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  1. This is a response to an article published by iqraaonline, titled: Occultation and Mahdawiyyat in the Writings of Shaykh al-Mufid (Part 1) I will be assessing each epistle, and presenting my contentions, this is by no means a comprehensive treatment. Rather, an abstract which seeks to cover the gist of the implications, inconsistencies, and inaccuracies found within each epistle. The prelude to the writings of Shaykh al-Mufid provides a promising introduction maintaining that it is a treatise which is essentially ‘‘dealing with all the major questions surrounding the issue [of occultation] quite comprehensively,’’ adding that it ‘‘represents one of the most holistic and comprehensive treatments regarding the ghaybah’’. Now, it is correct to say the Imamiya have been subject (unfortunately) to being mocked for holding such a theological position, indeed mockery has no place in sincere discourse that seeks to arrive at truth. Therefore, I assure the respected reader there will be no such mockery, and the arguments provided by the respected Shaykh will be addressed head on, by the will of Allah, the Exalted. The Traditionist Style Based on Narrations Continuing with the prelude, the writer mentions that the traditionist approach is able to present texts which affirm the occultation, and its necessity via mass-transmitted reports, be it from the Shi’i (Imami) corpus, or the Sunni corpus. To expeditiously address this point, I would like to touch on the claims made regarding the Imami, and the Sunni corpus, respectively. With respect to the Imami corpus, the claim that there will be a series of Imams, one succeeding the other, and finally concluding at the seal of the Imams, the Twelfth Imam. We find that upon examination this is a claim which does not corroborate under historical, and internal textual criticism. Namely, the fact that the companions of the Imams themselves, and the mainstream body of the Imami Shia (let alone the remainder of the Muslims) were unaware who each Imam is after each Imam, to the extent that the close confidants of the Imams such as Zurara, Hisham b. Salim, Hisham b. al-Hakam, al-Taq, et al. were unaware of who the Imam is after each Imam. Now, one may retort for instance regarding the point on Zurara, and claim that the reason Zurara said that he does not know who his Imam is, and sent his son to find the matter out, is because he did not receive permission to let the Muslims, or the Shia know who the Imam is. In support of this appeal to Taqiyya, the Twelver interlocutor would cite a narration from our beloved Imam, al-Imam Ali b. Musa al-Rida, and therein he would excuse Zurara. Depending on the methodology that one seeks to follow in hadith scrutiny, if one holds to that of al-Shaykh Asif Muhsini, or the present methodology (not the latter) of al-Sayyid Kamal al-Haydari, they will deduce that this narration is not reliable and henceforth Zurara died without knowing the Imam of his time. Hence, you find such an explicit statement mentioned in Mishr’at bihar al-Anwar by al-Shaykh Asif Muhsini. However, the intent here is to be as decisive, and as all-encompassing as one can be. So, I will cite another tradition which is essentially back-breaking, and it leaves no excuse for Taqiyya whatsoever. Thus shattering the claim of there being any such hadith that designates twelve Imams by name, thereafter, I will address within my another inaccuracy mentioned, not by the writer of the introduction, rather by al-Shaykh al-Mufid himself when mentioning that two occultations were alluded to by the noble Imams. As for the narration which essentially highlights, alongside the point regarding Zurara, we find that al-Taq himself is unaware who his Imam is after al-Sadiq as well! The translated hadith is courtesy of the Thaqalayn hadith library, I will be commenting on particular sections of the hadith by denoting the words ‘I say’ to indicate that this is not part of the hadith, rather it is my commentary: [2/280] Irshad al-Mufid: Ibn Qulawayh from al-Kulayni from Muhammad b. Yahya from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa from Abi Yahya al-Wasiti from Hisham b. Salim who said: Muhammad b. al-Nu’man Sahib al-Taq and I were in Madina after the death of Abi Abdillah عليه السلام and the people had gathered around Abdallah b. Ja’far - considering him to be the Master of the Affair after his father. I say: These people are Imami Shia, some of them were even jurists of the Imamiya, and they clearly did not know who the Imam was after al-Sadiq. Otherwise, what are they all doing gathered around Abdullah al-Aftah? Explicitly, it is because they are unaware of this purported mass-transmitted hadith. Moreover, them considering him to be the Master of the Affair after his father is an indication that al-Sadiq (we expunge this attribution to our beloved Imam al-Sadiq, which