Many people have been graced with the opportunity to meet Imam Mahdi (A.S.) in
person. However, in this article we present only those anecdotes where this
special favor of Imam (A.S.) has been conferred on the religious scholars and
Muqaddas Ardbeli (a.r.)
Muqaddas Ardebeli was an
illustrious Shia scholar. It is well- known about him that whenever he used to
encounter a difficult problem which he was unable to solve, he used to go to the
tomb of Imam Ali (A.S.) and present his problem. Imam Ali (A.S.), invariably
provided the solution.
One of the students of Allama Ardebeli who was following his teacher closely
states: "It was near midnight when being tired of studying, I was strolling in
the courtyard of the shrine of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibne Abi Talib (A.S.). In
the luminous night, when all the doors of the sanctum were locked, I saw a
person coming towards the tomb of Ali (A.S.). For a moment, I thought that it
was a thief who intended to commit a robbery. I followed him. But when he
reached the main door, to my utter amazement, the door swung open and the
padlock opened by itself in welcome. He continued to move towards the grave and
whenever he neared a door, it opened by itself till he entered the sanctum of
Ameerul Momineen (A.S.) in a grand manner. He stood there and saluted the Imam (A.S.).
He received the reply to his salutations and commenced the conversation. When
the dialogue ended, he emerged and headed towards the mosque of Kufa. I fol衍owed
him in order to get to the bottom of the mystery. When he reached the mosque of
Kufa, he entered the Mihrab (niche of prayers where the Imam stands) and began
to con赳erse with someone in a subdued voice. After the conversation was over, he
came out of the mosque and walked back to Najaf al-Ashraf. It was almost dawn
when he was near the gate of the twin city. Suddenly, I felt like sneezing and
though I tried my best to suppress it, I could not. The person ahead of me
turned around and came towards me. On a closer look, I recognized him to be my
honorable teacher, the great scholar Ayatullah Muqaddas-e-Ardebeli.
After conveying my salaam to him, I said, "From the time, you entered the Holy
Mausoleum till now, I have been following you. I beg to know with whom were you
talking at the mausoleum of Imam Ali (A.S.) and the mosque of Kufa?"
Muqaddas Ardebeli first put me under an oath not to disclose this se苞ret till he
was alive. Then proceeded to tell me that whenever he came across a difficult
problem in Islamic laws which he could not solve, he used to present this query
to Imam Ali Ibne Abi Talib (A.S.) and obtain the solution for the same. Last
night, Ali (A.S.) directed me to contact Hazrat Sahibuz Zamaan (A.S.) and said,
"My son Mahdi (A.S.) is at the Mosque of Kufa. He is the Imam of your time. Go
to him and seek the solution of your problem."
Obeying the order of Ali (A.S.), I went to the Kufa mosque and found Hazrat
Sahibul Amr standing in the Mihrab. I presented my prob衍em to my Master and
received the solution. (Al-Anwaar un-Nomaniya, Vol. 2, pg. 303)
Sheikh Murtuza Ansari
After the demise of
Ayatullah al-Uzma Haaj Sheikh Muhammad Hasan Najafi (r.a.) (the author of al-Jawaahir)
the people considered Sheikh Murtuza Ansari as the Marja-e-Taqleed (the most
learned Mujtahid to be followed).
Consequently, they requested him to compile his Tauzeeh al-Masail (book of
Islamic Law). Upon this he said: "I refuse to accept this great position because
Sayyidul Ulama (the chief of the learned), Ayatullah Mazandarani is yet amongst
us. He is more learned than me and resides at Babel . Thus I cannot compile my
own Tauzeeh al-Masail."
Sheikh Murtuza Ansari (r.a.) wrote a letter to Sayyid ul Ulama requesting him to
come to Najaf al-Ashraf so that he may assume control and supervision of the
Shia institutes of learning.
Sayyidul Ulama replied to Sheikh Ansari: "It is true that when I was at Najaf
al-Ashraf, I used to be more knowledgeable in jurispru苓ence when I held debates
with you. But I have settled down in Babel for quite some time. I do not
participate in classes nor do I teach any more. I have also stopped all kinds of
debates and discussions. Hence, I consider you more learned and eli茆ible for
this position and request you to ac苞ept the same."
Despite this communi苞ation, Sheikh Murtuza Ansari refused to accept the position
of Marja-e-Taqleed and thought to himself, "If my Master, Hazrat Imam
Wali-al-Asr gives me the permission and bestows favor upon me by appointing me
to this post, I shall accept it."
