Everything has some prerequisites and conditions without which it is not accepted. For example voting in India requires that the voter must be an Indian citizen. Similarly, to be declared successful in a particular course, the enrolled learner requires certain grades without which he will not be declared successful in that course.
Similarly, Allah’s acceptance of His servants’ deeds also requires certain criteria and conditions. The collection of these conditions and criteria is termed as religion. But this religion should be as per the norms laid down by Allah the High himself. Of course, correct beliefs are prior to the forms of the actions. Belief in Allah the Almighty as our Creator comes prior to the method of praying for the prayers to be acceptable. Allah the Majestic has indicated in Holy Quran to this fact by saying:
“Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam.”
[Surah Aale Imran (3): Verse 18]
Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) while inviting people to be steadfast in their religion says:
“O people! Take care of your religion! Take care of your religion! Attach (yourselves) with it and do not let anyone deprive you out of it. Since a bad deed in (your) religion is better than a good deed in other religion. For, a bad deed in (your) religion can be forgiven whereas a good deed in other religion is not acceptable.”
[Ma’aani al-Akhbaar, pp. 185-186]
Any amount of charity or good morality will be rejected by Allah the High if performed by a person who does not confess to the Oneness of Allah and the Prophethood of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.). But a believer in Allah, His messenger (s.a.w.a.) and his true successors (a.s.), despite having performed bad deeds, has the hope of intercession and acceptability of his deeds.
Hence, if a person wishes that his actions be acceptable to Allah the Almighty, he must know and follow these conditions. These conditions become very clear to us by referring to the narrations of the infallible ones (a.s.) who have been appointed by Allah the Omniscient to explain the religion to the people and guide them to their fortune in this world as well as hereafter.
Here, we would like to mention that when we say an action being acceptable to Allah the Majestic, we mean that He will grant reward and not punishment, in this world and as well as the hereafter, to the person whose deeds are under consideration.
A person came to Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) with a document. Before the person could open his document, he (a.s.) said: “This is a document of dispute, which questions regarding the religion in which the action is accepted.” That person said: May Allah have mercy upon you! This is the same thing which I want.’ At that moment Imam (a.s.) informed him:
“I bear witness that there is no God except Allah, the One, there is no partner for Him and indeed Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) is His servant and His Messenger. You acknowledge whatever he has brought from Allah and the Mastership for us, Ahle Bait (a.s.) and disassociation from our enemies and submission to our affairs, precautionary piety (‘wara’), humility and awaiting our Qaem (a.t.f.s.); then indeed there is a government for us, when Allah wills He will establish it.”
[Al-Kaafi, Book of Belief and Disbelief, Chapter 13, H. 13]
As per this narration, awaiting the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) along with the belief in Allah as our Lord, Prophethood of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the ‘Mastership’ of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) are among the fundamentals of the religion through which the deeds are accepted.
Another narration to indicate that awaiting the reappearance of the awaited one from the progeny of Muhammad (a.t.f.s.) is among the prerequisites for the acceptance of the actions is a narration from Abu Baseer. He narrates that Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) one day said: “Shall I inform you regarding that which Allah, the Mighty, the Majestic, will not accept an action from any servant except because of it?” Abu Baseer said: ‘Yes, please do so’. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said:
“Testifying that there is no God except Allah, indeed Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) is His servant and His Messenger, acknowledgment of whatever Allah has ordered, our Mastership and disassociation from our enemies (of the Imams (a.s.) specifically), submission to them (Imams), precautionary piety, struggle, dignity and awaiting the Qaem (a.t.f.s.)”
[Ghaibat-e-Nomani, Chapter 11, H. 16]
Let us analyze the belief in awaiting for Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). According to the Shite school of thought, this belief implies awaiting the reappearance of the true and divinely appointed 12th successor of Holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) whose famous title is ‘Mahdi’, who will establish the true monotheistic religion of Islam and spread justice and peace universally on his reappearance but whose time of appearance is not known. It encompasses the fundamental beliefs of the religion of Islam without which no deed will be accepted and one who does not profess this belief has in fact gone out of the fold of Islam.
For example, one who truly ‘awaits’ believes that Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), whose reappearance he is awaiting, is the Imam of the time. This testifies his belief in the Imamat of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). This belief has been considered as the most important prerequisite after the two testimonies (of Divine Monotheism and Prophethood) for the acceptance of the deeds. In fact, belief in Imamat is the completion of the belief in Divine Monotheism and Prophethood. There are many narrations from the Ahle Bait (a.s.) indicating this matter.
Muhammad bin Muslim said: ‘I heard Abu Ja‘far (a.s.) say:
“Everyone who is obedient to Allah, to Whom belong Might and Majesty, by worship in which he exerts effort, but who does not have an Imam (appointed) from Allah, his strivings are unacceptable; and he is astray and bewildered. Allah detests his actions… He who wakes up in this community without having an Imam (appointed) from Allah, to whom belong Might and Majesty, who is manifest and just, wakes up astray and lost. If such a person dies in this condition, he dies the death of unbelief and hypocrisy. Beware, O Muhammad! Unjust Imams and their followers have been expelled from the religion of Allah. They are misguided and they misguide others. So the actions which they perform are like ashes over which the wind blows hard on a tempestuous day. They have no power over anything they have earned. That is the far error. [Surah Ibrahim (14): Verse 18].”
[Al-Kaafi, Book of Proof, Chapter 7, H. 8]
The above narration explicitly states that acceptance of deed requires belief in Imamat. Belief in awaiting implicitly includes the belief in Imamat.
In one of the salutations of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) which is mentioned in ‘Mafaatih al-Jinaan’, we find the following phrases:
“…. I bear witness that through your Mastership, actions are accepted, deeds are purified, goodness is multiplied and bad deeds are erased. Then the one who accepts your Mastership and acknowledges your Imamat, his actions are accepted, his words are affirmed, his goodness is multiplied and his bad deeds are erased…”
[Mafaatih al-Jinaan, Section of Ziyaaraat of the 12th Imam (a.t.f.s.), Ziyaarat after Ziyaarat Aal-e-Yaseen]
It becomes crystal clear that the belief in awaiting which includes the belief in Imamat is a must for the deeds to be considered as worship and be accepted by Allah, the Almighty.
Hence to summarize, we can state that the belief in ‘awaiting’ means:
- Belief in Oneness of Allah, as Allah the High has introduced Himself to us in the prior worlds of lights, souls, particles, etc. When the Imam of the time (a.t.f.s.) reappears, he will remind the whole world about that recognition.
- Belief in Allah who is Just and will establish a universal just government under the guidance of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
- Belief in the absolute freedom of Allah the Omnipotent in postponing or hastening the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
- Belief in the existence of a divine proof on this earth and acknowledgement of Hadees-e-Saqalain (two weighty things).
- Belief in the truthfulness of the atrocities, crimes and injustices perpetrated against the Ahle Bait (a.s.). Since Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is the one who will seek revenge for all these especially for his grandmother Janabe Fatima Zahra (s.a.) and her son Imam Husain (a.s.).
We pray to Allah that He increases our cognition of the Imam of our time (a.t.f.s.) and gives us the grace and opportunity to be among those who truly await him (a.t.f.s.), due to which we achieve success in this world and hereafter and be included among his true and followers in this world and be included among his neighbors in the hereafter. Aameen!