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Chapter Twenty-Nine: Those who have met the Imam (a.s.) during the Major Occultation and near to the time of the Author

Incidents of the Green Island and the White Sea

The author ofBiharul Anwar says: I saw a treatise about the Green Island and the White Sea, which I would like to quote here, because it is a story of one who has visited the Green Island. It contains many amazing events andsince I have not found this story in any reliable source, I am narrating it verbatim in a separate chapter (for academic interest).

Treatise of the Green Island and the White Sea - Report of Mazandarani

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Praise be to Allah, who directed us to His recognition and thanks be to Him that He gave us the good sense (Taufeeq ) to follow the practices of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) and selected us to be the followers of Imam Ali (a.s.) and the Holy Imams (a.s.) from his progeny. May Allah bless all those purified beings and peace be upon them as is deserved.

So to say: I found in the treasure of Amirul Momineen Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.), chief of the successors and the Imam of the pious, a treatise in the writing of Fazl bin Yahya Ali Tayyabi Kufi (q.s.) as follows:

Praise be to the Lord of the worlds and may Allah bless Muhammad and his Purified Progeny.

So to say: This humble servant, Fazl bin Yahya Ali Tayyabi Kufi says that he heard this report from Shaykh Shamsuddin Najih Hilli and Shaykh Jalaluddin bin Haraam Hilli (q.s.) in the mausoleum of Imam Husain (a.s.) on 15th Shaban 699 A.H. and the two gentlemen heard it in Samarrah from Shaykh Salih Zainuddin Ali bin Fazil Mazandarani, the caretaker of Najaf Ashraf. It is an eye-witness account of Shaykh Mazandarani. After hearing this report, I became eager to meet Shaykh Mazandarani and I prayed that I should get an opportunity to meet him so that I can get it verified from him directly. Thus I set out for Samarrah for this purpose. By chance that same year the Shaykh had come to Hilla in Shawwal, which I came to know from Sayyid Fakhruddin Hasan bin Ali Musawi Mazandarani, who was a resident of Hilla. When he came to meet me, during the conversation he also mentioned that Shaykh Zainuddin Ali bin Fazil was staying at his place in Hilla nowadays. I was extremely elated at this and I set out for Hilla in the company of Sayyid Fakhruddin. I met Shaykh Zainuddin Ali bin Fazil at the house of Sayyid Fakhruddin, greeted him and kissed his hands.

He asked Sayyid Fakhruddin about me.

Sayyid Fakhruddin introduced me to him. He arose from his place and made me sit there and accorded a warm welcome to me. He also asked me about my father and my brother, Salahuddin whom he formerly knew and during that time I was staying at Wasit for education purpose. Thus we

spoke to the Shaykh for a long time, which made us aware of his caliber and I understood that he was an expert of many sciences including jurisprudence, traditions and many other things. After that I asked him about the incident that I had heard from Shaykh Shamsuddin and Shaykh Jalaluddin. In the presence of his host, Sayyid Fakhruddin and many scholars of Hilla who had come to meet him, he narrated the whole story of 15th Shaban 699 A.H. verbatim. Perhaps on some occasions words may differ, but the implication was same.

Shaykh Zainuddin Ali bin Fazil narrates: I stayed for some years in Damascus, where I studied the principle of jurisprudence and literature under Shaykh Abdur Rahim, may Allah guide him. And from Shaykh Zainuddin Ali Maghribi, I learnt the science of recitation of Quran; he was an expert of all seven recitations and many sciences like etymology and syntax and logic etc. He was having a very kind disposition and never resorted to bias. Whenever Shia faith was mentioned, he used to say: ‘This is the view of Imamiyah scholars…’ as opposed to other teachers who on such occasions remarked: ‘Such is the view of the Rafidi scholars.’ On the same basis I cut off contacts with everyone, except Shaykh Andalusi Maliki and continued to study under him.

By chance he had to travel to Egypt. Since we had become attached to each other, I also decided to accompany him. So he took me also along with other poor students.

