To increase the remembrance and discussion of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), and to keep it afresh in the hearts of the Shias, is one of our most important responsibilities today. In fact, this is something that we must pass on down generation after generation, as if it is the most precious family heritage. Not only must we ourselves anxiously await his reappearance, but we must also prepare our children to serve and help Imam (a.t.f.s.). We must persistently supplicate and wail in front of Allah to suspend the period of occultation (Ghaybat), and ensure the earliest reappearance of Imam (a.t.f.s.). In fact, the extension of the period of Ghaybat must never disappoint us, but if anything, it should only serve to increase the fervor and intensity of our supplications and lamentation. For surely, despairing Allahs mercy is the mark of a disbeliever, and not that of a momin.
We must prepare a schedule for ourselves that will help us enliven the remembrance of Imam (a.t.f.s.) throughout the year. However, the intensity of this remembrance must be at its peak in the month of Shabaan, especially on the 15th day of the month the day of Imams (a.s.) birthday. In this month, the level of Imams (a.s.) recognition and our spiritual proximity with him, must reach its zenith. We must feel the loneliness and forlornness in the absence of our Imam (a.t.f.s.). Our eyes must feel the tiredness in his absence. Our forlorn eyes must crave for his delightful appearance.
When the beloved is missing, a man is totally consumed with the desire to search him and find him. He is restless, and cannot concentrate on anything, until he finds his beloved. In fact, everything else seems immaterial and insignificant to him, where his beloved is concerned. Those, whose hearts are empty of this love, find this restlessness amusing, and even ridicule it.
When Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.) disappeared as a result of his scheming brothers, Hazrat Yaqoob (a.s.) was deeply affected by this tragedy and was very restless. He used to only think about his lost son and grieved so much that he lost his eyesight. He used to always remember his son, Yusuf (a.s.) thus, O my son Yusuf I loved you more than anyone else. But you have now disappeared from our midst. You were the light of my eyes and the fountainhead of my hopes and aspirations. Where have you gone, O apple of my eye I cant forget those times when I used to make you sleep on my right arm, and caress you lovingly with my left one. Yusuf, of all people why did you have to disappear O Yusuf In times of loneliness I used to seek solace in your company. You were the only source of comfort for me in distress and grief. O my beloved, O my dear one O light of my eyes If only I had known where these people have abandoned you.
O Yusuf If only I was with you at this moment, and suffered all the tribulations and difficulties that you are undergoing now. In the light of Hazrat Yaqoobs (a.s.) lamentations, let us now reflect over some lines of Duae Nudbah:
If only I had known where you are (living) Which is that fortunate piece of land that is blessed with your existence Indeed it is intolerable for me that I see everything else, but am deprived of your cherished appearance Indeed it is intolerable for me that you (instead of me) are surrounded with difficulties, and my lamentation and complaints do not find their way to you.O son of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.), is there the slimmest of chances for a meeting with you Hazrat Yaqoob (a.s.) was so overwhelmed with grief at Yusufs (a.s.) disappearance that he asked Malakul Maut, Do you capture souls together or one at a time Malakul Maut replied, One at a time. Hazrat Yaqoob (a.s.) asked, Have you captured Yusufs soul Malakul Maut responded in the negative. It is then that Yaqoob (a.s.) told his sons:
O my sons Go and inquire respecting Yusuf and his brother, and despair not of Allahs mercy; surely none despairs Allahs mercy except the unbelieving people.
(Surah Yusuf : 87)
Indeed the love of the father (Yaqoob (a.s.)) for his son (Yusuf (a.s.)) was very intense, and this intensity can be gauged by one amazing fact – When Yaqoob (a.s.) finally came to Egypt, the distance between Yusuf (a.s.) and him was of 19 days (journey). But the attachment and love of the father diminished even this vast distance to such an extent, that when Yusuf (a.s.) removed his cloak, Yaqoob (a.s.) commented, ‘I can sense Yusuf’s fragrance’
When Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) reappears he shall get along with him this very cloak of Yusuf (a.s.).When Yusuf’s (a.s.) brothers finally recognized him, they were remorseful at their wrongdoing and addressed him thus:
‘They said: Are you indeed Yusuf He said: I am Yusuf and this is my brother; Allah has indeed been gracious to us; surely he who guards (against evil) and is patient (is rewarded) for surely Allah does not waste the reward of those who do good.’ ‘They said: By Allah Now has Allah certainly chosen you over us and we were certainly sinners.’ ‘He said: (There shall be) no reproof against you this day; Allah may forgive you, and He is the most Merciful of the merciful.”
(Surah Yusuf : 90-92)
Dear readers, today Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is the Yusuf of Janabe Zahra (s.a.). Our sins have separated him from us. Therefore, we should rectify our actions and refrain from all those things that become the cause of Imams (a.s.) grief and sorrow. Come let us confess to our Imam (a.t.f.s.), as Yusufs (a.s.) brothers have confessed to him:
O Chief Distress has afflicted us and our family and we have brought scanty money so give us full measure and be charitable to us; surely Allah rewards the charitable.
(Surah Yusuf : 88)
O Imam Surely our most prized possession is your love that we have in our hearts, although it is very little O Imam of the age Surely we have committed serious transgressions and our disobedience is abundant, while our obedience is negligible
O Imam Surely there is no way out for us but that you forgive us, as Yusuf (a.s.) forgave his brothers, while you are more worthy of this action than Yusuf (a.s.)