Kashf al-Astaar an Wajh al-Ghaaeb an al-Absaar Unveiling the hidden face
(Continued from the special edition of Shabaan 1439A.H)
We mentioned in the previous edition that in 1317 A.H., a poem written by Mahmood Shukri Aalusi reached Najaf. The poem became famous by the name ‘Qasida-e-Baghdadiya’. Following is a couplet from that poem:
O scholars of the time, for whom it is known
That their intellect is always baffled in (solving) delicate issues
Alusi in this poem of twenty five couplets has doubted about the occultation of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance), his longevity, existence, and so on. Muhaddis-e-Noori (May Allah sanctify his grave) kept all his ongoing assignments on hold and replied to this poem in the form of “Kashful astar an Wajhe Ghaaib anil Absaar.” In this article, we present glimpses of some of the objections that Alusi raised and the replies of Marhum Muhaddis-e-Noori (May Allah sanctify his grave).
Muhaddis-e-Noori (May Allah sanctify his grave) proved the existence of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) in the light of both the tradition concerning the Twelve Imams and the tradition of Saqalain i.e. the traditions that the chain of Imamat will continue till Qiyamat, because the truthful Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) has foretold:
“This religion will never end until twelve Caliphs pass.”
In addition, Muhaddis-e-Noori (May Allah sanctify his grave) has proved through traditions, narrated from more than forty scholars of Ahle Tasannun that Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) is already born and is alive. He mentioned about the reliability and authenticity of these forty scholars of Ahle Tasannun amongst the Sunni school of thought along with the narrations from the books.
(Kashful Astaar Pg. 39-154 (we will narrate the sayings from those scholars in our subsequent editions, Insha’Allah)
In the second part, Muhaddis-e-Noori (May Allah sanctify his grave) negated the poem of Baghdadiya. He mentioned that synopsis of Alusi’s original writing is based on only two subjects. The remaining ones are only the extensions. Subsequently, Muhaddis-e-Noori (May Allah sanctify his grave) replied to both these doubts.
The first doubt
Aalusi says: “If the condition for reappearance of Mahdi is on spreading of injustice and oppression in the world and he is alive, then he should have already reappeared. His non-reappearance therefore proves his non-existence (of his life)”.
(Muhaddis-e-Noori (May Allah sanctify his grave) has brought two lines of the poem for reply.)
Explanation and reply:
Muhaddis-e-Noori (May Allah sanctify his grave) says:
Spreading of injustice and oppression in the world is one of the conditions for the reappearance of his eminence, not the only prerequisite.
Marhum Noori narrates from Sihaah (six authentic Sunni books) that Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) has said: “He will reappear and will fill the earth with peace and justice as it would be filled with injustice and oppression.”
We can summarize as – one of the conditions of reappearance is the world being full of injustice and oppression, but this condition is not exclusive, or it can be said that reappearance is not exclusively based on this condition.
With passage of time, world is seeing greater injustice and oppression, while according to the traditions from Ahle Tasannun, the conditions match with the conditions that prevailed during the time of Muslims of first decade. In addition to this condition, one of the conditions is the congregation of helpers who would execute the lofty mission – a congregation that prophets and righteous wished to be a part of. From one of the perspectives, the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) is like the advent and declaration (of prophethood) of Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny). Example, widespread deviation before reappearance reminds one of the deviations before prophet’s (peace be upon him and his progeny) advent. There was an evident and a prolonged period of disbelief. Despite being a Prophet and apostle, Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) lived amongst the environment of disbelief and never invited the people of Mecca (to Islam). There is a perspective of anticipation. It remains like this till the Creator of the worlds does not command – O messenger, now declare your prophethood. He (peace be upon him and his progeny) continued to demonstrate his prophethood through his actions. The second perspective was that the acceptance for the code of prophethood amongst people of Mecca was not established.
Based on these two perspectives only, Allah’s ordinance must be established. It means one perspective is anticipation for which the holy Quran declares, “…wait then, I too will be of those who wait with you.”
For the second perspective, as well, the holy Quran bestowed tranquility to the restless thoughts in this manner: “My righteous servants shall inherit the earth.”
While Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) himself is awaiting the command of Allah, the earth itself is restless for the completion of congregation of righteous and noble servants. The helpers of Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) are required and the earth must be prepared for the ordinance, which will be established under the rule of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) across the worlds.
In this part, Muhaddis-e-Noori (May Allah sanctify his grave), in the light of numerous traditions of Ahle Tasannun, used logic and narrations beautifully to establish the proof.
The second doubt
Alusi has raised another doubt: “What is the benefit of an Imam who cannot pass the verdict and has no role in the affairs.”
