If we don’t consider the reappearance to be close…
If all of us were hoping that Imam Mahdi (‘a.j.) will come next week, did you know that the Imam would have really come? “If you make people hopeful that the Imam will come next week, but the Imam doesn’t come, won’t people become irreligious?”
Is the reappearance truly close? Should we consider the reappearance to be close? I have to tell a story first, and then answer this question.
Prophet Noah (‘a) was a prophet for 950 years. The nation had been promised, “One day you will be rescued.” They were waiting for relief. They asked God for it. God replied, “Tell your friends, ‘Seven years from now the relief will come. Be ready.’” They became so happy and in a good mood! “Seven years from now the unbelievers will be destroyed and we will finally be rescued!”
These seven years finished. They passed these seven years with enthusiasm. Relief? God, the sky is silent. Relief! God said, “Noah, it has been postponed for seven more years.” Noah told his companions, “God changed His decision; it’s ‘Bida’.’” They looked at each other, “It’s only seven years. We waited for 950 years. We’ll wait a total of 14 years.”
After the second seven years, some people’s belief was shaking. “God this time won’t be like the previous time! Please don’t let us lose our reputation.” After seven years, “Noah, seven more years.” “How can I tell this to them?!” “Say it just like this! Say, ‘Seven more years.’” Noah told people, “Seven more years.” Some lost their belief and said, “It’s a hoax.” “God, how many were we from the beginning, and now some have left?! Is this the right way?! Whatever You say. But, this third seven years...”
After the third seven years God said, “Noah, seven more years.” Half of them left. The fourth seven years. “God, I don’t know how to talk to You. What should I say?” The fifth seven years. Seven more years. Very few remained. They said, “You’re making fun of us. If you hadn’t promised, we were waiting just like this!”
The sixth seven years. “God no one is left.” “Seven more years.” Noah announced this. I don’t know how many were left. But, those who were left had passed through the filters. They said, “Fine.” No one left anymore. Relief came.
Now, I have told my story. What was the question? “If you make people hopeful and the Imam doesn’t come, they’ll become irreligious.” Fine! We didn’t promise. We increased hope and it didn’t come. Even if we had promised from God and it didn’t come, their belief shouldn’t have shook. This is called “Bida’.”
“Bida’” is in our principles of faith, and we don’t talk about it very much. Imam Sadiq (‘a) said, “If you knew how valuable it is to believe in ‘Bida’,’ you would have talked about it every day.” God changes His decisions to test His servants.
We have another tradition too. God told a nation, “In 20 months, relief will come for you.” That nation was in captivity with their prophet. After that period, a message came that it had been postponed. That prophet informed his nation. With no exception, all of them said, “It’s fine! Whatever God says.” Relief came two days later. “God, You said longer. It was only 20 months. What happened?!” “I saw that their belief didn’t decrease. I respected their good thoughts and trust and brought relief right away.”
Why have they told us these stories?! Looks like they care about our spiritual mood. Right? They care about how we feel and about our belief. Do you know why the martyrs of Karbala were valuable? Do you know what Imam Husayn (‘a) did to them on the night of Ashura?
The Imam (‘a) said, “Don’t have hope that you can rescue me. I will make you hopeless about life; whoever stays here, will be martyred. I will be martyred too.” He didn’t leave even a little hope in their hearts for relief, even a little hope for divine help, even in appearances. Their hearts didn’t tremble even a little.
Despair really makes people despondent. Whoever stayed hopeful, good for them! If someone comes and firmly tell