Imploring Allah For a Hasty Relief of the Imam (as)
Ahl al-Bait (AS) have emphasized that during the time of occultation we should make much supplication to Allah that He would hasten the relief. In his letter to his special deputy, Imam al-Mahdi (AS) wrote:
"As for the manifestation of relief, it depends on Allah and those who specify time for it are liars... Increase your Du'aa for hastening the Relief (al-Faraj), for this is indeed your relief..."[^61]
There are two meanings for the above tradition. The first meaning is that the relief of Imam al-Mahdi (AS) would result in relief from our sufferings. The other meaning is that the very act of praying for the relief of Imam al-Mahdi (AS) would be recompensed with personal relief from our problems even before the advent of Imam al-Mahdi (AS) (i.e., before the time for general/universal relief).
There is a famous supplication from Imam al-Sadiq (AS), known as "The Supplication of the Covenant (Du'aa al-Ahd)", which is to be recited in every morning. The Imam (AS) said that the one who recites and calls upon Allah by this covenant for forty mornings, will be of the soldiers of al-Qa'im (AS), and if he dies before his rising, Allah will resurrect him from his grave during his advent, and will also give him the reward of 1000 good deeds and removes 1000 of his sins for each word of this supplication. The last sentences of this precious supplication are as follows:
"O Allah! Show me the rightly guided face (of Imam al-Mahdi (AS)), the praiseworthy brightness (of his face), and enlighten my vision by looking at him. Hasten his reappearance, make his arrival smooth, widen and clear his path, and make me tread on his way. Implement his kingdom and strengthen his back.
O Allah! Give life to Your cities by him and revive Your servants through him, for surely You have said-and Your word is truth-"Corruption prevailed on the land and the sea because of what men's hand have earned (30:41)" Thus, O Allah, manifest for us Your friend and the son of Your Prophet's daughter, whose name is the same as that of Your Apostle, so that he does not prevail anything from falsehood except that he tears it to pieces, establishes the truth, and makes it real.
O Allah! Appoint him as a refuge for Your oppressed servants and a helper for the one who does not find any helper for himself except You. Make him the one who renews what has been suspended/abolished of the laws of Your book, and the one who re-erects the science of Your religion and the customs of Your Prophet, Allah's blessings be upon him and his family. O Allah! Make him among those whom you have protected from the evils of the aggressors.
O Allah! Delight Your Prophet Mohammed, Allah's blessings be upon him and his family, by making him visible and (delight) the one who follows him on his call, and have mercy on our poverty after his (disappearance). O Allah! Remove this sorrow (of occultation) from this nation by his presence, and hasten for us his reappearance. Certainly, they [i.e., the disbelievers] consider it far-fetched while we consider it near. By Your mercy O the most merciful!" Then you say, "Hasten! Hasten! O my master, O the master of the era!"[^62]
Thus, during the period of disappearance of Imam Mahdi (AS), the most important supplication of the believers to Allah is to ask for his reappearance and the manifestation of his kingdom over the earth by which all problems of humanity will be resolved. The sentence, "the disbelievers consider it far-fetched while we consider it near" shows that the believers expect this kingdom in a very near future and only the disbelievers consider this expectation unrealistic.
