Awaiting the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (as) is one of the duties of Imam Mahdi (as). But this “waiting” is not that a person sits idle and “waits.” Rather this period of Ghaybat is a time for the Shiahs to act and to perform such deeds which prepares him for the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (as). That it brings them closer to Allah and Ahle Bayt (as) and that they develop such qualities in themselves that will help them to attain the position of the companionship of Imam Mahdi (as).
In the book Mikyalul Makarem by Sayyed Mohammed Taqi Musawi Isfahani has brought more than 80 duties of Shiahs during Ghaybat of Imam Mahdi (as). Some of these are given below.
We pray to Allah that He grants us the opportunity to fulfill the duties upon us for the sake of Imam Mahdi (as). Ameen!
- To obtain knowledge about the special characteristics of Imam Mahdi (as)
- To be respectful while mentioning Imam Mahdi (as)
- Having love for Imam Mahdi (as)
- Seeking help from Imam Mahdi (as) | Tawassul with Imam Mahdi (as)
- Acquiring knowledge during occultation
- Making Imam Mahdi (as) popular among the people
- Awaiting Imam Mahdi’s (as) reappearance
- Expressing an eagerness to meet Imam Mahdi (as)
- Relating the praiseworthy qualities of Imam Mahdi (as)
- Expressing grief on separation from Imam Mahdi (as)
- To be present in assemblies where the merits of Imam Mahdi (as) are discussed
- To organize gatherings where the excellences of Imam Mahdi (as) are discussed
- Composing and reciting poems in praise of Imam Mahdi (as)
- To stand up with respect at the mention of name of Imam Mahdi
- Due to the sorrow of Imam separation one should weep, make others weep and make a sorrowful face
- To Pray to Allah that He bestows us with the Marefat (Recognition) of Imam Mahdi (as)
- Giving Sadaqah For and on Behalf of Imam Mahdi (as)
- To pray regularly for protection of Faith during Ghaybat
- Have Knowledge of the Signs of Reappearance
- Performing Hajj on behalf of Imam Mahdi (as) or sending someone as a proxy for Imam (as)
- Ziyarat of the Holy Prophet and Imams (as) on behalf of Imam Mahdi (as)
- Striving for Imam Mahdi (as)
- Helping / Pleasing Pious Shiahs and Friends of Imam (as)
- Helping Imam Mahdi (as) with one’s property
- Reciting Salawat and Salutations upon Imam Mahdi (as)
- Reciting Quran for Imam (as)
- Gifting the Reward (Sawaab) of prayers to Imam Mahdi (as)
- Performing service in the way of Imam Mahdi (as)
- Conveying salutations to Imam Mahdi (as) through ziyarat
- To distance oneself from the enemies of Ahle Bayt (as)
- Befriending and helping the Shiahs of Imam Mahdi (as)
The meaning of these duties is that their performance is necessary because at some level, these are also the rights that Imam Mahdi (as) enjoys over us. There is another perspective to this and that is explained by Imam Sajjad (as) in his Risalatul Huquq or Treatise of Rights. While describing The Right of One who does a Kindly Act, the Imam (as) says, The right of him who does a kindly act (dhu l-ma’ruf) toward you is that you thank him and mention his kindness; you reward him with beautiful words and you supplicate for him sincerely in that which is between you and God. If you do that, you have thanked him secretly and openly. Then, if you are able to repay him one day, you repay him.
The above words do not require any explanation. Just think about Imam Mahdi (as) and his kindness upon us. Today we owe every part of our existence to him. Therefore if we acknowledge his kindness, then it is incumbent upon us that we praise him, pray for him. We can never repay his kindness, but we should thank him through our actions and by avoiding sins.