unfortunately our Imami brothers support) seemed to have concealed a matter of salvation from the Muslims, while the Messenger himself, nor any Prophet before him was permitted to conceal any matter of salvation from the Muslims, let alone their close confidants. Indeed, our Imami brothers boast about how al-Imam al-Sadiq had thousands of students from the generality, yet seem to ignore the fact that these students were all (far be it from al-Imam al-Sadiq) ill-informed by the Imam regarding a matter which pertains to their salvation, as he went on to touch rather pedantic matters of jurisprudence? Moreover, to retort that the Imam only told those few in number who would have believed, is to go against the example of the Prophets, and the Sunnah of Allah which does not alter, in matters of salvation (see Q. 35:43). The message was universal: {And say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “˹This is˺ the truth from your Lord. Whoever wills let them believe, and whoever wills let them disbelieve.”} [al-Kahf: 29]. Furthermore, let us forget the community of the Muslims, the Shia of the Ahl al-Bayt, and even these acclaimed close confidants of the Imams. Why were their families unaware, the righteous from among them, that is. Indeed, in Epistle Two, the respected Shaykh scoffs at this question, yet it is indeed a question of striking significance in lieu of the Glorious Quran. For, the Imams who are to follow the example of the Messenger of Allah, and the Quran must heed the words of His Majesty to our beloved Messenger, wherein He, the Glorious, states: {Warn your nearest kinsfolk} [26:214]. So, our Prophet, upon him and his Ahl al-Bayt be peace, went on to warn the community of his kinsfolk, before the Muslims, informing Abu Jahl, and Abu Lahab regarding his Prophethood. Indeed, matters of salvation can never be concealed, and interestingly in Epistle Four, the respected Shaykh says: ‘‘It may also be said that for the previous Imāms, if they were to pass away there would be another Imām who would take their place’’. If his eminence finds no fault in maintaining such a position, then we can rightfully object in addition to the Quran, and the example of every single Prophet, and every single instance that salvation was tied to a matter that the matter had to be professed to the people. Otherwise, this is pure injustice; al-Imam al-Sadiq could have informed those thousands of Muslims, hundreds of Shias, and his own family that he was an Imam, and although he may be subject to death, this would be a clear benefit to the Islamic nation in its entirety. However, we also ask those who believe that the Imams have knowledge of the, did not the Prophet say: {Say, “I have no power to benefit or protect myself, except by the Will of Allah. If I had known the unknown, I would have benefited myself enormously, and no harm would have ever touched me. I am only a warner and deliverer of good news for those who believe.”}. Truly, if the Imam had knowledge of the unseen, he can never be touched by harm, for he would know from where it is coming, when it is coming, and from who it is coming, and he would know where to avoid it, when to avoid it, and who to avoid. I can list the infinite ways that a person who possesses knowledge of the unseen could dominate the world, and do so without ever committing a sin. Now, if one would retort that Allah does not permit the Imam to utilize his knowledge of the unseen, save through particular instances - which clearly make no difference whatever example one may give - then, such a person is maintaining that Allah has given a quality to the Imam which is simply arbitrary, and Allah does not do arbitrary things. So, be wary of His Majesty. Finally, it is critical to note that Allah also says: {O believers! Protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones}. The beginning of this, is to inform them that belief in your Imama amounts to salvation, if one says - like al-Taq - that the Imams did not inform them, due to knowing that they would not believe, then they would capitulate via the aforementioned contentions given with regards to the example of the Prophet, and the incoherence of having knowledge of the unseen. The hadith continued: We entered in to meet him while the people were with him. We asked him about the Zakat - at what amount is it to be levied? He said: five silver coins for every two hundred. We said: what about in a hundred silver coins? He said: two and a half silver coins. We said: by Allah this is what the Murjia say! he said: by Allah I do not even know what the Murjia say! He [Hisham] said: So I and Abu Ja’far al-Ahwal came out feeling lost not knowing where to go. We sat down in one of the streets of Madina, with our heads lowered, not knowing where to head or whom to seek. We kept saying to ourselves: Should we join the Murjia, or the Qadariyya, or the Mu’tazila or the