When we reached Cairo, we stayed in Al-Azhar University for a long time. When teachers and students learnt of the arrival of the Shaykh they met him and gained knowledge from him. This went on for nine months. Suddenly a caravan arrived from Andalusia and one of them gave to my teacher a letter from his father. It was mentioned therein: “I am seriously ill, but I would like to see you once again. So come soon and don’t delay it in any case.”

The Shaykh became very restless on reading the letter and prepared for the journey immediately. Some of us (students) also set out with him. When we reached the first habitations of Andalusia, I contracted a severe fever and was unable to walk or move. The Shaykh was highly distraught at my condition but said that he would have to continue the journey without me. So he gave ten dirhams to a person and left me in charge of a man there asking him to convey me to him when I recovered. He also made me promise that when I had recovered, I would come to him. Then he set out for his native place, which was at a distance of five days’ travel by sea. After the Shaykh departed, I remained sick for three days, after which the temperature came down and my condition improved, I came out of my quarters to inspect the locality.

I roamed about in the lanes of that locality and came across a caravan which had arrived from the coastal mountains of the western ocean. They traded in wool and oils. I inquired about them and was told that they had come from an area near to that of the Berbers and that area was adjacent to the island of the Rafidi.

I was sort of pleased and I became eager to visit that island. I also learnt that it was at a distance of twenty-five days’ travel, including two days of

total arid wilderness. But after that habitations were present there. So I hired an ass for three dirhams from a person of that group and set out with them. I was traveling on foot through the inhabited areas when I learnt that three days’ journey remained from the island of Rafidis. On getting this information I set out alone and somehow managed to reach there.

I saw a city surrounded by walls having numerous strong edifices and this town stood on the sea shore. I entered the city through the gate called the Berber Gate and continued to roam its streets. I asked some people about the location of the Masjid. When I reached there, I found that it was a huge building, which stood on the sea shore. I entered the Masjid and sat down in a corner to get some rest. Meanwhile the Muezzin began the Azaan and also mentioned “Hayya Alaa khairil Amal” a distinctive feature of Shia Azaan and also mentioned a prayer for hastening the reappearance of Imam Zamana (a.s.). I was emotionally moved by this. Then people arrived in the Masjid, performed ablution at a well under a tree. I was pleased to see the manner in which they were performing the ablution; that it was in accordance with the commands of Ahle Bayt (a.s.). After that an elegant gentleman entered and moved up to the prayer niche to recite the Iqamah after which all stood behind him in prayer. Since I could not join the congregation due to fatigue, they looked at me in surprise. Then they made inquiries about me.

I said that I was an Iraqi Muslim and I followed the monotheistic faith without associating anyone with Allah.

They said: “It is of no use, except that your life will be safe.”

“Why do you not recite one more testimony so that you may enter Paradise without account?”

I said: “May Allah have mercy on you, please tell me what that testimony is?”

Their Imam said: “The third testimony is that Amirul Momineen Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) and his eleven successors are caliphs of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), whose obedience is incumbent on all. They are also made as means of security for the earth, because the true Prophet has informed about them according to the command of the Almighty Allah and on the night of Meraj, he had been told about each of them by name.”

I thanked the Almighty Allah and I was so happy to hear that statement that my fatigue was dispelled.

Then I said: “My religion is same.”

When they came to know this, they altered their stance and made arrangements for my lodging in the Masjid itself.

As long as I stayed there, they took care of me with good cheer and the Imam of the Masjid never left my company.

One day I asked the Imam about the occupation of the natives of that town as I had not noticed any signs of agricultural activity in that area. So I was curious how they procured food grains.

He said: “We get if from the Green Island, which is an Island in the White Sea belonging to the descendants of Sahibul Amr (a.s.).”

I asked: “How many times a year do you have to import goods from there?”

He replied: “Twice, this year it has arrived only once so far.”

Then I asked: “How many days are left for the second consignment?”

He replied: “Four months.”

