Celebrating the Birth of Imam Mahdi (a.s.)
Source: Shabe Baraat and Wiladat of 12th Imam (AS)

The middle of the month of Shabaan holds, after the birth of the Messenger of Allah, one of the most important commemorations for the Shia and indeed the entire world of the oppressed and downtrodden. It is on the 15 of the year 255 AH, that Allah brought in the world, the completion of His light which would, in the future, make Islam the dominant force over the entire globe - even if the disbelievers and polytheists detest it - Imam al-Hujjat ibnil Hasan al-Askari (may Allah hasten his return).

The traditions from the Ahlul Bayt show us similarities between the birth of the Saviour of Humanity and the previous Prophets. Just like Prophet Musa's birth and his concealment, so too, our 12th Imam was born under 'secret' circumstances in which even some family members were not aware of his mother's pregnancy with him! Just as Prophet Isa was appointed to a Prophet while in the cradle, our Imam was granted the mantle of Imamate at the young age of 5 upon the death of his father, Imam Hasan al-Askari. These and other similarities show that the Sunnah or Tradition of Allah is a continuous one which manifests itself when the time arises.

The followers of the previous Prophets and Imams had responsibilities which they had to fulfill to their leader, and we too have responsibilities which we need to enact. As we mark his great birth, we present one such responsibilities from an up-coming publication from the Islamic Education Board of the WF. This work, which contains over 80 responsibilities elucidate upon all aspects of our life - interaction with Allah, the Prophet and the Ahlul Bayt and more importantly, how we deal with one another.

We are told that to take part in gatherings (Majaalis) in which the merits of Imam al-Mahdi are mentioned or in those where his noble ancestors are remembered is one responsibility. We must be present in such gatherings and through our presence, offer a gift to these great personalities and make such programs dynamic, as this is one of the signs of true love for our Imam.

A companion narrated from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (AS) that the Imam said: "Do you sit (far from the presence of those who are not from amongst yourselves) and speak to one another about whatever pleases you (in regards to the teachings of Allah)?" I replied, "Yes, by Allah..." The Imam replied, "I swear by Allah that surely I would love to be with you in such gatherings (Majaalis). Surely, by Allah I love the pleasant aroma that you emanate (by holding such gatherings) and I love your souls! Surely you are all on the religion of Allah and the religion of His Angels so help (one another) to observe piety and struggle (in these) regards."

As we mark the birth anniversary of our Imam, let us try to take part in the Majaalis held in our local communities and encourage our children and our entire family to also take part and to gain knowledge on the faith of Islam.