This is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Imam’s (as) followers. There is no doubt regarding its praiseworthiness and preference. Numerous traditions and supplication make a mention of this quality.
How beautifully it is expressed in a couplet:
The heart burns and tears flow in the eagerness to see you.
The desire to see is burning us and the tears of separation are going to drown us.
Have you ever seen a drowning man in flames?
An ardent desire to see Imam (as) is a meritorious deed because it is one of the necessary requirements of love and friendship. How can there be love when we are not eager to see our beloved?
Several supplications like Dua Ahad and Dua Nudbah speak about this quality. For instance in Dua Ahad, we pray – “O Allah, (please do) show me his magnificent countenance, and his praiseworthy forehead, delight my eyes by letting me have a look at him.”
Or in Dua Nudbah, we pray – “(O my Master!) I wish I knew of your location. Or which land or soil is carrying you? Is it on the mountain of Razwa or Zee Tuwa? It is hard for me that I can see all creatures but I cannot see you. Nor can I hear any whisper or confidential talk from you!”
The benefit of having and expressing such a desire to meet the Imam (as) can be understood from the following incident.
Mohammed bin Muslim narrates that I was on way to Medina while I was very sick and in pain. Imam Baqir (as) was informed that Mohammed bin Muslim is very ill so he (as) sent a servant with medicinal liquid to him.
The servant came to him, handed him the vessel and said, drink it now. The Imam (as) has told me to wait and make you drink it in my presence. A fragrance of musk arose from the vessel and it looked delicious and cool. After I drank it, the servant said, my master said that after you drink it, you come to meet him.
I was thinking what the Imam will say, and the fact that previously I didn’t have the strength to get up; but when the drink entered my insides it seemed as if I had been released from being tied up. I got up and came to the Imam’s place, and asked for his permission to enter. The Imam called out, you have become healthy; come in. I entered crying and greeted the Holy Imam (as) and kissed his hand and head.
The Imam (as) said, O Mohammed, why are you crying? I said: May I be sacrificed on you, I am crying due to my loneliness, distance from you and disability to remain with you and see you.
He replied, rarely does Almighty Allah put our followers in these circumstances or through such hardships. And as for what you mentioned about being away from the native place; you should see how Abi Abdullah Husain (as) lies so far away from his hometown besides the banks of Furat. And as for the distance that you mentioned, the believer is in this world is alone and unidentified. Till he leaves the abode of the world to enter into divine mercy. And as for what you mentioned about not being able to meet us and see us, Allah knows what is in your heart and your rewards is with Him only. (Beharul Anwar volume 101 page 120 chapter 16 tradition no. 9)
One should seek this bounty of meeting Imam Mahdi (as)
Meeting the Imam (as) is amongst those things for which an effort needs to be made and it is sought from Allah for He alone can grant this. Also a person should align himself to Ahle Bayt (as) and avoid sins which can become a barrier in fulfilling this desire. Pay attention to the incident of Ali Ibne Mahziyar – who travelled 20 times for Hajj with this hope that since Imam Mahdi (as) is present in Hajj, perhaps I will get an opportunity to meet with him. When he finally meet the Imam (as), he is informed of those reasons due to which his meeting with the Imam (as) was delayed.
Ali bin Ibrahim bin Mahziyar Al-Ahwazi said, One year on my way to Hajj, I went to Medina and stayed a few days. I was asking and looking for Imam Mahdi (as). However, I did not hear anything about him nor did I see any sign of him. I was extremely saddened and was worried that I might not attain my goal of meeting him (as).
I went to Makkah and performed the rituals of Hajj and stayed an extra week in Makkah looking for the Imam (as). One day when I was next to the Kaabah, I saw the door of the Kaabah open and I saw a handsome man wearing a garment on his shoulders and another garment around his waist. The man had one side of his garment raised to his opposite shoulder. When I looked at him, my heart felt very comfortable and I started moving toward him.
When I reached him he asked me, “Where are you from?” “Iraq,” I replied.
“Which part of Iraq?” the man asked. “Ahwaz,” I replied.
