The Ghaibat of His Eminence, the Master of the age (atfs) is a necessary thing and His Eminence is not needless of it. We shall discuss those factors that rendered it an absolute necessity.
1. Fear of tyrannical Abbaside regime
When Abbaside rulers gained power they initiated the worst of atrocities and tortures on the Holy Imams (a.s). Basically, they considered the school of Ahle Bayt (a.s)
and anyone who was their adherents to be eligible for extreme pressure and restrictions. They were thrown into horrible prisons.
Dibil Khuzai says: “The oppression of Bani Abbas has covered everything and no one was secure from its oppression.”
Amirul Momineen, Imam Ali (a.s) said: “Calamities reach our Shias more swiftly than water reaches a low-lying land.”
The greater personalities from Ahlebayt (as), His Eminence, Musa bin Ja’far (a.s), who was also the leader and guide of the people had to bear the wrath of Haroon, who
suppressed social justice and cast the Holy Imam (a.s) in the dark dungeons of the prison and finally had him martyred by poison. After that his son, Imam Reza (a.s)
became engrossed in the atrocities of Mamun, the Abbaside, when he was compelled to accept the heir-apparency of Mamun. Later on, the same Mamun had him martyred through poison. After Imam Ali Reza (as), his successor, Imam Jawad (as) was poisoned by Al-Mu’tasim, which was again an Abbaside Caliph. Even Imam Hadi (as) and Imam
Askari (as) were martyred at the hands of the tyrannical Abbaside regime.
Before the 2 Imams, Imam Hadi and Imam Askari (a.s) were martyred, they were made to reside at Samarrah under house arrest. And moreover, they were surrounded by a
large army of male and female spies so that they may come to know when Imam Mahdi (a.s) is born so that he is immediately taken into custody and put to death.
Since their heart was throbbing with anxiety and fear due to the numerous reports of the Prophet of Islam (a.s) and also those of the successors among the purified
Imams (a.s), that the Awaited Imam is the last caliph of the Messenger of Allah (a.s) and that he is the one who would establish justice and spread the truth. He would create peace, security, and comfort between the people and it is he only who would destroy all types of oppressions and defeat the oppressors. Therefore they considered it
necessary upon themselves to employ strict surveillance on his grandfather and father and after the passing away of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s) they laid siege to his house and arrested some ladies from the Imam’s household suspected of being pregnant and kept them in custody. This is one of the most important causes of the disappearance of Imam (a.s) and his not being identified by the people.
In the tradition of Zurarah, this same cause is mentioned by the Imam that:
“For the Qaim (a.t.f.s), there is an occultation before his reappearance.”
Zurarah immediately asked, “What for?”
Imam (as) replied, “For fear of being murdered!”
(Ghaybah, Shaykh Tusi and Al-Kafi)
Shaykh Tusi says: “The cause of the obstacle in the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s) is nothing but the fear of being killed. Because if there had been any other reason, his remaining in occultation would not have been justified.”
(Ghaybah, Shaykh Tusi, Pg. 199)
The Almighty Allah kept Imam Mahdi (atfs) concealed from the Abbasid tyrants so that he remains safe in order to allow him to spread truth and justice and establish peace and security on the earth. The time for that occasion is known only to Allah. None else has any idea about it nor anyone is having control over it.
2. Test and Trial
One of the causes of the occultation of His Eminence, Imam Mahdi (atfs) is said to be the test of people. It is narrated from His Eminence, the Messenger of Allah (saww) that he said:
“By Allah! He would go into occultation and none shall get salvation except those who have faith in the heart and whom Allah helps.”
(Bihar ul-Anwar, Vol. 53, Pg 7 and 281)
Although the divine practice is appointed that people should be subjected to tests and trials so that those who perform better deeds may be rewarded suitably. The
Almighty Allah says the one who created death and life so that “He may test you, which of you has the best deeds.” He also says: “Do men think that they will be left
alone on saying, we believe, and not be tried.”
The occultation of His Eminence, Imam Mahdi (atfs) is a very important component of Divine test. None has faith in it except those who have perfect belief and testify to what the Messenger of Allah (saww) and the Purified Imams (as) have said regarding the occultation of His Eminence and that he does not fix the period of his occultation. Rather he should agree that the reappearance of His Eminence is up to the wise decision of the Almighty Allah. No one has any choice in it. The example of His Eminence is like that of the Hour (Qiyamat) that there is no doubt in its coming.
3. Secrets of the Occultation of the Imam of the Time
The occultation of the Awaited Imam (a.s) is explained to be one of the divine secrets and no one else has any knowledge of it. It is this same point stated by the Messenger of Allah (a.s) when he said:
“The example of the occultation of the Qaim is like that of the Hour (Qiyamat), that only the Almighty Allah is cognizant of it and that it will not come towards you
but all of a sudden.”
(Al-Burhan fi Alaamaat-i-Aakhiruz Zaman, 1/255)
It is narrated from His Eminence, Imam Mahdi (a.s) that he said:
“Do not put yourself into difficulty and do not ask about matters that have no material or spiritual benefit. And do not ask but pray more for the reappearance as in it lies your success; and peace be to those who follow the guidance.”
(Bihar ul-Anwar, 52/92)
Shaykh Miqdad Siyuri says: “The wisdom of the occultation of His Eminence, Imam Mahdi (a.s) is restricted only to Allah and its knowledge is only with Almighty Allah.”
(Mukhtasar al-Tohfatul Ithna Ashariya, Pg. 199)
4. Not paying allegiance to the oppressors by the Imam of the time (a.s)
As a justification of the occultation of His Eminence, the Master of the Age (atfs), it is mentioned that the Imam (a.s) is in occultation so that he does not have to
pay allegiance to any oppressive ruler.
Hasan bin Ali bin Fazal has narrated from his father from Imam Reza (a.s) that he said:
“The Shias, during the absence of the son of the third of us would be like sheep that run towards the pasture but they would not find the pasture.”
Then he was asked, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! Why is it so?”
He replied, “Because their Imam shall be in occultation.”
He asked, “Why?”
He replied, “Because if he rises up with a sword he would be compelled to have the allegiance of others upon his neck.”
His Eminence, the Master of the Age (a.s) has announced that each of his predecessors had the allegiance of the tyrants on his neck but when he reappears he shall not
have the allegiance of any tyrant on his neck.
(Muntakhabul Athar, Pg, 267)
The above were some of the important causes of the occultation of His Eminence, which we have explained. And the fact is that the Almighty Allah has kept His Wali and
the great reformer in occultation due to the reasons best known to Him alone, which we are not aware of.
Being the Mid of Shaban, the birth anniversary of the Imam of the time, Hazrat Wali-e-Asr (atfs), let us all pray to Allah (swt) to make early the reappearance of our beloved Imam (as) and count us all among his servants and followers.
Allahumma Ajjil Le Waliekal Faraj!