Zaydiyya? We were still mulling over this when I saw an old man whom I did not recognize gesturing at me with his hand [to follow him]. I feared that he would turn out to be one of the spies of Abi Ja’far al-Mansur, for he [the Abbasid Caliph] had spies in Madina ready to inform him the identity of the one around whom the people unite after Ja’far so that he [the successor] can be taken and killed. I feared that this was one such spy. I therefore said to al-Ahwal: Depart [from this place] for I fear for both of us, but he only wants me not you, so get away from me to save your life and escape death. He [al-Ahwal] withdrew far away while I followed the old man. I did this because I felt that I could not escape him. I kept following him having readied myself to meet death. He led me until we reached the door of Abi al-Hasan Musa عليه السلام whereupon he left me and departed. Suddenly a servant appeared at the door and said to me: Enter may Allah have mercy on you. I say: Here is the critical point: I entered and found Abu al-Hasan Musa عليه السلام who said to me without being prompted: To me! To me! Not to the Murjia, nor the Qadariyya, nor the Mu’tazila, nor the Zaydiyya or the Khawarij. I said: May I be made your ransom - has your father passed on? He said: Yes. I said: passed away in death? He said: Yes. I said: Who do we have after him? He said: If Allah the Elevated wishes to guide you He will. I said: May I be made your ransom - your brother Abdallah claims to be the Imam after his father. He said: Abdallah wishes that Allah not be worshipped. I said: May I be made your ransom - who is for us after him [your father]? He said: If Allah wishes to guide you He will. I said: May I be your ransom - is it you? I say: There is no room for Taqiyya here, so why is he unaware that al-Kazim is the Imam? He said: I do not say that. He [Hisham] said: I said to myself [in my heart]: I am not putting the question appropriately. Then I said to him: May I be made your ransom - is there an Imam over you? He said: No. There entered me a feeling of awe and reverence towards him which no one knows about except Allah. Then I said to him: May I be made your ransom - can I ask you the way I used to ask your father? He said: Ask and you will be informed but do not publicize it for if you do that then it will be slaughter. [Hisham says:] I asked him and found him to be an ocean [of knowledge] which does not dry up [is not exhausted]. I said: May I be made your ransom - the Shia of your father are lost should I avail them of this matter and call them to accept you [as the Imam] for you have binded me to secrecy? He said: The one in whom you detect signs of receptivity to guidance then inform him of this and bind him to secrecy for if he publicizes it then it will be slaughter - and he pointed with his hand to his throat. He [Hisham] said: I left his presence and met Aba Ja’far al-Ahwal. He said to me: What is behind you? I said: Guidance! and relayed to him the whole story. Then we encountered Zurara and Aba Basir who both entered in to see him [al-Kadim] and heard his talk and asked him and believed in him. I say: Glory be to Allah, so the Imam here just left the matter in their hands? They are the ones who would detect who is deserving of guidance, or not? They would choose who to inform? Again, the point on Zurara is established here where those closest to al-Sadiq are now enlightened as to who the next Imam is. Therefore, the charge that even the close-confidants were unaware of the Imama of each Imam after each Imam by even the elites is established. Hadith continued: Then we met the people in droves, whoever enters in to meet him [al-Kadhim] believes in him, except for the group led by Ammar al-Sabati [who were Fathis], and the people abandoned Abdallah and no one entered in to see him except very few. Concluded. So, to say this is something which ‘mass-transmitted’ even if one is referring to the Imamiya exclusively, is either said out of deceit, or it is said out of ignorance, and we hope that the respected brothers are not seeking to deceive the laity. We have noticed that there seems to be an interesting surge of quotes that are shared by Twelver institutes, such as al-Mizan, and others that seem to promote this idea that the Prophet designated all twelve imams. Again, are these institutions willfully deceiving the laity? If not, then those who take part in these institutions, or promote them should not allow them to deceive the people, for the sake of their afterlife. Indeed, to lie upon the Prophet, and to lie to the people is something quite dangerous. Nonetheless, I digress. Moreover, the second claim, which is that the matter is mass-transmitted in respect to the Sunnis ought to be addressed as well. Firstly, the writer should be clear in mentioning that what is meant by Sunnis is mainstream Sunnis, otherwise, not all those who fall under the classification