Tests and Outcomes – Hazrat Ismail (a.s.), Imam Husain (a.s.) and Imam Mahdi (a.s.)
In the series of examinations and tribulations of Prophethood, the honour of one of the greatest sacrifices came in the share of Hazrat Ismail (a.s.), while it concluded in Aashoora. A Prophet’s (a.s.) dream demanded the interpretation of Allah’s obedience. A Prophet’s (a.s.) son is aware of all the particularities of Prophethood. Hence, there were no inhibitions, fear, apprehensions or hesitation with the idea of being slaughtered. Rather, considering his father as a Prophet of Allah and hence giving him preference over his own self – for the sake of fulfilling Allah’s command – he manifested his readiness and satisfaction in his full capacity. Here, just satisfy the curiosity of human nature – what would have happened had the lamb not replaced Hazrat Ismail (a.s.) and had the latter had been slaughtered in the way of Allah? What would have been the state of the world? What would the people think about the chain of Prophethood? Let us ask the mother of Hazrat Ismail (a.s.). On seeing the rope marks on the neck of her son, why did she ask this same question – what would have happened, had my son been slaughtered? It was due to the effect of this very trauma that Janabe Haajerah (s.a.), mother of Hazrat Ismail (a.s.), fell ill, did not live for long and passed away. Can anyone realise what Janabe Haajerah (s.a.) went through?
Centuries passed by. One civilization followed another.. One era succeeded the previous one. Yet – the Holy Kaaba, which was the heart of mankind – echoed still, the incident of Hazrat Ismail (a.s.) and the question remained – what would have happened had Hazrat Ismail (a.s.) been slaughtered? There would have not been any rituals of Hajj, animal sacrifice, circumambulation of the Holy Kaaba, walking between Safaa and Marwah, halting at Mina or passing the night at Muzdalefah in worship and collecting pebbles. The Hajj caravans wouldn’t have stayed at Arafat in remembrance of Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.). The land of Arafat wouldn’t have echoed with sounds of supplication and neither would the heart be pained at the time of bidding farewell to that land. We would have been deprived of the great bounty of Dua-e-Arafah by Imam Husain (a.s.). Here, the intention is to draw the attention of the readers of this article towards that Divine system where there is a great purpose hidden in every action of Allah. Hazrat Ibrahim’s (a.s.) dream was an order of Allah. Complying with that order was the responsibility of Prophethood. The slaughtering of the lamb was the glad tiding of the survival of Hazrat Ismail’s (a.s.) progeny. The rituals of Hajj were an annual reminder of that event and the words “great sacrifice” (Surah Saaffaat (37): Verse 107) were the subject line of the book of recognition of the incident of Karbala. The lamps of the verses of Holy Quran – about the establishment of justice and equity – were lit in its exegesis. At some place, it was said that when the earth shall be dead, Allah would then grant it a new lease of life and at another place it was said that the light of Allah cannot be extinguished through oppression. Sometimes, it was said that Allah’s religion shall indeed be dominant and at other times the verses made the ignorant aware – We shall appoint them as Imams and inheritors of the earth those who have been weakened on earth (Surah Qasas (28): Verse 5) and finally affirmed the faith of the believers, righteous and good doers by saying, “The Remnant of Allah is better for you if you are (among) the believers.” (Surah Hud (11): Verse 86)
Just as there is a long duration and era between saving Hazrat Ismail (a.s.) from being slaughtered until the ‘greatest sacrifice’ i.e. the sacrifices of the event of Karbala, similarly there is an unknown duration between the Aashoora of Imam Husain (a.s.) and the reappearance of the avenger of the martyrs of Karbala. It means that if Allah, the One who has power over all things, has sealed the greatest sacrifice by the “tranquil soul” (Surah Fajr (89): Verse 27) and if that golden seal is shining to such an extent that the lamps of hope and awaiting will always be lit by it, then whether the reappearance is near or far, it shall certainly occur. Allah, the Most High, has repeatedly given glad tidings about it. It is a Divine Promise. This decision is secure in the verses of the Holy Quran. He is the All Powerful, has power over all things and the reasons behind His intentions have already been mentioned. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has informed about each stage, completed the argument in every possible way and elucidated all the signs.
The radiant advent of Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) approaches. The signs are being manifested. But its abode is being prepared in the future. When every moment of this future passes through the present and goes into the past, then it leaves behind its signs, live signs, divine signs and the signs of the path to a peaceful heart which calls out – Beware! Thousands of satanic traps are spread all over. If you wish to make the stages of reappearance, which are already near, closer still then you will have to resort to supplications and prayers. To bring about an impact in your supplications, there is no alternative apart from abstinence from sins and being attached to piety. In order to bring about an impact in the supplications, for their spirituality, tenacity and effectiveness, it is necessary to create a pain and appeal in the hearts so much so that all celestial creations, as well as the angels, weep. On the day of Aashoora, at the time of bidding farewell, Imam Husain (a.s.) had raised a cry for assistance from his blessed tongue. From that day till today and from now on till the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.), the cry for assistance will continue echo in all parts of the world. The narrator Uqbah asked Imam Mohammad Baqir (a.s.), “May my father and mother be sacrificed for you. If we are far away from the grave of Imam Husain (a.s.) on the day of Aashoora, then how should we meet other distressed believers and condole them on the martyrdom of our oppressed Imam (a.s.)? What is its reward and recompense and what is the manner of (performing) it?” Imam (a.s.) replied, “Its reward is equal to a thousand Umrah (minor pilgrimages), a thousand Hajj (minor pilgrimages), a thousand holy wars which would be performed along with me and I shall be his guarantor. The way to perform it is that a believer should say to the other believer,
“May Allah magnify our reward and your reward, for our grief for Husain (a.s.) and may He place us and you among those who avenge his blood with His vicegerent, Imam al-Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) from the progeny of Mohammad (a.s.).”
A large caravan of travellers who, devote their body and soul for Imam Husain’s (a.s.) grief, with their palms filled with flames of the current state of affairs and with a ray of hope, is moving towards the tent of its Master and Imam (a.t.fs.). They are those Muslim servants of Allah, who have apparently been weakened but are robed with strong hearts of patience and steadfastness. Their every heartbeat calls out that the instance of reappearance of the Imam of the time has arrived. If their life does not remain faithful to them, then they advise and request their inheritors to remain steadfast on this path. O Lord! O the One who wards off calamities! Hasten the reappearance of our Master, Imam-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.) for the sake of Hazrat Ali Asghar (a.s.), the youngest martyr of Karbala!