Purifying our love for the Imam (AS)
 

We need to clean up our heart from the dirt so that the light of Allah could move in with the fullest magnitude. We should purify our love and affection for Ahl al-Bait (AS), and keep aloof from their enemies:

Imam al-Baqir (AS) and Imam al-Sadiq (AS) narrated that the Apostle of Allah (PBUH&HF) said, "Everything has a principle, and the principle of Islam is the love of us Ahl al-Bait."[42] Also:

Imam al-Ridha (AS) said, "The perfection of religion is: accepting our Wilaya and keeping aloof from our enemy."[43] In another Hadith we read:

Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, "He who claims to love us but he does not keep aloof from our enemy, is a liar."[44] Abu Jarud narrated:

About the verse "Allah has not assigned unto any man two hearts within his body (33:4)", Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, Ali Ibn Abi Talib, peace be upon him said, "Allah does not gather our love and the love of our enemy within a human's heart. Certainly, Allah did not give two hearts to man ... Thus, he who (really) loves us will purify his love for us like the purification of gold by fire, which does not leave any dirt in it. Therefore, if you want to know how much you love us, you should test your heart; if you have shared the love our enemies in your heart, you are not of us and we are not of you. Allah is their enemy, and so are 'Gabriel and Michael, and Allah is the enemy of the disbelievers. (2:98)'"[45]

Moreover, al-Alaa Ibn al-Fudhail narrated:

Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, "He who loves a disbeliever has indeed hated Allah, and he who hates a disbeliever (for the sake of Allah) has indeed loved Allah." Then he (AS) said, "The friend of the enemy of Allah is an enemy of Allah."[46]

When a person really loves someone, and see that another person shows hostility to his friend, it is naturally expected that he opposes and dislike his friend's enemy; otherwise, it shows that such love was not a true one, it was rather only a show due to hypocrisy. This is purely a rational reality, which is also testified in Quran:

"You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, but love those who opposed Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers, their sons, their brothers, or their kindred... (58:22)" Thus, true love is always accompanied with true hate, and one does not really love Ahl al-Bait (AS) unless he also becomes a hater of their enemies. Several authorities narrated:

Imam Baqir (AS) said: "... Is religion other than love and hate?" He (AS) then recited: "but Allah has made you love the Faith and has made it beautiful in your hearts, and He has made you hate disbelief, wickedness, and rebellion. Such indeed are those who grow in righteousness (49:7)", and "they love those who migrate towards them (59:9)", and "Say, If ye truly love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (3:31)"[47]

The last quoted verse in the above Hadith shows that even following Allah's commandments is the result of loving Allah. Fudhail Ibn Yasar has also narrated a similar Hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (AS) with the difference that the Imam (AS) said: "Is faith other than love and hate?"[48] Another interesting tradition states that the religion is but love. This is consistent with the above-quoted traditions since hating the enemies of Allah should only be for the sake of loving Allah. Thus, we come to our previous conclusion that hating is not an independent issue. It is rather a natural resultant of true love. In other words, having true love alone for Allah rationally implies having hatred against His enemies. In fact, hating the enemies of Allah is a duty and is of the best deeds. The Sunni and the Shia traditionists have unanimously reported:

The Apostle of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: "The best deeds are love for the sake of Allah and hate for the sake of Allah." He (PBUH&HF) also said in another Hadith: "Love for the sake of Allah is a duty (Faridha) and hate for the sake of Allah is a duty."[49]

Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said:

"Whoever doubts in the disbelief of our enemies and those who have wronged us, is a disbeliever."[50] Sulaiman al-A'mash narrated:

Ja'far Ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (AS) narrated from his father that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said, "O Ali! If a servant worships Allah for a thousand years, Allah shall not accept from him except by means of your Wilaya and the Wilaya of the Imams in your offspring. And verily your Wilaya shall not be accepted except by means of keeping aloof from your enemies and the enemies of the Imams in your offspring. This is what Gabriel has informed me 'thus let him who will, believe (it), and let him who will, reject (it) (18:29)'"[51]


