Let us begin this topic by asking one question – what was the tamannah (deep desire) of Ameerul Momeneen (as). If there was anything that Imam Ali (as) asked for himself from Allah, it was the gift of a child who would be his representative in Karbala – Hazrat Abul Fazl Abbas.
This is an important point to note. That Imam Ali (as) who never asked anything for himself, but when he did, he sought a gift which would serve the Imam of the Time at the appropriate time. Even though Allah had blessed him with children like Hasnain (as) and Janabe Zainab (sa) and Janabe Umme Kulthum (sa)
In the same manner, when Imam Sadiq (as) expresses his tamannah, he said, Lau Adraktohu, La Khadamtohu Ayyama Hayati. If I would have got his era, I would have served him my entire life.
Pay attention to this statement. This saying of Imam (as) in not something unusual or astounding. It is the reality. It indicates the superiority of Imam Mahdi (as) and it shows that if the service of Imam Mahdi (as) had not been the best form of worship and obedience, Imam Sadiq (as), whose each moment of his life was spent in worship, would not have expressed his desire to spend his valuable time in the service of Imam Mahdi (as).
There is too much emphasis on helping the Imam of the Time (as). We find these emphasis in Quran, traditions and even in supplications.
In Quran, Allah says, “O you who believe! if you help (the cause of) Allah, He will help you and make firm your feet.” (chapter 47 verse 7)
Service to Imam Mahdi (as) is no less than service to Allah. The return in favour is promised by Allah when He says that if you help the cause of Allah, He will help you. And He will strengthen your feet.
We get the emphasis on helping the cause of Allah even in Dua-e-Kumayl – where Ameerul Momeneen says “Ya Rabbe, Ya Rabbe, Ya Rabb. Qawwe Ala Khidmateka Jawarehi…”
O Allah, strengthen my limbs / my body for Your Service.
After reciting Ya Rabbe thrice (Ameerul Momeneen says that when a person recites Ya Rabbe thrice and then seeks anything, then Allah does not reject it). Ameerul Momeneen (as) is saying that O Allah, strengthen my body and my spirit for your service and the service of your Hujjat, because service of your Hujjat is equal to your service..
We ourselves daily recite these sentences in Dua-e-Ahad. O Allah, (please do) make me of his supporters, sponsors, defenders, and those who hurry in carrying out his instructions, those who comply with his orders, those who uphold him, those who precede others to implementing his will, and those who will be martyred before him.
In traditions we find several traditions on this topic in the book Mikyalul Makarem Fee Fawaedid Dua Lil Qaem (as) by Ayatullah Sayyid Mohammed Taqi Musawi Isfahani (ar). Pay attention to some of the duties of Shiahs in the time of Ghaybat which are mentioned in this book.
- To be present in gatherings where Fazael of Imam (as) are discussed
- To organise gatherings where Fazail of Imam (as) are discussed
- Composing and reciting poems in Imam’s (as) praise
A tradition of Imam Reza (as) also confirms this in Amali of Shaykh Sadooq, One who sits in an assembly where our affair is being enlivened (our merits are discussed), his heart will not die on the day the hearts of people die (Qiyamat).
In support of this point is the statement of Imam Sadiq (as) to Fuzail in a tradition mentioned in Beharul Anwar etc. that he asked: Do you gather and narrate traditions? Fuzail replied: Yes, may I be sacrificed on you. Imam Sadiq (as) said, Indeed, I like those gatherings; so revive our Wilayat. O Fuzail, may Almighty Allah have mercy on one who enlivens our matter (revives our Wilayat).
Points to keep in mind for service of Imam Mahdi (as)
The fazilat or importance of any work is directly proportional to the status of the person for whom the work is being done. You do some work for a simple believer, it undoubtedly carries some reward. You do some work for Hazrat (as), it is having its own importance. We must recognise whose service it is. Having that perspective whose work it is will create that importance in our mind.
Secondly, we must remember that none amongst us have performed any good deed or that our faith is at that level that we are worthy of this gift of service. None amongst us has earned this right…It is a gift from Allah and Imam Mahdi (as). Allah grants it to whomsoever He pleases to the extent He wishes.
Since it is a gift from Allah, one must beg for it from Allah. One should seek help from Imam Mahdi (as) for service. By asking for it, one can increase it. An incident is reported of a person who came to the shrine of Imam Reza (as) and was crying a lot. When people have heard his dua, they started crying. This is because he told Imam Reza (as) that O my master! Every year you call me one time for your ziyarat. This year you make it two times.
