Friday is an important day of the week. It is a very special day in the eyes of our beloved Imam - Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.). We should remember our Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) as much as possible on this day. One way to please Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) on this day is to take out Sadaqah on this day for his safety and to recite his Ziarat as mentioned in Mafatihul Jinaan.
When someone sincerely loves Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.), then Imam (a.t.f.s.) also loves him and takes care of him. If one requests Allah (SWT) to grant him Ziarat of Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.), Allah (SWT) answers his prayers and allows him a meeting with Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.).
This is a very important point that we must keep in mind. We can meet Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) only if he wants to meet us, we cannot meet him on our own without his permission. Therefore, whoever claims that he can meet Imam (a.t.f.s.) on his own; he is a liar and should no be trusted.
Ali bin Ibrahim Mahziyaar (r.a.) was among the fortunate Shias who loved Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) sincerely. He was always sad and depressed at being away from his Imam (a.t.f.s.). That is why his most important prayer was to be granted a chance to meet his Master (a.t.f.s.).
With this intention he would go for pilgrimage of Hajj every year. This is because according to a tradition of Imam Sadiq (a.s.) - Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) goes for Hajj every year while in Ghaibat (Occultation). He recognizes all the people over there, but they do not recognize him.
Ali bin Ibrahim Mahziyaar (r.a.) went for Hajj with the intention of meeting Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) over there, but was not able to meet Imam (a.t.f.s.). He went for Hajj 20 times, but to no avail. However, he did not get disappointed.
Dear children, this proves that one who has faith in Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) is neither disappointed nor does he despair.
Then one day a thought came to his mind - Maybe it is not in my destiny to meet Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.). Maybe my actions are not good enough to meet Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.). I should not go for Hajj any more, because Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) does not want to meet me.
But suddenly another thought came to him - You should go for Hajj this year as well. It is possible that your wish gets fulfilled this year and you get to meet Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.).
This thought encouraged Ali bin Ibrahim Mahziyaar (r.a.) to go for Hajj. He prepared for the journey of Hajj.
Love for Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) and the expectation to meet him made the difficult journey easy for him. He went to Medina and did the Ziarat of Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) in Masjid al-Nabawi. He did the Ziarat of Janabe Fatima Zahra (s.a.) in Jannatul Baqi. He did the Ziarat of the respected Imams (a.s.) also in Jannatul Baqi. But every moment his heart was awaiting the meeting with Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.). He was constantly searching for Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) amongst the people.
Ali bin Ibrahim Mahziyaar (r.a.) remained in Medina for some days and was eagerly awaiting the meeting with Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.). But when he could not meet Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) he became disappointed. With every passing day, this disappointment grew. He began thinking - what if I do not meet Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) this year also?
Then Ali bin Ibrahim Mahziyaar (r.a.) proceeded towards Makkah. He performed the Umrah. The days of the Hajj rituals drew nearer. In his Ehraam (loincloth worn in Hajj) he went to Arafaat, Masjidul Haraam and Mena. Then he went to the Holy Ka'bah and performed the Tawaaf. But his eyes were constantly searching for Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.). He was constantly praying to Allah (SWT) to grant him a meeting with Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.).
Ali bin Ibrahim Mahziyaar (r.a.) narrates, 'I completed all the rituals of Hajj. I performed a few Umrah. I remained in Makkah for few days. One day I was near the Holy Ka'bah thinking about all this, when suddenly I came right in front of the door of the Holy Ka'bah.' 'I saw a very handsome man standing near the Holy Ka'bah in the Ehraam. He had one cloth of Ehraam tied at his waist and another wrapped around on his shoulder. The Ehraam cloth had slipped off his shoulder, which was shining very brightly. I was in a strange condition at this beautiful sight and my state was such that it could not be described. I wanted to meet this handsome man and in my eagerness I started moving towards him. Suddenly, he looked at me and asked:
'Where are you from? Which part of Iraq do you live in?'