One day Sheikh Ansari was delivering a lecture to his students. A stranger
entered the gathering. He seemed to be of a noble and dignified lineage. The
Sheikh welcomed him with re貞pect. The stranger posed a question to Sheikh Ansari
in the presence of his students,
"What is the order for a woman whose husband has transformed into any other form
(Maskh)?" (Maskh is the transformation of a human being into a stone, plant or
an animal. This type of punishment was prevalent in the age of Prophets prior to
Holy Prophet [s.a.w.a.]).
Since this type of punishment has not been decreed for the people of this age,
we do not find this problem in any of the books of Islamic Law.
Sheikh Ansari answered, "As this question is not mentioned in the books of
jurisprudence, I am unable to reply."
"But suppose such an eventuality does occur, then what would be the duty of the
woman whose husband has undergone transforma負ion?" the stranger persisted.
At this Sheikh Ansari replied, "My opinion (Fatwa) is that a woman whose husband
has turned into an animal should observe iddah of divorce and after this period,
she can remarry. It is because her husband is still alive and has a soul intact.
As for the woman whose husband has turned into a dead object, must observe the
iddah of death (of hus苑and). She can marry only after this iddah. This is due to
the fact that her husband has turned into a dead thing and should be consid苟red
Upon hearing this gentleman said, "You are a Mujtahid! You are a Mujtahid! You
are a Mujtahid!"
Then he got up and went out of the gath苟ring. Sheikh Ansari realized that it was
none but Hazrat Imam Wali-e-Asr (A.S.) and that he (A.S.) has given him his
express permission to become Maraja-e-Taqleed. He told his students to search
for this gentleman. The students rushed out, looked for him every趴here but
without success. After this Sheikh Ansari agreed to compile his laws of Shariah
so that people could follow him (i.e. do his Taqleed). (Ganjeena-e-Danishmandan,
During the time of Allamah Hilli, a Sunni scholar had written a book against the
Shia faith. This scholar used quotes from his book in all his gatherings and
succeeded in creating a dislike for Shiaism amongst the people. He never gave
this book to anybody lest it might fall into the hands of the Shia scholars who
would write its refutation.
Allamah Hilli began to attend the lectures of this scholar so that he could
somehow lay his hands on that book. Gradually he began to call himself the
author's student and concealed his faith. After sometime, he developed a close
affinity with his 'teacher'. Taking advantage of this proximity, Allamah Hilli
asked him for the book and pleaded to such an extent that he could not refuse.
So he said, "Okay, I shall lend you this book but not for more than a night."
With not much to choose, he considered it an opportunity better than nothing. He
wanted to copy as much as he could while the refutation could be written later.
But when it was midnight , Allamah Hilli felt sleepy. At that very moment, a
dignified personality entered his room and conversed with him for some time. The
gentleman offered to copy the book while Allamah Hilli took some rest. The
Allamah accepted this without protest and went to sleep. When he woke up, he
found the gentleman missing. On seeing the book, he saw that the whole book had
been copied and signed at the bottom, "The Proof of Allah wrote this."
(Majaalisul Momineen, vol. 1, pg. 573, by Qazi Nurullah Shustari)
Imam Zaman (a.s.) and Shaikh-e-Mufeed (r.a.)
If we turn the pages of
history we will find numerous examples of personalities who have enlivened Islam
through their sacrifices of life and wealth. One such personality is Abu
Abdullah Muhammad Haaris Akbari famous as Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.). Mufeed implies
the one who benefits others. He was born approximately seven years after the
commencement of Ghaibat-e-Kubra in the month of Zilqad, 336 A.H. in the north of
Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) with the help of his vast knowledge passed through various
difficulties and welcomed all the obstacles that came his way with a smile. He
sipped real recognition from the ocean of Wilayat and quenched the thirst of the
followers of Wilayat. He was attached to the infallible Imam (a.s.) and the
Shias benefited immensely from him. This man of medium height and wheatish
complexion had a ready solution for problems of a religious, ethical and social
nature. It is because of this that he had become a thorn in the eyes of his
opponents. At the age of 40 years, he shouldered the great responsibility of
defending the Shiite creed. It was an era when Greek and Hindu philosophies were
rupturing the fabric of traditional Islam.
Twisted beliefs and concocted views were finding their way into the realm of
Islam. The enemies of Allah had prepared the groundwork to extinguish the light
of truth. In such a situation, how could the one who was given the title of 'Mufeed'
by Imam Zamana (a.t.f.s.) and who was the fifth descendant of Janabe Saeed b.
Jubair (a companion of Imam Baqir (a.s.)) sit quiet while ignorance and
deviation were raising their heads and corrupt beliefs and views were gaining
ascendancy as were the Sufis seated in their shelters (Khaneqaa)?