Service to Imam Mahdi (as) solves problems of this world and the hereafter. So many of us are having some problem or the other. One of the better ways to seek a solution to our problems is to immerse ourselves in the service of Imam Mahdi (as). Pay attention to the incident of Shaykh Sudooq which he has narrated in the preface of his book Kamaluddin. He writes,
One night, when I drifted into sleep after thinking about my family, friends and the bounties that the Allah had bestowed on me, I dreamt that I was performing the circumambulation of the Holy Kaabah in Makkah and in the seventh round I was near the Black Stone (Hajar Aswad), and upon reaching it I was kissing it. I was saying that I had repaid my trust and fulfilled my covenant so that it might be a witness of this. At that moment I had the honor of seeing my master, Imam Mahdi (as) standing at the door of the Kaabah. My heart began to beat fast with excitement and he came to know my inner feelings which were reflected in the worried expression on my face. I saluted him and he replied to my salutation and then asked me: Why don’t you write a book regarding the occultation, so that your sadness and worries are removed? I said: O son of Allah’s Messenger, I have compiled a number of books about occultation. He said: Not in this style. I order you to compile a book on occultation and therein mention about the occultation of the prophets (peace be on them). After that, the Imam Mahdi (as) departed from there. When I woke up, I began to weep, supplicate and express my humility till dawn break. In the morning, in compliance with the commands of the Proof of Allah, I began the compilation of this book.
The importance of this service is reflected in the words of the Imam (as) – Why don’t you write a book regarding the occultation, so that your sadness and worries are removed? (means Imam (as) is saying why don’t you do some service in my way so that your difficulties are erased?)
Service of Imam Mahdi (as) grants a person the special attention of Hazrat Zahra (sa). Once a person saw Mohaddise Noori in the heat of Samarrah in the courtyard of the shrine of the Imams of Samarrah (as). The people asked him, what you are doing in the heat. He replied that today after afternoon namaz when I have slept I saw my mother in the dream and she was praying too much in my favour. When I asked her the reason for the same, she replied that when I went to meet Hazrat Zahra (sa) today she offered me too much respect. When I asked her why, she (as) replied – today your son has started writing a book upon my son. The Imam (as) and Hazrat Zahra (as) are aware of the work and service we offer and they respect us and our parents because of that.
Forsaking this work leaves one with regret in this world and hereafter. Remember that everyone who deserted Imam Husain (as( at Karbala got nothing and they struggled in their lives.
We must remember that ability to service is given by Allah and Imam Mahdi (as). Our duty is to perform this work to the best of our ability. Masoomeen (as), while relating the story of Hazrat Ibrahim (as) narrate the event when he was thrown into the burning fire by Namrood. At that time, a small frog was relentlessly filling his mouth with water and throwing it towards the fire. He was asked, do you think that the water you are throwing towards the fire will extinguish it? The reply of the frog to this question is truly amazing. He replied, it is important that I should do everything within my capacity to save the Proof of Allah – Hazrat Ibrahim (as).
Our energy for performing service to Imam Mahdi (as) should be high. Our response to work should be swift. When we call out to Imam Mahdi (as) for help do we not expect that the responds to us swiftly. Our response should be similar. Truly, does any person know the tafseer of Hal Jazaul Ehsaan Illal Ehsaan (the reward for a favour received is to give a favour) more than Imam Mahdi (as)?
Sins act as a barrier in performance of service to Imam Mahdi (as). Therefore we should try our best to avoid sins.
True service of Imam Mahdi (as) means that we must be willing to sacrifice everything at our disposal in the cause of the Imam (as). Remember the incident of Saeed who stood in front of Imam Husain (as) to protect him from the arrows of enemies in Karbala whilst the Imam (as) performed namaz. When Imam (as) completed his namaz, Saeed fell to the ground. Imam (as) placed his head gently on his lap. At that moment, even in his dying breath, Saeed said – O my master! Have I fulfilled the promise made to you? The sentence of Saeed shows that love for Imam of the Time and love for his service supersedes everything.
May Allah grant us all the tawfeeq for service of Imam Mahdi (as). Ameen!
- Read More: Duties of Shiahs in Ghaybat