“Moses said to his people, ‘Turn to Allah for help and be patient. The earth indeed belongs to Allah, and He gives its inheritance to whomever He wishes of His servants, and the end will be in favour of the Godwary.”
What you heard was ayah 128 of Surah A’raaf of the Holy Qur’an, on the tidings of the coming of the Saviour of mankind in the end times. The concept of the Redeemer is present in all religions, but it is only Islam that clearly points to Imam Mahdi (AS) as the Promised One. This is more specific and without the least ambiguity in the School of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt, which is known as Tashayyo, and its followers as Shi’a, for attaching importance, as per the commands of God and Prophet, on the peerless personality of Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) and his Eleven Infallible Descendants, the last of whom is Imam Mahdi (AS). The Imam of the Age, who is in the state of occultation, has said in a famous statement mentioned in the Book Bihar al-Anwaar: "We are not negligent of your affairs and are not forgetful of your remembrance. Had it been so, then terrible calamities would have struck you and your enemies would have destroyed you. Fear Allah, strengthen your hands, so that may relieve you of the tribulations that have affricated you."
Dr.A.R. Qavidel, Clinical Psychologist of Tehran’s Jawan Counselling Center, commenting on this statement, says: “Such love, kindness, affection, and fondness are not found even in partners. After seeing so much kindness and compassion whose heart will not be moved for action? Whose eyes will not shed tears at the separation from such an Imam, while his love is glowing in his heart? When we see such magnanimity we yearn to place our forehead at his feet. But the burdens of sins benumb our agility and the clutches of bad conscience retard our steps.
The main reasons for being deprived of his esteemed presence, is explained thus by the Imam himself: "If our Shi’ites (true followers – may Allah give them the grace of obedience) had fulfilled the covenants, then surely there would have been no delay in our meeting and they would have received the blessing of our visitation."
The majority of world religions, irrespective of their being divine or man-made, believe in the advent of a Saviour. The spiritual leaders of different religions have discussed and debated this subject. The Saviour is described as deliverer of mankind, who will appear at the ultimate stage with justice and equity after it has been filed with tyranny and oppression. He will eradicate deviation, ignorance and atheism and disseminate moral and spiritual guidance and monotheism.The Prophet of Islam had said: "whoever dies without recognizing the Imam of his time, dies the death of ignorance."
This hadith clearly indicates that cognition of the Infallible Imam of the age is compulsory for each and every one. The Prophet had said: "there will be twelve caliphs' successors after me. Verily the proofs of Allah on the creatures are twelve of them, the first will be my brother and the last of them will be my son." He was asked "which of your brothers and which son? He replied: “My brother Ali, son of Abi-Taleb; my son Mahdi, the one who will fill the world with justice and equity when it is fraught with injustice and oppression.”
This hadith of the Prophet has been widely quoted, even by our Sunni brethren, such as in the book Faraaed us-Simtain, Vol.2, Page 226. The Prophet had also said: "Even if a single day remains from the eve of dooms Day, Allah the Almighty will prolong that day till be raises a man from my progeny."
After clarifying that cognition of the Imam of the Age is a must and there will be Twelve Successors after the Prophet, now it is better to know him as is found in Islamic Narrations. According to many authentic documents available in Islamic sources, the following identification has been found for Imam Mahdi (AS).
Birth: Friday, fifteenth of sha'ban 255AH
Father's name: Imam Hasan Askari (AS)
Mothers' name: Narjis
Commencement of Minor Occultation and Imamate: 260AH, 9th Rabi al-Awwal.
Commencement of Major Occultation and Imamate: 329AH
Similarly with Prophet Noah (AS): Longevity
Similarly with Prophet Moses (AS): Concealed birth
Similarly with Prophet Job (AS): Patience
Similarly with Prophet Jesus (AS): Brilliance
Place of reappearance: the Holy Ka’ba in Mecca
Time of reappearance: No one knows except Allah.
Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) had said: "Glad tidings are to you about Mahdi (AS)" Then he added:"The inhabitants of the heavens and the inhabitants of the earth are happy with him. He shall distribute the wealth equally, free Mohammad nation from need or want and comfort them with his righteousness."
The Mahdi (AS) shall be harsh with rulers, generous with people in distributing wealth, and gentle with the helpless in easing their pain. The Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibnAbiTaleb (AS) says about the Mahdi's characteristics: "At the time when they (people) shall alter the guidance to follow the desires, the Mahdi (AS) shall alter the desires to follow the guidance.At the time when they interpret the Qur’an to follow their own prudence, the Mahdi (AS) shall materialize (their) prudence to follow the Qur’an. The Mahdi (AS) shall demonstrate to you justice. The Mahdi (AS) shall enliven the commandments of the Qur’an and the Sunnah which were until then for the dead and lifeless. The Mahdi (AS) shall fill the earth with equity and justice after it has been filled with cruelty and oppression."
