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Duties of Shias towards Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.)

By Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Musavi Isfahani

1-To obtain knowledge about the special characteristics of Imam (A.S.)
This is obligatory according to texts (Quran and Hadith), and reason.
Rational Proof: Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.) is a guide and a leader whose obedience is compulsory and it is necessary to recognize correctly one whose obedience is compulsory. So that if someone lays a false claim to be that leader, he can be exposed at once and we shall not be misguided by his false propaganda. Thus the Marefat of Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.) is wajib and it is also wajib to learn about his special characteristics so that if a false claimant of Mahdaviyat appears we can, at once, realize his falsehood.
Textual Proof: Shaykh Sadooq (r.a.) has recorded a tradition of Imam Musa Kazim (A.S.) that he said, "One who doubts about four things has denied everything revealed by Allah. One of these being the Marefat of the Imam of age."
In addition to the above there are dozens of traditions that emphasize the necessity of having the Marefat of one's Imam (A.S.), because if one is unaware of his lineage and descent etc, there is a great risk of misunderstanding. Also if the actual characteristics and qualities of the Imam are not known how can one understand the scope of his Imamat? Therefore, knowledge of his lineage and personal qualities is very important.

2, To be respectful while mentioning him
A momin should always mention Imam (A.S.) with the best of the titles. For example, Hujjat, Qaem, Mahdi, Sahibul Amr and Sahibuz-Zaman etc. He should refrain from uttering his actual name, which is the name of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.): (M - H - M - D).
There are varying opinions among the scholars, as regards the pronouncing of the name of Imam (A.S.). Some have given unrestricted permission, some have prohibited it completely, some have allowed it except in Taqaiyya and some consider it Makrooh (detestable). Others maintain that the prohibition of uttering his name was restricted to the period of Lesser Occultation (Ghaibat-e-Sughra). In spite of myriad opinions the following are accepted facts:
1. It is allowed to mention the name of Imam (A.S.) in books, in discussion connected with him. There is no doubt about it. The legality of this is proved from the practice of all past scholars and also the fact that none of them have ever objected to this practice.
2. No one have even prohibited the mention of Imam (A.S.) by indication or cue. Like saying that the name of Imam (A.S.) is the same as the name of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). The tradition of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) narrated by the Shia as well as Sunni scholars through various chains of narrators says,
"Mahdi is from my progeny. His name is my name and his Kunniyat is my Kunniyat (agnomen)."
3. In the same way the mention of his name in supplications and salutations (Ziarat) is apparently permitted because it does not resemble the conditions mentioned in the traditions.
Thus, precaution demands that we avoid mentioning the real name of Imam (A.S.) in assemblies and gatherings and refer to him only by his well-known titles. However, we should only use the titles that are mentioned in the traditions so that we do not contravene the rules of Islam.
Secondly, the hadith prohibiting mention by name does not include other, not so famous names, i.e. Ahmad etc.

3) Loving Him
The necessary condition for the performance of this duty is that we fulfill all that which is the requirement for loving him.
We all know that loving the Ahle Bayt (A.S.) is obligatory. Affection for them is a part of our faith and a conditions for acceptance of our deeds. Many traditions have been recorded for this, but there is special emphasis for the love of Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.).
1. Rational Proof: Human nature is designed in such a way that the love for those who care for us goes deep into our hearts. As mentioned in a hadith: The Almighty Allah revealed upon Moosa (A.S.): 'Make Me loved among My creatures and make My creatures eligible for My love.' Moosa (A.S.) asked Allah how it was possible? He said, 'Invite their attention towards My bounties, gifts, kindness and mercy, so that they begin to love Me.'
A similar tradition of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is reported about Hazrat Dawood (A.S.).
2. Textual Proof: Sayyid Muhaddith Bahrani has reported a tradition through Numani that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, "The Almighty Allah revealed on me on the night of Me'raj (ascension): 'O Muhammad! If one of My slaves worships Me so much that he dies in it, but denies the Wilayat of your (Ahle Bayt), I would put him in Hell.' Then He said, 'O Muhammad! Do you want to see your successors whose Wilayat is obligatory upon the people?' 'Yes', I said and I was ordered to stand up. As soon as I moved forward I saw Ali Ibne Abi Talib, Hasan, Husain, Ali Ibne Husain, Muhammad Ibne Ali, Ja'far Ibne Muhammad, Moosa Ibne Ja'far, Ali Ibne Moosa, Muhammad Ibne Ali, Ali Ibne Muhammad, Hasan Ibne Ali and Hujjat-e-Qaem (A.S.). Whose countenance was more brilliant among them. I asked Allah who they were? The Almighty said: These are the Imams (A.S.) and this is Qaem (A.S.), He would make My halaal as halaal and My haraam as haraam. He shall take revenge from My enemies. O Muhammad! You love him because I love those who love him.'"
This tradition lays special emphasis on the love of Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.) even though love of all Imams (A.S.) is Wajib on the people. The special mention (nass) of his love indicates its significance. This is because of his special responsibilities vis--vis that of other Imams (A.S.).

4) Making him Popular among the People
The arguments that were applicable for the previous duty are also applicable here. Reason dictates that we propagate the love of one whose love is wajib and it is the best of deeds. This would be liked by Allah most.
That is why the Almighty Allah said to Moosa: Make Me loved among My creatures. This clearly proves this fourth duty. There is a tradition in Rawdatul Kafi from Imam Sadiq (A.S.): "May Allah have mercy upon the one who makes us loved among the people and does not do anything that would make people inimical to us and hate us. By Allah! If they had conveyed our meaningful sayings verbatim to the people they would have created love and affection in their hearts. And no one could have put any sort of tag on them." But the fact is that a person hears one thing and adds ten more from his own side. (Rawdatul Kafi Vol. 8 Pg. 229, H. no. 293)
On another occasion Imam Sadiq (A.S.) said, "May Allah have mercy on one who turns the love and affection of the people towards us and he speaks about those whom they know. And he leaves those who deny. (Majalis of Sadooq Pg. 61)

