and very recommended supplication, which is narrated from the first special deputy of Imam Mahdi (AS), both types of action (hastening vs. praying that Allah may hasten) has been mentioned with clear distinction:
"... O Allah! Make me firm on the obedience of the master of Your command whom You have concealed from Your creation and waits for Your command. You know—without being taught—the time that is right for the kingdom of Your master and for giving him permission to manifest his command and to disclose his secret. Thus, grant me patience on it so that I do not like to hasten what You have postponed, nor to delay what You have hastened, nor to disclose what You have concealed, nor to discuss what You have kept secret, nor to argue with You in Your planning, and (so that) I do not say why the master of the affairs does not appear while the earth has been filled out with tyranny, and until I relinquish all my affairs to You. O Allah! I ask You to show me the master of the affairs while has appeared and manifested his command... O Allah! Hasten his relief..."
Imploring Allah for a hasty relief of the Imam (AS)
Ahl al-Bait (AS) have emphasized that during the time of occultation we should make much supplication to Allah that He would hasten the relief. In his letter to his special deputy, Imam al-Mahdi (AS) wrote:
"As for the manifestation of relief, it depends on Allah and those who specify time for it are liars... Increase your Du'aa for hastening the Relief (al-Faraj), for this is indeed your relief..."
There are two meanings for the above tradition. The first meaning is that the relief of Imam al-Mahdi (AS) would result in relief from our sufferings. The other meaning is that the very act of praying for the relief of Imam al-Mahdi (AS) would be recompensed with personal relief from our problems even before the advent of Imam al-Mahdi (AS) (i.e., before the time for general/universal relief).
There is a famous supplication from Imam al-Sadiq (AS), known as "The Supplication of the Covenant (Du'aa al-Ahd)", which is to be recited in every morning. The Imam (AS) said that the one who recites and calls upon Allah by this covenant for forty mornings, will be of the soldiers of al-Qa'im (AS), and if he dies before his rising, Allah will resurrect him from his grave during his advent, and will also give him the reward of 1000 good deeds and removes 1000 of his sins for each word of this supplication. The last sentences of this precious supplication are as follows:
"O Allah! Show me the rightly guided face (of Imam al-Mahdi (AS)), the praiseworthy brightness (of his face), and enlighten my vision by looking at him. Hasten his reappearance, make his arrival smooth, widen and clear his path, and make me tread on his way. Implement his kingdom and strengthen his back. O Allah! Give life to Your cities by him and revive Your servants through him, for surely You have said—and Your word is truth—"Corruption prevailed on the land and the sea because of what men's hand have earned (30:41)" Thus,
O Allah, manifest for us Your friend and the son of Your Prophet's daughter, whose name is the same as that of Your Apostle, so that he does not prevail anything from falsehood except that he tears it to pieces, establishes the truth, and makes it real. O Allah! Appoint him as a refuge for Your oppressed servants and a helper for the one who does not find any helper for himself except You. Make him the one who renews what has been suspended/abolished of the laws of Your book, and the one who re-erects the science of Your religion and the customs of Your Prophet, Allah's blessings be upon him and his family. O Allah! Make him among those whom you have protected from the evils of the aggressors. O Allah! Delight Your Prophet Mohammed, Allah's blessings be upon him and his family, by making him visible and (delight) the one who follows him on his call, and have mercy on our poverty after his (disappearance). O Allah! Remove this sorrow (of occultation) from this nation by his presence, and hasten for us his reappearance. Certainly, they [i.e., the disbelievers] consider it far-fetched while we consider it near. By Your mercy O the most merciful!" Then you say, "Hasten! Hasten! O my master, O the master of the era!"
