A REPLAY TO: “BELIEF OF MAHDISM IN SHIA IMAMIA”
A REPLAY TO:
“BELIEF OF MAHDISM IN SHIA IMAMIA”
BY: AYATOLLAH LUTFOLLAH SAAFI GOLPAYEGANI
TRANSLATED BY: DR. HASAN NAJAFI
IN THE NAME OF ALLAH
These comments of mine I sent to the reverend scholar Dr. Abdul Aziz Sachadina for his perusal. My intention was to solicit his clarification whatever he might deem necessary in case of my being erroneous in understanding any of the themes on the contents of his book. I even rather went too jar to request him to translate himself this comments into English. He favored me with answer:
“Your comments about my book I have read. I see befitting it is what you have explained and commented in a way of your own view of the universe should be published either along with the book or into a separate edition. As for its translation into English is concerned I consider it a labor of unbearable endeavor. Hence, I may be excused and my apology be accepted.
In the cases at the close of my lecture when your letter and comments reached we debated thereon and indeed benefited there from. I pray Allah, the Merciful, the Just, and the Knower of the intentions hidden in the bosoms to prolong the shadow of your existence and presence on our heads that is a paternal one to me. Please don’t forget me in your prayers.”
I have given the above extract from his letter in order to appreciate the greatness of character and the eximious quality of endurance that is in his bosom; and the generosity of Dr. Sachadina. Secondly, once again I have drawn out of it the striking- sincerity of his strong faith in Islamic principles and in the guardianship of Infallible Imams, (the Members of the Prophet’s House,) particularly that of HAZRAT Mahdi (A. S.) (The twelfth of them)
Thirdly repeatedly I have to remind that his thesis on the bases of explaining the causes of events due to historical factors as occurrence without taking into consideration of divine view of univerag3 to make familiar that category of people who adopted the above method for analysis, enabling them to analyze faith to mastership (Imamate) and Mahdaviat (Mahdi) with the same Idea, limited cognition which they have had from that Religions and Islamic principles.
Of course we reject the root of this assumption as such from one and it will
be cleaned from explanation that this method of study could not be generalized to all the events and occurrence nor answerable,
The misunderstanding which is comprehend from this hook is that (respected author) has not given importance to such a very basic point cleanly, And this may lead the readers of little information to conclude that the Real and Right Islam which Shia’sm is what this analysis says.
Such misunderstanding will he removed by these explanation as well as makes it clear that this type of analysis is not reliable; (because) subjects such as birth of Faith to God, the unseen world, prophet hood, the mastership (Imamate) and Mahdaviat (Mahdism) can not be analyzed by this method.
To look into the causes of events whether historical ones or common ones is a different thing and to impose the analysis into the facts and the cause of the events and to trim a cause to run away from facing the real cause and the reason of the facts is quite a different thins.
So it became clear that in such explanation or index according to Dr. Sachadina we do not have any main dispute.
By the power of Allah and His strength we both are in the line of Islam, following the book and progeny (of Holy Prophet), brother of each other.
We have only tried to clear that this type of writing and introducing Shia does not create misunderstanding for some people Thee comments shows the weakness, unreliability and unreality of such cognition about Shia the real principles of Islam which comes out form such analysis.
We announce our readiness to answer to any type of question around our comments and explanation and welcome to receive any kind of question and objections.
MAY PEACE BE UPON THOSE WHO FOLLOW THE GUIDANCE!
Salutations to the pure soul of the last of the Messengers, Mohammed Bin Abdullah who, through his radiant mission removed the veil of ignorance and darkness from the human eye, and guided his followers to the right path and showed them how to live in the best manner. Blessed be his progeny, the members of his house, Caliphs, and his successors, the twelve Imams, particularly the twelfth one - Imam of the present age, Mahdi, the awaited one, the Redeemer of the Universe, he who will bring the long awaited justice.
This book debates and discusses the contents of the book “Islamic Messianism” written by the respected scholar, Abdul Azeez Sachedina. Although the contents of this book have an immediate bearing on the contents of the previously named book, yet, it stands with an independent entity of its own due to the magnitude of the discussion framed within historical, Islamic and scientific bounds, which is in itself fascinating factor. Indeed, this book at the same time, helps completes where that one lurks short, and corrects the image, if obfuscated in the other book.
Matters are so discussed that the reader could grasp the sense without referring to the other book. Whoever walks in the corridors of the edifice of this book will become acquainted with the building of the other one without paying a visit there. Those who adhere to their subject because of their belief, and those who look into this subject because of their curiosity, and those to whom desire of investigation has approximated to this subject would in any case, feel interested in their excursion and their fatigue would be compensated as they relax in its premises.
Indeed, it is my wish from the Almighty to guard the pen either mine or that of others forms deviation. May He determine the end, no other than to focus the light upon truth when we comment on others’ writings or express our views about their composition? Not at all is it the desire nor is it ever in design to disparage one’s literary efforts or conceal them or belittle a wit or dig into other’s research in order to point out their mistakes or personal errors. No. Never. May God ward off such malevolence?
“There is no success to me except from Allah whom I depend upon and whom I resign to.”
The form of research varies and the outlook differs in investigations about the religious matters and those of the faith of those who believe in God and the unseen world,
The acceptance of this truth, or in other words, such a view of the universe that the world is created by God, in it is a subject that entails research.
