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1- The answer to the question of a sunni anchor was given in detail by a Shia scholar. The speech can be listen in Urdu at the link given below: https://audiomack.com/truth-is-religion/song/best-answer-on-occultation-of-imam-mahdi The answer includes the concept of ghayba/ occultation in the light of history of the prophets. 2. The English translation of the speech mentioning the answer can be read as given below for complete explanation of the concept of ghayba/ occultation: Question: According to Shiites, Imam Mahdi has been born. He is the twelfth Imam. He is present somewhere in the world. He is the son of Imam Askari. Please explain where he is hidden? Why he is hidden and how he will appear? Shia Scholar: As far as it is concerned that where is he hidden, this needs the philosophy of occultation (Ghaybah) should be explained. What is the philosophy of occultation (Ghaybah)? Philosophy of occultation means that the servants of Allaah who have been chosen by the Lord of the worlds for guidance and who have made them the vicegerent or caliph in the matter of guidance, are sent from Allaah and given those attributes by Allaah, which are necessary to fulfill their responsibilities. Therefore, the Prophets, the guardians (auwliyaa), the executors of will (auwsiyaa), and the vicegerents of the prophets are sent by Allaah according to the command of Allaah or the will of the Lord of the worlds, and Allaah bestows upon them the attributes that fulfill their responsibilities which should be in their self, for example in these responsibilities, their status of Recognization , their place of knowledge, their status of belief, ability of perseverance in them, ability of patience in them, their morals, their closeness to the divine In order to accomplish this responsibility, they must have the courage to not be afraid at any point in conveying the message of Allah. They should not say something wrong by afraid of and they will not be frightened. Therefore, courage is necessary for them, just as their ability to comprehend revelation is also necessary. Their intellect is such that they can comprehend revelation. In the same way, their hearing, their vision, their abilities, their senses, in every sense, the Lord of the worlds gives them a special intensity in their strength, which is from Allah, and the change in these attributes by their own discipline is a different matter. We will not touch it. Now, in order to fulfill one's responsibilities in this regard, where many attributes are required, True Guide (Hadi barhaq), who has been commissioned by Allaah for guidance and whom Allaah has made his vicegerent in the matter of guidance, he requires to have an important attribute like other attributes which we call as Ghaybah (Occultation). This attribute of occultation has been given by Allaah Almighty to every True Guide whether he is a Prophet or a Messenger or an Imam in our jurisprudence. He has this attribute of occultation. Now what is the adjective Ghaybah (Occultation) itself? The attribute of occultation (Ghaybah) is that he has perfection to fulfill his responsibilities, to be among the people in such a way that the sense of his existence disappears from within Allah's creation so that people do not feel his existence. We say that the personality has disappeared, that is, it is present among us or wherever Allaah wills, but people do not realize his existence. In this regard, we will also say one more thing. The condition of Ghaybah is that it happens that the person or personality merges with another person in such a way that the person who is being recognized is someone else and the real personality is not recognized. In this way the person is at front and not disappearing, he is being recognized, he is being recognized in another status, and while his true status is lost within it, its real status has been lost within it, so we say that it is a form of Ghaybah (Occultation) in which Personality is that person is in front. This attribute has been given to every Prophet by the Lord of the worlds and this attribute is present in the Prophet and the Imam by strength. Only Allaah knows when Thy will give it to action. Now if we look at the history of the prophets, we find such prophets for whom this attribute has been activated. In which there is prophet Idris (عليه السلام), in which there is prophet Elias (عليه السلام), in which there is Hazrat Khidr (عليه السلام), there is Hazrat Esaa (عليه السلام) whose attribute of Ghaybah (Occultation) has been activated. Now the adjective connected with Ghaybah (Occultation) is an adjective of life longevity, because if the period of occultation is long, then it is necessary that his life is also long. Khidr (عليه السلام) has been given thousands of years of age. Jesus (عليه السلام) is now two thousand years old, so he is two thousand years old with the time of Occultation or more what Allaah has