The Period of Disappearance
THE PERIOD OF DISAPPEARANCE
If we study all the living religions, we find that a particular period has been pointed out which we can term as the ‘“Dark Age”’. The reason for the same is that the chain of revelation remained continuous right from Adam. We cannot connect it to that point without any solid proof, but if we look back up to Abraham’s time the chain of Heavenly messages appears to be continuous and connected. We find pious persons in every religion having a connection with God Almighty. We find revelation and inspiration prevalent among the progeny of Ismail and Isaac. We see the descending angels, visions, and apocalypses there, like a surging sea. With the progress of the human mind, new problems cropped up. To meet these problems we see their solution through the Heavenly guidance at every stage.
Lord’s messages were being received at every step. There came prophet after prophet equipped with Heavenly guidance. The humanity remained closely connected with God. The people of any religion who took one prophet to be the last prophet lagged behind in the march of human advancement. It was the reason that thousands of religions went off the scene because they could not keep pace with the advancement of the human mind.
In the sons of Israel the religion remained as a living force for a pretty long time. The Israelites welcomed every Heavenly guide. Their religion did not come to a standstill as long as they welcomed the prophets. It is something else that the prophets from Moses up to Malachi could not receive complete obedience from people. In spite of this, people did not deny their prophethood. Although in a small number, every prophet found a group of obedient persons. If they were not admitted as prophets, they were treated as reformers of the religion of Abraham and Moses. Thus the concept of Heavenly connection and fresh Divine messages remained intact.
When the Jews supposed that the revelation had stopped after the prophet Malachi, the heavenly messages were also taken to have stopped. The man is so ill-tempered that he is not ready to accept guidance even in the presence of prophets; was it proper on the part of God to leave such a sinful creature without any proper guidance? Never at all. The Creator and creation cannot be disconnected. This was proved by Jesus Christ. The Jews were of the view that the heavenly guidance had ceased and no message was left with God that could lead humanity towards the stairs of evolution taking him to the highest steps. The result was that the growth of Judaism stopped. The people who were Jews through generations left their old religion and became Christians.
Later on, the same happened to Christianity. They also considered that the Divine message had stopped after Christ. They thought that the connection between God and man was till the presence of prophets. The result here was the same. Christianity became more popular than religions before Christ because it was more advanced than the old ones. However, after the advent of Islam, it was proved that the link of guidance between God and man had not been disconnected.
As Islam was more advanced and progressive than the former religions and was suitable to the growing needs of the advancing human mind, a majority of Jews Christians, and people of other religions accepted Islam.
Thus the last religion became the second big religion of the world. Had there been no crusades and other prejudicial factors, Islam would have been the top religion in the world.
Even today, it is spreading, whereas other religions are shrinking. This shows that it will progress in the future too. Unfortunately, the same concept crept up in Islam that after the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) no message of guidance was there with God. The link of revelation, inspiration, true dreams, and apocalypses was negated and thus man was once again disconnected from God.
With the lapse of 14 centuries after the Holy Prophet, the human mind has reached a high degree of evolution. Every day brings new problems. Man is worried as to how to say prayers in the space. How to pray and fast at poles? With new inventions coming into existence and the advancement of science, countless problems are being faced. In view of all these ticklish problems should we suppose that Divine guidance has stopped? If this is true, the man who is naturally vagrant, what will be his fate?
In the world of Islam, there is a sect that has the concept that the God-made institution of Prophethood has been closed but after the last Prophet his twelve Deputies exist quite like the twelve Deputies of Moses and Christ. These Deputies have a lasting connection with God. God is connected with his creatures through them. There is a Tradition of the Holy Prophet that had there been no representative of God on earth, the earth would have swallowed its inhabitants.
Now the question arises as to what is the ‘“Dark Age”’. It is an Age when the Lord God is displeased with mankind, He conceals His ‘link’ and men cannot see him anymore. This link delivers the new messages of God to men. It is called ‘Hujjat’. God Almighty disconnects this link in wrath. Eventually, the people remain misled
This is what happened with the people of Moses when they disobeyed God. The Hujjat of that time viz Moses was directed to quit Egypt and go to Median. The other prophets of Moses’ period were directed to live silently. The sons of Israel remained groaning under the torture of Pharaoh. They had no way out at all. One of their scholars advised them to make congregational penitence and to lament and weep before God. They did the same and right at that moment the Lord God directed Moses to go to Egypt and bring them out of the Pharaoh’s clutches. When Moses reached Egypt he was seventy. This period, in which Moses remained away from the sons of Israel, is called the ‘Dark Age’. It means that the Hujjat of God Almighty remained present and had a direct link with God, yet his link with the masses was no more. This period is called ‘the “Dark Age”’ or ‘the period of disappearance’. It is astonishing that all the books of different religions, while talking about the last age tell us about a long “Dark Age”, with one accord.
