Remembering Imam (a.s.) – An important responsibility
Our responsibilities during the major occultation (Ghaibat) of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) have been dealt with in great detail in the book, ‘Mikyalul Makarem Fi Favaidid Dua lil Qaem’ (a.t.f.s.) by Ayatullah Mohammad Taqi Musawi Isfahani (r.a.). He has highlighted the responsibilities in the second volume of the book. Just by looking at the responsibilities outlined in the book
it should be clear to the reader that fulfilling these duties is beneficial to us and forsaking them is detrimental to our interests. We realize that executing these responsibilities is proof of our love and attachment for Imam (a.t.f.s.). Performance of action is an important indication of strength of faith. Moreover, it makes one successful in this world and the hereafter. We will discuss one important responsibility, which is fairly easy to observe and very beneficial. The duty is remembering Imam (a.t.f.s.) and reminding thers about him (a.t.f.s.). This responsibility can be accomplished individually as well as socially.
The first step in fulfilling this duty is to increase our love towards Ahle Bait (a.s.). Books are laden with traditions regarding the love of Ahle Bait (a.s.). Here, we will outline three traditions dealing with the topic.
(1) Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) says: ‘Surely for every act of worship, there is another superior to it and the love of us – Ahle Bait – is the most superior act of worship.’
(Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 27, pg. 91, trad. 148)
We are thankful to Allah that we were born in a family where the love of Ahle Bait (a.s.) was continuously infused in our hearts, just as food and water was constantly fed into our bodies.
(2) The standard for perfect faith and glad tidings on the Day of Judgment is the love of Imam Zamana (a.t.f.s.). The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) declared:
‘(If one wishes) to have perfect faith and desires that his Islam is best, then he should love Hujjat – Sahebuz Zamana Al Muntazar (Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.)). Whoever loves them (Imams (a.s.)) and accepts their mastership, then I take guarantee from Allah, the High, for Paradise .’
(Behaarul Anwar, vol. 36, pg. 296)
Dear readers, the only way to increase the love of Ahle Bait (a.s.) is their remembrance. An important benefit of this remembrance is that we will be safe from the assaults of Shaitan. A great scholar used to explain to his students that Shaitan is smarter than we are. He has promised Allah that he will deviate the progeny of Adam (a.s.). To achieve his aim he employs various tactics to deviate us. The easiest and the most successful way to save ourselves from his deceit is put the shield of remembrance of Ahle Bait (a.s.) between ourselves and Shaitan. We find a similar concept in traditions as explained by the scholar to his students. Shaitan stays away from those who are busy in the remembrance of Ahle Bait (a.s.).
(3) Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said to his famous companion, Dawood bin Sarhan:
‘O Dawood, give my salutations to my Shias and convey my message to them that when two persons meet and discuss our traditions then Allah’s mercy is on both of them. The third between them is an angel who seeks forgiveness for them. No two persons meet and discuss about us but Allah prides Himself on this fact among His angels. (I order you) whenever you meet keep yourself busy in our remembrance. This remembrance enlivens our affairs. The best people after us are those who narrate our traditions and invite people towards them.’
(Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 1, pg. 200)
Dear readers, Imam (a.s.) in this brief tradition, has conveyed some important points:
1) Whenever two persons discuss the traditions of the Holy Infallibles (a.s.), the third entity among them is an angel and not Shaitan.
2) The angel seeks forgiveness for all persons participating in the iscussion. It is quite possible that our repentance is not accepted by Allah, but the supplications of angels are always accepted.
3) The holy Infallible Imam (a.s.) is constantly praying for Allah’s mercy for all these persons who discuss the traditions.
4) Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) has ordered us to gather and discuss traditions of the Ahle Bait (a.s.).
5) When their traditions are discussed, the affairs of the holy Infallibles (a.s.) are enlivened.
6) Allah, the Almighty, prides over such gatherings.
7) Such people will be enumerated among the best people. An Arab poet who was intensely attached to Imam Zamana (a.t.f.s.) has recited the following couplet: ‘Allah knows that I don’t remember (you) How do I remember you when I don’t forget you.’
(Mikyalul Makarem Fi Favaidid Dua Lil Qaem, vol. 2, pg. 308)
The above couplets are an example of the tradition of Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) when a person asked him whether the twelfth Imam (a.s.) will be unseen? Imam (a.s.) replied: ‘Yes, physically he will be unseen but his remembrance will not be absent from the hearts of the believers and he is the twelfth one from us.’
(Kamaluddin Wa Tamamun Nemah, chap. 34, trad. No. 6)
May our lives be sacrificed for Babul Hawaij – Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.). Most of his life was spent in worshipping Allah in the dreadful and uncomfortable prison of the Abbasides. In the above tradition, he emphasizes the importance of remembering our last Imam (a.t.f.s.) at all times.
In another incident we learn the significance of remembering Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). Once an old person from Syria came to Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.). He saluted Imam (a.s.), kissed his hand and started crying. Imam (a.s.) consoled him and asked him the reason for crying. He said: O master! After the incident of Karbala, every day I have been anticipating that maybe today or tomorrow, this week or the next week, this month or the next month, this year or the next year, an individual from the progeny of Imam Husain (a.s.) will rise and avenge his blood. But I do not see any sign of this (rising) in you.’ After hearing this, Imam (a.s.) cried even more than the old man and said: O old man, I am not that individual (who is to rise) but he is the last from us, Hujjat bin Hasan Askari (a.t.f.s.). As you have his love in your heart and you await him, even if you die before his reappearance he will raise you from your grave.
(Muntahal Aamaal, Shaykh Abbas-e-Qummi (r.a.))