5) Awaiting his Reappearance
Our discussion on the duty for awaiting for the reappearance of Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.) consists of a number of arguments and for each argument there are numerous supporting traditions. However, keeping in mind the factor of brevity we have quoted only one of these for each argument.
Issue No. 1: The virtue of awaiting is evident from the traditions of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) and the Holy Imams (A.S.). An example of this is the praise for awaiters in the words of Imam Sajjad (A.S.) in his supplication on the day of Arafah.
There is a tradition of Imam Sadiq (A.S.) in Kamaluddin: "One of you who dies awaiting for Imam Mahdi (A.S.) dies as if he was with him in his tent." (Kamaluddin of Shaykh Sadooq Chapter 55, Tradition no. 1)
Issue No. 2: Awaiting for the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (A.S.) is obligatory for all: A tradition of Al-Kafi is sufficient to prove this point. Imam (A.S.) said to a person who came to him with a piece of paper, "This is letter of a debater who has posed a question to the correct faith."
The newcomer said, "May Allah have mercy on you, you guessed correctly." Imam (A.S.) said, "Confess to the creed that there is no diety except Allah, and that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger. And testify to the veracity of all that is revealed by Allah. Imbibe the Wilayat of our household, have enmity towards our enemies, submit to our command, cultivate piety and humility and await for our Qaem. There is a great kingdom in our fate. When Allah wills He will establish it." (Usool al-Kafi Vol. 2 Pg 22)
Issue 3: The Real Meaning of Intezar: Awaiting is a psychological condition of the person who is waiting for someone. The opposite of Intezar is usually expressed as despair etc. Thus the more hopeful you are for the arrival of a particular person, the more particular you shall be in making arrangements to receive him. And as the time of his arrival nears, you become more expectant and eager for him. So much so, that one ultimately starts spending sleepless nights.
The more a person is attached to the one whom he is expecting, the more severe and painful his wait shall be. Therefore those who are waiting for their Imam (A.S.) their waiting is proportionate to their love for him.
Issue 4: Is the intention of seeking Allah's nearness a necessary condition for Intezar?
The reply to this question is based on two arguments.
First argument: Divine commands are of three types:
1. Acts of worship where we know that intention of seeking Allah's proximity is necessary, e.g. Prayers.
2. The action which is not a direct act of worship. Like the cleaning of ones dress from Najasat (impurity). Here our intention is just to complete a particular job.
3. Some acts about whom it is not known whether they are to be included in worship acts for Allah.
In the first two types the command is crystal clear and as for the last type if a person performs that particular act with the intention of seeking Allah's nearness he would be rewarded for it and if he performs it without the said intention he will not qualify for any rewards. However, he shall not be liable for any punishment either.
Second Argument: To follow any command with the intention of Allah's obedience, whatever may be the cause. That is, for the love of Allah, for thanking Allah, for obtaining His nearness, desire for divine rewards, fear of divine chastisement.
From the above, we conclude that the Intezar we are commanded to practise is near to the third category. That is we can obtain divine rewards for acting upon it only if we have the intention for seeking Allah's nearness.
Issue 5: Intezar is the opposite of despair or hopelessness. Hopelessness is of two types:
1. To be absolutely hopeless of the reappearance of Hazrat Qaem (A.S.) is definitely haraam. The belief in the reappearance of Imam (A.S.) is a necessity of Shia Imamiya faith. To despair of Imam Mahdi's (A.S.) reappearance is to deny the Prophethood of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.).
1. Suppose on the basis of ones personal opinion or conjecture one has lost all hopes that reappearance will occur within fifty years. This hopelessness is also haraam, because a study of traditions shows that we are supposed to await for the reappearance of Imam (A.S.) day and night.
2. To lose hope that the time of reappearance and advent of Imam Mahdi (A.S.) is near. This type of hopelessness is also haraam. It is haraam because the time of reappearance is kept confidential so that believers expect it every moment. Any kind of hopelessness is not compatible with Intezar (awaiting).

6) Expressing an eagerness to see him
This is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Imam's (A.S.) followers. There is no doubt regarding its praiseworthiness and preference. Numerous traditions and supplications mention this quality. How beautifully it is expressed in a couplet:
The heart burns and tears flow in the eagerness to see you. The desire to see is burning us and the tears of separation are going to drown us.
Have you ever seen a drowning man in flames?
An ardent desire to see Imam (A.S.) is a meritorious deed because it is one of the necessary requirements of love and friendship. How can there be love when we are not eager to see our beloved?

7) Relating the Praiseworthy Qualities of Imam (A.S.)
To remember Imam (A.S.) through the mention of his Fazael (special qualities). Proof for this is based on the general traditions that recommend the narration of the Fazael of other Purified Imams (A.S.).
Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (A.S.) is reported to have remarked, "It is the duty of a group of heavenly angels to look at two or three people who are discussing the fazael of Aale Muhammad (A.S.). One of the angels says, 'Look at them! In spite of the fact that they are so few in number and in spite of having so many enemies they are still discussing the fazael of Aale Muhammad (A.S.).' The other group of angels says, "That is Allah's grace, He grants it to whom He pleases, and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace." (Surah Juma 62:4) (Rawdatul Kafi Vol. 8 Pg. 334)

8) Grief of a Believer due to Imam's Separation
One of the duties of a believer is to be sorrowful in the separation of Imam (A.S.). It is a sign of ones attachment to Imam (A.S.). In the poetic collection of Imam (A.S.) the following couplets are mentioned on the subject of 'true friendship':
One of its signs is that it makes one seem like a sick person due to the eagerness to meet his beloved. One of its signs is that he is so much attached to his beloved that he dreads anything that will make him busy (in other things).
One of its proof is that he laughs among the people in such a way that his heart is full of grief like a mother who has lost her grown up son.
This is one of the signs of the believers. In fact it is one of the most praiseworthy quality and numerous ahadith emphasize its significance. Here we quote one of such sayings narrated from Imam Reza (A.S.). He says, "How devastated would be the believing women and men when the Imam will be hidden from them?" (Kamaluddin)