I was highly distressed to wait for so long. I stayed there for forty days and used to supplicate day and night that the Almighty Allah may send the provisions. On the fortieth day, I became so restless that I came to the sea shore and looked hopefully in the direction from which the goods were to arrive. All of a sudden I noticed some white objects moving in the sea. I asked: “Are there some white creatures in this sea?”

They replied: “No, have you seen something?”

I said: “Yes, look there.”

They were excited to see that these were the same boats that arrived from the descendants of Imam Zamana (a.s.) every year.

Meanwhile the ships arrived in the harbor and their arrival was before the scheduled time. First of all the big ship came into the harbor followed by others and in all there were seven boats. From the largest boat alighted a medium height, handsome gentleman and went straight to the Masjid. He performed the ablution and prayed the Noon Prayer. After that he greeted me and I responded.

He asked: “What is your name?” Then himself said: “I think it is Ali.”

I said: “You are right.”

Then he made conversation to me as if he was an old acquaintance of mine. He also asked: “What is the name of your father?” Then said: “Most probably it is Fazil.”

I said: “You are right.”

His statements led me to think that perhaps we had shared company during my journey from Shaam to Egypt. I asked him: “How do you know my and my father’s name. Were you in my caravan from Damascus to Egypt?”

He replied: “No.”

I asked: “Then you must have been present in the journey from Egypt to Andalusia.”

He replied: “By the right of Maula Sahibul Amr, that is not the case. On the contrary I was told about your name etc. from before and I am ordered to take you to the Green Island.”

I was very much excited to know that I was known by my name over there even though it was known about that gentleman that when he came there, he did not stay there for more than three days; but this time he stayed for more than a week and after distributing all the goods obtained the receipts and then set out on his return journey along with me. His name was Shaykh Muhammad.

Shaykh Zainuddin Ali bin Fazil says: I traveled in the sea for sixteen days in the company of Shaykh Muhammad and on the last day I noticed that the water was extremely white. I continued to look at it closely.

Shaykh Muhammad asked: “What are you observing?”

I replied: “I notice that the water here is different from the water of other parts of the ocean.”

He said: “This is the White Sea and the Green Island is straight ahead. This island is protected by water from all around like a strong wall of a fort. When the opponents try to enter this island, by the command of Allah and the blessings of Imam Zamana (a.s.), their ships sink in spite of being durable.”

I tasted a handful of water and found it to be exactly like the water of Euphrates.

Thus we crossed that ocean and reached the Green Island. May the Almighty Allah keep it inhabited. When we entered the city, we saw that there were seven strong forts at the sea shore, in which the people lived in security. Streams were flowing everywhere and fruit laden trees were in spring. There were many markets and a large number of public baths in the town and people were seen dressed in clean clothes. I was so elated at this scene that it seemed that my soul would fly away to the heavens. I rested for sometime at the place of Shaykh Muhammad, my companion in the journey. Then he took me to the Jame Masjid where a large crowd had gathered and a respectable gentlemen was sitting among them. He commanded a respect that is difficult to describe. I was told that he was Sayyid Shamsuddin Muhammad Aalam and that he was delivering a lecture on Quran and Islamic jurisprudence. He was explaining the laws of the school of Ahle Bayt (a.s.).

When I met him, he made me sit near him with affection and asked me about the hardships of the journey. He comforted me and said that he was informed about me beforehand and that it he who had sent Shaykh Muhammad to bring me here. After that he arranged for my lodging in a room in the Masjid, which I found to be comfortable. I rested there till the afternoon. Then a servant who was appointed to serve me said: You must not go anywhere as the Sayyid would have dinner with you along with his associates.

I said: All right, it is my pleasure.

Thus within a short while the Sayyid (may Allah keep him in health) arrived along with his companions. The dinner spread was laid and food was served. We ate together and after that we went to the Masjid for Maghrib Prayers. After the prayer, the Sayyid went home and I returned to my lodging. I stayed there for eighteen days. During this period, I prayed the Friday Prayers as well under the lead of the Sayyid. After Friday Prayers, I asked him: Did you perform the Friday Prayers with an obligatory intention?

