2 the Badaa and Its Significance
There are many pieces of evidence in the Quran and the traditions expressing that Allah may change what He has already willed and He may initiate a new will. However, as we discussed earlier, there is an exception for His Sunan and His promises that He has chosen not to change at all.
The will of Allah is the creation of Allah. Thus, this change only occurs in the created information and does not imply any change in His Eternal Knowledge (i.e., His Essence). In other words, the novelty occurs in Allah's action, and not in Allah's Essence. Allah eternally knew what He would change later.
By al- Badaa, only the created information that has been visible (al-Shahada) for the vice-regents of Allah becomes invisible (al-Ghaib) and vice versa. The visible information is about what Allah has willed to happen in the past and in the future (Ilm Ma Kan wa Ma Yakun), and the invisible information is about all other infinite possibilities that Allah has not willed to happen (Ilm Ma Lam Yakon).
Numerous verses in the Quran prove that Allah's hands are open to originate or change anything in His creation. For instance:
And the Jews said, "The hand of Allah is tied up." Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for what they uttered. Nay, His hands are outstretched. (5:64)
Allah erases whatever He wills and establishes (likewise), and with Him is the Mother-Book. (13:39)
Your Lord creates whatever He wills, and He chooses. No choice has they (in creation or in leadership as per traditions). Glory to Allah! And far is He above the partners they ascribe! (28:68)
If He so wills, He removes you and brings in a new Creation, nor is that (at all) difficult for Allah. (14:19-20; 35:16-17)
Every day He brings in a (new) matter/situation. (55:29)
He increases in the creation what He wills, for Allah has power over all things. (35:1)
Nor is an individual's life prolonged, nor does anything decrease from his life span, except that it is (made appear) in a book. Verily, all this is easy for Allah. (35:11)
In a very long discourse narrated from Imam Ali (PBUH), he has stated the following regarding al-Badaa:
Imam Ali (PBUH) said, "As for he who denies al-Badaa, (it would suffice that) Allah said in His Book, 'So turn away from them, and you are not blameworthy' (51:54) (by which) Allah, the exalted, intended their destruction on earth at that time.
Then, Allah rectified for them by His mercy, and made Badaa regarding their destruction, and revealed to His Apostle, 'And reminds, for reminding benefits the believers.' (51:55) A similar case is His saying, 'But Allah was not to punish them while you were among them; nor was He to punish them while they ask for forgiveness.' (8:33) Then Allah made Badaa (by revealing),
'But what plea have they that Allah should not punish them when they keep out (men) from the Sacred Mosque?' (8:34) Similarly, it is His saying, 'If there are twenty tolerant among you, they will overcome two hundred, and if there are a hundred (like them) among you, they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve.' (8:65)
He then made Badaa and said, 'Now, Allah lightened your (burden) for He knew that there is a weakness in you. Thus, if there are a hundred tolerant among you, they will overcome two hundred, and if there are a thousand (like them) among you, they will overcome two thousands by leave of Allah. And Allah is with those who are patient.' (8:66) This way,
Allah carried out the matter in the abrogating (Nasikh) and the abrogated (Mansukh). This shows the reformation of what was originated. Furthermore, it is His saying, 'Allah wipes off whatever He wills and records (likewise), and with Him is the Mother-Book.' (13:39) Hence, does He wipe off (anything) except that which existed (i.e., its will was existent)? And, does He record (anything) except that which did not exist (i.e., its will was non-existent)? There are many examples like these in the Quran..."[^1] In another verse of the Quran, Allah states:
Why had not there been a township (among those We decreed to destroy) whose people would accept faith so that their faith should have profited them, except for the People of Jonah (Yunus)? When they believed, We removed from them the chastisement of ignominy in the life of this world, and permitted them to enjoy (their life) for a while.
The above verse points to a glaring example of al-Badaa that took place for the People of Prophet Yunus (PBUH) whose calamity was kept off and prevented.
Due to their rejection of Allah's commandments and their disbelief, they became subjected to the severe wrath of the Almighty. At the time that the punishment was about to manifest, Prophet Yunus (PBUH) distanced himself from them and went far away. Upon his leaving, people came to their senses and suddenly changed their behavior and became mindful of Allah.