(Kashful Astaar, pg. 209)
Muhaddis-e-Noori (May Allah sanctify his grave) has provided a very detailed reply that cannot be presented in toto over here. A summary of the response is as follows:
There are numerous benefits associated with the existence of Ahle Bait (peace be upon them), such as the following:
• Ahle Bait (peace be upon them) are the source of welfare for creatures between Allah and creatures.
• Through Ahle Bait (peace be upon them), punishments on the people of earth is withheld.
• Through Ahle Bait (peace be upon them), the religion is saved from fallacious outcomings. Non-believers avail these benefits as well.
We will present these discussions in the subsequent editions, Insha Allah.
At the end of the book, Muhaddis -e- Noori (May Allah sanctify his grave) has replied to the two lines of the poem. In these two lines, Aalusi falsely made allegations against Shias. In short, he mentioned that Shias deem Sardab-e-Samarra (the cellar) better than Mecca and deem this place as the place of hiding of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) during the occultation.
The author has responded very strongly to Aalusi’s allegation of Sardab of Samarra, as the “Sardab-e-Ghaibat” as the place where, according to Aalusi, Imam lives in occultation. Evidently, this part of the book is the brighter part, because Aalusi wrongly assumed that Shias would not reply to his poem that was rooted in myths and allegations.
(It requires a different discussion. We will present it at some other time, Insha’Allah)
Muhaddis-e-Noori (May Allah sanctify his grave) has presented the narrations from Shia scholars and traditionalists such as Shaykh Saduq (mercy of Allah upon him), Shaykh Tusi (mercy of Allah upon him), Shaykh Mufid (mercy of Allah upon him), Sayyid Murtaza (mercy of Allah upon him), and Shaykh-e-Kulaini (mercy of Allah upon him) and has proved Aalusi’s allegations as mere defamation and established that Mecca is the place of reappearance.
On the last page of this book, the author has presented the following two points:
1. He has commented about the rational arguments about Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) and some sources of Ahle Tasannun traditions.
2. There has always been an effort from the prejudiced and jealous people to conceal historical evidence that proves the existence and occultation of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance).
These scenarios have become bigger hurdles for the premise and anticipation for Imam’s reappearance and have led to the delay. From among those forefront writers, objection raisers, and stubborn people, who are hiding the clear reality of Imamat, are Alusi, Abdul Aziz Dehlavi (writer of Tuhfa Isna Ashar), and Mulla Nasrullah Kabuli (writer of al Sawaaiq).
As duty towards Allah, our scholars have responded strongly and have made the subject of occultation absolutely clear. They have not spared any area against which the enemies can speak. However, people are adamant on their personal views, as a poet points out:
They are hell-bent to see (through the eyes) the pain in the heart.
Causes and premises – in every parts of the world from the side of creatures – are busy fulfilling the conditions of the reappearance. Muhaddis-e-Noori (May Allah sanctify his grave) states that the Indian scholars have written negation of such books. And such books that provide the negation comprises of more than 40 volumes.
Kashful Astaar, pg. 239
Appendices of the book
In the book Kashful Astaar, eight rhymed replies have been presented through renowned Shia scholars. In this book, the following three poems of replies have been included:
1. Qaseeda-e-Shaikh Muhammad Husain Kashiful Ghita (exp 1373 A.H.). Shaykh Kashiful Ghita was the student of Muhaddis-e-Noori (May Allah sanctify his grave). At the age of 22, he covered the book Kashful Astar in 242 couplets.
Kashful Astaar, appendix of the book, pp. 241-258
2. Qaseeda-e-Shaykh Muhammad Jawad Balaghi (exp 1353 A.H.). This poem is based on 110 couplets. These couplets, from the aspect of comprehensiveness and cognizance in variety, have a special pioneering position.
Kashful Astaar, Pg. 263-268
3. Qaseeda-e-Sayyed Mohsin Ameen Aalami (exp 1371 A.H.). Based on 311 couplets, this poem has replied to Alusi’s poem after segregating his poem in subjects.
Kashful Astaar, Pg. 273-288
Oh Allah! Those who deny the existence of Imam Zaman (may Allah hasten his reappearance), while their blackened hearts deserve guidance, grant light to such hearts. However, if their hearts do not deserve guidance, humiliate them. Hasten the reappearance of Imam (may Allah hasten his reappearance) and include us in his (may Allah hasten his reappearance) helpers.
Always keep us under the support of our Maraje and scholars. Under the supervision of Imam Zaman (may Allah hasten his reappearance), grant us fortune to obey them.