Moreover, the sentences such as "O Allah! Hasten his reappearance, make his arrival smooth, widen and clear his path" in this supplication shows that Allah may change the decreed situation at the time of his reappearance, may lesson the hardship of his mission due to the change in situation, and may bring near his arrival. By asking Allah to hasten his reappearance from the bottom of our heart, Allah may make Badaa and advance his mission, just as He advanced the mission of Prophet Musa (AS). In a very inspiring and thought-provoking Hadith, Fadhl Ibn Abi Qurra narrated:
Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, "When the period of punishment on the Children of Israel was prolonged, they wailed and cried to Allah for 40 mornings. Thereupon, Allah revealed to Moses (AS) and Aaron (AS) to release them from the Pharaoh, and in this way, He reduced their punishment 170 years." Then, the Imam (AS) continued, "This is the case for you too, and if you do the same Allah shall certainly relieve us. However, if you avoid it, this matter [i.e., the calamity before al-Faraj] shall surely continue up to its last stage."[^63]
The suffering is a hint to the believers that they should implore Allah with humility. Allah said in Quran:
"Before thee We sent towards many nations, and We afflicted them with suffering and adversity, that they might call/beseech (Us) in humility. (6:42)"
If the majority of people on the earth decide to sincerely seek relief (al-Faraj) from Allah and drop their hope from all the fallible leaders, Allah may decide to allow the early rise of Imam Mahdi (AS) without need for the occurrence of any of the reported definite signs. Notice that we say, "Allah may decide that way", which means this is not an urgent reaction to people's action; it is rather a matter of choice for Allah as is the case for all other actions of Allah.
He does what He will. In fact, the traditions of Ahl al-Bait (AS) imply that to the time that people look for other global solutions for their problems, and have hope in other leaders for implementing justice, Allah may delay the rising of al-Qa'im (AS). Hisham Ibn Salim narrated:
Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, "This kingdom shall not appear until every claiming class/group amongst people rule over people so that no one would remain to say, 'Had we ruled we would have implemented justice'. Thereafter, al-Qa'im (AS) shall rise for truth and justice."[^64]
This way, those who claim to be able to implement justice will have chance to rule and will subsequently show their scandalous failure in practice. When people become hopeless from any other alternatives, they will desperately seek for relief (al-Faraj) from Allah from the bottom of their hearts, and it is at that time that they will be ready to receive Imam al-Mahdi (AS). Thus, the sooner people come to their senses, the earlier will be their relief. However, this still depends upon Allah's decision, and He may commence the mission of al-Qa'im (AS) sooner than the time of full global awareness if He wills. Due to His grace, Allah may initiate mercy without people being worthy of it. In one of his supplications, Imam al-Sajjad (AS) prayed to Allah:
"O the initiator of the bounties before becoming worthy of it."[^65]
The grace of Allah does not have any necessary requirement, and Allah may initially bestow it to people if He wills. However, due to His justice, Allah never initiates wrath unless people deserve it by their misconduct. This custom of Allah is also stated in a number of verses in the Quran. For instance:
"(Their manner) is like the manner of the People of Pharaoh and of those before them. They rejected the Signs of Allah, and Allah caught them for their sins; for Allah is Strong and Strict in punishment. That is because Allah will never change the bounty that He hath bestowed on a people until they change that which is in their souls (from obedience to disobedience), and (that is) because Allah is He Who hears and knows (all things). (8:52-53)"
Finally, more than thinking for our relief, we should have sympathy for the loneliness of Imam al-Mahdi (AS) who is forgotten by people in this period, and should pray to Allah to relieve him from the prison of occultation, which was the result of people's evil actions. Asbagh Ibn Nabata narrated:
The Leader of the faithful (AS) said, "The master of this kingdom is the forsaken, the deserted, and the lonely one."[^66]
In this work, we have shown that the existence of al-Badaa plays a central role in our way of expecting al-Qa'im (AS). Due to the possibility of Badaa, the fore-told signs are subject to change, the Imam (AS) may reappear at any moment, and our good actions and our supplications for the early arrival of the Imam (AS) may be answered. Having faith in al-Badaa by Allah, everyone would keep himself ready all the time to receive the Imam (AS).
According to the traditions, awaiting al-Qa'im (AS) at any moment is the best deed and the most significant act after the recognition of the Imam (AS) and his rights. Moreover, Ahl al-Bait (AS) have instructed us to pray to Allah to make smooth the advent of al-Qa'im, to simplify it, and to lessen the hardships prior and during his mission. Such instructions are meaningful only when the changes in the aforementioned signs are possible.