given him, the time of Idris (عليه السلام) is long it is an old age, even before the time of Noah (عليه السلام). In the same way, the time of Elijah (عليه السلام) is an old age. Now because of the occultation of the prophets as there are traditions about Jesus (عليه السلام) saying that he is hidden in the fourth heaven. What is the fourth heaven? Now it becomes a detailed matter. What is the heaven and what is its number? Where is the third? Because it is very detailed, people summarize that he is hidden in the fourth heaven. The place is determined for the sake of convenience, but it is not necessary to determine the place of every hidden hujja (proof) of Allah. Because the Lord of the worlds has made the sense of his existence as lost, the examples of Ghaybah (occultation) have been given in which the person is not visible. In case of need, it also happens that the Hujjah (proof) of Allaah himself is present but not recognized. A word is used in the Qur'an. Zaal (ضال ) is usually misunderstood to mean misguided for the person who has lost guidance. By the way, dhaal (ضال ) means the disappearance or disappearance of something or its un-recognition, for example, if a camel is lost, then the word is used in Arabic (ضالۃ الناقہ) or the disappearance of one thing in another thing by merging in it. There are two cases: Disappearing but its effects are present, Disappearing but its effects are not present. For example, we put sugar in milk and dissolve it. Now milk is in front of our eyes and sugar is not. Sugar will disappear, but if it is placed on the tongue and there is taste on the tongue, then we will feel the effect of sugar. The salt in the food has disappeared but its effects are still there. So one is to disappear in such a way that the effects are evident but the thing is hidden. But one thing is that the consciousness of the people should not be attracted. So such Ghaybah (Occultation) has been given to many prophets by the Lord of the worlds. There is no time for elaboration here. We are only taking the names of the prophets whom everyone knows. So Moses is a prophet who is a well-known prophet and he is such a prophet that he is mentioned a lot in the Qur'an. And there are prophets that the Muslim Ummah is very much aware of Prophet Moses, listens to his many stories, so let us take the example of Prophet Moses. There are stories in the Qur'an about Moses that this was the time when Moses was born when the son born to the children of Israel was slaughtered. If a girl was born she was kept for the fulfillment of desires, so when Moses was born, not immediately, but as soon as Pharaoh knew about it, he would be slaughtered. His mother was upset. It is completely mentioned in the Qur'an that Allaah Almighty revealed to her that there is no need to worry. Breast feed the baby and if we say so, put it in a box and pour it into the river is a famous incident. What happened is that Moses himself began to grow up in the palace of Pharaoh. Now it is clear who Moses is, Allah's chosen prophet. Moses is such a great prophet that after the Prophet of Islam and Abraham (peace be upon him) the greatest status belongs to Moses. And such a great prophet that Allaah is revealing to his mother. So obviously his status by Allaah was hidden in the palace of Pharaoh. In the court of Pharaoh or in the palace of Pharaoh, when he was grown up, the people were raising him as a helpless and unknown child and people were not aware of his lineage. Pharaoh was not raising him as Musa Ibn Imran, so Musa Ibne Imran was lost in such an unknown child. That child is in front but Musa Ibne Imran (عليه السلام) is hidden. When Pharaoh once mentioned his kindness after Moses' claim of prophet hood & resurrection and said that you are speaking in front of us when you have been grownup in my palace, the answer he (Moses) gave is in the Qur'an. There is a quote. He said it was a deed (فعلتھا (. I did it and when I did it. And I was from the lost ones (انا من الضالین ) What I did when I was one of the lost. Now the meaning of Dhaleen ( الضالین ) here is not misguided but lost. That is, I was absent, that is, my personality was absent. At that time, you did not raise me as Musa Ibne Imran, but you raised me as an unknown child. If you knew that I was Musa Ibne Imran, you would have slaughtered me. A little bit, then I was (الضالین,) that is, I was absent, then it was the Ghaybah (Occultation) of Prophet Moses that his personality was absent and this occultation of the personality has been given by the Lord of the Worlds to the Prophet of Islam Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was between the ummah for forty years. He remained between the disbelievers of the Quraysh and the polytheists of Makkah who became his enemy when he claimed prophet hood. Eventually he had to leave home. He stayed in Sha’ab Abi Talib for three years. Eventually he had to leave Makkah. He had to migrate overnight & leave Makkah. And