9) To be Present in Assemblies where the Fazael and Manaqeb of Imam (A.S.) are Discussed
Another important duty of a believer is to participate in gatherings specially associated with Imam (A.S.) or where people discuss matters connected to Imam (A.S.). In addition of being a necessary sign of love it is also the implication of Allah's words: 'March towards good deeds'. A tradition of Imam Reza (A.S.) also confirms this, "One who sits in an assembly where our affair is being enlivened (our fazael are discussed), his heart will not die on the day the hearts of people die (Qiyamat)." (Beharul Anwar Vol. 44 H. No. 1)

10) To organize gatherings where the Fazael of Imam (A.S.) shall be discussed
The next important duty is to organize programmes where the fazael of Imam (A.S.) are narrated. Where people will pray for Imam (A.S.). Even if one has to work very hard to organize such gatherings it is highly recommended, because it is the propagation of the religion of Allah, it is the promotion of the word of Allah, it is a help in goodness in piety and it is a help to the signs of Allah and the friends of Allah. Although all the previously quoted traditions prove this duty yet we shall quote a hadith of Imam Sadiq (A.S.) on this juncture, "Meet each other because it enlivens your hearts and causes the remembrance of our affair (Wilayat), and our traditions will promote love amongst you. That if you take them you are successful and achieve salvation and if you leave them you shall be misguided and fall into perdition. Act on these traditions and I guarantee your salvation."

11-12) Composing and Reciting poems in Imam's Praise
One of the duties of Shias in Ghaibat is to compose poetry or couplets in praise of Imam (A.S.) and recite these poems etc. These two activities are ways to help Imam (A.S.). A tradition from Imam Sadiq (A.S.) is recorded in the chapter of Almegar in the book Wasaelush Shia. Imam Sadiq (A.S.) says, "Allah makes a house in Paradise for one who composes a couplet about us." (Wasaelush Shia Vol. 10 Pg. 467)

13) To Stand up with Respect at the Mention of Imam's name
Whenever one utters the name or title of Imam (A.S.) one should stand up in respect, as had been the practice of the Twelver Shias. The textual proof can be cited from the report regarding Imam Sadiq (A.S.) as quoted in the book Najmus Saaqib. The report says that one day the name of Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.) was mentioned in assembly of Imam Sadiq (A.S.). When the name was uttered, Imam Sadiq (A.S.) stood up in respect. (Beharul Anwar Vol. 44 Pg. 278)
That standing up in respect is recommended (Mustahab) is proved from this above tradition, but there are some occasions when it is obligatory to do so. For example, when the name of Imam (A.S.) is uttered and all the people stand up. Anyone who continues to sit without any valid excuse has disrespected Imam (A.S.). And there is no doubt that disrespect towards Imam (A.S.) is haraam.

14-15-16) Due to the sorrow of Imam's separation one should weep, make others weep and make a sorrowful expression
It is the duty of every momin to weep in the separation of Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.) and help others in weeping for the same. We must mourn the difficulties that befall Imam (A.S.). It is a duty of the Shias in Occultation of Imam (A.S.). Imam Reza (A.S.) said, "One who remembers our calamities and weep on them or makes others weep, on the day of Judgement he shall be with us in our category. One who is reminded of our sorrows and weeps or makes other people weep, his eyes shall not weep on the day (Qiyamat) when all the eyes shall be weeping." (Muntakhabul Athar)
In the same book Imam Sadiq (A.S.) is quoted, "One who remembers us or our mention is made before him and a tear equal to a mosquitoe's wing appears in his eyes, the Almighty Allah forgives his sins even if they are equal to the foam of the sea." (Beharul Anwar Vol. 44 Pg. 248)

17)To Pray to Allah that He bestows us with the Marefat (Recognition) of Imam (A.S.)
One of the responsibilities during Ghaibat is that we regularly supplicate Allah to grant us the correct Marefat of Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.). This is because gaining knowledge is not restricted to writing and reading. Ilm (knowledge) is a light and to whomsoever He desires he inculcates his heart with it. He guides whomsoever he wishes. Only those guided by Allah are actually guided.
Abu Baseer says that Imam Sadiq (A.S.) explained the ayat: "And those who are bestowed wisdom they indeed are bestowed with exceeding goodness" - '(Wisdom) Means the obedience of Allah and (exceeding goodness means) Marefat of Imam (A.S.)' (Al-Kafi Vol. 1 Pg. 185)

18) Always Pray for Imam (A.S.)
To pray for the well being of Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.) is an important duty of the Shia Ithna Asharis. Various traditions have been recorded emphasizing this duty. The great scholar Shaykh Kulaini in Al-Kafi, Numani in his book Ghaibat and Shaykh Tusi in Ghaibat state that Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (A.S.) said, 'This youth will have Ghaibat before the advent of Qiyamat." "Why?" asked the narrator.
"For the fear of his life", replied the Imam (A.S.) pointing towards his belly. Then said, "O Zurarah! He is the awaited one (Muntazar), one whose birth will be doubted. Some will even say that his father departed from the world without leaving any heir. Others will say that he was not yet born when his father expired. Some will say that he was born two years prior to the martyrdom of his father. He is that same Awaited one. But the Almighty shall test the Shias. Immediately after this begins the period of doubts of the deviated people. O Zurarah! If you are alive in such a time, recite the following Dua.
Bismillaahir Rahmanir Raheem Allaahumma a'rrefni nafsaka fa innaka illam to-a'rrefni nafsaka lam a'-ref nabiyyeka. Allaahumma a'rrefni rasoolaka fa innaka illam to-a'rrefni rasoolka lam a'-ref hujjataka. Allaahumma a'rrefni hujjataka fa innaka illam to-a'rrefni hujjataka zallalto a'n deeni.
Allaahumma salle a'laa muhammadinw wa aale Muhammad.
Translation: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. O Allah! Grant me Your recognition, for if I do not recognize You I will not recognize your Messenger. O Allah grant me the recognition of Your Prophet. For if I do not recognize Your Messenger, I will not recognize Your Hujjat (Proof). O Allah! Grant me the recognition of Your Hujjat. For if I don't recognize Your Hujjat I will deviate from my religion. O Allah, bless Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad.