of Sunni necessarily hold to the narrations regarding the Mahdi to be mass-transmitted. This is from an angle, from another angle, mentioning the point on the Sunnis is mere fluff, respectively, it proves nothing at all whatsoever, and it is non-sequitur at best. The Prophet simply states that the Mahdi will be born in the end times, so what point is the writer seeking to make here? In what way is this even remotely substantive? Furthermore, there are those, for instance Ibn Taymiyya who maintain that the Mahdi, from the sons of the Prophet will be from the lineage of al-Imam al-Hasan. Thus supporting the Zaydi conception which rightfully limits the Imama to the sons of al-Hasan, and al-Husayn, as there is no evidence to limit the Imama to the sons of al-Husayn exclusively, let alone only nine from the sons of al-Husayn, upon them be peace. Now, we will delve into the Epistles themselves, as we have sought to expeditiously touch on the aspect of tradition - which much more can be explicated in its regard - after addressing each epistle, the reader will find that anyone who departs from the Ahl al-Bayt, upon them be peace, and chooses to follow those who are not from the Ahl al-Bayt: {is like that of the spider who takes a home. And indeed, the weakest of homes is the home of the spider} [29:41]. The preamble begins by mentioning the ontological necessity of an Imam, namely the Imam has to be infallible, and perfect so as to be able to guide in matters of religion. Now, let us apply S5 modal logic to this claim of necessity, I will concede the point on infallible guidance - the Zaydis also claim such guidance, and it can also be grasped, and tested. However, more on this elsewhere - the point on ontological necessity, like the point on Sunni traditions mentioning the Mahdi are essentially the same, they are once again non-sequitur. How so, well I have conceded that in all possible worlds there needs to be a source of infallible guidance. However, this does not maintain the Twelver view, as it is not contradictory, nor does the argument of Shaykh al-Mufid apply here, since in another possible world the Imams could have been 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,etc. Therefore, the claim of ontological necessity is negated on grounds of it begging the question. Furthermore, the argument collapses via modus tollens, since there is no guidance to begin with, and guidance is placed in the hands of the Shia of the Twelfth Imam who painfully differ between themselves, so much so - as will be highlighted - that they held beliefs of determinism, and anthropomorphism. So, seeing that ‘‘This paradigm is employed by al-Mufīd in all his other treatises, and Sharīf al-Murtaḍā adopts and expands on this same methodology in his book “Al-Muqni’ fī al-Ghaybah,” according to the writer. I have addressed how the methodology is explicitly flawed. Now, we arrive at the First Epistle: Here, al-Shaykh al-Mufid is addressing the question on how it can be claimed that the eleventh Imam, upon him be peace, hid the birth of his son from all of his other relatives. The Shaykh goes on to provide examples of how some individuals hid the birth of their sons, and then this birth was established, and accepted via testimony by two upright Muslims. He also goes on to mention how these examples indicate that hiding a birth (when justified) is justified by virtue of it being contingent on a greater good. Then, the Shaykh concludes by mentioning that a wide range of pious, and trustworthy companions testified to the existence of the twelfth Imam. In response to the Shaykh, I will begin by mentioning that just because some individuals hid the birth of their sons, this does not mean that the same conditions are viable for the Imam. For example, someone who is tasked with guiding has a greater duty towards guidance, and although person X may be permitted to go on about his life living a pious, and virtuous life, the Imam is not excused to do the same, because the Imam is tasked with actively guiding. The reader is invited to reflect on how the Shaykh, may Allah forgive him, chose to cite kings, and historical figures, as opposed to the Quran, or any Prophet. The reason is because, as I mentioned, they are tasked with guidance, and therefore cannot hide, or conceal said guidance, nor said personages who are linked to guidance. Especially from their righteous kindred, who are righteous by consensus. The only way to avoid this quagmire is to say that salvation is not tied to the Twelfth Imam, of course this wouldn’t solve the implications of Imami theology, however, it would exhibit the expected decorum. In terms of the Shaykh mentioning righteous personages, those who have claimed to have seen the Imam, their case is not like that of the aforementioned case(s) where someone’s lineage would be established by two Muslims, because nobody denied the testimony of those two