he preached morality before preaching Shari'ah and his personality was hidden during preaching morality and people do not recognize that this is the one who has been mentioned in the books, that is, he has the excellence in status and status up to which level no one can reach. People were considering him as an orphan of Abdullah. At that time, if they had known those who later became enemies of the Prophet's life, then it would have been easier to kill him, but to protect his life. Allaah kept him for forty years in such a way that people thought he was only an orphan of Abdullah. People did not know him. No one knew who this orphan Abdullah was. what is his position and status? If it was known then enmity with him would have started at that time, then Allaah made your personality hidden in the form of the orphan of Abdullah and mentioned in the Qur'an.(و وجدنا ضالا فھدا ) No Muslim can translate it that God forbid, God forbid found the Prophet astray, but he lost the personality of the Prophet of Islam. Now when Allaah wanted to give guidance to the people his personality was recognized and introduced through this essence. This guidance is the knowledge of the Prophet of Islam. He guided the people through the knowledge of the Prophet of Islam. Then the time of his occultation came to an end. He appeared in front of them they said, "This is this personality, this is his prestige, this is his status”. it was not in front of them at that time, it was hidden, it was absent. In this way, attribute of Ghaybah / Occultation in the attributes of the prophets, attributes of auwsiyaa and attributes of True Guides are necessary (That the attribute of occultation is in them) Now Allaah makes it active as long as Thy wills and as long as Allaah wills it allows it to remain potential, that is, it is within it, but when Allaah wills, it will be used, in the same way when Allaah wills it will activate. Now the question arises as to when Allaah wants and when Allaah does not want. This will is the will of the Lord of the worlds. We estimate the will of Allaah from the opportunities of action. When do these opportunities come in His will? So we see that these occasions in the will come when there are two conditions in it. The first condition is that if the Hujjah (Proof) of Allaah appears in its original form, then he will be killed. His life is in danger like Moses. The life of the Prophet of Islam was in danger, Jesus was crucified if he did not go in occultation, Idris was going to be killed by the king If he did not go into occultation. If his life is in danger, the condition is that the life of the Guide is in danger and it is known that there is no other Guide of this standard after his killing. If there is another Guide of this standard, then this Hujjah (proof) is martyred as per will of Allaah Almighty like the Eleven Imams were martyred, as there was another Guide of the same standard. But when it comes to the point that there is no other Guide of this standard, then the Lord of the Worlds protects him with His miracles by His special power. He does it with his own Special Authority, and then in this special authority there is an option of Occultation which is potentially present in him. In this way, the Imam or the Messenger disappears (hides). Now as far as you have asked where Imam Mahdi is hidden, we have just explained to you the philosophy of Ghaybah (Occultation) and that what is Occultation, but now one thing will be limited. What is the Occultation of Imam Mahdi? Look, what we have said is that as we have told, every Prophet has been given this attribute and the position & status of this prophet is as severe as that attribute is within him, that is, if a prophet is of low rank His position of Recognization, his status of closeness (to divine) his ability to comprehend revelation, will not be of the same level of a prophet of a higher rank and it will be different for a prophet of a higher rank than him. In the same way, the intensity and breadth of the attribute of occultation will be greater for a prophet whose position and status in the palace of Allaahis greater. The higher will be the rank, the higher will be the Occultation. As is the case with Idris, so is his quality of occultation, Just as the status of Jesus is in the palace of Allah, so is the intensity of his occultation but in the status of the Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him & his family) and other prophets there is big difference like Heaven & Earth. He is Sayyid al-Anbiya (Chief of Prophets). All Muslims believe that it is not possible to deprive the Prophet of Islam of the attribute that Allaah has bestowed on any prophet. But in the status of the Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him & his family) and other prophets there is big difference like Heaven & Earth. He is Sayyid al-Anbiya (Chief of Prophets). All Muslims believe that it is not possible to deprive the Prophet