Keeping alive the Remembrance of the Imam (AS)


One of our important duties during the time of occultation is to remember our Imam (AS) more often in gatherings and in private, and to make gatherings for his remembrance. Ali Ibn Abi Hamza narrated:

I heard Imam al-Sadiq (AS) saying, "Our Shia are compassionate amongst each other. When they hold a private meeting they remember Allah. Verily, the remembrance of us is of the remembrance of Allah. When we are remembered, Allah has been remembered, and when our enemy is remembered, Satan has been remembered."[52]

Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said to Dawud Ibn Sarhan, "O Dawud, offer my greetings to my friends and deliver this message to them that Allah blessed a servant who gathers with another to make the remembrance of our matter, and in that case, the third among them is an angel who asks forgiveness for them. When two servants gather for our remembrance Allah reminds His glory to His angels (for having such servants). Thus, when you gather spend your time on remembering (us) since your gathering and your remembering makes us live. And the best people after us are those who remind to our matter and invite to our remembrance."[53]

Imam al-Sadiq (AS) asked Fudhail Ibn Yasar, "Do you assemble with your friends and narrate traditions?" He said, "Yes, may I be sacrificed for you." He (AS) said, "I hold dear such gatherings as it will revive our matter. May Allah have mercy on he who revives our matter. O Fudhail! He who remembers us or being reminded about us and this brings tears out of his eyes even to the extent of a wing of a fly, Allah will forgive his sins even if they are greater than the scum of the sea."[54]


Awaiting the relief

We need to keep hope for relief from Allah, expect the reappearance of al-Qa'im (AS) at any moment, and truly believe that Imam al-Mahdi (AS) is the only solution for our tragedies in the world. A true expectant is constantly improving his spiritual state by acting upon the instructions of Ahl al-Bait (AS) and observing piety. According to the traditions, this is the Jihad (struggle) of an expectant during the time of occultation. This way, he persistently and increasingly makes himself more eligible to receive al-Qa'im (AS). The following Mutawatir Hadith is narrated with all these three wordings:

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said, "The best worship/deed/Jihad of my community is awaiting the relief."[55] It is also narrated that:

Imam Musa al-Kadhim (AS) said, "... and the most superior worship after the recognition is waiting for the relief."[56] Moreover, Abu Basir narrated:

Imam al-Sadiq (AS) narrated from his father from his ancestors from the Leader of the Faithful (AS) who said, "The taker of our command shall be with us tomorrow in the divine sacred courtyard [i.e., our place in Paradise]. The waiter of our command/kingdom is like the one who is rolling on his blood in the path of Allah."[57]

Observing patience and expecting is not an easy task, and is much more difficult than making haste, since the former requires holding back one's desire and controlling oneself. It is the greater Jihad and the best deed and worship. If one continues to be in such state, Allah has guaranteed deliverance for him. Abd al-Hamid al-Wasiti narrated:

I said to Imam al-Baqir (AS), "We leave our marketplace while we wait for this kingdom." The Imam (AS) replied, "O 'Abd al-Hamid, do you think that the one who controls himself for the sake of Allah, Allah will not make an opening for him? By Allah! Allah shall certainly make an outlet for him. May Allah have mercy on him who holds back his soul for our sake. May Allah have mercy on he who revives our matter." I asked, "What if I die before I receive al-Qa'im (AS)?" The Imam (AS) replied, "Anyone of you who says, 'Had I met the Qa'im of the family of Muhammad (PBUH&HF) I would have helped him', he is like the one who is hitting (the enemies) by his sword beside al-Qa'im. Nay! He is like the one who has been martyred beside him."[58]

Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abi Nasr narrated:

