The Era of Patience
O impatient ones! Allah (SWT) will not become hurried in regards with the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (PBUH) due to the hurry and rush of people…”
Believing in a saviour and his mission of settling the affairs of humanity is an accepted concept among all Divine religions, and mankind has been long waiting for the fulfilment of this aim.
This agenda (removing oppression from the earth and establishing a just government) is a huge project and a fundamental element of Allah’s (SWT) plan for future of all societies. However, for this purpose to be fulfilled, intellectual and mental growth is essential. Moreover, accepting it requires deep faith and spiritual power of people.
The problem with religious people is that they hurry in helping Allah (SWT) and punishing the oppressors, while Allah (SWT) has based his actions on rules and wisdom. Therefore, the Prophets and their successors made effort to train people with increasing their understanding and intellect. They taught people to fulfil their personal and social obligations, and leave the affairs in the care of Allah (SWT) while waiting for relief.
Hence, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) and the Ahl-Ul-Bayt (PBUT) have emphasized the importance of avoiding hurry and rush in regards with the reappearance of Imam Mahdi(PBUH) and praised those who wait and have patience in several narrations. Some examples of such narrations are as follows:
1- Imam Sadiq (PBUH) has told Muhazzam about avoiding hurry in regards with the matter of reappearance:” … Rushing to take the government will lead people to destruction. However, Allah will not hurry due to people’s hurry. Rather this matter (ruling of Imam Mahdi (PBUH)) has a set time. Before that time, the affairs of people will not be hastened or postponed a second” (1).
2- Amir al-Mu’minin, Imam Ali (PBUH) has advised people to wait by saying,” Await the relief, and do not be disappointed from the mercy of Allah; because the best of deeds with Allah (SWT) is awaiting the relief. As long as faithful person is awaiting our affair, it is as if he is rolling in his blood in the way of Allah (SWT)”(2).
Also, Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH) has quoted the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) who said,” The best act of worship is awaiting the relief” (3).
As for the reward of the patient ones at the end of time, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) has said to his companions,” A group of people will come after you whose individuals will be rewarded as much as fifty people among you”. The companions asked,” O Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP)! We have accompanied you in the battles of Badr, Uhud, and Hunayin; and the Holy Quran has been revealed about us”. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) replied,” If what falls upon them while they have patience would fall upon you, you would have not kept patient like them” (4).
Indeed, rush and hurry is undesirable in any matter, and would lead to failure. The matter of reappearance is no exclusion for this general rule. The means to this goal is patience and waiting. Nevertheless, one important point in this regards is that avoiding hurry about the reappearance of the saviour is not in conflict with praying and asking Allah (SWT) to hasten his reappearance; because Allah (SWT) provides means for every matter based on wisdom, and no event will take place unless the means are available. The matter of reappearance is similar in the sense that its occurrence has some requirements and preconditions.
The fact that we have been ordered to pray so that the reappearance would be hastened refers to hastening the fulfilment of the requirements and means. It is different from asking Allah (SWT) to hurry in this matter without any basis (5).
(The above is a selection taken from “The Encyclopedia of Imam Mahdi (PBUH)”, by Shaykh Ali Kourani (with some changes and additions))
1. Usul Kafi, vol. 1, p. 369; Al-Ghaybat al-Nu’mani, p. 369
2. Khisal, vol. 2, p. 610
3. Kamal al-Din, vol. 2, p. 287
4. Al-Ghaybat al-Tusi, p. 275; Al-Khara’ij, p. 284
5. For example, one of the requirements of the reappearance is people’s readiness. If it takes 1000 years for the people to become ready for the reappearance, praying could shorten this period. A historical incident proving this is the praying of people at the time of Moses (PBUH) and hastening of their relief, which according to Imam Sadiq (PBUH): “When the children of Israel wept, cried, and prayed to Allah (SWT), their relief happened 170 years earlier (than the specified time)”(Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 4, p. 118).