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History of both minor and major occultation’s is a witness to the fact that. anyone who sought guidance received it, From Imam (A.S.). Today also if anyone sincerely, seeks guidance will receive it from ‘Imam (A.S.)’ Committing oneself completely to the wisdom and expediencies of Allah is mandatory on the representative of Allah, as Allah bestows the responsibility of guiding and leadership to those who not only stick to ordinance of Allah but their intentions are also guided by the desire and pleasure of Allah. As a result statements that flow from his mouth bear His assent. Contradicting the desire of Allah is a sin and a sinner cannot reach this office. Keeping the above principle in mind, we have to conclude
that all Imams necessarily followed the commands of Allah and his actions, words and assent reflect the prescription of Allah. Now if Imam is apparent it concurrents with command of Allah, speaks at Allah’s behest, his silence bears the assent of Allah, travels and migrates for Allah’s pleasure, remains hidden from nation at His dictates, goes into occultation at His dictates, chooses his representatives in minor occultation subscribing to His will. In short, he follows and concedes to all injunctions of Allah.

After presenting this prologue we intend to plunge directly to our main discussion . “Whether it is possible to meet Jmam-e-Asr in his major occultation?”Possibility of doubt would not have been there if people had gone through the Tawqee’ (letter of Imam) which Imam sent to his fourth and last representative, Ali bin Mohammad-e-Saimuri. After informing him of his (Ali ibn Mohammad) death Imam said :”…soon a time shall come when my Shias will claim to have met me. Beware! For the one who claims that, he has met me before the uprising of Sufyani and a call from the sky is a liar and a deceiver.”
Even after this clear ‘Tawqee’ some pious and sanctimonious scholars and sincere
people described their meeting of Imam (A.S.), and they arc such people whose
trustworthiness is beyond question. In this contradictory circumstance it becomes
rather difficult, to asses the true position. Rejecting the words of Islam is near to
blasphemy, while rejecting the pious people, whose integrity is beyond doubt is not,
acceptable to one’s self. Also no other person can come in countenance of Tmam(A.
S.). In such paradoxical circumstances we have to after all reach a conclusion. In
reality, people have not understood the essence of’ Tawqee’ as it does not, deny the
possibility of meeting Ilazrat Baqiyatullah (may our live be sacrificed for him) in
major occultation. Rather it comes heavily on pseudos selling the idea of being an
ambassador. In other words, this points to those who claim to be emissaries and
deputies of Imam (A.S.) like •Ali Mohammad Shirazi. It is a lamentable fact, that like
other scripts of Imam (A.S.) this ‘Tawqee’ also was not able to acquire due attention
from Shia cadres. Shia scholars and masses alike have not pondered upon it.
Otherwise the artificial and pseudo special deputies and Mahdis would not have made
their claims.

The statement of the ‘Tawqee’ that some people will will claim to have met. me can
be interpreted as those who will come forward and proclaim on the top of their
voices in order to market their fabricated ideas, under the garb of meeting Imam and
taking instructions directly from him. Mention can also l)e made of those people who

falsely claimed to have met Imam (A.S.) due to social disturbances. It would not be
wrong to mention that apart from false claimants of deputyship in the present
century there were many individuals who sold their satanic ideas under the label of
Without going in much detail, let us analyze and find out, the meaning of the word
‘Ghaibat’, as its correct interpretation is of paramount importance in our discussions.
But, again people have a very superficial understanding of the word ‘Ghaibat’. The
word is derived from the infinitive ‘Ghaib’ which means ‘to be away’. The word is
related to Imam (A.S.) in the same manner as the sun which is not visible to the
naked eye either due to the darkness of night or impediment of clouds, but, its
existence and presence is not affected. Similarly Hazrat Wall-e-Asr is exists but is
not seen by the people.

There are two viewpoints about the ‘Ghaibat’ of Hazrat Wali-e-Asr. First opinion which is prevalent among common masses and is also supported by the apparent meaning of some traditions is that Imam is invisible in the sense that people cannot see him but he can see them. He might be sitting in a particular place but that place is felt as vacant. This view can be supported by a tradition recorded by Sheikh-e-Sadook in his book ‘Kama luddin’ from Kayyan bin Suit that Tmam-e-Reza (A.S.) in reply to a question concerning ‘Qaem’ said : “Neither his body can be seen, nor his name can be uttered”
As far as the safety and protection of lmam Mahdi (A.S.) is concerned, this viewpoint
is quiet simple to understand, straightforward and practical. He stays in a secluded
place away from all incoherence’s of society.