of Islam of the attribute that Allaah has bestowed on any prophet. This is not possible, otherwise your sovereignty, being a Chief (of prophets), will be against the justice, unless the severity of this attribute is present in them. One thing is that if the knowledge of the teacher and the student is equal then equality comes in. The knowledge of the teacher should be more than that of the student while he is a student. The attributes that are found in the ummah are found in the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to its peak extent. Now that all the other prophets are included in the ummah of the Prophet of Islam, you can ask for a verse from the Qur'an that all the prophets passed away before the prophet, how can they join his ummah? All the prophets passed away before the prophet. We will talk about how they can join the ummah later. We will talk about this later, so it is necessary that the attributes that are given to other prophets should be given to this Prophet in the same way, then attributes should be given to the Prophet of Islam with intensity. So the way all the attributes but also the attributes that are not in other prophets are in You, for example, the attribute of Ascension, the attribute of Ascension itself is such an attribute of the Prophet of Islam, it is not in any prophet, only in him. Because we are talking from a Shiite platform and we have been called as a Shiite representative, we are saying that all schools of thought of Muslims are convinced of Ascension. But our belief in ascension is not to the extent of an event. We are not saying that an event took place and the Messenger of Allaah went away by accident or program, but he is the owner of the attribute of ascension, the attribute of ascension is potentially present in him. If the attribute of ascension did not exist in him, then it could not have actually happened (activated). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) possess the attribute of ascension, he can go to ascension at any time. There is no fixed time and place for him. If there is only the will of Allaah that it actually happens, and then it will go (to ascension) because there is potential in it, it has the potential, this is his attribute. So now if we talk here about the sources that belong to the school of Shia, the situation will be that it will not be acceptable to everyone, We are the savior of (philosophy of) occultation. Therefore to explain this, we turn to a scholar and bring the view of a scholar who does not belong to the Shiite school and all the Muslims of the subcontinent know him. Muhaddith Abdul Aziz Dehlavi is a very famous personality. He is a very famous Muhaddith. His father and his brothers are also well known. We are not talking much at the moment about him, otherwise he is a well-known personality. He has a book called “Sir al-Shahadatin” meaning “The secret of two martyrdom”. He derived his theory from what we are talking about, and in it he said that it is not possible that the Sayyid al-Anbiya, the Chief of the prophets, does not have all the attributes that the other prophets had. It is believed by all Muslims, a poet said: Beauty of Yusuf, (Make the dead Live ) Like Jesus, White hand (like Musa) He has the miracles of all other prophets That is, all the attributes of all the prophets that are in him and we do not consider it sufficient We say that all the attributes that Allaah has bestowed on other prophets, if you want to see their perfection, then look at the personality of Muhammad Mustafa (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The perfection of all of them is in the Prophet of Islam. Muhaddith Dehlavi says that where the prophets have been given many virtues, the earlier prophets have been given one virtue & the lesson of martyrdom. Some prophets are martyrs who were martyred. Hazrat Yahya was martyred. Hazrat Zakaria was martyred. Some prophets were martyred with great cruelty. And the Prophets who were martyred in the duty of the Messenger of Allaah who lost their lives or say that they did not care for their life for will of Allaah to spread the message of the religion of Allaah and sacrificed their lives. They became martyrs. Now this attribute of martyrdom is present in every prophet but every prophet has the passion to give his life for the sake of the religion of Allaah but in fact it has not happened for all the prophets but it has happened for some prophets. The Prophet of Islam is the Leader of all the Prophets, so the Prophet who became a martyr will go ahead of the Prophet of Islam in virtue of martyrdom, whereas the Prophet of Islam has not become a Martyr at all (apparently). He has established this theory here that the attribute of martyrdom in the Prophet of Islam was more than this virtue of these prophets, but there are two types of martyrdom, one is apparent and the other is secret martyrdom. One martyrdom is that happens apparently and one other