He replied: “Yes, because all the condition were present to make it obligatory.”

I asked: “Is the Imam present?”

He replied: “No, not at this moment, but I am his special deputy appointed for this task.”

I asked: “My chief, have you seen the Imam?”

He replied: “No, but my father used to say that he heard the Imam speaking, but did not see him.”

Then the Sayyid said: “My grandfather had spoken to the Imam and also had the honor of seeing him.”

I said: “My chief, why are some granted with the honor of seeing the Imam and some are deprived of it?”

He said: “The Almighty Allah does a favor to anyone of His servants He likes. It is according to His wisdom. You can see that only some people are chosen for the honor of prophethood, messengership and Wilayat. Allah makes them as His proof and a means for all His creatures. So that the one who is destroyed is destroyed after the proof has been exhausted for him and one who remains alive should also do so with proof. That is why the Almighty Allah has done a favor to the creatures that He never leaves the earth without His proof. And every divine proof necessarily needs a successor who would continue to propagate the religion in his stead.”

After that Sayyid (may Allah keep him in health) accompanied me outside and as we walked through the place containing many orchards in which streams were flowing. Different kinds of fruits grew there like grapes, pomegranates and guava etc.

Meanwhile a handsome young man dressed in woolen garments greeted us and moved on. I liked his manners very much. I asked the Sayyid who that man was?

He replied: There is a hill in front of you on the top of which is a dome dedicated to Imam Zamana (a.s.). This man along with an associate of his are caretakers of that place. I visit it every Friday and from there I receive instructions from Imam Zamana (a.s.). I recite the Ziyarat of Imam Zamana (a.s.) and two units of prayers. You should also visit it and recite the Ziyarat of Imam Zamana (a.s.).

Thus I went on that hill and found the dome as the Sayyid had explained. From the two caretakers, one welcomed me cheerfully, but the other was averse to my visit. So his companion assured him that he had seen me in the company of Sayyid Shamsuddin Muhammad Aalam.

When he came to know this, he also became cheerful and they continued to converse with me. Then they served bread and grapes to me. They also gave me some water of that spring. After that I performed the ablution and prayed. I asked them: “Have you seen the Imam?”

They said: “It is impossible to see the Imam and we are not supposed to talk about it.”

Then I requested them to pray for me and they prayed. After that I came to the town to meet the Sayyid at his residence, but I was told that he was not at home. So I went to Shaykh Muhammad who had brought me here on the boat. I narrated to him my story of visiting the holy dome and how that caretaker was unhappy on seeing me there.

Shaykh Muhammad said: He was unhappy, because except for Sayyid Shamsuddin Muhammad Aalam, no one else is supposed to visit that place.

Then I asked him about the Sayyid. He told me that he was the fifth descendant of Imam Zamana (a.s.) and a special deputy of the Imam.

Shaykh Zainuddin Ali bin Fazil Mazandarani narrates that I asked Sayyid Shamsuddin Muhammad Aalam (may Allah give him a long life) to permit me to ask him some questions related to the Islamic law and also to recite the Holy Quran before him.

He accepted my request and told me to begin with the Quran.

So I started reciting the Quran and on points of difference of reciters, I used to say: Hamza has read it in this way, Kasai has said this and that is the view of Asim, the recitation of Abu Amr bin Kathir is such.

The Sayyid said: I have no concern with them, when the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) performed the last Hajj, Jibraeel descended and said: O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.), please recite the Holy Quran to me so that you may be informed about the beginning and end of the chapters and their contexts of revelations.

Thus Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and his sons, Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.), Ubayy bin Kaab, Abdullah bin Masud, Huzaifah Yamani, Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari, Abu Saeed Khudri, Hissan bin Thabit and other companions gathered in the company of the Prophet and he recited the Quran from the beginning to the end. Jibraeel Amin explained the proper reading on the points where there was difference and Amirul Momineen (a.s.) wrote it on leather. Thus the whole of Quran is according to the reading of Amirul Momineen, the successor of the Messenger of the Lord of the world.

