Every year, a special day comes to meet usâ€“it comes bearing gifts, promises, and chances for new beginnings. We meet this day in return with wide open arms, gleeful at the prospects that this day could bring. We spend the evening in thanks and prayer, in hopes that we may reap the benefits of such a day. This day is known as the gift of mid Shabaan (15th Day of Holy Month of Shabaan), the birth of our beloved and awaited savior, Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi (aj).
â€œWe place our parents, especially our mothers, on a special pedestal due to their unconditional love for us, their continuous duaa (prayers) for us. Isnâ€™t it a shame that most of us completely or essentially ignore the one who loves us more than our mothers, who is more protective of us than our fathers, who is closer to us than our friends, and who gives us more attention than our loved ones? Our beloved Imam (may we all be sacrificed for him (aj)) is just that for every single one of us. The gift of mid Shabaan is the perfect manifestation of Allah (swt) and His attributesâ€“which is our Imam, Imam al-Mahdi (aj)â€“all of Allahâ€™s blessings for us come through him. While he lives every day, we remember him maybe, for the one day of the year that we seek our hajjat (needs), on his birthday. Isnâ€™t it embarrassing that he (aj) prays for us day and night throughout the year even though we treat him like thisâ€“imagine what he would do if we gave him some attention too? Imagine what he would do if we talked to him on a daily basis, if we felt him around us, if we did tawassul (seeking Allah (swt) through a divine figure) to him?â€ asks Syed Ali Zaidi.
Why is it that most of us only remember our beloved Imam (aj) on the one day of the year, a day that promises blessings, but neglect his remembrance the rest of the year? Imam al-Mahdi (aj) has been quoted as saying, â€œWe do not abandon taking care of you (our followers) and nor do we forget your remembrance.â€  Our Imam (aj) who loves us more than our mothers has said that he does not forget us. Now imagine if we remembered him daily. Wouldnâ€™t the blessings of the 15th of Shabaan come to us every day of the year? And what better blessing is there than to remember our Imam (aj) who has already promised to support us?
â€œThe birthday of Imam al-Mahdi (aj) on the 15th of Shabaan is upon us and we all want to take this opportunity to show him how much we care about him. How? One important way to is to feel a strong sense of responsibility for the occultation of the Imam (aj) and know that to a great extent our actions are the cause of the delay of his return and the salvation of mankind,â€ said Sheikh Usama Abdulghani.
Imam al-Mahdi (aj) has been quoted as saying, â€œNothing blocks us from them (our followers) except what reaches us (sinning against Allah from followers) from what we dislike.â€ Our sins are what keep us from the Imam (aj), from remembering him, from knowing him, and of course, from gaining more blessings from his presence.
Sheikh Usama continues by saying, â€œWe have to obey him and treat him as our living Imam (aj). We need to practice Islam openlyâ€¦in order to fulfill our responsibility towards him. We must be careful to share what true Islam is and not our personal understanding of Islam. If we can do these two things, we can hasten his reappearance.â€
What better gift of 15th of Shabaan, the birthday of our beloved savior, than to meet him personally?!
Ayatullah Bahjat, one of the greatest minds of recent time, has been quoted as saying â€œMend what is in your hearts and Imam Mahdi (aj) will come to visit you himself.â€
Imam Sadiq (as) has been quoted as saying, â€œWhen our Qaâ€™im will rise up, nothing of earth will remain except that it will be announced there the witness about â€˜there is no god worthy of worshipping except Allah (swt) and that certainly Muhammad (s) is Allahâ€™s (swt) messenger.â€™â€
The final call of our testament of faith will be echoed all over the earth when our Imam (aj) returns to establish his justice. Is it not fitting for his birthday that we renew this testament in our lives and our hearts? This 15th of Shabaan, renew your pledge to Allah (swt) and His messenger, Muhammad (s), by remembering His awaited proof on our earth beyond one day a year. May Allah (swt) hasten his reappearance and give us the opportunity to meet and serve our Imam (aj) in our lifetime!
 Al-Ehtejaaj of Sheikh Tabarsi, vol. 2, p. 497, 498
This article could not have been done without the contributions of our beloved scholars, Syed Abbas Ayleya who provided the hadith and Sheikh Usama AbdulGhani and Syed Ali Zaidi who both provided their words of wisdom. May Allah (swt) protect them always.