AWAITING FOR IMAM A.S.OR FOR SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS:
Innumerable narrations contain the signs
and symbols of the re-apperarance of Hazrat Vali-e-Asr Imam Mahdi (A.S.) Janab Sheikh
Sadooq and Allama Majlisi (May God Shower His blessing on on them) the highly acclaimed
Islamic Scholars have described these narrations among the signs and symbols of the
re-appearance of Imam (A.S.) Here we will discuss them wholly form literary point of view.
of signs and symbols of re-appearance of Imam (A.S.)
Since long all the Muslims in general and
the Shias in particular are looking forward for the re-appearance of Imam Mahdi (A.S.). It
is undoubtedly an established fact like the Doomsday for which no fixed time or period is
sounded. Only Allah knows, we know not. We have only to focus our attention on the
indications assigned for it. To investigate, to find out and to distinguish between these
signals and tokens for the re-appearance of Imam (A.S.) is of immense importance. We can
assume on the basis of these indications (not for certain) that the time and period is not
far away. Due to this more emphasis is given on these signs from the beginning itself.
two types of indications and signs
The signals given by Ahlul-bait are not of
one type. Some of the signs told by the descendants of the Holy Prphe (SAWA) are
unchangeable while some of them are inconstant. Imam Jafar Sadiq (A.S.) has said that five
signs before the re-appearance of Qayem (A.S.) would appear. (i) the appearance of Yemani,
(ii) revolt of Sufyani, (iii) mysterious voice, (iv) murder of a pious man between Safah
and Murwa; (v) sinking of Sufyani's army between Mecca and Madina at a place known as
According to another narration some other
sure symbols are related by Imam Jafar Sadiq (A.S.) like the division of Banu Abbas in
different groups; Sighting of mysterious hands form the sky (Bihar 206-23/52) while other
signs are mutable. It can be concluded by keeping both the symbols together that some of
them are uncertain.
3. Can any
change be anticipated in the things predicted ?
According to the thorough and absolute Shia
teachings and tenets the answer will be in affirmative. Changeability among the shias is
an important belief founded on Quranic Signs (Suras). The Sunnis have never any vision to
see things in the light of the teachings of Ahlul bait. Their mentality is unchanged and
will never be changed so the change and alteration can never be digested by them. In the
light of Shia tenets, the mishaps, calamities and other ugly incidents which are expected
can be changed, altered and averted. Accordingly the problems of livelihood age, hunger,
prestige honour, insult and disgrace, incurable diseases, earthquakes, famine, revolution
and war which are about to engulf the mankind can be turned aside from or there may be
increase or decrease in their severity. The glaring example of the changeability is the
episode of the followers of Hazrat Yunus (A.S.) whose calamity was kept off and prevented.
At two different places it is mentioned in the Holy Book that the followers of Hazrat
Yunus (A.S.) ware subjected to the severe wrath of the Almighty God. So the Prophet
distanced himself from them and went far away. But his followers suddenly changed their
behaviour and stand. They pleaded for mercy form the Almighty God form the depth of their
hearts. The calamity was averted (Sura-Yunus : 98).
God can change the destiny and is not
subject to any control, can set right the things, comes to the rescue of those who have
lost the hope, has authority to control the things when they are uncontrollable and
manages the affairs when they are unmanageable. The changes and alterations should not be
amounted to the repentance of God for the decision given previously. Such types of change
would be called to have its base on ignorance and can be presumed that the decision when
first given was due to lack of knowledge but after having gained the complete knowledge
the change was taken place. actually this change is not linked with divination and
for-knowledge. This has the direct connection as per the narrations of descendants of Holy
Prophet (with the knowledge of the unseen) where the fore-knowledge is treasured. From
this treasure all the angels, the Prophets and the spiritual leaders(Imams) are adorned
with the fore-knowledge and inspiratins. Nothing has thus found place regarding change in
the Commandments of God in (Quran)in the unseen treasure of knowledge. On the basis of the
fore-knowledge Hazrat Yunus (A.S.) went far away from his followers. When he returned, was
flabbergasted to find that the calamity was averted. It is clear that the calamity was
mentioned but the change was not mentioned so Hazrat Yunus (A.S.) was taken aback to see
the change. The descendents of Prophet (A.S.) were embellished with divine knowledge
written in the knowledge of the unseen. Whatever symbols were described in that were all
told by the spiritual leaders (Imam). Regarding the change in symbols nothing was
predicted so was not told by the Imam but due to the faith in alteration there is a
possibility of change in symbols also.
