13 Awaiting the Relief
We need to keep hope for divine relief, await the reappearance of al-Qa'im (PBUH) at any moment, and truly believe that Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) is the only solution for our tragedies in the world. According to the traditions, this is the most virtuous struggle (Jihad) of the believers.
A person faithfully living in expectation of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) works constantly at improving his spiritual state by acting upon the instructions of Ahl al-Bait (PBUT), working
[^1]al-Amali, al-Tusi, p. 224, Hadith 390; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 1, p. 200, Hadith 8. [^2]Qurb al-Isnad, p. 18; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 44, p. 282, Hadith 14.
hard in obedience, and observing piety. In this manner, he persistently and increasingly makes himself more eligible to receive al-Qa'im (PBUH). The following Mutawatir Hadith is narrated with all these three wordings:
The Apostle of Allah (PBUH&HF) said, "The best worship/deed/Jihad of my community is awaiting the relief."[^1] It is also narrated that:
Imam Musa al-Kadhim (PBUH) said, "... and the most superior worship after the recognition is waiting for the relief."[^2] Moreover, Abu Basir narrated:
? Imam al-Sadiq (PBUH) narrated from his father from his ancestors from the Leader of the Faithful (PBUH) who said, "The taker of our command shall be with us tomorrow in the divine sacred courtyard (i.e., our place in Paradise). He who awaits our command/kingdom is like the one who is rolling on his blood in the path of Allah."[^3]
Being patient and remaining in a state of expectation are not easy tasks, and are much more difficult than making haste, because they require holding back and controlling one's desire. This is the greater Jihad and the best deed and worship. If one continues to be in such state, Allah has guaranteed deliverance for him. Abd al-Hamid al-Wasiti narrated:
[^1] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 50, p. 318, Hadith 14; vol. 52, p. 125, Hadith 11; vol. 52, p. 145, Hadith 65; vol. 74, p. 143, Hadith 1. [^2]Tuhaf al-Uqul, p. 403; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 75, p. 326, Hadith 4. [^3]al-Khisal, p. 625; Tuhaf al-Uqul, p. 115; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 10, p. 104.
I said to Imam al-Baqir (PBUH), "We leave our marketplace while we wait for this kingdom." The Imam (PBUH) replied, "O 'Abd al-Hamid, do you think Allah will not make an opening for him who controls himself for His sake? By Allah!
Allah shall certainly make an outlet for him. May Allah have mercy on him who holds back his soul for our sake? May Allah have mercy on him who revives our matter?" I asked, "What if I die before I receive al-Qa'im (PBUH)?"
The Imam (PBUH) replied, "Anyone of you who says, 'Had I met the Qa'im of the family of Muhammad (PBUH&HF) I would have helped him', he is like the one who is striking (the enemies) with his sword at the side of al-Qa'im (PBUH). Nay! He is like the one who has been martyred beside him."[^1]
Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abi Nasr narrated:
Imam al-Ridha (PBUH) said, "How praiseworthy are patience and awaiting the relief! Have you not heard the saying of the righteous servant (mentioned in the Quran), 'and watch for I too am watching with you,' (11:93) and, 'You await and I too am awaiting' (7:71)?
Thus, be patient, for relief will come after (people's) despair. Certainly, those who were before you were more patient than you... What is the matter with you that you do not possess your souls and do not have patience until Allah, the Glorious, brings what you want? Verily this command/kingdom does not come in the way that people want.
It is the command/kingdom of Allah, the Glorious, and His decree and (it will happen with) patience. Certainly only he who fears to lose would hasten."[^2]
In addition, Abu Basir narrated:
[^1] Kamal al-Din, p. 644, Hadith 2; al-Kafi, vol. 8, p. 80, Hadith 27 (similar narration); Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 52, p. 126, Hadith 16. [^2]Qurb al-Isnad, pp. 168-169; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 52, pp. 110-111.
Imam al-Sadiq (PBUH) said, "Do you want me to inform you about the things without which Allah shall not accept any act from His servants?" Abu Basir said, "Yes".
The Imam (PBUH) continued, "To bear witness that there is no god but He, Muhammad (PBUH&HF) is His servant and His Apostle, to acknowledge what Allah commanded, to believe in our exclusive guardianship, to disassociate from our enemies, to submit to the Imams, to have piety (against sins) and hard effort (in obedience) with peace of heart, and to await al-Qa'im (PBUH).
Certainly, we will have a government that Allah shall bring it when He wills. Whoever is delighted to be of the companions of al-Qa'im (PBUH) should wait, and should act with piety and good morals while he waits? If he dies before the advent of al-Qa'im (PBUH), he will have the reward of him who has received al- Qa'im (PBUH). Thus, try hard (in obedience) and wait. May you taste its sweetness, O the group that is robed in (Allah's) mercy?"[^1]
The above tradition proves that awaiting the relief should be accompanied with hard effort in fulfilling one's duties. Those truly living in expectation of al- Qa'im (PBUH) act upon what the Ahl al-Bait (PBUT) have commanded and avoid what they have prohibited them even if these commandments and prohibitions have conflict with their personal wish, ideas, and desires.
In this manner, they demonstrate that they are the true followers of al-Qa'im (PBUH) and are ready to take his command when he commands them. In another interesting tradition, Abu Khalid al-Kabuli narrated:
Imam Ali Ibn al-Husain (PBUH) said, "The disappearance of the twelfth Wali of Allah among the executors of the Apostle of Allah (PBUH&HF) shall be prolonged. O Abu Khalid! Certainly, those of people of the time of his disappearance who adhere to his leadership and wait for his manifestation are more superior to people of every era. This is because
[^1] al-Ghaiba, al-Nu'mani, p. 200, Hadith 16; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 52, p. 140, Hadith 50.
