Foundations and Purposes of Imam Mahdi’s (a) Global Governmen
Specifying the signs before the time of reappearance has its own advantages and benefits. Since the time of reappearance is not known to people, the only way to describe the reappearance is to describe its signs. Observing any of the mentioned signs strengthens one's faith in the reappearance of Imam (AS) and increases his anticipation. Although whatever indications were given by the Imams (AS) regarding the incidents which are to occur are totally based on the previous decreed decisions, they should not be ignored and should not be considered as insignificant. These signs were not given for the purpose of predicting the time of reappearance, or for urging people to search the scientific data to estimate the time of the occurrence of the sign itself. They, rather, become a reminder for people only after they occur miraculously. Once a sign occurs, the believers realize that it was amongst the signs that they were foretold, and thus, their faith and confidence will increase, and they will realize that the time of reappearance is closer than ever.
Keeping in mind the issue of al-Badaa, all the mentioned signs before his arrival, even if they finally occur, they may happen miraculously in an unpredictable manner. As we have seen in the second section, some of the signs such as an eclipse of the moon at the end of the month can only happen miraculously. Even for some other signs that can occur naturally and can be predicted by the available physical information, they may still occur supernaturally and thus their predicted schedules may be proven wrong. The more interesting observation is that, one of the mentioned signs at the end of the time is the rising of the sun from the west, which shows that Allah will miraculously change the direction of the heavenly bodies, and thus, all astronomical data will change according to the new movements. This means that all timely predictions based on the available astronomical data will be proven false due to this single miracle of Allah.
Thus, instead of worrying about the time of the occurrence of the cancelable or at least the unpredictable signs before the rising of Imam al-Mahdi (AS), one should care about keeping faith in the Imam (AS) and following his Sunna. Only in that way, will one be safe from the afflictions of the end of time no matter if those signs finally occur or not. If some the signs occur he will gain more hope and energy that the appointed time is fast approaching, and if he did not observe the signs he will still remain hopeful to receive the Imam (AS) because he believes that Allah is never restricted by His creation including His previous will and has power to do all things at any moment.
Will there be any confusion in Identifying al-Qa'im (AS)?
The occurrence of the signs indicates that the rising of al-Qa'im is about to take place. The question that may arise here is that, since the signs may change or may be cancelled, will there be any confusion for people to recognize Imam al-Mahdi (AS) once he starts his mission? Moreover, if there would be no confusion that he is the promised Mahdi (AS), why would then people oppose him?
According to the traditions, once Allah let Imam al-Mahdi (AS) rise, all people around the world, believers and disbelievers likewise, will become aware of him immediately and without any shadow of doubt. In the first tradition quoted below, the rising of Imam al-Mahdi (AS) is compared to the rising of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF), which took place very clearly. In the second tradition, it is mentioned that his rising will be as clear as sunshine and will be identified by all people. Jabir narrated:
Imam al-Baqir (AS) said, "The similitude of the rising of al-Qa'im from our Ahl al-Bait is that of the rising of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF). And the similitude of any of us Ahl al-Bait who rises before the rising of al-Qa'im is that of a little bird who tries to fly but falls down from its nest and becomes the toy of children."
Narrated Jabir Ibn Yazid:
Imam al-Baqir (AS) said, "Be calm so long as the heavens and the earth are calm/in place, i.e., do not rise against anyone. Verily your matter (i.e., the rising of al-Imam) shall not take place secretly as it shall be a sign from Allah, not from people. Be hold! It shall be brighter than sunshine so much so that it shall not remain hidden from the righteous and the evildoer (likewise). Do you know morning/dawn? It shall be like the dawn and there shall be no hidden thing in it."
As per another tradition, Imam al-Ridha (AS) explained the sentence, 'Be calm so long as the heaven and the earth are calm' as 'Be calm so long as the heaven is calm from the call (of Gabriel) and the earth is calm from sinking the army (of al-Sufyani).'