The Living Imam

Our Imam is alive. He is with his followers and believers whenever they call him. This is a basic belief in the Shia creed – that our Imams have the ability to help their followers when they call for help, no matter in Medina or New York.We hear it all the time. That our Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) is our living Imam or the Imam of Our Time.

We have heard the stories, the narrations, and the biographies of all of our Imams (peace be upon them) and how their lives were lived and how their followers behaved.

So what is our story? What are we doing wrong that our Imam is still in occultation and not visibly living amongst us? We all know that our Imam will not appear in our lives unless we are ready. But this does not mean that he is not living among us – neither does it mean he is invisible, because he is visible to those who can see him.

Our Imam is alive. He is with his followers and believers whenever they call him. This is a basic belief in the Shia creed – that our Imams have the ability to help their followers when they call for help, no matter in Medina or New York.

So what does it actually mean that our Imam is alive? What good is it to us? Are we really getting his guidance and advice on how to live good lives according to the will of Allah?

As the famous narration states, the benefit of Imam Mahdi for his followers is like the sun gives us benefit even from behind the clouds. What can we take from this? What are we taking from this?

The Imams were sent and chosen by Allah to guide and to help us. What help do we take from our Imam? Do we really attempt to make him our leader? Who is our leader? We should all take time to reflect and think, “Who is my leader?” Where do I get inspiration from on how to live my life? Where do I get advice from and how do I go about answering my questions or clearing my doubts about my way of life?

Are we all talk and no walk? Do we just say that he is the Imam of our time and not take advantage of the many advices and his nearness to us? Are we ever grateful that when we call on him for a special request, that request is fulfilled? Are we preparing our life and our homes to be open for him when he is allowed by Allah to reappear? How have we prepared? Will he want to sit around the house and do nothing all day? Or go for entertaining events which cost money which can be used towards helping poor people? Our Imam is alive, and it is said that when we make mistakes, he weeps for us even if we don’t. This is how much our leader loves us. But it seems to be a one-way love at the moment.

Unless and until we come to the realization that we have a living Imam, who needs support, who loves us sincerely, who still considers us all his followers even though we are from being anything like Hurr was for Imam Hussain (peace be upon him).

Let us pose a question to ourselves, “What does it mean to have an Imam our time?” Only when we take the time out of our extremely busy lives, to sit and think about our dear Imam who sheds tears of blood for Imam Hussain every day, and who remembers us in his prayers when we forget him, who visits our communities and centers and blesses them with his presence – only then will we realize what it means to have a living Imam. We need to start practicing our ways of life now; otherwise, we will not be a part of his blessed group. Let’s make it a habit to perform our prayers in their prime time. Let us make it a habit of remembering Imam Hussain every day.

Taking short steps in changing our lives to be more and more like him will allow us to be ready for when he arrives. If we do not start now, we will be left behind and will be completely lost, like a sheep without its shepherd.

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  • Talat Halman

    Thank you for this reminder that we should watch and wait actively for the return of Imam Mahdi and that we should remember his everlasting presence.

  • sahar

    I really do not understand this aspect of Shia Islam. The article mentions that the Imam helps us when we need him… doesn’t that just sound wrong? I really have a hard time understanding this.

  • explain

    What sounds wrong about it to you, and why?

  • @sahar

    Because Shi’as are comfortable with the idea of asking for something from an Imam, they word it often in a way that immediately makes Sunnies wonder if that’s shirk. On top of this, there are many Wahabi scholars who go around telling Sunnies that all the Shi’as do is shirk.

    Putting all of Wahabi propaganda aside, the concept is very simple. When you are in need of something in this life, be it money, job, health or anything, what do you do? First you ask Allah for help. What do you do after? Do you stop there? Of course not because Allah commanded us to seek things with causes. So the next step is to ask a friend to help you find a job or go to a doctor if you need medical attention. That is where the Imams come in.

    The Imams are like the friend you ask to borrow money or the friend you ask to pray for you when you need something. Allah tells us that those who die for the cause of Allah are alive so we know the Imams are alive and hear us.

    I hope this help.
    Wa Salam.

  • Ang3l

    great stuff, Inshallah it inspires ppl they way its supposed to, sahar i understand were ur coming from i used to question it also but its not shirk, we ask thru the Imams not to them

  • zaheer husain khan

    I found the article extremely stimulating ,very thought provoking .
    The comments influenced by wahabi salafi influence are under-
    standably absurd and non sence as usual .Actually the main
    problem is people with weak Eeman are hardly able to digest
    how some one can live 1300 years but they easily accept when some scientist claim ‘ the life span can be easily expanded to over 1000 years’, (recent report ) The entire Islam is on faith .
    I can see she is a prolific writer . May Allah give her more power to her pen as we say in urdu الله کرے زور قلم اور زیادہ