With regards to Islam we hold belief in God’s existence and His being omnipotent, All Knowing, Almighty, All Wise and that He sent the Messengers for the guidance of the people.
Obviously in such a way of investigation we connect the Mission of Muhammad to God Himself. Now the validity of this connection is to be explored.
On, the issue of Imamate and Mehdism; we faithfully and unanimously make inquiry into the relation of these two (Imamate and Mehdism) with the reality so that to understand as to whether these two subjects are based on an Islamic Pedestal or only attributed to Islam.
The forms of research differ even in that of belief in God. In order to reach the truth and the correct view of the universe, one seeks to launch an inquiry. This occasions him to conquest the view of the universe held by those who know God and those who ignore God. Now, such an inquirer or investigator deals with both sides of the coin, negatively and positively, because he has not yet formed a belief. He is still in a search. So, this is a way of research and study. Another way of research about the events and beliefs is, in a historical term, the material view of the universe. Although, he himself might not be materialist, but wants to know the materialistic causes. This and such a type of study is valid only in the ambit of the material view of the world and could provide causes and effects within the limits of its range, but does not stand authentic to establish the fact or deny it because from the aspect of the Divine view of the universe it is not a standard. Besides, it would not go beyond a concatenation of feeble guess. It would only crawl like a centipede but could not run with the impetus of the gallop of a horse. Here we are not in the situation of making a comparison between these two aspects of viewing the universe and to prove the Divine view of the universe. Nor can we say that the material view of the universe or historical one, whatever it may be called, if it is to be considered to be the absolute one towards negating God and the unseen world, then they are mistaken because the material view of the universe is short to constitute a consummate scope of all truth and can not pose itself as a reality to be believed. One may reject the divine view of the universe; but his path terminates at ignorance - absence of knowledge and not the knowledge of absence.
In such a disquisition of the material view despite the severance of the connection between this visible world with the absent one, the invisible causes
that give birth to an incident or a belief or a thought, because the butt of their question. As such, they are after a material and historical cause for the birth of a thought, a system, a school, a movement and so forth. So, this outlook in the causes that lead a belief or an opinion to appear in a circle of unbelievers is nothing but a series of presumptions which carry, even to themselves only a value not more than the worth of a guess. It is not a viewpoint believable o of its own entity in the subject matter. It is neither consummate nor compendious nor far stretching one even to those who are wandering in the wilderness of conquest and have not yet reached the oasis of any particular view of the universe. It is, indeed, void for those who hold an Islamic and Divine view of the universe.
When such a fundamental difference exists between the two methods of study and disquisition one should avoid the conjugation of these two in discussions and arguments. There are many that are quite inadvertent to this fact, and therefore, become victims of the error that is the consequence of the coition between these two different ways of disquisition. Therefore they fell prey to mistakes when they study the Divine view of the universe, without a belief in it they will classify it as a second or third grade issue.
They make their research in the issue of messengers and apostles and, the belief in its essentiality; in the same fashion, that is, from the historical aspect. They bring forth other issues, those of economical and material ones; and conjugate them although there exist no relation with the invisible world. A Divine view of the universe or the belief in God is, in fact, a cardinal issue. But they treat it on the same basis dwelling on the causes, which are ended by the element of time or succumb to it.
So, such they proceed and such they pay no heed to these points, and, accordingly by fall in the abyss of error which to them appears as a valley of principles, where their imagination which had given link between the historical event takes the shape of facts. Thus they float distant from the shore of the Divine view of the universe because not being in its current they can not enter into its flow. Great issues such as the prophet hood and Imamate to them are a true history of the events that once occurred.
So, here we can conclude that the respected scholar, Mr. Abdul Azeez Sachedina, has endeavored greatly and toiled much but only to attain the outlook of the second category; what he saw from Shia and Mehdism has been written in this book; The knowledge about him that I have, tells me that he is an ardent Shia and a Staunch believer in “WILAYAT” and “IMAMAT of Mahdi.” That a series of historical effects caused the events, and that Imamate and Mehdism among them which precede the belief in the prophet hood, to presume such and attribute this to the writer it will be unfair. It is not so. He has chosen this method of analysis from the historical aspect because of his own foresumption to make the Shia religion and Mahdism comprehensive for those
who regard the growth of the schools in line with the material view of the universe and on such a foundation rest their analysis. This he has done because of his knowledge o them to whom realities are only a historical series of events, interlinked and interwoven, chained in the continuity of time only to become the cause for the effect of the other. In other words, whatever the history it is a fact and a reality; and, which therefore, can not be denied.
He has adopted such method of analysis although in principle wrong and erroneous to present the gist so that the thought might not be looked improbable and not excite wonder, astonishment nor tempt them the vilification. By such an analysis we infer that the writer has made an attempt to elevate the Shiasm and the school of Mahdism in their understanding as a consummate, complete, and advanced one with participation in revolutions and changes which can not be ignored.