I said: “Chief, I want to know why some verses are unconnected to the preceding and succeeding verses?”

He replied: “You are right, it is so because when the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) passed away and the seat of caliphate was occupied by others, Imam Ali (a.s.) brought the Quran that he had compiled and said: This the Quran as revealed by the Almighty Allah and the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) had ordered me to get it for you so that it may exhaust the proof.”

They (Abu Bakr and Umar) said: “We are not in need of your Quran.”

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said: “My beloved, the Prophet had informed me about this reply of yours also, but I just wanted to exhaust the proof.”

Then he brought that Quran home. But he was saying again and again: There is no god except You. You are truth. You are one without any partner. No one can reject that which has passed your knowledge. None can stop that which is the demand of Your wisdom. Thus when the day all would be present before You, You should be a witness for me.

Then Muslims were ordered: All of you who have verses or chapters of Quran should bring to the caliphs.

Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah, Uthman, Saad bin Abi Waqqas, Muawiyah bin Abu Sufyan, Abdur Rahman bin Auf, Talha bin Abdullah. Abu Saeed Khudri, Hissan bin Thabit and others came and compiled the Quran and they removed the verses, which condemned the enemies of Ahle Bayt (a.s.) openly. That is why you find those verses unconnected. And the Quran written by Imam Ali (a.s.) is in the possession of Imam Zamana (a.s.). It contains the description and explanation of every point. It even mentions the penalty of a bruise. There is not doubt that the present Quran is the word of Allah and this has reached us from Imam Zamana (a.s.).

I asked the Sayyid questions on around ninety points of doubt which I later compiled into a book entitled:Fawaid Shamsiya . And I have not told anyone about it, except to some trusted Shia.

On the third Friday, which was the middle Friday of the month, when he concluded the Friday Prayer, the Sayyid took his seat to solve the problems of the people. I heard a great clamor outside.

I asked the Sayyid what it was and he said: “They are the commanders of our forces who gather in the middle Friday of every month to pray for the reappearance of Imam Zamana (a.s.).”

I took the permission of the Sayyid and came out to see a huge crowd in which people were beseeching Allah for the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.).

When I came back to the Sayyid, he asked me if I had seen the army to which I replied in the positive. He asked me if I had counted them to which I replied in the negative.

He said: “They are three hundred helpers and thirteen more are needed. The Almighty Allah would soon deliver His servants; indeed He is generous and kind.”

I said: “My chief, when that would be?”

He replied: “It is known only Allah, the Mighty and Sublime and it depends on His will. Among its signs is that the Zulfiqar will come out of the sheath and speak up in Arabic: O Wali of Allah, arise in the name of Allah and eliminate the enemies of Allah.

Along with this three calls will be issued which would be audible to all the human beings: one would be: ‘O believers, Judgment Day is near’; second: ‘Curse of Allah on the oppressors’ and the third that a face will appear from the sun and call out ‘Allah has made MHMD bin Hasan Mahdi reappear, listen and obey him.’

Question 1: Our scholars have narrated some traditions about Sahibul Amr which say that whoever claims to have seen him during the Major Occultation is a liar. In spite of that so many have seen him, even from among you?

A: It is correct, but Imam Zamana (a.s.) said this when in the beginning of the Major Occultation there were a large number of enemies from our sect as well as from outside and it was a period of the tyrannical rule of Bani Abbas and the Shia were not able to discuss about the Imam even among themselves. But that time has passed and the enemy has despaired; our territories are out of their control and we are safe from their oppression and through the auspiciousness of the Imam no one has access to this place.

Question 2: Shia scholars have narrated a tradition of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) that he has made Khums lawful for his Shia; what do you say about it?

A: Yes, the Imam has permitted Khums to the descendants of Ali (a.s.).

Question 3: Can Shia purchase the slaves of other Muslim?

A: Yes, from them as well as from the slaves of non-Muslims. Because the Imam has said that you may deal with them in that in which they themselves deal. (the last two problems are in addition to the ninety problems mentioned inFawaid Shamsiya ).

