What are the ethical and educational dimensions of awaiting the deliverance? (question)

From Imamatpedia

The Defining Hallmark of a Society that Awaits Imam Mahdi (a)

Among the primary hallmarks and defining characteristics of Imam Mahdi's government is the fact that spiritual purification and the acquisition of the highest of morals will become critically important[1]. Human beings can utilize their cognitive faculties in order to take practical steps towards intellectual development and ethical betterment. However, this journey can become far more efficient and speedy if a person enjoys divine support and the help of a divinely guided leader[2]. Waiting for Imam Mahdi (a) creates a unique and exclusive culture within any community that practices such devout anticipation and, as such, this culture can greatly accelerate the process of positive development and holistic perfection within Islamic society[3]. Indeed, a society waiting for Imam Mahdi (a) represents a truly Islamic society and its most distinguishing feature, which renders it completely different from any other human community, is the fact that it is adorned with the radiant ethics and morality of Islam[4]. A society waiting for Imam Mahdi (a) continuously strives to make itself more compatible and attuned to the Imam (a) himself and this manifests itself in the form of a persistent effort towards acquiring and maintaining the most beautiful of ethics and the best of morals. According to a narrated tradition, Imam Sadiq (a) is reported to have said : "Anyone who desires to be among the [supporters of Imam Mahdi (a) must await Imam Mahdi's return and, while this person waits, he must act with piety and good ethics"[5].[6]

The Ethical Dimensions of Those Who Awaiting Imam Mahdi (a)

Those who await Imam Mahdi (a) must take the following steps in order to create a society that awaits Imam Mahdi (a):

1. Self-development and righteousness: Spiritual purification is deemed to be so important that the occurrence of contemptible acts and sins is considered as one of the factors that causes the occultation to prolong and further delays the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a)[7].[8] Therefore, at an individual level, any person who awaits Imam Mahdi (a) must try to acquire the highest ethical merits and must practice an elevated degree of righteousness, God consciousness and pious worship[9]. Imam Baqir (a) is reported to have said : "Practice God consciousness and seek help from piety, righteousness and persistent diligence in worship and obedience to God in order to complete you duty with regards to waiting for Imam Mahdi (a)"[10].[11] This narrated tradition shows that those who await Imam Mahdi (a) are people who live their lives with great spiritual purity and extremely honorable ethics. Such people are not only God conscious, practicing self-restraint against sins, but also practice a higher and stricter form of piety whereby they steer away even from dubious and doubtful actions[12].

2. Faith and righteous action: When explaining the exegesis of the Quranic verse that says : "Allah has promised those of you who have faith and do righteous deeds that He will surely make them successors in the earth"[13], Imam Sadiq (a) is reported to have said : "This verse has been revealed in relation to the Qa'im and his supporters"[14]. In the words of the Holy Quran, the era of Imam Mahdi's government will be the era of the believers and God's righteous servants[15]. Since, in the eyes of the general masses, the activities of the Shi'a are automatically attributed towards the Immaculate Imam (a), the Imam (a) expects his Shi'a to act with great sincerity and is deeply hurt and disappointed if they indulge in deplorable actions[16].

3. Following the Imam's ideal and emulating him: The Imam (a) is the guide and leader of society and represents the perfect human being. As such, he is free of all forms of vice and defective morals while being adorned with the highest degrees of ethical perfections[17]. Since those who await Imam Mahdi (a) consider themselves to be closer to him than other people, they must naturally be at the forefront of following and emulating the Imam's example[18]. Therefore, those who wish to be among the supporters of Imam Mahdi (a) must actively follow his practical and ethical example, and they must obey his words wherein he is reported to have said : "Each and every one of you must act in accordance to that which bring you closer to the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and helps in acquiring their love, and must stay away from all actions that lead to our distress, anger and disappointment"[19]. Similarly, in accordance to the supplication attributed to Imam Mahdi (a)[20], we must engage ourselves in pious servitude towards God while rejecting all types of sins, and must follow the ideal set by the Imam (a) and emulate him in our thoughts, manners, life style and actions so that we may become genuine disciples of the Promised Mahdi (a)[21] and gain the blessed opportunity to meet him one day[22].

4. Making God consciousness and justice one's second nature: God consciousness is of greater importance during the era of occultation because there exist innumerable agents during this period of time who are working in unison to corrupt humanity and lead it astray into the darkness of misguidance[23]. Those who await Imam Mahdi (a) and yearn for the establishment of his government of universal justice must themselves be steadfast examples of just behavior. For this purpose, they must avoid all forms of sins and transgressions while diligently practicing piety and God consciousness until the justice itself becomes their second nature. The development and consolidation of such a nature will aid them to adjust to the unique circumstances of the era of Imam Mahdi's reappearance which will herald in the monotheistic civilization of Imam Mahdi (a) wherein true and absolute justice will be established. However, if a person fails to create such a second nature towards piety and righteousness, he will not be able to tolerate the universal culture of justice that shall prevail during Imam Mahdi's government[24]. Indeed, from the viewpoint of Islam, the emergence of universal social justice requires the establishment of internal justice individually within the souls and lives of all people within society[25].

