Imam Mahdi (peace be upon him) and the causes of enmities towards him
From the very day when Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) gave glad tidings about the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance), filling of this world with justice and equity, and putting an end to oppression, oppressors and tyrants began enmity towards him. Even today this animosity is prevalent in some form or the other and is intensifying and appearing in different ways as reappearance draws near. In today’s era, it is our duty to recognise this animosity and its patterns and be prepared in every way to safeguard ourselves from its assaults. Here are the causes of this animosity.
One of the restless elements of life in man is that he is enemy of what he is unaware of and instinctively opposes it. When people of Mecca opposed and bore enmity with Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny), he prayed in the following manner:
O Allah! Guide my nation for they do not recognise me. (reference)
They are opposing and fighting me as they do not recognise the Prophethood and the Prophet. Had they recognised me and my message, they would not have been hostile towards me.
Or in a Syrian market, the elderly man’s attitude towards the prisoners of Karbala was due to his ignorance regarding them. When Imam Sajjad (peace be upon him) introduced himself and made him aware of the reality, the Syrian repented and enmity turned into reverence.
Today, certain people bear enmity with Hazrat Wali-e-Asr (may Allah hasten his reappearance) only due to their ignorance of his status and virtue.
2. Personal Interests
At times, personal interests, love of the world, fame, and power distances man from the right path. It prevents him from accepting the matters of truth. It was the love of world and power that brought Talha and Zubair as antagonists to Ameerul Momeneen (peace be upon him) even though they had heard his virtues from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny) and were well aware that the truth rests only with Ameerul Momeneen Ali (peace be upon him). The love of world and power had seized them completely and they did not accept the truth even on being fully aware of it. For such people, Imam Husain (peace be upon him) has said:
Surely people are slaves of this world and religion is only a taste on their tongues, they talk about religion till it earns them their livelihood but when calamities surround them, very few are religious.
(Tohaful Uqool pg. 245)
This means religion and religiousness exist till personal interests are fulfilled. If worldly benefits are at stake, religion is done away with.
Imam Jafar Sadiq (peace be upon him) says:
i. Certain people love us and await our Qaem for worldly benefits. They talk about us and mention our traditions but are lazy in putting them into practice, Allah will send them to hell fire.
ii. Certain people love us, listen to our narrations and act on them to obtain wealth from the people. Allah will fill their stomachs with fire and impose thirst and hunger on them.
iii. And certain people love us, protect our narrations and act on them. They carry out our orders and do not disobey us. They are from us and we are from them.
(Tohaful Uqool pg. 622)
Love of world hinders people from serving the Imam of the time as he deserves. Those who wish and attempt to serve him are ridiculed. We should be happy at their efforts if we really love Imam (peace be upon him). They may be our enemies but are remembering Imam (peace be upon him). Our evil self takes the personal grudge to Imam (peace be upon him). How will he, who tramples the rights of people for his personal benefits and does not behave well with his brothers in faith, rise against oppression and tyranny? Leaving aside the unity among the Muslims, the unity and harmony between the believers has also been sacrificed due to improper favoritism, politics and personal interests. We are being invited to unite at a common point and institute of Marjaeyyat acts as a guiding torch for us. When we witness the strengthening influence of the evil self on the people the traditions of Imams (peace be upon them) enlighten our souls and explain how harmful personal interests can be.
3. Ego and Self Admiration
The enemies of the faith in Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) are the worst oppressors and tyrants and have, from the day of his blessed birth, opposed him. Bani Abbas left no stone unturned to kill Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance). The oppressors of today also are attacking the belief in Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) in different ways. Those Muslims, particularly Shia, who believe in Mahdaviyyat have always been the target of these oppressors. Sometimes they deny the birth of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) and at times laugh at his prolonged life. At times, they question the benefit of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) in occultation and sometimes term the belief in Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) itself as un-Islamic. They use all the possible means and sources to weaken this belief in the hearts of the believers and to make them negligent of their Imam. They try to distort the belief in Mahdaviyyat posing as friends and interpret differently the reforming belief of awaiting Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance).
4. Distortion of Facts
One of the fatal ways of enmity which only the insightful people can see through is to keep the basic belief intact and propagate it but completely change its meaning and relevance. For example, they propagate that Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) will rise and fill this world with justice, but till then we have no duties and responsibilities and Imam will carry out all the tasks himself. This is also a way of enmity as awaiting Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) reforms our character at every step. To prepare the ground for re-appearance, to encourage the people for piety, bravery, and readiness for serving Imam always is our religious duty. To portray the image of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) which makes the people negligent and unaccountable is enmity to Imam Mahdi and not in his favor. Traditions have, at several places, mentioned that he who awaits Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) must be pious and religious.
