Lesson 13: The Living Imam of Our Era (Imamah – Part 2)

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



The "Usool ad-Deen" course has been put together by volunteer experts and teachers in the Mohammad (PBUH) Scientific and Cultural Foundation Center for Kids and Teens (Khaane Koodak va Nojavan in Farsi). This course is appropriate for children between the ages of 8 to 12. It aims to make students familiar with the basics of Shia Islam, including beliefs and doctrine...


Lesson 13: The Living Imam of Our Era
(Imamah – Part 2)

Written by: Zahra Moradi

Translated by: Ali Mansouri

Edited by: Marzie Salehi


Note to Instructor: We should paying attention and referring to the living Imam of our time and saying Salaam to him every morning


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

{The teacher will ask the students who have not learned the Imams’ names in the correct order yet to do so as soon as possible.}   

The Prophet named and introduced each Imam and described the Imams as being more kind and loving than any father or mother to the 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 Imam after him. Each person then came up to both of them and shook hands with Imam Ali (AS) to promise that they will 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 Islam.

When the enemies found that the people had no concern for their Imams and valued this world more, they took advantage of the situation and tried to eliminate the Imams. This led to  evil officials governing the Muslims instead of the Imams who were the most kind and just among the people. To remove the truth and justice, they went to battle with some Imams such as Imam Hussain (AS) and imprisoned other ones! And thus, each of our Imams were martyred one after another.

This continued until it was the twelfth Imam’s turn, meaning Imam Mahdi (AS). Since the people did not appreciate their kind, loving Imams, God became upset with them. God took Imam Mahdi (AS) out of the reach of the people to protect his life so that he was not murdered like the previous eleven Imams. This meant that He did something so that the people would not see the Imam despite him living 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 will not be able to 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) (the Imam of the time) because he is the Imam of this Era. He will introduce himself to all the people of the world whenever God ask him to do so.

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

 Unfortunately, it is now more than one thousand years that our kind Imam lives among the people in a state of  Ghaybat, .

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 very long lifetimes 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 lived for 2500 years!”.

You may ask whether the Ghaybat of Imam Zaman (AS) means that we cannot be in contact with him. Fortunately, this is not what Ghaybat means. Although we cannot recognize Imam Zaman (AS) or know 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 him, he sees us, listens to our words, and helps us in many situations, even if we do not notice this help.

We do not need to physically find and see our Imam to talk to him. All we need is to want to talk to him, with our heart or speaking in our language, whenever we wish and wherever we are; even right 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 this 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 lives.

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 modern day Iraq


Where is he now?

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


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

He has a long lifespan 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?

The 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 penalize them and protect the last Imam’s life, until a time comes that the people deeply wish to follow him. In other words, the last Imam is the final savoir of humanity. He has been reserved for the time when people demand justice and fairness and demonstrate that they seek and follow the right way of living. Only then will the last Imam appear to bring justice and fairness all over the world,

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


Main Source: Mohammad Foundation


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