To provide spiritual reward of good deeds (other than obligatory acts) to Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), gifting of recommendable acts, or their performance on behalf of Hazrat or other Imams (a.s.) and holy prophet (s.a.w.a.); financial servings like giving alms or serving food to the poor for gaining Hazrat’s satisfaction; ‘Nazr’ (vows and oblations) for Imam Husain (a.s.) and Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) are all from one class and category. Regarding this issue, one must pay attention to few important points:
1. In performing a good deed and presenting its reward to an immaculate Imam, we are only following the directives of traditions. Traditions specify that people had informed the Imams (of their time) that they performed deeds on behalf of the past Imams (a.s.). Then Imam (a.s.) would approve their acts. For instance, pay attention to this tradition:
A person approached Imam Kazim (a.s.) and said: When Eid-e-Fitr approaches, I finish one full recitation of Qur’an (out of about forty recitation I did in the blessed month of Ramazan) for the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.), one full recitation for Hazrat Fatemah (a.s.), and one full recitation for the holy Imams (a.s.). At the end, I finish one full recitation on behalf of you. Does this act bring me any reward? Imam (a.s.) replied: ‘The reward you earn is that you would accompany them on the day of resurrection.’ I said, Allaho-Akbar! Will I be given such a reward? Imam (a.s.) uttered thrice:“Yes” .
2. In this earthly world, no movement or action takes place without any reaction or effect. The smallest physical action, like twinkling of eyes, leaves its effect. So how can one consider a spiritual action and deed (that takes place in the spiritual world and its effect is incomparable with that of the physical world) to be effect-less. Although the holy prophet and Imams are needless of such spiritual rewards, nevertheless the All-Graceful and All-Mighty God does not leave any action ineffective; especially if it is done for the sake of His best creatures.
3. As far as sentimental relations are concerned, reward is the best tool for attracting one’s love and affection. People, no matter how great and praiseworthy they are, get pleased by gifts, whether material or spiritual. Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), the spiritual axis of the universe and the one needless of others whether spiritually or materially gets pleased with gifts like one flower, one chapter of Qur’an etc. Naturally, he exhibits his reaction to the person presenting the gift and honours him to express his love once again.
4. There still exist a scope for advancement and perfection for the holy prophet and Imams, even if they possess lofty positions. The holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) worshipped Allah and behaved as His servant till his last breath. He was the best of Allah’s creations, and superior of all the creatures, but his acts of worship made him perfect.
A noteworthy point that is said about Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is that his prayers, fasting, Haj, Umra, Ziarat of Imam Husain (a.s.), alms-giving etc leave a deep effect on his soul and makes him perfect spiritually. This very movement and permanent advancement gives him so much strength and power that it prepares himself for fulfilling the heavy universal and divine task (which is unparallel and none except he has to fulfil). It gives him spiritual strength to fulfil his exceptional and onerous divine-universal duty very easily and all alone.
Thus, gifting of any good deed to him or performing any good deed on his behalf supports him and prepares him better to face the difficulties in forming the universal government based on Qur’an and monotheism.
5. A sentimental relationship and affection is set up between the donor and receiver of gift. This act will make us pay attention to him and his attention too would focus towards us. It would acquaint us with his customs; it would make our cry for help reach him and would bring for us the fatherly reply. It will link our insignificant heart with his magnificent and shore-less heart; it will connect the brook of our worship with the ocean of his servitude; it will plant the petty sapling and the delicate stem of our life under the shade of that lofty and divine tree and it will give the star of our existence the brightness from the moon and sun of his existence….
In short, it will make his Imamate (leadership) over us more steadfast and make ourselves more firm in following him. All these are effective if we sincerely and submissively obey their commands.
6. According to traditions, Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) lives an ordinary, natural and usual life. Hazrat too is exposed to natural illness, physical calamities, problems and mental sorrows just like all other people. Thus, alms-giving, invocation, prayers and spiritual gifts (which as per the sayings of Imams discards calamities) keeps away Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) from calamities and leaves their effect on his health.