4. Can the
symblos and signs be changed and subjected to alteration ?
It is a complex problem which requires
literary discussion and arguments. The scholars of high reputation and arguments. The
scholars of high reputatin have different views. According to the highly placed narrator
Mirza Hasan Noori author of the book Mustadrak-ul-wasael there can be change in these
symbols also like the change in rest of the things. (Najmus-Saqib, chap.11). The eminent
scholar Ayat ullah Syed MOhammad Taqi Isfahani has expressed altogether different views as
any change is not acceptable to him in these symbols.
Further discussions and arguments in this
article will prove that narrator Noori was right in his conclusion and the correctness of
his views can easily be established. Two types of signs and indications are narrated by
the Imam (A.S.). Some of them are certain while others are un-certain. If there would not
have been uncertain signs there was no point in treating some signs as certain and
unchangeable. So it amounts to the change in the symbols. There can be change at least in
uncertain signs and signals. Later on it would also be proved that even certain signs
could aslo be changed.
alteration not possible in the time of re-appearance of Imam (A.S.) ?
Regarding the change both these narrations
can be put as a proof in which the re-appearnce is predicted early or late. The conditions
of period and time of re-apperance are discribed in some narrations. If it will be proved
that re-appearance is alterable can occur late or early then it will be implied that the
signs can also be changed. The following narrations can be quoted regarding the change in
A narrator writes that he inquired from
Imam Jafar Sadiq (A.S.) whether there is any remedy to this replied, "Yes but it is only you people who have disclosed this secret so the
re-appearance is delayed by God."
(Bihar - 52 - 117 105).
It can be explained in this way in detail
that the Imams (A.S.) used to hint to their followers (Shias) about the re-appearance
without fixing any period. That secret was passed on to the enemies by some mentally weak
Shias which aversed God and thus the re-appearance was delayed. In other narration Imam
Jafar Sadiq (A.S.) said that re-appearance was delayed twice (Bihar 52/117) while it was
actually delyaed thrice according to another narratin (Bihar 52/289-291).
The following sayings of Imam (A.S.) can be
put forward as a third example which proves that delay or haste can possibly occur in
re-appearance. The words are follows: "Pay for early
re-appearance as it would be for your god. It would be a means to make you free from
hardship". (Bihar -53).
Hazrat Imam Jafar Sadiq (A.S.) relates that
"the wrath of God, on Bani Israel was prolonged, they prayed to
God to pardon their sins from the depth of their hearts continuosly for a fortnight. God
then commanded Janab Hazrat Musa (A.S.) and Janab Hazrat Haroon (A.S.) through heavenly
messange to protect them from the tyranny of Firoun. Thus hundred and seventy years of
their calamity and hardships were reduced. So they were freed early from God's
displeasure. Imam (A.S.) further added that you can also pray to God to help you pardon
your sins. Like Bani Israel you will also be freed early from hardships. If you will not
act like them God would continue to carry it upto the last stage".
It has now become clear that the early
re-appearance of Imam (A.S.) so to say depends very much how we reciprocate. If we will
pray to God sincerely to padon us we will find a sea of change in ourselves and will
abstain from sins by being faithful to God. Only then we can hope for quick and early
re-appearance of Imam Mahdi (A.S.).
When it is evident that alterations are
possible in re-appearance so also the change is possible in the signs described for the
time and period of re-appearance.
6. Can the re-appearance be subjected to alterations?
The changes and alterations are linked with
appointed and certified things. The commandments of God are not wavering and inconstant.
