Favors of Imam Mahdi (PBUH)
Many people have been graced with the opportunity to meet Imam Mahdi (PBUH) in person. However, in this article we present only those anecdotes where this special favor of Imam (PBUH) has been conferred on the religious scholars and jurists.
1. Muqaddas Ardebili
Muqaddas Ardebeli was an illustrious Shi’a 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 (PBUH) and present his problem. Imam Ali (PBUH) invariably provided the solution.
One of the students of Allama Ardebili who was following his teacher closely states: "It was nearmidnight when being tired of studying, I was strolling in the courtyard of the shrine of Imam Ali (PBUH). In the luminous night, when all the doors of the sanctum were locked, I saw a person coming towards the tomb of Ali (PBUH). 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 Imam Ali (PBUH) in a grand manner. He stood there and saluted the Imam (PBUH). 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. 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 Ayatollah Muqaddas Ardebili.
After conveying my greeting 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 (PBUH) and the mosque of Kufa?"
Muqaddas Ardebili 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 (PBUH) and obtain the solution for the same. Last night, Ali (PBUH) directed me to contact Imam Mahdi (PBUH) and said, "My son Mahdi (PBUH) 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 (PBUH), I went to the Kufa mosque and found Imam Mahdi (PBUH) standing in theMihrab. I presented my problem to my Master and received the solution.
(Al Anwaarun Nomamiya, Vol. 2, pg. 303)
2. Sheikh Morteza Ansari
After the demise of Ayatollah Sheikh Muhammad Hasan (the author of al-Jawaahir) the people considered Sheikh Morteza Ansari as theMarja Taqleed (the most learned Mujtahid to be followed).
Consequently, they requested him to compile his Book of Islamic Law. Upon this he said: "I refuse to accept this great position because Ayatollah Mazandarani is yet amongst us. He is more learned than me and resides at Babil. Thus I cannot compile my own Book."
Sheikh Morteza Ansari wrote a letter to Ayatollah Mazandarani requesting him to come to Najaf so that he may assume control and supervision of the Shi’a institutes of learning.
Ayatollah Mazandarani replied to Sheikh Ansari: "It is true that when I was at Najaf, I used to be more knowledgeable in jurisprudence
when I held debates with you. But I have settled down in Babil 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 Morteza Ansari refused to accept the position of Marja Taqleed and thought to himself, "If my Master, Hazrat Imam Mahdi (PBUH) gives me the permission and bestows favor upon me by appointing me to this post, I shall accept it."
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 his students, "What is the order for a woman whose husband has transformed into any other form(Maskh)
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 to reply."
"But suppose such an eventuality does occur, then what would be the duty of the woman whose husband has undergone transformation?" the stranger persisted.
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 Mahdi (PBUH) and that he has given him his express permission to become Maraja 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 Sharia so that people could follow him.
(Ganjeena-e-Danishmandan, Vol. 8)
3. Allamah Hilli
During the time of Allamah Hilli, a Sunni scholar had written a book against the Shi’a faith. This scholar used quotes from his book in all his gatherings and succeeded in creating a dislike for Shi’ism amongst the people. He never gave this book to anybody lest it might fall into the hands of the Shi’a 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 wasmidnight, 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 wrote this."
(Majaalisul Momineen, vol. 1, pg. 573, by Qazi Nurullah Shustari)
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 Prophet Mohammad [PBUH])
- the period of time that a woman must wait in case of divorce or death of her husband before getting married again