SHAFAQNA -Â Imam Al-Mahdiâ€™s message is none but that of the Prophet(p.), and his role is a part of the Messenger(p.)â€™s role. To associate with the Imam is to believe in Islam and adhere to its teachings and rules. The Members of the Household(p.) do not want us to establish a personal relationship with them but rather a relationship that is based on the message of Islam. That is why Allah tells us in the Glorious Quran: â€œMuhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Apostle of Allah and the last of the Prophetsâ€.
Imam Ali (a.s.) told those who wanted to be a raised to a higher level because they were relatives of the Message: Muhammadâ€™s followers and friends are those who obey God regardless of their kinship and Muhammadâ€™s enemies are those who disobey God even if they were of close relation.
Therefore, Imam Mahdi (aj.)â€™s role is the role of the Imam that represents the role of the Messenger(p.) but without being a prophet(p.), and that is why being a follower to him is to believe in Islam. Thus we say in our opening supplication: O God, make him the caller for your Book and the upholder of your religion. God let him be the supporter and the champion of your religion and the supporter of your Prophet(p.)â€.
If this is the task of the Imam to support religion and champion its cause, then our task should be to ensure that Islam is our guide in our homes, clubs and communities as well as all our lives. Islam should be our first and most important concern.
As for believing in the Imams, we were told by the truthful Messenger(p.) who does not say anything out of his own feelings or desires, but rather what has been revealed to him by God. The Messenger(p.) said according to both Shiite and Sunnah sources: I am leaving among you two things- The book of God and my progeny- that if you follow them you will no be led astray, Furthermore They will not separate until they come back to me [On the Day of Judgment]. We deduce from this saying that is a long as the Book of Allah exists an Imam from the Prophet(p.)â€™s progeny will also be present.
Moreover, both the Sunnahs and Shiites agree that the Messenger(p.) said: â€œThe caliphs are 12 and they all belong to Quraish. Such a number cannot be found in the Rachides or Umayyads or Abbasids rules, but only in the Twelve Imams of the Shiitesâ€.
As for the Imamâ€™s absence and long age, all what has been said about it is not based on solid foundations, since his absence and age are matters of Allahâ€™s knowledge. He is the One Who absented him and He is the One Who will bring him back, and He is capable of everything. If Allah has told us that Naoh lived for 950 years,could not this number be multiplied? We have to believe that there are things we do not know, like what will happen in the future, for Furthermore, both Shiites and Sunnahs agree on the existence of the Mahdi. They only differ about whether he has already been born. Thus, Imam Al-Mahdi is an Islamic truth agreed on by both Shiites and Sunnahs. The Messenger(p.) said: The world will not end until the Arabs will be ruled by one of the members of my house whose name is the same as mineâ€. In another saying, the Prophet(p.) says: If there would be just one day in the life of this world, Allah will send a man whose name is the same the same as mine and whose looks and manners are like mineâ€. AbnSaiid Al-Khoudari quotes the Messenger(p.) as saying: The end of the world will not come until a man from my house will come to fill it with justice as it had been filled with oppressionâ€. Therefore, justice is not for one region, but rather in the whole world, and Islam will spread in the whole world.
Allah only knows that, and that is what we have been told by the truthful Messenger(p.) who considered this belief as one of the basis of the Islamic doctrine.
This is what we want to underline today. That the Imamâ€™s message is to fill the world with justice, a task he shares with all the Prophet(p.)s. Allah says in His Book:â€œWe have sent our apostles with clear signs and brought down with them scriptures and the scales of justice, so that men might deal with fairness.â€
Allah has sent all books and Messenger(p.)â€™s to establish justice on earth. And the Imam is going to perform his task-towards the end of time, the task of establishing justice.
Thus, if we want to be of his followers, we have to be just in everything: We have to be just with Allah by worshipping Him only and by obeying Him. Then we have to be just with fellow human beings even with our enemies regardless if they were Muslims or non-Muslims or even unbelievers.
On the personal and social levels, we cannot be just towards our political issues, if we are not just with our families, neighbors and those whom we trade with. If you are not just in this circle you cannot be just in matters relating to the whole nation. A wrongdoing no matter how trivial it is, will make you get used to bigger ones. Those who dominate the world had learnt how to be unjust in their homes.
Therefore, to be a follower and a Shiite of the Imam is to be just .Imam Ali says: â€œThe strong among you is weak in my eyes until I take from him the rights of others. And the weak among you is strong in my eyes until I return to him his rightâ€. Muhammad, the seal of the Prophet(p.)â€™s and the man with the exemplary morals, says in a sayingÂ that tells us that the reason for the fall of civilizations is the class differentiation between the rich and the poor.
These who were before you were ruined because if one of their nobles stole they would leave him be, but if the weak stole they would punish him.
The law is against the weakened only. Suppose a poor man did not pay his taxes, the whole government will come to him and sell what he has to obtain their money, but the major companies and top officials do not pay any taxes. And if they were asked to pay, a political crisis will eruptâ€¦
Therefore, today is the Imamâ€™s day. It is the day of justice. And you cannot be with him and await him while you wrong do one another. Our hearts cannot be with him while our swords are against him. If you want to be with him you ought to know where justice is and stand with it.
Promote justice in your homes clubs, communitiesâ€™ parties, markets and homelands, and then you can ask God to make you one of the Followers of Imam Mahdi (aj), and his message, the message of Islam and Justice.
By: Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)