Here’s part two of the article about the four special duties of Imam Mahdi (AS):
He succeeded Mohammad Bin Uthman, He was a leading personality from the family of Nawbakht. Ali Ibn Mohammad narrates from his uncle that I was sitting besides Mohammad Bin Uthman when he was in his death-bed and talking to him. He says, Ibn-Rauh was sitting near his feet. At that moment, Mohammad Bin-Uthman told me. “I have been commanded to make a Will to Husain Ibn-Rauh” I got up and made Husain to sit in my place and myself sat near Mohammad Bin Uthman’s feet.
Mohammad Bin Uthman began making a Will “Husain Ibn Rauh Abu Jafar, Nawbakhti, is my heir and successor amongst you after me. He is the medium and channel between you and Hazrat Saheb al Amr (A.J.) You refer to him in your problems and rely on him in your affairs, I was ordered to convey this message and I’ve done my duty”.
The First Tawqee received by Husain Ibn Rauh, was as follow:
“We know him (Husain Ibn Rauh) May Allah grant him goodness, his recognition and grace. We received his letter. He is our reliable man He enjoys such a position near us with which he is bound to be happy. May increase His obligations on him. Certainly, he a masterful and poweful person.
Praise be to the God who has no partner. Blessings of Allah be on Mohammad (S.A.) and his progeny.” Sunday 6th Shawwal 305 A.H.
To appoint Husain Ibn Rauh after Mohammad Bin Uthman, had two basic reasons (1) This position was granted to only him who was sincere to such an extent that if the Imam was behind him, he would not reveal his were about even if cut into pieces. Husain Ibn Rauh, was very sincere. (2) To remove the doubt in some people’s minds that only those who had blood relations or proximity with Mohammand Bin Uthman stood the chance of gaining successor ship. None could even imagine that Husain Ibn Rauh would bag that coveted status. Even the spies of Bani Abbas could not get whiff of it because there were people who were very near to Mohammad Bin Uthman.
Everybody considered Husain Ibn Rauh to be a very knowledgeable person, whether friend or foe. He lived a life of dissimulation (Taqiyyah). Many incidents concerning his discussion with the ruling kings are narrated. He won the hearts of the people through his methods. Many debates are also narrated from him and the source of all his knowledge is the fountain of Ahle-Bait’s knowledge. Therefore, after one debate, he said “Even if I am thrown from the sky or torn in to pieces by the vultures, I will not say a word of my own on the religion of God whatever, I say, I have learnt from the Divine Proof, God’s Peace and blessing be on Him”.
Whatever he did was based only on the instructins of Imam Mahdi (AS)
Abdu Sahl Nawbakht was asked as the special representative and why not he (Abu-Sahl)? He replied, “The Imams knows better whom to appoint. I have debates with the opponents of Shiaism, If I was knowing the where bouts of Imam (AS) and during a debate if If could not prove my point, I would reveal his hiding place. But Abul Qasim is not like this If Imam was hiding behind him, he would allow himself to be scissor into pieces but would not show his Imam to the enemies”.
Husain Ibn Rauh was Imam (AS)’s special representative for about twenty one years. He expired in Shaban, 326 A.H. and is buried in the courtyard of Ali Ibn Mohammad Nawbakth’s house in Baghdad. He was a contemporary of Muqtadir and Raazi, the Abbaside Kings.
(4) The fourth special representative Abul Hasan Ali Ibn Mohammad Seymouri:
He was appointed as the fourth special deputy of Imam Mahdi (AS) after the demise of Husain Ibn Rauh. He is remembered as one of companions of Imam Hasan Askari (AS) and the special representative of Imam Mahdi (AS) in Baghdad. For three years, he held the coveted post of deputyship. Unlike the previous deputies he could not perform any major task due to his truncated tenure. One of his extra ordinary feats was his prediction of Ibn Babway’s demise.