5. Enjoining virtue and forbidding vice: God consciousness only make true sense when a person deems himself to be responsible and duty bound vis-à-vis human society. This feeling of responsibility manifests itself in the form of enjoining virtue and forbidding vice[26]. Such an individual does not sit idly and with apathy, because waiting for Imam Mahdi (a) is meaningless unless it is accompanied by an inherent inclination towards virtue and reform and is coupled with efforts that prepare the grounds for righteousness to flourish[27]. God the Almighty has declared within the Qur'an: "Indeed Allah does not change a people's lot, unless they change what is in their own souls," and similarly He says : "Allah never changes a blessing that He has bestowed on a people unless they change what is in their own souls, and Allah is all-hearing, all-knowing"[28]. Therefore, the pre-requisite for any social change is the creation of a genuine wish and desire for such a change within the hearts and souls of a society's people, and this fundamental inclination plays a major part in shaping that society's destiny[29].

Conclusion

Therefore, a society that awaits Imam Mahdi (a) must be a society adorned with genuine Islamic ethics and behaviour. Likewise, in order to create Imam Mahdi's society, people must engage themselves in self-development, piety, faith, righteous actions, emulating the Imam (a), internalizing God consciousness and justice until they become second nature, and enjoining good while forbidding evil.

References

  1. See: Ilahinijad, Husayn, Wizhigiha-ye Muntaziran wa Jami'i-ye Mintazir, p. 265.
  2. See: Dirbaz, Askar, Rawishha-ye Atharguzari-ye Intizar dar Jami'i-ye Muntazir, p. 118.
  3. Mahdawi Fard, Mirza Abbas, Falsafi-ye Intizar, pp. 200-201.
  4. Shafa'i, Mahbub, Maw'ud-e Haqq, pp. 84-88.
  5. Al-Nu'mani, Muhammad Ibrahim, al-Ghayba, p. 207.
  6. Aftab-e Mihr, vol. 2, pp. 134-137; Zahadat, Abd al-Majid, Ma'arif wa Aqa'id 5, vol. 2, p. 242; Nasr Abadi, Ali Baqi, Naqsh-e Farhang-e Intizar dar Puyayi Jami'i-ye Matlub, pp. 131-132; Ilahinijad, Husayn, Wizhigiha-ye Muntaziran wa Jami'i-ye Muntazir, p. 265; Gurjia, Muhammad Mahdi, Tahlil-e Karamadi-ye Intizar dar Hayat-e Tayyibih (book)|Tahlil-e Karamadi-ye Intizar dar Hayat-e Tayyibih]], p. 22; Musawi Nasab, Sayyid Ja'far, Diwist Pursish wa Pasukh Piramun-e Imam Zaman, vol. 1, p. 324.
  7. Al-Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 53, p. 177.
  8. Akbari, Muhammad Rida, Parcham-e Hidayat, p. 66; Shafi'i Sarwistani, Ibrahim, Naqsh-e Intizar dar Puyayi-ye Jami'i-ye Islami, p. ?.
  9. [[See:Zahadat, Abd al-Majid, Ma'arif wa Aqa'id 5, vol. 2, p. 242.
  10. Al-Nu'mani, Muhammad Ibrahim, al-Ghayba, p. 220; al-Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 52, p. 40.
  11. Shafa'i, Mahbub, Maw'ud-e Haqq, pp. 84-88.
  12. Kuwthari, Ibrahim, Intizar wa Wazayif-e Muntaziran, pp. 13-14.
  13. Qur'an 24: 55.
  14. Al-Nu'mani, Muhammad Ibrahim, al-Ghayba, p. 240, hadith no. 35.
  15. Suhrabi, Sadiq, Ba Intizar dar Khaymi-ash dar Ayim, p. ?.
  16. Kuwthari, Ibrahim, Intizar wa Wazayif-e Muntaziran, pp. 13-14.
  17. See: Samimi, Simin, Arsiha-ye Ta'thirguzari-ye I'tiqad be Mahdawiyyat dar Istilah-e Fard az Didgah-e Qur'an wa Hadith.
  18. Malikirad, Mahmud, Karkard-e Mahdawiyyat dar Istilah wa Taghyir-e Raftarha-ye Fardi wa Ijtima'i, p. 310.
  19. Ahmad b. Ali al-Tabrisi, al-Ihtijaj, vol. 2, p. 323
  20. Mafatih al-Jinan, Supplication of Imam Mahdi (a).
  21. Samadi, Qanbar Ali, Akharin Munji, p. 126.
  22. See: Nasr Abadi, Ali Baqi, Naqsh-e Farhang-e Intizar dar Puyayi-ye Jami'i-ye Matlub, pp. 131-132.
  23. Salimiyan, Khudamurad, Bayistiha-ye Asr-e Chishm be Rahi.
  24. Mahdawi Fard, Mirza Abbas, Falsafi-ye Intizar, pp. 110-118.
  25. Alizadih, Mahdi, Nishaniha-ye Yar wa Chakami-ye Intizar, pp. 79-90.
  26. Kuwthari, Ibrahim, Intizar wa Wazayif-e Muntaziran, pp. 13-14.
  27. Suhrabi, Sadiq, Ba Intizar dar Khaymi-ash dar Ayim, p. ?.
  28. Qur'an 13:1.
  29. Salimiyan, Khudamurad, Naqsh-e Mardum dar Inqilab-e Jahani-ye Hadrat-e ahdi.