To disappoint people, to make them insensitive to injustice and ignorance, weakening the institution of Marjaeyyat are all distortions.
The belief of Mahdaviyyat is a reforming belief, a hope, an opposition to injustice, a reform of individual and society. We have to trust and the respect the honored representatives of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) i.e. the Maraaje.
We hereunder present some of the ways that distance us from belief in Mahdaviyyat.
a. Mass printing of books, booklets and articles that oppose this belief in different ways.
b. Arranging discussion and inviting such people on radio, television and social media who cannot provide logical answers to questions about this belief.
c. Useless activities Yesterday, the venues of sports and other such activities were known, and people would go there to waste time. Nowadays, technology and mobile phone have brought them to every house, rather every pocket. They not only waste precious time, but also implant doubts about the beliefs in a dangerous way. These are silent diseases that are difficult to diagnose, and enemies use it effectively and inject doubts in our mind and distract us from our duties. They have specially targeted the youth and have removed them from the real world and pushed them to an imaginary world. This plague of the west has also brought with it its complexities. shamelessness, lack of self-respect, immature beliefs, cult following are its consequences. The personality of the youth is not reflected by manners, civilization, knowledge, and character, but by blind following of some imaginary character, torn clothes, anger, violence, impatience, abusive language, and outbursts. These consequences of the western civilization have occupied every house.
d. Internet – Notwithstanding its benefits of helping in research and information, speeding up communication and easing many difficult tasks, Internet has inflicted the greatest harm. The arena of Internet is wider than other social media. The enemy has used it specially to invent and propagate doubts about our beliefs. Everyone is its victim, rather they are fond of it.
Hence it is the need of the time to be vigilant on this media and prevent youth from its harmful effects. We cannot altogether cut the new generation from this media but must teach them its proper and positive use.
We should use all the available resources to present the real image of Mahdaviyyat to the people, explain Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) in the manner as explained by his forefathers. This will remove ignorance about him from their minds and will instill his love in their hearts. Ignorance leads to enmity and recognition leads to love. This requires efforts at all levels and not from any one individual. The recognition of Imam is an important aspect of insight in religion. Imam Ali ibn Musa al-Reza (peace be upon both) said:
May Allah have mercy on the one who enlivens our affairs. I asked: How are your affairs enlivened? He (peace be upon him) said: Learn our sciences and teach them to the people for when people realize the beauty of our narrations, they will follow us.
(Wasaael al-Shia vol. 14 pg. 587)
2. Personal Interests
In this matter, we must forego some worldly benefits in favor of the hereafter. A little sacrifice in this world will bring great rewards and virtues in the hereafter.
Nay! You prefer the life of this world. While the hereafter is better and more lasting.
(Surah A’ala (87): 16-17)
3. Pride and Ego
Here we must tell those attempting to prevent the rising of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) that they cannot succeed in their evil plans; no matter how big the power they employ. Imam will arrive for sure and it is in their betterment to leave the animosity and be obedient to him.
4. Distortion of Facts
The solution is to convey right information and facts to the people. This will take a lot of time and involves lot of hindrances but will surely be successful.
And say: The truth has come, and the falsehood has vanished; surely falsehood is a vanishing (thing).
(Surah Al- Isra (17):81)
Here we must analyze all the doubts and questions being circulated on the social media. If our enemies can succeed based on weak and illogical beliefs, why can we not succeed on firm and logical beliefs? We must always remember that if our enemy is strong, our protector is the strongest. For this, we must publish books and booklets, write essays, and organize seminars and discussions. We must draw from the reliable books and be sure that the beliefs of Ahle Bait (peace be upon them) have great effect, and no falsehood can counter it and the impartial people will not be unaffected from it.
Every step taken in support of Imam Zamana (may Allah hasten his reappearance) will not be devoid of divine help and the prayers of Ahle Bait (peace be upon them) will always be with us.
We can conclude our discussion on this tradition from Imam Jafar Sadiq (peace be upon him):
Amongst our Shias are those whose voices do not cross ears. If they dislike someone, they do not harm others. They do not talk openly about us in the gatherings of other people. They do not meet those whose try to find faults in us and do not debate with our opponents. They respect the believer on meeting him and keep at bay from the ignorant.
(Sharh-e-Usul-e-Kafi, Vol 9, 163-164)
This tradition points out to an important advice of serving Imam anonymously. May Allah include us among these people. Ameen.