'Dua' means 'to call or to seek help'. 'Nudba' means to cry or wail. The Shia books of traditions lay great stress upon 'Dua'. Dua is the weapon of the believer, the essence of belief and the connection between the Creator of the universe and his slaves. One of the treasure of Duas is a pearl, known as Dua-e-Nudba.
It is an important and authentic Dua. It's deep meaning penetrates to the depths of the heart. This is enough proof that these are not the words of an ordinary person. They are uttered by the personality who has connection with the celestial world (Aalam-e-Malakoot). Allamah Muhammad Baqir Majlisi (r.a.) has quoted this Dua in 'Zaad-ul-Maad' from Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq (a.s.).
It is for the Imam of the time. And Muhammad bin Ali bin Abi Khura has quoted this dua from the book of Muhammad bin Husain bin Sufyan Bazoofari, from Imam-e-Asr. Apart from this, great Shia scholar Sayed Raziuddin bin Tawoos has mentioned it in his book, "Iqbal" on page no.295 to 299. Muhammad bin Jafar Mashadi Haeri has recorded it in book Al-Mazaan (Dua no.107). Qutb Rawandi in Al-Mazaar also records it and so does Allamah Majlisi in 'Zaad-ul-Maad' and 'Beeharul Anwaar'. Shaykh Abbas Qummi too has narrated it in his book, 'Mafatihul Janan'.
Let us see how the magnificent personality of Imam-e-Asr (a.s.) is introduced in this Dua:"Where is the Last Proof of Allah. The one who is a link of the chain of guidance of the purified progeny of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) without whose presence this system cannot remain?"
The word 'Baqiyatullah' is used here. It is from the verse of the Holy Quran"What remains with Allah is better for you if you are believers."(Surah Hud, Verse 86)
It is evident that the world cannot be bereft of the Proof of Allah. And the one from the progeny of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) remaining of this earth is only our Imam Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.). It is reported in the traditions,"If the Proof of Allah is not present the earth will sink."The earth is still remaining as it was. This proves the existence of a divine proof.
"Where is the One who will exterminate the followers of injustice ?"
Beginning from this sentence to the end of this article are various prophecies regarding Imam Mahdi (a.s.). The point to be noted here is that Imam-e-Zaman (a.s.) will not at all tolerate any kind of injustice. Whether it is the injustice against one's own self i.e. sin or it is against the rights of someone else. Because the last representative of Allah is to establish the scales of justice and equity.
Husain ibn Khalid says that he asked Imam Ali Ibne Musa Al-Reza (a.s.):"O son of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) who is the 'Qaem' (one who will rise) among you, the Ahle Bait (a.s.)?" He replied, "Qaem is my fourth lineal descendant. Son of the chief of the maids of Allah (Janab Narjis Khatoon). Allah will through him purify the earth from injustice and tyranny. And when he would reappear the earth will be illuminated by his radiance (light). He will establish scales of justice among the people. Thus no one will oppress anyone."
"Where is that venerated personality who is awaited to correct all kinds of weaknesses and vices?" Unlike the other sects of Islam, it is the Shias of today who are distancing themselves from (religious) knowledge. Personal opinions are given the garb of religious authenticity. Personal view points are expressed as the elements of Islamic doctrine. And we accept all these without testing their authenticity and credibility. The learned scholars are stunned, the Maraaje stupefied. Not knowing what to do. A believer is being degraded and we are amused by it.
People of loose morals, the wealthy and rich are giving opinions regarding religious matters, and we are prepared to offer them co-operation. The school of Aale Muhammad (a.s.) is sidelined by the surrounding vices and evil deeds and we are immersed in the sleep of carelessness. What could be worse than this sloth and betrayal of religion. Seeing all these bad deeds of us all, a believer man fervently prays to Allah, "O Lord! where is Your last representative whom you have given the good news. And waiting for whom is prescribed as the best form of worship.
Send him among us urgently so that he can correct the weaknesses and the wrong ways of humanity and the religion from the society. These shortcomings and vices which are the causes of the sorry state of the believers.
'Where is the one who is the abode of hope, one who will put an end to the oppression and injustice?" The word used in the metaphor means that in which hope is reposed. When the people of the world would be disappointed by each and every kind of government they will have only one last hope. This hope is the hope in the institution of Imamat or in the meritorious personality of Imam-e-Zaman (a.s.).