Muslims. However, in this extraordinary case, you have the kindred of the Imam himself telling these foreigners that what they claim is something which is unfound, and the kindred of the Imam who are negating what these foreigners say are themselves upright, and known for their truthfulness, righteousness, and sacrifice for the religion of Allah. Indeed, our respected scholar al-Kazim al-Zaydi makes a wonderful point, he mentions that the Zaydi Imams in particular would be the most joyous, and felicitous if there was a Twelfth Imam, or Twelve designated Imams. This is because they wouldn’t have to face bloodshed, and persecution. Instead, they could sit in the comfort of their homes, and say the matter is in the hands of the Imam. So, it also cannot be said that they rejected this claim out of worldly desire, god forbid, and may one be wary for the sake of their afterlife in charging the greats from among the Ahl al-Bayt with this. We thank Allah that the works of the Imams such as the Star of the Ahl al-Bayt al-Imam al-Qasim al-Rassi, or al-Imam al-Nasir al-Utrush are extant. The reader is invited to peruse their writings and see the worldly detachment, and absolute fear of Allah which emanates from their noble works. Therein, one can examine such a matter through a psychological lens. The Second Epistle: I find that the Shaykh seems to be attacking a strawman here, as the argument is not expressed in its proper form. The point that is being made, unlike the claims of the Imamiya, is that Ja’far al-Naqi is someone who is righteous, and he is closely related to the eleventh Imam. So, why was he not informed, since he explicitly maintains that the father of the twelfth Imam did not have a son. If the Shaykh does not accept Ja’far al-Naqi, he can easily be substituted by a plethora of righteous personages, namely al-Imam Zayd himself who denied the fundamental theological claims of the Imamiya. The Third Epistle: Yes, if he mentioned that he had a son it would go against the Taqiyya narrative. However, Allah guards, and defends those who carry His message. The message of Allah is never promulgated via occult means, if one, as the Shaykh will mention, seeks to say that there are cases where Prophets, or Imams delegated certain personages this still does not address the contention. The reason is because the Prophet, or Imam being the source of delegation is explicit, it is not something which is dubious. Moreover, never once did Allah link a matter of salvation with occultation. The Fourth Epistle: The Shaykh mentions that the reason for the forefathers Imam being apparent, and not occult is namely, due to (a) they were engaged in Taqiyya, and (b) they did not place themselves under suspicion. In response to the Shaykh, what he is doing is that he is presupposing the matter, and then providing justification. This does not answer the contention, as the Imam could have engaged in Taqiyya as well, and he could also avoid matters which would place him under questioning. Now, one can say that they were after him, as the Shaykh maintains. However, as explicitly demonstrated, and as the Imamiya maintain, only a select few knew of his existence to begin with. So, how can it be said that the Abbasids were hellbent on finding him, and killing him when his only family was perplexed regarding his existence? The only answer to this is that the Abbasids were aware of this to begin with, as they are notorious for their ploys, and tactics of deceit which would make one’s skin crawl after taking some time to look into their deeds. Moreover, if one were to consult al-Fihrist for al-Shaykh al-Tusi, they will find that a wide range of those who the Imamis deem reliable worked in very critical positions in relation to the Abbasids - not to mention the Nawbakhat family. Furthermore, point (b) is simply incorrect, because al-Kazim, upon him be peace, participated in the rebellion of al-Imam al-Nafs al-Zakiyya, upon him be peace, and even when he pardoned them we find that al-Imam al-Sadiq insisted that he, and his brother Abdullah participate. The Fifth Epistle: In this epistle, the Shaykh makes a grand blunder, it is not his circular reasoning for the reliability of the companions of the eleventh Imam which has been addressed already. Rather, it is his saying regarding the deputies of the Imam ‘‘these same individuals were the intermediaries between him and his Shī’ah. Religious teachings and communications were transmitted from him through these individuals. These individuals also became his representatives in collecting the religious tithes of the Shī’ah’’. I will obstruct this claim by mentioning a severe implication that pertains to the deputies. During the time of the deputies, the Qomi school was known for its problematic positions, which today are scoffed at, and rightfully so by our Imami brothers. Namely, it is holding to the belief in Tashbih, and Jabr. In