Titles of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) in the Exegeses of Holy Quran
Holy Quran is one of the miracles of our noble prophet Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.a.). It is the book of Allah whose words were communicated from time to time through the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Allah has not left anything unexplained in His book and none can claim: “Had so and so been explained in the Quran” because the creator of the universe has gathered all the knowledge and sciences in His eloquent Book.
Any knowledge, which man is in need of, or will ever be, has been recorded by Allah in His eloquent book. Moreover, all the Muslims unanimously accept the fact that every belief found in Holy Quran is an Islamic belief and the true religion. Neither is it within the scope of this article to mention even briefly the sciences found in the Holy Quran, nor can anyone fathom its deep meanings. In order to understand any book, one is in need of a teacher and explanator. Similarly to understand and comprehend Quranic Knowledge too we need a teacher and an explanator. Therefore Allah the Almighty has appointed teachers for His book who explain its meanings and interpretations. To explain the Quranic knowledge and wisdom Allah has raised people who possess wisdom and knowledge. They are the keys to the treasurers of divine knowledge and the explanators for every difficult concept.
Hence in order to understand the meanings of Holy Quran, the interpretation and the actual implications of its verses it is necessary that we humbly present ourselves at the door of those sacred personalities endowed with Quranic Knowledge.
Allah has introduced these holy personalities in His book with several titles such as ‘Deeply rooted in Knowledge’, ‘People of Remembrance’, and ‘The Evident Imam’ and the like. This is because the actual implications of the Quranic verses are known only to them. Hence, in our discussion we will suffice ourselves with the traditions of the infallible Imams (a.s.) because the exegesis of Holy Quran by Ahle Bait (a.s.) is the only true and reliable explanation. The entire Majestic Quran is full of verses which praise the Ahle Bait (a.s.). We shall however limit our discussion to those verses which specifically talk about the person who shall establish the Quranic laws and regulations and shall explain the actual implications of its verses. Allah has addressed this ‘Inheritor of Quran’ by several titles in His book some of which are briefly mentioned hereunder:
The Right Path
Say: Every one (of us) is awaiting, therefore do await: So you will come to know who is the follower of the even path and who goes aright.
(Surah Taha (20), Verse 135)
Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) while interpreting this verse says:
“The Right Path refers to (Hazrat) Qaem (a.s.) and guidance refers to guidance towards his obedience. We can also find its example in the book of Allah:
And most surely I am most Forgiving to him who repents and believes and does good, then continues to follow the right direction.
(Surah Taha (20), Verse 82)
Imam (a.s.) continued
“He follows the right direction towards our obedience”.
(Al Burhaan, Vol. 3, Pg. 50, Al Muhajjah, Pg. 137, Ghaayatul Maraam, Pg. 455)
In the exegesis of this verse Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) has explained that
“The Right Path of Guidance” means Hazrat Wali-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.). Allah guides people towards his obedience. This is so because Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is the proof of Allah on this earth and obedience to him and his recognition is in fact obedience to and recognition of Allah.
In the traditions of Masomeen (a.s.) we find the following sentence:
“It is through us that Allah is worshipped and through Our medium Allah is recognized”.
We read in Ziyarat-e-Jaame’a thus:
“He who intends to reach Allah turns towards you.”
Thus it is amply clear that anyone who wishes to recognize Allah should seek recognition of Ahle Bait (a.s.) and one who wishes that Allah turns towards him should first earn the pleasure of Ahle Bait (a.s.).
It has always been the approach of the slaves of Allah to turn towards the Imam of their time, be it Janabe Salman (r.a.), Janabe Abu Zarr (r.a.), Janabe Habib Ibne Mazahir (r.a.), or Janabe Ali Ibn Yaqtin (a.r). Those who always adhered to Imams (a.s.) turned towards the “Face of Allah” of their time. For this very reason anyone reading Dua-e-Nudbah calls out to the ‘Face of Allah’ in this way:
“Where is the countenance of Allah through which the friends attend towards Him?”
In the same Dua we find the following sentence about Ahle Bait (a.s.).
“They Ahle Bait (a.s.) are the ways to approach you and means to gain your pleasure”.
Imam Zamana (a.t.f.s.) is that way to Allah in the present time.
It is for this reason that Holy Quran has addressed Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) by the title ‘The Right Path’.
Light of Allah.
They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths but Allah will perfect His light, though the unbelievers may be averse. He it is Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion, that He may make it overcome the religions, all of them, though the polytheists may be averse.
(Surah Saff (61), Verses 8-9)
While explaining the interpretation of this verse to Muhammad Ibn Fuzayl, Hazrat Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) said:
“They try to extinguish the Mastership of Ameerul Momeneen (a.s.)”.
Ibn Fuzayl asked Imam (a.s.): Then what is the meaning of “But Allah will complete His Light”.
