Imam Mahdi in the Verse: (2:3)

Who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them;(1)

A- Tafsir Majma’al-Bayan by Shaykh Tabarsi  

Shaykh Tabarsi (2) explains that the verse concerns the attributes of the virtuous ones guided by the light of the Qur’an. Their first attribute is their belief in the unseen (Ghayb). He then gives several views concerning the meaning of ghayb here:

1- it means jurisprudence

2- the Day of Judgement, the Heaven, the Hell (according to Hasan)

3- anything from God (according to ibn ‘Abbas)

4- the Qur’an (according to Zirr ibn Hubaysh)

5- anything that is outside the knowledge of ordinary people (according to ibn Mas’ud). Here, Shaykh Tabarsi makes a connection between this verse and the Mahdi and says that this view includes what the Imams said concerning the Occultation (ghayba) of the Mahdi and the time of his Appearance since no one but God knows the date of his appearance.

B- Tafsir al-Mizan by Allama Tabataba’i

Tabatabai,(3) in his explanation of the term "al-Ghayb" (the unseen), says that it is the opposite of "the perceived", and that we cannot perceive through our usual senses. He adds that the term is used to denote Allah, and His great signs, including the revelation, which is referred to in the Qur’an; And who believe in the Revelation sent to thee, and sent before thy time, and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter.(4)

He affirms that it also includes the hereafter, but in this verse, the belief in the revelation and in the hereafter have been mentioned separately. Therefore, "the unseen" must have been used only to mean Allah. In this way the belief in the three fundamentals of religion becomes complete.

Tabatabai then reports from the Ma’ani a1-akhbar a tradition from Imam al-Sadiq (sixth Imam), who said that: “Who believe in the Unseen” means those who believe in the rising of al- Qa’im (the Mahdi) and consider it as the Truth.” The author comments that this explanation is given in other traditions also. But Tabataba’i adds that in order to interpret the verse as concerning the Mahdi in this case implies transforming the general meaning of the verse to a specific one, the verse having a general meaning.

C- Tafsir Makhzan al-‘Irfan by Banu Nusrat Amin

Banu Amin(5) describes the word Ghayb in this verse as something that is not perceptible through our senses like the sense of hearing or the sense of sight. She gives as examples, the existence of God, the Hereafter that we cannot perceive through our usual senses, or the Imam of the Time who is not visible and hidden from our sight; however, at the same time she says that he is attentive to the situation of his Shi’ites.

She then explains the superiority of those who have faith and are living in the time of the great Occultation of the Mahdi, which is the most difficult period in which to preserve one’s faith: the Prophet in his greatness declared, concerning believers of this time, that he was impatient to meet them and considered them as his brothers. There are also traditions, Banu Amin argues, concerning the importance of those who believe during the period of the Occultation.

She adds that if we can find believers in this time (of the greater Occultation) who believe intelligently, i.e. after having carried out some research and not only by imitating their parents, we can say that they are even superior to believers at the very beginning of Islam who had an opportunity to be with the Prophet and to learn directly from him, and also there were fewer temptations for them of being lead astray from the truth compared to the temptations of our time.

NOTES:

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1. The Quran 2:3

2. Majma’ al-Bayan,Vol.1 p.60

3. Al-Mizan: Vol.1, p.68

4. The Quran 2:4

5. Tafsir Makhzan al-‘Irfan : Vol. 1, P. 91