Communication with Imam Mahdi (May Allah Hasten his Appearance) is a desire held within the hearts of his sincere followers. But due to the value and importance of this desire, there are those who have taken advantage of the situation in order to attain their personal goals by claiming to have contact with Imam Mahdi (PBUH). These frauds, unlike honest servants who have seen Imam Mahdi (PBUH), willingly or unwillingly have robbed naive pious believers with a thirst for the slightest news from the Imam. It is the responsibility of every believer to learn the correct methods of contact with Imam Mahdi (PBUH) and identify those who impersonate themselves as the Imam’s deputy, in order to protect themselves and the society from going astray.
Seeing Imam Mahdi (PBUH) is different from claiming to represent the Imam directly. The terms direct representation and gateway applies to someone who claims to have constant contact or receive orders from the Imam (1). Without doubt, the ability to see the Imam is not an impossible task; many have had the ability to see the Imam during his occultation. Benefiting from the Imam’s internal guidance is an obvious and accepted matter, but there is a great difference in claiming to directly represent the Imam and act as his gateway.
Dreams and claims of direct contact with the Imam and receiving advices from him are not reliable sources to define the decisions regarding the society for two reasons. Firstly because Islamic society has not been ordained to follow these claims. Secondly there is no possible way to prove the validity of dreams, and to distinguish between honest and fake claims. If this was the case, then one would be hearing multitudes of claims and new laws from around the world, each claiming to have received a message from the Imam. This would create deep inconsistencies with God’s religion, which rests on the doctrine that it will be protected, and neither would an awaiting Muslim remain safe from darkness.
Logics and religious teachings confirm that pious followers of the Imam are responsible to refute those who claim to have contact with or receive news from the Imam. (2) Refuting such frauds is an obligation, and helping such people in strengthening their claims is strongly prohibited.
How can we distinguish the pious from the frauds? Where can we learn the authentic traditions of the school of Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT)?
During the second and long occultation of Imam Mahdi (PBUH), the Imams have urged the Muslim Ummah to act according to what the righteous scholars determine. We are told to listen to pious men who act according to the religious law, and are familiar with the knowledge of Quran and Hadith. Obedience under such guidelines will help people remain alongside the Quran and the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT) by applying logical understandings of faith, and therefore gain proper execution of practices, rights, and manners.
It is also important to note that the ability to see the Imam requires special characteristics and qualifications. What is required of all of us is the creation and maintenance of a spiritual and religious connection with the Imam. This connection is formed only via humility. The practice of recommended acts along with good deeds done for Imam Mahdi (PBUH), and bestowing the reward of these acts to souls of the Ahl al Bayt’s (PBUT) are among the best ways to keep in touch with Imam Mahdi (PBUH).
We can be among the real awaiting persons of the Imam and be away from wrong beliefs by getting to a deep meaning of awaiting and acting upon our responsibilities in the age of occultation.
(The above is a selection taken from “Imam Mahdi (PBUH): The Promised Creature”, by Ayatullah Jawadi Aamuli (with some summarization and additions))
Roshd congratulates all Muslims and justice seekers, and especially you dear friend on the auspicious occasion of the 15th of Sha’ban, the birth anniversary of Imam Mahdi (PBUH), whose presence is as a fountain of life, and who calms hearts based on pious acts and satisfaction.
1. Encyclopedia of Islamic Sects, p. 88
2. According to what Imam Mahdi (PBUH) wrote in his last letter to his agent (Na’eb): “There will be people who claim to have seen me among my followers; indeed who so ever makes such a claim before the arrival of Sofyani and the call from the sky is a liar and manipulator.” (Kamal al-Din, vol. 2, p. 193 – al-Ihtejaj, vol. 2, p. 556 with minor differences)