Ali bin Ibrahim Mahziyaar (r.a.) - 'I am from the city of Ahwaaz.' 'Do you know Hussaini?'
Ali bin Ibrahim Mahziyaar (r.a.) - 'Yes.'
May Allah (SWT) have mercy on him. He used to worship Allah (SWT) throughout the night. His eyes were always shedding tears out of fear for Allah (SWT).
Do you know Ali bin Ibrahim Mahziyaar?
Ali bin Ibrahim Mahziyaar (r.a.) - 'I am Ali Ibrahim bin Mahziyaar.' 'O Abul Hasan, (Abul Hasan was the Kunniyat of Ali bin Ibrahim Mahziyaar and Arabs usually address each other with the Kuniyat and not the name), salutations of Allah be upon you! What you want? Why have you come over here?'
Ali bin Ibrahim Mahziyaar (r.a.) - 'I have come to search for my beloved Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) who is in Ghaibat (Occultation).' 'Your Imam is not hidden from you. Your bad actions have become an obstacle between you and your Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.). Go to your group and await the meeting with Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.). When the stars shine brightly in the sky, I will wait for you between Black Stone (Hajar al-Aswad) and Safaa.'
'I was delighted at the thought of meeting Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.). I cannot explain my condition on being told about this. But I had to wait for that moment. It seemed like a very long wait. Every second seemed like ages. Finally the moment arrived. I took my belongings and proceeded towards the meeting place.' 'The same handsome man who had met me earlier was there. He called out - O Abul Hasan, come here. He saluted me and said, 'Come with me.'
'I started walking with him. We traveled across many valleys until we reached Taif. Then he said, 'O Abul Hasan, stop, let us pray Namaz-e-Shab. We stopped at that place, prayed Namaz-e-Shab and Namaz-e-Subh after that.' 'Then he said - Let us proceed. We continued walking from one valley to another. Finally we reached a beautiful valley. When I saw carefully I noticed a tent that was shining brightly.' 'I said - I see a bright tent.'
'My companion replied - Yes, you are right.'
He went down the valley and I followed him.
He said - Leave the horse and walk along with me.
I got off the horse.
He said - Leave the horse and let's go.
I said - But this horse will run away. How will I proceed without the horse?
'He said - Only believers (momineen) can enter this valley. And those who leave the valley are also believers.'
'Then he ordered - Stay here, I will be back in some time. He went towards the shining tent.'
In that tent was my beloved Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) - the master of the earth and everything in it. I was thinking of this when a thought struck me - What if Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) does not give me permission to enter the tent? After coming so far what if I do not get a chance to meet my beloved Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.)?'
'Finally, that handsome man returned from the tent. He said - You are blessed, Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) has given you permission to meet him. I started moving towards the tent with the hope of meeting Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.). I cannot explain how I felt at that moment. Finally I entered the tent, which was filled with the brightest light.'
'I looked at Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) and did salaam to him.'
'Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) replied to my salaam and said - We were waiting for you day and night. Why did you come so late?'
'O my master! I could not find anyone to lead me towards you. I wanted to meet you for so many years.'
'You could not find anyone to guide you towards me?'
Then Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) wrote something on the ground and he said - No, it is not as you say that there was no one to guide you towards me:
1. You were busy gathering money and wealth.
2. You behaved proudly with the poor and weak believers.
3. You broke relations with your near ones.
Now, you tell me, after all these actions, is it possible for you to give an excuse that there was no one to guide you towards me?
'I said - O my master! I am extremely sorry for the sins I have committed. Please forgive me and excuse my faults and sins.'
Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.s.) said, 'O Ali bin Ibrahim Mahziyaar, if some of you had not sought forgiveness for the others, all the people of this world would have been destroyed except for some special Shias. The special Shias are those whose actions are just like their words.'
(Dalaaelul Imamat by Muhammad b. Harir Tabari, pg. 539-542)