Expectedly, he lived up to his title 'Mufeed' and with the help of Allah and His
Proof (Hujjat) he laid low the false, corrupt beliefs and nonsensical
philosophies through his penetrative writings, teachings and training of
students for debates.
He rescued the people from deviation and invited them towards the religion of
Allah which was manifested through the teachings of Ahlul Bait (a.s.). In this
manner many deviated sects received guidance. May be this was the reason why
Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) called him 'Mufeed'as he was a helper for Imam (a.t.f.s.)
and a source of joy for people.
The above possibility is proved through various Tawqees (signedletters) from
Imam (a.t.f.s.) to Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.).
But have we ever pondered why Imam (a.t.f.s.) referred to him by the title 'Mufeed'?
Why he received so many letters from Imam (a.t.f.s.)?
Why Imam (a.t.f.s.) in his letter remembers Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) respectfully
and calls him as his 'sincere friend'?
The answers to these questions manifest for us the remarkable personality of
Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.).
The respect of Imam (a.t.f.s.) for Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) was the result of his
memorable services for which he surrendered his entire existence. For the
satisfaction of the Imam of his time, he willingly accepted all the difficulties
so as to be enumerated among his(a.t.f.s.) servants. He was engulfed in his love
for Imam (a.t.f.s.) in such a way that the flames of this attachment killed his
desire for the world and its allurements.
In the eyes of Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.), everything paled in significance to Allah
and His Proof (a.t.f.s.). His heart was a dwelling of the love and remembrance
of Imam (a.t.f.s.); it did not have any place for worldly desires. He considered
all his small and big works, his behavior (ethics) and speech as the scale of
love and satisfaction of Imam Zamana (a.t.f.s.). He never desired anything other
than this. All his efforts and services were for the satisfaction of Imam of the
time and for propagating the beliefs of religion to the Shias with weak faith.
His life was based on the saying of Imam Sadiq (a.s.):
"Our scholars are an obstacle for Shaitan to reach the weak and helpless Shias.
Know that whoever rises from our Shias for this is better than a Mujahid who
fights in difficult conditions against the enemies. A Mujahid (only) protects
the physical boundaries of people but they (scholars) protect the religion."
With his untiring efforts in the path of Imam Zamana (a.t.f.s.), Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.)
merits inclusion among Allah's best creatures. We find in traditions:
'The best and most superior of all people after us are those who enliven our
affairs and invite people towards our remembrance."
This is the reason that Imam (a.t.f.s.) holds him in such high esteem and lauds
Imam (a.t.f.s.) in his first letter to Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) addresses him:
'This letter is for my brother and friend Abu Abdullah Mohammed b.Noman (Shaikh
Mufeed) - May Allah keep him respected - May Allah's Peace be on you, you have
adorned yourself with our friendship through sincerity and love and have
preceded the rest in faith and belief...We are thankful to Allah for the
bounties of your existence. And pray to Allah that He sends his mercy on our
Master Hazrat Muhammad b.Abdillah (s.a.w.a.) and his Ahlul Bait (a.s.). For
helping the truth and striving to help our friends, Allah has rewarded you and
has given us permission to correspond with you.'
'It is your responsibility that you convey our message and commands to our Shias
- May Allah give them taufeeq of His Obedience and safeguard them in His
In the last Tawqi, Imam (a.t.f.s.) wrote:'Know that your actions should be such
which bring you closer to us and refrain from sins that are a cause of our
dissatisfaction. O Shaikh Mufeed! May Allah inspire you with success and
guidance through the unseen.'(Ehtejaaj, vol. 2, pg. 597, Behaarul Anwaar, vol.
53, pg. 175)
The Tawqis which have been addressed to Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) by Imam(a.s.) have
been compiled by scholars in their books viz. Shaikh Tabarsi (r.a.) in Ehtejaaj,
Qazi Nurullah Shustari (r.a.) in Majaalisul Momineen, Allamah Sayyed Bahrul
Uloom (r.a.) in Rejaal, Sayyed Muhammed Baqir Khunsari (r.a.) in Rauzaatul
Jannaat, Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) in Behaarul Anwaar, Allamah Muhaddisse Noori (r.a.)
in Mustadrakil Wasaail and Shaikh Abdullah Maamqaani (r.a.) in Tanqeehul Maqaal
and Mirza Muhammed Tankaabuni (r.a.) in Qasasul Ulamaa.
Mirza Muhammed Tankaabuni (r.a.) has recorded a Tawqi which is based on a
strange incident. Over here we have extracted only the relevant portion from the
incident. Marhum Tankaabuni narrates, "A person from the suburbs of Baghdad
approached Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) to seek the solution of a vexing problem. He
asked, "A pregnant woman has expired but her child is alive in the womb, what do
you say? Should the foetus be removed through surgery or be buried along with
Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) replied, "Bury the mother along with the foetus."On getting
the reply, the man left for his village. On the way, a horse rider crossed his
path. He asked the man to halt and said, 'Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) has said that the
foetus should be removed from the womb through surgery and then the woman be
The person accepted it and acted on it.