"Where is the treasure (of Allah), one who will rejuvenate the obligatory commands and the recommended one?" Yes, Imam-e-Asr (a.s.) is that treasure whom Allah has held back so that when the obligatory commands and the recommended actions are diseased by the germs of doubts, objections and misunderstandings, Imam (a.s.) will reappear and enable it, to have a purified life. After this, the Islamic commands, optional and obligatory, would be carried out in the correct form and with sincerity. The belief would be so much purified that no one would dare to ignore any religious command, either obligatory or recommended.
"Where is the One who is chosen to impart a new life to the Islamic world and to rejuvenate the Shariat law of Mustafa (s.a.w.a.)?" His reappearance will imbibe a new life in the Islamic world. The shariat would be followed correctly. There would be neither discord nor any disagreement. The following verse would be fully acted upon:"And Hold fast by the Covenant of Allah altogether and be not divided."(Surah Ale Imran, Verse 102)
"Where is the one, who, it is hoped, will revive the Quran and its laws ?"
True, when Imam-e-Zaman (a.s.) would explain the ambiguous verses in the light of the unambiguous or the clear ones. At this time people of the world would become aware as to who are the ones "firmly rooted in knowledge".Who is the repository of all the knowledge of all the "land" and the "seas"? At this time the world would listen to the commentary of the manifest book by the manifested light. The divine mufassir (exegist of the Quran) would be listened to with attention and whole heartedly believed upon.
"Where is the One who will enliven the Islamic sciences and the teachers of religious education?"In the last part of the time, the religious scholars and the Islamic knowledge are looked down on. The influence of wealth and self and power is stronger. In such a corrupted atmosphere the successor of Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) would expound the meaning of the tradition,"I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate."
'Where is the One who would destroy oppression and tyranny of the oppressors?"
"Where is the One who will raise the edifices of polytheism and hypocrisy to the ground?"
Today the monotheistic world is attacked by all sorts of doubts and misunderstandings. Polytheism and hypocrisy are on the look out to revile Islam and obliterate its name from the world, so that the people would begin to detest its name. But according to the divine promise all the evil designs of the satans will be useless. The promise is as follows:
"He is the One who sent His Prophet with guidance and the true religion, that He may make it overcome the religions, all of them, though the polytheist may be averse."(Surah Saff, Verse 9)
Moreover only the worship of the true God shall remain. Our Imam would study the intention of the people and give his judgment. So if any hypocrite thinks that he is living in the 1st century of Islam, he would be absolutely degraded."Where is the One who will destroy those who transgress and commit evil, those who are immersed in sins and those
who raise their heads (against the affair of Allah?).
"Where is the One who will distend the branches of misguidance and disputes?"
"Where is the Destroyer of the signs of (evil) disease and egoistic tendencies?"
In the government of the Imam (a.s.) no one will be able to carry with him the diseases of hatred, malice and hostility. Nor will anyone be able to follow his selfish desires. First Imam (a.s.) will try to correct these people but if they still do not improve then Imam (a.s.) will put an end to their existence.
"Where is the severer of the ropes of falsehood and calumniation?"
These will no place for falsehood, deceit and cunning in the government of Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.). It will be a rule whose foundation has been laid by Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s.). The only difference would be that in this government there would be no place for people like Talha and Zubair.
"Where is the Destroyer of the vicious and disobedient people?"
The quality of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) that will become apparent after the reappearance will be to put to sword anyone who dares to disobey Allah as also the traitors and the transgressors. For in his government only the Quranic law and the divine commands will be followed. No one will be able to offer any excuses.
"Where is the Eradicator of the followers of obstinacy and misguidance and the renegade?"
"Where is the One who honors the friends and degrades the enemy ?"
The word Awliya (friend) in this sentence is taken from ‘Maula’ (master). Thus whoever accepts the mastership of Imam (a.s.), will be honored by him (Imam (a.s.)). But whosoever does not, he will have to face degradation.
"Where is the Accumulator of the words of piety?"
The term 'Kalima' (word) is also used in the Quran to mean people. For eg. Hazrat Isa (a.s.) is mentioned as 'Kalima'. In other words the companions and the helpers of Imam-e-Asr (a.s.) will be only the pious and abstentious ones. Not those who are sinful and disobedient. As the Quran has declared: "The hereafter is only for those who guard (against evil).
"Where is the Gate of Allah through which all should enter ?"
It means that whoever wishes to enter the world of knowledge and faith then he should do so only through the door of the purified Ahle Bait (a.s.). If anyone prefers for himself any other path, then he will surely be led astray.
"Where is the countenance of Allah through which the friends attend towards him?"