martyrdom that happens quietly. So these two types of martyrdom were potentially present in the attributes of the Prophet of Islam, but they could not be manifested in reality. Now, Nature arranged for his deputies, his caliphs, his executor of wills, his descendants, who in every way were related to him (except prophet hood), in every respect, to the Prophet. The Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt are the soul of the Prophet, they are the caliphs of the Prophet, they are the vicegerents of the Prophet, they are the Imams of the Ummah after the Prophet. There are hadiths of the Prophet in all these things especially the hadith of Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain is very famous that both my sons are Imams. Allaah transferred this attribute of his to Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain. Secret martyrdom was given to Imam Hassan and Apparent martyrdom was given to Imam Hussain. Now this is about one attribute, we have made it as basis. Let us go on to say that this is a matter of martyrdom, as we have said that the attribute of occultation is potentially present in every prophet. In fact it has been activated for some of the prophets. So, Prophet of Islam, for the attribute of occultation in which not only the personality is hidden (absent) but also the person is hidden (absent) and goes out of the sight of the people, this attribute is present in the Prophet of Islam to peak extent. The attribute of occultation of the Prophet of Islam is thousands of times greater than the potential of occultation in Jesus, with the same intensity as in Idris, the same occultation as in Elias and the same intensity as in Khidr. Now, if this attribute of the Prophet of Islam is not activated (used) till the Day of Resurrection, then the Prophet of Islam will be left behind in the attribute of occultation by those Prophets who has the attribute of occultation as activated. Just as the attribute of martyrdom is transferred to Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain, so is the attribute of occultation transferred to the twelfth vicegerent. If the occultation of the Prophet of Islam is so superior to the occultation of Jesus that when the continuation of Ghaybah (occultation) of Muhammad (peace be upon him & his family) is over, then the occultation of Jesus cannot last. Jesus will have to appear. Not only Jesus but all the prophets will come that the occultation of any prophet will not continue anymore. The continuation of the occultation of Muhammad has ended, then reappearance of the Mahdi is the end of the continuation of the occultation of Muhammad. Therefore, all the prophets who are hidden (absent) will all appear, all will come to his aid, all will come to help. Now the question is that here we have just said to take this matter to the Qur'an. Surah Al-e-Imran verse 81 The Lord of the worlds said: وَإِذْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَاقَ النَّبِيِّينَ لَمَا آتَيْتُكُم مِّن كِتَابٍ وَحِكْمَةٍ ثُمَّ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مُّصَدِّقٌ لِّمَا مَعَكُمْ لَتُؤْمِنُنَّ بِهِ وَلَتَنصُرُنَّهُ Remember that when all the Prophets were given some of the Book and Wisdom, they were promised that when the Messenger comes who will be your teacher, you will surely believe in him and will surely help him. Whoever believes in the Prophet is the Ummah of the Prophet. He gave the Book and Wisdom to all the Prophets on the condition that they consider themselves the Ummah of Muhammad Mustafa (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). It is mandatory for them to help him (Prophet). Obviously, the Prophets did not come to help the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in his outward life. Angels came to help, Allaah help him from unseen it is a different matter. But Jesus came, Moses came, Abraham came? it did not happen they had come and helped. So the help of the Prophet of Islam is still obligatory on all the prophets. So, Prophet of Islam, at least as far as the general Muslims are aware has not to come and do jehad. His aid is mandatory on prophets; the whole world will be filled with justice on the day when the final result of the resurrection will come out. The Lord of the Worlds had given a command to the Prophet of Islam Muhammad Mustafa (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ جَٰهِدِ ٱلْكُفَّارَ وَٱلْمُنَٰفِقِينَ وَٱغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْ “O Prophet, fight against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and be harsh on them”. