Janab Mustataab Taqi Saleh Sayyed Ahmed ibne Hashim ibne Sayyed Musawi Rashti was a businessman living in the city of Rasht in Iran. This incident about his meeting with Imam Mahdi (as) is narrated by him as follows.I decided to perform Hajj in the year 1280 AH. With this intention I travelled from Rasht to Tabriz. At Tabriz, I stayed at the house of Haji Safar Ali who was himself a famous businessman of Tabriz. There I was very worried and anxious because at that time there was no caravan, which was to depart to Makkah for Hajj. I did not know what to do. I became ready to depart from Tabriz for Tarabuzan with Haji Jabbar Jaludaar Isfahani. We agreed on the fare for journey and departed from Tabriz. At the house of Haji Safar Ali, there were 3 other men whose names were Mulla Baqer Tabrizi, Haaj Sayyed Husain Tabrizi and Haaj Ali. They too joined me in this journey. We departed together, crossed the country of Rome towards Tarabuzan.
During the journey, Haji Jabbar came close to me and said, The road that we are about to cross is a dangerous one. It is better if we cross it quickly so that we can join the caravan that is ahead.” So we all began travelling faster with the intention of catching up with the caravan ahead of us. We had hardly walked some distance that it began snowing heavily. It was dark and visibility was poor. My companions covered their heads and continued to move quickly. I tried my best to keep up with them, but in this weather it was difficult for me and soon they had gone ahead and I was left alone.
I got down from my horse and sat down on one side of the road. I was in a state of helplessness and dejection. I was carrying only about 600 Tumans, which I had kept with me for the journey. Finally I decided to spend the night there and continue my journey in the morning.
As we had not travelled very far from the city, there was a possibility for me to turn back and select a few strong men with me as my companions and renew my effort to catch up with the caravan. I was deliberating over this option when suddenly I saw a garden on the opposite side of the road and its gardener. It seemed that there was a shovel in his hand with which he was clearing the snow from the branches of the trees in the garden.
This person came closer to me and stood at a distance and asked me in Persian, Who are you?
I told him that my companions had gone ahead and that I was new in this area and did not know the way. He said to me, “Pray the Nafilah (recommended) prayers so that you may find the road.” I readied myself for prayers and recited the night prayers (Namaz Shab).
After I completed my prayers, he came to me again and said, “You are still here? Why haven’t you left yet?” I said, “By Allah, I promise that I do not know the way.” He said, Recite Ziyarat Jameah.
I did not know Ziyarat Jameah by heart and even at that time I knew that I would not be able to complete it. Yet I began reciting it and soon I found that I had recited it completely without any mistake.
As I completed the Ziyarat, the gardener came to me again and said, “You are still here? Why are you sitting here?”
I began crying uncontrollably and said, “Yes, I am still here. I do not know the way or else I would have left.” He said, “Recite Ziyarat Ashurah.”
I got up and began reciting it. I did not Ziyarat Ashurah by heart and even at that time I knew that I would not be able to complete it. Yet I began reciting it and soon I found that I had recited it completely with the 100 salaams and 100 curses without any mistake. I even recited Dua Alqamah which is to be recited after Ziyarat Ashurah.
After I completed the recitation, he came to me again and said, “You are still here? Why haven’t you left yet?” I said, “I will be here at least till the morning.” He said, “Wait, I will reach you to your destination.” He mounted a donkey, hauled the shovel on this shoulder and asked me to climb behind him on the donkey’s back. I complied with his request. At this time, I tugged at the reins of my horse, but he did not move from his place. The gardener said, “Give me the reins of the horse.” I gave them to him. He shifted the shovel to his left shoulder and began walking. Surprisingly, the horse began to move along with him.
While walking, he placed his hand on my thigh and said, “Why don’t you pray Namaz Shab”. Then he repeated thrice, “Nafilah, Nafilah, Nafilah!” Then he said, “Why don’t you recite Ziyarat Ashurah?” Then he repeated thrice for emphasis, “Ashurah, Ashurah, Ashurah!” Then he said, “Why don’t you recite Ziyarat Jameah?” Then he repeated thrice for emphasis, ” Jameah, Jameah, Jameah!” Thus in this way, he reminded me about these three actions.
Suddenly he turned to me and said, “Look there are your friends”. I saw my companions in the distance. They had stopped at the river and were performing ablution for their morning namaz. I got down from the donkey and moved towards my horse so that I may reach them. I had hardly reached my horse that I saw the gardener. He had got down from the donkey and was waiting to help me mount my horse. He turned the face of the horse in the direction of my friends.
At this point a few thought began racing through my mind. Who was this person? Firstly, he had been speaking to me in Persian in an area where the language was not spoken. The people in the area were Turkish and followed the Christian religion, and apart from them there was no other person in this area. Secondly, he had asked me to recite Nafilah, Ziyarat Jameah and Ziyarat Ashurah. Thirdly, despite the fact that I had waited for so long at that place, he was able to reach me to my companions in a very short time!
Finally I reached the conclusion that this gardener was none other than Imam Mahdi (as). However when I turned behind to address him, I could not see anyone. In fact there was no sign at all of any person having been there.
Lessons from this incident
This incident teaches us that we must pay attention to the recitation of Ziyarat Ashurah, Ziyarat Jameah and Namaz Shab. The performance of these actions will be a cause of the pleasure of Allah, the Holy Prophet (sawa) and the Imams (as). Inshallah, our difficulties in this world and the Hereafter will be solved by their recitation.