Second viewpoint categorically states that people are in a position to see him but are
unable to recognize him or are not attentive to it. They are unaware ofh is
personality and whereabouts. Imam Hasan-e-Askari (A.S.) trained him secretly away
from eyes of people but relaxing the rule for some of his special companions. This
was done intentionally to establish thevicegerency of Hazrat, Wali-e-Asr (A.S.). After
the sad demise of Imam Hasan-e-Askari (A.S.) the veil of occultation was tightened
and he was in contact with masses through four special deputies. Only few reliable
and trustworthy Shias like Alt ibn Mahziyyar were fortunate enough to see him but
every time Imam exhorted them to maintain secrecy. With the passage of time,
minor occultation proceeded towards an end and all those companions of Imam
Hasan-e-Askari (AS.) who saw .Imam Mahdi (A.S.) passed away and a time came
when those who were aware of his features became virtually extinct, and a new
generation emerged who was totally ignorant about his peculiarities. They were
unable to recognize him even when he would be in their presence. Traveling to any
part of the world was not an impediment, for him.

After briefly explaining the two viewpoints about the occultation of Imam (A.S.) the
question arises about, the possibility of meeting imam in occultation. There would
not have been any room for such a question if the tradition mentioned earlier would
not have been there designating a person who claims to have met. Imam (A.S.) as
liar. We have mentioned this in no unclear terms explaining its interpretation and in
its light is the following discussion based.

Whether viewing Imam (A.S.) physically is possible based on logic and reasoning
given two viewpoints about occultation? is the first, question to be dealt, with. In
reply to this, if we accept the first viewpoint about his invisibility then conversation
or meeting with him becomes impossible unless and until a miracle takes place and
at the will of Imam as and when the situation so demands. But, as per second
viewpoint only his name and cognizance is hidden and we support, this view point
with sufficient proofs to substantiate our claim. There are three possibilities of
meeting Imam (AS.) :

(a) Meeting Imam Mahdi (A.S.) without, realizing that he is Imam and there are scores of incidents in this regard.
(1)) Meeting Imam Mahdi (AS.) but becoming aware afterwards.
(c) To meet Imam and during conversation realize that he is talking with Imam. These types of incidents are very few; may be due to complete occultation this thing is kept secret.