Yet, this should be said as we pointed out earlier that this way of study and investigation neither attains truth nor does it reflect the facts. The outlook of the universal Divine view is at difference with it. The Divine view is not mentioned, neither openly or indirectly, in the book. Reflecting these points and the method of raising the issues and the difference between the outlooks towards these issues are not known to many. There is every likelihood of a mistake. To divert the attention of such ignorant to the gist of the issue and to divert their sight to the original point and to acquaint them with the Imamate and Mahdism, we will present our readers a few explanations about the issues raised in that book. We hope our readers will at least acquire some advantages and benefits that he may use latter on. What we have explained, is the need; there is not need to depend upon the matters about which we have explained. Each chapter that occurs to us we shall explain by the help of God.
He possesses qualities, which are not common among the ordinary people. This thought and belief which reason attests to. The belief in his being a chosen one in itself evidences his mission as his mission is the evidence of his being a chosen one. As we know one who is vested with the office of prophet hood should have distinct distinction from among others through either those of moral, knowledge, conduct and behavior - each at its zenith. If he too stands at the same level in the same class with the same grade quite equal with others, then what superiority goes to him or what prominence and preference does he have over others? In such a case why should others obey him and why should he give orders? God does not impose not one upon others if he is not better than them. Of course, the Prophet is not a super human nor is he a being other than human. But, indeed, he is a man superior to other men, a distinguished one, a perfect one and a man in its complete sense. This factor remained open to all throughout his life - private and public. His generous behavior, exalted moral, a charitable character and the human virtue had already set him at a station higher than that in which lurked everyone else. He was not yet a prophet. We are not going here to compare his moral with that of others.
The writer too Mr. Abdul Azeer, whom we shall refer to hereafter as the writer, holds the same opinion. The terms used by him such as ‘paragon of the desired perfection’, ‘chosen one by Divine’, ‘a real leader’; reflect the same sense. This statement: ‘The consummate perfection which the Prophet left behind gives reason to this thought that he should be above a common man’, brought forward this conjecture after his becoming a prophet and before his death. Appointment to the office of prophet hood is subject to better decency and wider ability. All it shows was that the Prophet was not a common man.
That this Divine design in forming a new nation throughout the world should be worldwide and as such, a total justice under the oneness of God should stretch from end to end, was a salient factor in the invitation to Islam. Besides; the Quranic Verses too have given expression to this end in its several chapters. Muslims also have often and always looked forward in anticipating the realization of the goals in line with the promise committed by God and His Prophet. Furthermore, there are hundreds of predictions foretold by the prophet that Islam will be the absolute and universal religion and that a total justice will rule providing security over the earth; and this will be accomplished by Mehdi whose appearance is awaited as it is promised. He is from the Prophet’s progeny, son of Ali and Fatima, bearing a patronymic same as that of the Prophet.
One day Mahdi will appear; this belief has been introduced, that is, the specifications too are told. This is a belief that runs in the veins of Islam and is divulged in its preliminary texts. Besides, the traditions those are constant - and are their constancy runs no doubt - support the belief. The Prophet has given the tidings and it is he who has kept his nation in waiting for the day of the appearance of Mahdi. This belief, as other ones, is a principal and cardinal one envigoured by its originality and enlivened by its purity. The belief in the Prophet resigns to the belief in Mahdi.
Extract from the traditions has not constituted this belief. Prognostications that Islam will become worldwide and that the truth will obliterate the wrong, do exist and do provide an umbrella, but this belief stands by its own supported by the text. Symptoms are foretold and the qualities specified which are to be taken for granted when they occur as the indication of Mahdi’s appearance.
These predictions might have had been efficacious in the growth of this belief but the conditions and circumstances that came into being immediately after the death of the Prophet have not part in this belief, because this belief had already been divulged to the people far in advance. The origin of this belief is the prophet hood and not the time. Likewise, attachment of the faithful ones with the Prophet stands apart from the count to be regarded as one of the causes for Mahdism. Such a conjecture, if there be or to form one, is doomed to be rejected and refuted because it is bleak and barren; not an evidence nor a proof, nor a document, nor a logic is there to irrigate it so as to keep it alive. Therefore, if this be said, which, indeed, has been, that a group of Muslims were not happy in the rule of the caliphs whom had ruled after the Prophet’s death, some of the people among them were led to a belief which persuaded them to wait, anticipating the rise of one from the Prophet’s progeny, to take up the guidance of the people; is only an absurdity neither coherent nor congruous with reality.
Resurrection of man is Islam according to the Quran does not indicate to the appearance of a redeemer in the person of Mahdi at the end of time. Therefore,
those who were ardently faithful to the person of the prophet, gratified themselves to look forward to what they had hoped to witness in their own lifetime. The dispatch and constancy with which they held the view became a belief with them to anticipate the appearance of a man from the Prophet’s progeny, guided by God for the redemption of the people. Although such is their argument and thus their reasoning but it is not true. The appearance of Mehdi, the Redeemer, had been prognosticated long ago and the predictions in this regard abound to the extent that no other prediction in Islam, whatever its object, does not equal in number. It is certitude. Here what astonishes is this: The writer appears to have explored the subject thoroughly, and he says that the traditions, which predict the appearance of Mahdi exceed to more than a thousand. Further, the writer has quoted from the books written by others and he has taken sufficient store from the books of “HADITH” and interpretation. After having had set out on such a journey, long and tedious, endangering himself of every possible hazard, and having had wandered far and wide he comes back only to tell that he has seen nothing. To believe him reasons rejects. His toil has gone futile and his fatigue without compensation is his misfortune. This is a pity. Great Sunni scholars have written books on this subject. Twelve centuries have since passed and the books written then have withstood the ransacking by the scholars and researchers of Islamic sciences. From them they have narrated its material, and quoted its essence in their own books availing nothing but to tell that the advent of Mahdi was had never been foretold. In the glare of light they have failed to see the object. They attributed the fact to the personal attachment of a few with the Prophet. Even this argument that the advent of Mahdi is not mentioned in the Quran is lame because the Prophet had on many occasions informed the nation that such a day exists in the womb of time and there is not miscarriage of it. His companions heard him; and form mouth to mouth circulated the forecast. But, doubt still swells in the cradle of hesitation! Such is the obduracy and so the stubbornness.
