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Exegesis of Ziyarat-e-Imam e Zamana ‎‎(a.t.f.s.) recited on Fridays‎

Peace be upon you. May Allah hasten the covenant He has made with you concerning ‎‎(His) help and the establishment of the affairs!‎
‎(Ziarat of Imam Zamana (a.s.) on Friday)‎
Even though the word “ajjil” over here is used in the past tense, yet its meaning is similar to ‎the word “swalle” which has been used in the preceding sentence in the form of a supplication. ‎
The word “ajjil” is derived from the root “A-j-l”, which means ‘to hasten,’ or ‘to hurry.’ ‎Further, “ajjil” is the first seegah of the past tense in ‘Bab-e-Taf’eel’. Raaghib Isfahani mentions ‎in his book Al-Mufradaat that its meaning is ‘to intend or seek resolutely for a thing before its ‎fixed time.’ ‎
In this sentence the reader of this ziyarat implores, O Allah, Hasten his (a.s.) reappearance ‎and (Your) help. ‎
Before we proceed, let’s briefly elaborate on the words “ajjil” and “ta’jeel”‎
A)‎ The significance of praying for the early reappearance of Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.): ‎
The happiness and satisfaction of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) is the greatest desire of an ‎individual who is awaiting his (a.s.) reappearance and the most painful thoughts for a believer ‎are concerning the difficulties and troubles endured by Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) during ‎occultation.‎
Thus, the most important responsibility for a believer is to perform — to the best of his ‎abilities — deeds which stave-off the troubles, worries and problems surrounding his Imam ‎‎(a.s.) and he is not lax in fulfilling his duty in this regard. ‎
With this backdrop, it’s imperative to understand that the best thing that will please Hazrat ‎Vali-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.) is to receive Allah’s permission for appearance. In it lies not only his (a.t.f.s.) ‎happiness but also that of the Messengers (a.s.), Imams (a.s.) and other believing men and ‎women. ‎
The most effective way of achieving this objective is through supplications. Praying for the ‎early reappearance of Imam (a.t.f.s.) in this era of occultation is a result of one’s intense love ‎and recognition. Without regularly praying for his reappearance, the claims of mastership, love ‎and recognition ring hollow. ‎
Imam-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.) himself has taught his friends this beautiful practice. No sooner was he ‎‎(a.s.) born, he went into prostration — raised his index finger skywards and after bearing ‎witness to all things, he prayed:‎
‎“..O Allah! Fulfil the covenant that You made with me.” ‎
‎(Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 51, p. 13)‎
Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) says:‎
‎“O Ahmad Ibn Is’haaq! I swear by Allah, he will go in occultation. None will remain safe ‎in this era (of occultation) except the one whom Allah has kept firmly rooted in the ‎belief of his (a.s.) Imamat and has granted him the grace to pray for his early ‎reappearance.” ‎
‎(Kamaaluddin, chapter 38, vol. 1)‎
B)‎ No contradiction between hastening (Ta’jeel) and submission (Tasleem)‎
Ta’jeel means to pray for an early reappearance. Here, a question may crop up in the mind, ‎‎‘Isn’t praying for an early reappearance opposing Divine predestination (qaza wa qadar) ‎concerning this matter?’ ‎
The reply is, ‘To pray for an early reappearance is in fact a direct consequence of the faith ‎in Allah’s supremacy and infinite authority. He himself has commanded us to beseech Him. ‎Then, to implore Allah is every servant’s duty while to mould the destiny is Allah’s prerogative. ‎It is the servant’s duty to submit and accept the decree of Allah. There isn’t any kind of conflict ‎here. ‎
The point will become clear with the help of an example. Suppose a person is affected with ‎an illness. His near and dear ones pray fervently for his recovery, but he passes away. Now, the ‎family members surrender to the divine decree. Is there any contradiction in this? Certainly ‎not! In fact not praying to Allah for the recovery of an ailing person is not to be construed as a ‎sign of submission (to Allah’s Will). On the contrary it’s a sign of being haughty and needless of ‎Allah. ‎
C)‎ The difference between hastening () and seeking haste ()‎
As it has been discussed before — praying for the ‘hastening’ () of the ‎reappearance of Imam (a.s.) has been appreciated in traditions. For instance Imam (a.s.) says:‎
‎“And pray excessively for the hastening of my reappearance. For in it lies your ‎deliverance.” ‎
‎(Mikyaal al-Makaarim, vol. 2)‎
