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Derived from this Question and this Answer is a question about the birth of Imam Mahdi --peace be upon him-- and his probable occultation. Please mention in your answer:

  1. if occultation has any intellectual justification that Allah will appoint an Imam but then hide him from his followers,
  2. if occultation has any example in previous religions,
  3. what is the Shia brother's reason for believing in that Imam Mahdi --peace be upon him-- (that all Muslims agree on his coming before the Judgement day) has been born around 1200 years ago that such a belief will then require them oddly to assume such a long life for their hidden Imam?
  4. if anyone has met the hidden Imam and subsequently the reason why such reports can be considered as authentic.

NOTE. This question (and this one) is asking a different question indeed although they are related.

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related question: islam.stackexchange.com/questions/2917/… –  goldPseudo Jan 21 '13 at 22:17
The whole "Please mention in your answer..." bit looks like you're just leading to a particular answer rather than asking a legitimate question. –  goldPseudo Jul 24 '13 at 16:27
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closed as unclear what you're asking by Islam, goldPseudo Jul 24 '13 at 16:26

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1 Answer

1. Witnesses from Qur'aan due to Shia Ahadeeth:

  • First consider the following verses:

    فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِالْخُنَّسِ / الْجَوَارِ الْكُنَّسِ / وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا عَسْعَسَ / وَالصُّبْحِ إِذَا تَنَفَّسَ

    So I swear by the retreating stars / Those that run [their courses] and disappear / And by the night as it closes in / And by the dawn when it breathes [81:15-18]

    The first two of these verses, according to Shia interpretations, i.e. as they appear, address the issue of planets in our solar system when observed from the Earth at nights, as the motion of the planets --which are many times closer to the Earth than are the stars-- are much different than the coherent motions of the stars, for reference see e.g. [تفسیر نمونه]. However, these verses of Qur'aan are not limited to what their appearance declares (interpretation), but they also have some hidden concepts searching for what is called Ta'wil (تأویل) in contrary to Tafseer (تفسیر: interpretation) and Ta'weel is what the verse [3:7] addresses, no one knows the hidden concepts of the verses but Allah and those firmly grounded in knowledge, the describers of Qur'aan who are introduced to be Ahlul-Bayt peace be upon them. Note that: "إِنَّهُ لَقُرْآنٌ كَرِيمٌ / فِي كِتَابٍ مَّكْنُونٍ / لَّا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ" which means "Indeed, it is a noble Qur'an / In a Register well-protected / None touch it except the purified.", [56:77-79] and put this aside the verse [33:33] which describes Ahlul Bayt as the purifieds (مطهرون). According to some Ahadeeth there might be 70 different layers of hidden meanings in a verse. Now see how Ahlul Bayt --peace be upon them-- address the hidden meaning of these verses:

    محمد بن إبراهيم النعماني، قال: أخبرنا سلامة بن محمد، قال: حدثنا أحمد بن داود بن علي قال: حدثنا أحمد بن الحسن، عن عمران بن الحجاج، عن عبد الرحمن بن أبي نجران، عن محمد بن أبي عمير، عن محمد بن إسحاق، عن أسيد بن ثعلبة، عن أم هانئ، قالت: قلت لأبي جعفر محمد بن علي الباقر (عليهما السلام): ما معنى قول الله عز و جل: فَلا أُقْسِمُ بِالْخُنَّسِ؟ فقال: «يا أم هانئ، إمام يخنس نفسه حتى ينقطع عن الناس علمه سنة ستين و مائتين، ثم يبدو كالشهاب الواقد في الليلة الظلماء، فإن أدركت ذلك الزمان قرت عينك».

    Imam Baqir --peace be upon him-- was asked about the verses [81:15], he answered: "the retreating star is an Imam whose knowledge will be cut off from the people in the year 260, and he will appear back like a meteor in a dark night, if you perceive that time it will be comfort to your eyes."

    source: البرهان في تفسير القرآن، ج‏5، ص: 595,596

  • next consider the verse [67:30] that reads:

    قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَصْبَحَ مَاؤُكُمْ غَوْرًا فَمَن يَأْتِيكُم بِمَاءٍ مَّعِينٍ

    Say, "Have you considered: if your water was to become sunken [into the earth], then who could bring you flowing water?"

    and now the hidden meaning of the verse according to Ahlul Bayt --peace be upon them:

    و عنه، قال: حدثنا أبي (رحمه الله)، قال: حدثنا سعد بن عبد الله، قال: حدثنا أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى، عن موسى بن القاسم بن معاوية بن وهب البجلي، و أبي قتادة علي بن محمد بن حفص، عن علي بن جعفر، عن أخيه موسى بن جعفر (عليهما السلام)، قال: قلت: ما تأويل قول الله عز و جل: قُلْ أَ رَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَصْبَحَ ماؤُكُمْ غَوْراً فَمَنْ يَأْتِيكُمْ بِماءٍ مَعِينٍ؟ فقال: «إذا فقدتم إمامكم فلم تروه فما ذا تصنعون؟».