This is a mistake, though not deliberate. Likewise, there are several other mistakes in the book, all because the writer has ignored authorities and references which form a foundation of the belief among all Muslims in the advent of the redeemer, Mahdi. His means of reasoning and way of argument has steered him to blunders. The issue of Mehdism has so disturbed him that he has disturbed all by his wrong discussion, in which instead of explaining has confounded the confusion.. The religion of Islam and the belief in Shiaism confronts him either to check or challenge him. He has gained nothing in his exploration but has lost the track to return back.
Consequence? Reason alarms us. Such a way of analysis and conclusion in the subject matter of Imamate if to be tolerated, will lead us to doubt other matters, such as the prophet hood of the prophets. And a step further, the issue of belief in God itself will be put to question. From the start it is a slaught on
belief because of its wrong approach.
For instance, the prophet hood of Moses could be put to question. It could be argued that the Israelis were oppressed by the pharaoh, Moses thought to rescue them. In fact, it was the atrocities of the pharaoh who incited Moses to campaign under the title of prophet hood. In other words, it was nationalism that caused Israelis to accept Moses’ invitation. Or, it could be said that, the Prophet too campaigned under the title of prophet hood because of the heartening condition of the poor people of Mecca and the atrocities of moneylenders and the wicked deeds of the populace.
These and such analysis and justifications are close to fiction rather than to reality, as they do not have the remotest bearing on the actuality of causes and effects of things.
In spite of all this it should not be forgotten, as the writer has pointed out, that the atrocities of the people who held the affairs in their hands did not go without influence on the hearts. It made the public stauncher in their belief in Mahdi and his Imamate and more enthusiastic in anticipation of a redeemer because of the need for relief that was the deservation of their hour. The grounds, historical and social, have always aided in advancing the call of the prophets, as was the case with our Prophet. This conclusion is in agreement with the divine universal view. To link the prophet hood, and Imamate to circumstances and the divine outlook of the universe is not reasonable. The outlook of one who believes in God shall refute it. It is feeble, flaccid, and fake.
We will present explanations of some magnitude in order to obviate mistakes since there are several. The taking shape and the Foundation of Shiasm in the epoch of prophet hood:
A. Historical events and constant traditions indicate that during the prophet hood itself, the Shia faith started taking shape and gaining ground by its Salient feature that is the belief in Imamate fixed by the text. In the early years of his prophet hood when the Prophet commenced the call, a foundation was laid and officially announced to the people with much stress on the need for their adherence to it. This is quite obvious in the much known tradition of THAQALAIN (two heavy things). The Prophet did not suffice on that. He wanted to write it down in his will which he said was important and that they would never go astray if they adhered to it. He demanded a pen and paper for this purpose. As he was sick in his deathbed no one obeyed his order. Those who were present around him opposed him openly and said, “The man is ulterring nonsense.” They stopped him from writing down his will by not giving him a pen and paper.
Those who accepted the Prophet’s invitation and stuck to this faith was and is a Shia. It is the contents of the Prophet’s call and the essence of his Mission. As for the leadership of the nation, on every occasion and in every opportunity this issue has been made known to the people by the Prophet (SAW).
Imamate is a comer stone in the proclamations of the Prophet (SAW). The importance of it comes to light by this saying of the Prophet (SAW), which he narrated on various occasions. “He who dies without knowing the Imam of his time dies a death of ignorance.” What we infer from this tradition is that to ignore the Imam or not to recognize him is tantamount to death a death prior to Islam. The station of Imam is such. The Prophet (SAW) has specified the qualities of the Imam as to who and how he should be, also as from which class and which clan he should be. Their number too which is twelve was told by the Prophet (SAW). He in his lifetime had disclosed their names individually. Every Imam is a perfect man of his time. His conduct, moral, and knowledge are superior to all. He is the example in every aspect to be followed. The Quranic verses as well support this. Imamate is a Divine office like that of Prophet hood. As God chooses His prophet, He chooses His successor too because the office is the same; the prophet introduced a mission and the Imam was and is the guardian of that mission. One propagates while the other preserves.
The writer says that in the early years of Islam there was no sign of either Shiasm or Sunnism. If he means by this that the Shia thought had no root in Islam in its early years; he is mistaken. He says openly quite contrary to the fact. The leadership of Ali (AS) or his succession to the Prophet (SAW) was the
most original thought expressed by the Prophet (SAW) himself. It is as old as Islam itself. In addition to the Prophet’s sayings, there are several incidents and occasions of no less importance which occurred and which pointed to the issue of Imamate, that is the leadership after the Prophet.