The reason for this is that a person should never feel hopeless and miserable waiting for the ‎reappearance of Imam (a.s.). His eyes should await the coming of his Master (a.s.) every ‎morning and evening. He should keep praying for his (a.s.) early reappearance. To consider the ‎reappearance of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) as imminent is a sign of complete faith in Allah’s ‎promise.‎
What is meant by ‘seeking haste’ (Ist’jaal)?‎
In certain cases, the infallible Imam(a.s.) have condemned hastiness and those in a hurry. ‎For instance Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says: ‎
‎“The Mahaadheeroon shall be annihilated.”‎
The narrator asked Imam (a.s.), “Who are the ?”‎
Imam (a.s.) replied: “Those who make haste (al – Musta’jeloon)”‎
Then Imam (a.s.) further added: ‎
‎“And the ones who reckon the reappearance to be near will get salvation.” ‎
‎(Al Ghaybah of al-Numani (r.a.), Chapter 11, H. 5)‎
Come let us analyse this splendid tradition. “” is the plural of “” and ‎in Arabic it refers to a horse that gallops swiftly. Here, however, it means those who make ‎haste. The infinitive of ‎َ‎“” (those who make haste) is “Ist’jaal” (seeking ‎haste) which in actuality implies ‘to show dissent with the command and will of Allah with ‎regards to the reappearance of Imam (a.s.).’ But to consider the reappearance of Imam-e-‎Zamana (a.s.) as near is in itself a sign of submission. Not only is Allah happy with such an act ‎‎(of awaiting the reappearance of Imam (a.s.)) but also the infallible Imams (a.s.) have approved ‎of it. ‎
What’s more, if the reappearance of Imam (a.s.) is perceived to be far-off – even if it is for a ‎fleeting moment – then this act is enumerated as a great sin because it is a sign of being ‎despondent of Allah’s mercy. ‎
That said, there’s one very important issue which needs to be addressed here. To reckon the ‎time of reappearance to be near doesn’t mean that we fix a time for his (a.s.) reappearance. ‎Those who do such a thing have been termed as liars in the traditions of Imam (a.s.).‎
Therefore, those who speak about the signs and in doing so tell the people that the ‎reappearance will happen today, tomorrow or coming Friday have themselves gone astray. ‎They are also deviating and corrupting others because fixing a time for reappearance will ‎cause false hope and despair. ‎
D)‎ Commendable hastiness and forbidden hastiness
Before we wrap up the discussion, we think it is essential to reply to Raaghib Isfahani’s view ‎under the word “ajjil”. Raaghib says, “Since this word is used an expression for ‘self desire’, ‎thus in all places in the Quran – wherever it has been used – this act has been condemned. To ‎the extent that it has become a proverb ‘Hastiness is from the works of Shaitan’. To support his ‎view, he even brings forth a couple of verses from the Holy Quran. However, Raaghib has ‎missed the fact that “ajjil” has one more synonym in the Holy Quran which has been praised. ‎
For example, Allah says:‎
And run speedily towards the forgiveness of your Lord. ‎
‎(Surah Aale Imran: Verse 133)‎
Or Allah says:‎
And they run fast towards charity. ‎
‎(Surah Anbiya: Verse 90)‎
In this verse Hazrat Zakariyyah (a.s.), his wife and his son Hazrat Yahya (a.s.) are being ‎lauded for rushing towards good deeds. ‎
Hence, if rushing, hastiness and hurrying are for the sake of good actions then there is no ‎evil in it. The Holy Quran itself has commanded the believers to rush towards goodness ‎
‎“And hurry towards good actions.” ‎
‎(Surah Baqarah: Verse 148)‎
E)‎ Pray for the sake of reappearance or for the love of worldly power?‎
Before concluding, it is worth reiterating that the essence of waiting for the reappearance ‎of Imam (a.s.) isn’t about a person hoping to gain worldly power or authority. Instead, the aim ‎is to see the Ahlul Bait (a.s.) and their followers attain happiness and bliss irrespective of us ‎personally getting some status or position. ‎
Abu Baseer asked Imam Sadiq (a.s.): ‎
‎‘May I be sacrificed for you, when will there be comfort? ‎
Imam (a.s.) replied: ‎
‎“O Abu Baseer, are you from those who crave for this world? Whoever acquires ‎knowledge of this affair (Imamat and wilayat); his awaiting itself will become the cause ‎of his deliverance.” ‎
‎(Al Ghayba of an-Numani (r.a.), chapter 25, H. 3)‎
The other important word in this sentence of the ziyarat is “” i.e. promise. The ‎reappearance of Imam-e-Asr (a.s.) is a divine promise and Allah never breaks His promise. The ‎time of reappearance can defer but reappearance itself can not be annulled because it is a ‎Divine promise. ‎
Abu Hashim Ja’fari asked Imam Mohammad Taqi al-Jawad (a.s.): ‎
‎“Can the rise of Qaem be deferred?”‎
Imam (a.s.) replied: ‎
‎“Verily (the rising of) Qaem is a promise of Allah and He never goes against His ‎promise.” ‎
‎(Al Ghayba of an-Numani (r.a.), chapter 18, H. 10)‎
