Whenever supplications are made for the health and well-being of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) or charity is paid on his behalf then some people raise the question.
It is because of his majestic self that the whole world is safe and secure, only because of his blissful presence this universe is thriving, then what does praying for him imply? This whole Universe, earth and skies survive because of him, then why to give charity on his behalf? Let us examine this question in the following paragraphs.
1) Our supplications for Imam (a.s.) could be likened to a humble gift offered by a needy destitute to a very great King. This gift implies that this humble servant needs the grace of the king and thus wants to draw his attention. It does not mean at all that the king is in need of this gift. It is only a humble memento presented by a slave to his noble master.
2) According to the traditions the reappearance of Hazrat falls in the category of those incidents in which Bada is akin to occur. If we really pray from the depth of our hearts then the appointed time of his reappearance may advance and his re appearance may take place earlier. When sufferings and calamities were aggravated for Bani Israel and this period was prolonged, then Bani Israel pleaded with Allah, beseeched Him and wept bitterly. Hence, Allah sent Hazrat Musa and Hazrat Haroon (Peace be upon them) for their salvation and in the process reduced 170 years from the stipulated time. Thus Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) concludes If you all do the same way, as Bani Israel did, then Allah will ward off our difficulties and reappearance will take place earlier, otherwise the matter has to finally reach on its destined end. (Behaarul Anwaar, Vol. 52, pg. l31)
3) There is no doubt in it that our Imams (a.s.), since they too are humans, are afflicted with illness, infirmity, sorrow or happiness etc. Also there is a popular incident of sickness of Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.) in their childhood. When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) visited them, he suggested the oath of fasts for an immediate recovery and consequently they both got well soon. In order to fulfill the oath, the whole family observed fasts for three days and whenever they sat for breakfast (Iftaar) some beggar came and they all gave their food to this beggar breaking fasts with mere salts. This continued for three days at a stretch. Then Allah revealed SurahHal-Ata in their praise. Same is possible with Hazrat Vali-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.). So, a sincere devotee of Imam (a.t.f.s.) always wishes that he should never feel sick or sorrowful; hence he constantly keeps on praying for the health and well-being of Hazrat (a.t.f.s.). In this regard those supplications can also be mentioned which are prescribed by Imams (a.s.) and are suggested for recitation in this period of occultation. Two such supplications can be cited as examples:-
(A) Yunus bin Abdur Rehman relates from Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) that he recommended the following supplication to be recited for Hazrat Vali-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.) This supplication has been recorded by Sayyed bin Taoos (a.r.) and Sheikh Tusi (a.r.) in their respective books. Shaikh Abbas Qummi (a.r.) has recorded this supplication in his book Mafateehul Jenan after Dua-e-Ahad and it starts with these words: O Allah! Remove all difficulties and sorrows from Your friend, Your deputy and Your proof upon Your creatures protect him from the harm of Your creatures. And protect him from all sides, from front, from rear, from right side, from above and from below B. This is a two page long supplication. The first deputy of Imam Asr (a.t.f.s.) Janab Usman bin Saeed (r.a.) asked Mohammad bin Hamam to write this supplication and recommended its recitation. Sayyed bin Taoos has said that Do not ignore this supplication as it has got great reward and prestige in front of Allah.
Sheikh Abbas Qummi (r.a.) has recorded this supplication in his Mafateehul Jenan (Persian version pg. 588, Urdu pg. 588). It is known as Dua-e-Ghaibat-e-Imam-e-Zaman
and it starts with the following invocation. O Allah! Endow Your recognition to me because if I will not recognize You then I will never be able to recognize Your Apostle. O Allah! Endow the recognition of Your Apostle on me because if You will not confer the recognition of Your Apostle then I will never be able to recognize Your proof. O Allah! Endow the recognition of Your proof upon me because if you will not bestow the recognition of Your proof I may deviate from my religion…. Apart from this, the Dua which is frequently recited on Dua-e-Qunoot viz. Allahumma Kun le Waliyekal Hujjat ibnil Hasan… and is better known as Dua Salaamati ImameZaman (a.t.f.s.)
is recommended. All these sufficiently prove that praying for Imam Zaman (a.t.f.s.) is not unreasonable; rather it is a recommended and a rewardable deed which is taught by Infallible Imams (a.s.). Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that when a believer is afflicted with some sickness himself he invokes Allah very earnestly for immediate recuperation. While Imam is dearer to him than his own life, children, clan and relatives. He is ready to sacrifice his life for him, then why will not he pray for him and without supplication his heart will not find peace.
4) We all are anxious to meet and visit Imam (a.t.f.s.) and we can never achieve this exalted and noble position unless all the obstacles in the way are not removed and supplications play a very important role in this regard. If we are praying for the removal of obstacles in the way, then in fact we are praying for our own benefit. Imam Zaman (a.t.f.s.) himself has emphasized that: Pray for the hastening in the reappearance because in it is your own benefit. (Behaarul Anwaar, vol.53, pg. 18).