During that time a division had not yet occurred. Opposition to the Shia thought and Imamate took years to develop and identify itself by the name of Sunni. The individuals who channeled things to flow in quite the opposite direction, which caused the division, were quite resigned to the original Islam because that was the age of the Prophet, which to them was the age of ambush. The Islam of that age, that is, the time of their ambush, remained in its originality that later begot the name of Shiasm because they had invented ‘Sunnism’ - a contrary school.
The life of the Prophet (SAW) rather shielded them. The death of the Prophet (SAW) exposed them. There they were feeble. Later they were cunning. What the Prophet had set up they upset. The upset one took the name of Sunni. The original setup preserved its entity in Shia.
Zero hour was the death of the Prophet (SAW). The meeting place was SAQIFA. They gathered; laid bare their intentions. The clamor died down and a successor to the demised Prophet was suggested, nominated, and appointed - all in no time. Why was Ali not there? Ali (AS) was occupied in the funeral of the Prophet (SAW). Actually the gathering at SAQIFA drew a line between Islam dividing it into two.
Now, their allegation. The Holy Quran has not located a center nor accommodated the scholars with a choice in interpretation of the issues and of fashioning the affairs into a discipline. This is not correct. The Quran says in the chapter ‘Women’: “If they had referred it to the Messenger and to those in authority among them, those of them whose task it was investigate would have known the mailer.”(4:85) Of course, its interpretation requires a separate chapter. But at a cursory view we come to know that the term, ‘those in authority’ purports to the Imams, immune of sins.
The Prophet had often said that the Quran was with them, and they with the Quran unseperable from earth other. In this respect readers may refer to the traditions ‘THAQALAIN’, ‘SAFEENA’, and ‘Amam’ and several other ones. In other traditions the Prophet says: “In every generation to come out of my nation, there are just people alongside the members of my House, who cleanse the religion from deviation of the arrogant and wrong of the wrong doers.”
B. HISTORY OF LEADERSHIP AND CALIPHATE:
This issue has always been much in attention. The prophet hood was still in its start and the Revelations had started coming down, this issue too made its appearance as a matter of no less magnitude. There is a story of a man who approached the Prophet and told him that he would embrace his faith on one
condition and that was that he becomes leader after the Prophet (SAW). The Prophet (SAW) rejected the man.
In the meantime, it is true that in the current of some great events of historical significance the religions view of Shiasm sometimes used to palpitate and sometimes the Islamic rays have had so glared through the prism that its reflection has astonished the viewers and captured their attention.
It is a historical fact that governments came to power, which were quite incompetent and not fit for the leadership. Although bad they were imposed on the people because they facilated the ground which became easily accessible for the leadership. Leadership thus obtained they ruled over the people. People were helpless. They could do nothing beyond disdaining and cursing them. The governments in spite of the power could not rule over the dominion of hearts.
In the lifetime of the Prophet (SAW) nobody dared to show his true identity. As there was no opposition openly, the underground movements took root. What they could not accept was the leadership of Ali (AS), announced time and again by the Prophet. Secret plots were concocted. The Prophet himself was to be assassinated.
After the death of the Prophet (SAW) what was underground became open. The Prophet was no more to be feared; but his house and its members were there. The opposition had a plan, and they proceeded with it. Now the front was the very house of the Prophet (SAW). Whoever was a member, friend or sympathizer to the Holy Prophet’s household was to be crushed, so that their opposition should gain ground. Thus the division became wider and the opposition reached every house, if that house was a friend of the Prophet’s house. Those who were supporters of the Prophet’s household were called Shia. In other words, those who adhered to the Prophet’s household or remained in his camp, became Shia. Wherever a Shia be, he had to confront this opposition.
The only daughter of the Prophet (SAW), Zahra, was not excluded. They came to her house and tortured her and showed the people that they could go to that extreme and beyond. Thereafter the events took their course. Some of the followers of the Prophet went astray and a split was now the rule. This deviation from the original course became a school and whoever adhered to it became a Sunni. And a Sunni was to oppose a Shia who remained in the line of the Prophet (SAW) which was under the protection of his household. Although such was the case however face to face confrontation was very prudent by avoided in the time of Abu Bakr and also in the regime of Omar. What did the people do? The legality or the legitimacy of the government a mattered to some, which others remained indifferent. Some people rather enjoyed the opportunity as they affiliated themselves to the ruling junta. There were also three who considered the issue as finished and settled. But a few among them, like Omar, never considered themselves safe and secure, because the legitimacy of their rule was under question by some. As long as doubt existed the danger too
existed that the people might return to the original track. Therefore Omar adopted very calculated policies in which to keep Ali (AS) at a distance from power. So, Omar wrote a plan, which introduced the proposal of a six men committee. Othaman carried out the plan. As a result Ali once again stayed away from power. In the meantime, this occasioned for the people to recall the words of the Prophet (SAW) about Ali (AS) when he had introduced him as the one who would succeed him. An outpour of memory excited the passions in such an effective way that they, the people, showed and expressed their disappointment as they saw the deviation from the track of the Prophet (SAW) was getting wider. The hatred and abhorrence towards Othaman was in such abundance that Muslims could not restrain their anger and anguish. The huge fire, which had erupted, was fueled by the irregularities and injustice of Othaman himself. The original Islam was in need of the rightful successor of the Prophet. As there was no other than Ali, huge crowds of Muslims gathered around to support him. After twenty-five years of straying off the right path, people were once again shown the correct path. Ali (AS) and a holy war under his command were considered by Muslims a great honor. Allegiance to him was pledged and his succession to the Prophet’s place was celebrated. Shiasm considers nothing wrong with this, but quite the contrary; this was done in compliance with logic and reason.