What has Allah promised Imam-e-Asr (a.s.)? This is a question which rises in light of the ‎above sentences. Here the two things which come are discussed — divine help and establishing ‎of the affairs. Since we have already discussed about the reign of Aale Muhammad (a.s.) in our ‎earlier issues, hence, we’ll restrict our discussions on the matter of divine help. ‎
Divine Help
This topic is so vast that even an entire book may not do justice to it. But considering the ‎limitations and conciseness of this article, we’ll restrict ourselves to a few verses from the Holy ‎Quran to augment our discussion.‎
‎1)‎ Successful is he who has Allah’s help ‎
‎“And We helped them, so they overcame.” ‎
‎(Surah al-Saaffat: Verse 116)‎
‎2)‎ Allah helps whomsoever He wishes ‎
‎“Allah strengthens with His help whom He pleases.” ‎
‎(Surah Aale Imran: Verse 13)‎
‎(There are a thousand meanings hidden in a small part of this magnificent verse. The meek ‎shouldn’t feel disappointed awaiting divine help and the powerful shouldn’t be proud and ‎arrogant of their wealth and power)‎
‎3.‎ The Almighty Allah’s help is encompassing ‎
‎“And that Allah may help you with a complete help.” ‎
‎(Surah Fath: Verse 3)‎
‎4)‎ When Allah helps then none can overpower us
‎“If Allah helps you, none can overwhelm you: If He forsakes you, who is there, after ‎that, who can help you? In Allah, then, let the believers put their trust.” ‎
‎(Surah Aale Imran: Verse 160)‎
‎5)‎ True help is only from Allah
‎“…there is no help except from Allah. The Exalted, the Wise.” ‎
‎(Surah Aale Imran: Verse 126)‎
‎6)‎ It is the custom of the Prophets (a.s.) to seek Allah’s help
‎“He (H.Nuh) said: O My Lord, help me as they deny me.” ‎
‎(Surah Mominoon: Verse 26)‎
‎“He (H. Lut) prayed: O My Lord! Help me against the mischievous nation.” ‎
‎(Surah Ankabut: Verse 30)‎
‎“Or do you think that you shall enter the Garden (of bliss) without such (trials) as ‎came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and ‎adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Messenger and those of faith ‎who were with him cried: “When (will come)the help of Allah?” Ah! Verily, the help ‎of Allah is (always) near!” ‎
‎(Surah Baqarah: Verse 214)‎
‎7)‎ Ways of attaining Divine Help ‎
Different verses of Holy Quran have mentioned the reasons through which the human race ‎is deserving of Allah’s help. Keeping brevity in mind, we enlist a few. ‎
a) Faith:‎
Allah the Almighty has promised in the Holy Quran that He will help the believers. In fact He ‎has considered this as His duty. He says:‎
‎“…to help the believers is ever incumbent upon us.” ‎
‎(Surah Rome: Verse 47)‎
b) Help Allah and He will you
‎“O those who believe! If you help (the cause of) Allah, He will help you and make ‎your feet steadfast.” ‎
‎(Surah Muhammad: Verse 7)‎
In this verse an additional condition, besides faith mentioned in order to receive divine ‎assistance — and that is to support Allah. The question here: Is the One who is Needless of ‎anything in the universe dependent on our help? Is Allah the Almighty in need of our help and ‎support? Not really. Here the meaning of helping Allah means helping Allah’s divine proof — ‎i.e. to help Imam-e-Asr (a.s.); to help the religion of Allah. ‎
Those who helped Imam Husain (a.s.) and sacrificed their life for him in Kerbala, in fact ‎have helped the religion of Allah. It is for this reason that in ziyaarat we remember them with ‎these words
‎“Peace be upon you all O the helpers of the religion of Allah!. Peace be upon you all, O ‎the helpers of Messenger of Allah.!”‎
It should be borne in mind that just as Allah is independent of anyone’s help, likewise Holy ‎Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the Infallible Imams (a.s.), too, are not dependent on anyone. For, these ‎are the individuals upon whom Allah has conferred “mastership in the world of creation” ‎‎(Wilayat-e-Takweeni). It means they have unlimited authority over the universe. Yet Allah has ‎made it incumbent upon man to help and support them in order to test humankind. Whoever ‎helps them has indeed helped Allah and His religion. What’s more, to help them is the best ‎form of worship. We find in Holy Quran:‎
‎“Nay! If you remain patient and are on your guard, and they come upon you in a ‎headlong manner, your Lord will assist you with five thousand of the havoc-making ‎angels.” ‎
‎(Surah Aale Imran: Verse 125)‎
If a believer bears these qualities then Allah, according to His promise, will surely help him ‎even though the great remnant of Allah, Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) possess these qualities exist in ‎him to the peak of perfection. Allah will certainly assist him (a.s.) and also those who shall ‎support him ‎
‎(To be continued…. Inshallah)‎

December 1, 2020