Furthermore, the Prophet while mentioning the injustice and seditiousness of despotic rulers, said: "if there remains not more than one day for the earth, Allah will prolong the day until a person from my progeny comes and rule .the great events shall take place through his hands and Islam shall manifest itself…"
Thus, in view of these facts, not just the Shi’a Muslims but all people, throughout the world, expect him to establish peace and justice for human kind.
Dr Qavidel points out: Awaiting the Imam’s Reappearance or “Intezar”, is the result of two conditions. Firstly, one is not satisfied with the present situation; and secondly, expects the improvement of the circumstances. If either of these conditions is not fulfilled, then it is not awaiting and the person concerned is not a “muntazer” or the one who waits – in Islamic terminology, the one who waits is equal to the expectant. The awaiting of Imam Mahdi (AS) also holds the same distinct characteristics. Even here, “awaiting” purports that an awaited person is not satisfied with the present circumstances and is hoping for a bright and better future. Today the believers are witness to the assault of the enemies which they are inflicting on Islam with full might and munitions – such as the Takfiris that masquerade as Muslims and Jihadis, but are in fact the creation of Zionism, US imperialism, and neo Jahiliyya Arabism, spearheaded by Saudi Arabia. Belief and deeds are not judged as per the criterion set by the Holy Qur’an and Hadith. Instead they are examined through the clannish prejudice and norms set by forefathers. In such circumstances, a truly awaiting person should not sit idle. Rather the holy Qur’an, in Surah Hood, ayahs 121 and 122: has instructed us in these words: ''And say to those who do not have faith, ‘Act according to your ability; we too are acting.And wait! We too are waiting.’
Dr Qavidel, continuing his comments, says: These words of God Almighty could be called an open challenge for the enemies that let them make their best efforts. In the light of this challenge, can anyone say that waiting implies sitting idle and remaining oblivious? Or awaiting means to remain always alert and defeat enemies on every front. Of course, it necessitates that a believer should never exult on his strength, in view of this narration from the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt: "The one who desires to be among the companion of the Qaem, then he must wait, adopt piety and behave courteously. If he dies in such a condition before the advent of Qaem, then his reward will be similar to the one who attains theQaem’s Era, should always rely on Allah.”
It is thus clear that reliance on Allah gives victory to weaklings over their stronger adversaries.According to Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS), the Prophet’s Sixth Infallible Heir: ''Hence strive vigorously, await his arrival, congratulations to you all for your relentless awaiting."
Dr. Qavidel notes that he is truly awaiting, who always seeks to please the Imam o the Age. His every effort is directed at achieving the invaluable pleasure of the Imam and it is but evident the pleasure of the Imam is in abiding by the tenets of Islam and not in its sacrilege.Of the many responsibilities which a truly awaiting person has to reserve for himself, is to build his character. Character-building implies following the tenets of Islam, developing good traits and purifying his self in such a way that every aspect of his personality should reflect the teachings of the progeny of the Holy Prophet. Often the friends and the helpers of Imam Mahdi (AS) are described with such superlatives: “Those who will believe in the hidden Imam, they are the most pious one and their faith is of the highest degree. They will establish prayers and spend generously in the way of God. They believe firmly in the Holy Qur’an and other divine scriptures and they are certain of the Day Resurrection.
''They are obedient, sincere, honorable, good doers, patient, devout, helpers of the oppressed, cordial and pure hearted.''
''Their hearts are of steel; if they cast a glance at an iron mountain, it will crumble and reduce to bits.''
"They will worship at night"
''In the period of occultation, they will hold religious convictions and will not allow the devil to meddle with their faith.''
Dr Qavidel of Javan Clinic,, who extracted these hadith from various sources, says this is meant to clarify that in the period of major occultation, one of our pivotal responsibilities is to absorb the teaching of the Prophet’s progeny in our character and personality so that we may not wander hither and thither while our beloved Imam Mahdi (AS) is far from our eyes.It is a proven fact that as much as a man holds Imam Mahdi (AS) dear, that much he will be attracted towards good deeds and benevolence. And he will cleanse his self from bad habits and vices. Numerous such incidents can be found in the books, particularly for the youth who felt the love of Imam Mahdi (AS) in their hearts which changed their entire lives. Undoubtedly love is such an elixir by which every impossible is made possible.