Every member of Holy Ahle Bait (a.s.) is a mirror of divine qualities (Face of Allah). It means the countenance of Allah. Obviously Allah does not possess a 'face' but it only means that whoever wants to turn towards Allah and wishes to have an intermediary to Allah can do so only through the Proof of Allah [Imam Mahdi (a.s.)]. Since the Imam is in occultation to have belief in him and to attend to him becomes all the more meritorious.
The following tradition of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) also supports this argument:"O Ali! In the last period there will be a people, most amazing in belief and the greatest in faith. They shall be those who will not have seen the Prophet of Allah and the Proof of Allah (Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will be hidden from them. The foundation of their belief shall be upon only certain writings."
"Where is the Means which is stretching from the earth to the sky?"
If the universe becomes bereft of the "Proof of Allah' it will be annihilated at once. For the Proof of Allah is the axis of the universe. He is that Perfect Man through whose grace the worlds derive their nourishment from the Almighty Creator (Allah).
"Where is the Master of the Day of victory and the One who will spread the flag of guidance?"
At this point the reciter of this Dua expresses a strange of melancholy that for how long does he have to bear the degradations which he has to suffer during the occupation? And when will these insults come to an end and the standard of truth raised upon the world?
"Where is the unites of the companions of virtue and divine pleasure?"
"Where is the Avenger of the blood of prophets and the children of the Prophets?"
"Where is the seeker of revenge for the blood of the martyred ones of Karbala?"
Undoubtedly, Imam (a.s.) must be weeping in sadness when he reaches this sentence. The murderers of Bam Israel used to slay up to seventy prophets in one night yet they got respite. But the tragedy of Karbala was the culmination of atrocities by the accursed Yazeed. The like of which is not to be found in the history of mankind. We all weep when these incidents are related to us by the fallible speakers. But the infallible Imam (a.s.) himself witnesses the carnage with his tear-filled eyes. He (Imam (a.s.)) says in Ziaarat-e-Nahiya:"Then O my oppressed grandfather! Certainly I will wail for you morning and evening and I shed tears of blood for you."Doubtlessly the prime objective of Imam-e-Zarnan (a.s.) is to avenge the blood of Imam Husain (a.s.).
'Where is the Triumphant one (who will overcome) over one who transgressed against him and maligned him ?"Where is the distressed one who will be answered when he supplicates?"
It is clear from this sentence that the 'distressed one' mentioned in the following verse of Quran is Imam Mahdi (a.s.):"Or, who answers the distressed one when he calls upon Him..."(Surah Naml, Verse 62)
And he is constantly praying to Allah for us. When a common person is compelled to express pity upon the deplorable condition of the present Islam and Muslims then how much aggrieved will be that Imam who is aware of all the happenings, whether apparent or not?"Where is the president of all creatures, who is both the beneficent and God fearing?""Where is the son of the chosen (al-Mustafa) Prophet and the son of Ali-al-Murtuza?""And the son of Khadijat-ul-Gharra (the Luminous), and the son of Fatematul-Kubra (the Great)?
In this brief article we have discussed only those sentences of Dua Nudba which speak exclusively about Imam Mahdi (a.s.) After pondering over these we derive some conclusions. Foremost being that if we wish that the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) be hastened then we must recite the Dua every Friday. But it should not be only mechanical. We should recite in as if our beloved is away from us and we are restless due to his separation. In fact the purity of intention and constancy is necessary. The reappearance of Imam (a.s.) will not be only by wishing and praying. But it should be accompanied by pure intention and good deeds.
Another point that is derived is that when Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will reappear he will put an end to all kinds of injustice, oppression, falsehood, tyranny, shamelessness and devilish deeds. He will fill the earth with justice and equity. So, if any of us has any of these bad qualities we must try to correct ourselves immediately. Because Imam (a.s.) will strictly apply the divine commands and would spare none.
The third important thing is that the companions or the helpers of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) could be only those who are pious, who offer prayers regularly, follow the teachings of the Quran and obey Allah. If we do not possess these qualities then there is no place for us in the camp of the Qaem-e-Ale Muhammad (Imam Mahdi (a.s.).
Let us then resolve that we shall pray night and day for the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.). We shall do everything which takes us nearer to the Imam (a.s.). And avoid all such acts which would take us away from our Master Imam Mahdi (a.s.). So if we ponder upon this we would realize that there is no one who cares for us except this benevolent Imam. We should not dissatisfy him with our deeds. Because if our Imam (a.s.) turns away from us (disregards us) then we shall have no shelter.