Imam al-Ridha (AS) said, "How praiseworthy are patience and awaiting the relief! Have you not heard the saying of the righteous servant (mentioned in Quran), 'and watch for I too am watching with you (11:93)' and 'You await and I too am awaiting (7:71)'? Thus, be patient because relief will come after (people's) despair. Certainly, those who were before you were more patient than you... What is the matter with you that you do not possess your souls and do not have patience until Allah, the Glorious, brings what you want? Verily this command/kingdom does not come in the way that people want. It is the command/kingdom of Allah, the Glorious, and His decree and (will happen with) patience. Certainly only he who fears to lose would hasten."[59]

In addition, Abu Basir narrated:

Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, "Do you want me to inform you about the things without which Allah shall not accept any act from His servants?" Abu Basir said, "Yes". The Imam (AS) continued, "To bear witness that there is no god but He, Muhammad (PBUH&HF) is His servant and His Apostle, to acknowledge what Allah commanded, to believe in our exclusive guardianship, to disassociate from our enemies, to submit to the Imams, to have piety (against sins) and hard effort (in obedience), to adopt peace of mind, and to await al-Qa'im (AS). Certainly, we will have a government that Allah shall bring it when He wills. Whoever is delighted to be of the companions of al-Qa'im should wait, and should act with piety and good morals.

If he continues to be an expectant and dies before the advent of al-Qa'im, he will have the reward of he who has received al-Qa'im. Thus, try hard (in obedience) and wait, and may you taste its sweetness, O the group that is covered with (Allah's) mercy!"[60]


Avoiding a hasty action

The traditions also differentiate between hastening (Isti'jaal) and praying to Allah to hasten the universal government. The former is prohibited while the latter is commanded. For instance, Abdurrahman Ibn Kathir narrated:

I was with Imam al-Sadiq (AS) when Mahzam al-Asadi came to him and asked him, "May I be sacrificed for you! When will be the time of this rising for which you wait? It has become too long." He (AS) said, "O Mahzam! Verily those who appoint time are liars, and those who hasten (Musta'jilun) shall perish, and those who are submissive (to Allah's orders and decrees) shall be saved."[67]

Ibrahim Ibn Mihzam narrated from his father who said:

We mentioned such and such kings in the presence of Imam al-Sadiq (AS). He (AS) said, "Indeed, people have perished due to their haste (Isti'jal) for this kingdom. Verily, Allah does not hasten for the hasty action of people. For this kingdom there is a final end that will reach it."[68] In another sermon in Nahj al-Balagha, Imam Ali (AS) said:

"Be steady on the earth, be patient in afflictions, do not move your hands and swords after the liking of your tongues, and do not make haste (Isti'jal) in what Allah has not expedited for you. Thus, any one of you who dies in his bed while he recognizes the rights of Allah and the rights of His Apostle (PBUH&HF) and his Ahl al-Bait (AS) has died a martyr. His reward is on Allah, and he is eligible for the reward of what good acts he has intended to do, since his intention has taken the place of drawing his sword. Certainly, for everything there is a period and an appointed time."[69]

Allah, the Glorious, also prohibited Isti'jal in Quran in many verses. For instance:

"Man is a creature of haste. I shall soon show you My signs. So hasten not! (21:37)"

In another famous and very recommended supplication, which is narrated from the first special deputy of Imam Mahdi (AS), both types of action (hastening vs. praying that Allah may hasten) has been mentioned with clear distinction:

"... O Allah! Make me firm on the obedience of the master of Your command whom You have concealed from Your creation and waits for Your command. You know-without being taught-the time that is right for the kingdom of Your master and for giving him permission to manifest his command and to disclose his secret. Thus, grant me patience on it so that I do not like to hasten what You have postponed, nor to delay what You have hastened, nor to disclose what You have concealed, nor to discuss what You have kept secret, nor to argue with You in Your planning, and (so that) I do not say why the master of the affairs does not appear while the earth has been filled out with tyranny, and until I relinquish all my affairs to You. O Allah! I ask You to show me the master of the affairs while has appeared and manifested his command... O Allah! Hasten his relief..."[70]