If you help Allah, He will help you and make your feet steadfast.
[Surah Muhammad (47): Verse 7]
It is evident that Allah the Almighty is not in need of our help in any way. There is no scope of want in His Being. He is Absolutely Needless. Then why has He sought help from the servants?
The fact is that Allah the Omnipotent loves his friends and special servants so much that He considers helping them as helping Him, oppressing them as oppression against him and doing goodness to them akin to being done to Him. He has ordered thus to test His servants. Those who claim to love Allah should love His friends. It is mentioned in various Ziyaraat of the Infallible Imams (a.s.):
“One who loved you has loved Allah and the he who hates you hates Allah”.
Hence, if someone wishes to help Allah in order to receive divine bounties and hidden divine assistance must help and assist the friends and special servants of Allah.
Among the pure chain of the Allah’s friends, the most beloved friends and special servants are the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his Ahle Bait (a.s.). These pure personalities are the source of divine blessings. Whatever is bestowed upon the servants from Allah’s side is through their medium. In today’s era, Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is the rightful owner of the Prophetic caliphate, successorship and mastership. He (a.t.f.s.) is the medium of bounties between the Creator and the creation.
“Through his blessings the creation is granted sustenance and due to his existence, the earth and sky stand firm.”
[Mashaareqo Anwaar al-Yaqeen fi Asraar Ameeril Momineen (a.s.), p. 157]
Virtues of helping Ahle Bait (a.s.)
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said to Hazrat Ameerul Momineen (a.s.),
“O Ali, your example is like that of Surah Tauheed (Qul howa Allaho Ahad). Whoever recites it once, it is as if he has recited one third of the Quran. One who recites it twice it is as if he has recited two thirds of the Quran. One who recites it thrice then he has recited the entire Quran. Similarly, O Ali, he who loves you in his heart, it is as if he has obtained the reward of the good deeds of one third of the servants. And he who loves you in his heart and helps you verbally, it is as if he has attained the reward of the good deeds of two third of the servants. And the one who has your love in his heart and along with helping you verbally also helps you with actions then he has earned the reward of the good deeds of all the servants.”
[Al-Mahaasin, vol. 2, p. 251, H. 473; Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 27, p. 94, H. 54]
Allamah Majlisi (a.r.) narrates:
Once a very young Hishaam Ibn Hakam was in the presence of Imam Sadiq (a.s.). There were other great companions present too. When Imam (a.s.) saw him, he (a.s.) accorded him great respect and honour and made him sit in a place closer to him, better than the seats of other companions who were elder to him. People did not find this appropriate which Imam (a.s.) sensed and announced:
“He is our helper with his heart, tongue and hand”.
[Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 10, p. 295, H. 4]
Practicing the religion of Islam and helping Imam (a.s.)
During this time of occultation of Imam (a.s.) when we do not have access to him, while we cannot directly serve and help him, it cannot be assumed that the door of practically helping Imam (a.s.) during occultation is shut and we should only restrict ourselves to praying and that apart from it, there is no other way to help Imam (a.s.). Without doubt, supplications are also a very important responsibility and are one of the methods of helping Imam (a.s.). However, supplicating is a verbal help which is always a level below helping by action. Today, we are deprived of the sight of the luminous presence of Imam (a.s.). In order to express our feelings of love for Imam (a.s.), we are, even after exerting ourselves, unable to trace his location. Hence, this relationship of our intense love for Imam demands, that during the era of occultation we perform such actions, attach ourselves with religious knowledge and truly act upon it and shun those actions which Imam (a.s.) dislikes. Thus, we can help Imam (a.s.) through our actions even during occultation. By demonstrating practical help to Imam (a.s.) we can prepare the grounds for his reappearance. Let us see the various means of helping Imam through our actions.
Fear of Allah
During Imam’s occultation, by acting upon the obligatory acts and refraining from the prohibited ones i.e. through piety and fear of Allah, we can exhibit practical help to Imam (a.s.). Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) wrote to one of his Shias in a letter:
“Know that your Imam has taken only two pairs of clothes and two loaves of breads from this world, and know that you are not capable of following me to this extent. Then help me with abstaining from the prohibited, acting upon obligations, piety and treading the right path.”
