Many people have been graced with the opportunity to
meet Imam Mahdi (A.S.) in person. However, in this
article we present only those anecdotes where this
special favor of Imam (A.S.) has been conferred on
the religious scholars and jurists.
(1) Muqaddas Ardebeli (a.r.)
Muqaddas Ardebeli was an illustrious Shia scholar.
It is well- known about him that whenever he used to
encounter a difficult problem which he was unable to
solve, he used to go to the tomb of Imam Ali (A.S.)
and present his problem. Imam Ali (A.S.), invariably
provided the solution.
One of the students of Allama Ardebeli who was
following his teacher closely states: "It was near
midnight when being tired of studying, I was
strolling in the courtyard of the shrine of Ameerul
Momineen Ali Ibne Abi Talib (A.S.). In the luminous
night, when all the doors of the sanctum were
locked, I saw a person coming towards the tomb of
Ali (A.S.). For a moment, I thought that it was a
thief who intended to commit a robbery. I followed
him. But when he reached the main door, to my utter
amazement, the door swung open and the padlock
opened by itself in welcome. He continued to move
towards the grave and whenever he neared a door, it
opened by itself till he entered the sanctum of
Ameerul Momineen (A.S.) in a grand manner. He stood
there and saluted the Imam (A.S.). He received the
reply to his salutations and commenced the
conversation. When the dialogue ended, he emerged
and headed towards the mosque of Kufa. I followed
him in order to get to the bottom of the mystery.
When he reached the mosque of Kufa, he entered the
Mihrab (niche of prayers where the Imam stands) and
began to converse with someone in a subdued voice.
After the conversation was over, he came out of the
mosque and walked back to Najaf al-Ashraf. It was
almost dawn when he was near the gate of the twin
city. Suddenly, I felt like sneezing and though I
tried my best to suppress it, I could not. The
person ahead of me turned around and came towards
me. On a closer look, I recognized him to be my
honorable teacher, the great scholar Ayatullah
After conveying my salaam to him, I said, "From the
time, you entered the Holy Mausoleum till now, I
have been following you. I beg to know with whom
were you talking at the mausoleum of Imam Ali (A.S.)
and the mosque of Kufa?"
Muqaddas Ardebeli first put me under an oath not to
disclose this secret till he was alive. Then
proceeded to tell me that whenever he came across a
difficult problem in Islamic laws which he could not
solve, he used to present this query to Imam Ali
Ibne Abi Talib (A.S.) and obtain the solution for
the same. Last night, Ali (A.S.) directed me to
contact Hazrat Sahibuz Zamaan (A.S.) and said, "My
son Mahdi (A.S.) is at the Mosque of Kufa. He is the
Imam of your time. Go to him and seek the solution
of your problem."
Obeying the order of Ali (A.S.), I went to the Kufa
mosque and found Hazrat Sahibul Amr standing in the
Mihrab. I presented my problem to my Master and
received the solution. (Al-Anwaar un-Nomaniya, Vol.
2, pg. 303)
(2) Sheikh Murtuza Ansari
After the demise of Ayatullah al-Uzma Haaj Sheikh
Muhammad Hasan Najafi (r.a.) (the author of al-Jawaahir)
the people considered Sheikh Murtuza Ansari as the
Marja-e-Taqleed (the most learned Mujtahid to be
Consequently, they requested him to compile his
Tauzeeh al-Masail (book of Islamic Law). Upon this
he said: "I refuse to accept this great position
because Sayyidul Ulama (the chief of the learned),
Ayatullah Mazandarani is yet amongst us. He is more
learned than me and resides at Babel . Thus I cannot
compile my own Tauzeeh al-Masail."
Sheikh Murtuza Ansari (r.a.) wrote a letter to
Sayyid ul Ulama requesting him to come to Najaf al-Ashraf
so that he may assume control and supervision of the
Shia institutes of learning.
Sayyidul Ulama replied to Sheikh Ansari: "It is true
that when I was at Najaf al-Ashraf, I used to be
more knowledgeable in jurisprudence when I held
debates with you. But I have settled down in Babel
for quite some time. I do not participate in classes
nor do I teach any more. I have also stopped all
kinds of debates and discussions. Hence, I consider
you more learned and eligible for this position and
request you to accept the same."
Despite this communication, Sheikh Murtuza Ansari
refused to accept the position of Marja-e-Taqleed
and thought to himself, "If my Master, Hazrat Imam
Wali-al-Asr gives me the permission and bestows
favor upon me by appointing me to this post, I shall
One day Sheikh Ansari was delivering a lecture to
his students. A stranger entered the gathering. He
seemed to be of a noble and dignified lineage. The
Sheikh welcomed him with respect. The stranger
posed a question to Sheikh Ansari in the presence of
"What is the order for a woman whose husband has
transformed into any other form (Maskh)?" (Maskh is
the transformation of a human being into a stone,
plant or an animal. This type of punishment was
prevalent in the age of Prophets prior to Holy
Since this type of punishment has not been decreed
for the people of this age, we do not find this
problem in any of the books of Islamic Law.