The signs were not given for the purpose of predicting the time of reappearance, or for encouraging people to search the scientific data to estimate the time of the occurrence of the sign itself. They, rather, become a reminder for people only after they occur miraculously. Once a sign occurs, the believers will realize that it was amongst the signs that they were foretold, and thus, their faith and confident will increase, and they will realize that the time of reappearance is closer than ever. All the mentioned signs before his arrival, even if they finally occur, they may happen miraculously in an unpredictable manner.
According to the traditions, once Allah let Imam al-Mahdi (AS) rise, all people around the world, believers and disbelievers likewise, will become aware of him immediately and without any shadow of doubt. Thus, the opposition against Imam Mahdi (AS) is not due to people's failure in identifying him. It is rather due to their disbelief in the original laws of the religion, their overlooking of the transmitted traditions, and their following man-made ideas and opinions in the domain of religion.
If the Imam (AS) has not yet started his mission, it is not because certain signs did not take place, but because people have deserted Ahl al-Bait (AS) and are hopeful in other alternative solutions. Allah has assigned for people a leader who is ready to relieve them, but they have turned away from him and left him alone. The only way for an early relief is that people of the world come to the understanding that they should turn to him and to his instructions so that Allah may waive the remaining time of occultation.
In the last section, we discussed some of the instructions of Ahl al-Bait (AS) that would help an early relief. Acting upon these commandments, among others, prepares us, makes us eligible for receiving Imam al-Mahdi (AS), and paves the way for the implementation of the kingdom of justice over the earth, by the leave of Allah.
O the Lord of al-Husain! heal the bosom of al-Husain by the manifestation of al-Hujja. O the Lord of al-Hujja! heal the bosom of al-Hujja by the manifestation of al-Hujja. O the Lord of the faithful! heal the bosom of the faithful by the manifestation of al-Hujja.
[^1] Tafsir Durr al-Manthur, al-Suyuti, v7, under commentary of Verse 47:18; Sunan, Abu Dawud, v2, Chapter 35 (Kitab al-Mahdi), Bab 1, Hadith 4279; Sahih, al-Tirmidhi, v3, Chapter of Fitan, Bab 44 (what has come about al-Mahdi (AS)), Hadith 2331-2332. [^2] Kitab al-Ghaiba, al-Nu'mani, p234, Hadith 22; p253, Hadith 13; Bihar al-Anwar, v52, p348, Hadith 99; p230, Hadith 96. [^3] al-Kafi, v8, p212, Hadith 258; al-Irshad, v2, p374; Kitab al-Ghaiba, al-Tusi, p444; Bihar al-Anwar, v52, p213, Hadith 67. [^4] Bihar al-Anwar, v52, p204, Hadith 34. [^5] Kitab al-Ghaiba, al-Nu'mani, p302, Hadith 10; Bihar al-Anwar, v52, p250, Hadith 138. [^6] Tafsir, al-Nu'mani, as