A common tactic used by the proponents of the religious (clerical) establishment to deceive the innocent followers and to impress on their minds that their leaders are rightly guided is to attribute to them stories about meetings with Imam-e-Zamanaajtf, and how through these meetings, the Imamajtf guides and corrects them. Many incidents have been narrated in books and they are widely used in lectures to gain popularity and support. The motive, through these incidents, is to claim a type of divine sanction for them being on the right path and to claim that they are the only sect out of the 73 for which salvation is guaranteed.
There is no doubt that Imam-e-Zamanaajtf indirectly helps the people in both the worldly and religious issues. We believe that today the person in charge of the whole system of the universe is none other than our Imamajtf. Heajtf is the ruler and Ulul Amr (Absolute Master) and hisajtf job is to establish order. Hisajtf commands are practically imposed through hisajtf servants and slaves, the angels also being included among them. The complete network of forces working on this earth is in the control of Imamajtf.
Can someone physically meet the Imamajtf
The question is whether someone can physically meet the Imamajtf in a way that the person recognizes himajtf either during or after the meeting and is sure that he has met the Imamajtf? Or can someone meet Imam-e-Zamanaajtf in a dream and be guided by himajtf? First of all to meet and recognize someone in a dream, one must have met the person physically at least once and have been introduced to him. And how can one be so convinced that the person they saw was indeed Imam-e-Zamanaajtf? What is the truth in these claims? Either these are a figment of imagination, hallucinations or complete lies in order to gain fame and notoriety. Even the scholars who listened to these false claims did not object and put a stop to them. On the other hand, they promoted and continued to popularize these incidents either because they help serve their purpose or because they themselves are planning to use these tactics to gain fame and popularity.
In this article we will examine if it is possible to meet Imam-e-Zamanaajtf in a way that one can recognize himajtf and also critically review a popular incident narrated frequently from the time of Sheikh Mufid where the Imamajtf intervened to correct his fatwa. First let us review a passage from the Tawqih Mubaraka (Book of Imam Zamanaajtf):
Imam al-Mahdi’s last letter to the Fourth Deputy
You will pass away within six days. So prepare yourself and do not leave your position (deputy of the Imamajtf) to anyone else, since the second Occultation has started and I will not reappear except by God’s permission. The reappearance will occur after a very long time when people’s hearts become inexorable and the Earth is rife with cruelty and brutality. Soon some of my, Shiites will claim they have met me. Be aware that anyone who claims to meet me before the rise of Sufyani and the Heavenly Cry is a kazzab (liar – one who makes false claims against Allah, the Holy Prophet and his Progeny). [Source: al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Kamal al-din, vol. 2, p. 516]
The above Tawqi (message of Imam Mahdiajtf) which is unanimously accepted by all is very clear and transparent and should remove all doubts concerning the possibility of having direct contact with the Imamajtf in a way that one can recognize him.
Surah Baqarah and Imaan bil ghayb (belief in the unseen)
Belief in the existence of Imamajtf is from the articles of faith and it is the belief in unseen. In Surah Baqarah, the very first condition of taqwa (piety) is imaan bilghayb (belief in the unseen). Those who believe in the ghayb (unseen) – that which is hidden from the sensory perceptions from the affairs which are an obligatory part of our belief like the day of resurrection, the reckoning, the angels, the shayaatin (satanic forces), the paradise, the fire, etc. All that cannot be perceived and witnessed but we must believe without having any doubt.
(It has been narrated) from Abu Abdullah asws regarding the Words of Allah azwj the Mighty and Majestic [2:2] Guidance for the pious [2:3] those who believe in the unseen, said: ‘One who accepts that the rising of the Al-Qaim asws is true’. [Source: Tafseer Noor Al Saqalayn Ch 2 – H 11]
Belief in the ghaibat (imaan bil ghayb) is a difficult test for mankind. If a person were to see an element from the ghaibat then would there be any test remaining for that person? Therefore we must accept that it is impossible to reach the ghaibat (except by the Imams – but that is a different discussion). Belief in the ghaibat of Al Qaim (Imam-e-Zamana) and belief in his rising is part of imaan bil ghayb. Can someone claim that they have met Prophet Isaas, Prophet Ilyasas or Hazrat Khidhr. When no one can reach these ghayabats, then how can they reach one who is the ghayab of all ghayab (hidden of all those things which are hidden)?
