فَهَلْ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَّا السَّاعَةَ أَن تَأْتِيَهُم بَغْتَةً فَقَدْ جَاء أَشْرَاطُهَا فَأَنَّى لَهُمْ إِذَا جَاءتْهُمْ ذِكْرَاهُمْ
“Do they wait for anything but the hour, that it may come on them ail of a sudden? Its signs have (already) appeared. How can the reminder be of any use to them when it (the hour) has come to them?”
Mufazzal bin Omar said, I asked my master, Imam Sadiq (as), Is there a fixed time of which people are aware for the awaited Mahdi (as)?
Imam (as) replied, Allah forbids to fix a time for him.
I asked, O my master! Why is that?
Imam (as) replied, Because it is the hour that Allah mentions in the verse, “They ask you about the hour: ‘When is its fixed time?’ Say: ‘Only my Lord has the knowledge. None shall manifest it at its time but He. Heavy shall it be in the heavens and the earth. It will not come to you but suddenly.’ They ask you as if you were solicitous about it. Say: ‘Knowledge thereof is with Allah only.’ But most people do not know” (Chapter 7 verse 187). Allah says in this verse that He alone knows the time of “the hour.”
Allah says in (another) verse, “Do they wait for anything but the hour, that it may come on them all of a sudden? Its signs have (already) appeared. How can the reminder be of any use to them when it (the hour) has come to them?”
Allah says in (another) verse, “The hour has come near and the moon is rent asunder” (Chapter 54 verse 1).
Allah says in (another) verse, “What shall make you know? It may be that the hour is near. Those who do not believe in it seek to hasten it, while those who believe are alert of it, and know that it is the truth. Beware! Verily those who dispute about the hour are (wandering) far astray” (Chapter 42 verses 17-18).
I asked, “O my master! What does ‘disputing about the hour’ mean?” Imam (as) replied, They ask, “When was he (Imam Mahdi) born?! Who has seen him?! Where is he?! And when will he reappear?!”
They ask all of these questions because they seek to challenge it, wondering if it is the truth, for they doubt the Will and the Power of Allah. They are those who have lost their souls in this life and in the Hereafter. And verily for the disbelievers there is an evil place of final return.
I asked, “O my master! Then will you not appoint a time for him?”
Imam (as) replied, “O Mufazzal! Do not (seek to) appoint a time for him, because those who appoint a time for him, (claim) to be partners with Allah in His knowledge and claim that Allah has revealed His knowledge and His secrets to them.” (Al Hidaya Al Kubra page 392)