19) Steadfastness in Praying for Imam (A.S.)
We have been commanded to recite this Dua regularly. Shayikh Sadooq narrates from Abdullah bin Sinan who says that Imam Sadiq (A.S.) said, "After this a time of such doubt will befall you that you will be without the visible signs and a guiding Imam. And no one shall be able to achieve salvation from this except those who recite "Dua-e-Ghareeq." (Supplication of the drowning man).
The narrator asked what this Dua was? Imam (A.S.) replied, Bismillaahir Rahmanir Raheem
Yaa Allaaho yaa rahmaano yaa raheem yaa muqallebal quloob thabbit a'laa deenek.
Allaahumma salle a'laa muhammadinw wa aale Muhammad.
Translation:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
O Allah! O Beneficent! O Merciful.O One who changes the hearts (of people) Give me steadfastness upon Your religion.
O Allah, bless Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad.
After repeating 'Muqallebal Quloob' the narrator added the word, 'Wal absaar' (and the vision). When Imam (A.S.) heard this, he said, "Indeed Allah is the One Who changes the hearts and vision, but you recite the Dua as I have said." (Kamaluddin Vol. 2 Pg. 351)

20) Reciting Supplications During the Period of Ghaibat
It is a dua mentioned by Sayyid Ibne Tawoos in Muhajjud Dawaat and it is to be recited during the occultation of Imam Mahdi (A.S.). The narrator asked Imam (A.S.) what the Shias are supposed to do in the Ghaibat of Imam (A.S.)?
Imam (A.S.) replied, "In addition to reciting duas you must await for the reappearance." "What should we pray?" asked the narrator. Imam (A.S.) replied:
Bismillaahir Rahmanir Raheem Allaahumma anta a'rraftani nafsaka wa a'rraftani rasoolaka wa a'rraftani malaaekataa wa a'rraftani nabiyyaka wa a'rraftani walayata amreka: Allaahumma laa aakhezo illa maa a'ataita wa laa awqaa illa maa waqaita allaahumma laa tagheetani a'n manazela awliyaka wa la tozegh qalbi ba'da iz hadaitani Allaahumma ehdeni le wilayateh man faraza taa-atahu.
Allaahumma salle a'laa muhammadinw wa aale Muhammad.
Translation:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
O Allah! You have bestowed Your recognition (Marefat) to me and bestowed the recognition of Your Messenger, and the angels and made me recognize Your Prophet and made me recognize the guardians of Your affair. O Allah! I will not take anything except that You bestow. And except for You I have no protector. O Allah! Do not distance me from the grades of Your friends and do not neglect me from the grades of Your friends and do not neglect my heart after having guided it. O Allah. Guide me towards the Wilayat of one who obedience is made incumbent on me.
O Allah, bless Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad. (Muhajjud Dawaat Pg. 332)

21) Knowledge of the Signs of Reappearance
It is wajib to learn about the signs of Reappearance that are taught to us by the Imams (A.S.). Especially the 'Certain' signs.
Rational Proof: We have already proved that Marefat of Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.) is wajib. And this Marefat includes knowing correctly the 'certain' signs of his reappearance.
Textual Proof: Imam Sadiq (A.S.) is quoted in the book Al-Kafi that he said, "Recognize the signs (of reappearance). After knowing them correctly, the hastening or delay of this affair will not cause you any harm."
Umar Ibne Hanzala reports that Imam Sadiq (A.S.) also said, "There are five certain signs for Qaem (A.S.): Sufyani, Yamani, Call from the Sky, Slaying of Nafs-e-Zakiyyah (The pure soul) and sinking of the ground at Baidah?"

22) We must be Submissive as well as Impatient
Abdul Rahman Ibne Kathir is quoted in Al-Kafi that he was present in the assembly of Imam Sadiq (A.S.) when Muhzam entered and said, "May our lives be sacrificed on you! Please tell us when the affair that we await shall come to pass?"
Imam (A.S.) replied, "O Muhzam! Those who fix a time are liars, those who were impatient were destroyed and those who resigned themselves to the situation were saved. (Al-Kafi Vol. 1 Pg. 368)
Any undue impatience in this matter and failure to maintain patience causes one to be misguided by deviant leaders. These false claimants take the opportunity to exploit those who are ignorant of the traditions of Imams (A.S.). By propagating false concepts these people create doubts regarding the true reappearance and invite people towards indecencies and deviations. The same impatient people start following these false claimants, even though Imams (A.S.) have clearly informed the people of the signs that would precede the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (A.S.). They have made a special mention of the signs that are certain and commanded us to be steadfast on our beliefs. If we encounter a claimant of being the special emissary (Naib-e-Khaas) of Imam (A.S.) or one who claims to be Imam Mahdi (A.S.); before the occurring of the certain signs, we must not pay any attention to him. We should beseech Allah to keep us safe from the deceit of that satan.

23) Giving Sadaqah on Behalf of Imam (A.S.)
Giving Sadaqah on behalf of Imam (A.S.) proves ones love and friendship for him. The correctness of this statement is based on whatever has been recorded concerning the giving of Sadaqah or praying on behalf of believers (momineen). As Imam (A.S.) is the Master of the believers, he is the most deserving.
Apart from this, we have many traditions that recommend performing Hajj, Tawaf, Ziarat etc. on behalf of Imam (A.S.). Further research, however, throws up the evidence that if we sift through the huge collection of hadith we shall find that every kind of worship act on behalf of Imam (A.S.) is highly rewarding. As mentioned by Allamah Ali Ibne Tawoos in his book Kashful Muhajja, in which he has reminded his son about the acts that we should perform during the Ghaibat of Imam (A.S.). He finally says,
"You must care for his leadership, loyalty and attachment in a way that Allah, Prophet (s.a.) and the forefathers of Imam Mahdi (A.S.) expect from you. You must give preference of the needs of Imam (A.S.) over your own needs when you are reciting the Namaz-e-Hajat (Prayer of having your need fulfilled). Before giving Sadaqah on behalf of your family members, give Sadaqah on behalf of Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.) and pray for him. In addition to this, give him preference in every good deed. All these things will invite Imam's (A.S.) attention and favours."

