One of the responsibilities during Ghaybat is that we regularly supplicate Allah to grant us the correct Marefat (recognition) of Imam Mahdi (as). This is because gaining knowledge is not restricted to writing and reading.
Ilm (knowledge) is a light and to whomsoever He desires he inculcates his heart with it. He guides whomever he wishes. Only those are guided – those who are guided by Allah.
Abu Baseer says that Imam Sadiq (as) explained the ayat: “And those who are bestowed wisdom they indeed are bestowed with exceeding goodness” – “Wisdom” means the obedience of Allah and “exceeding goodness” means marefat of Imam (as). (Al-Kafi volume page 185)
Imam Baqir (a.s.) said, The apex of the thing, the height of it, the key to it, the gate to everything and the good pleasure of ar-Rahman (Allah), the Blessed, the Sublime, is obedience to the Imam after knowing him.” (Al-Kafi volume page 185)
We should we aware that the most important obligatory duty after knowing Allah and the Messenger of Allah (sawa) is recognition of the Imam of the Time, Imam Mahdi (as) because this matter is a pillar of faith. One who dies without knowing the Imam of his time, dies the death of paganhood. (Link to article on Marefat))
Recognition of the Imam is the key to all the doors of goodness, success and Divine Mercy. Almighty Allah has commanded His servants to obtain his recognition and Dua is one of the doors that the Almighty Allah has ordered us to approach Him.
One of the Duas which manifests this duty is “Dua Dar Gaybat” or “Dua-e-Marefat-e-Imam.” The supplication is to be recited during Ghaybat. It begins with the following words:
اَللّٰهُمَّ عَرِّفْنِىْ نَفْسَك َ – فَاِنَّكَ اِنْ لَّمْ تُعَرِّ فْنِىْ نَفْسَكَ لَمْ اَعْرِفْ رَسُوْلَكَ
اَللّٰهُمَّ عَرِّفْنِىْ رَسُوْلَكَ – فَاِنَّكَ اِنْ لَمْ تُعَرِّ فْنِىْ رَسُوْلَكَ لَمْ اَعْرِفْ حُجَّتَكَ
اَللّٰهُمَّ عَرِّفْنِىْ حُجَّتَكَ – فَاِنَّكَ اِنْ لَّمْ تُعَرِّ فْنِىْ حُجَّتَكَ ضَلَلْتُ عَنْ دِيْنِىْ
O Allah introduce Yourself to me.
For if you do not introduce Yourself to me, I will not recognize Your Prophet (sawa).
O Allah make me recognize Your Prophet (saws).
For if I do not recognize Your Prophet (saws), I will not recognize Your Proof [Imam (as)].
O Allah make me recognize Your Proof (Imam).
For if you do not make me recognize Your Proof , I will deviate from my religion.
Zurarah narrates from Imam Sadiq (as) that once while discussing about Imam Mahdi (as), Imam Sadiq (as) said, There will be an occultation for Imam Mahdi (as) before his reappearance.
Zurarah asked Why?
Imam replied Because of fear (Imam then pointed towards his stomach). Continuing, Imam (as) said, He is the one who is eagerly awaited. Then people will doubt in his birth. Some will say that his father (Imam Askari (as)) left this world leaving no children, while some will say that Imam Mahdi (as) died in his mother’s womb itself. A few others will say that he had expired two years before the death of his father. He is the same one, whom the people are anxiously awaiting. Allah wishes to examine his Shias. Doubts and misconceptions of the deviated people will start in those times. O Zurarah! if you reach that time, then recite this dua – “Allahhuma Arrifni Nafsak….” (given above)
O my lord! You introduce Yourself to me, because if You don’t do so, I will not recognize Your Apostle. O my lord! You introduce Your Messenger to me. Because if You don’t do so, I will be unable to recognize Your Proof. Because if You don’t do so I will (most certainly) be deviated from the religion.” (Al-Kafi volume 1 page 337-341)
The above tradition and the words of the supplication make it amply clear that one must seek and increase in Marefat of Allah, His Messenger (sawa) and the Imams (as) from Allah to protect onself from deviation in religion. At the time of Ghaybat, this is imperative because the environment around us itself will be so hostile to religion. Doubts and misconceptions will create frustration the minds of the people. There will be intolerable mischief (as we are witnessing), different views will be prevalent and Islamic teachings will be interpreted in a different ways. At each step will lurk the danger of deviation and at every turn the danger of a slip. In such circumstances being firm on the true religion will not be an easy task.
The traditions say about this time, “a person will be a believer in the morning but by evening he will turn into a hypocrite or a disbeliever” or “at night he will be a believer and by dawn he will become a hypocrite of a disbeliever”.
In the words of Ameerul Momeneen (as) “to be hit by the sword would be easier than earning one lawful dirham.” (Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 229)
Which means to earn lawfully will be more difficult than to be hit by the sword. Now when earning one lawful dirham will be so difficult then imagine how difficult will it be to stay firm on the right path throughout one’s whole life?
Perhaps keeping this difficulty in view Imam Sajjad (as) said, “Truly those people who in the occultation (of Imam Mahdi) acknowledge his Imamate, await his reappearance, are better than the people of all times because Allah has given them such an understanding that occultation for them is as good as meeting him. At the time of occultation these people are like those who did Jehad under the command of the Holy Prophet (sawa). In the sense they are sincere and they are our true Shiahs, they invite to the way of Allah secretly and openly.” (Muntakabul Asar, 227)
As per the traditions, being firm on religion during Ghaybat will be like “holding a fire ball in the palm and equal to walking on a thorny path.”
The Infallible Imams were aware of such situations and as such had informed their companions about the happenings in the last era. Imam Sadiq (as) informed his companion, After this, a time will come when you will not be able to see the Imam of the time. In that period no one will be saved except the one who recites “Dua-e-Ghareeq”.
The narrator inquired as to what is Dua-e-Ghareeq. Imam (a.s.) replied,
“Ya Allaho, Ya Rahmano, Ya Raheem. Ya Muqallebal Quloob! Sabbit Qalbee Ala Deenek”
O Allah! O Beneficent! O Merciful! O the One Who transforms the hearts! Make my heart steadfast upon your religion!
The above sentences show us the importance of seeking help of Allah for protection of our faith which can happen through increase in our marefat of Imam Mahdi (as).
A dua is mentioned by Sayyed Ibne Tawoos in Muhajjud Dawaat and it is to be recited during the occultation of Imam Mahdi (as). The narrator asked Imam (as) what the Shiahs are supposed to do in the Ghaybat of Imam (as)
Imam (as) replied, In addition to reciting duas you must await for the reappearance.
What should we pray? asked the narrator.
Imam (a.s.) replied: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. O Allah! You have bestowed Your recognition (Marefat) to me and bestowed the recognition of Your Messenger, and the angels and made me recognize Your Prophet and made me recognize the guardians of Your affair. O Allah! I will not take anything except that You bestow. And except for You I have no protector. O Allah! Do not distance me from the grades of Your friends and do not neglect me from the grades of Your friends and do not neglect my heart after having guided it. O Allah. Guide me towards the Wilayat of one whose obedience is made incumbent on me. (Muhajjud Dawaat page 332)
- Read More: Duties of Shiahs in Ghaybat