The shape and the size of this world along with its dimensions, notwithstanding that they have remained the same since its creation till its very end, seem to shrink. This statement, though concise, carries a profound meaning in its wake. If someone enquires, “How has the world shrunk if it is the same since inception?” The answer is clear when one explains how communication and commuting modes have progressed at a rapid pace. The beginning of technological ascension is at such a pinnacle today such that a person sitting thousands of miles away can, without wasting a moment, watch and interact with his friend. The introductory point being conveyed here is that although these are mere words used to explain this concept but its reality is still apparent despite being concealed.
Now ponder over the concept of ‘apparent’ and ‘concealed’ at its peak. Whatever was being conveyed by the blessed tongue of recipient of wisdom, revelation and divine inspiration viz. the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) concerning his physical journey of ascension (Me’raaj), there was none who objected, doubted or questioned how could it have been possible that the chain on the door was still swinging and the entire incident of Me’raaj transpired along with its nuances, intricacies and pomp. Moreover, it was granted veracity, along with its completeness and perfections, in the pre-conditions of revelation in the following words of the Holy Quran “the measure of the two bows”. (Surah Najm (53): Verse 9)
Concept of ‘Apparent’ and ‘Concealed’
Numerous books have been written on history. History, the word itself, explains that past incidents have been dug into and documented. Right from the initiation of Islam to life sketches of historians, the conditions, incidents, circumstances and details of every leader and those at the helm of affairs who had anything to do with Islam, were recorded. Historians, depending upon their era, have recorded events in different languages, incorporating their own opinions or influences.
When historians documented stuff, none of those living now were present. The only thing they could lay their hands on were the signs, influences and sources used to document matters. As far as current affairs were concerned, a composite report was prepared, which not only included local events, but even news from far-off areas relayed by the messengers and its veracity wholly depended on their statements.
As times progressed and things changed, the historian disappeared and what remained of history are only the writings. Someone asked, “Why is history taught?” The reply was ‘History revisits the prevailing conditions of the past, ups and downs, strictness, gentleness, moods, mannerisms and cultures’. One learns from the approach of the people of the past, their strengths and weaknesses, factors that made them successful and those that led to their downfall as to how do we benefit from their discoveries and continue the good things they left behind. In other words, the soul of progress can be further strengthened with the blessings of the unseen and leave a legacy that guides the upcoming generations of this nation to benefit from what has been left behind.
This is a benefit of studying history and its entire foundation is based on ‘concealed’. The historian, depending on which region and environment he lived in, his brief lifespan and his reach is consigned to a limited space and time.
The conclusion of the above discussion is that history is an outcome of a specific voice and a limited life that can be benefitted from.
On one hand is the famous tradition of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that there will be 12 Imams after me and that this era will start with Imam Ali (a.s.) and end with the Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), whose name will be my name and whose agnomen shall be my agnomen, he will fill the earth with justice and equity as it would be fraught with injustice and inequity. On the other hand, the testimony of Holy Quran, wherein Allah the Almighty says in Surah Qasas (28), verse 5:
“And we desired to bestow a favor upon those who were deemed weak in the land, and to make them the Imams, and to make them the heirs.”
Imam Ali (a.s.) and his progeny were the divine appointed Imams (a.s.) and the rightful heirs of the Messenger of Allah (a.s.). This series continued in its apparent form till the third Islamic century, every detail of which has been received, recorded, and well-documented. For the 12th successor, all precautionary measures were taken such that no record remains as a proof but it could not materialize. Documentary evidences that were established under the light of Prophetic prophecies and divine verses remained more evident than the radiant sun.
This article doesn’t have the scope to describe how in a brief span, referred to as the ‘minor occultation’, the 12th successor provided strong arguments and proofs and how, despite the strong opposition put up by so called the Islamic nation, it was still well established. Post this the ‘major occultation’ started which has included all the past features and covered the present and the future with it.
None of the opponents or antagonists has raised any objection to Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) words nor have they doubted the veracity of the interpretation of the holy verses.
But what can be said about this ill-fated nation that when all proofs, details and records are put before them, they say that Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is yet to be born and on his arrival into this world will the saying of the truthful one and the interpretation of the verse be fulfilled.
Everything travels from the unknown to the known. Take a closer look at this aspect of history which became the epicenter of differences and continues to be so till date. Focus on how differences were created and then introspect to understand what really happened.
Nowadays our scholars, speakers and orators attend functions held on the occasion of the birth of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) and discuss the longevity of Imam (a.s.) likening it to that of divine Prophets Nuh (a.s.), Yunus (a.s.) and Idrees (a.s.). They factually prove that longevity is not a new concept nor is it beyond the realms of possibility. They cite the example of Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) and also that of the accursed Satan who has cast his net of deceit wider even as he remains concealed. They argue that if Satan, can remain hidden and deviate people, why can’t a divine proof lead and guide the masses from occultation?
These voices echo in our celebrations. The history and birth of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), his Imamate, his four special deputies and their role during minor occultation, visitation to their holy graves and then the leadership of the scholars during major occultation, their conditions, teachings, their help, assistance and guidance. There are concrete evidences and documents that cannot be rejected. The reason for Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) prolonged occultation, longevity and his concealed leadership for the last 1200 years is to protect him from the coterie of the rulers who forced the successors of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) into isolation. This will continue till reappearance as indicated in the verse “And we desired to bestow a favor upon those who were deemed weak in the land and to make them the Imams…”
Every word and letter of this sacred verse is an absolute truth and grants light of salvation. This verse of Holy Quran coupled with the prophecies of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) leave no room for deviation.
The question then arises as to why, despite the sayings of Allah the Almighty and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) regarding the 12 successors, certifying their immaculate characters and knowledge, which none can dare raise a finger at, are these objections raised? Why do these opponents of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) while believing in the Power of Allah deny the existence and presence of His Proof (a.t.f.s.)? Can a knowledgeable person deny that Firaun’s corpse was kept on the shores of Nile for people to take heed? None of the flesh-eating animals present in the sea devoured his body. A corpse can remain untouched for a cause. Incidents like these occur to enlighten the intelligent human mind with the truth. Isn’t this a point to ponder? Don’t these lessons make a person realize that the One who has kept a lifeless body of Firaun intact, can also keep the successor of His chosen one alive through His Might for the guidance of mankind and the coming generations on this earth?
Due to deliberately offensive policies of past governments and falsehood which danced to the tune of devious politics, the nation that lived under the arrogant propaganda kept growing and this is how the thick veil of ignorance kept covering one promise after the other.
Our thirsty Imam Husain (a.s.) was so right when he said on day of Ashura,
“O the oppressive soldiers of Yazeed, your bellies are filled with the forbidden (haraam) and hence you are unmindful of what I say.”
Wherever the aforementioned elements are found in those members of the Islamic nation, who are in majority, they will continue to remain deviated from this concealed leadership. The insightful eyes will lose sight and injustice, lies, oppression, hypocrisy, ignorance, etc. will rule the roost. The ignorant will breathe this poisonous air till his (a.t.f.s.) reappearance. Those who keep firm faith in the concealed leadership will plead in the court of Allah’s caliph, who will avenge from each one of them. The flag of justice and equity will fly above his sacred head; the oppressed will look into the eyes of the oppressor and plead and the one who will hear their pleas will punish the oppressors.
Thus, it is incumbent to introspect on Divine Prophecies and the eloquence of the Messenger (s.a.w.a.). There are all means present to get enthusiastic but only for those watchful eyes that are under the leadership of the concealed leader.