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Question 026: What are the benefits of Imam Mahdi during occultation?

Answer 026: Imam Mahdi (ajtf) is the channels and mediators between us and Allah’s (swt) grace and mercy. If He wasn’t in this world the human beings’ dynasty would be overthrown. If He doesn’t exist Allah would not be known completely, and as a result the relation between this universe and the Creator would be broken off.

The following are some of the benefits the existence of Imam Mahdi (ajtf) bring, according to ahadith and the sayings of great scholars regarding this issue:

  1. The Imam is the mediators between us, the human beings and Divine grace: The Holy Prophet (pbuh) was asked, what is the benefit of Imam Mahdi during occultation? He replied: Yes. By Allah who appointed me as a Messenger they will benefit from the rays of the light of his imamate during his occultation. [He will be useful during his occultation] just as the sun hidden behind the clouds is useful for people. O Jabir! This is one of the secrets of Allah and the remaining of His knowledge and therefore keep it secret from unworthy people. [1]

Arabic version:

إِي وَ الَّذِي بَعَثَنِي بِالنُّبُوَّةِ إِنَّهُمْ يَسْتَضِيئُونَ بِنُورِهِ وَ يَنْتَفِعُونَ بِوَلَايَتِهِ فِي غَيْبَتِهِ كَانْتِفَاعِ النَّاسِ بِالشَّمْسِ وَ إِنْ تَجَلَّلَهَا سَحَابٌ يَا جَابِرُ هَذَا مِنْ مَكْنُونِ سِرِّ اللَّهِ وَ مَخْزُونِ عِلْمِهِ فَاكْتُمْهُ إِلَّا عَنْ أَهْلِهِ

The same question was asked Imam Mahdi (ajtf) and His Excellency has replied: I am useful during my occultation just as the sun hidden behind the clouds is useful for people.[2] Indeed, I am the cause of Tranquility and Peace for the people of this universe as the stars are for the sky.

  1. Spiritual Guidance: The Imam’s (as) duty is not only stating the Islamic teachings or apparently guiding people, but His other responsibility is to spiritually guiding us to the Right Path.

In the Holy Quran Allah (SWT) says: “And We made them leaders guiding by Our command. And We inspired to them the doing of good deeds, establishment of prayer, and giving of zakah; and they were worshippers of Us.”[3]

Arabic version:

وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ فِعْلَ الْخَيْرَاتِ وَإِقَامَ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءَ الزَّكَاةِ ۖ وَكَانُوا لَنَا عَابِدِينَ

Also, Allah says: “And We made from among them leaders guiding by Our command when they were patient and [when] they were certain of Our signs.”[4]

Arabic version:

وَجَعَلْنَا مِنْهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُوا ۖ وَكَانُوا بِآيَاتِنَا يُوقِنُونَ

According to these verses of the holy Quran, we come to this conclusion that other than guiding people normally, the Imams (pbuth) are also responsible to spiritually guide their souls.

  1. Protecting the Divine Religion: Imam Ali (as) says: a group of people, as for the blessing of Imam Mahdi (as), will get ready to protect religion and suppress the seditions. By the holy Quran, their eyes are open, meaning and interpretation of the holy Quran will be explained to them and they will be taught Divine wisdom and sciences.[5]

Imam Sajjad (as) was asked about how the people make use of an “absent” imam; the imam answered: “The same way people benefit from the sun when it is behind the clouds.”[6]

The same way the sun gives off light and radiation behind the clouds, the imam in occultation is a source of guidance to the people (whether they know it or not).[7]

4- The upholding of clear signs and proof: No matter in occultation or amongst the people, the imams are the “proof” [hujjah] of Allah (swt) in this world [meaning that Allah (swt) has sent them to be followed, leaving no excuses for those who don’t], rising sincerely for Him with clear proof and signs.

Imam Ali (as) says: “O Kumayl!  This earth will never be without the hujjahs [proofs] who will prove the universality of truth as disclosed by Allah, they may be well-known persons, openly and fearlessly declaring the things revealed to them or they may, under fear of harm, injury or deaths hide themselves from the public gaze and may carry on their mission privately so that the reasons proving the reality of truth as preached by religion and as demonstrated by His Prophet may not totally disappear .”[8]  Other hadiths with the same theme can also be found that confirm the fact that the world never lacks Allah’s (swt) “proof” [meaning the imam].

