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Late Ayatollah Bahjat has been quoted as having said: "The aged ones of this era will witness the moment of the reappearance of the Imam of Time (atf)." What is your opinion concerning this saying of the late Ayatollah?

Late Ayatollah Bahjat has been quoted as having said:

Late Ayatollah Bahjat has been quoted as having said: "The aged ones of this era will witness the moment of the reappearance of the Imam of Time (atf)." What is your opinion concerning this saying of the late Ayatollah?
Concise answer

We have enquired the office of late Ayatollah Bahjat about whether or not the Ayatollah had said those words and they denied that he had said them. Instead, His Eminence had said that whenever difficulties and hardship increase, then the time of reappearance is near. This saying by Ayatollah Bahjat is derived from a narration which says: "Before the reappearance, the seditions become visible and the world will be filled with oppression and injustice."

In addition, when it comes to fixing the time of the reappearance of the Imam of Time (may Allah hasten his reappearance), not only the time of his reappearance has not been fixed in the traditions but fixing time for his reappearance has been prohibited also. In fact, certain signs have been mentioned for the reappearance of the Imam of Time and it has been said that he will reappear when these signs become available.
Detailed Answer

In response to the foregoing question, we must mention a few points:

A) We have enquired the office of late Ayatollah Bahjat about whether or not the Ayatollah had said those words and they denied that he had said them. Instead, His Eminence had said that whenever difficulties and problems increase, then the time of reappearance is near[1]. This saying by Ayatollah Bahjat is derived from a narration which says: "Before the reappearance, the seditions become visible and the world will be filled with oppression and injustice."

B) When it comes to fixing the time of the reappearance of the Imam of Time (may Allah hasten his reappearance), not only the time of his reappearance has not been fixed in the traditions but fixing time for his reappearance has been prohibited also.

In this regard, a few narrations are mentioned as under:

1. Fudhail says, "I asked Imam Sadiq whether there was any specific time when the Mahdi would appear. The Imam in his response said three times: "Any one who fixes the time of the appearance is telling a lie"[2].

2. In another narration, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says: Those who fix a time are liars. We the household (of the Holy Prophet) have never fixed a time for the reappearance of the Imam of Time.[3]

3. In another narration, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says: "Any one who fixes the time of the appearance for you -- do not hesitate to falsify him, because we do not fix the time for the reappearance. Therefore, whatever he says is not from us. He has uttered it from his own mouth and it is a lie.[4] "

4. It is necessary to mention that according to some narrations, even the Imam of Time (a.s.) himself does not know the time of his reappearance, and that God, the Exalted, informs him, through specific signs, about the time of his reappearance.

Mufadhal bin Amr asked Imam Sadiq (a.s.) about the tafsir (interpretation) of the verse "when the trumpet is sounded"[5]. The Imam (a.s.) responded:

انّ منا اماما مستترا فاذا اراد الله عز و جل اظهار امره نکت فی قلبه نکتة فظهر و امر بامر الله عز و جل.

This narration well indicates that the Imam does not know the time of his reappearance and when he is going to reappear, God, the Exalted, informs him about his reappearance through specific signs[6].

C) The scholars give many reasons about why the time of reappearance is not fixed: Some of the reasons put forth by the scholars are as under:

1. Should the believers know the time of the reappearance, they will disclose it and the enemies of the Imam will take full preparation to confront and fight him.

2. God, the Exalted, want the awaiting people to wait for the Imam constantly and permanently. In case, the time of his reappearance is fixed, they will wait for him to come only on that time, so they will be oblivious and indifferent at other times.[7]

3. Since one of the reasons for the occultation of the twelfth Imam (atf) is to test the servants of Allah[8], therefore, it would require that the time of the reappearance be unknown and hidden to everyone so that the believers and non-believers may not be identified and distinguished from one another. That is why it has been narrated in some traditions that people, at the time of occultation, entertain doubt about the existence of the Imam of Age (atf). Perhaps, the cause of the people's doubt is that the time of the reappearance has not been fixed. The subject of reappearance is very much like death from this perspective.