24) Giving Sadaqah for the Safety of Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.)
Though there is nothing to say that this is a recommended action, it is a demand for the love of the kinsfolk of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.). Don't you give Sadaqah on behalf of your family members when you fear for their health and safety? Your Imam is more deserving of this. Besides, a special kind of attachment develops between those who give such a Sadaqah and Imam (A.S.) himself.
Another thing that indicates the importance of this act is the tradition of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.). Shaykh Sadooq reports that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, "The faith of a slave is not complete till he does not consider me above himself and till he does not consider my family above his family, my honour over his honour, myself over his own self." (Majalis Sadooq Pg. 201)

25-26) Performing Hajj on behalf of Imam (A.S.) or sending someone as a proxy for Imam (A.S.)
This is customary among the Shias from the past centuries. Many traditions have clearly stated the recommended nature of these good deeds. Also the traditions that speak of doing good to a believer, also apply in such a case and support this custom.
Scholars have recorded numerous traditions that praise the performance of good deeds on behalf of believers. A couple of such traditions are presented below:
1- Ibne Miskan narrates from Imam Sadiq (A.S.) in the book Al-Kafi that he asked Imam (A.S.): How much reward is earned by a person who performs a Hajj on behalf of someone else? Imam (A.S.) replied, "The reward of ten Hajjs shall be given to the one who performs it on behalf of someone else." (Furu Al-Kafi Vol. 4 Pg. 312)
2- Shaykh Sadooq (a.r.) writes in his book Man La Yahzarul Faqih that Imam Sadiq (A.S.) was queried regarding the person who performs Hajj on behalf of others. Would be earn any rewards? Imam (A.S.) said, "One who performs Hajj on behalf of someone else gets rewarded for 10 Hajjs. (Also), the person (who has performed the Hajj on behalf of someone) his mother, father, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, paternal uncles and aunts and maternal uncles and aunts, all of them receive salvation. The Mercy of Allah is spread wide and He is kind."

27-28) To perform Tawaf (circumambulation) on behalf of Imam (A.S.) or to send someone for performing Tawaf on his behalf
When we have proved that tawaf on behalf of Imam (A.S.) is Mustahab (recommended) then it is understood that sending someone in lieu of Imam (A.S.) would also be Mustahab. Because this is a result of friendship and gratefulness. Therefore its merit and goodness is proved by reason. To send a person for Hajj as a proxy on behalf of Imam (A.S.) is naturally more rewarding than sending a person to perform a tawaf.
However, there are some particular actions that are specially recommended (Mustahab) on behalf of the Living Imam (A.S.). The same are mentioned in the book of Al-Kafi in a tradition of Imam Taqi (A.S.) reported by Moosa bin al-Qasim. The narrator says that he asked Imam (A.S.), "I wanted to perform tawaf on behalf of you and your forefathers (A.S.) but people said that tawaf was not permitted on behalf of the successors (awsiya)?"
Imam (A.S.), "Rather, you must do as many tawafs as possible."
The narrator says that after a period of three years, again he came to Imam (A.S.) and said, "I had previously obtained permission from you to perform tawaf on behalf of you and your father. After this I performed as many tawafs as Allah willed for me on behalf of you and your respected father. After this I had an idea!"
"What was it?" asked Imam (A.S.).
"One day I performed tawaf on behalf of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.)."
Imam (A.S.) recited Salawat on the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) thrice. The narrator continued, "On the second day I performed tawaf in lieu of Amirul Momineen (A.S.), then for Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (A.S.), Imam Husain (A.S.), Imam Sajjad (A.S.), Imam Baqir (A.S.), Imam Sadiq (A.S.), on the eight day I performed it on behalf of your grandfather Imam Moosa al-Kazim (A.S.).
On the ninth day for your respected father Imam Reza (A.S.) and on the tenth day I had the fortune of performing tawaf for your respected self. (A.S.). I worship Allah through the Wilayat of these personalities."
Imam (A.S.) said, "By Allah! You are worshipping Allah through a religion (din) other than which Allah will not except any din."
The narrator said, "Often I have performed tawaf on behalf of your respected grandmother, Fatemah Zahra (s.a.) and sometimes I didn't."
Imam (A.S.) said, "Do more tawaf! If Allah wills it will be the best action performed by you."(Furu Al-Kafi V.4 P.316)

29) Ziarat of the Holy Prophet and Imams (A.S.) on behalf of Imam (A.S.)
This action towards Imam (A.S.) which is the best action of people proves that proxy Ziarat is Mustahab, and other factors also prove it.
1. For example the proof that giving Sadaqah on his behalf is Mustahab.
2. The reason for the Istehab of proxy Hajj and tawaf also proves that proxy Ziarat is Mustahab.
3. Tradition that recommend the Ziarat on behalf of momineen.
4. The prevalence of this practice among the scholars and common people of the Shias.
5. Traditions that mention the Istehab of proxy Hajj and tawaf also apply to proxy Ziarat.
6. The traditions of Allamah Majlisi in Beharul Anwaar also proves our point: Imam Hasan al-Askari (A.S.) sent a Zaer (visitor) for the Ziarat of Imam Husain (A.S.) and said: One of the places where Allah likes supplication and where He accepts supplication is the Haa-e-re-Husain. (Beharul Anwaar Vol. 102 Pg. 257)

30) To Send a Pilgrim for Ziarat on Behalf of Imam (A.S.)
It is Mustahab (recommended) to send a pilgrim on behalf of Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.). It is a highly rewarding act because it helps in goodness and piety and it is a gesture of love for the kinsfolk of the Prophet (s.a.). It is a goodwill gesture to Imam (A.S.). All the arguments that prove the recommended nature of sending proxy for Hajj and Tawaf are applicable for this also.