This is a fact that the faith of the Shia was never forgotten. The hearts of the people have always hung to the Prophet’s household. They were victims and deprived of their right. People gave their support as the occasion arose and the opportunity invited. Poets have narrated this faith. Farazdog is a good example of one of these poets whose famous laudation addresses Husham telling him as to who Imam Zainulabedeen was. Mosa Bin Naseer was the governor of Africa. He had a slave by the name of Tariq. Tariq conquered Spain. Eventhough they held offices in the government of Bani Ommiya, they were Shia. Because of his being a Shia, Tariq’s properties were confiscated and he himself was dismissed, regardless of his services. The Shia belief had penetrated even into Mawiya’s family. Mawiya’s grandson, Yazid, was a Shia. He openly accused his father and grandfather and announced his allegiance to Ali and other members of the Prophet’s House. Likewise was the situation in the Bani Abbas dynasty.
It is the Truth and the originality that the Shia faith has survived throughout ages in spite of the ups and downs that has disturbed it and posed as a threat to its holder. From the political aspect, any Shia was restricted from holding any office in the government. The tyrant and cruel rulers of the Bani Abbas dynasty like Mansoor, Haroon and Mamun had knowledge of Shiasm, however contrary to their knowledge they crushed the Shia thought in order to obtain and keep their power.
Going down the line of the Bani Abbas dynasty we see another ruler, Muntasar, who held the Shia thought. Again, another by the name of Naser; he
too was Shia. At Samerre (Iraq), the place of disappearance of Mahdi (AS), the twelfth Imam, had been entrusted to and was repaired by Naser. There are narrations from Shia sources, which say that Naser was Shia and regarded himself as a deputy of the twelfth Imam, Mahdi (AS). The Shia faith is Islam. Neither greed corrupted nor ambition has polluted it. They did not desert the Prophet. When he was no more the tradition of THADALAIN goaded them to the Prophet’s household - the Imams, twelve in succession. Nothing was added there to; nothing was reduced there from. It was the same in the Prophet’s lifetime and remained the same throughout the fourteen centuries. What had history to do with it? They attribute it to history. What we do understand is that the Shia faith has been the cause for uprisings, movements either open or underground ones, revolts, and revolutions. The Shia faith has always stood against tyrants. It is quite contrary to what some think and say. Of course, there who think such are men of no knowledge or little information. They do not know; and those who know conceal; but history knows and tells and does not conceal. There were Shia governments in Egypt, Dialama, North Africa, Iran, and Iraq. The upraising of the Safavis was an event caused by Shiasm. All these dominions were under Shia rule. There were the events that the Shia faith caused; and not the other way around.
C. SUNNISM AND ITS SECTARIAN TERM AGAINST SHIASM AFTER THE LIFETIME OF THE PROPHET:
The analysis of the writer in his book in this chapter is such as to indicate that Shiasm as well as Sonnism were political forms and that they gradually took the status of a religions support which was necessary to their political ends. Failure of Shiasm in political avenues, the writer attributes to the lack of a corresponding ideology. In this respect, that is, the ideology we would like to correct the writer because he has made himself free to tell what is not a reality.
The Shia was opposed to accepting the successor to the Prophet who had been wrongly appointed. This is itself a political dimension. This very policy and the reason for this policy resulted in the division; this division, in fact, stretches to the difference of belief in leadership. To make it short, a new belief came into existence against the belief of a divinely fixed or established Imamate. As a result, the real followers of Islam or the adherents to real Islam were cornered into taking the guise of a group or a party or a sect under the name of Shia to oppose the politics by listing and leaning to a particular quarter. But why is this fact deliberately overlooked? The policy the Shia as a political group introduced after that undesired division for the administration of society was itself a real Islamic ideology. It is untrue to say that Shia lacked an ideology. They had one; this was a religion, a faith, a belief before it took a political tint. It was so rich that it provided shade to politics. Politicians were against this belief. So, their effort was to create a group so as to face the belief
of Shia. They gave to that adversary group a religion form. What was the most valuable treasure to them was the caliphate, which they had already snatched from its rightful owner and had diverted it in their own direction. In order to keep it they spent money, dissipated their tactics in creating terror among the people and purchasing the silence of those whose voice was a threat to them. To hold the administration of society in their hands as long as possible; this was the fundamental of their politics. It is quite simple that a group by the name of Sunni would have never been invented had the Shia not opposed the point where they had departed from. The only element of opposition with Shiasm is the politics.