Thus, during the period of disappearance of Imam Mahdi (AS), the most important supplication of the believers to Allah is to ask for his reappearance and the manifestation of his kingdom over the earth by which all problems of humanity will be resolved. The sentence, "the disbelievers consider it far-fetched while we consider it near" shows that the believers expect this kingdom in a very near future and only the disbelievers consider this expectation unrealistic. Moreover, the sentences such as "O Allah! Hasten his reappearance, make his arrival smooth, widen and clear his path" in this supplication shows that Allah may change the decreed situation at the time of his reappearance, may lesson the hardship of his mission due to the change in situation, and may bring near his arrival. By asking Allah to hasten his reappearance from the bottom of our heart, Allah may make Badaa and advance his mission, just as He advanced the mission of Prophet Musa (AS). In a very inspiring and thought-provoking Hadith, Fadhl Ibn Abi Qurra narrated:
Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, "When the period of punishment on the Children of Israel was prolonged, they wailed and cried to Allah for 40 mornings. Thereupon, Allah revealed to Moses (AS) and Aaron (AS) to release them from the Pharaoh, and in this way, He reduced their punishment 170 years." Then, the Imam (AS) continued, "This is the case for you too, and if you do the same Allah shall certainly relieve us. However, if you avoid it, this matter [i.e., the calamity before al-Faraj] shall surely continue up to its last stage."
The suffering is a hint to the believers that they should implore Allah with humility. Allah said in Quran:
"Before thee We sent towards many nations, and We afflicted them with suffering and adversity, that they might call/beseech (Us) in humility. (6:42)"
If the majority of people on the earth decide to sincerely seek relief (al-Faraj) from Allah and drop their hope from all the fallible leaders, Allah may decide to allow the early rise of Imam Mahdi (AS) without need for the occurrence of any of the reported definite signs. Notice that we say, "Allah may decide that way", which means this is not an urgent reaction to people's action; it is rather a matter of choice for Allah as is the case for all other actions of Allah. He does what He will. In fact, the traditions of Ahl al-Bait (AS) imply that to the time that people look for other global solutions for their problems, and have hope in other leaders for implementing justice, Allah may delay the rising of al-Qa'im (AS). Hisham Ibn Salim narrated:
Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, "This kingdom shall not appear until every claiming class/group amongst people rule over people so that no one would remain to say, 'Had we ruled we would have implemented justice'. Thereafter, al-Qa'im (AS) shall rise for truth and justice."
This way, those who claim to be able to implement justice will have chance to rule and will subsequently show their scandalous failure in practice. When people become hopeless from any other alternatives, they will desperately seek for relief (al-Faraj) from Allah from the bottom of their hearts, and it is at that time that they will be ready to receive Imam al-Mahdi (AS). Thus, the sooner people come to their senses, the earlier will be their relief. However, this still depends upon Allah's decision, and He may commence the mission of al-Qa'im (AS) sooner than the time of full global awareness if He wills. Due to His grace, Allah may initiate mercy without people being worthy of it. In one of his supplications, Imam al-Sajjad (AS) prayed to Allah:
"O the initiator of the bounties before becoming worthy of it."
The grace of Allah does not have any necessary requirement, and Allah may initially bestow it to people if He wills. However, due to His justice, Allah never initiates wrath unless people deserve it by their misconduct. This custom of Allah is also stated in a number of verses in the Quran. For instance:
"(Their manner) is like the manner of the People of Pharaoh and of those before them. They rejected the Signs of Allah, and Allah caught them for their sins; for Allah is Strong and Strict in punishment. That is because Allah will never change the bounty that He hath bestowed on a people until they change that which is in their souls (from obedience to disobedience), and (that is) because Allah is He Who hears and knows (all things). (8:52-53)"
Finally, more than thinking for our relief, we should have sympathy for the loneliness of Imam al-Mahdi (AS) who is forgotten by people in this period, and should pray to Allah to relieve him from the prison of occultation, which was the result of people's evil actions. Asbagh Ibn Nabata narrated:
The Leader of the faithful (AS) said, "The master of this kingdom is the forsaken, the deserted, and the lonely one."