5- Channels and mediators between us and Allah’s (swt) grace and mercy: Imam Sajjad (as) says: “We (the imams) are the means of the safekeeping of this world, we are the reason for the skies not collapsing onto the earth, the reasons why the clouds rain and the blessings of the ground emerge.  If it wasn’t for us, the earth would swallow its inhabitants…The world has never been free of a “divine proof”, the only thing is that sometimes he is present, while at other times, he is “absent” [which in reality means that he is unseen, not that he isn’t present at all].”[9]

In the famous and great ziyarah of Jame’ah Kabirah, some of these benefits and blessing have been pointed to:

“It is because of you [the imams] that Allah (swt) sends down the rain, it is because of you that the skies don’t collapse unto the earth, and it is because of you that sorrows and harms are relieved of and adverted.”[10]

It is because of the imams that Allah (swt) showers His general and special blessings upon the people and the Shiites.

3- Making use of Imam Mahdi’s existence (aj) by the people:

Imam Sajjad was asked about how the people make use of an “absent” imam; the imam answered: “The same way people benefit from the sun when it is behind the clouds.”[11]

The same way the sun gives off light and radiation behind the clouds, the imam in occultation is a source of guidance to the people (whether they know it or not).[12]

Muhaqqiq Tusi, one of the Shia’s greatest scholars says: “The existence of the imam is a divine grace, and the changes and things he does are another.  The reason why he is “absent” [not seen by us] is because of our own actions [and has nothing to do with him][13].”   What Muhaqqiq Tusi is trying to say is that him just being there and all the benefits that follow this presence of his are a great divine grace, although if he were to be seen by us as well, it would have also been another grace and other benefits would also follow.

Add to all of the above the fact that knowing the imam is present and aware of all that we do can factor greatly into many people moving towards virtuousness and righteousness [out of love and respect to the imam and because they know he is watching].

6- His aid and inspiration regarding scientific and spiritual matters which only belongs to the believers:[14] His Excellency pays great attention to the believers and Shia and prevents many calamities and disasters from taking place for them.  He also helps those who have the capacity to reach higher levels of spirituality [sometimes with them knowing it, and sometimes not].  Imam Mahdi (aj) says: “We never forget you and it is because of us that Allah (swt) averts dangers [that threaten you].”[15]

For further information, please read the following answers:

Index: Possibility of Establishing Relationship with Imam Mahdi, answer 0513.

Index: When appear: Imam Mahdi (ajtf) brings a new order, Method or Shari’ah with Him, answer 022.

Index:  The Benefits of Imam Mahdi (ajtf) during His occultation, answer 026.

Index: The Signs of the Re-Emergence, according to ibn Mahziyar Ahwazi, answer 072.

Index: General appearance of Imam Mahdi (ajtf), answer 267.

[1] . Kamal al-Din, Vol. 1, chapter 23, H. 3.

[2] . Kamal al-Din, Vol. 1, chapter 45, H. 4.

[3] . Surah Anbiya, verse 73.

[4] . Surah Sajdah, verse 34.

[5] . Ihtijaj Tabarsi, Vol. 2, Pg. 497.

[6] Farhange Mo’udnameh, pg. 529.

[7] Intizar Magazine, issue 5, pg. 130, article of Ali Rabbani Golpaygani.

[8] Nahjul-Balaghah, Saying 147; Al-Kafi, vol. 1, pg. 179.

[9] Mojtaba Tune’i, Farhange Alefbayiye Mo’udnameh, pg. 529; Biharul-Anwar, vol. 52 pg. 92.

[10] Mafatihul-Jinan, Ziyarah Jami’ah Kabirah.

[11] Farhange Mo’udnameh, pg. 529.

[12] Intizar Magazine, issue 5, pg. 130, article of Ali Rabbani Golpaygani.

[13] انحصار اللطف فيه معلوم للعقلاء و وجوده لطف و تصرفه آخر و عدمه منا  Kashful-Morad, pg. 363.

[14] Mikyalul-Makarem, vol.1, pg. 271, quoted by Farhange Mo’udnameh, pg. 593.

[15] Jum’eye Entezar, issue 5, pp. 135-142.

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