the Rasa’il of Shareef al-Murtadha, he notes that all the scholars of Qom with exception to al-Shaykh al-Saduq were upon this creed of Jabr, and Tashbih. Now, if these deputies, those who were supposedly in communication with the Imam, and also knowledgeable as the Shaykh claims, had sent letters to the scholars in Qom so that they may check their Aqeedah for them, what does this say to you? Does it support that they were in communication with the Imam? Clearly not, forget guiding the Muslims, or even the Shia, the Imam didn’t guide his own deputies away from anthropomorphism, and determinism! Are these really individuals one is to feel safe in accepting their claims with regards to creed? Indeed, al-Shaykh al-Tusi has narrated that Abi al-Qasim al-Husayn b. Ruh sent a book to the scholars of Qom, and he wrote to some of its jurists saying: ((Look into this book, and inform me, is there anything in it that you oppose?)). Then, they wrote back to him, saying: It is all correct, and there is nothing within it which opposes us [in creed]. [Ghaybat al-Tusi: 390, also see Tarikh al-Ghayba: v.1, 513]. Furthermore, Muhammad Hadi al-Yusufi said: ((When al-Shalmaghani wrote Kitab al-Ta’dib, al-Shaykh al-Nawbakhti sent it to Qom)) [Mawsu’at al-Tarikh al-Islami: v.8, 583]. Finally, al-Shaykh Asif Muhsini explicitly negates the claim of al-Shaykh al-Mufid, in terms of the deputies being knowledgeable - although, one would at least expect the representatives of the Imams to have their creed in tact, or instead of asking Qomi scholars who clearly needed guidance themselves, to ask the Mahid to guide them. Rather, if it is too much for the Mahdi to guide them, at the very least he could point his deputy to the Baghdadi school instead. Interestingly, the Qomi school can be revived, seeing that the one who would want to take their problematic positions in creed could easily cite the very own deputy of the Imam! The Shaykh writes: ((The delegation of the deputies is not due to their superior knowledge in jurisprudence, hadith, and exegesis. Rather, it is due to other reasons. This is why al-Husayn b. Ruh was compelled to send a book to the jurists of Qom. For, he himself was able to differentiate, he would have looked into it himself, as usual)). [Mu’jam al-Ahadith al-Mu’tabara: v.2, 354]. What more does one need to say, and how much more does one need to demonstrate when it comes to the incoherence of such a theology? Although Shaykh Asif would also hold oal-Shaykh al-Mufid in question regarding his claim that ‘‘Religious teachings and communications were transmitted from him through these individuals’’. I would also like the reader to note that the excuse al-Shaykh Asif gives is unacceptable as well, when states that: ((The delegation of the deputies is not due to their superior knowledge in jurisprudence, hadith, and exegesis. Rather, it is due to other reasons)). We have to know those reasons, otherwise, why are we being held to accept the claims of representatives of an infallible Imam who have no superior knowledge in jurisprudence, hadith, and exegesis. Yet, have a superior standing among the Abbasids, and SubhanAllah comfortably collect the Khums while the Abbasids are just sitting there and watching this unfold. For, shouldn’t they be panicking? Aren’t they collecting khums so that the Imam can use it to fight against these tyrants, wasn’t this the mainstream early Imami conception - as Sayyid Kamal notes, the Shia would sleep with their swords under their pillows thinking the Imam is going to rise at any moment. Honestly, it is beyond hysteria at this point, and it is unacceptable that one even takes this seriously. The disaster is one can keep on relating contradiction after contradiction, travesty after travesty, the Twelver creed is a creed which fails drastically in light of the Quran, the Sunnah, history, and in light of their own corpus. Keep in mind during the time of Shaykh al-Mufid, the Shia were having problems with an Imam being absent for more than a century. Can you imagine the look on their faces when informed that the Imam is absent for 1189 years, and counting?! Again, the respected Shaykh strawmans this question as well, because the point isn’t that its not conceivable that the Imam can be absent for over a hundred years, I don’t have an issue - and neither do the ones who raise this contention - that the Imam could be occult for a million years. The problem is the absence of the Imam entails the absence of the implementation of the Shariah of Allah, hence Wilayat al-Faqih after a thousand years of waiting. The creed of occultation is disrespectful to Allah, to His Messengers, to the Prophet, and to the Ahl al-Bayt. It is truly heartbreaking to see the name of the Ahl al-Bayt be pillaged in this manner. The Shaykh concludes the fifth epistle by engaging in Qiyas (paradoxically, the Imamis are staunchly against Qiyas, yet seem to use