They pleaded for mercy to the Almighty Allah from the depth of their hearts. Subsequently, Allah decided to avert the calamity that was about to be inflicted upon them all.
Another example for Allah's change of decision is when we pray to Him. If Allah chooses to respond to our prayer, He initiates real change in the outside world and may re-plan our future. Allah states in the Quran:
Call on Me so that I answer you. (40:60)
Tafsir, al-Nu'mani, as quoted in Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 90, pp. 83-84.
My Lord would have not concerned Himself with you if it were not for your call (upon Him). (25:77)
There are sayings from the Imams (PBUT) indicating that Allah may cancel a decisive and confirmed decree (Qadhaa al-Mubram) regarding a worldly punishment that is about to take place, merely due to the supplication (Du'aa) of His servant. For instance, it is narrated:
Imam Musa al-Kadhim (PBUH) said, "I advise you to make supplication (Du'aa). Certainly supplication and request from Allah, the mighty and the majestic, drive away an affliction that was planned, was passed, and all that was remaining was its execution (Imdhaa).
When Allah is called upon and is implored, He averts the affliction in an amazing way."[^1]
As we have seen, there are many pieces of evidence in the Quran that clearly disprove the doctrine which states "the pen has dried up having written down all future events". In contrast, the followers of Ahl al-Bait (PBUT) do not emulate the Jews who considered that Allah had concluded the matter.
We believe Allah's hands are open to do as He wills. Nevertheless, Allah does not act without purpose. The changes in decree have educational purposes for people including the prophets and the Imams, peace be upon them all.
Although people may usually be unaware of the details of all such changes in the world, by realizing the general concept of al-Badaa, one will truly understand that everything is in the hands of Allah and He is able to do all things at any time, and that it is never too late for Him to do anything He wills. It demonstrates the absolute freedom of Allah, the Glorious, in all His actions and that He is never restricted by His own creations, including His previous will.
Moreover, it removes the sense of compulsion and irrevocable predestination, giving sinners hope that Allah may totally revise their past and future. It encourages them to strive hard, supplicate to Allah, and act upon good deeds with the hope that Allah may fix their deeds and may change their fate. Zurara Ibn A'ayun and Hisham Ibn Salim narrated:
Uddat al-Da'i, p. 17; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 90, p. 296.
Imam al-Sadiq (PBUH) said, "Allah was not worshipped to the extent that He was worshipped due to al-Badaa. Allah was not glorified as much as He was glorified due to al-Badaa."[^1]
3 The sudden nature of the advent of al-Qa'im (PBUH)
The Shia and the Sunni traditionists have narrated many traditions, which state that the advent of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) will be rectified by Allah within just one night. In other words, the time of the Imam's reappearance is very unpredictable and depends on Allah's sudden choice of action, and his advent will take place miraculously.
The Sunnis have narrated from Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyya (RA) and Imam Ali (PBUH) that the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HF) said:
"al-Mahdi is of us Ahl al-Bait (PBUT). Allah shall rectify his matter within a night."[^2]
In some other traditions, the Imams (PBUT) stated that the time of the reappearance of al-Qa'im (PBUH) is like the time of the Hour (of resurrection), which is completely unpredictable and is known only to Allah. The time of resurrection has not yet been decreed and Allah shall enforce it suddenly once He wills. Di'bil narrated:
Imam Ali Ibn Musa al-Ridha (PBUH) said, "As for news of the time (of reappearance), indeed my father told me having heard it from his father who heard it from his ancestors who heard it from Ali (PBUH) that it was asked from the Prophet (PBUH&HF), 'O the Apostle of Allah! When will al-Qa'im from your offspring appear?'
He said, 'His similitude is the similitude of the Hour (of resurrection). 'None but He shall manifest it at its time. It is heavy for the heavens and the earth. It will not come to you except suddenly.' (7:187)"
Allah states in the Quran:
al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 146, Hadith 1; al-Tawhid, p. 331, Hadith 1 & 2; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 4, p. 107, Hadith 19 & 20.