God declares in the Holy Book". No doubt the words of God are never vacuous".
Whatever can be said and written in the light of the teachings of Ahlul bait is only this
that the re-appearance of Imam (A.S.) either be delayed or altered or occours early but is
not immutable. The re-appearance is the commandment of God that never changed. God in His
Holy Book "God has promised his pious and faithful beings to appoint a vicegerent on
earth and endow him with authority to pupularise the ways of choicest religion of Allah
and the peace will prevail everwhere instead of fear and terror (Sura-Noor). The promise
of God is never in vain an void. A person came to Imam Taqi (A.S.) and expressed his fear
regarding the possibility of change and alteration in the re-appearance of Imam (A.S.). He
was told by Imam Mohammad Taqi (A.S.) that re-appearance of Imam Mahdi (A.S.) is a
commandment of God which is not in-expressive". (Bihar 251/52)
7. Can there be any change in authentic and established signs of
re-appearance of Imam (A.S.)?
Positive indications mean those which are
willed by God so un-changeable and will never be changed while the rest can be categorised
as vague so liable to be changed. There is no commandment of God regarding them only their
quality and characteristics is mentioned. The appearance of Yamani. The revolt of Sufyani
an sinking of army, murder of a pious man and sounding of a voice from the heaven are
stamped and thus not subject to alterations. Expressive and inexpressive signs and
indications whether the certain or uncertain are not visible in the outside world the
possibility of change can not be ruled out. Both are liable to be changed. The revolt of
Sufyani was related in presence of Imam Taqi (A.S.) as an unchangeabel sign. Accordingly
an individual enquired from Imam (A.S.)whether a change is possible even in this stable
sign? The Imam replied in the affirmative. (Bihar -151-250/52)
Keeping the above in mind there is no
apparent distinction between vacuous and secure signs as both are changeable.
8. What is the meaning of change in the signs?
We have already described this point above
in detail in part No.3 of this article that the change in precious signs occur under
peculiar circumstances. The Prophets, messengers of God and spiritual Leaders (Imams)
acquire Knowledge from divine soure in which early and preliminary decisions with their
signs and symbols are mentioned. Sometimes due to some particular reasons changes and
alterations are brough about in previous decision and amendments are made in them. So
whatever indicatios are given by the Imam (A.S.) regarding the incidents which are to
occur including the re-appearance are totally based on the previous decisons mentioned
therein. It does not in any way mean that signs should be ignored and should be considered
as insignificant "You should not be taken aback if the other day that incident is
changed or altered for which you were told before hand" as was told by Imam (A.S.).
We should have faith in the utterances of Imam (A.S.) and should not doubt authenticiyt.
Istead we should try to find out whether ro not that incident was from amongst them which
were changeable. A true follower is he who has faith in changes and alterations and not
carried away by inconstant and constant signs. If predicted incidents have not base it on
ignorance and it should be treated as a previous decision which was changed by God's will
as such thoughts would have double and manifold advantages (Kafi-2/269). He who was faith
in narrations would never be taken aback if the Imam (A.S.) re-appears before the sighting
of the signs as one is awaiting for the Imam (A.S.) and not looking forward for the signs.
