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Shawal 10 - Start of Imam (AS)ís Ghaibat-e-Kubra
10th of Shawwal - Start of the Ghaibat-e-Kubra (greater occultation) of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.). According to other reports, the date was 4th or 9th of Shawwal 329 A.H.
Birth and Imamate:
The promised Mahdi, who is usually mentioned by his title of Imam-e-Asr (the Imam of the "Period") and Sahib az-Zaman (the Lord of the Time/Age), is the son of the eleventh Imam. His name is the same as that of the Holy Prophet (SAW). He was born in Samarrah on the 15th of Shabaan in 256 A.H./868 A.D. and until 260 A.H./872 A.D. when his father was martyred, lived under his father's care and guidance.
As soon as the 12th Imam was born he did sijda (prostration) and proclaimed the oneness of Allah and the Prophet hood of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh&hf)
He also recited the 5th aya of Suratul-Qasas "And We intend to bestow (Our) favours upon those who are weak in the land and make them the Imams (leaders) and make them the heirs". On his right hand was written the 82nd aya of Suratu Bani Israel "The truth has come and falsehood has vanished; Indeed falsehood (is a thing by nature) vanishing". The 11th Imam only told a handful of his most trusted believers of the birth of his son and to a few of his household slaves.
One of the women slaves called Naseema relates that when she went to see the baby Imam in his cradle she greeted him with salaam and was replied to. She then sneezed and the Imam said: "Yarhamukillah - it is a blessing from Allah and you have 3 days immunity from death".
The last Imam (a.s.) was hidden from public view and only a few of the elite among the Shiahs were able to meet him. After the martyrdom of his father he became Imam and by Divine Command went into occultation (ghaybat). Thereafter he appeared only to his deputies (naibeen) and even then only in exceptional circumstances.
Ghaibat (occultation) of the last Imam (a.s.):
The Imam's ghaibat (occultation) was in two phase - Ghaibat-e-Sughra (minor occultation) was for about 69 years - 260 A.H. (872 A.D.) to 329 A.H. (939 A.D.) and the Ghaibat-e-Kubra (greater occultation) started in 329 A.H. (939 A.D.)and will continue until Allah (swt) so wills.
GHAIBAT-E-SUGHRA (160 A.H. to 329 A.H.):
During Ghaibut-us-Sughra, the Imam (a.s.) appointed four deputies/representatives to represent him among the people. After the death of the fourth deputy, the Imam (a.s.) went into Ghaibut-e-Kubra (major occultation). This was on the 10th Shawal 329 A.H.
The 4 representatives were:
1. Uthman bin Saeed (A.R.)
It is said that at the age of 11 years he was a servant in the house of the 9th Imam later to enjoy the confidence of Imam. He occupied the same position of trust with the 10th and 11th Imam who told their Shias that after him they would not see the 12th Imam and would have to obey Uthman. After the 11th Imam's martyrdom Uthman moved to Baghdad and disguised as a butter seller. He served the 12th Imam for 18 months and received a letter near his death from Imam (a.s.) telling him to appoint his son Mohammed as the next representative.
2. Muhammad bin Uthman (A.R.)
He continued in his fathers footsteps also acting as a butter seller. As instructed by Imam he appointed Husayn bin Rawh as the next representative after his death in 305 A.H.
3. Husayn bin Rawh (A.R.)
His kuniyya was Abul Qasim. He managed to keep his activities a secret from the rulers whilst maintaining good relations with them. It is to him that we address the 'ariza' to be delivered to Imam. He served faithfully until he died in Sha'ban 326 a.h. revealing the appointment of Ali bin Muhammad Samry after him.
4. Ali bin Muhammad Samry (A.R.)
He served for only three years. A week before his death he received a letter from the Imam (a.s.) telling him of his forthcoming death and that there would be no representative after him and that Imam (a.s.) was now going into Ghaibat-e-Kubra (major occultation). Imam (a.s.) would then appear when Allah (swt) wills it. Ali bin Muhammad Samry (a.r.) died on 15th Shabaan 329 A.H.
GHAIBAT E KUBRA (329 A.H. to present):
Imam's ghaibat is described by the Aimma like that of Prophet Yusuf (A.S.) who was amongst his brothers yet they did not recognise him.