quoted in Bihar al-Anwar, v90, pp 83-84. [^7] Uddat al-Da'i, p17; Bihar al-Anwar, v90, p296. [^8] al-Kafi, v1, p146, Hadith 1; Kitab al-Tawhid, p331, Hadith 1 & 2; Bihar al-Anwar, v4, p107, Hadith 19 & 20. [^9] Sunan, Ibn Maja, v2, p269; Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, as quoted in al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqa, by Ibn Hajar al-Haithami, Ch. 11, section 1, p250. [^10] Bihar al-Anwar, v17, p351, Hadith 1. [^11] Bihar al-Anwar, v51, p63, Hadith 64. [^12] Bihar al-Anwar, v 51, p50, Hadith 23. [^13] Bihar al-Anwar, v51, p61, Hadith 61. [^14] al-Kafi, v1, p343, Hadith 30; Kitab al-Ghaiba, al-Tusi, p164; Bihar al-Anwar, v51, Hadith 49. [^15] Bihar al-Anwar, v52, p389, Hadith 209. [^16] Kamal al-Din, p151; Bihar al-Anwar, v13, p42. [^17] See for instance:; Kamal al-Din, p316, Hadith 1; p329, Hadith 12; p377, Hadith 1; Bihar al-Anwar, v51, p132, Hadith 2; p156, Hadith 1; p218, Hadith 8. [^18] Bihar al-Anwar, v95, p159, Hadith 4. [^19] Bihar al-Anwar, v52, p268, Hadith 157. [^20] Kitab al-Ghaiba, al-Nu'mani, p199, Hadith 14; Bihar al-Anwar, v52, p139, Hadith 48. [^21] Kitab al-Ghaiba, al-Nu'mani, p200, Hadith 17; Bihar al-Anwar, v52, p139, Hadith 49. [^22] al-Amali, al-Tusi, p412, Hadith 926; Bihar al-Anwar, v52, p189, Hadith 17. [^23] Kamal al-Din, Shaikh Saduq, p336, Hadith 8; Bihar al-Anwar, v51, p51, Hadith 25; v52, p149, Hadith 76 (a similar narration from Abu Basir). [^24] Kamal al-Din, p378, Hadith 3; Bihar al-Anwar, v51, p30, Hadith 4. [^25] al-Kafi, v1, p336, Hadith 3; p338, Hadith 11; Kamal al-Din, p347, Hadith 35; Bihar al-Anwar, v52, p281, Hadith 9. [^26] Kitab al-Ghaiba, al-Tusi, p337; al-Kafi, v1, p336, Hadith 2; Bihar al-Anwar, v52, p113, Hadith 26. [^27] Kamal al-Din, p409, Hadith 8; Bihar al-Anwar, v51, p160, Hadith 6 [^28] Kitab al-Ghaiba, al-Nu'mani, p296, Hadith 1. [^29] al-Irshad, v2, p383; Bihar al-Anwar, v51, p30, Hadith 7. [^30] al-Ihtijaj, v2, p499; Bihar al-Anwar, v53, p177, Hadith 8. [^31] al-Kafi, v1, p343, Hadith 31. [^32] Kamal al-Din, part 2, p483, Hadith 4; Kitab al-Ghaiba, al-Tusi, p290; al-Ihtijaj, v2, p469; Bihar al-Anwar, v53, p180, Hadith 10. [^33] al-Kafi, v1, p371, Hadith 2; Kitab al-Ghaiba, al-Nu'mani, p329, Hadith 2; Bihar al-Anwar, v52, p141, Hadith 53. [^34] Bihar al-Anwar, v36, p407, Hadith 16. [^35] al-Kafi, v1, p390, Hadith 1; Wasa'il al-Shia, v27, p67, Hadith 33216; Bihar al-Anwar, v2, p202, Hadith 74. [^36] Ma'ani al-Akhbar, p399, Hadith 57; Wasa'il al-Shia, v27, p129, Hadith 33397; Bihar al-Anwar, v2, p83, Hadith 7. [^37] Kamal al-Din, sec. 31, p324, Hadith 9; Mustadrak al-Wasa'il, v17, p262, Hadith 21289; Bihar al-Anwar, v2, p303, Hadith 40. [^38] Nahj al-Balagha, Sermon 97. [^39] al-Kafi, p186, Hadith 2; Bihar al-Anwar, v71, p258, Hadith 56. [^40] Bihar al-Anwar, v2, p30, Hadith 13. [^41] al-Tafsir, Imam Hasan al-Askari (AS), p338-339, Hadith 