[Nahj al-Balaagha, pp. 944-945]
Many such traditions are present in reliable books in which the Infallible Imams (a.s.) have exhorted their Shias to assist them by acting upon religious laws and practicing piety. It is also known that after reappearance, the divine promise will be fulfilled as there will only be goodness on the earth and all evil will be eradicated, which is the aim of man’s creation and of the universe.
Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.), may our souls be sacrificed for him, says in a Tauqee:
“Fear Allah, Mighty be His Grandeur, and help us in order to protect yourselves from the disorder which has engulfed you from all sides.”
[Al-Ehtejaaj of Shaikh Tabresi (r.a.), vol. 2, p. 497]
Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) has been given a great responsibility by Allah the High to guide the servants of Allah towards goodness and success. This is the main responsibility which Imam (a.s.) needs to fulfil at the time of his occultation as well as in his presence. Now, if a person guides even one of the servants of Allah towards the path of goodness, then he shall get the honour of helping Imam to the extent of his effort of guiding that person. This is regardless of whether he guides a person towards goodness or he himself acts upon the orders of Islam, stays away from its prohibitions and turns pious. This is because he himself is also among the people whose guidance is the responsibility of Imam.
On the other hand, if a person, along with fulfilling the responsibility of guiding others, is not himself attentive to the Islamic laws, his words will not have any effect. Guidance through action is much more effective than through mere words. The effects of his action, character and piety transfer onto others. Hence such a person is a cause of pride for Imam, like he himself says:
“Be a cause of adornment for us and do not be a cause of embarrassment for us”.
[Al-Amaali of Shaikh Saduq (a.r.), p. 400, H. 17]
To summarize, when one loves Imam (a.s.) becomes pious in the true sense, fear of Allah finds place in his heart. And when fear of Allah is entrenched in someone’s heart, nothing else can guarantee the purity of his character. Due to this fear of God, he will be mindful of the rights of people, take conscious steps and not violate the rights of others.
Helping the Believers
There are many pious and good people in this world who face arduous difficulties. To solve their problems and to drive away their difficulties is also one of the best ways to help Imam (a.s.) through actions. This method of helping Imam (a.s.) is to provide means of worship and obedience and solve the problems of the pious people. For example, to provide means of guidance in a place where there are believers but there is neither anyone to guide and show the way nor anyone to enjoin towards goodness. Similarly, we should provide means and convenience for worship and obedience for people. Or we should try to help the pious people in their worldly matters and solve their financial and other problems. There are several believers in different parts of the world facing difficulties. Illnesses, poverty, ignorance, surrounded by enemies, prejudice, modern day corruption, domestic problems, divorce, daughter’s marriage, unemployment etc. are various problems which Muslims encounter and especially Shias today. If we pick up any one of the above mentioned issues and work in that field to solve these problems, wouldn’t it be a cause of happiness for Imam (a.s.)? And when a person is relieved from a problem, it has two outcomes:
- Providing relief to the heart of a grief struck person by solving his problem is a great worship.
- When a grief struck person finds relief from his problems, he is able to worship better and we indirectly become party to this worship as we drew him out of his problems which facilitated his worship. The is the real help of Imam (a.s.)
The great scholar Syed Ibn Taawoos (a.r.) mentions in Mohajj al-Da’waat that a person asked Ameerul Momineen (a.s.): I have decided to spend some money in the way of Allah. Please tell me how should I spend it in order to seek divine pleasure? Imam (a.s.) replied:
“Spend it in the way of helping the pious and the worshippers because spending for them is like spending in the way of Allah’s worship as they derive strength from that help and worship God.”
Let us see this last tradition on this aspect before concluding the discussion. There are some traditions mentioned in Tafseer attributed to Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) under this subject:
“If someone helps a weak and helpless person, Allah will help him and appoint certain angels on the Day of Judgment to help and protect him from the severe stages and the pits of fire and make him reach heaven safely. If someone helps a person in distress due to which he gets support in his business and his problems are solved, Allah will relieve him of problems on the Day of Judgment. He will be separated from the group of evil people and will be enumerated among the good doers.”
[Tafseer of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.), p. 635]
We pray to Allah the Almighty that he gives us the opportunity to help his proof, please him with our actions and character and through the medium of helping Imam, He separates us out from the evil people and enumerates us among the good doers in this world itself. Aameen!