“Did you know a man named Khaseeb/Hudhain?” the man asked. “Yes,” I replied.
The man said, “May Allah’s Mercy be on him (his soul). His nights were long (with prayers) and filled with tears and great results.”
Then the man asked me, “Do you know where (the son of) Mahziyar is?”
“I am him,” I replied.
The man said, “May Allah enliven you with Salaam, O Abal Hasan!”
Then he shook my hand, hugged me, and asked, “O Abal Hasan! What did you do with the sign that (Imam) Abu Mohammad, (Hasan bin Ali Al-Askari (as)) – may Allah beautify his face – gave you?”
“I have it with me,” I replied.
Then I put my hand in my pocket and took out a ring which had “Mohammad and Ali” engraved on it and showed it to the man. When he saw the ring, he started crying so much that the garment that was on his shoulder became wet.
Then he said (referring to Imam Hasan Al-Askari (as)), “O Aba Mohammad! May Allah’s mercy be upon you. You are the beauty of this nation. Allah honoured you with the Imamate and placed the crown of knowledge and understanding on your head. And (soon) we shall join you.”
Then he shook my hand, hugged me again, and said, “What are you looking for, O Abal Hasan?”
“The Imam who is hidden from the world,” I replied.
The man said, “He is not hidden from you people but your evil deeds have created a shield between him and you. Go back to the place of your stay and be prepared for meeting the Imam. Meet me between Safaa and Marwa when the sun goes down and the sky is filled with the shining stars.”
My soul was relieved and I became certain that Allah had blessed me. I was (eagerly) waiting until it was time. I rode my donkey until I saw the man (from far).
He said to me, “Come toward me, O Abal Hasan!” When I reached him, he greeted me with Salaam.
He said, “Follow me, O brother!” We kept moving from deserts to mountains until we reached Taef.
Then the man said to me, “O Abal Hasan! Let us stop to pray the remainder of the night prayers.”
I followed behind him as he performed two Rak’ats of prayer, and then another Rak’at, and then salaat Al-Fajr.
I asked him about the first two Rak’ats and he said, “They are from the night prayers and also the Watr (the one Rak’at) is from the night prayers, and Qunoot is permissible in all of these prayers.”
Then he said, “O brother! Let us move now.”
We started moving from deserts to mountains until we reached a large valley (that smelled) like camphor. In the middle of this valley, there was a house (tent) made of (camel) hair which was shining with light.
The man said to me, “Look! Do you see anything?”
“I see a house made of hair,” I replied.
“Your hope and your success are in this valley,” the man said.
Then I followed him until we reached the middle of the valley. The man came down from his mule and left it alone. Then I descended from my donkey.
The man said to me, “Leave it here.” “What if she gets lost?” I asked.
“No one but believers enter this valley and no one but believers leave it,” the man replied. Then he went ahead of me and entered the tent.
Shortly thereafter, he came out and said, “Rejoice, for you have been given permission to enter.” 5o I entered and I saw light emanating from every corner of the house. I said salaam to the lmam (as).
The Imam (as) said, “O Abal Hasan! We have been expecting you day and night. What took you so long to come to us?”
“O my master! I could not find anyone who would guide me to you,” I replied.
Imam (as) said, “You did not find anyone who would guide you?!”
Then he scratched the ground with his finger and said, “No, but you people have (focused) on increasing your wealth, you (people) have oppressed the believers who are weak, and you have dissociated yourselves from your families. So what excuse do you people have now?”
“I repent, I repent, I seek forgiveness, I seek forgiveness,” I said.
Imam- said, “O son of Mahziyar! If it was not for you people seeking forgiveness for one another, everyone would be destroyed except the specific group of Shia whose words and actions match each other.” (Dalael Al Imamah page 539)
May Allah grant us the opportunity to meet Imam Mahdi (as) and create a desire for the same in our hearts! May He grant us the good fortune of travelling this year and every year for Hajj and Ziyarat for these are the places which are frequented by Imam Mahdi (as). Ameen!
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