213-214; Bihar al-Anwar, v2, p2, Hadith 1. [^42] al-Kafi, v2, p46, Hadith 2; al-Amali, al-Tusi, p84; Bihar al-Anwar, v65, p343, Hadith 15. [^43] Bihar al-Anwar, v27, p58, Hadith 19. [^44] Bihar al-Anwar, v27, p58, Hadith 18. [^45] Tafsir, Ali Ibn Ibrahim al-Qummi, v2, pp 171-172; Bihar al-Anwar, v27, p51, Hadith 1. [^46] al-Amali, al-Saduq, p605, Hadith 8; Wasa'il al-Shia, v16, p180, Hadith 21292; Bihar al-Anwar, v66, p237, Hadith 3. [^47] al-Tafsir, Furat al-Kufi, p428, Hadith 567; Mustadrak al-Wasa'il, v12, p226, Hadith 13950; Bihar al-Anwar, v65, p63, Hadith 114. [^48] al-Kafi, v2, p125, Hadith 5; al-Mahasin, p262, Hadith 326; Bihar al-Anwar, v66, p241, Hadith 16. [^49] Mustadrak al-Wasa'il, v12, p221, Hadith 13934, p226, Hadith 13948; Bihar al-Anwar, v66, p252, Hadith 32. [^50] Wasa'il al-Shia, v28, p345, Hadith 34923; Bihar al-Anwar, v27, p62. [^51] Mustadrak al-Wasa'il, v1, p171, Hadith 280; Kanz al-Fawa'id, v2, p12; Bihar al-Anwar, v27, p199, Hadith 66. [^52] al-Kafi, v2, p186, Hadith 1. [^53] al-Amali, al-Tusi, p224, Hadith 390; Bihar al-Anwar, v1, p200, Hadith 8. [^54] Qurb al-Isnad, p18; Bihar al-Anwar, v44, p282, Hadith 14. [^55] Bihar al-Anwar, v50, p318, Hadith 14; v52, p125, Hadith 11; v52, p145, Hadith 65; v74, p143, Hadith 1. [^56] Tuhaf al-Uqul, p403; Bihar al-Anwar, v75, p326, Hadith 4. [^57] al-Khisal, p625; Tuhaf al-Uqul, p115; Bihar al-Anwar, v10, p104. [^58] Kamal al-Din, p644, Hadith 2; al-Kafi, v8, p80, Hadith 27 (similar narration); Bihar al-Anwar, v52, p126, Hadith 16. [^59] Qurb al-Isnad, pp168-169; Bihar al-Anwar, v52, p110-111. [^60] Kitab al-Ghaiba, al-Nu'mani, p200, Hadith 16; Bihar al-Anwar, v52, p140, Hadith 50. [^61] Kamal al-Din, part 2, p483, Hadith 4; Kitab al-Ghaiba, al-Tusi, p290; al-Ihtijaj, v2, p469; Bihar al-Anwar, v53, p180, Hadith 10. [^62] See Mafatih al-Jinan, The supplication of Ahd (located after Du'aa Nudba). For the text and one of the Isnad of this supplication see Bihar al-Anwar, v83, p284, Hadith 47. [^63] Tafsir, al-Ayyashi, v2, p154, Hadith 49; Mustadrak al-Wasa'il, v5, p239, Hadith 5773; Bihar al-Anwar, v52, p131, Hadith 34. [^64] Kitab al-Ghaiba, al-Nu'mani, p274, Hadith 53; Bihar al-Anwar, v52, Hadith 119. [^65] Jamal al-Usbu', p275; Mafatih al-Jinan, p43, under the Salat of Imam Zain al-Abidin. [^66] Kamal al-Din, p303, Hadith13; Kitab al-Ghaiba, al-Nu'mani, p179, Hadith 24; Bihar al-Anwar, v51, p120, Hadith 21; p37, Hadith 10. [^67] Kitab al-Ghaiba, al-Tusi, p426, Bihar al-Anwar, v52, p103, Hadith 7; Kitab al-Ghaiba, al-Nu'mani, p294, Hadith 11 (similar narration); al-Kafi, v1, p368, Hadith 2. [^68] al-Kafi, v1, p369, Hadith 7; Kitab al-Ghaiba, al-Nu'mani, p296, Hadith 15; Bihar al-Anwar, v52, p118, Hadith 46. [^69] Nahj al-Balagha, Sermon 189/190. [^70] Mafatih al-Jinan, around the end of the book, under Du'aa in the absence of the Imam (AS); Bihar al-Anwar, v53, p187, Hadith 18.