On the other hand, it was they who did not have an ideology. Had they one they would have announced it or introduced it. In that confused hour of time they only captured the moment without announcing what their ideology was. They could have at least prevented an armed conflict between the religions rivalry groups for the safety of Islam. There was no interest of any ideology at their hearts except to capture the opportunity. Later on which ideology did they follow? The writer is mistaken. The people had already long ago accepted Ali (AS) as the successor to the Prophet (SAW) at Ghadir, however this decision had not been respected by the rivalry group (Sunniasm). The ideology they had was, Yes, that of terror and fear which stood as the base of their government. Why has the writer forgotten the sword of Omar? Abubakr was nominated at SAQIFA. Later, Omar started sauntering, loitering and roaming about in the streets with a naked sword in hand calling the people to yield to the authority of Abu Bakr or choose to taste the blade. People were dumb founded. Such a force and violence was their ideology. He continued his rampage through the streets until he approached the house of Zahra, the only daughter of the Prophet (SAW), demanding Ali’s surrender to Abu Bakr’s authority. Ali (AS) retrained from doing that. He was tortured and dishonored at his door; and taken away by force to the mosque in order to acknowledge Abu Bakr’s caliphate. At the end of his life on the verge of death he wrote a will. Abu Bakr was rarely in his senses, he wrote the names of Othaman and Omar leaving it a guess as to which are of the two was to succeed him. When he came to his senses he was asked as to whom he actually meant. In reply he confirmed both. He died. Omar succeeded him. No one pointed out that “the man is uttering nonsense” or “The pain has overtaken him.” A man who has lost his senses can not make a will. But when Prophet (SAW) wanted to write down his will they did not allow him by refraining to give him pen and paper. In the progress of all these events we do not see any fixed ideology. Omar came to power without any rival and any opposition. Omar too appointed a committee of six men. Till here there seems to be no ideology or any respect to the public opinion. Only after Othaman had been killed did the people rush to Ali’s house and yield to his authority and acknowledge him as caliph. This they did with their own will, as there was no
force, no compulsion and no violence. From the view point of Shia Ali (AS) had been the caliph since the moment the Prophet had died.
Regardless to what they have written in their books the fact is that the people were compelled to accept whom the caliph had appointed in advance. Therefore, the Sunni people had no ideology in their government. Even to this day of ours one of their scholars says that Islam has no specific method in appointing a ruler.
D. THE FACTOR OF RELIGIOUS DIFFERENCE BY DIVIDING ISLAM (MUSLIMS) INTO TWO SECTS SHIA AND SUNNI:
Love to govern and to attain pomp and ostentation is the prime factor. They pondered and saw nothing would avail them nor would they avail a thing if they left things go as they were in the preaching and the teachings of the Prophet. In his lifetime they should plough so as to harvest after his death: Ambition held them together and the secrecy of intentions brought a confederation between them. They contrived a plan. What the Prophet says or orders or permits or prohibits should not constitute a binding upon them nor should it have a bearing on what they wished. Such a line suited the trend and fitted to the taste. So a thought void of the Prophet’s teachings should be pushed ahead side by side along the Prophet’s line, a banner, a slogan, a title that could deceive much and do nothing was a necessity to push the thought ahead. “The book of God is enough for us”, this they chose and adopted as their mission. The name of God and the name of His book served as a tool. They turned it in whatever direction the need was. The screw was tightened and loosened. Whatever direction it turned, the banner stood a justification for it. In other words, so to say, it actually served as a fortification for them where they were quite safe. They obeyed and disobeyed the Prophet; they accepted and rejected the Prophet; they believed and disbelieved in the Prophet; they were the Prophet’s friends and also his enemies. Such was the banner and such was the use they drew out of it. It was through this means that they invalidated the sayings of the Prophet. Thus they were preparing for the great event which was yet to come. They put it to test when the Prophet (SAW) in his last days demanded a pen and paper to write down his will. They said; “Pain has overtaken him. The Book of God is enough for us.” According to some narration they said; “The man is uttering nonsense.” So, by this slogan they stood up against the Prophet. We need not go into long discussion. It is quite obvious that their lust for power was the prime factor of the division in Islam. It is true; it was the Prophet (SAW) who gave the name of Shia to the followers of Ali (AS). But this did not create nor did it cause a division. The presence of close friends of Ali (AS) like Salman, Abuzar, Migdad had no part in creating a sect by the name of Shia. When the Prophet called the followers of Ali (AS) by the name of Shia he meant it for all. His desire was that all should be Shia. All should follow Ali (AS). It is not even
forcibly convincing that the Prophet himself should divide his own nation. If we reflect back we see the division actually took place and came into being the moment the Prophet died. Who was to govern? Who was to succeed? This was the issue. This issue was a long awaited one; and long anticipated; and some had toiled hard for it. Although the Prophet (SAW) had introduced Ali (AS) as his successor, yet they were still hopeful to steal it. At the cost of division among Muslims they attained their goal.