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) never fought against the disbelievers in his entire life always did it with unbelievers (kufaars). But in this verse, the jihad to the hypocrites addressed and included. Such a jihad has never taken place in the history of the Islamic world in which there are both unbelievers and hypocrites. This jihad will be carried out only by Imam Mahdi (عليه السلام) against both disbeliever and hypocrite. And the command that was given to the Prophet of Islam as a work of prophet hood, it will be fulfilled by his twelfth vicegerent. Now the prophets who promised to help the Prophet of Islam, if they are alive, then it is obligatory on them to come and help Imam Mahdi at the time when the jihad is taking place. People have the suspicion that Jesus is a prophet, prophet hood was given to him and how it can be taken (back) from him and Imam Mahdi is an imam, even if he is not a prophet, whose representative is he? He is representative of this prophet who is the Leader of Jesus. He is representative of this prophet who is the Leader of Idris. Now, if we make someone our representative, then his status as our deputy will be like ours instead appointed by Allah. Now, let us mention one more thing. About fifty or sixty years ago, a Christian scholar asked some questions to the Muslim nation, so we will talk about only one of them. He also asked a question that you have your own belief that Jesus is alive and your belief is that the kalma (Shadah) of this prophet should be recited. You all believe in the prophets and recite the kalma (shadah) of the prophet who comes later. Now you say that the Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) died in the year 11 AH. So when he has died, according to you, it is clear that he has gone in previous prophets. Jesus is present, then today, when Jesus is present and you see, the Prophet of Islam has died, just like other prophets have died, Jesus is present, he is also a prophet of Allah, and he is also has the Book (given to him), he is also between superior in rank, then whose kalma (shadah) will be recited? Read kalam (shadah) of that is present today. Why are you reading kalma (shadah) for who has passed? So the answer came clearly from the Shiite world and he said that the occultation of Jesus was the basis for talking. If the Prophet of Islam had disappeared just as Jesus had disappeared, then there would have been equality between the Prophet of Islam and Jesus. But Allaah wants to show your greatness and your prestige. He doth not want to make him equal to Jesus. Now let us give an example. All this was not in the answers of this scholar. We say it to explain that there is a believer, a Muslim, a knowledgeable, who is teaching his students, they are small children. A man from another school came and said that the answer to the question I have is only from my people, that has given by such and such a person who is greatest scholar. If you answer this question, we will consider you equal to him. Now, if that scholar answers this question, it will be considered equal to him, but if he says that this question needs to be answered then these are my students, children (present). Ask anyone and any of them will stand up and answer it. (In this case) Equality will not be proved, Superiority will be proved. In the same way, if the attribute of occultation were applied to the Prophet of Islam, then the attribute of occultation would have been equal to Jesus, Idris and Khidr, and if occultation took place on his twelfth vicegerent, So what happened? The attribute of occultation is yours. The potential is yours. The severity is the same as yours. But if its practical application is on his twelfth vicegerent, then Superiority over Jesus will be proved, Equality will not be proved, then this is the meaning of Ghaybah (occultation). Now, in such a case, the question of where he is hiding, then where Khidr is hiding or where Idris is hiding, as we have said, hiding, and in particular this Ghaybah is actually the Ghaybah (occultation) in which we do not realize his existence. Otherwise, the blessings of his existence are continued and our scholars give the example that the way in which the sun is the guarantor of life on earth is the source of energy. Now if it is hidden in the clouds and is not visible, there is no doubt that the intensity of its rays decreases but does not end. So we also understand that if our Imam was in front of our eyes and was in touch with us all the times, then the blessings of Imamate that we would have received are not being obtained in the occultation. So we consider occultation to be an adaptation of an attribute, but we are unfortunate that we do not get the blessings from the Imam that we should do which is right. This is the answer to your question where Imam Mahdi is hiding.
Salam Walaikum, I was wondering, reading a lot about Hazrat Qaim, His Signs and His Arrival. A very interesting topic and undeniable about his coming as its the required thing at the prevelant situations in the world... In Islam Wondering What Would he want from Sunni's and What Would he Want from Shia's At Presently , I am In a Shia Forum, So Would Like to ask The Fellow Shia's What Would he Like to have from the felllow Shia's ? Salam.
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