In the period of occultation (Gaibat) of Imam Mahdi (a.s.), we all Shiah’s have certain responsibilities and duties to fulfill. Many books have been written on this aspect. A book ‘Mikyalul Makarim’ enumerates 80 such responsibilities of Shiah’s during Occultation.
To Love Imam Mahdi (a.s.) with our heart
For example, if we are aware that cigarette smoking irritates our friend, whom 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 give preference to our comfort over his.
One of the results of love is that a person remembers his beloved and awaits him in his absence.
How nice it would be if our love for Imame Zamana (a.s.) was as natural unconjditional, instinctive and pure as the love of a child for his father. Surely to await the Imam (a.s.) is a sign of our love for him as Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s) says, “Await the reappearence of your Imam morning and evening”.
A poet has said these beautiful sentences about the Intezar for Imam (a.s.) –
“Allah is witness that I do not remember you.
But how can I remember you when I never forget you”
(Mikiyalul Makarim, Vol. 2, pg. 308)
To seek help only from Imam (a.s.)
One of the sign of a person’s love for another person is that in all times, good or bad, he shares the innermost thoughts of his heart with his loved one.
Allah (The Most High) points out to this natural instinct in Sure’ Ale’ Imran, verse 200.
“O those who believe, be patient and excel in patience and remain in contact, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, that you may be successful”
When Imam Mohammed Baqir (a.s.) was asked about the meaning of this verse, he (as) said,
“Be patient on the difficulties you encounter in fulfilling your obligatory (waajib) acts, excel in patience on the oppression of your enemies, and remain in contact with the Imam of the Time (a.s.)”
(Al Hijje Feema AlHijjah by Sayyed Hashim Bahrani, Tafsire’ Burhan, pg. 334)
To Help Imam Mahdi (as) with our body (physical actions)
1. Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said:
“During the period of occultation (ghaybat) of our Qaem (as), if you can help him by making one arrow, then do not hesitate in this action.”
(Ghaybat e Nomani, page 173)
2. Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) said:
“If I would reach the period of Imame Zamana (as), I would serve him my entire life.”
(Behaar ul Anwar, Vol. 51; pg. 148)
From the traditions mentioned above, we realize that’s service to Imam of the Time (as) can range from the performance of the smallest of the actions (making an arrow for him) to serving him for an entire lifetime.
Befriending and helping the Shiahs of Imam Mahdi (as)
1. Imam Ali ibn Musa Ar-Reza (as) said:
“If one maintains relations with and helps (does ehsaan) any needy Shiah, it is as if he has maintained relations and helped us.”
(Kamiluz Ziyraat,, pg. 319)
2. Holy Prophet (saw) said,
“If a person makes an effort to help his brother in faith with the intention to acquire the pleasure of Allah and for his betterment, it is as if he has served Allah for one thousand years in this state that he has not committed a single sin even for a blink if an eye.”
(Kamaaluddin, pg. 541)
From the traditions above, it is clear that helping the Shiahs of Ali (a.s.) and fulfilling their desires and needs in the time of Ghaibat carries the reward of help and service of t he Holy Imams (as). And why should it not be so? Surely, if one helps a child in the absence of his parents, then the parents on their return would certainly consider the help rendered to their child as an obligation upon themselves.
Spending Money in the way of Imam Mahdi (as)
1. Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) says,
"No act is more liked by Allah then that of a believer who spends one dirham in the way of his Imam with sincerity. On the Day of Judgment, Allah will make that dirham as a witness for the believer."
Then the Imam recited the 245th verse of Surah Baqrah.
(Usual e Kafi, Vol. 1, pg. 537, tradition no. 3)
2. Imam Sadiq (as) says,
“Spending one dirham in the way of Imam (as) is better than spending 2 million in the way of all believers.”
(Usual e Kafi, Vol. 2, pg. 156, tradition no. 28)
To give precedence to Imame Zaman (as) in every good action
Sayyed ibne Taoos, on page number 151-152 of his book Kashful Mohajjah advises his son in his will – Always give precedence to the desires of Imam e Zaman (as) over your own when you are reciting Namaz e Hajaat. When you are offering charity (sadaqah), you precede it by offering sadaqah on behalf of Imam e Zamana (as). In short, for every action, give preference to performing the act on behalf of Imam e Zamana (as). For surely, this will be the cause of special attention of the Imam (as) towards you and he will look towards you with mercy.
A person asked Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as), What is the reward of the person who performs Hajj on behalf of another?
Imam (as) replied,
"His reward will be equal to the reward of 10 Hajj."
The History of Islam is witness to the fact that the Imams (as) have never given less to any person who has sought help in any manner from them. Then surely, if one performs Hajj on behalf of the Imam of the Time (as) or his forefathers, then he will definitely be eligible for this reward and can even expect more than this.
The will of Sayyed ibne Taoos mentioned above will be a sufficient proof for us that we must give precedence and preference to Imam e Zamana (as) in all our good deeds. This is a source of not only the pleasure if Imam (as), but also the cause of acceptance of the action and greater reward for the same.