Sheikh Ansari answered, "As this question is not
mentioned in the books of jurisprudence, I am unable
"But suppose such an eventuality does occur, then
what would be the duty of the woman whose husband
has undergone transformation?" the stranger
At this Sheikh Ansari replied, "My opinion (Fatwa)
is that a woman whose husband has turned into an
animal should observe iddah of divorce and after
this period, she can remarry. It is because her
husband is still alive and has a soul intact. As for
the woman whose husband has turned into a dead
object, must observe the iddah of death (of
husband). She can marry only after this iddah. This
is due to the fact that her husband has turned into
a dead thing and should be considered dead."
Upon hearing this gentleman said, "You are a
Mujtahid! You are a Mujtahid! You are a Mujtahid!"
Then he got up and went out of the gathering.
Sheikh Ansari realized that it was none but Hazrat
Imam Wali-e-Asr (A.S.) and that he (A.S.) has given
him his express permission to become
Maraja-e-Taqleed. He told his students to search for
this gentleman. The students rushed out, looked for
him everywhere but without success. After this
Sheikh Ansari agreed to compile his laws of Shariah
so that people could follow him (i.e. do his Taqleed).
(Ganjeena-e-Danishmandan, Vol. 8)
(3) Allamah Hilli
During the time of Allamah Hilli, a Sunni scholar
had written a book against the Shia faith. This
scholar used quotes from his book in all his
gatherings and succeeded in creating a dislike for
Shiaism amongst the people. He never gave this book
to anybody lest it might fall into the hands of the
Shia scholars who would write its refutation.
Allamah Hilli began to attend the lectures of this
scholar so that he could somehow lay his hands on
that book. Gradually he began to call himself the
author's student and concealed his faith. After
sometime, he developed a close affinity with his
'teacher'. Taking advantage of this proximity,
Allamah Hilli asked him for the book and pleaded to
such an extent that he could not refuse. So he said,
"Okay, I shall lend you this book but not for more
than a night."
With not much to choose, he considered it an
opportunity better than nothing. He wanted to copy
as much as he could while the refutation could be
written later. But when it was midnight , Allamah
Hilli felt sleepy. At that very moment, a dignified
personality entered his room and conversed with him
for some time. The gentleman offered to copy the
book while Allamah Hilli took some rest. The Allamah
accepted this without protest and went to sleep.
When he woke up, he found the gentleman missing. On
seeing the book, he saw that the whole book had been
copied and signed at the bottom, "The Proof of Allah
(Majaalisul Momineen, vol. 1, pg. 573, by Qazi
4)Imam Zaman (a.s.) and Shaikh-e-Mufeed (r.a.)
If we turn the pages of history we will find
numerous examples of personalities who have
enlivened Islam through their sacrifices of life and
wealth. One such personality is Abu Abdullah
Muhammad Haaris Akbari famous as Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.).
Mufeed implies the one who benefits others. He was
born approximately seven years after the
commencement of Ghaibat-e-Kubra in the month of
Zilqad, 336 A.H. in the north of Baghdad.
Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) with the help of his vast
knowledge passed through various difficulties and
welcomed all the obstacles that came his way with a
smile. He sipped real recognition from the ocean of
Wilayat and quenched the thirst of the followers of
Wilayat. He was attached to the infallible Imam (a.s.)
and the Shias benefited immensely from him. This man
of medium height and wheatish complexion had a ready
solution for problems of a religious, ethical and
social nature. It is because of this that he had
become a thorn in the eyes of his opponents. At the
age of 40 years, he shouldered the great
responsibility of defending the Shiite creed. It was
an era when Greek and Hindu philosophies were
rupturing the fabric of traditional Islam.
Twisted beliefs and concocted views were finding
their way into the realm of Islam. The enemies of
Allah had prepared the groundwork to extinguish the
light of truth. In such a situation, how could the
one who was given the title of 'Mufeed' by Imam
Zamana (a.t.f.s.) and who was the fifth descendant
of Janabe Saeed b. Jubair (a companion of Imam Baqir
(a.s.)) sit quiet while ignorance and deviation were
raising their heads and corrupt beliefs and views
were gaining ascendancy as were the Sufis seated in
their shelters (Khaneqaa)?
Expectedly, he lived up to his title 'Mufeed' and
with the help of Allah and His Proof (Hujjat) he
laid low the false, corrupt beliefs and nonsensical
philosophies through his penetrative writings,
teachings and training of students for debates.
He rescued the people from deviation and invited
them towards the religion of Allah which was
manifested through the teachings of Ahlul Bait (a.s.).