4. According to many traditions, the time of reappearance is a matter of bada [change in creation or fate][9] and can be hastened and delayed. Therefore, if people are told that the Imam will reappear on a certain day or at a fixed time, and then if his reappearance is delayed, the people will begin to doubt about their religion and Imam.[10] As mentioned in a narration from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) about Moses who went to Mount Tur for 30 days but 10 days were added to the one month and subsequently the Sameri story took place which led people to go astray. The Imam says that if the time of the Imam's reappearance was known to people and if any delay occurred in his reappearance, it would cause people to doubt about their religion. That is why God did not fix the time of the reappearance.[11]

D) The signs for his coming are categorized into different groups, one of them being their classification into "certain" and "uncertain" signs: According to some hadiths, five signs are considered "certain" and they are the emergence and rise of an evil character by the name of Sufyani, the echo of a divine call and also a satanic call in the skies, the rising of the sun from the west, a civil war in the army of falsehood, the killing of the Nafs Zakiyyah and the caving in of the earth at Bayda."[12]

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says: Fifteen days before the reappearance of the Imam of Time (a.s.), Nafs Zakiyyah will be martyred.[13]

And also he says: Before the advent of the Imam of Time (atf), a caller shall proclaim from the sky and call the people towards him and all the people of the earth shall hear that call.[14]

There is a verse in the Holy Quran which says:

«و استمع یوم ینادی المنادی من مکان قریب یوم یسمعون الصیحة بالحق ذلک یوم الخروج»

"And listen on the day when the crier shall cry from a near place. The day when they shall hear the cry in truth; that is the day of coming forth."[15]

The Imam says in the interpretation of the above verse: On the day of the reappearance of the Imam of Time (atf), a caller shall proclaim from the sky and call him by his name and his father's name and will give people glad-tiding on his reappearance.[16]

It has been narrated from the Holy Prophet (s) that he, referring to the events and incidents of the apocalypse, said: "When Sufyani will arise from the valley of Yabis and reach Damascus, there, he will prepare two armies and will send one of them in the direction Baghdad where they will kill people and plunder the city. He will send the other army to Medina which it [the army] will destroy and then the army will move on to Mecca. When the army arrives in Bayda, the land of Bayda will open up and swallow all of them."[17]

In many traditions, the coming out of Yamani in revolt has also been considered as a sign of the reappearance of the Imam of Time (atf).[18]

 

 

[1] - "اذا اشتد الامر قرب الفرج"

[2] - Saafi Gulpaigani, Muntakhab al-Athar, p.463, 3rd edition, Tehran Publication Center; Shaykh Tusi, Al-Ghaybah, p.262.

[3] - Ibid.

[4] - Ibid.

[5] - Al-Mudaththir: 8

[6] - Saduq, Ikmal al-Deen wa Itmam al-Ne'mah, vol.2, p.349, h.42

[7] - Majlisi, Behar al-Anwar, vol.95, pg. 159.

[8] - Shaykh Tusi, Al-Ghaybah, pg. 206.

[9] - Majlisi (r.a.), Behar al-Anwar, vol.51, pg. 86.

[10] - Musavi Esfahani, Muhammad Taqi, Mikyal al-Makarem fi Fawaed al-Du'ah Lil-Qaem (atf), vol.2, pg. 338, Al-Bab al-Thamen fi Takalif al-'Ibad bin-Nisbati Elayhi.

[11] - Shaykh Tusi, Al-Ghaibah, pg. 262.

[12] - Saduq, Kamal al-Deen, vol.2, pg. 649, hadith 1; Tusi, Al-Ghaybah, p. 267; Muntkhab al-Durrah, pg. 455, hadith 5, and pg. 442, hadith 16.

[13] - Saafi, Gulpaigani, Lotfullah, Muntkhab al-Athar, pg. 456, hadith 13, and pg. 439, hadith 1 and 2, Tusi, Al-Ghaybah, pg. 271, Saduq, Kamal al-Deen, vol.2, pg. 649, hadith 2.

[14] - Tusi, Al-Ghaibah, pg. 111.

[15] - Surah Qaf 50: 41 - 42.

[16] - Saafi Gulpaigani, Lotfullah, Muntakhab al-Athar, pg. 447, hadith 2.

[17] - Ibid, pg. 456, hadith 9 and 11.

[18] - Tusi (r.a), Al-Ghaybah, pg. 267.

 

 


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