the holy islamic shariat (religious law) is the most perfect of all the other shariats. in the islamic shariat we find such divine sciences and instructions which cannot be found in other shariats. so all that was prevalent amongst the previous nations such as the various tests and examinations should, out of necessity, prevail in this nation too because this general rule comprises those lessons and even more than that.
amongst the most important matters by which the previous nations were subjected to evaluation and examination was the matter of occultation of some of their prophets. then, the same occultation should occur for the leaders of this nation too just as the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) went into concealment in the mountain pass of abu-talib for a period of thirty years. amongst the concealment of Mahdi so that the path of guidance is distinguished from the path of deviation and a believer is distinguished from a hypocrit. like some of the prophets' concealment, the concealment of Mahdi is the greatest test and examination for shi'ites and rather for the non-shi'ites making no difference as far as the duration of concealment is. concerned.
shaikh saduq in «kamaluddin» has imputedly narrated from sadir sairafi as such:
'i along with mufazzal-ibn-omar, abu basir and abaan-ibn-tughlab got the honour of meeting imam jafar sadeq (a.s.). we saw hazrat, sitting on the ground having put on a collarless cloak which had two short sleeves. he was weeping like a woman weeping over her lost dear one. the signs of grief and sorrow were visible on his blessed face and tears were flowing from his eyes. he was moaning and saying: 'my master, your occultation has snatched away the sleep from my eyes. it has taken away my comfort and has deprived tranquility from my heart. my master, your occultation has fastened my grief and sorrow forever. due to loss of friends one after the other, our gathering has been broken. i do not feel the tears of my eyes and the yellings and cryings of my heart which result from the past calamities and hardships but that i see the same in my imagination which is greater, more sorrowful, severe and unknown than all other difficulties.
sadir says: our mind became perplexed (by witnessing imam's condition) and our hearts became upset as a result of imam's terrifying words about the destructible events. we thought that the calamities and misfortunes of the day which had befallen on imam had brought him to this state of grief and sorrow.
narrator says: hazrat sadeq (a.s.) heaved a sad sigh which caused pain to his heart and then said: 'this morning when i was looking at the book of «jafr» (the book which contains knowledge on deaths, calamities, misfortunes and knowledges about the past and future and which was exclusively given to muhammad and his progeny by the exalted god) i came across such matters like the qaem's birth, occultation, delay in reappearance, his long-life, the sufferings of the believers at that time, the appearance of doubt and uncertainty in their hearts because of hazrat's prolonged occultation, the deviations that will occur for majority of them and shirking of the islamic obligations on their part whereas Allah says:---
«and we have made every man's actions to cling to his neck».
(«--» here refers to the 'wilayat of the holy prophet's progeny).'
these events have overpowered me with grief and sorrow.
we said: 'o son of the messenger of Allah, we will be honoured if familiarized us with some of those things over which you have knowledge.