بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Let us be Conscious
“When the fifth son of the seventh Imam goes in occultation, seek refuge in Allah (SWT)! Seek refuge in Him in regards with your religion, so that no one would deviate your from you religion” (1). (Imam Kadhim (PBUH))
We all believe that the savior of mankind, Imam Mahdi (PBUH), is alive on the earth today, and breathes from the same air as we do. However, by the will of Allah (SWT), he is in occultation and will remain hidden from the eyes for as long as Allah (SWT) wills. This lengthy occultation of Imam Mahdi (PBUH) is indeed a great trial Allah (SWT) has tested the mankind with. As such, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT) were concerned about the people living during his occultation, and sometimes used to groan and lament over this issue.
For example, Imam Sadiq (PBUH) said, ”Beware! I swear to Allah (SWT) that your Imam will be in occultation for some years, and you will undergo a difficult test to the level that some will say: He has passed away; he was killed… while the eyes of the believers will shed tears over him, and you will be overturned just like ships are overturned by the waves of the sea” (2).
Fourteen centuries ago, Imam Sadiq (PBUH) was concerned about our current situation, and he has described it for us in advance. So, now that we feel that huge waves of that tornado in the sea of our life, what should we do?
Let us listen to what Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has predicted about the severity of the situation we are living in:
“Undoubtedly, a time will come when a believer could not hold his religion intact; unless he flees the community and escapes from one mountain to the other and from one burrow to the other, just like a fox do so to protect its children”.
Then, the companions asked the Prophet (PBUH&HP),” When would that time be?”
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) replied, ”When living facilities will not be obtained except through sins, and when remaining single will be permitted”.
The companions then said, ”O Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP)! You have ordered us to get married. How is it that you say remaining single will become desirable?”
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) replied, ”Yes! (I have ordered you to get married), but when that time comes, a believer will lose his religion by his parents; and if not by the parents, he will be deviated from religion by his spouse or children; and if not by them, he will get out of religion by his relatives and neighbors”.
The companions asked, ”O Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP)! How could the parents, spouse, children, relatives, and neighbors of a person make him lose his religion?”
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) replied,” They will reproach and blame him for poverty and inability to provide facilities; they will force him to do things he is unable do; and they will eventually lead him to perdition and annihilation” (3).
Nevertheless, those who pass this test successfully have a high rank; in fact, their rank is so high that one day when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was among his companions, he prayed twice by saying, ”O Allah! Meet me with my brothers”.
The companions said, ”O Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP)! Are we not your brothers?”
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) replied,” No! You are my companions; my brothers are those who will believe in me at the end of the time while they have not seen me… each one of them is so firm in his religion that keeping his religion is much more difficult than shaving the thorns of Qitad (4) in a dark night; or it is as if he is holding a fire made from the wood of Ghada (5) in his hand…” (6)
Indeed, how difficult is it to grab a branch full of sharp thorns-like needles- and try to shave them with your hands? Holding on to religion at the end of time is more difficult than that.
Nonetheless, what should we do at this time? As the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT) themselves have taught us, although falsehood is widespread at this time, the truth is like a shining sun. Therefore, what we are asked mostly to do is to be pious, virtuous, and stay away from sins; because otherwise, the dust of impurity will cover one’s perception and insight, and prevent him from truly recognizing the sun of reality. As such, Imam Sadiq (PBUH) said,” You shall refrain from sins; be truthful, trustworthy, and pious”. (7)
Based on that, we have to believe that the reason behind ineffectiveness of the acts of worship on our souls is “not refraining from sins”, as the sixth Imam (PBUH) has taught us, ”…Beware that any endeavor or effort done in the acts of worship which is not accompanied by refraining from sins is useless”.(8)
Thus, we are facing a severely difficult test during the occultation era. So, in order for us to maintain the valuable jewel of religion intact, extreme care is required; we have to await the promised one with a purified soul, and we have to believe that: We will not reach the rank of the purified ones unless we are purified.
(The above is a selection taken from “The Consequences of Neglect in the Occultation Era”, by Sayyid Muhammad Zia Abadi (with some changes))