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Awareness And Alertness

A true Shia – who comprehends the reality of his faith, and tries to dispel the worries and ‎difficulties of those around him in the in the light of his belief and faith – will never miss an ‎opportunity to gain proximity to Imam-e-Asr (a.s.). It is impossible to convey the severity of his ‎trials and tribulations in this era. It is as if someone has placed a blistering coal on his palm and ‎has asked him to close his fist. This is also one of the most astonishing prophesies of the Holy ‎Prophet (s.a.w.a.) concerning the last era. As someone rightly said, “Today, Islam is facing an ‎open onslaught from external foes, while internal enemies are attacking and sabotaging it, ‎through apparent and concealed strategies.” Malicious and vile strategies are raising their ‎heads everywhere and inimical agents are working overtime. Things have reached to such a ‎stage that now people have brazenly and shamelessly opened factories and centers of ‎misguidance and deviation. ‎
If for a moment we were to overlook the happenings in the world and observe our ‎immediate surroundings and critically analyze all the events, don’t we find that misguided ‎agents, under the guise of Islam are swiftly and rapidly spreading destruction and devastation? ‎Today, which society does not speak about achieving success in the field of worldly education? ‎In these societies, not getting an English newspaper and being unaware of worldly events is ‎considered to be a sign of backwardness and ignorance. ‎
This scary and frightening era, where the currency of honesty and truthfulness does not ‎fetch anything – rather the world derides and ridicules it – demands an agonizing heart. Who ‎will pay heed to such a conscientious person when his cries are subdued by the clamour of ‎politics, pleasures, self-glorification, amassing of wealth and mixing of truth & falsehood? And ‎if anyone were to lend him an ear, would it have any effect on the listener? O My Benevolent ‎and compassionate Allah!! In these times of turmoil and difficulties – where blood is cheap and ‎water expensive – but for the benevolence and kindness of Imam-e-Asr (a.s.) we would have ‎certainly been embroiled in all kinds of calamities and tribulations to an extent that we would ‎have wished for death but it would have shied away from us.‎
When I picked up the pen to express my anguish, my thoughts suddenly flashed towards ‎Ghadeer-e-Khumm, where the blessed name of Imam-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.) was mentioned. My heart ‎was comforted by this thought and I found solace in it. When I was critically recollecting the ‎above mentioned experiences – as if I was witnessing them in my mind’s eye – and linking all ‎the events, I felt that someone was criticizing and reprimanding me. Someone was telling me. ‎‎‘It is not like this. Come out of the gloom of your despair and despondency. The path of life is lit ‎with the torch of hope and “awaiting” (Intezar). Listen carefully to the voice of the past. And ‎you will hear a call emanating through the crevice of history.’ This clarion call first ‎reverberated in the scorching desert of Ghadeer-e-Khumm. An audience of more than a ‎hundred thousand pilgrims was standing in the sweltering heat of the mid-day sun. They were ‎on their way back home after performing the rituals of Hajj. They had performed the ‎circumambulation (tawaaf) of the Holy Kaaba, had spent a night in Muzdalifah and stayed in ‎Mina. They had spent the night and the day in worship and repentance on the plains of Arafah ‎and had also pelted stones on the three devils. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) ordered this very group ‎of pilgrims to halt at Ghadeer-e-Khumm in the oppressive heat of the blazing sun. The caravan ‎halted and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) placed the crown of mastership (wilayat) upon the head ‎of Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s.). He appointed Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s.) as his (s.a.w.a.) ‎successor and vicegerent. But another proclamation that he (s.a.w.a.) made that day – which ‎unfortunately is not given its due importance, although its value and significance can never be ‎underestimated till the day of Qiyamat – is that he (s.a.w.a.) also mentioned the names of his ‎‎(s.a.w.a.) twelve successors. He introduced his last successor and announced that both he ‎‎(s.a.w.a.) and him (a.s.) would have the same name and would also share the same agnomen ‎‎(kuniyyat). He is Imam Mahdi (a.s.), the divine leader of the last era. Today, we are spending ‎our lives in his reign with a resolute certainty in his mastership. It is a point worth pondering. ‎Imam-e-Asr (a.s.) is invisible to us. He is concealed from our eyes. The veil of occultation ‎prevents us from seeing him. But that does not mean that we cannot comprehend and ‎recognize the status of Imamat. Nor can we use occultation as an excuse to disregard and ‎overlook the likes and dislikes of Allah’s representative. He is observing us and is conscious of ‎each and every individual of the community. He hears the heartbeat of each one of us. This ‎leader, who is bestowed with the status of Imamat, is and will remain the ruler of the world. In ‎addition to being the apparent and official ruler of the world, he is also the Imam of the present ‎era. Thus, all religious obligations concerning obedience to the “Ulul-Amr” are relevant to him ‎‎(a.s.). His envoys, his staff and representatives all have a watchful eye upon us. Since he is ‎linked to the position of Prophethood, is the divine proof on every creation of Allah and rules ‎over them, it is the duty of every Shia to find out the expectations of his Imam (a.s.) from him. If ‎the Shias were to truly recognize the invisible Imam (a.s.) and were to carefully read the ‎incidents wherein he (a.s.) has conferred the Shias with his audience from time to time and ‎helped them in their difficulties, they will appreciate the fact that their Imam (a.s.) is not ‎negligent of his followers even for a moment, a fact has been emphasized by Imam (a.s.) ‎himself. If an individual of the community is blessed with such admirable attributes, then ‎certainly he will be desirous of becoming a helper of Imam (a.s.). The yearning of a Shia for ‎assisting his Imam has been compared to a strange and extraordinary pleasure. ‎
The joy of becoming a helper of Imam (a.s.) is a unique emotion. The notion of selflessness ‎in the way of Imam (a.s.) makes such a person ecstatic and the pleasure of fulfilling the wishes ‎of Imam (a.s.) and attaining martyrdom under his (a.s.) leadership cannot be expressed in ‎words. The person who possesses such noble sentiments is indeed successful. Within him lies ‎the strength to reach a lofty status and eternal glory. ‎
But …… let us also look at the other side. There are people who are oblivious of the power, ‎authority and supremacy of Imam (a.s.) that encompasses each and every living being. In their ‎negligence, they entangle themselves in manifest corruption and place their faith in idols of ‎wealth and relatives. Worldly fame is the focus of their efforts. They have failed to pay ‎appreciate that Imam (a.s.) possesses complete authority in implementing his (a.s.) wishes and ‎this power has been bestowed upon him (a.s.) by Allah the All-Powerful. Blessed is the Imam ‎‎(a.s.) in whose control is the entire universe. This world is a place of examination and each one ‎of us is bound to be examined. The benchmark of succeeding in this examination is “good ‎actions”. Thus, there is reward as well as punishment; in this world and of course in the ‎Hereafter. ‘Travel on the earth and see what was the fate of the transgressors.’ Hence, we have ‎been made aware of the implementation of religious laws and also cautioned about them. This ‎mortal man – made of flesh and bones – would tremble with fear before cutting off ties with his ‎relatives, making greed and gluttony as a way of life, feeling proud of emulating the lifestyle of ‎oppressors and before adorning his personality by trampling the sentiments of others and ‎deriding the deprived individuals of the society – those who are leading a simple and ‎straightforward life in the remembrance of their Imam (a.s.). He should know that the Imam ‎‎(a.s.) of the era carries the ‘whip of time’ which is held in check by the tears of those who ‎mourn on his grandfather (a.s.). The tears of these mourners also ensure the continuity of his ‎‎(a.s.) favours, grace and mercy. A torrent of benevolence and munificence is always flowing ‎from the tent of Imam (a.s.) towards his Shias. But if someone violates the limits of Shiaism for ‎the sake of personal gains, thereby incurring the wrath of Imam (a.s.), then only the mercy and ‎kindness of Imam (a.s.) can rescue such a person.‎
Briefly, when we have realized that we are living in the reign of Imam-e-Asr (a.s.), that he ‎‎(a.s.) is Allah’s representative for the entire universe and we also know that his (a.s.) power and ‎authority encompasses each and every creation of Allah, then it obligatory on everyone – but ‎more so on the Shias of Imam-e-Asr (a.s.) – that they should always be vigilant of the orders ‎and commands that are proclaimed from the office of Imam (a.s.) in these tumultuous times. In ‎this era of occultation, Imam (a.s.) has established a strong and continuous link between ‎himself (a.s.) and the respected Maraaje’ (spiritual leaders) of our community. These maraaje’ ‎are the fountainhead of religious laws and strive to follow them resolutely (do Taqleed) and ‎give them preference over own wishes and desires. Thus, we unite our existence with Imam ‎‎(a.s.). Only then we have the right to look at that exalted level of human behavior that is the ‎centre of radiance and inspiration. For this to occur, it is essential that the lamp of hope – ‎accompanied with the radiance of intellect and wisdom – shows us the way. It is also necessary ‎that the pleasure and joy of waiting and the fervent desire for reappearance of Imam (a.s.) – ‎which is an unfulfilled aspiration and is like an arrow embedded in our hearts – should not be ‎dimmed by the sleep of negligence. Every morning, after performing the morning prayers, we ‎should renew our allegiance to our Imam (a.s.) in a manner that has been explained to us by ‎our venerable scholars. Here we reproduce a part of that allegiance,‎
‎‘……O Allah! This morning and in every day of my life, I renew for him (a.s.) the pledge, ‎covenant and allegiance on my neck. I will never turn away from it nor shall I squander it. O ‎Allah! Include me among his (a.s.) helpers, aides and protectors and among those who hasten ‎to fulfill his commands and obey his orders. Include me among his adherents – those who vie ‎with each other to fulfill his wishes and intentions and attain martyrdom in his presence …..’ ‎Aameen!‎

September 1, 2020