It is told that tyranny and oppression will be at its peak in that age, and there will be a long dark period without a link with the divine guidance. The book of Micah says:
“Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them. Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all over their lips; for there is no answer of God”
Micah chapter 3 (6-7)
This means that the light of guidance for mankind will be put out and darkness will prevail. This darkness was predicted by Christ in the following words.
- Then Jesus said unto them, yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in the darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.”
St. John Chapter 12(35 Vrs)
In the book of Jeremiah it has been said:
“Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God, before he causes darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.”
Jeremiah Chapter 13(15-16)
In the Holy Quran, this fact has been described more lucidly:
“Or as darkness on a vast, abysmal sea. There coverth him a wave, above which is a wave, above which is a cloud. Layer upon layer of darkness. When he hloldeth out his hand he scarce can see it. And he for whom Allah hath not appointed light, for him there is no light.”
Similarly, in sura-e-Baqarah it has been said;
“Their likeness is as the likeness of one who kindleth fire, and when it sheddeth its light around him Allah taketh away their light and leaveth them in darkness, where they cannot see.” Al-Bakarah(The Cow -17)
These two verses of the Quran point out a period when the Light of guidance will be concealed from mankind. In such a period the whole human race will not know where to go. While explaining the said verses it has been said that they refer to the “Dark Age” which is technically called “Ghaibat” or “disappearance”.
Imam Muhammad Baqir (A.S) has said:
“..“Dark Age” is sure in which there will be bewilderment, due to which many nations will be led astray” Behar-ul-Anwar
Imam Muhammad Taqi (A.S) has said:
“In the times of the Last Divine Guide there will be a ‘disappearance’ which will prolong over centuries viz. the “Dark Age” will be very long. People will go on searching for the light of guidance in a way as the lost goats search for their shepherd. Even then they will not find it.”
The book of Ezekiel says:
“Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and there shall be none. Mischief shall come upon mischief, and rumor shall be upon rumor; then shall they seek a vision of the prophet; but the law shall perish from the priest and counsel from the ancients.”
Ezekiel Chapter 7(25-26)
The Old Testament says:
“And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters. And he said, I will hide my face from them; I will see what their end shall be”
(Deuteronomy Chapter 32(19-20)
The hiding of the face actually means the disconnection of mankind with the Hujjat of God. This disconnection leads to bewilderment and perdition. This “Dark Age” has been described in the book of the prophet Amos in the following words:
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Lord. And they shall wander from sea to sea and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of Lord, and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.”? Amos Chapter 8(11-13)
The water here means the heavenly guidance, which will not be available. The same thing has been said in the Holy Quran:
“Say: Have ye thought: if (all) your water were to disappear into the earth, who then could bring you gushing water?”
Almulk (The Soveregnty -30)
There are twenty Traditions from Holy Imams that explain the above verse. The disappearance of water has been taken as the disappearance of the Hujjat of God. This loss of Divine Guidance is due to the wickedness and bad deeds of mankind. These are the reasons of “the “Dark Age” which have been enumerated in the Old Testament:
“Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought in that they are turned unto other gods. “
Deuteronomy Chapter 31(17-18)
When man indulges in wickedness and prefers to please men than to please God worships other gods instead of the real God and follows self-made guides instead of Divine guides, he invites the wrath of God. The wrath of God will visit him. And He will disconnect the men with His Hujjat. In such a state of affairs, man will languish with spiritual thirst and will run after the mirage and will not be able to find the spring of elixir.
The Holy Imams have pointed out the reasons for this “Dark Age” which attests to the statement of Moses. It has been said by the Holy Imams (A.S)
“When God is highly displeased with his disobedient persons, He conceals His ‘Hujjat’. He knows that his obedient persons will not leave the right path even in the “Dark Age”. Had there been any doubt about the righteous persons that they would be led astray for a single second, God will not have concealed His ‘Hujjat’.”
The reason for darkness is the displeasure of God due to the sins of mankind. It can be said that it is not possible that the whole human race might be ready to commit sins. There are people, although small in number, who always carry out the behest of God. It is against the justice of God to punish obedient and disobedient alike. It has been already explained that those who are dutiful to God, will avail of the divine light even in the period of darkness. The prophet Isaiah referred to this point when he said:
“And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner anymore, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, this is the way, walk ye in it. When ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”
Isaiah Chapter 30(20-21)
It becomes clear that those who follow the right path will not face the danger of being led astray. They will be guided by the unseen guide. The “Dark Age” is a period of test and trial. A large number of people will leave the right path.
This is what Christ has said:” And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
St.Matthew Chapter 24(12-13)
This shows that the rebellion from religion will spread like an epidemic. The Traditions provide that followers of all religions will quit their religions and love for the same will evaporate from their hearts. This is what is happening today. A large number of Traditions shows that this “Dark Age” is a test and trial. Ali, the son of Imam Jafar Sadiq (A.S) says that “This ““Dark Age”” is a trial through which God will test the human race”. It has also been explained as to who will stand the test and on what grounds.