Imam (a.s.) replied:
“Allah will complete (the light of) Imamat, like he has said ‘Those who believe in Allah and His messenger and the light which we have sent down upon them’. In this verse divine light refers to Imam (a.s.)”.
Ibn Fuzayl asked further “What is the meaning of “He it is who send His Messenger with guidance and the true religion”.
Imam (a.s.) replied:
“It means He it is who sent His Messenger with the order regarding the successorship of his successor. That is the true religion.”
Ibn Fuzayl inquired further “What is the meaning of “So that He Prevails it over all other religions”.
Imam (a.s.) said:
“So that He Prevails it over other religions through the uprising of Qaem (a.s.)”.
Imam (a.s.) then said:
Allah says “But He will complete His light”. This light refers to the Mastership of (Hazrat) Qaem (a.s.) even if the polytheists were averse to the Mastership of Imam Ali (a.s.).”
(Al Kaafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 432)
To further explain the above verse, following tradition from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) should suffice.
“By Allah, the actual implication of this verse has not occurred and will not occur till the reappearance of Qaem (a.s.), and when he (a.t.f.s.) reappears there will remain no disbeliever nor will anyone associate others in Imamat except that he will dislike the uprising of Qaem (a.s.). So much so that even if a polytheist hides himself in a stone, the stone shall say “O believer, a disbeliever lies inside me, you break me and kill him”.
(Kamaaluddin Vol 2 Pg 670)
All the Imams (a.s.) are undoubtedly the ‘Lights of Allah’, but Holy Quran has used this title for Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). The reason perhaps could be that Allah will illuminate this earth through Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) after his reappearance. Only Islam shall prevail on this earth and in this way the earth shall be illuminated and purified from darkness.
Allah has spoken of this condition in the following manner.
And the earth shall beam with the light of its Lord, and the Book shall be laid down, and the prophets and the witnesses shall be brought up, and judgment shall be given between them with justice, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly.
(Surah Zumar (39), Verse 69)
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) explains the above verse in the following manner:
“The Lord of earth refers to the Imam of the earth”.
The narrator asked “How will it be when Imam (a.s.) reappears?” Imam (a.s.) replied
“(when he reappears) the people will become needless of the light of the sun and the moon, because the sun and the moon are a small fraction of his light”.
(Al Kaafi, Vol. 4, Pg. 331; Al Muhajjah, Pg. 184; Tafseer-e-Noorus Saqalain, Vol. 4, Pg. 503)
“O Allah enlighten every darkness with his light”
(Salwaat-e-Abul Hasan Zarrab Isfahaani, Saheefa Mahdaviyyah)
The Spring of Water
Say: Have you considered if your water should go down, who is it then that will bring you flowing water?
(Surah Mulk (69), Verse 30)
Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:
“O Ammar, Allah the High and Almighty has promised me that He will bring forth nine Imams from the progeny of Husain (a.s.). The ninth among them will go in occultation, and Allah has referred to it in this verse. He will have a long occultation in which one of the groups will go back on religion and the other one will remain steadfast. He will reappear in the last era and fill the earth with Justice and Equity. He will fight for the reality (Taweel) of the Quran just as I fought for its revelation (Tanzeel). His name will be that of mine and he will bear resemblance to me more than anyone else. O Ammar, no sooner I leave this world, the corruption will start and when you see that happening you follow Imam Ali (a.s.) and his group”.
(Kifayatul Asar, Pg. 120; Al Burhaan, Vol. 4, Pg. 366; Al Muhajjah, Pg. 228; Al Awaalim, Vol. 15, Pg 115)
In another tradition Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) narrates:
“This verse has been revealed about Imam Qaem (a.s.).
Imam (a.s.) also said:
“If you find that your Imam is occult and don’t know where he is, then where will you find him who will inform about the news of the heavens and the earth, and teach you the permissible and prohibited of Allah? By Allah the actualization of this verse has not taken place nor is it possible till that time”.
(Kamaaluddin, Pg. 335; Al Saafi, Vol. 5, Pg. 206; Isbaatul Hudaat, Vol. 3, Pg 498)
Every living being is in need of water. Water comprises two thirds of this world and life exists because of it. When scientists seek to discover life on other planets they in fact attempt to search water there. The presence of water on any planet means that life exists there because water indicates life. Similarly, disappearance of water from any place leads to its destruction and the end of life therein. Moreover nothing in this world except water has the ability to quench ones thirst. In the same manner when the religion will be about to burn in the flames of oppression and injustice, Allah will bring forth this spring and revive the dead earth (religion) with it.
Thus Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is rightly called as the “Spring of Water”.
