A believer should always mention Imam (as) with the best of the titles. For example, Hujjat, Qaem, Mahdi, Sahibul Amr and Sahibuz-Zaman etc. He should refrain from uttering his actual name, which is the name of Holy Prophet (sawa): (M – H – M – D).
There are varying opinions among the scholars, as regards the pronouncing of the name of Imam (as). Some have given unrestricted permission, some have prohibited it completely, some have allowed it except in Taqiyya (dissimulation or concealment) and some consider it Makrooh (detestable).
Others maintain that the prohibition of uttering his name was restricted to the period of lesser occultation (Ghaybat Sughra).
In spite of various opinions the following are accepted facts:
- It is allowed to mention the name of Imam (as) in books, in discussion connected with him. There is no doubt about it. The legality of this is proved from the practice of all past scholars and also the fact that none of them have ever objected against this practice.
- No one have even prohibited the mention of Imam (as) by indication or clue. Like saying that the name of Imam (as) is the same as the name of the Holy Prophet (sawa). The tradition of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) narrated by the Shiah as well as Sunni scholars through various chains of narrators says, “Mahdi is from my progeny. His name is my name and his Kunniyat (agnomen) is my Kunniyat.
- In the same way the mention of his name in supplications and salutations (Ziarat) is apparently permitted because it does not resemble the conditions mentioned in the traditions.
Thus, precaution demands that we avoid mentioning the real name of Imam (a.s.) in assemblies and gatherings and refer to him only by his well-known titles. However, we should only use the titles that are mentioned in the traditions so that we do not contravene the rules of Islam. Secondly, the hadith prohibiting mention by name does not include other, not so famous names, i.e. Ahmad etc.
The book Najmus Saqib by Mirza Husain Noori Tabarsi (ra) mentions more than 130 names of Imam Mahdi (as). Some of these are given below:
- Al Mansoor
- Kalematul Haqq
- Al Faqeeh
- Al Ghaus
- Al Asr
- As Seraat
- Sahebun Nahiyah
- Sidratul Muntaha
Traditions inform us that Allah likes that his servants call out to him by different names. Quran itself announces
وَلِلّهِ الأَسْمَاء الْحُسْنَى فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا
“And for Allah are the best names. Then invoke Him by them” (Chapter 7 verse 180)
This is relevant for Ahle Bayt (as) as well. They too like it and it is their Sunnat to be known and be called by different titles. Pay attention to the words of Dua Nudba in which Imam Mahdi (as) is called out affectionately by so many titles – O son of the Messenger of Allah, O son of Ali, O son of Fatemah and Khadijah…we too should try and call out to Imam Mahdi (as) by different titles.
- Read More: Duties of Shiahs in Ghaybat