Shaykh Zainuddin Ali bin Fazil says: The Sayyid (may Allah keep him in health) also said that the reappearance of the Imam will occur between the Rukn and Maqam in an odd year and the believers should await for it.

I said: “My chief, l want to stay here among you all till the Almighty Allah permits Imam Zamana (a.s.) to reappear.”

He replied: “I have received orders about your return to your native place before only and it is impossible to disobey that order. You are a family man and a long time has passed since you left them and it is not allowed for you to remain away from them anymore. I was moved and I began to weep. Then I asked: Is it possible to ask the Imam about it?”

He replied: “No.”

I asked: “Am I allowed to narrate what I has seen and heard here?”

He replied: “There is no problem in it. You can narrate it to believers, so that they may remain at peace, except for such and such matter, which you must not divulge to anyone.”

I asked: “Is it possible to see the Imam?”

He replied: “No, but every sincere believer sees the Imam although he does not recognize him.”

I asked: “I am a sincere servant of the Imam but I never had the chance to see the Imam.”

He said: “You saw him twice, once when you had come to Samarrah for the first time and your co-travelers had gone ahead leaving you alone and you reached a dried up stream. There you saw a person approach on a piebald horse carrying a long spear with a Damascus blade and you were terrified at his sight. But he assured you and told you that your friends are waiting under so-and-so tree.”

I recalled the whole incident and agreed that the Sayyid was right.

Then he said: “The second time when you were traveling from Damascus to Egypt with your Andalusian teacher, and you were separated from your companions. You were very much afraid and a person had approached you on a white-headed horse with a spear. He had told you not to fear and advised you to spend the night at a particular village and also divulge to them your faith as it was one of the few villages of south Damascus, which were populated by Shia.”

Now the Sayyid asked: “O Ibne Fazil, was that right?”

I replied: “Yes, it is true. Then I came to the village and spent the night there. I was accorded hospitality and when I asked them of their faith they said: We follow the religion of Amirul Momineen, successor of the Messenger of the Lord of the worlds.

I asked them how they adopted that faith and who guided them to it.

They replied: When His Eminence, Abu Zar Ghiffari was exiled from Medina and sent to Shaam, Muawiyah exiled him to us and he came to this area. It is because of him that divine blessings came to us.

Then I also told them about my Shia faith. In the morning I requested them to convey me to my caravan. They sent two of their men to accompany me to my caravan.

I also asked the Sayyid: “Chief, does Imam Qaim (a.s.) perform the Hajj?”

He replied: “Yes, O Ibne Fazil, the whole world is a step for the believers, so what can be said about the one through whose blessings the world has come into existence?

Yes, he performs the Hajj every year, visits the graves of his forefathers in Medina, Iraq and Tus and come backs here.”

After that the Sayyid said: “Now you may return to Iraq without any delay. Leave the western countries immediately. And he gave me five dirhams with the inscription: “There is no god, except Allah. Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Ali is the Wali of Allah and Muhammad Ibnul Hasan is the Qaim by the command of Allah.”

Those coins remain in my possession even today. Then he sent me back aboard the ship I had come till we came to the Berber territory from which I had entered. On reaching there I sold the wheat and barley, which I was carrying for 140 gold dinars. And in accordance with the instructions of the Sayyid, I did not take the Andalusian route. On the contrary I reached Tripoli and joined the caravan of the Hajis with whom I performed the Hajj and then came back to Iraq. Now I wish to live in Najaf Ashraf as long as I am alive.

Shaykh Zainuddin Ali bin Fazil Mazandarani says: I had heard at the Green Island only the mention of five Shia scholars: Sayyid Murtadha Musawi, Shaykh Abu Ja’far Tusi, Muhammad Yaqub Kulaini, Ibne Babawayh Qummi, Shaykh Abul Qasim Ja’far bin Saeed Hilli.

Note: Here we quote some other incidents which people contemporary to our times have narrated to us.

1- Maulana Ahmad Ardibeli meets Imam (a.s.)