31) Striving for Imam (A.S.)
As much as possible, one should strive in the service of Imam (A.S.) because tradition says that the universe exists due to the barakat of Imam (A.S.). Secondly there are some angels who are specially appointed in the service of Imam (A.S.) and they do not even sit down in his presence without his permission. There are many types of these traditions however we are not relating them for prolonging the discussion but just as a proof we present herewith a tradition of Imam Sadiq (A.S.) wherein he says, "If I could reach his time, I shall spend my life in his service."
This saying of Imam (A.S.) in not something unusual or astounding. It is the reality. It indicates the superiority of Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.) and it shows that if the service of Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.) had not been the best form of worship and obedience, Imam Sadiq (A.S.), whose each moment of his life was spent in worship, would not have expressed his desire to spend his valuable time in the service of Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.).

32) Organising help of Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.)
During the period of Ghaibat it is the duty to help Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.). Because one who has helped Imam (A.S.) has actually helped Allah. As Allah says, "Indeed Allah helps those who help Allah. Certainly Allah is all powerful, the mighty."
Elsewhere, Allah says, "If you help Allah, He shall help you and make you firm-footed."
Three points are worth noting here:
1. There is no doubt that Allah is All-Powerful and He does not have any kind of need because He is the absolute cause and Himself is Self-sufficient and all the creatures are in need of Him whereas He Himself says, "You all are poor in relation to Allah while Allah is the self-sufficient, the praised one." Commentators of Quran state that 'helping Allah' means helping the Holy Prophet and the Imams (A.S.).
2. Also, helping them means taking every step that is in compliance of their commands. Therefore the method of helping them depends upon the time and place. There is a difference between the help at the time of reappearance and help during his Ghaibat. If he is present among us we help him by fighting Jihad in his company and when he is in Ghaibat we help him by praying for his reappearance.
3. Now let us see how Allah helps His servant. As evident from traditions it is possible that Allah helps His creatures in ease and in difficulty, in trials and prosperity by keeping them safe from those things that distance him from His Mercy. However, in this life their success over their enemies depends upon the time and circumstances. Thus sometimes our friends are in power and sometimes they are overpowered. The phrase, 'And makes them firm-footed' may imply that in the end Allah would make them march on Siraatul Mustaqeem (the Right Path).

33) Having a firm Intention of Helping Imam (A.S.) in event of his reappearance
Apart from the fact that this intention is a necessary requirement of Eimaan (belief) and one of the signs of conviction (Yaqeen), many traditions have been recorded for intention, reward and performing of good deeds and the reward of every person depends upon his intention. This is also proved from the words of the Master of Pious, Ali Ibne Abi Talib (A.S.), who says, " Halt! Be patient in calamities and difficulties. Do not move your hands and swords under the madness that you utter. And for those affairs where Allah has not made hasty you do not act hastily in them. One who dies sleeping on his bed with correct understanding of the rights of Allah, His Messenger (s.a.w.s.) and his family, dies a martyr and his reward is upon Allah. And he has received the reward of that which he intended to do. This intention of his will be considered as pulling out the sword. And there is no doubt that there is a fixed time for everything and a particular period."