The Remnant of Allah
What remains with Allah is better for you if you are believers
(Surah Hud (11), Verse 86)
Ibn Sabbagh-e-Maaliki a renowned scholar of Ahle Sunnat narrates a long tradition in his book “Fusulul Muhimma” from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) about the signs of reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). In the end he writes that Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said:
“At that time our Qaem will reappear and he will stand reclining against the wall of the Kaaba and 313 from among sincere believers shall gather around and he shall before anything else recite this verse. He (a.s.) will then say “I am the remnant of Allah, I am the caliph of Allah on this earth and His proof over you”. At that moment people shall address him thus “O Remnant of Allah”.
(Al Fusulul Muhimmah, Pg. 302; Kashful Ghummah, Vol. 3, Pg. 324; A’laamul Waraa, Pg. 433; Tafseer-e-Noorus Saqalain, Vol. 2, Pg. 212; Al Saafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 468)
There is a tradition from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) which says
“If there is no divine proof the earth shall sink with its inhabitants”.
It is also clear form several other traditions that this earth owes its existence to the divine proof. i.e. in every era one person from the progeny of Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) will be Allah’s proof on this earth. After the martyrdom of Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) in 260 A.H till day, the existence of this universe and its inhabitants is clear evidence that a person form the progeny of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is present and due to his holy presence the earth and its inhabitants still exist. Our eyes always long to see his Holy Visage.
The Guardian of the Oppressed (Inheritor)
“And do not kill any one whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause, and whoever is slain unjustly, We have indeed given to his heir authority, so let him not exceed the just limits in slaying; surely he is aided.”
(Surah Isra (17), Verse 33)
Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) while explaining this verse said:
“The Oppressed in this verse refers to Imam Husain ibne Ali (a.s.) who was killed unjustly and we are his Inheritors and the Qaem (a.s.) is from us. When he reappears he shall avenge the blood of Imam Husain (a.s.). In this verse ?Maqtool? refers to Imam Husain (a.s.) and his ?Wali? refers to Hazrat Qaem (a.s.) and ?Israaf? means killing the one who did not participate in killing you”. ‘Surely they will be helped’ means this world will not end unless a person from the progeny of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is helped so that he fills the earth with justice and equity just as it was filled with oppression and tyranny.”
(Al Ayaashi, Vol. 2, Pg. 290; Al Muhajjah, Pg. 128; Al Burhaan, Vol. 2, Pg. 419; Tafseer-e-Noorus Saqalain, Vol. 3, Pg. 163)
The scrolls of history are replete with the cruel treatment meted out to the oppressed ones, but oppression reached its peak in Karbala. Allah neither commits injustice nor does He approve of it. In fact He shall avenge all the acts of injustice.
..and they who act unjustly shall know to what final place of turning they shall turn back.
(Surah Shu’ara (26), Verse 227)
Surely the believers are restless to avenge the martyrdom of Sayyed us Shohada (a.s.) and await the reappearance of the ‘Inheritor of Imam Husain (a.s.)’ so that they avenge the unjust killing of Imam Husain (a.s.).
In Dua-e-Nudbah we call upon the “Inheritor of Imam Husain (a.s.)” thus:
“Where are you, O the one who shall avenge the blood of the one killed in Karbala?”
The Distressed One whose prayers are answered
Or, Who answers the distressed one when he calls upon Him and removes the evil, and He will make you successors in the earth. Is there a god with Allah? Little is it that you mind!
(Surah Naml (27), Verse 62)
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says:
“This verse is revealed about the Qaem(a.s.) from the progeny of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.a.). By Allah he is the distressed one. He will offer two units (rakat) of prayers near Maqame Ibrahim and pray to Allah. Allah will answer his prayers and remove his difficulties and shall make him the Caliph on the earth.”
(Al Saafi, Vol. 4, Pg. 81; Isbatul Hudaat, Vol. 3, Pg. 553; Tafseer Al Burhaan, Vol. 3, Pg. 208; Tafseer-e-Noorus Saqalain, Vol. 4, Pg. 94)
Without doubt Allah listens to the voice of every grief stricken and responds to his call, but there are certain restless calls which He never returns unanswered. Imam Zamana (a.t.f.s.) is that grief stricken and oppressed person, whose heart is not only grieved with the tragic events of Karbala but also with the calamities inflicted on those who love him. Add to this the harm done by the enemies of Islam to Islam and Muslims. A Shia who was blessed with meeting Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) says that he saw blueness below the sacred eyes of Imam Zamana (a.t.f.s.) (due to excessive weeping). On asking the reason Imam (a.s.) replied:
“Tell my Shias that is not the tragedy of my ancestor enough for me to mourn that I should weep over your actions”. Perhaps this is the reason Holy Quran has called you by the title “O the Distressed one”
In the end we pray that Allah hastens the reappearance of his proof so that he avenges the blood of martyrs of Karbala, accords respect to his friends and disgraces his enemies especially those who distorted the interpretation of Holy Quran. Aameen.