it the most in their theology), he mentions the companions of the cave, al-Khidr, etc, the response to this is that salvation wasn’t tied to them during their absence. Epistle Six: As mentioned, this is a strawman, as the point isn’t to do with the longevity of the Imams age, it is the longevity of the Shariah not being established. For, Allah informs us to implement the Hudud, to lash the fornicators, administer the Zakat, etc. However, the Imami claim is that only the Imam can establish the Shariah, therefore, the objection to his age is an objection to how long the Quran has been set aside, and leeway is given to tyrants, and secularists to rule the Muslims while everyone is to just sit back and read Dua al-Nudba. Epistle Seven: There were dozens who claimed to represent the Imam, to this day we have the followers of Ahmad b. al-Hasan al-Yamani who support their view from a hadith in al-Kafi which mentions two Mahdis after the Twelver. Again, the Shaykh is begging the question, as he is not providing a means to validate who is representing the Imam, since there were false claimants to his deputyship, such as al-Hallaj, and a dozen others. Finally, this argument is inapplicable to this era, since there is nobody who can claim to represent the Imam, and be taken seriously. Therefore, the contention raised by the question that the Shaykh sought to answer in this epistle, which is: There is No Need for a Hidden Imām Because His Existence is Like Non-Existence: No One Is Able to Meet with Him and He Cannot Establish God’s Laws. He Cannot Guide Anyone, Enjoin Good/Forbid Evil, or Call Towards Jihād. Is a contention that is binding, and unanswered. As for the second point which the Shaykh mentions in the epistle, that the Imam fears for his life, and therefore matters of the Shariah not being implemented will be the fault of the oppressors is an answer which needs to be read in the context of the Shaykh. It hasn’t been two hundred years since the purported occultation, not over a thousand years where there were dozens upon dozens of just Islamic governments, as well as Twelver dense communities, and to this day we have Iran, which would give the Imam his seat and sacrifice beyond imagination for his sake. The Eighth Epistle: The Shaykh says that the Waqifites, and others cannot claim their occult personages, because they were perceived to be dead. However, this does not suffice, because they too can take out of context verses, tag them with Qiyas, and say: {And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them} [4:157]. The Ninth Epistle: The Shaykh does not answer the question, and instead appeals to mystery. The Tenth Epistle: There is no significance in raising this as a contention against the occultation. With that, I conclude the rebuttal to the ten epistles, and I invite our dear brothers, and sisters to reflect. ~ Muhammad al-Sharifi
  2. As it pertains to the ghayba, I often see certain unusual statements being circulated around such as, “When the Mahdi appears before us, we will feel as if we have seen him somewhere in our past” and “He [the Imam] is walking around in the markets and visits us, but we do not recognize him.” Do these statements hold any truth and were they part of early Twelver Shi’ism? If not, why are they being transmitted nonstop? And what do they really mean? Are they simply just undertones to a bigger reality?
  3. 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.
  4. Hi, I have been studying the occultation of the twelfth imam, and had come to accept that his double occultation had been predicted. However, I found one prediction which seemed to challenge this: The encyclopaedia interprets this as referring to Imam Musa, who was imprisoned twice. The thing is this: this hadith mentions the Mahdi's sons not knowing where he is. Now the 12th imam went into occultation when he was only 5 years old. So any children he would have had (presumably we do not know anything about his having children) would have been born in his place of hiding, and grown up there. Hence it would seem that this hadith cannot be about the 12th imam, and so possibly it was invented about Imam Musa and falsely ascribed to Imam Jafar. What are your thoughts on this? Could this hadith about the Mahdi's sons not knowing his place be about the 12th Imam? Thanks for your help, Richard
  5. Before the Twelfth Imam entered occultation, there were Shia who had believed that numerous other descendants of Ali had entered occultation. A list can be found here http://www.*************/2015/07/15/the-confusing-history-of-shia-mahdi/ Why do you think these earlier Shia claimed occultation for these Imams and other descendants of Ali? How is the claim of the Twelfth Imam being in occultation better than the claim for the other Imams? It is clear in my mind that the Twelfth Imam is very special, but just wondered what people here thought about this.