The last Tawqee from Imam (AS) received by Ali Ibn Mohammad announced the termination of the period of minor occultation its contents are as follows:
In the name of god the beneficent, the merciful:
O Ali Ibn Mohammad Seymori May increase the reward of your brothers on account of the difficulties born by you. You will die within six days. Regulate your affairs and sum them up. Do not make a will to anybody. After you, this chain (of special deputyship) will end and it will mark the beginning of the major occultation. Now, I will re-appear on divine command. However, that will be after a long time when the hearts of the people will become hardened and the world will become full of injustice, tyranny and oppression. Yes! there will be some who will claim to be my special deputes. Whoever claims to consult me before the emergence of Sufyani and the heavenly Voice, he is a deceiver and liar. There is no power and strength except that of Allah, the Al-mighty the High.”
This is the last letter received from Imam (AS) in the minor occultation. After three years of deputyship, Ali Ibn Mohammad Seymouri left this world in Sahaban, 329 A.H. He is buried on the Khalanji Highway near Bab-ul-Mahool on the banks of the Abi Eqaab river. His last words were “For God is the Affaif and He will himself execute it”. He lived during the reign of Muttaqui, the Abbaside Caliph.
For 69 years between 260 A.H. till 329 A.H. four people acted as the medium between Imam (AS) and his followers. This duration is called as the Minor occultation. Some people deem this duration to be 74 years. That is because they calculate it from the bieth of Imam (AS) in 255 A.H. It is certain that the Imam Mahdi (AS) did not shoulder the responsibility of Imamate in the life time of Imam Hasan Askari (AS).
Therefore, there was no need for Imam Mahdi (AS) to be in contact with the people directly, since his respected father was executing it. Hence, the question of the commencement of minor occultation does not arise right from the birth of Mahdi (AS).
Some Peculiarities About Special Representation:
1) The name of the special deputies were not mentioned in the Tawqeaat. This was done in order to prevent the Abbasid king’s from knowing their names. Also, because this relationship was based on sheer trust and reliability, there arose no particular need to mention the names.
2) Alawis were kept away from deputyship and others were purposefully granted this status because the Alawis were clearly marked in the society and were under strict surveillance and scrutiny of the Government.
3) All of the affairs of the deputies were conducted in Baghdad for the following reasons:
- a) At the time of Imam Hasan Askari (AS)’s martyrdom, those people who had come from Qum to Sammarra, were told that some-one would be appointed in Baghdad so that they could give their offerings to him and received Imam (AS) letter from him.”
- b) Their apparent involvement was in business, therefore, they did not have the time to go out of Baghdad.
- c) These deputies were rarely engaged in social work due to the following reasons:
(i) By indulging in social work one’s identity doesn’t remains secret. In addition, they did not intend to reveal themselves.
(ii) If they participated in social work, they would be marked and become as special representative, while their aim was only to pose as businessmen. This is the cause for the rare information about their lives. Even historians have hardly mentioned anything about them. It is also possible that some historians have documented their biographies but these documents have been destroyed by the enemies of Shiism.
4) They performed only those tasks which were ordered unto them.
5) They were informed of the Hidden knowledge only with the permission of Hazrat Vali-e-Asr (AS).
6) All the towhees received during the time of the four special deputies, had only one hand-writing and people were recognizing it. This similarity in writing proved that all these letters were from Imam (AS) and people followed them diligently.
7) About the Tawqees one can say:
- a) They follow the pattern of traditions.
- b) They were answer to questions.
- d) They were coming about 2-3 days after the questions.
8) These deputies were keeping themselves concealed from public eyes and lived in dissimulation (Taqaiyyah). For example when Husain Ibn Rauh gave preference to the reigning caliph, on account of his dissimulation then people prayed for him and the Government could not become aware of his deputyship.
9) It was not necessary that everybody should have had direct contacts with the special representatives, they made their close friends and intimates as the medium between themselves and the masses. For example, Mohammad Ibn Husain had appointed ten deputies in Baghdad to collect the offerings, among them was Husain Ibn Rouh.
The aims of Special representation can be summed up in the following words:
(i) To prepare the people for the major occultation and habituate them to live with their Imam in concealment.
(ii) To take some steps in solving the problems and reformation of the Shia Society.