Major Occultation

From WikiShia
Jump to: navigation, search
Priority: b, Quality: b Without references
Shi'a
Usul al-Din (Beliefs)
Main Beliefs TawhidProphethoodResurrection'AdlImamate
Other Beliefs 'IsmaWilayaMahdawiyya: Occultation (Minor Occultation, Major Occultation), Intizar, Zuhur, and Raj'aBada'
Furu' al-Din (Practical Orders)
'Ibadi Orders PrayerFastingKhumsZakatHajjJihad
Non-'Ibadi Orders Forbidding the EvilEnjoining the GoodTawalliTabarri
Sources of Ijtihad Qur'anSunnaReasonIjma'
Ethics
Virtues ForgivenessGenerosityGenerous help
Vices Greater SinsKibr'UjbGhururJealousy
Sources Nahj al-BalaghaAl-Sahifa al-SajjadiyyaLetter of Imam 'Ali to Imam al-Hasan
Challenging Issues
Succession of the Prophet (s)Shafa'aTawassulTaqiyyaMourningMut'aCompanions
Figures
Shi'a Imams Imam 'Ali (a)Imam al-Hasan (a)Imam al-Husayn (a)Imam al-Sajjad (a)Imam al-Baqir (a)Imam al-Sadiq (a)Imam al-Kazim (a)Imam al-Rida (a)Imam al-Jawad (a)Imam al-Hadi (a)Imam al-'Askari (a)Imam al-Mahdi (a)
Companions

Men: HamzaJa'far b. Abi TalibSalman al-FarsiMiqdad b. AswadAbudhar al-Ghifari'Ammar YasirMalik al-AshtarMuhammad b. Abi Bakr'Aqil'Uthman b. HunayfAbu Ayyub al-AnsariJabir b. 'Abd Allah al-AnsariIbn 'Abbas'Abd Allah b. Ja'farKhuzayma b. ThabitBilalYasir

Women: KhadijaLady Fatima (a)ZaynabUmm KulthumAsma' bt. 'UmaysUmm AymanUmm Salama
Scholars LitterateursScholars of UsulPoetsScholars of RijalFaqihsPhilosophersBibliographersExegetes
Shrines
Mecca: Al-Masjid al-Haram
Medina: Al-Masjid al-NabawiAl-Baqi'
Al-Quds: Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa
Najaf: Shrine of Imam 'Ali (a)Masjid al-Kufa
Karbala: Shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a)
Kadhimiya: Shrine of al-Kazimayn (a)
Samarra: Shrine of al-'Askariyyayn (a)
Mashhad: Shrine of Imam al-Rida (a)
Damascus: Zaynabiyya
Qom: Shrine of Lady Fatima al-Ma'suma
Shiraz: Shah Chiragh
Rey: Shrine of 'Abd al-'Azim al-Hasani
Eids
Eid al-FitrEid al-AdhaEid al-GhadirMab'athProphet's birthdayImams' birthdays
Mournings
FatimiyyaMuharram (Mournings of Muharram), Tasu'a, 'Ashura and Arba'in)
Events
MubahalaEvent of GhadirEvent of Saqifa Bani Sa'idaFadakEvents of Lady Fatima's HouseBattle of JamalBattle of SiffinBattle of NahrawanEvent of KarbalaHadith al-ThaqalaynAshab al-Kisa'Tathir VerseKilling Shi'as
Literature
Qur'anNahj al-balaghaal-Sahifa al-SajjadiyyaThe Four Books: (al-Istibsaral-KafiTahdhib al-ahkamKitab man la yahduruh al-faqih) • Mushaf of Fatima (a)Mushaf Imam 'Ali (a)Asrar-i Al-i Muhammad (s)Wasa'il al-Shi'aBihar al-anwaral-GhadirMafatih al-jinanMajma' al-bayanal-MizanOther Books
Sects
Ithna 'AshariyyaIsma'iliyyaZaydiyyaKaysaniyya

The Major Occultation (Arabic:الغَيبَة الکُبری) is a term for the period of Imam al-Mahdi's (a) hidden life after the Minor Occultation. This period started from 329/940-941 and continues until today. In this period, Shi'as are not in direct contact with the Imam (a), and the leadership of the community rests with religious scholars.

The Beginning of the Major Occultation

From the beginning of his imamate in 260/874, Imam al-Mahdi (a) limited his contacts with the Shi'a to the relations through his specific deputies, the last of whom was 'Ali b. Muhammad al-Samuri who passed away in Sha'ban 15th 329/May 15th 941. He received the following letter from the Imam (a), one week before his death:

"O 'Ali b. Muhammad al-Samuri! May God reward your brothers for [being patient about] your loss, because you will pass away after six days. So prepare yourself, and do not designate anyone as your successor after your death, because the absolute occultation has occurred. There will be no appearance until God gives permission, and that will be after a long time when the hearts are hardened and the world is filled with injustice. Some of my followers will claim to have seen me, but know that whoever claims to have seen me before the uprising of the al-Sufyani and the heavenly cry he is indeed a liar and a slanderer."

In this way, after the demise of al-Samuri, contacts with the Imam (a) through specific deputies ended and a new phase of occultation started, which was called the Major Occultation in later sources.

Most Shi'a sources mention 329/940-941 as the year in which the fourth deputy passed away, but al-Shaykh al-Saduq and al-Fadl b. al-Hasan al-Tabrisi have recorded the year 318/930-931.

The Role of the Imam in the Period of the Major Occultation

According to Shi'i beliefs, although the Imam (a) is in occultation, the world is receiving the blessings of his existence. The world needs the Imam (a) as the Proof of God for the continuation of its being. The Imam (a) not only has legislative wilaya but also existential wilaya over the world. This is why some major Shi'i hadith collections have a section entitled "On the Imams being the pillars of the earth."

As 'Allama Tabataba'i explains, the Imam's tasks are not limited to interpreting Islamic teachings and instructing people, but more importantly include his spiritual wilaya, that is, leading the people and their deeds towards God, for which task physical presence or absence is irrelevant.

Meeting with the Imam (a) During the Occultation

According to the Imam's last letter to al-Samuri, if someone claims before the uprising of al-Sufyani or the heavenly cry to have seen the Imam (a), he is a liar. The interpretation of this hadith has been a matter of discussion among the Shi'a, and there have been different viewpoints among them as to the possibility of meeting the Imam (a) during his occultation.

Those Who Have Allegedly Met the Imam

In different Shi'i sources, several stories have been recorded regarding the people who have been able to meet the Imam (a) in the period of the Major Occultation. Some of the most well-known stories include the stories of the meeting of 'Allama al-Hilli, Bahr al-'Ulum, Isma'il Hirqali, Hajj 'Ali al-Baghdadi, and 'Ali b. Ibrahim b. Mahziyar. These stories are narrated in Bihar al-anwar and Mafatih al-jinan and works like al-Najm al-thaqib.

General Deputyship

After the demise of the fourth specific deputy in 329/940-941, Imam al-Mahdi (a) did not appoint any other specific deputies. In this way, all direct contacts between the Imam (a) and the people were cut. According to hadiths related to the occultation--including the one in which the Imam (a) refers people to religious scholars with regard to worldly and religious matters--religious scholars and jurists are generally introduced as the deputies of the Imam (a) in this period.

References

  • The material for writing this article has been mainly taken from غیبت کبرا in Farsi wikishia.