    Imam Kazim --peace be upon him-- was asked about the hidden meaning of the verse [67:30], so he answered: "When you missed your Imam and couldn't see him, so what would you do then?"

    علي بن إبراهيم، قال: حدثنا محمد بن جعفر، قال: حدثنا محمد بن أحمد، عن القاسم بن العلاء، قال: حدثنا إسماعيل بن علي الفزاري، عن محمد بن جمهور، عن فضالة بن أيوب، قال: سئل الرضا (عليه السلام) عن قول الله عز و جل: قُلْ أَ رَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَصْبَحَ ماؤُكُمْ غَوْراً فَمَنْ يَأْتِيكُمْ بِماءٍ مَعِينٍ فقال (عليه السلام): «ماؤكم أبوابكم، أي الأئمة (عليهم السلام)، و الأئمة أبواب الله بينه و بين خلقه فَمَنْ يَأْتِيكُمْ بِماءٍ مَعِينٍ يعني بعلم الإمام».

    Imam Redha --peace be upon him-- was asked about the verse [67:30] and he answered: "Your water is your doors, that is, the Imams peace be upon them, and the Imams are the doors of Allah between Him and His creatures, so flowing water means the knowledge of Imam"

    source: البرهان في تفسير القرآن، ج‏5، ص: 449

    and it is no way strange, since Allah has introduced water as His blessing as it rains from the sky (سماء) which in Arabic means the source of water (comes from وسمة), so the source of Mercy (رحمة) of Allah is the sky which is the holy prophet --peace be upon him-- according to the verse [55:7], and the water that comes from the sky is the blessing (برکاته) of such a great Mercy which are Ahlul Bayt --peace be upon them-- and according to some Ahadeeth these concepts are what we are to say to each other as everyday greeting: السلام علیکم و رحمة الله و برکاته, Salam is Allah the Peace, His Mercy is the holy prophet and his blessings are his household, peace be upon them all. Therefore, missing water will find its hidden meaning as missing an Imam, and that's directly pointing to the occultation of an Imam and misery of the Muslims during which interval.

  • some other verses that implicitly have something to say about Imam Mahdi e.g. are:

    وَعَدَ اللَّـهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ وَ*لَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَىٰ لَهُمْ* وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُم مِّن بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا ۚ يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

    Allah has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will most certainly make them rulers in the earth as He made rulers those before them, and that He will most certainly establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them, and that He will most certainly, after their fear, give them security in exchange; they shall serve Me, not associating aught with Me; and whoever is ungrateful after this, these it is who are the. transgressors. [24:55]

    ... وَلَا يَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلُ فَطَالَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْأَمَدُ فَقَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ ۖ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ / اعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ يُحْيِي الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا ...

    ... And that they should not be like those who were given the Book before, but the time became prolonged to them, so their hearts hardened, and most of them are transgressors. / Know that Allah gives life to the earth after its death ... [57:16,17]

2. Occulation, does it have any example in the previous Ummah?

Idrees and Salih --peace be upon them-- also were hidden from their people for a long while in the sense of occulation, although they were not as long as Imam Mahdi's occulation. Salih's occulation was some times after his miracle of a camel coming out of a mountain. You can find some such Ahadeeth in the book [مکیال المکارم در فوائد دعا برای حضرت قائم، آیت الله سید محمد تقی موسوی اصفهانی، جلد ۱، ص ۲۱۶ و ۲۱۸]. Even in the same book an occulation has been mentioned for Ibrahim --peace be upon him-- when Allah says:

وَأَعْتَزِلُكُمْ وَمَا تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ ...

And I will withdraw from you and what you call on besides Allah ... [19:48]

This is yet an incomplete answer, I will complete it gradually in shaa' Allah, but at the same time make it "community wiki" so that everyone who want to help can help.

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Could you please specify the Isnad of these Ahadith of Ahlul-Bayt (Peace Be Upon Them)? –  Zeina Jan 22 '13 at 9:01
@Zeina, which Ahadeeth do you mean? Those already cited as quotations with their sources already cited or those that are only announced without giving references to them (they are a lot, citing all of them with their Isnaad and the full form may cause the answers to grow quite large in size!)? –  owari Jan 22 '13 at 10:13
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