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Benefits of a Hidden Imam
One may wonder what benefit a hidden Imam would have. There are many narrations by the Prophet [s] and the Imams [a] which portray the benefit of the hidden twelfth Imam [atf] by comparing him to the sun that is sheltered behind the clouds. Even though the sun may be covered by the clouds, it nonetheless carries out its essential task and offers its benefits. Simply because the sun is covered by the clouds does not mean that it does not exist, and it would be foolish for one to claim that it does not exist. We come to know of the existence of the sun when it is covered by its various effects, such as its light, the warmth it gives, and other functions that it has.  Similarly, while the Imam is hidden we are nevertheless subjected to his rays of mercy, and he imparts us and all of creation with his innumerable benefits.

First, through his mere existence and presence on the earth, Allah [swt] continues to sustain us and avert punishment away from us, just as the presence of the Prophet [s] was a protection for the people from Allah [swt]’s punishment (refer to 8:33 of the Holy Qur’an).

Second, Imam Al-Mahdi [atf], as he himself has declared, protects his followers from all efforts to destroy and eradicate them. If we look at the history of the Shias, it is indeed a miracle that till this very day they have survived despite the countless attempts by various governments and groups to eliminate them. Even today in many countries Shias are persecuted, and there are deliberate attempts to squash them.

Third, Imam Al-Mahdi [atf] guides the scholars and leaders of his followers. For example, throughout history, there are many instances of Imam Al-Mahdi [atf] rectifying the rulings (fatwas) of prominent scholars, such as the account of Shaykh Al-Mufeed. He had made a mistake in a religious ruling, but the Imam corrected it on his behalf and later he learned that.

Fourth, the mere presence of a leader and guide, although in occultation, serves to keep the followers motivated. Assume that a group endears its very charismatic and powerful leader. Due to bigotry and persecution, their leader is imprisoned for life. There is a big difference between the leader’s mere presence in the prison and his death. The group will continue to draw its inspiration and motivation from the imprisoned leader. Our hidden twelfth Imam, through his mere existence, is a source of inspiration for us to continue our efforts in the face of difficult and modern challenges.


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کتابنامه

کتاب «مهدیان دروغین» تألیف حجت‌الاسلام رسول جعفریان منتشر و روانه بازار شد. دانشیار دانشگاه تهران در این کتاب به تقسیم حوزه‌های مختلف جغرافیایی دنیای اسلام پرداخته و مهدیان دروغین در مناطق و دوره‌های مختلف تاریخ را معرفی کرده است.

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