5) Now, it has become clear that praying for Imam (a.t.f.s.) is a praiseworthy deed and a recommended action. Also Imams (a.t.f.s.) have told and taught us the mode of praying. Following are some of the benefits of praying for Hazrat Wali-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.):
(1) It is beneficial for us.
(2) Bounties are enhanced.
(3) It is an expression of hidden love.
(4) It is a sign of awaiting.
(5) It refreshes the remembrance of our beloved Imam (a.t.f.s.)
(6) It disappoints shaitan.
(7) A source of salvation from the evils of last age.
(8) A source of fulfilling some of the rights of Imam (a.t.f.s.)
(9) A way of paying respect to Allah and His religion.
(10) Obedience to the command of Imam (a.t.f.s.).
(11) A mode of obtaining his intercession on the Day Of Judgement.
(12) A mode of obtaining the intercession of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) on the Doomsday. 13) Obedience to the command of Allah.
(14) A source of acceptance of prayers.
(15) A source of fulfilling the reward of Prophethood.
(16) A source of warding off the calamities.
(17) Enhances sustenance.
(18) Obliterates sins.
(19) A source of meeting Imam (a.t.f.s.)
(20) After reappearance becomes a cause for coming to life after death.
(21) A source of becoming the companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a)
(22) Following the footsteps of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) and the Holy Imams (a.s.).
(23) Way of fulfilling the covenant of Allah.
(24) A reward will be given to him who is gifted for praying for parents.
(25) Cause of concession in the trusts.
(26) Enhances the love of Imam (a.t.f.s.) in the heart.
(27) A cause of long life.
(28) An assistance in the good deed and piety.
(29) An aid for religion of Allah in overpowering the enemies.
(30) A cause of benefiting from the light of guidance of Quran.
(31) A source of recognition among the companions of Aaraf.
(32) A source of relief from the difficulties of the hereafter.
(33) A cause of glad tidings at the brink of death.
(34) Responding to the call of Allah and His prophets.
(35) A cause of staying in the company of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) in his grade.
(36) Gaining inclusion among the loved servants of Allah.
(37) Becoming one of the dearest servants of Allah.
(38) A cause of gaining entry into paradise.
(39) The source of inclusion in the supplications of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a)
(40) A cause of getting help in the worship.
(41) Through this supplication the calamities of the inhabitants of earth shall be removed.
(42) The reward for helping the oppressed.
(43) The reward for respecting the great man.
(44) The reward for avenging the blood of Imam Husain (a.s.).
(45) The source of being included in the supplications of Imam Ali (a.s.).
(46) The source of being protected from the thirst of Qiyamat.
(47) The source of staying permanently in paradise.
(48) Humiliating Shaitan.
(49) Getting special gifts on the day of Judgment.
(50) Served by the servants in the heavens.
(51) Remaining secured in the Mercy of Allah until he is supplicating.
(52) Angels descend where such supplications are made.
(53) Allah boasts through him who supplicates.
(54) Angels seek forgive ness for him.
(55) Becomes one of the best men after infallible Imams (a.s.)
(56) Obeying the command of Imams (a.s.).
(57) A mode of pleasing Allah.
(58) Pleasing the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a)
(59) Best of the deeds in front of Allah.
(60) God willing achieving leadership in paradise.
(61) Facilitates Reckoning.
(62) The source of familiarity and acquaintance in Barzakh and Qiyamat.
(63) Wipes off sorrows.
(64) The best supplication in favour of the Imam of the time.
(65) Angels pray for him.
(66) Getting included in the prayers, of Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.).
(67) Adherence to two weighty things.
(68) Clinging to the Rope of Allah.
(69) Perfection of faith.
(70) Getting reward of all men.
(71) Respecting the signs of Allah.
(72) Acquiring the reward of those who were martyred in the company of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a)
(73) The reward of those who were martyred under the flag of Hazrat Qaem (a.t.f.s.)
(74) The reward of doing good to Imam (a.t.f.s.).
(75) The reward of respecting a scholar.
(76) Respecting the generous.
(77) Counted among the companions of Imams (a.s.).
(78) Increment of Grades in heaven.
(79) Attaining the highest grade of martyrs.
(80) Obtaining the intercession of Hazrat-e-Zahra (s.a.).
These were some of the benefits of praying for Imam (a.t.f.s.). These are only titles because detaiIs could not be accommodated in this article. Still, it could be noted that all such benefits could be found in the book of Al-Haj Mirza Mohammad Taqi-e-Moosavi Isfahani viz. Mikyalul Makarim Fi Fawaede Dua Lil Qaem. (This book as compiled in accordance with the command of Imam (a.t.f.s.) himself and it was named with his consent. This book was written in Arabic in two volumes and is also translated in Persian. This book is unparalleled in its subject). The author has discussed in detail each and every title and has supported them with the help of Quranic verses and traditions. Those who are desirous of details may refer to this book. The Lord of the world, for the sake of the fourteen infallibles, help us to pray for Imam (a.t.f.s.) and include us in his humble slaves.