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Reasons of Occultation of Shia Twelfth Imam Al-Mahdi (as)

The reason behind the occultation of the Imam of the Age is steeped in divine mystery; and it is possible that we will never be able to fathom it in all its profundity.

The temporary occultation of a spiritual leader is not without precedent; examples of this phenomenon are to be encountered in previous religious communities. Moses was hidden from his people for forty days, which he spent in the place appointed for him by God. Jesus concealed himself, by God’s will, from his community; and his enemies, intent on killing him, could not find him. The Prophet Jona was also concealed from his people for a certain time.

In general, even if one is unable fully to grasp the mystery of a particular phenomenon, whose authenticity is however fully confirmed by traditional sources, there should be no reason to doubt or deny the phenomenon; otherwise, a large part of the divine rulings, pertaining to essential axioms of the Islamic faith, would be subject to doubt also. The occultation of the Imam of the Age is no exception to this rule, and the absence of information on the mysterious reality of this phenomenon does not give one license to doubt or deny it. Nonetheless, it can be said that the mystery of occultation can be understood within the limits imposed by human thought; and we would present the case thus:

This Imam is the last of the divinely guided and protected personages; he is to bring about the final consummation of the great and ardent hopes of the Muslims—the inauguration of universal justice and the unfurling of the flag of Tawhid throughout the world. The fulfilment of this hope requires a certain passage of time, so that the requisite intellectual preparedness, and spiritual readiness on the part of humanity be attained; only then can the world properly receive the just Imam and his followers. Naturally, should the Imam appear before these preliminary conditions are in place, he might well meet with the same fate as that which befell the other Imams, namely, martyrdom; and thus, he would leave this world without having witnessed the realization of the great hopes vested in him. The wisdom inherent herein has been alluded to in certain hadiths. Imam Båqir said: ‘There is an occultation ordained for ‘the one who rises up’ prior to his appearance.’ The narrator of this hadith asked the reason for this. The Imam replied: ‘To prevent his being killed.’

In addition to this narration, there are hadiths mentioning [the need for the] trial and purification of humanity, which means that mankind, during the period of the occultation, will have to undergo trials imposed by God, in order to test the firmness of their faith and beliefs.

The selection taken from “the Doctrines of the Shi’a Islam” by Ayatollah jawadi Amoli.

About Ali Teymoori

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