Allamah Hilli narrates – Once, I went for the Ziyarat of Imam Husain (as) on Thursday night. I rode a horse on the journey and had a whip in my hand. After covering some distance I saw a person in Arab attire coming towards me on foot. He came very close to me and started walking alongside me.After some time, he asked me a question which affected me a lot and got me thinking that he is no ordinary person. Rather, he came across as a scholar of the highest rank. Thereafter, I asked him a few difficult questions which he was able to easily answer to my satisfaction. This convinced me 100% that he is the most knowledgeable person of this time because I had never come across any person like him ever in my life.
This question and answer interaction was highly engaging and I was genuinely awe struck and mesmerized by him. During the course of this conversation, we discussed a question, his answer to which was against my view. I said to him, your response is against the rule. There is no proof in any tradition or narration which supports your view to be correct and acceptable.
He replied, my view is supported by the tradition reported by Shaikh Tusi in his book Tehzeeb. I said, there is no such tradition in Tehzeeb. I do not recollect this tradition, either in the book of Shaikh Tusi or in that of any other scholar. He said, this tradition is on so and so page number and line number in your copy of Tehzeeb. This reply really stumped me and I thought to myself – perhaps this person travelling with me is none other than my beloved, my master Imam Mahdi (as). To validate this, I asked him, is it possible to meet Imam Mahdi (as) in this age. He bent down and picked up the whip and handing it over to me said, why not? Right now, his hand is your hands!
Hearing this, I threw myself from the horse back to his feet so that I may kiss his blessed feet, however I was so overwhelmed by happiness that I swooned. When I came to my senses, I saw that I was alone. I regretted my separation from my master. I returned home and the first thing I did was pull out my copy of Tehzeeb. As I turned the pages, I reached the page which the Imam (as) had indicated and read the tradition. It was exactly as the Imam (as) had narrated, at exactly the same place the Imam (as) had said it would be.
I wrote on the margin of the book, next to the tradition – This is the tradition which my master Imam Mahdi (as) has taught me.
How privileged are those individuals who have been blessed with the good fortune to meet with Imam (as) in the period of Ghaybat (occultation)! This opportunity is available to believer wherever they may be in the world. All that one needs is strong belief accompanied with good deeds.
Lessons from this incident
There are several lessons which can be derived from this incident. Some of these are as follows:
It is a fact that in Ghaybate Kubra, Allah has not left us to ourselves without the presence of a guide and leader. Just as the accursed Shaitaan, while hidden from our eyes, continues his work of misguiding people, in the same manner, the true representative of Allah for this age, despite being apparently hidden from us, continues to guide and assist us.
It is noteworthy that when the scholars, despite their untiring efforts, are unable to find a solution to difficult problems, then Hazrat Imam Mahdi (as) guides them to the right answer.
In this incident, Allamah Hilli acknowledges the tradition as guided by Hazrat Imam Mahdi (as). Truly, the Imam (as) knows which books we have and which traditions are there in the books and which tradition is useful at which stage.
It is due to the efforts of respected scholars like Allamah Hilli that even after their demise, Allah granted them the opportunity to be in the shrine of Hazrat Ameerul Momeneen (as). It is our duty that whenever we are granted an opportunity for Ziyarat of Hazrat Ali (as) in Najaf, we should remember Allamah Hilli and other scholar like him and recite Surah Fateha for them.