Now if we accept the first viewpoint then meeting with Imam (A.S.) requires a miracle, but as regards the other viewpoint we categorically refer to benefit and need of Imam. Imam is essential to lead the society towards the right path, purpose of meeting with people is relieving the group from oppression, to alleviate a person from physical or economic harm or to show the right path and so on but of course with will of Allah and within limits of occultation. After the above discussion the point has been made clear that meeting Imam in occultation is not only possible but, sometimes the circumstances render it essential. Statement of Tawqee’ was meant, to caution people from claimants who would fool the people. But as far as religious and pious people are concerned many incidents have been recorded out, of which a few are mentioned below : 1) Muhaddis-e-Qummi in book Muntahal Aamaal narrates an incident, from Mulla Zainul Aabedin Salmasi about Allama Bahrul Uloom. Inciden pertains to those days when Allama was staying in Mecca and giving lectures to Hanafi, Shafaco, Malekei and Hanbali scholars. Salmasisays that one day he expressed concern about the mounting expenses due to Allama’s benevolence and the situation had arrived when not, a single penny was left. Vet Salmasi did not receive any reply.
The routine schedule of Allama consisted of him performing the circumambulation of Kaaba, then going in a private chamber and after smoking pipe going into another chamber where he used to give instructions and verdicts in various schools of jurisprudence . Next, day when he just started smoking somebody knocked at the door and to my astonishment Allama him self quickly rushed to open the door instructing me to take the pipe away. I saw a handsome man in the dress of Arabs, with a pleasing personality who entered and sat in the room and Allama in utter humbleness sat by the sidr of door and indicated me not to bring the pipe. A Her con versing for some time the man stood up and Sayed himself opened the door and made him ride the camel. Later Sayed returned and seemed perplexed. He gave me a piece of paper and asked me to go to a money changer who was stationed ;it the hill of’ Safa and to take whatever he gave.
I went there and handed over that note to him. He with great respect kissed it and asked me to bring lour labourers. I did so and they were loaded with franc riyals to the extent, they could carry. Once I went to Safa to inquire about that money changer but to my astonishment 1 did not find a single shop there. I inquired in the vicinity but they also assorted that they had never seen any moneychanger there. I understood that it is a secret of Allah.
2) Mention in this regard can be made of another incident of Allama Bahrul Uloom which is reported by Allama Majlisi (R.A). Aqa-e-Zainul Aabedin Salmasi narrates that he was sitting in gathering ;) f Allama Bahrul Uloorn and at, that time one per¬lon questioned him about the possibility of meeting [mam Mahdi (A.S.) Allama, who was holding a smoking pipe in his hand,, put, aside the pipe and bending his head murmured in such a manner that I was able to heart it. He said, “What reply I should give to this person? Although, Imam Mahdi has embraced me there are explicit traditions calling a person liar who claims to have met him” After this he lifted his head and replied, “It is narrated in the traditions that, one who claims to have met Imam should he out rightly rejected.” AUama did not say a single word further. From the above incidents it becomes clear that meeting Hazrat is possible but propagating it, is not. permitted, so as to prevent its misuse by self-centered people.
3) It is mentioned in Biharul Anwar (Vbl-53, Pg 255) by Allama Majlisi (R.A.) that, Sheikh Baqir Kazmi narrates an incident of a barber who was serving his old father.
This pious person performed his duty to the extent of helping him in going to toilet. He never used to be away from his father except, on Wednesdays, when he used to go to Masjid e-SahIa hut keeping the track of time. Not seeing him for quite a few weeks. in Masjide Sahia, I (Sheikh Baqir Kazmi) inquired from him the reason for not coming to Mosque. The barber explained that he went for forty Wednesdays, but, on the fortieth time he was not, able to proceed early.
He started in night, and was nearing his destination when suddenly his eyes settled on a distant rider who apparently seemed to be an Arab nomad who was heading towards him. When he came face to face he inquired about, his destination in a nomadic dialect. He promptly replied, ‘Masjid-e-SahIa’. Then he (nomad) inquired whether he (barber) was having some eatables with him, but he replied in negative. The Arab nomad again asked him to put his hand in his pocket and to see whether he was having some eatables. He again assured the Arab that he was having nothing. On his insistence he searched his pocket and found some raisings which he had purchased for his small son and had forgotten about, it.
Then the person pronounced thrice (in nomadic language) which meant, ‘I advise you concerning your father and disappeared. Then he (barber) realized that the man was no other than Hazrat Hujjat who is not, happy to see me remain negligent of my father even on Wednesdays.
4) Aqa-e-Haj Reza Hamdani narrates in his book ‘Misbah’ that on some occasions Hazrat Hujjat (A.S.) gives opportunity of seeing him to his selected and trustworthy Shias. For instance, about fifty years back a pious scholar Abdur Rahim Dimavandi was able to avail of this opportunity. He narrates that in ;i complete darkness he met Hazrat, who was standing facing Qible and light was emitting from his face. The light was so luminating that even the floor was clearly visible along with its details. Hajjatui Islam Wal Muslemeen Aqa-e-Shiekh Moiiammad Hamdani whose piousness was beyond doubt and acclaimed by one and all, wrote that owe his wife was in a semiconscious state and doctors had given up all hopes of her survian that I prayed to Hazrat, on 22nd Safar, 1397 A.H. she was carried in midnight. In short, after considering the numerous incidents of meeting Hazrat and also scy erase traditions we can conclude that : a) It is absolutely absurd and false to claim that meeting with Hazrat can be held at ones desire, without the some from Imam. b) on other hand, if Hazrat himself wishes to honour somebody with the opportunity to meet him is a different matter. In that case supplication are very half face but acceptance of same depends, on Hazrat.