Many people have narrated from Sayyid Amir Allam that he said: One night I was in the courtyard of the shrine of Najaf Ashraf and the major part of the night had passed and I was strolling in the courtyard, when I noticed a person heading to the sepulcher. I stepped in his direction and when I came near him, I found that he was my teacher, Maulana Ahmad Ardibeli. I concealed myself and saw that when he reached the entrance, the door was locked, but it opened as soon as he reached it and he entered. I put my ears and heard that he was speaking to someone. After sometime he came out and the door closed. Then he set out for Kufa from there. I also followed him behind in such a way that he should not see me. He entered the Kufa mosque and went to the niche where Amirul Momineen (a.s.) was martyred. He stayed there for a long time and then turned to Najaf Ashraf again, I continued to follow him. He had reached Masjid Hannana when I got a fit of cough, which I could not control.

As soon as heard the sound he recognized me and asked: “Are you not Allam?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“What are you doing here?” He asked.

“I am following you since you entered the holy shrine. And I adjure you in the name of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) to explain to me all that has happened in this night.”

He said: “I will tell you on the condition that as long as I am alive, you will not divulge it to anyone else.”

When he made me swear to it, he said: “Listen, I was perplexed by some problems and when I could not find any solution, I entered the shrine of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) who solves all the problems. The door was locked,

but it opened as soon I reached it as you might have noticed. I entered the shrine and prayed to the Almighty Allah that if my master solves my problem, I would be satisfied. Suddenly a voice came out from the shrine: Go to Kufa Masjid and seek the solution of your problems from the Imam of your time. Thus I went to Masjid Kufa and found the Imam there. I my had problems solved through him and now I am going back to my house.”

2- Amir Ishaq Astarabadi

In our time was a noble and righteous personality by the name of Amir Ishaq Astarabadi. He had completed 40 Hajjs on foot. It was famous among the people that the earth used to fold up for him. One year he came to Isfahan. I went to him to ask him about the fame he had earned. He told me: “The cause of that honor is that one year when I was on my way to the Holy House of Allah, along with other pilgrims, and when we were at a distance of seven or nine stages from Mecca, I was, for some reason, left behind the caravan and soon they went out of my sight. I lost my way and overcome with thirst, I was about to die when I prayed:

“O the righteous one, O Aba Salih guide us to the path, may Allah have mercy on you.”

Suddenly an apparition became visible at the end of the desert, before I could make it out, it had already reached me. I saw a handsome youth wearing clean clothes of green hue and having a noble demeanor riding a camel and carrying a water in a container. I saluted him and he replied to mySalaam and asked: Are you thirsty? ‘Yes,’ I replied. He gave me the vessel and I drank the water. Then he asked: Would you like to join your caravan? ‘Yes,’ said I. He made me mount behind him and moved to Mecca. I had the habit of reciting the Hirz-e-Yamaani everyday. At that time also I began to recite it, at some points he used to say: ‘Recite like this.’

Not much time passed that he said to me: ‘Do you recognize this place?’ I looked and saw that I was at Abtah. He said: ‘Alight.’ I alighted, but when I turned back he had disappeared. At that moment I realized that he was Qaim (a.s.). I became regretful and sad at his separation and was affected that I had not recognized him. Thus when seven days had passed, my caravan reached Mecca and people found me there - while they had lost hopes of my survival - therefore I became famous for having the land folded for me.”

3- Mirza Muhammad Astarabadi

It is narrated from Mirza Muhammad Astarabadi that he said: One night I was performing the Tawaf of the Kaaba when all of a sudden a handsome young man approached and began to do the Tawaf. When he came near to me he gave me a bouquet of red roses although it was not a season of roses at that time. I smelt it in joy and asked: “Where did you get it from, my master?”

He replied: “From ruins.”

Then he disappeared and I could not see him anymore.

4- Incident of a man from Qashan

Some natives of Najaf Ashraf narrated to me that a man of Qashan set out for Hajj and when he reached Najaf Ashraf, he was struck by a severe illness and his legs developed gangrene. His co-travelers left him in charge of a nice man who lived in a room of the school in the holy shrine courtyard and they continued their journey.

