In His Name and With The Help of His Last Proof (a.t.f.s.)
Syed Amili searched and searched for the caravan but could not find them. It became dark as night set in. He was all alone in the hot desert, tired, hungry and frightened. He was about to give up and prepare himself for death when he suddenly saw some water. He went to the water drank some and then did wudhu and offered his Salaat. After his Salaat he did not have anymore strength and lay there waiting for death. All of a sudden he saw a person riding a horse getting closer and closer to him.
When the horse rider reached Syed Amili he said Salaam to him and asked him what the matter was. Syed Amili explained that he had lost his caravan and was hungry.
The rider asked him why then did he not eat the melons that were lying beside him. Syed Amili asked the rider not to make fun of him as he had searched all over for food.
The rider said he was not joking, and to look behind him. Syed Amili looked and there were three melons.
The rider then told him to eat one of them and to take the other two with him and pointed out the direction he was to go in. He also told Syed Amili that at about sunset he would reach a tent and from there he would be guided to his caravan. Then the rider disappeared. Syed Amili says that that was when he realised that it was our 12th Imam, Imam Mahdi (a.s.). Syed Amili did as he was told and sure enough the next day at sunset he reached the tent and was directed to his caravan.
Moral: Although we can not see our Imam–e-Asr (a.s.) he can see us and knows when we are in need of his help and comes to help us.
Many people ask what is the use of an Imam that can not be seen. Just as the sun is still of use to us even when it is hidden behind the clouds, Imam (a.s.) is of benefit even when hidden.
Although we can not see our Imam Mahdi (a.s.) can see us. He is aware of our prayers, deeds actions and troubles. Any believer who truly asks him for help receives his assistance.
The ghaybat (concealment) of Imam (a.s.) is in two stages: Ghaybate sughra — minor concealment.
Ghaybate kubra — major concealment.
Ghaybate sughra started from after Imam (a.s.) led the funeral prayer of his father (Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.)) until the death of his fourth deputy. All in all 68years.
Ghaybate kubra started from the death of his 4th deputy till this day.
During Ghaybate sughra although the Muslims could not see Imam (a.s.) they could communicate with him through his deputies: Uthman bin Said Muhammad bin Uthman Husain bin Rauh Ali bin Muhammad Samry.
During Ghaybate kubra although there are no special deputies. The Mujtahids are his representatives.
There have been many examples in history of where Imam (a.s.) has guided and helped his followers: There once lived a great Mujtahid named Allama Majlisi. Once this Mujtahid was asked what to do with the body of a pregnant woman who had died. Should the dead woman be buried as she was or should she be cut open and the child removed, then the woman buried.
Allama decided that the woman should be buried as she was, with the child.
When the people were carrying the coffin to the grave, a horseman appeared and said that Allama had decided that the baby should be removed. This was done.
A few years later Allama Majlisi was visited by a man with a small child. The man told Allama that this was the same child that had been cut from his mother after Allama had sent the horseman telling the people that he had changed his instructions.
Allama immediately realised that the horseman must have been Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi (A) who had come to his help, preventing him making a grave mistake.
From that day Allama stayed in his house refusing to give anymore advise to the people, in case he made another mistake. In a few days he received a letter from Imam (a.s.) telling him that he should not worry and should continue to guide the people. If by any chance he made a mistake Imam (a.s.) would come to help him rectify it.
The duties of each and every Muslim in the time of Ghatbate kubra is: To be the caretakers of Islam.
To pray for the safety of Imam (a.s.) and give sadaqa for his safety. Ask Allah to make Imam (a.s.) appearance soon, so that he may come and fill the world with truth and peace. Whenever the name of the Imam is said, you should stand, placing your right hand on your head and bow your head. You should also recite Salawaat after his name.
Moral: The Holy Prophet (S) has said that if someone dies without knowing the Imam of his time, his death is that of an unbeliever. We must therefore carry out our duties to our Imam e Zaman who is still alive and in Ghaybat (concealment).