Lesson Thirteen: The Living Imam of Our Era An Introduction to Imamah – Part 2

 

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

The Principles of Religion for Children

The “Principles of Religion” course has been collected and edited by volunteer experts and teachers in the Mohammad (PBUH) Scientific and Cultural Foundation Office for Kids and Teens (Khaane Koodak va Nojavan in Farsi). This course is appropriate for children between the ages of 8-12. The course aims to help students gain basic knowledge on Shia Islam, including beliefs and doctrine.

The course literature differs as the age group of students changes (e.g., eight years-old when compared to twelve years-old) allowing teaching attitudes and course structure to match with the students capacity for learning while the course objectives and learning outcomes remain the same.

  


 Lesson Thirteen: The Living Imam of Our Era

An Introduction to Imamah – Part 2

Zahra Moradi, Zahra Entezar Kheyr, and Sara Entezar Kheyr

Translated by: Ali Mansouri

Edited by: Marzie Salehi


 

Instructive Note: Paying attention to and referring to the living Imam of our time and saying Salaam in the mornings to the Imam.

Content: 

In the previous lesson we explained that God, the Most Kind, has not left people without any guide and guardian after the final messenger; i.e. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). God appointed twelve kind Imams for the people’s guidance and happiness. Let’s recall their names in the right order now:

{Educator asks from the students who have not yet learned the Imams’ names in the correct order to do so as soon as possible}   

The Prophet named and introduced each Imam and described Imams as being more kind and loving than any father or mother to people. Then he asked each person to promise that they will listen to what the Imam of their time says, not show them a bad attitude, love them, and not leave them alone. The people promised each of these. The prophet introduced Imam Ali as the first coming Imam after himself. So, every person came to them and individually shook hands with Imam Ali (AS) to promise that they always follow and support him.

But as soon as the Prophet passed away, many of the people broke their promises. They not only did not listen to their Imams, but also left them alone against their enemies who were trying to oppress people and change Islamic roles to what they wish.

When the enemies found people have no concern about their Imams and rather value materials more, they took advantage of the situation and tried to eliminate Imams. So, evil officials governed Muslims instead of the Imams who were the most kind and just to people. To remove the right and justice, they went to battle with some Imams such as Imam Hussain (AS) and imprison or restricted other Imams! Those situations led our Imams were martyred one after another by the evil officials.

This continued until it was the twelfth Imams turn, meaning Imam Mahdi (AS). Since the people did not appreciate their kind, loving Imams, God became upset with them. In order to protect the life of the last Imam so that he was not killed like the previous eleven Imams, God took Imam Mahdi (AS) out of the reach of the people. Meaning that He did something so that the people would not see the Imam despite he leaves among them. So, even if people did see him, they would not recognize him. This condition is called Ghaybat or Occultation.

Dear children, our last Imam, Mahdi (AS), is currently alive, but is in Ghaybat. This means that he lives among us, may walk in our streets or be in our community gatherings! So, we may even see him, but we cannot recognize him.

As we explained in the previous session, his name is “Muhammad”. His title is “Mahdi” and “Sahib az-Zaman”. He is also called Imam Zaman (AS) (Imam of the time), because he is the Imam of this Era. He will introduce himself to all people of the world whenever God ask him to do so.

Imam Mahdi (AS) born on 15th of Sha’ban in year 255 AH and in the city of Samarra in country of Iraq. His father was Imam Hassan Askari (AS) who is our eleventh Imam, and his mother was Narjis Khatun.

Unfortunately, it is now more than one thousand years that our kind Imam lives among people but remained in Ghaybat and unrecognised.

My dear children, do you think it is possible for someone to live for more than one thousand years?

{The teacher should listen to the children’s responses and provide encouraging feedback to the students who say that if God desires it is possible}

God Almighty has brought several examples of the individuals throughout history who lived for very long time so the people can believe in the long length of Imam Zaman’s (AS) life. An example is Prophet Noah (AS) who was one of the great Prophets and lived for about 2500 years.

So what will we answer someone that asks whether it is possible for Imam Zaman’s (AS) age to be over one thousand years old?

Exactly! We will tell them, “If God wants, it is possible. An example is Prophet Noah (AS) who live for 2500 years!”.

…   

You may ask whether Ghaybat of Imam Zaman (AS) means that we cannot be in contact with him. Fortunately, this is not what Ghaybat means. Although we cannot identify who is Imam Zaman (AS) or where he lives, we can still talk with him any time we wish. Remember, even though he is in Ghaybat and we do not see our Imam, he sees us, listens to our words and helps us in many situations even if we do not notice them.

So, to talk to our Imam, we do not require to find and see him. All we need is wanting to talk to him, with our heart or speaking in our language, whenever we wish and wherever we are; even here right now!

It is always good to have our Imam in our mind. For example, we can send a Salaam to him when we wake up in the mornings. The Imam hears and pays attention to us. Let’s make it as an agreement between us from now on. By doing that, we can show our affection and respect to the Imam and seek his attention and support in our daily life.

   

Now, let’s briefly review what we have learned today:

Which Imam is Imam Mahdi (AS)?

The Twelfth, and the last, Imam

    

What is the name of his father?

Imam Hassan Askari (AS), who was the eleventh Imam.

    

What is the name of his mother?

Narjis Khatun

    

Where was he born?

The city of Samarra in the country of Iraq

    

Where is he now?

He lives on the Earth among people, but no one knows exactly who and where he is. Even if we see him, we cannot recognise him.

    

How can we explain Imam Zaman’s (AS) age being over one thousand years old?

He lives for a long time because God wants it. A similar example is Prophet Noah (AS) who lived for about 2500 years!

           

Why does he live in Ghayabat and stays unrecognised?

People did not appreciate the previous Imams and left them alone against the evil enemies. So, the Imams were martyred one after another. God took the last Imam out of the hands of the people to penalise them and protect the last Imam’s life until people deeply wish to follow him. In the other words, the last Imam is the last human savior. He has been reserved for the time when people demand just and fair and demonstrate that they seek and follow the right way of living if introduced. So then, the last Imam will appear to bring just and fair all over the world and forever. his life.

   

Good job my smart boys and girls! And try to not forgot to say Salaam in the mornings to Imam Zaman (AS)!

   

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