O lovers of the oppressed Imam (a.s.)! O aggrieved ones for Imam Husain (a.s.) – the beloved of the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) daughter (s.a.)! Is it possible that we be negligent of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) heir and abandon his remembrance from our hearts and gatherings Remember, if we are the true lovers of Imam (a.t.f.s.), then we should remember the avenger of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) blood just like that old Syrian who came in Imam Sadiq’s (a.s.) presence. Like him we must also cry and beseech Allah for Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) earliest reappearance. We should know that the one who is fully aware of the incident of Karbala and of the oppression inflicted upon Janabe Zahra (s.a.)
remembers his Shias by saying: ‘Surely we are never negligent of your affairs nor do we forget your remembrance.’
After witnessing such affection on Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) part, does it behove us that we remember him (a.t.f.s.) only on 15th Shabaan According to reliable traditions, our deeds are presented to Imam (a.t.f.s.) twice a week. When he (a.t.f.s.) glances at our bad deeds he (a.t.f.s.) cries intensely and supplicates to Allah that their (Shias) hearts are filled with the love of my ancestors (a.s.), therefore forgive their sins. Dear readers, let us resolve that from today, we will perform certain recommended acts to remember Imam (a.t.f.s.) and through it, we will save ourselves from the attacks of Shaitan. With this we will include ourselves amongst those people for whom the angels seek forgiveness and Allah prides over them. In this m anner we will
be under Allah’s perpetual mercy and will be included among the true lovers of Imam Husain (a.s.) and not be the cause of Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) sorrow and grief.
1) To recite Dua-e-Ahad after every morning prayer. It is narrated from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) that one who recites Dua-e-Ahad for forty mornings, then Inshallah, he will be included among the companions and helpers of Imam (a.t.f.s.) at the time of his (a.t.f.s.) reappearance. If he dies before Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) reappearance, he (a.t.f.s.) will raise him from his grave. We remember Imam (a.t.f.s.) in this Dua with these beautiful words: ‘They (enemies) perceive your reappearance as distant but we consider it as near.’ ‘O my Allah, if death comes between me and him (Imam (a.t.f.s.)), which you have decreed as a certainty for your servants, then raise me from my grave, enshrouded, my sword uncovered, wielding a naked spear
answering to the call of the caller in cities as well as deserts!’ This supplication can be found in Mafateehul Jinaan (without translation) pg. 542, published by Haidari Kutub Khana, Mafateehul Jinaan (with translation) pg. 988, published by Tanzeemul Makatib, Beharul Anwaar, vol. 102, pg. 112)
2) Every Friday morning to organize an assembly for Dua-e-Nudba in the house and/or in the locality. Nudba means intense wailing. In this supplication, the lovers of Imam Husain (a.s.) in the condition of waiting asks: ‘Where is the one who will take the revenge of the blood of the martyrs of Karbala ‘I wish I had known where you are living!’
‘May my life be sacrificed for you, you are the desire of every believing man and woman who has remembered you and sympathised with you.’
This supplication can also be found in Mafateehul Jinaan (without translation) pg. 536, published by Haidari Kutub Khana, Mafateehul Jinaan (with translation) pg. 974, published by Tanzeemul Makatib
3) To organize gatherings and assemblies (majaalis) wherein Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) is remembered. Enliven the hearts of your children and believers. It is narrated in traditions that hearts are enlivened with the remembrance of Imam (a.t.f.s.) and sins are forgiven. The hearts will remain alive on that Day when all other hearts will be dead. For more details, refer Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 1, pg. 200.
4) Read and narrate the incidents of people who have met Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) so that the desire and love of meeting Imam (a.t.f.s.) is revived in the hearts. A lover of Imam (a.t.f.s.) has stated beautifully:
‘We desire to see you but this journey is not possible. If we are unable to reach you, then you only come to us.’
5) As it is commanded in the last verse of Surah Aal-e-Imran, ‘And be in contact’ Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) says ‘Be in contact with your Imam, the Awaited One’. Day and night whenever you get the time be in contact with your Imam (a.t.f.s.). ‘And be in contact’ in occultation means to always remember Imam (a.t.f.s.), to seek mediation (tawaasul) through him (a.t.f.s.) and to seek solution of all our problems through him (a.t.f.s.) only.
6) Shaikh Abu Amr has narrated ‘Dua-e-Ghaibat’ from Imam (a.s.). This supplication should be recited on Friday. Sheikh Abbas-e-Qummi (r.a.) has narrated in his book, ‘Muntahal Aamaal’ that even if no recommended action is performed on Friday then at least one should read this supplication and should never abandon it as it is prayed to have perfect belief in Imam (a.t.f.s.) in the period of occultation. This supplication can be found in Mafateehul Jinaan (without translation) pg. 588, published by Haidari Kutub Khana.
7) Before performing any action we must think whether Imam (a.t.f.s.) will be pleased with it or not O Allah, by the right of Hazrat Zahra (s.a.) fill our hearts with the love of Imam (a.t.f.s.) and give us the taufeeq to remember him (a.t.f.s.) and make others remember him (a.t.f.s.).
8) In the month of Muharram or even otherwise, whenever we cry for the martyrs of Karbala and the prisoners of Ahle Bait (a.s.), we should offer our condolences to the one who will avenge the blood of Imam Husain (a.s.) and we should pray for his earliest reappearance.
9) We must celebrate the birthday of Imam (a.t.f.s.) on 15th Shabaan in such a way that people inquire about the occasion. Apart from reciting verses in praise of Imam (a.t.f.s.), we should organize other programmes so that people can increase their recognition (marefat) of Imam (a.t.f.s.) and attain proximity towards him (a.t.f.s.).