34) Renewal of Oath at the hands of Imam (A.S.) Every day - Every Friday
(Note From Compiler :Recie Dua E Ahad)
One of the duties during Ghaibat is to renew the oath of fealty with Imam (A.S.). This can be accomplished after every obligatory prayer, or on Friday.
There are two aspects of this discussion.
(1) In the meaning of Bayat (oath)
(2) The command of Bayat.
Meaning of Bayat: Bayat means that a person gives oath of fealty to a person in all sincerity and with loyalty. That is, he shall help with his property and life one to whom he has given the oath. And in helping him he shall not be deficient in anything related to this oath.
In this like the oath mentioned in Dua-e-Ahad. There is special emphasis to recite it in the morning for forty days regularly. Also, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) has commanded his nation to pay allegiance to the Purified Imams (A.S.). And there is no difference between the presence or absence (Ghaibat) of Imam (A.S.). This type of allegiance is a necessary requirement of Eimaan. Rather, you cannot imagine faith without allegiance. Thus the seller here, is the believer and the purchaser is the Almighty Allah.
As mentioned in the Holy Quran, "Surely Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property for this, that they shall have the garden." (Surah Taubah 9:111)
The following allegiance should be renewed everyday and it should be recited everyday after morning prayers.
Dua-e-Ahad: One of the supplications for renewing the allegiance to Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.) is Dua-e-Ahad. Regarding this Dua, Imam Sadiq (A.S.) says,
One who recites this Dua for forty days, will be included among the helpers of Hazrat Qaem (A.S.). If he dies before reappearance, the Almighty Allah will make him alive so that he can fight Jihad alongside him (Imam Mahdi a.f.t.s.). For every word of this Dua a thousand Hasanat (good deeds) are written in the scroll of his deeds and one thousand sins shall be erased. The Dua is as follows:
Bismillaahir Rahmanir Raheem Allaahumma rabban nooril a'zeem wa rabbal kursi-irafaee wa rabbal bahril masjoor wa munzelat tawraate wal injeele wal zaboor wa rabbaz zille wal haroor wa munzelal quraanil a'zeem wa rabbal malaaekatehil muqarrabeen wal ambiyaae wal mursaleen. Allaahumma inni asaloka be wajhekal kareem wa be noore wajhekal muneer wa mulkekal qadeem yaa hayyo yaa qayyoom as aloka bismekal lazi ashraqat behi samaawaato wal arzoon wa bismekal lazi behil aslaho awwaloona wal aakheroon. Yaa hayyan qabla kulle hayyin wa yaa hayyan ba'da kulle hayyin. Wa yaa hayyan heena la hayyan. Yaa moheeyal mauto wa mumeetal ahyaae. Yaa hayyo laa ilaaha illa ant. Allaahumma balligh maulanal imaamal haadiyal mahdiyal qaaem. Be amreka salwaatullaahe alaihe wa a'laa abaa-e-hit taahereen. A'n jameeal mo-mineena wal mo-minaat fee mashaariqil arze wa maghaaribeha. Sahleha wa jabaleha wa barreha bahreha wa a'nni wa a'n waledayya minassalawaate zeenata a'rshillaahe wa midaada kalematehi wa ahsaaho ilmohu wa ahaata behi kitaabohu. Allaahumma inni ojaddedo lahu fee sabehate yaumi haaza wa ma ishto min ayyami a'hdan wa a'qdan wa bayatan lahu fee unoqi la ahulo a'nha wa azulo abada. Allaahummaj alni min ansaarehi wa aawanehi waz zaabina a'nho wal musaareina ilaihe fee qazaaehi hawaejehi wal mumtaseleena le awaamirehi wal muhaameena a'nho waz zaabeena illaa iraadatehi wal mustash-hedeena baina yadai. Allaaumma in haala baini wa bainahul maut. Al lazi ja'altahu a'laa ibaadeka hatman maqziyya. Fakhrejni min qabri mo-tazrean kafani shaaheran saifi mujarredan qanaati mulabbeyan dawattaddaai fee haazire wal ba'di. Allaahumma aareni talatarrasheeda wak ghurraal hameeda wakhul naazeri be nazaratin minni ilahe wa a'jjil farajahu wa sah-hil makhrajahu wa awse man hajahu was lok bee muhajjatahu wa anfez amrahu washdud azrahu wa'more allaahumma behi bilaadaka wa ah-yee behi ibaadaka fa innaka qulta wa qaulokal haqqo zahral fasaado fil barre wal bahre bemaa kasabat aidnnaas. Fazhare allaahumma lana waliyyaka wabna binte nabiyyek. Al musamma. Bisme rasooleka hatta la yazfara be shiyyin minal batile illa mazzaqahu wa yoheqqal haqqa wa yohaqqeqahu waja'lohu allaahumma mafza-an le mazloome ibaadeka wa naaseran leman la yajedo lahu naseran ghiraka mujaddedan lema ottela min ahkaame kitaabeka wa mushaiyyedan lema warada min a'laame deeneka wa sunane nabiyyeka sallalaaho a'laihe wa aalehi. Waja'lohu allaahumma mimman hassantohu min basil motadeen. Allaahumma wa surra nabiyyaka muhammadan sallallaaho alaihe wa aalehi. Be rooyatehi wa man tabeahu a'laa da'watehi war hamistakaanatana ba'dahu. Allaahummakshif haazehil ghumma a'n haazehil ummah behuzoorehi wa a'jjil lana zohoorahu innahum yaraonahu baeeda wa narrayahu qareeba be rahmateka yaa arhamar raahemeen. Allaahumma salle a'laa muhammadinw wa aale Muhammad.
After this hit your hand on your thigh and say thrice: Al a'jal al a'jal yaa maulaaya yaa saahebazzamaan.
Translation: In the Name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful O Allah ! Lord of the great light, Lord of the elevated throne, Lord of the tumultuous seas and the revealer of the Taurat, Injeel and Zaboor, Lord of the shadows and the warmths, and the revealer of the Great Quran. Lord of the proximate angels and Prophets and Messengers. O Allah I beseech thee, for the sake of Your noble visage. And for the sake of Your enlightening visage, and Your ever existing kingdom. O Everliving! O Controller! I beseech thee in Your name. Which lits the heavens and the Earths; and in Your name, by which the ancient and the latter ones become upright. O Everliving Who was before every living being. O Everliving Who shall (exist) after every living being. O Everliving who existed when there was no life. O giver of life to dead. O one who causes death to the living one. O Everliving. There is no god except Thou. O Allah send our master the leader, the Guide, the guided, the upriser with Your command. Blessings of Allah be on him and his pure forefathers. From all the believing men and believing women. In the easts of the earth and its wests, in its plains and its mountains, its lands and its seas, from me and my parents. Blessings which are the weight of Allah's throne and ink on his words, and whatever His knowledge enumerates and his book encompasses. O Allah renew for him my covenant, pledge and allegiance on my neck in the morning of this day of mine and whatever days (of my life) I live. I shall never turn away from it nor let it ever vanish. O Allah appoint me among his helpers, aides, and his protectors. Those who hasten to fulfill his commands and obey his orders. Those who are his supporters and compete with each other to (fulfill) his intention and seek martyrdom in his presence. O Allah! If death occurs between me and him (before the reappearence) (death which You have made obligatory and decreed for Your servants, Then raise me from my grave, wrapped in my shroud, my sword unsheathed, my spear bared, answering the call of the caller in cities as well as deserts. O Allah! Show me the rightly guided face of (Imam a.s.), the praiseworthy moon and enlighten my vision by looking at him. Hasten his reappearance, make his arrival smooth, vasten his path, make me tread on his way and implement his authority and strengthen his back. O Allah inhabit Your cities through him, and give life to your servants due to him for surely You have said and Your word is truth, "Corruption will become rampant in land and on sea because of the evil which men's hand have earned." Then O Allah! Manifest for us Your slave and the son of Your Prophet's daughter, whose name is the same as that of Your Messenger. So that nothing from falsehood is victorious except that he tears them (falsehood) to pieces, establishes the truth and the truth confirms him. And O Allah! Appoint him as a refuge for Your oppressed servant and a helper for the one who does not find any helper for himself except You and the renewer of all the laws of Your book which have been tempered with and rebuilder of the signs of Your religion and of Your Prophet (peace of Allah be on him and his Progeny). And O Allah! Make him among those whom You have protected from the evils of the adversaries. O Allah! And provide joy to your Prophet Muhammad (Peace be on him and his Progeny) By his vision and (the vision of) the one who follows him on his call. O Allah! Remove this sorrow (of occultation) from this nation with his presence and hasten for us his reappearance. They (the disbelievers) consider it to be distant while we consider it to be near. For the sake of Your mercy, O the most Merciful of all mercifuls. Hasten! Hasten! O my Master, O master of the era.
O Allah, bless Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad. (Mafatihul Jinan pg. 988)
It is Mustahab (recommended) to renew the oath of allegiance with Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.) every Friday. According to traditions every Friday the angels gather at Baitul Ma'moor and renew the oath of allegiance to Imams (A.S.).
There is another Dua by Imam Sajjad (A.S.) expressing the same thoughts. This Dua is recorded in the book Abwaabul Jannaat Fee Aadaabil Jamaat. Moreover, Friday is the day when the Almighty Allah has obtained the oath of allegiance from mankind for the Wilayat of Imams (A.S.). One should try to perform as many virtuous acts as possible on this day, because the reward for deeds is double on Fridays and there is no doubt that this oath of allegiance is an exceedingly important and perfect act of worship.
Command for Bayat: In the second meaning is the command for Bayat. That is the command of putting ones hand into the hand of one whom we pay allegiance. This is also of two types: (1) In the presence of Imam (A.S.). (2) In the Ghaibat of Imam (A.S.).
In the first case, once Imam issues a command there is nothing that can make the opposite valid because it is obligatory to obey the Imam (A.S.). If Imam (A.S.) demands allegiance from us we have to give him the oath of allegiance or in case he commands we have to give it to his special representative (Naib-e-Khaas). An example of this type of allegiance is the allegiance commanded by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) for Ali (A.S.) at Ghadeer-e-Khum.
However, in the presence of an Infallible Imam if a fallible person demands allegiance, is it allowed to obey him?
The Reply: If that person is specially appointed by Imam (A.S.) and Imam (A.S.) has commanded us to give him the oath of allegiance, giving him oath of allegiance is necessary. Because in these circumstances his Bayat shall be construed as the Bayat of Imam (A.S.) and it is obligatory.
However, if Imam (A.S.) has not appointed him specially and has not issued any command, it is not permitted to give him oath of allegiance. Whether that person calls people to himself or claims to be the special representative of Imam (A.S.), because the actual laws could be ascertained from the one who frames the laws.