Imam is known to meet a believer on 3 occasions:
1. At the time of trouble
2. He is present at every Hajj
3. He attends the funeral of every believer who has no religious obligations pending on him/her e.g. Khums.
During this time he continues to guide. Numerous letters have been received from him by (to quote a few) Ishaq bin Yaqub, Sheikh Mufeed...It is reported that Jaziratul Khadra (green islands or Bermuda Triangle) is a vast land in Imam's kingdom.
Responsibilities During Ghaibat-e-Kubra:
1. Pray for the safety of Imam (a.s.) at all time
2. Be in waiting for Imam (a.s.) at all times
3. Give Sadaqa for Imam (a.s.)
4. Pray for his re-appearance
5. Whenever faced with difficulty (whether small or big) ask for assistance from Imam (a.s.) 6. Whenever his name is heard or recited, one should stand if possible, send salaams on him, and bow. 7. If possible perform Hajj/Umra for Imam (a.s.). (Hajj-After own Wajibat)
RE-APPEARANCE OF IMAM AL MAHDI (A.S.):
"The actual time of appearance is only known by Allah". However our Aimma have given various indications.
- It will be the day of Friday.
- It will be the 10th of Muharram.
- The century will be an odd number.
- There will be both a solar and lunar eclipse in the month of Ramadhan but contrary to all norms and calculations.
- A voice will be heard announcing the appearance of Imam, which will be heard by all in their own language.
- Imam Ali (a.s.) related to Sa'sa bin Sawhaan: The 12th Imam will appear when: There will be a loud noise from the sky with which the eardrums will pierce.
- Nasibayn (Iraq) will burn on all four sides.
- Basra will be abandoned.
- Turkey will be ruled by Usmanis.
- People will usurp that which they are trusted with.
- People will 'kill' Salaa. (It will not be abandoned but its essence destroyed).
- People will carry music in their pockets.
- The 5th, 6th and 7th Imams have said:
"A great man from the people of Qum will rise up and take a stand. He will invite people will invite people towards the truth. Brave people like strong mountains, not fearing fighting and having trust in Allah will come to his help.......... Finally the enemy of Islam will withdraw.............. The rule of Islamic Law will be established by the people themselves".
"Kufa will become barren of Islamic knowledge........... whilst Qum will become the centre of Islamic Fiqh............ so much so that it will spread throughout the world that not a single person will remain ignorant of the message of Islam".
"These people will be the vicegerents of the 12th Imam. Their rule will continue and link with the appearance of the 12th Imam. They will not entrust the rule established by them to any but Imam on his reappearance".
- Imam Ali (a.s.) took Kumayl bin Ziyad to the outskirts of Kufa and showed him where he was to be buried. He then told him that all round his grave there would be tall buildings carrying the sign of Shaitan on them. The sign would be called Antennae.
- Sufyani will appear
- Imam will appear in Makka and his 'zahoor' will be in two stages (similar to Prophet hood of the Prophet).
* 1st Stage
This will be in secret and not announced to all (only to close followers).
* 2nd Stage
Open announcement on the 10th of Muharram (Ashura).
- In the Zil-Hajjah of the preceding to Imam's appearance on Ashura, 40 momineen who will be Imam's closest companions will realise the nearness of 'zahoor' and go for Hajj. They will not return home and on the 15th of Zil-Hijjah they will go to the Ka'ba and cry a lot.
- One of them will be called by Imam (a.s.), introduced and told to be the representative of the 40. They will all meet Imam (a.s.) between the 16th and 22nd of Zil-Hijjah. Imam will tell them that one of them will have to announce the arrival of Imam (a.s.) at the door of the Ka'ba but whosoever would do this would be killed immediately.
- On the 25th Zil-Hijjah the announcement will be made and the announcer killed (This is the blood of Nafse Zakiyya - pure soul, those whose blood will touch the Ka'ba and who is mentioned in numerous prophecies). His blood will be avenged 2 weeks later when Imam (a.s.) will appear himself at the Ka'ba.
- Those who answer the first call will be 313 in number.
- Imam's army will consist of 10.000 momineen.
- Imam will establish his government in Kufa and his treasury in Masjidus Sahla.