I will serve him till the end of my life!
by: Nayereh Rouhi

He had just been born. The aroma of his existence fragranced everywhere. He had a face, as soft as dew on spring flowers. Celestial beings and angels gave each other glad tidings of his birth. There was absolute hubbub. He is the peacock of the residents in paradise; incomparable in beauty and magnificence. Every prophet had prophesied his coming; he is the destroyer of every blasphemy, corruption and ruin. He shall bring with himself peace, tranquility, friendship and love. He is the pure son from the last prophet's (s.a.w.w.) progeny. In his due, the prophet said, "he is the ninth generation of Imam Husain (a.s.) and is my namesake. His name is Mahdi (a.s.) and I give you glad tidings of his coming".

The infallibles wept and lamented as they were in earnest to see him. Concerning Imam Mahdi's (a.s.) rank and status, Imam Sadiq (a.s.), the leader of the Shi'ite religious sect, said:

"If I happen to live at the time of Mahdi's appearance, I will serve him till the end of my life."

Also, every time the holy name of Imam Mahdi was mentioned by the title "Qaem", Imam Reza (A.S) would rise on his feet and while facing the Qibla would place his hand on his head and pray for the divine saviour's appearance. He would weep for his absence and craved for seeing him.

On the other hand, the enemies of God and truth lay in ambush. They were very well aware that this "divine promised one" is the son of Imam Hasan Askari (A.S). They kept Imam (a.s.) under strict surveillance. Very often, they invaded Imam's house so that if a male child was born they could kill him instantly thereby impeding God's aim. But, considering that God's power is above all powers and whatsoever He wishes would come to be. So Imam Mahdi (a.s.) was born at dawn in mid-Sha'ban , 255 years A.H. The incident of Imam's birth was unknown to anyone save a few distinguished Shi'ites. Day by day, Imam Mahdi grew. Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) decided to show his dear offspring to his trusted Shiites so they would get acquainted with him and follow him after his own departure.

In this short compilation, incidents of the meetings between the Shiites and Imam Mahdi (a.s.) have been recorded.

These visitations took place during the very lifetime or at the end of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) honourable life. In such instances, Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) introduced Imam Mahdi (a.s.) in different ways to the Shi'ites.

He is like Khizr and Zulqarnain

It was dawn, I arose from my sleep. After reciting my prayers and supplications I went into the courtyard. The sun had not yet risen over the rooftops. Once again the thoughts that I had over the past few days returned to me. I said to myself:

"Oh God! I am living in the era of the eleventh true descendant of prophet of Islam (s.a.w.a.)

The prophet had once said that, "my descendants are twelve in number." So who would succeed Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.)? Who is the last divine deputy? Now that Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) has no offspring, who else could succeed him?

At that moment, a white dove interrupted my train of thoughts.

"Its better to ask Imam (a.s.) himself." I said.

I rose, made ablution, put on clean garments and got ready to leave. I arrived at the Imam's door, knocked and after receiving permission, entered. After greetings, Imam (a.s.) made me sit besides himself and before I spoke he said:

"Oh Ahmad-ibn-Eshaq! The sublime God, from the very fist day he created Adam, till the day of resurrection will never leave this earth void of a proof or guide; a proof for whose sake God would put an end to the sufferings of the earth's inhabitants. And would send down rain and make the earth's treasure to gush out."

"Oh the son of God's messenger!" I said. " Who is the leader and successor after you?"

Imam Hasan Askari (A.S) rose and entered another room. Minutes later he returned with a three year old child, whose face was as beautiful and bright as the full moon. He then said:

"Oh Ahmad-ibn-Eshaq! If you weren't dear and honourable in the eyes of God and myself, I would not have shown you my child. My son has the same name and title of the prophet and he will fill the world with justice and truth at the time when it would be filled with of injustice and tyranny. Oh Ahmad-ibn-Eshaq! This infant, among my people, is just like Khizr (Elias) and Zulqarnain. I swear by God that he will disappear from the eyes of the people; and because of his occultation, people would deviate and turn apostates save those whose belief has been strengthened by God and those who shall pray for my sons appearance. "

When the Imam said this, tears streamed from my eyes. My gaze rested in that child's dazzling face and I couldn't take my eyes off him.

"My master! " I said. " Is there any sign in this infant whereby I can gain certainty by heart that he is the same true "Qaem" ?

Suddenly, with a pleasant voice, which shook my heart, the child spoke and said: " I am the last divine deputy and the avenger of God's enemies on earth. Oh Ahmad-ibn-Eshaq! After witnessing the truth with your own eyes, don't ever ask for any more proof again."

His sayings gave me comfort and I became very pleased. I bid farewell to Imam and returned home. But I couldn't, for an instant, stop thinking about that child. I said to myself that Elias and 'Zulqarnain' were both prophets with special qualities. How could Imam Hasan Askari (A.S) compare his son with them?

I, again, went into deep thought. I couldn't tolerate it, so the next day, once again, I visited the Imam's house. I said:

"Oh the son of Gods messenger! I am truly grateful for the grace and kindness you extended me yesterday. You saved me from great distress and confusion, but you never explained to me the signs of Elias and "Zulqarnain" that are in him."

"His long occultation", he replied.

"Will his occultation last very long?" I asked.

"Yes", he replied. "I swear to God, it will be so long that most of his believers will deviate, save those who have a friendly and steadfast contact with us and have strong belief. Oh Ahmad-ibn-Eshaq! The occultation of my son Mahdi is among God's masterpiece and secret. So accept my words and do not disclose to those whom you don't trust and be thankful to this bounty so that on the day of judgement you reside besides us in paradise."

My heart, then, flew like a bird. I was ecstatic. I took the Imam's hands in my own and kissed them. I thanked God for having met His last proof on earth.