This is a story based on facts, which was told by a youth who had this entire experience. I had decorated this incident in the concealed compartments of my memories but did not have the inclination of jotting it down. Suddenly, while crying for the beloved son of Hazrat Zahra (s.a.), Imam-e-Zamaana (a.t.f.s.), a thought arose in my mind to pen down the experience of this youth. Perhaps, I may become eligible for a little divine reward.
His Experience in His Own Words My house was on the northern side of the village. A little further down north, there were vast tracts of fields, followed by gardens and orchards and apparently limitless jungles. My house was made of thick walls constructed by plaster of old soil. There were large verandahs with tile roofs. Numerous charpoys were laid in the verandahs. Two of my sisters were sleeping on the charpoys. On yet another charpoy, my mother was sleeping on a starch-white bed-sheet. The silver box of beetle-leaves was kept near her feet. Two-thirds of the night had passed. I was engrossed in reading, resting my elbow on an old table that creaked at the slightest of movements. Creaks that helped me remain awake and concentrate on my books.
Monsoon had already set in. As soon as it was evening, rains came down. Small droplets of water descended unceasingly. Rain drops falling on the tile roof made for lilting tune and the meeting of rain drops from the roof to the ground made for such sweet sound as if the atmosphere was dancing to this tune. As for my age, it would be suffice to say that my youth was in its prime.
My mother was chronically ill. In those times, the beetle-leaves box was a sign of noble families. I addressed my mother as ‘Ammaa’. She had made us, her children, habitual worshippers, to the extent that she had instilled in us the importance of the night-vigil prayers (namaaz-e-shab or salaat al-lail). Truly, a good mother sacrifices her last breath in this world for her children. She adorns their hereafter in a way that they maintain the freshness of her breaths till the end of their lives.
My mother was extremely faint-hearted. She had terrible palpitations. Being chronically ill, she was very frail. Yet, we all brothers and sisters understood the hints and indications of her eyes and tried our best to be at her service. She was exceedingly terrified at the thundering of the clouds and the ferocious shrieks of lightning. Occasionally, she used to start shivering while all of us siblings comforted and pacified her. But on hearing the sounds of lightning and thunder, she gobbled up one beetle-leaf after another and consumed gallons of water.
That night, which incidentally was the starting point of our discussion, it was pouring heavily. A cool breeze was blowing. Suddenly, I heard my mother groaning. I became restless, closed my book, went up to her and start pressing her feet. The incessant sound of raindrops in the courtyard was clearly audible. These drops were the source of comfort for the entire universe; as if they were descending on earth with the gift of deep sleep. Although the drops brought the news of the onset of rains, for me, they were like monsoon on fire. Each drop was emitting smoke that pierced the eyes, as if sleep was grimacing at awakening from a distant. For, I could not enjoy the pleasure of any bounty with my mother so ill. I was so disgusted that my revulsion encompassed all and sundry. I could not see beyond my mother.
Suddenly, the rains became even more intense. The fearsome sounds of thunder and lightning jolted the entire atmosphere at frequent intervals. It also forced my mother out of her sleep as well as her bed. She drank a glass of water. But the constant thunder and lightning only increased her palpitation and fright. Fright that made her pace up and down, as she muttered, ‘Al-Amaan, Al-Amaan, Ya Saahebaz Zamaan’ interjecting her cries for help with the verse of the Holy Quran, ‘The thunder glorifies Him with His praise and the angels (praise) out of His fear’.
When the thunder and lighting decreased and her palpitation was replaced with comfort, I asked her the reason for her calling out, ‘Al-Amaan, Al-Amaan, Ya Saahebaz Zamaan’. She shot back, ‘What are you trying to imply’ I said, ‘Do you know the meaning of this statement’ She replied, ‘Of course! It means that O my master, O my twelfth Imam, O my living Imam, O the one living in occultation, please ensure my safety.’ ‘But he is in occultation. How can he listen to your cries for help And when he cannot hear your cries for help, how can he ensure your safety’
Her frail face was now wearing a forceful frown. Scolding me, she said, ‘Stupid, go away from here.’ I pleaded innocence, ‘Mother, did I say something wrong’ She retorted, ‘You have insulted my master.’ I asked, ‘How’ She shot back strongly, ‘You are aware that he is in occultation but don’t you know that he is the master of time. That is, he is the master of the era. The seasons of summer, winter and monsoon are directed by him. The pulse of time is in the power of our master, Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), and hence, there cannot be a moment when time does not pay heed to the cries of his lovers.”
Seeing her in the mood to answer my questions, I seized the opportunity and enquired, ‘Mother! If he does really hear your cry for help, why doesn’t he grant you security You are so frightened as if you don’t have any refuge. And in your own words Imam is your refuge who also controls all the forces of nature!!
Demonstrating her sharp wit, my mother asked, ‘Ok, tell me, from where did you learn all this’ I replied, ‘Mother, when I remember my Imam (a.s.), my heart gains immense contentment. Just give a thought to the oppressed captives who were with the fourth Imam, Hazrat Sajjad (a.s.) after the event of Karbala. When they reached the court of the accursed Yazeed, they were neither frightened nor scared nor terrified. The reason: they had the Imam (a.s.) of their time with them. There were tremors in the walls and doors of the accursed Yazid’s palace due to Janab Zainab’s (s.a.) speech. The sermon delivered by Imam Sajjad (a.s.) had such an impact that the seeds of rebellion were sowed throughout the Islamic cape. The wrist of the accursed Yazid’s oppression was broken, who had to ultimately take refuge in the Azaan!!”
Finally my mother agreed, ‘Son, you are right. But my heart is very weak. And I was negligent in looking at my Imam (a.s.) from this perspective.”
Again, there was thunder and lightning. Now, to my utter amazement, I heard my mother utter, ‘Clouds! Be busy in praising and glorifying the Lord. For, now I am in the refuge of my master, Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.).’ Turning to me, she said, ‘Son, you have made me realize the truth. My palpitating heart has been soothed. Gradually, I will try to gain control over my heart. May Imam (a.s.) reward you for this! For, the reward given by Imam (a.s.) is beyond one’s intellect and understanding vis–vis its price and value.’
When my mother was about to breathe her last, she gathered all of us at her bedside and willed, ‘Always remember the Imam (a.s.) of your time, the descendant of Imam Husain (a.s.). Never forget him even for a moment. Be a witness that I have emulated the most learned scholar (Marja-e-Taqleed) of our times in my life.’ Then, thrice she uttered, ‘Ya Ali! Ya Ali! Ya Ali!’, her soul bidding adieu to her weak body.
Perhaps, she had the honor of seeing the Imam of her time and then got a place in the paradise of Barzakh or maybe, she had the privilege of being in the service of her master, Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.).
Finally, let us invoke the Almighty Allah thus, “O Allah! A mother is amongst the greatest bounties that You have conferred on mankind. Please give us the grace to obey our mothers. May all the mothers train and bring up their children like the lady in the above incident! Aameen!