It is well known that loving Ahle Bayt (as) is obligatory. Affection for them is a part of our faith and a conditions for acceptance of our deeds. Many traditions have been recorded for this, but there is special emphasis for the love of Imam Mahdi (as).
The Holy Prophet (sawa) said, “Le Kulle Shayin Asaas, Wa Asaasul Islame, Hubbona Ahlal Bayt” -Everything has a foundation. And the foundation of Islam is to love us, Ahlul Bayt.
We align ourselves to those who care for us
Allah revealed upon Musa (as), Make Me loved among my creatures and make my creatures eligible for My love. Musa (as) asked Allah how it was possible? Allah replied, Invite their attention towards My bounties, gifts, kindness and mercy, so that they begin to love Me.
Holy Prophet (sawa) said, Allah, the Mighty and Sublime revealed to Prophet Dawood (as), Love Me and make Me lovable among My creatures. Dawood (as) asked, O my Lord, I love You, but how do I make You lovable among Your creatures? He (Allah) replied Mention to them My bounties upon them; when you mention them, they will love Me.
Shaykh Sudooq (ra) it is narrated the Messenger of Allah (sawa) said: Love the Almighty Allah from the view of His bounties that He has bestowed upon you and love me for the sake of the love of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime and love my Ahle Bayt for the sake of my love. (Amaali of Shaykh Sudooq page 219)
All bounties from Allah reach us through Imam Mahdi (as)
We must acknowledge that one of the favors of Imam Mahdi (as) upon us is that all the bounties that we receive from the Almighty Allah are due to the sake of the Imam only. Therefore we are duty bound to acknowledge his right upon us that we should love him.
Sayyid Muhaddith Bahrani has reported a tradition through Numani that the Holy Prophet (sawa) said, The Almighty Allah revealed on me on the night of Meraj (ascension), O Mohammed! If one of My slaves worships Me so much that he dies in it, but denies the Wilayat (mastership) of your (Ahle Bayt), I would put him in Hell.
Then He said, O Mohammed! Do you want to see your successors whose Wilayat is obligatory upon the people? Yes, I said and I was ordered to stand up.
As soon as I moved forward I saw Ali Ibne Abi Talib, Hasan, Husain, Ali Ibne Husain, Mohammed Ibne Ali, Jafar Ibne Mohammed, Musa Ibne Jafar, Ali Ibne Musa, Mohammed Ibne Ali, Ali Ibne Mohammed, Hasan Ibne Ali and Al-Qaem (as). The countenance of Imam Mahdi (as) was more brilliant among them. I asked Allah who they were? The Almighty said, These are the Imams (as) and this is Qaem (as), He would make My halaal (permissible) as halaal and My haraam (forbidden) as haraam. He shall take revenge from My enemies. O Mohammed! You love him because I love those who love him.
This traditions lays special emphasis on the love of Imam Mahdi (as) even though love of all Imams (as) shayis wajib on the people. The special mention of his love indicates its significance. This is because of his special responsibilities.
Paradise for the one who loves Ahle Bayt (as)
Having love of Imam Mahdi (as) has several benefits for an individual. Supporting this point is a tradition from Imam Ali Reza (as) from his forefathers from the Messenger of Allah (sawa) in which he has mentioned the names of the Holy Imam (as), till he said, One who wants to meet the Almighty Allah in a perfect condition of faith and good Islam should have the Wilayat of Hujjat, the Master of the Age, the Awaited one (Imam Mahdi (as)). Thus they are the lamps of darkness and the Imams of guidance and the banners of piety. One who loves them and has their Wilayat for them, I guarantee that the Almighty Allah will admit him in Paradise. (Beharul Anwar volume 36 page 296 chapter 41 tradition no 125)
How to express this love?
One of the signs of our love for another person is that we tend to favour his (the one we love) desires, his needs and his pleasures over our own. Whatever we like for ourselves, we would tend to like for him also. Whatever we dislike for ourselves, we tend to dislike for him also. In addition, we remember him in his absence.
For example, if we are aware that cigarette smoking irritates our friend, who we love, then we will surely make all efforts to avoid smoking in his presence. This would be a sign of our love for him. If we smoked deliberately in his presence, it would be a sign that we do not care about his feelings and that we regard our comfort over his.
We do love Imam Mahdi (as), but the expression of our love and affection is unique. We are well aware that all our actions, whether good or bad are presented to him (as) once every week, or as per some traditions, twice every week. We are aware that when he (as) observes our good actions, he smiles and is pleased with us. But when he notes our sins, he is grieved and cries for us.
Now let us ask ourselves these questions – How conscious and sensitive are we to the tears of our Imam (as)? Have we as Shiahs, been created to mourn over the difficulties of the Ahle Bayt (as), or that the Imam (as) should mourn over our sins? These questions distress and shame us for surely we have no answer to them.
When we are aware that Imam Mahdi (as) is saddened if we miss the recitation of Namaz Subh on time, then do we remain asleep while the time for Namaz passes by? When our child cries out at night, we wake up in a flash and rush to his call. Is the love for our child more overpowering than our love for our Imam (as)? It is to constantly remind us to this duty that the Holy Prophet (sawa) said, The faith of any believer is not complete till the time, he prefers me (saw) over himself, and my children (Ahle Bayt) over his own.
We are indeed fortunate to witness the time of the Last Imam (as), love for whom has been ordered by none other than Allah Himself. May Allah increase love of Imam Mahdi (as) in our hearts, in our progeny till the Day of Judgement. Ameen!
- Read More: Duties of Shiahs in Ghaybat