This is an important duty of the Shiah. Various traditions have been recorded emphasizing this duty.
The great scholar Shaykh Kulaini in Al-Kafi, Nomani in his book Al Ghaybah and Shaykh Tusi in Al-Ghaybah state that Imam Sadiq (as) said, This youth will have Ghaybat before the advent of Qiyamat. Why? asked the narrator.
For the fear of his life, replied the Imam (as) pointing towards his belly. Then said, O Zurarah! He is the awaited one (Muntazar), one whose birth will be doubted. Some will even say that his father departed from the world without leaving any heir. Others will say that he was not yet born when his father expired. Some will say that he was born two years prior to the martyrdom of his father. He is that same Awaited one. But the Almighty shall test the Shiahs. Immediately after this begins the period of doubts of the deviated people. O Zurarah! If you are alive in such a time, recite the following Dua – “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. O Allah! Grant me Your recognition, for if I do not recognize You I will not recognize your Messenger. O Allah grant me the recognition of Your Prophet. For if I do not recognize Your Messenger, I will not recognize Your Hujjat (Proof). O Allah! Grant me the recognition of Your Hujjat. For if I don’t recognize Your Hujjat I will deviate from my religion. O Allah, bless Mohammed and the Progeny of Mohammed.”
Shaykh Sadooq narrates from Abdullah bin Sinan who says that Imam Sadiq (as) said, After this a time of such doubt will befall you that you will be without the visible signs and a guiding Imam. And no one shall be able to achieve salvation from this except those who recite “Dua-e-Ghareeq.” (Supplication of the drowning man). The narrator asked what this Dua was? Imam (as) replied “O Allah! O Beneficent! O Merciful! O the One Who transforms the hearts! Make my heart steadfast upon your religion!”
Shaykh Nomani in his book, Al-Ghaybah, related from Hammad bin Isa from Abdullah bin Sinan that he said: My father and I went to Imam Sadiq (as). He said: “What will you do if you see a time when you do not find an Imam of guidance not any banner and then no one will be saved from that confusion except one, who will recite the supplication of the drowning one (Dua Ghareeq)?” My father said, “By Allah, this is a great calamity. May I be sacrificed on you, what shall we do then?” He said, “If that occurs – and you will not attain it – then keep to that which you have had until the matter becomes clear.”
Several traditions talk about the apparent deviation in religion, multiplicity of thoughts about religion during the time of Ghaybat. The absence of the Imam (as) will be felt by people and confusion will reign. During this period, it is important to remain attached to the teachings of Ahle Bayt (as). We should be careful from whom we take religion and follow the Mujtahedeen – the religious scholars. When in doubt about anything, our duty should be to ask and not assume. It is also important that when society is severely divided about anything, then one should refrain from getting involved or speaking till such time that the matter is clear.
- Read More: Duties of Shiahs in Ghaybat