It is now more than 1,170 years since our beloved Imam – Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) has gone into major occultation (Ghaibat-e-Kubra). Ghaibat of Hazrat (a.t.f.s.) is an examination for us. This is because we cannot meet our beloved Imam like the Shias of the earlier times. We can speak to our friends and even our foes, but we cannot speak to Imam (a.t.f.s.). That is why Ghaibat is a difficulty for us, we should pray to Allah (SWT) to remove this calamity with Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) earliest reappearance.
As we must be aware, the book Kamaaluddin was written by the great scholar Sheikh Saduq (a.r.) on the orders of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) himself. Hazrat (a.s.) commanded Sheikh Saduq (a.r.) to record the Ghaibat of the previous prophets (a.s.) in the book. In this way Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) wanted the people to know that Ghaibat was a common trait of the previous prophets (a.s.).
Here we shall discuss the Ghaibat of one of Allah’s greatest prophets. This prophet is among the five Ulul Azm prophets. He even has a Surah of Noble Quran named after him.
He is Hazrat Ibrahim / Abraham (a.s.), for whom the fire was made cool by Allah (SWT). He was Khalilullah as he was always seeking help only and only from Allah (SWT). However, before Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) could reach that stage he had to remain in Ghaibat for a long period of time due to the evil king of his time Namrood.
Namrood was a wicked king who claimed to be god. He was very powerful and ruled over the entire world. Everyone was afraid of him and did not dare oppose him. Namrood led a very comfortable life without anyone to challenge him. This was until he was informed by a learned person in his kingdom about the birth of a child who would challenge him and finally overcome him. This made Namrood very nervous and he made immediate plans to prevent the birth of the child.
Namrood ordered his men to hunt down infants and small children in his kingdom and kill them all. His men did as they were commanded and began killing all the infants and children in Namrood’s kingdom. Thousands of infants were killed because of Namrood’s fear of that one infant who would finally overcome him.
Yet, Allah (SWT) the Almighty protects whosoever He wants and as a result, Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) was born despite such difficulties. But it was dangerous for his mother to keep Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) in the house as Namrood’s men could come anytime to check upon her. So she took him to a cave at some distance from the city and left him there. In this way Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) was all alone in the cave with no one to care for him.
Although apparently Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) was lonely and helpless in the cave, he wasn’t exactly abandoned. Allah, the Almighty, is not One to desert His special friends in difficulty. So while Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) was in the cave hungry and thirsty, Allah (SWT) arranged food for him in a most amazing manner. The food came in the form of milk from Hazrat Ibrahim’s (a.s.) thumb. Yes! Allah caused milk to flow from Hazrat Ibrahim’s (a.s.) thumb. When a servant relies only on Allah for help, then He never disappoints him.
In the cave, Allah (SWT) caused Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) to grow very fast. So much so that he grew in a day how much other children would grow in a week and he grew in a week how much other children grew in a month and he grew in a month how much other children grew in a year! One day, his mother visited the cave, expecting to see him dead. When she saw a big, handsome, healthy boy she was very surprised and embraced him. She then visited him regularly in the cave. Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) remained in Ghaibat inside the cave, away from the people, for quite some time. His Ghaibat ended when he was big enough for people to consider him as a youth than a boy.
Dear readers, this was the interesting incident of Hazrat Ibrahim’s (a.s.) Ghaibat. We learn some very important lessons from it:
1. Ghaibat was common among the previous prophets and Allah (SWT) kept even the Ulul Azm prophets in Ghaibat to protect them from evil kings. So if Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) is in Ghaibat it is not something strange and unbelievable.
2. Allah, the Almighty, never abandons His servants in difficulty. First He helped Hazrat Ibrahim’s (a.s.) mother from Namrood’s men and then He helped Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) himself while he was all alone inside the cave.
3. Allah, the Almighty, is aware of His servants’ needs, like He was aware of Hazrat Ibrahim’s (a.s.) hunger. Therefore, whenever we have any need we should turn only to Allah (SWT) and He will help us, no matter how great our problem may be.
4. The evil kings try their best to harm Allah’s Hujjat, but Allah (SWT) protects them from all evil, while the kings are unaware of it.
5. Ghaibat is a great difficulty for Hazrat Mahdi (a.s.) and for us and we should pray for Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) safety and earliest reappearance.