“In the “Dark Age,” no one will cling to his religion except those sincere persons whose souls will be full of faith and conviction and those from whom God might have taken a covenant of love for the Prophet’s Family. Faith would have been inscribed in their hearts and they would be helped by a Pure Spirit deputed by God.”
In another Tradition it has been said, “No one will find salvation except one who has taken a vow from God Almighty and faith is inscribed in his heart or he is supported by a Holy Ghost.”
A question arises as to how we can achieve the support of the Holy Ghost, or what are the means to this end.
The answer to this has been supplied by Jesus Christ.
“And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth and he that seeketh findeth and to him that knocketh it shall be opened If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask for an egg, will offer him a scorpion?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
Luke Chapter 11(9-13)
It means that during the period of bewilderment and perdition the only way to achieve the support of the Holy Spirit and heavenly guidance is, to beg again and again as a son requests his father for provision of some necessities and when he weeps and cries, the father is forced to meet his demands. Similarly, one who begs weeping and lamenting from the Almighty receives the heavenly Guidance.
There are so many Traditions from Holy Imams that explain the above fact. A person named Ahmed son of Ishaque put a question to the Hujjat of his time; Who will get salvation during the ““Dark Age””? The answer of the Holy Imam was that during this period of perdition, only that soul will be saved whom God will support to remain in love with the family of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) and will pray for immediate establishment of their rule.
When we see this age, we become sure that this is the “Dark Age” which has been underlined by all the leaders of different religions. This is the period in which the human race is totally cut off from its Creator and we do not hear any Divine voice and are deprived of His latest messages. We are trying to seek guidance from the books considering the same to be a source of inspiration.
The fact is that we cannot make a thing properly just by reading a book. The bread that we eat many times in a day cannot be baked properly in the first attempt without undergoing experiment and experience. It is impossible that we may assemble a computer after reading a book. There are books on every branch of science and technology, but we cannot understand them without a guide. This fact is more established when we read the explanatory books regarding the Holy Quran and other scriptures.
Those who claim to have properly understood the revealed books introduced countless sects and creeds. The Right, which is a uniform reality, is not visible in its true shape. Numberless problems are cropping up daily and various religions are being amended continuously. Faithlessness has gone to this extent that no Jew is a true follower of Moses except a very few. No Christian is a real follower of Christ except very few and no Muslim is a correct follower of the Holy Prophet’s (P.B.U.H.) religion for which he tolerated many hardships and his Family presented so many valuable sacrifices. This religion is also being followed in the real sense, by a tiny minority. Everywhere there is an open rebellion against religion. No ray of divine light is coming from the sky to the earth.
That pious religion was based on the negation of sex and corporeal desires and in which it was ordered that only that person can achieve the goal who totally denies sex, simply to please God. The pioneers and followers of that very religion are teaching pornography to the world and are introducing lesbianism.
The Muslims who were ordered by God to adopt the ways of The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) are at the peak of every sin and wickedness and in spite of this, they consider themselves to have achieved salvation.
The following predictions appear quite true for the percentage:
- The love for religion will cool down.
- The followers of every religion will become apostates.
- Has not the light of heavenly guidance been taken away?
- Is not mankind groping in the darkness of perdition?
- Has the soothsaying and Prophethood not gone away?
- Have not the priests and the religious scholars receded from the commandments of religion?
- Are not the fortune tellers and religious persons being ashamed?
- Have not the seekers of vision and heavenly light died down?
- Has the Lord God not stopped to answer the requests made to him?
- Has not the Lord hidden his face from us?
- Have not the vision from the prophets and counsel from the old gone away?
- Has not God become angry due to our misdeeds?
- Have not the sources of elixir been concealed?
- Has not God disconnected Himself from mankind?
If all the preceding questions are correct, which are definitely correct, then is not the present age, the “Dark Age” which was pointed out by the Prophets?
If really this is the “Dark Age”, have we ever tried to think as to what should be our practice for being saved from eternal ruin?
- Have we ever tried to search out from the commandments of the Prophets the mode of life to be adopted in such circumstances?
- Have we ever tried to find out our obligations, liabilities, and duties pertaining to this age in the light of the Prophet’s, sayings?
- Are we mindful of the fact that we have not done what we ought to have done in this “Dark Age”?
- Are we ashamed of our bad deeds?
- Have we ever tried to make contact with God’s Light of guidance whose name is “the One Promised by Prophets”?
- Have we ever tried to realize the loss mankind is suffering due to the non-availability of the ‘Hujjat’?
If the answer to all the above questions is negative how can we expect to have positive results?