The man used to lock him in the room everyday and leave in search for Durre Najaf stones in the desert. One day that Qashani said to that man: I am fed up with this room, please take me out and make me sit somewhere and then you can go on your way.

He agreed to this and carried me to the place of Qaim (a.s.), which was on the outskirts of Najaf Ashraf. He washed his shirt in a pool of water and left it to dry on a bush, while he set out towards the desert. I sat there thinking what the future held for me.

Just then I noticed a wheat complexion handsome youth enter the courtyard and he greeted me and after that he entered the building of Imam Qaim (a.s.). He prayed a few units of prayers with perfect attention and then he came back to me and asked about my well being.

I said: I am involved in such a disease that neither it is cured nor I die so that I may get rid of it.

He said: Don’t worry, the Almighty Allah will give you both.

When he went away I saw that the shirt, which was put out to be dried had fallen down and was soiled. I got up with a reflex action and picked it up; then I washed it once more and again spread it out on the bush to dry. The realization suddenly struck me as to how I had managed to get up as if nothing was wrong. I realized that he was Imam Qaim (a.s.) and I ran out of the place, but could see no one there.

After sometime my host returned from the desert and was astonished to find my illness cured.

When I narrated the whole incident, he also regretted not being able to meet the Imam and after that we returned to our lodging.

People say that he remained in health till his associates returned. When they returned and he saw them, he again fell ill and passed away and he was buried in that courtyard. In this way what the Imam (a.s.) has said came to be true that he would get both the things. The incident became famous and the most trusted residents of that area have narrated it to me.

5- The deceptive pomegranate

Allamah Majlisi says: I heard from some reliable scholars that in the time of the British rule in Bahrain, they appointed a Sunni Muslim as governor despite the fact that the majority of the population was Shia. There was also a particular Sunni minister who was an enemy of the Shia.

One day he brought a pomegranate to the governor. On the pomegranate, the names of Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Imam Ali (a.s.) were found, together with the inscription that these were the four Rightful Caliphs of the Muslims. [“La Ilaaha Illa Allah, Mohammed Rasool Allah, Abu Bakr wa Omar wa Othman wa Ali Kholefa’a Allah” ] The minister claimed that this was a natural miracle and a sign from Allah that the Shia belief was incorrect. He urged that now the Shia should not be regarded as Muslims

and be asked to become “true” Sunni or be killed or made to pay the taxes of non-Muslims.

The governor was delighted at this occurrence and summoned the Shia scholars and put the three alternatives to them. The Shia were amazed when they saw the fruit and asked for three days to return with their reply. This time was granted to them and they went away wondering what to do. Finally they decided to seek help from the Holy Imam (a.s.).

Three pious scholars were selected and each one was to go out of the city into the wilderness and pray for the assistance of the Holy Imam (a.s.). On the first two nights, the first two scholars spent the whole night in prayers and supplications, but with no success. On the third night, the third scholar, saw an impressive personality approach him at dawn.

The man asked him what the problem was. He replied that if he was truly his Imam then he would surely know the problem. The Holy Imam (a.s.) then replied that he was aware of the difficulty and not to worry. He told the scholar to go with the governor to the minister’s house the next day, and insist on going to the top terrace. There he would find two moulds with the false inscription printed on them. These moulds had been fitted into the growing fruit so that, as it became larger, the words were embedded in it. He further told him to ask the minister to break open the fruit and witness the power of Allah.

The next morning matters proceeded as the Holy Imam (a.s.) had ordered. When the minister was told to take everybody on to the top terrace he went pale and began to make excuses. At the governor’s insistence, he reluctantly led them to the place, where they found the articles as described by the Holy Imam (a.s.). Eventually the governor asked the minister to break open the fruit. When he did so, black dust flew from it and smeared his eyes and beard. The minister was executed for his treachery while the Shia scholars left with honor and dignity.