[^2]Sunan, Ibn Maja, chapter of al-Fitan, section on the rising of al-Mahdi (PBUH), vol. 2, p. 269, Hadith 4085; Musnad, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, vol. 1, chapter of Musnad Ali Ibn Abi Talib (PBUH); al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqa, Ibn Hajar al-Haithami, chapter 11, section 1, p. 250; Tafsir Durr al-Manthur, al-Suyuti, vol. 7, under the commentary of chapter 47, verse 18.
They ask you about the Hour - when will be its appointed time? Say, The knowledge thereof is with my Lord (alone). None but He shall manifest it at its time.
It is heavy for the heavens and the earth. It will not come to you unless suddenly. They ask you as if thou were eager in search thereof. Say, The knowledge thereof is with Allah (alone), but most men know not. (7:187)
In fact, the traditions state that some of the Quranic terms and verses that apparently refer to the day of resurrection alternatively refer to the day of the rising of al-Qa'im (PBUH) as well. These terms include, "the hour (al-Saa'a)"[^1], "the hereafter (al-Akhira)"[^2], "the days of Allah (Ayyam Allah)"[^3], "the day of the religion (Yawm al-Din)"[^4], "the day of emergence (Yawm al-Khuruj)"[^5], etc. One of the most important common specifications of both events is their sudden, unexpected, and miraculous manifestation.
Once Allah makes Badaa and creates His decree on the sudden advent of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH), the first one who will become aware of it is the Imam (PBUH) himself through divine inspiration. Allah states in the Quran:
Then, when it is knocked in Naqur, that day will be a tough day, far from easy for the disbelievers. (74:8) Mufadhdhal Ibn Umar narrated:
On the commentary of verse, "Then, when it is knocked in Naqur," (74:8) Imam al-Sadiq (PBUH) said, "Certainly, of us will be an Imam who will be victorious and will be hidden. Once Allah, the Glorious, wills [^1]Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 17, p. 351, Hadith 1.
[^2] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 51, p. 63, Hadith 64.
[^3]Bihar al-Anwar, v 51, p. 50, Hadith 23.
[^4]Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 51, p. 61, Hadith 61.
[^5]Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 53, p. 65, Hadith 57. This term refers to the time of al-Raj'a (earthly return) when some of the best believers along with some of the worst disbelievers who have died before the rising of al-Qa'im (PBUH) will be raised from their graves after his rising.
to manifest his affair, He shall impact his heart with a hint, and thereupon, he will emerge and will rise by the authority of Allah, the Glorious."[^1] Moreover, Abu Jarud narrated:
I said to Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (PBUH), "May I be sacrificed for you, inform me about the holder of this matter." The Imam (PBUH) replied, "He turns from the most fearful person to the most confident overnight, and his program will be revealed to him in a matter of one night and one day."
I asked, "Is this revealed to him?" The Imam (PBUH) replied, "O Aba Jarud, this is not the revelation of the prophet hood. Rather, it will be a revelation similar to the one that He gave to Maryam, the daughter of Imran, to the mother of Moses, and to the honeybee. O Abu Jarud, the Qa'im of the family of Muhammad (PBUH&HF) is more honorable than Maryam, the mother of Moses, and the honeybee!"[^2] The fear of the Imam (PBUH) is mainly due to the dangers and calamities that threaten those who love him.
The sudden change of the state of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) from the state of fear to the state of security, which is also pointed out in verse, "He will most certainly, after their fear, give them security in exchange," (24:55) shows that even the Imam (PBUH) does not know the time of his reappearance until Allah initiates Badaa, makes it a knowable reality, and permits his reappearance to save the servants of Allah.
Thus, like his followers, the Imam (PBUH) himself is one in expectation. Of the titles that have been mentioned in the traditions for Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) are: "the expected (al- Muntadhar)" and "the expectant (al-Muntadhir)".
All the above pieces of evidence, among others, prove that the time of the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) is of pending matters (Mawquf) and that his coming is very unpredictable and sudden. This event will be one of the greatest manifestations of Allah's power,
which will take place at the time that most people would consider it unfeasible. Allah will suddenly make Badaa and will fully accommodate the Imam's advent within one night. Although the reappearance of al-Mahdi (PBUH) is in Allah's will, the time of his reappearance has not yet been decreed.
al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 343, Hadith 30; al-Ghaiba, al-Tusi, p. 164; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 51, Hadith 49. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 52, p. 389, Hadith 209.