After some time, the man came to Baghdad and narrated the incident to Shaikh
Mufeed (r.a.). Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) said, 'I did not send anybody with this
edict. It seems that the person was Imam-e-Asr(a.t.f.s.) (who gave the edict)'.
Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) says, "After this (wrong edict) I am not capable of giving
edicts and undertaking the responsibility of Marjaeyyat. After that day I closed
the doors of my house and told the people to no longer seek solutions of their
problems from me. It was not long before I received a letter from Imam
(a.t.f.s.) in which he (a.t.f.s.) wrote:"You give edicts, we will save you from
mistakes and errors. We will not desert you to commit mistakes.'"
In this manner, Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) by the order of Imam (a.t.f.s.) shouldered
the responsibility of Marjaeyyat and recommenced solving the problems of the
At the end we can only beseech our beloved Imam - O son of Prophet! O son of
Zahra! We lack the spirituality of Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.). We do not love you with
the same intensity. On the contrary, we are immersed in sins from head to toe.
Help us to love you. O our Master! Help us, look at us, to enable us toe walk on
the Straight Path.
Allama Majlisi & Sahifa Sajjadia
The Arabic text of the Sahifat al-kamila which forms the basis
for the translation was established by al-Shahid al-Awwal. The modern Iranian
editions are based mainly on the version of this text transmitted by the father
of the above-mentioned Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, Mulla Muhammad Taqi Majlisi (d.
1070/1659-60), also an important scholar of the Safavid period. and another son,
Mulla `Abd Allah (d. c. 1084/1673); but at least one of these editions goes back
to the famous Safavid jurist, philosopher, architect, poet, and mathematician
Shaykh-i Baha'i (d. 1031/1621-2). The elder Majlisi had at his disposal numerous
manuscripts of the text, which he had received from the foremost Shi'ite
authorities of his day. In one of his works he refers to all the chains of
transmission by which he had received the Sahifa, and, we are told, these number
more than a million.
The question naturally arises as to why Majlisi chose the particular chain of
transmission mentioned in the preface out of the many he had at his disposal,
especially since the chain itself is exceedingly weak (as indicated by the
commentators and recorded in the notes to the translation). The reason for this
seems to be the accuracy of this particular version going back to al-Shahid al-Awwal,
as confirmed by another 'special' route through which Majlisi received the
Sahifa. This special route is worth mentioning in detail, since it provides a
good example of the aura which has surrounded the text in Shi'ite circles.
One day, lying in bed half asleep, Majlisi saw himself in the courtyard of the 'Atiq
mosque in Isfahan, and before him stood the Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam. Majlisi
asked him about a number of scholarly problems which he had not been able to
solve, and the Mahdi explained their solutions. Then Majlisi asked him for a
book which he could put into practice, and the Mahdi directed him to seek out
Mawlana Muhammad al-Taj. In his vision Majlisi found the book, and it appeared
to be a book of supplications. Waking up, he saw that his hand was empty, and he
wept until morning at his loss. At daybreak it occurred to him that perhaps the
Mahdi had meant Shaykh Muhammad Mudarris, calling him by the title `Taj' (the
`crown') because he was so famous among the scholars.
Hence he went to see Shaykh Muhammad, and, entering his circle, saw that he held
a copy of the Sahifa in his hand. He went forward and recounted his vision to
Shaykh Muhammad, who interpreted it to mean that he would reach high levels of
gnostic and visionary knowledge. But Majlisi was not satisfied with this
explanation, and he wandered around the bazaar in perplexity and sorrow. Upon
reaching the melon market, he met a pious old man known as Aqa Hasan, whom the
people called, Taja (`Crown'). Majlisi greeted him, and Aqa Hasan called to him
and said that he had a number of books which were consecrated for religious
purpose (waqfi) but that he did not trust most of the students to put them to
proper use. `Come', he said, `and take whichever of these books which you think
you can put into practice.'
Entering Aqa Hasan's library, Majlisi immediately saw the book he had seen in
his dream, so he said: `This is enough for me.' It was a copy of the Sahifa. He
then went back to Shaykh Muhammad and began collating his newly acquired copy
with that of Shaykh Muhammad; both of them had been made from the manuscript of
al-Shahid al-Awwal. In short, Majlisi tells us that the authenticity of his copy
of the Sahifa was confirmed by the Mahdi himself
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