35) Helping Imam (A.S.) with one's property
It is the duty of a believer that he must set apart a share of his wealth and property in the service of Imam (A.S.). He should continue this every year. This is obligatory for all whether, rich or poor, whether lowly or exalted, woman or man. There is no difference with regard to social status. However, each has to contribute depending upon his capability. As Allah says, "Allah does not impose upon any soul a duty but to the extent of its ability." (Surah Baqarah 2:286)
The traditions have mentioned the dedication of a part of our wealth to Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.) but there is no fixed amount for it because apparently it is a highly recommended act and the Holy Imams (A.S.) have likened it to a compulsory duty.
As mentioned in Al-Kafi, Imam Sadiq (A.S.) said, "There is no better deed that earmarking a few Dirhams for Imam (A.S.). The Almighty Allah makes this Dirham equal to Mt. Uhud in Paradise for this donor."
After this Imam (A.S.) said, "The Almighty Allah says in His book, 'Who is it that will offer of Allah a goodly gift, so He will multiply it to him manifold." (Surah Baqarah 2: 245)
Imam says, "By Allah this is a special gift to Imam (A.S.)."

36) Monetary Assistance to the Pious Shias and Friends of Imam (A.S.)
This is mentioned separately in traditions and thus we have also given it as a separate duty. For example, in Man La Yahzarul Faqih, Imam Sadiq (A.S.) is reported to have said, "One who could not do good to us, he should do good towards our righteous Shias and friends, he shall get the reward of helping us. And those who could not visit us should visit our righteous friends, they shall get the reward of our Ziarat (visitation)."

37) Pleasing the Believers
Pleasing the believers during the time of Ghaibat makes the Imam (A.S.) very happy. Pleasing the believers is possible through monetary assistance and physical help. Sometimes their pleasure is obtained by solving their problems or recommending their case to some authorities or even by praying for them. At other times we could make them happy by giving them respite for the repayment of a debt. Thus while performing any of the above actions if the intention of the doer is that Imam (A.S.) will be pleased with it, he will get the reward for it. Rather, there is more virtue in this than merely pleasing the believers. A tradition of Imam Sadiq (A.S.) in Al-Kafi says, "Those of you who please a believer should not think that you have pleased only this believer. By Allah! He has pleases us! Rather by Allah! He has pleased the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.)." (Al-Kafi Vol. 2 Pg. 189)

38) Being a well-wisher of Imam-e-Zamana (A.S.)
It is mentioned in Al-Kafi that Imam Baqir (A.S.) narrates from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.), that he said, "Allah does not look at any of His friends who has borne difficulties in doing good for us except that, that person will be with us in an exalted friendship."
In another place in the same book it is narrated that Imam Sadiq (A.S.) said, "The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) delivered a discourse among the people in Masjide-e-Khaif and said: O Allah! Please the slave who listens to our words, gives them place in his heart and conveys them to those who have not heard them. He is mostly conversant with fiqh (jurisprudence) but he is not a faqih (Jurisprudent) himself. Many a times a person with knowledge" of jurisprudence passes it to a more intelligent jurisprudent. A Muslim should not do Khayanat (defalcation) in three things: (1) He should perform deeds purely for Allah (2) He should be a well-wisher for the Imam (A.S.) and the religious leaders. (3) He should not distance himself from their congregation, because their invitation is for all those who like it. Muslims are brothers to each other and their blood is of equal value and even the weakest of them strives in the fulfillment of oath and vow. (Al-Kafi Vol. 1 Pg. 403)

39) Ziarat of Imam (A.S.)
This is another duty of the Shias during Ghaibat. That is, they must address the Imam (A.S.) and say salaam to him in any way possible. More detailed instructions for reciting the Ziarat of Imam (A.S.) are given at the end of this book.

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