Proofs of Occultation (Ghaibat) and wisdom behind it
By the Taufeeq (good sense) given by Allah I would say that when the occultation of our Imam commenced, its expedience came to light. Its truth is visible and its proof is obvious because we witnessed divine wisdom with regard to His previous proofs who were threatened by the leaders of misguidance of their times. The fact became well-known that disobedient people rise at times and adopt the characteristics of Firon in the same way as they are doing now. These misleaders are overpowering through infidelity, falsehood, injustice and false accusation.
They demand proof of existence of Imam Zaman like previous Imams. They say: You believe that eleven Imams have passed after Holy Prophet, each of which was physically present and was known to general and particular people. If this is not so then your claim about their Imamate is void much in the same way as it is for the current Imam because he is not physically present and it is very difficult to prove his existence. I would like to reply by expedience of Allah: our rivals were not aware of the wisdom of Allah during the times of misguided leaders.
They were unaware of the right path because it is proved that during the times of despotic rulers, the proof of Allah appears in according to the circumstances of that time. On this basis, appearance of Divine Proof among general and particular people is as per the divine policy. If the circumstances are free of dangers then it is obligatory for the Divine Proof to appear physically and guide the people. However if the circumstances are not risk-free then it is necessary for the Divine Proof to remain hidden as we have seen in the case of many proofs of Allah from the time of Adam till date. Some of them were hidden while others were apparent. Many traditions have been narrated about them and even the Holy Quran has mentioned about them.
It is narrated from my father from Saad bin Abdullah from Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Khalid al-Barqi from his father from Muhammad bin Sunan from Ishaq bin Jurair from Abdul Hamid Ibne Abi Dailam from Imam Ja’far bin Muhammad al-Sadiq that he said:
“O Abdul Hamid! Some prophets propagated openly and some of them were hidden. Hence you should supplicate through the sake of apparent as well as hidden messengers.”
The book of Allah supports this statement in this verse:
وَرُسُلًا قَدْ قَصَصْنَاهُمْ عَلَيْكَ مِنْ قَبْلُ وَرُسُلًا لَمْ نَقْصُصْهُمْ عَلَيْكَ ۚ وَكَلَّمَ اللَّهُ مُوسَىٰ تَكْلِيمًا
And (We sent) apostles We have mentioned to you before and apostles we have not mentioned to you; and to Musa, Allah addressed His Word, speaking (to him):42
The proofs of Allah from Adam till Prophet Ibrahim were appointed either openly or hidden form. Prophet Ibrahim was kept hidden by Allah and he was born secretly because there was no possibility of making the proof open during that time. Prophet Ibrahim did not disclose his mission or his personality during the rule of Nimrod. Nimrod used to kill the newborn children of his kingdom because he feared the arrival of a Divine Proof. Later on Prophet Ibrahim revealed his personality and his mission when his occultation came to an end.
It had become incumbent on him to reveal his mission to the people so that the will of Allah regarding sending of His proof and completion of religion is executed. Prophet Ibrahim had many successors after him who were Divine Proofs on the earth. Some of them were apparent and some hidden. This process continued till the time of Prophet Musa. Before the birth of Prophet Musa, Firon started killing the newborn children of Bani Israel in order to eliminate Musa. This story became very famous and the news reached everywhere. Thus, Allah kept his birth hidden and his mother left him to sail in the river as mentioned in the verse:
فَالْتَقَطَهُ آلُ فِرْعَوْنَ
And Firon’s family took him up…43
Prophet Musa grew up near Firon and the latter did not recognize him. He went on killing the children of Bani Israel. Later on Prophet Musa revealed his personality and invited people towards Allah. Prophet Musa also had a number of successors after him who were Divine Proofs. Some of them were apparent and some hidden. This process continued till the time of Prophet Isa.
Prophet Isa expressed his personality at his birth itself. He did not keep himself hidden because there was no harm in expressing himself at that time.
He also had some successors. Some of them were apparent and others were hidden till the arrival of the Holy Prophet. The Almighty Allah addresses His Prophet in this verse:
مَا يُقَالُ لَكَ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ قِيلَ لِلرُّسُلِ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ
Naught is said to you but what was said indeed to the apostles before you.44
The Almighty Allah also says:
سُنَّةَ مَنْ قَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا قَبْلَكَ مِنْ رُسُلِنَا
(This is Our) course with regard to those of Our apostles whom We sent before you.45
All doctrines of the previous prophets are included in the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet and one of them is appointing a successor. Hence, the Holy Prophet appointed his successors and also informed that Imam Mahdi is the last among them and that he would fill the earth with justice as much as it would have been filled with injustice. This narration is recorded by the entire Ummah. He will reappear and Prophet Isa will offer Prayer behind him.
Thus the birth places of all the successors was secured till the Master of the Time (a.s.) who is being awaited to establish justice and equity just as divine wisdom and exigency demanded occultations for Divine Proofs that we have mentioned.
Muslim are well-aware of the fact that the rulers during the time of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) kept close watch on him till his martyrdom. After his martyrdom, his relatives were under strict vigil and most of them were arrested. His newborn son (Imam Zaman) was searched for everywhere. One of the vigilantes was the uncle of Imam Zaman, Ja’far Kazzab (the liar), who was the brother of Imam Hasan bin Ali al-Askari (a.s.) and claimed Imamate for himself. Hence, the Sunnah of occultation was repeated as mentioned in case of many prophets. The hidden wisdom in the occultation of Imam is the same as that in case of abovementioned prophets.
- Surah Nisa 4:164
- 43.Surah Qasas 28:8
- 44.Surah Fussilat 41:43
- 45.Surah Isra 17:77