  6. Salam alaykum. I was Sunni until a few months ago when I started to explore Shia Islam initially out of curiousity until I was really convinced that it is the true path of Islam. One thing that is not clear to me is what is the exact nature of occultation? Specifically is the Imam's physical body on Earth in hiding somewhere or is his body not on Earth like Isa alayhis salam? If the latter, is he also in the higher samawat like Isa alayhis salam or somewhere else? Thanks in advance!
  7. What do you have to say about the three groups Khorasani, Yamani and Sufyani that will appear before the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (as)? Will they fight with each other? Which group will be the righteous group? Where will they emerge from?
  8. @Fahad Sani has posed the following question/comment about the ability of Imam Mahdi (as) to help us: I think this is a legitimate question that deserves an answer:
  9. Salaam all, @Fahad Sani sought to teach us a lesson by comparing the cowardice of Caliphs Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman for running away in battles to the alleged cowardice of Imam Mahdi being in occultation aka ghaybah. I heard this several times from other wahabis and salafis so this is nothing new. But I do feel it is incumbent upon me (us) to discuss this topic and either learn from him or teach him. Claim: @Fahad Sani's reasoning is that if we call the Caliphs cowards for running away from a few battles, then Imam Mahdi is a bigger coward for being on the run for 1,400 years. Analysis: Let's discuss what is ghaybah: Allah is in Ghaybah since no one can see him Hz Musa (as) went into hiding for several years from Pharoah Hz Yusuf went into hiding for several years fearing his brothers Hz Khizr is still in hiding (2,500+ years) Hz Isa is in hiding fearing his life (~2,000 years) The Prophet Muhammad (saw) went into hiding fearing his life. Caliph Abu Bakr cried while hiding fearing his imminent discovery and death. Based on Fahad Sani's claim, we can determine that Allah and several of his prophets are cowards for hiding fearing their life OR we can say that saving one's life is paramount when not in a state of war. As a matter of fact, occultation, ghaybah, saving one's life is ESTABLISHED SUNNAH. Conclusion: Occultation aka ghaybah is established sunnah. However, there is no instance of any Prophet EVER running away from a field of battle. Once jihad is proclaimed, there is no running from it UNLESS you are a caliph of course. Therefore, ghaybah is not cowardice; running away from several battlefields IS cowardice. Cowardice of Occultation - Myth Busted.
  10. Salaam, Has anyone read the Ph.D dissertation by Edmund Hayes titled "The Envoys of the Hidden Imam: Religious Institutions and the Politics of the Twelver Occultation"? What is your opinion on the work? I've got a hold of it recently and have just started reading it. For anyone who hasn't read it and is interested, firstly, here's the abstract: Secondly, here's a download link to the full dissertation: http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=02225929387109073692 Fi Amanillah PS. Please let me know if there's a better place to upload.
  11. Asalamalakum and Ya Ali Madad. Last night during sehri I got into a very heated debate with one of my friends. His argument: "As much as I would like to see the Imam reappear, he won't, at least not in our lifetime" Given the hypothetical idea that we live max 60 years he said that the world would have to be in terrible condition leaving 13 functioning countries (?? no source) and that the "dunya" is moving too slow to expect the reappearance of the imam. I of course was outraged completely disagreeing with everything he was saying simply because I was under the impression that he had a false sense of confidence. I told him the best thing we can do is wait (intezaar) is the best ibaddat but slowly I began to realize that certain points he was making were correct I need to restore his confidence as a friend and as a Shia without contradicting any hadith regarding belief in the reappearance or regarding conditions that need to met. He also said that we think the world is chaotic enough for the Imam to come, but if it was he (atfj) would have been here already. If everything in Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Iran is not proof enough, if the fact that the word "Islam" is being associated with the word "terrorist" is not enough, if being a shia gets you killed is sufficient then the Imam would have been here. At the time I couldn't verify any of his information so I gave smaller practical example which I believe did not suffice. I told him Imam Hussain would have never fought karbala without the 72. Right now the Imam needs 313, that's all he is waiting on, but if he is waiting for 313 how long do we have to wait. What more can I tell him that is backed up by sources.
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