Imam Mehdi AJF
Mohammad(a.s.) - the 12th and the last Holy Imam
Sahib al-Asr waz-Zamaan (Imam of the time/space), Al-Hujjat (proof of Allah), Al-Qaim (the present one), Al-Muntazar (one who is awaited), Al-Muntazir (one who waits the order of Allah), Al-Mahdi (one who guides)
Imam Hasan Askari(a.s.)
Bibi Nargis Khatoon(a.s.)
In Samarrah on 15th Shabaan 255 AH (868 AD)
The 12th Imam is still alive but is in occultation by the will of Allah(swt)
Birth and Imamate
The promised Mahdi, who is usually mentioned by his title of Imam-i 'Asr (the Imam of the "Period") and Sahib al-Zaman (the Lord of the Age), is the son of the eleventh Imam. His name is the same as that of the Holy Prophet. He was born in Samarrah in 256/868 and until 260/872 when his father was martyred, lived under his father's care and guidance.
Sayyida Hakima who was the sister of the 10th Imam (Imam Mohammad Taqi(a.s.)) relates that she went to her nephew's (11th Imam - Imam Hasan Askari(a.s.)) house for iftaar on the 14th of Sha'ban 255 A.H.The 11th Imam asked her to stay as his son was to be born soon. There was no sign of pregnancy on Sayyida Narjis. The 11th Imam asked her to recite Suratul Qadr on Sayyida Narjis. At the time of Fajr on 15th Sha'ban Sayyida Hakima heard the Sura being recited from the womb of Sayyida Narjis. The 11th imam told her that the birth would occur very soon. As soon as the 12th Imam was born he did sijda and proclaimed the oneness of Allah and the Prophet hood of the Prophet (S.A.W.)
He also recited the 5th aya of Suratul-Qasas "And We intend to bestow (Our) favours upon those who are weak in the land and make them the Imams (leaders) and make them the heirs". On his right hand was written the 82nd aya of Suratu Bani Israel "The truth has come and falsehood has vanished; Indeed falsehood (is a thing by nature) vanishing". The 11th Imam only told a handful of his most trusted believers of the birth of his son and to a few of his household slaves.
One of the women slaves called Naseema relates that when she went to see the baby Imam in his cradle she greeted him with salaam and was replied to. She then sneezed and the Imam said: "Yarhamukallah - it is a blessing from Allah and you have 3 days immunity from death".
The last Imam(a.s.) was hidden from public view and only a few of the elite among the Shi'ah were able to meet him. After the martyrdom of his father he became Imam and by Divine Command went into occultation (ghaybat). Thereafter he appeared only to his deputies (na'ib) and even then only in exceptional circumstances.
Ghaibat (occultation) of the last Imam (a.s.)
The Imam's ghaibat (occultation) was in two phase - Ghaibat-e-Sughra (minor occultation) was for about 69 years - 260 A.H. (872 A.D.) to 329 A.H. (939 A.D.) and the Ghaibat-e-Kubra (greater occultation) started in 329 A.H. (939 A.D.)and will continue until Allah(swt) so wills.
the 6th Imam, Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) states the reason of the ghaibat as prevention against being killed. Ishaq bin Yaqub (on authority from 12th Imam) says that all the Imams were under oppressive rulers. Our 12th Imam is hidden in order to rise in arms with obedience to no one. Muhammad Yaqub Al-Kulayni has said that ghaibat is a test from Allah to test the steadfastness of belief in Imam.
If he is to remain in Ghaibat, what is the use of his existence? Belief creates hope giving strength to the oppressed. It is a deterrent for the committing of injustice as one is always aware of the constant presence of the Imam.
Why insist on 12? Why Imamat not continued and last Imam near Quiyama to do 12th Imam's work?
For one who is to cleanse the earth of all wrong and injustice is necessary for him to be born near early Islam and carry pure and pristine Islamic ideas. It is necessary to look from his vantage point at all the upheavals in the world. Personal experience of the past will make him fearless of the seemingly invincible superpowers no matter how strong they are.
Why Ghaibat-e-Sughra? To make the Shias used to approaching scholars instead of Imam himself. It started during the time of the 10th Imam who was under almost constant house arrest in Samarra and continuing through
GHAIBAT-E-SUGHRA (160 A.H. to 329 A.H.)
During Ghaibut-us-Sughra, the Imam(a.s.) appointed four deputies/representatives to represent him among the people. After the death of the fourth deputy, the Imam(a.s.) went into Ghaibut-e-Kubra (major occultation). This was on the 10th Shawal 329 A.H. The 4 representatives were :
1. Janabe Abu Amr Usman Ibne Saeed Amri(a.r.) It is said that at the age of 11 years he was a servant in the house of the 9th Imam(a.s.) later to enjoy the confidence of Imam. He occupied the same position of trust with the 10th and 11th Imam who told their Shias that after him they would not see the 12th Imam and would have to obey Uthman. After the 11th Imam's martyrdom Uthman moved to Baghdad and disguised as a butter seller he set up the collection of khums for Imam. He served the 12th Imam for 18 months and received a le