It’s that time of the year again.
After receiving invitations from their Lord, a select few will have the ultimate honour of attending the grandest of spiritual banquets and have the chance to implore in God in His courtyard.
In this article, I would like to share a small story that connects this beautiful pilgrimage with the Imam of our time, Imam Mahdi (atfs).
The ahadith say that one of the duties of the Imam of our Time (atfs) while he is in occultation is that he performs hajj every single year. (See footnotes below for other roles of the Imam (atfs).
There was a man from Iraq by the name of Ali bin Ibrahim Mahziyaar who had a deep desire to meet Imam Mahdi (atfs). He would thus go to Hajj every year, hoping to meet his Imam (atfs).
After going several times and not meeting the Imam, Mahziyaar went one year and while he was in close proximity to the Kabba in Masjidul Haram, he saw a handsome man whom he approached.
The man was not the Imam (atfs), but he asked Mahziyaar where he was from and what he had come here to do.
Mahziyaar told him he had come to meet the Imam of the Time (atfs), the man replied by saying, “When the stars shine brightly in the sky, I will wait for you between the Black Stone (Hajar al-Aswad) and Safaa.”
Mahziyaar was extremely happy at the prospect of meeting the Imam (atfs) . He waited out the remaining hours tensely, and when night fell, we went to the spot where he was to meet the man.
After greeting each other, the two set off, the handsome man in the lead.
They travelled for a little while until they stopped in one valley where a lone tent sat, shining brightly in the darkness.
The man told Mahziyaar to wait, after which he approached the tent and entered inside it.
A short while later, the man emerged from the tent and told Mahziyaar that the Imam (atfs) has given permission for Mahziyaar to meet him.
The narrated conversation that follows between Mahziyaar and the Imam of the Time (atfs) can serve as a wonderful lesson for those of us who want to get closer to our Imam (atfs).
The Imam told Mahziyaar, “We were waiting for you day and night. Why did you come so late?”
To which he replied, “O my master! I could not find anyone to lead me towards you. I wanted to meet you for so many years.”
After writing something on the sand, the Imam (atfs) said that this was not the case, and that their meeting was delayed for three reasons, all to do with Mahziyaar’s shortcomings.
The Imam (atfs) told him:
– “You were preoccupied with gathering money and wealth.
– You behaved proudly with the poor and weak believers.
– You broke relations with your near ones.”
“O Ali bin Ibrahim Mahziyaar,” he continued, “The special Shias are those whose actions are just like their words.”
How sad would it be if we let petty things like greed and arrogance stands in our way of being true followers of the Imam (atfs)?
It’s important to realize that the first, and maybe most important step in our journey to becoming representatives of the Imam (atfs) is to purify ourselves in order to become better, stronger Muslims.
We pray to the Almighty Allah to grant us the opportunity of being his guests and to give us the golden chance of meeting the Imam (atfs).
The roles of the Imam (atfs) while he is in occultation include:
– helping those people who are lost on a journey
– performing Hajj every year
– assisting the scholars
– attending the funeral of every pious believer that passes away
(Based on a hadith from Imam Jaffer Sadiq (as)
– The story of Ali bin Ibrahim Mahziyaar is narrated in pages 539 – 542 of Muhammad bin Harir Tabari’s book, Dalaaelul Imamat