In spite of the clear Tawqih of the Imamajtf and clear interpretations from the Quran, we hear claims such as “When we find ourselves in any sort of problem, Imamajtf himself comes to us and informs us of the correct action to take”. Others claim to meet regularly with Imam Zamanaajtf and during these meetings they are taught knowledge. While some others go so far as to claim that the Imamajtf embraced one of the scholars so tightly to hisajtf chest, that all knowledge was passed into his heart making him into ‘bahr-ul-uloom’ (ocean of knowledge).
Incident of Sheikh Mufid and the Twelfth Imamajtf
A commonly quoted incident is about how the Imamajtf intervened to correct the fatwa of Sheikh Mufid. Once a person from a village in the neighborhood asked the Sheikh to advise him on the death of a lady in their village and that lady died while delivering her child. The Sheikh told him to bury the lady along with her live baby. The man expressed his gratitude towards the Sheikh and left. On his way, someone called him and said that the Sheikh has sent you a message: first take the baby out from the mother’s womb and then bury her. A few years later, that man and the child came to the Sheikh again and thanked him for sending that message. The Sheikh was now convinced that the man with the message was Imam Mahdi. The Sheikh understood his mistake, and sadly went to his house, closed the door, and decided not to issue fatwas anymore. The Imam then encouraged Sheikh Mufid (through a letter) to continue to do ijtihad and issue fatwas and assured him that he would correct/protect them.
See for example:
The above story is a concoction for the following reasons:
1. There are clear hadith in Al Kafi which say that the live baby should be taken out. Below are the hadith:
Ali Bin Ibrahim, from his father, from Ibn Abu Umeyr, from one of his companions, from Abu Abdullah asws regarding the dying woman and the child is moving in her belly, should her belly be split and the child taken out?’ So he asws said: ‘Yes, and her belly would be stitched’.
A number of our companions, from Ahmad Bin Muhammad Bin Khalid, from wahab Bin Wahab, from Abu Abdullah asws having said: Amir Al Momineen asws said: ‘When the woman dies and in her belly is a moving child, and it is feared upon him, so split open her belly and take out the child’.
And he asws said regarding the dying woman, and her child is inside her belly, so it is feared upon her: ‘There is no problem if the man (her husband) inserts his hand, cuts it off and extracts it, when the women are not gentle with it’
It is unimaginable that Sheikh Mufid being a great and learned scholar well versed with the traditions of the Masumeenas was unaware of these clear hadith in the most reliable collection of Al Kafi.
2. Even if Sheikh Mufid was unaware of the above hadith, who in their right mind would issue such a verdict so as to cause an innocent baby to be murdered alive?
3. Were people so naive as to believe the word of any random horseman who came to reverse the fatwa? Would they not have asked for proof whether the person was really the agent of Sheikh Mufid.
4. If Imamajtf encouraged Sheikh Mufid to continue ijtihad, issue fatwas and that he would correct them then why is the Imamajtf not correcting the fatwas of the maraaje today? Why are there differences between them?
5. Sheikh Mufid was born in 336 AH which is 7 years after the major occultation of the Imamajtf. How was he able to receive a letter from him?
Agha Khomeini and Imam Mahdiajtf
These deceptions have reached new extremes and now claims are being made on how Agha Khomeini was being guided continuously by the Imamajtf As an example see the following link: At the beck and call of Imam Mahdi’s orders
The claims made in the above link are so outrageous that they are a disgrace and dishonor to our Masumeenas.
Marifat of the Imamajtf
Marifat is not necessarily gained through physical contact. If that were the case, then there were thousands of people present during the times of the Holy Prophet (sawas) and the Masumeenas who not only saw themas but also the miracles performed by themas. These people should have had a great level of marifat, but we find unfortunately except for a relatively few people all others remained kafir (disbeliever), munafiq (hypocrite), and munkir (deniers).
To experience the true Ziyarat of Imamajtf we must purify our nafs from worldly filth and turn our full attention towards the Imamajtf. We should suppress our worldly desires and ask Allah (swt) with total sincerity to be able to become one with the mission of our Imamajtf.
We need to directly connect with the Masumeenas through their hadith and we need to remove the false scholars and intermediaries between us and the Masumeenas. These false scholars are barriers which prevent us from accessing the Masumeenas and approaching closer to themas.
Once we are on the right path, we will be connected to Imam-e-Zamanaajtf that not even for a moment will we feel a separation from himajtf. The rays of the noor of Imamajtf will directly touch our heart and encompass our whole body. This is the true Ziyarat of Imam Zamanaajtf and this is the true marifat. The righteous people who saw the Masoomeenas and gained their marifat did not achieve it through physical contact, but rather through the purity of their heart and soul.