9. What is the purpose and object of symbols and signs?
The discussions about the tokens and
signals have it own advantages and benefits. It kindles the hearts of Shias with the ray
of hope, vanishes the anxiety and worries and protects them from negative thinking that
crowd their minds. The facts of re-appearance are known only to God as we have described
in this article in detail. The material which were possibly being collected about the
re-appearance are wholly based on tokens and signals. The sightning of any of those tokens
strenghtens our faith in re-appearance of Imam (A.S.) doubles the excitement. Yaqteen,
father of highly respected companion and follower Ali bin Yaqteen of Hazrat Imam Musa
Kazim (A.S.) was a blind followres of Banu Abbas while his son Ali bin Yaqteen was
begotted Shia. Imam (A.S.) guaranteed heaven for him. Yaqteen once asked his son Ali in
light vein that prediction of Prophet (SAWA) about the sovereignity of Banu Abbas had come
true but so far Mahdi (A.S.) has not re-appeared to minimize sufferings and pains of his
Shias as was predicted by the Prophet (SAWA). Ali replied that the source of narration is
the same i.e. the regulations mentioned in the heavenly book with only difference that the
time for the fulfillment of the promise made to you drew nigh while the time for our
promise has not arrived so we are waiting for the day. If it would be told that it would
occur within two or three years but would not occur majority of us would contradict the
issue of re-appearance of Imam (A.S.). To keeps us on the track it is said that "the
period of re-appearance is fast approaching" (Ghaibat-e-Numani page 158). Thus the
tokens and signals for re-appearance serve as a source of stability and security of faith.
1. The signs and tokens of re-appearance of
Imam (A.S.) are nonconstant and can be altered like other things.
2. The meaning and sense of change is not
the complete and actual change but the substitute in the preliminary decisions depicted in
the Holy Book. God knows everything and there cannot be any change in His Commands.
3. The knowledge of the Prophets and
Spiritual Leaders is acquired from the Holy Book so the secret are known to them. The
change and alterations if any in the previous decision are mentioned only in unseen
4. We should have firm faith in the
teachings of Spiritual Leaders. If the things have not occured as predicted it has no link
with their teachings but have direct connection with the knowledge of the unseen.
5.The re-appearance of Imam (A.S.) may be
delayed or may take place early. We are duty bound to provide means of eary re-appearance
of Imam (A.S.) by doing good deeds and by prayers for early occurance.
6. Change is possible where it is not
promised by God. The re-appearance is promised but there is no promise for time and period
7. The signs and tokens of re-appearance
have a major role to play for stability and firmness in our faith for clear dealings and
11. In What manner the discussions effects the awaiters
It is advised in narrations to wait for
re-appearance every morning and evening and all the times (Bihar 95-145/52). Such a piece
of advice can be given only when the signs and tokens are inconstant.
1. If the tokens are unchangeable there is
no point to wait all the time and every moment. It would be altered when these tokens are
sighted. But under these conditions it can be argued that without sighting of those tokens
how the re-appearance is possible? The mention in the narratios are contrary to that.
Having a faith in change and alteration everybody would be ready and willing every morning
and evening and all the time for re-appearance.
2. A person who is not believing in change
in signs he would never wait all the time throughout the day and night. There is at least
15 days gap between the assasination of a pious man and the re-appearance of Imam (A.S.)
(Bihar-302/52). So it is meaningless to think about the re-appearance before the murder of
a pious man. We are ordered to wait all the time. To wait for re-appearance is considered
a significant act. Such orders can be given only when the change in tokens are possible.
3. A person who has no faith in alteration
of signs and thinks of re-appearance of Imam (A.S.) after sighting of the tokens such a
person is actually waiting first for the sighting of tokens and then for re-appearance of
Imam (A.S.) which the narrative has given more importance to the re-appearance of Imam
(A.S.) and tokens afterwards.
12. Awaiting for re-appearance and not for tokens and symbols
It is now clear that we should wait for
re-appearance of Imam (A.S.) and not for change in sign. We should not consider
re-appearance as impossible before withnessing the symbols and tokens. The re-appearance
is the command of God. It is not ordered by God, so the Imam (A.S.) has not re-appeared.
It is only at this stage the true and sincere followers are praying, waiting and begging
pardon before God to hasten the re-appearance of Imam (A.S.) God is free to shower His
blessings to any He likes. God can order the re-appearance even before the sighting of
signs and not bound by symbols. The symbols can be changed and Imam (A.S.) can be ordered
to re-appear early. So we should wait for re-appearance of Imam (A.S.). and should not
wait for the signs to appear.
Oh! God of
Husain (A.S.) we beg you to administer justice to Husain (A.S.) and bring forth the
re-appearance of Imam (A.S.) for consolation of Imam Husain (A.S.).