In this manner many deviated sects received
guidance. May be this was the reason why Imam Mahdi
(a.t.f.s.) called him 'Mufeed'as he was a helper for
Imam (a.t.f.s.) and a source of joy for people.
The above possibility is proved through various
Tawqees (signedletters) from Imam (a.t.f.s.) to
Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.).
But have we ever pondered why Imam (a.t.f.s.)
referred to him by the title 'Mufeed'? Why he
received so many letters from Imam (a.t.f.s.)?
Why Imam (a.t.f.s.) in his letter remembers Shaikh
Mufeed (r.a.) respectfully and calls him as his
The answers to these questions manifest for us the
remarkable personality of Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.).
The respect of Imam (a.t.f.s.) for Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.)
was the result of his memorable services for which
he surrendered his entire existence. For the
satisfaction of the Imam of his time, he willingly
accepted all the difficulties so as to be enumerated
among his(a.t.f.s.) servants. He was engulfed in his
love for Imam (a.t.f.s.) in such a way that the
flames of this attachment killed his desire for the
world and its allurements.
In the eyes of Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.), everything
paled in significance to Allah and His Proof (a.t.f.s.).
His heart was a dwelling of the love and remembrance
of Imam (a.t.f.s.); it did not have any place for
worldly desires. He considered all his small and big
works, his behavior (ethics) and speech as the scale
of love and satisfaction of Imam Zamana (a.t.f.s.).
He never desired anything other than this. All his
efforts and services were for the satisfaction of
Imam of the time and for propagating the beliefs of
religion to the Shias with weak faith. His life was
based on the saying of Imam Sadiq (a.s.):
"Our scholars are an obstacle for Shaitan to reach
the weak and helpless Shias. Know that whoever rises
from our Shias for this is better than a Mujahid who
fights in difficult conditions against the enemies.
A Mujahid (only) protects the physical boundaries of
people but they (scholars) protect the religion."
With his untiring efforts in the path of Imam Zamana
(a.t.f.s.), Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) merits inclusion
among Allah's best creatures. We find in traditions:
'The best and most superior of all people after us
are those who enliven our affairs and invite people
towards our remembrance."
This is the reason that Imam (a.t.f.s.) holds him in
such high esteem and lauds his efforts.
Imam (a.t.f.s.) in his first letter to Shaikh Mufeed
(r.a.) addresses him:
'This letter is for my brother and friend Abu
Abdullah Mohammed b.Noman (Shaikh Mufeed) - May
Allah keep him respected - May Allah's Peace be on
you, you have adorned yourself with our friendship
through sincerity and love and have preceded the
rest in faith and belief...We are thankful to Allah
for the bounties of your existence. And pray to
Allah that He sends his mercy on our Master Hazrat
Muhammad b.Abdillah (s.a.w.a.) and his Ahlul Bait (a.s.).
For helping the truth and striving to help our
friends, Allah has rewarded you and has given us
permission to correspond with you.'
'It is your responsibility that you convey our
message and commands to our Shias - May Allah give
them taufeeq of His Obedience and safeguard them in
In the last Tawqi, Imam (a.t.f.s.) wrote:'Know that
your actions should be such which bring you closer
to us and refrain from sins that are a cause of our
dissatisfaction. O Shaikh Mufeed! May Allah inspire
you with success and guidance through the
unseen.'(Ehtejaaj, vol. 2, pg. 597, Behaarul Anwaar,
vol. 53, pg. 175)
The Tawqis which have been addressed to Shaikh
Mufeed (r.a.) by Imam(a.s.) have been compiled by
scholars in their books viz. Shaikh Tabarsi (r.a.)
in Ehtejaaj, Qazi Nurullah Shustari (r.a.) in
Majaalisul Momineen, Allamah Sayyed Bahrul Uloom (r.a.)
in Rejaal, Sayyed Muhammed Baqir Khunsari (r.a.) in
Rauzaatul Jannaat, Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) in
Behaarul Anwaar, Allamah Muhaddisse Noori (r.a.) in
Mustadrakil Wasaail and Shaikh Abdullah Maamqaani (r.a.)
in Tanqeehul Maqaal and Mirza Muhammed Tankaabuni (r.a.)
in Qasasul Ulamaa.
Mirza Muhammed Tankaabuni (r.a.) has recorded a
Tawqi which is based on a strange incident. Over
here we have extracted only the relevant portion
from the incident. Marhum Tankaabuni narrates, "A
person from the suburbs of Baghdad approached Shaikh
Mufeed (r.a.) to seek the solution of a vexing
problem. He asked, "A pregnant woman has expired but
her child is alive in the womb, what do you say?
Should the foetus be removed through surgery or be
buried along with the woman?'"
Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) replied, "Bury the mother along
with the foetus."On getting the reply, the man left
for his village. On the way, a horse rider crossed
his path. He asked the man to halt and said, 'Shaikh
Mufeed (r.a.) has said that the foetus should be
removed from the womb through surgery and then the
woman be buried alone.'"
The person accepted it and acted on it.
After some time, the man came to Baghdad and
narrated the incident to Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.).
Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) said, 'I did not send anybody
with this edict. It seems that the person was
Imam-e-Asr(a.t.f.s.) (who gave the edict)'. Shaikh
Mufeed (r.a.) says, "After this (wrong edict) I am
not capable of giving edicts and undertaking the
responsibility of Marjaeyyat. After that day I
closed the doors of my house and told the people to
no longer seek solutions of their problems from me.
It was not long before I received a letter from Imam
(a.t.f.s.) in which he (a.t.f.s.) wrote:"You give
edicts, we will save you from mistakes and errors.
We will not desert you to commit mistakes.'"
In this manner, Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.) by the order of
Imam (a.t.f.s.) shouldered the responsibility of
Marjaeyyat and recommenced solving the problems of
At the end we can only beseech our beloved Imam - O
son of Prophet! O son of Zahra! We lack the
spirituality of Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.). We do not love
you with the same intensity. On the contrary, we are
immersed in sins from head to toe. Help us to love
you. O our Master! Help us, look at us, to enable us
toe walk on the Straight Path.
5)Allama Majlisi & Sahifa
The Arabic text of the Sahifat al-kamila
which forms the basis for the translation was
established by al-Shahid al-Awwal. The modern
Iranian editions are based mainly on the version of
this text transmitted by the father of the
above-mentioned Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, Mulla
Muhammad Taqi Majlisi (d. 1070/1659-60), also an
important scholar of the Safavid period. and another
son, Mulla `Abd Allah (d. c. 1084/1673); but at
least one of these editions goes back to the famous
Safavid jurist, philosopher, architect, poet, and
mathematician Shaykh-i Baha'i (d. 1031/1621-2). The
elder Majlisi had at his disposal numerous
manuscripts of the text, which he had received from
the foremost Shi'ite authorities of his day. In one
of his works he refers to all the chains of
transmission by which he had received the Sahifa,
and, we are told, these number more than a million.
The question naturally arises as to why Majlisi
chose the particular chain of transmission mentioned
in the preface out of the many he had at his
disposal, especially since the chain itself is
exceedingly weak (as indicated by the commentators
and recorded in the notes to the translation). The
reason for this seems to be the accuracy of this
particular version going back to al-Shahid al-Awwal,
as confirmed by another 'special' route through
which Majlisi received the Sahifa. This special
route is worth mentioning in detail, since it
provides a good example of the aura which has
surrounded the text in Shi'ite circles.
One day, lying in bed half asleep, Majlisi saw
himself in the courtyard of the 'Atiq mosque in
Isfahan, and before him stood the Mahdi, the Twelfth
Imam. Majlisi asked him about a number of scholarly
problems which he had not been able to solve, and
the Mahdi explained their solutions. Then Majlisi
asked him for a book which he could put into
practice, and the Mahdi directed him to seek out
Mawlana Muhammad al-Taj. In his vision Majlisi found
the book, and it appeared to be a book of
supplications. Waking up, he saw that his hand was
empty, and he wept until morning at his loss. At
daybreak it occurred to him that perhaps the Mahdi
had meant Shaykh Muhammad Mudarris, calling him by
the title `Taj' (the `crown') because he was so
famous among the scholars.
Hence he went to see Shaykh Muhammad, and, entering
his circle, saw that he held a copy of the Sahifa in
his hand. He went forward and recounted his vision
to Shaykh Muhammad, who interpreted it to mean that
he would reach high levels of gnostic and visionary
knowledge. But Majlisi was not satisfied with this
explanation, and he wandered around the bazaar in
perplexity and sorrow. Upon reaching the melon
market, he met a pious old man known as Aqa Hasan,
whom the people called, Taja (`Crown'). Majlisi
greeted him, and Aqa Hasan called to him and said
that he had a number of books which were consecrated
for religious purpose (waqfi) but that he did not
trust most of the students to put them to proper
use. `Come', he said, `and take whichever of these
books which you think you can put into practice.'
Entering Aqa Hasan's library, Majlisi immediately
saw the book he had seen in his dream, so he said:
`This is enough for me.' It was a copy of the Sahifa.
He then went back to Shaykh Muhammad and began
collating his newly acquired copy with that of
Shaykh Muhammad; both of them had been made from the
manuscript of al-Shahid al-Awwal. In short, Majlisi
tells us that the authenticity of his copy of the
Sahifa was confirmed by the Mahdi himself
Other Incredible Stories of Ulema
Other Lessons from the Lives of