Allah has granted them so much of understanding, comprehension, and recognition that have turned the disappearance for them into the status of attendance. Allah has given them the status of warriors of the Apostle of Allah (PBUH&HF) by sword.
They are the real devotees, our true Shia, and the callers to the path of Allah inwardly and outwardly." He (PBUH) then continued, "Waiting for the relief is of the greatest relief."[^1]
The very act of waiting for divine relief is one of the greatest manifestations of relief in our personal life, even before the time of the manifestation of universal relief. This is the state in which Allah expects to see His servants at all times. The condition of waiting should be viewed as a major goal of life in this world, not a secondary or circumstantial issue.
Allah wants His servants to come to the understanding that they put all their hope in Him and constantly expect relief only through His hand. Therefore, this state is, by itself, a great relief, and guarantees salvation. Growing this way of thinking in the societies along with hard effort in fulfilling the instructed duties will also pave the way for the universal relief.
14 Imploring Allah for a hasty relief of the Imam (PBUH)
Ahl al-Bait (PBUT) have emphasized that during the time of occultation we should make much supplication to Allah that He hasten the relief. In one of his correspondence with his followers through his second special deputy (at the end of the lesser occultation), Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) 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..."[^2]
There are two meanings for the last sentence quoted above. The first is that the relief of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) will also result in relief from our sufferings, and it is Allah's decree that turning to Him and praying for the reappearance of the Imam (PBUH) be the only possible solution to our universal problems.
The other meaning is that the very act of praying for the relief of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) will be recompensed with personal relief from our problems even before the advent of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) (i.e., before the time for general and universal relief).
[^1]Kamal al-Din, p. 320, Hadith 2; al-Ihtijaj, vol. 2, p. 318; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 52, p. 122, Hadith 4. [^2]Kamal al-Din, part 2, p. 483, Hadith 4; al-Ghaiba, al-Tusi, p. 290; al-Ihtijaj, vol. 2, p. 469; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 53, p. 180, Hadith 10.
There is a famous supplication from Imam al-Sadiq (PBUH), known as "The Supplication of the Covenant (Du'aa al-'Ahd)", which is to be recited in every morning. The Imam (PBUH) 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 (PBUH),
and if he dies before his reappearance, 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 (PBUH)), 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 and abolished of the laws of Your book, and the one who re-erects the knowledge 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! Give delight to Your Prophet (?) Muhammad, Allah's blessings be upon him ِand his family, by making him visible and (give delight to) 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 [^1] master, O the master of the era!"
Thus, during the period of disappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH), 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, 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, lessen the hardship of his mission, and bring near his arrival. By asking Allah to hasten his reappearance from the
[^1]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, vol. 83, p. 284, Hadith 47.
bottom of our heart, Allah may make Badaa and advance his mission, just as He advanced the mission of Prophet Musa (PBUH). In a very inspiring and thought-provoking Hadith, Fadhl Ibn Abi Qurra narrated:
Imam al-Sadiq (PBUH) said, "When the period of the suffering of the children of Israel was prolonged, they wailed and cried to Allah for 40 mornings. Thereupon, Allah revealed to Moses (PBUH) and Aaron (PBUH) to rescue them from the (hands of) Pharaoh.
This way, He reduced the period of their hardship by 170 years." Then, the Imam (PBUH) continued, "This is your case as well, 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."[^1] Suffering is a hint to the believers that they should implore Allah with humility. Allah says in the Quran:
Before you We sent towards many nations, and We afflicted them with suffering and adversity, that they might beseech (Us) in humility. (6:42) If the majority of people on earth sincerely seek relief (al-Faraj) from Allah and drop their hope from all the fallible leaders, Allah may decide to sanction the early reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) without need for the occurrence of many of the foretold signs.
Notice that we say, "Allah may decide," which means this is not an urgent reaction to people's action, but rather it is 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 (PBUT) 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 reappearance of al-Qa'im (PBUH). Hisham Ibn Salim narrated:
[^1]Tafsir, al-Ayyashi, vol. 2, p. 154, Hadith 49; Mustadrak al-Wasa'il, vol. 5, p. 239, Hadith 5773; Bihar al- Anwar, vol. 52, p. 131, Hadith 34.
Imam al-Sadiq (PBUH) said, "This kingdom shall not appear until every claiming class or group among people rule over people so that no one would remain to say, 'Had we ruled we would have implemented justice'. Thereafter, al-Qa'im (PBUH) shall rise for (establishing) the truth and justice."[^1]
In this manner, those who claim to be able to implement the government of justice will have chance to rule and will subsequently demonstrate their scandalous failure in practice. When people become desperate and hopeless from any other alternatives, they will sincerely seek relief (al-Faraj) from Allah, and it is at that time that they will be ready to receive Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH).
Hence, the sooner people come to realize this fact; the earlier will be their relief. This, however, still depends upon Allah's decision, and He may commence the mission of al-Qa'im (PBUH) 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 (PBUH) prayed to Allah:
"O the initiator of the bounties before becoming worthy of it."[^2] 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 of our own relief, we should have sympathy for the loneliness of Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) who is forgotten by people in this period, and we should increase our prayer to Allah to relieve him from the prison of occultation, which was the result of our misconducts.
[^1]al-Ghaiba, al-Nu'mani, p. 274, Hadith 53; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 52, Hadith 119. [^2]Jamal al-Usbu', p. 275; Mafatih al-Jinan, p. 43, under the Salat of Imam Zain al-Abidin.