If at all we ignore this division and find a justification for it, we can not overlook a factor, which did play a part. Some of the Muslims held a view which justified their disobedience the Prophet or to discard his orders. They did not regard the sayings or the instructions of the Prophet (SAW) as Divine revelations. As such, according to them, there was no binding. The Book of God they sufficed on and they saw no need for the Prophet’s (SAW) words. They regarded themselves in the same level of that of the Prophet (SAW) in conceiving the Quranic text. So why should they remain in the very same line prescribed by the Prophet (SAW)? Whatever they thought necessary with reports to their personal interest or that of a group stood in preference to the Prophet’s words. With such a view, the instructions of the Prophet (SAW) became to them amendable in accordance with the time, place, circumstance or the condition. In the administration of Society the word of the Prophet to them was not final nor did it constitute an obligation upon them to its obedience. The lawful and the unlawful to them were not a divine legislation. Likewise, the issue of the caliphate too was in the same category. Although the Prophet had appointed his successor, they felt they were not obliged to accept his choice because they wrongfully thought it had no validity of a divine revelation. Therefore, to oppose him was lawful. Such was their reason and such was their belief; and such they have even proved. They changed the whole cause immediately after the Prophet’s death by appointing their own man as the caliph. They had said that for the administration of a society it was not prudent to have one as the caliph even though he should be the Prophet’s candidate or appointed by him. They can go against his choice... On the other hand, in several matters they insisted that the Prophet’s instructions should be carried out strictly. But, with regards to the caliphate they did quite the opposite. This shows that personal interests mattered to them much. There is another instance where they openly disobeyed the Prophet (SAW). The Prophet (SAW) had appointed Asama as the commander in chief; however they refaced to accept him as their chief. They gave themselves the right to either obey the Prophet or to disobey him. They did both. They obeyed him and also disobeyed him. When the Prophet’s orders were contrary to their interests, they did not obey him.
Now we ask; who was the opposing group? Followers of Ali? They believed in the Prophet’s words. What the Prophet said was a divine word to them. In this respect their point was this verse of the Quran: “And he does not utter upon
lust; but it is a Revelation that he is vested with.” This argument sounds reasonable. So they regarded the Prophet’s (SAW) word a binding upon them because of its being a Divine Revelation. This Quranic verse too is put forward in support of their thought: “What is brought to you by the Prophet, take it, and what he prohibits you refrain from it.” Therefore, the orders of the Prophet, to them, were to be obeyed and followed. They believed that every instruction of the Prophet (SAW) was and is valid and can not be ignored. This group of believers was also called ‘people of the text’. They also believed that the interpretation was beyond their understanding. To them the caliphate of Ali (AS) and his guardianship over the Muslims was a thing desired by God. They depended upon this Quranic Verse in support to their belief: “O, Messenger! Announce what has descended to you from your such is a brief sketch of the start of the division. It can be well noticed that the name of ‘AHL SUNNAT’ people of tradition) to those ones who actually did not adhere to it is not fair. The more deserving ones to this name are those who saw incumbent upon them to stick to the Quran and the tradition of the Prophet (SAW). They are Shia. Some clamored “The Book of God is enough to us”; and some maintained that in addition to the Book of God the Prophet’s instructions too are necessary. For the sake of one we can not forego the other. In the absence of either, one falls short of the other.
Anyway, these two thoughts are fundamental ones. The belief of the Shia rests on the second one. “The Book of God is enough” is a thought that rejects the dimension of what the Prophet said and did. And this thought resulted in the division of Muslims. Well, in exploring this thought “The Book of God is enough” we come across disagreement among some of this very school. There are some that openly campaigned against the Prophet’s word and his text so far as Ali was concerned. Some insisted that in politics or in the political field there was no necessity to follow the Prophet. Some on some occasions resorted to the Prophet’s tradition because they well knew that the thought “The Book of God is enough” was bleak and barren that it could not hold long. Little by little it dawned that the thought “The Book of God is enough” was void of a sense. It was only an approval to invalidate the divine legislation. In the beginning this slogan worked well to their advantage. In deceiving the people who generally were illiterate and not well informed, this thought went a great deal of length. It was under this pretext that they prevented the Prophet (SAW) from writing down his will. And, they stood against those who used to say that the Prophet’s decree was essential for the office of caliphate by saying that only a Quranic text could determine such an issue. So, the events of GRADEER as well as that of YUM AL-DAAR were both overlooked. As time went on, experience told them that the affairs could not be ruled or administered without the backing of the Prophet’s traditions; they resorted to interpretation. This paved the way for them to deduce from the Divine Decrees and the Prophet’s words as the demand
suggested or as the need stood. They justified; they interpreted; and they expounded God’s laws; and had it been possible they would have even questioned the very text of the Holy Quran.
E. NOT A CORRECT ANALYSIS:
The religious matters are viewed from both a material and political dimension. For instance, they say that the Shia did not see things to their advantage; therefore they refused to yield to the caliphate and choose a different way.
The prime error that entails several other subsequent errors is that they do not consider Shiasm a religious reality or an entity of a belief. They regard it as a political phenomenon. The writer says that it gathered support as people joined the movement even though at times it was given different names. The name of AFILUL BAIT (The Prophet’s household) gave them a push. As time advanced they too advanced. But this theory is wrong. The existence of the Shia belief has no relation to any historical episode. The writer considers historical events as a proud for the birth of the Shia thought, likewise the Sunni. The writer struggles his way through such blunders till he reaches the occultation (the disappearance) of the twelfth Imam, Mahdi. Amidst the conditions and circumstances he sees the gleam of reason. The mist rises and he sees the light!
There has always been this fact - that people will mingle in political events, or take no part in the governmental posts, or oppose openly, or flouting a proposal, or scouting an idea. But, in no way could this have a link will a religion, as a religion can not be founded or established or propagated on such a ground.
According to some narration, the disappearance of Mahdi happened in order that some could avoid the obligation of yielding to his authority. However, such a thing has happened, has taken place, has occurred. It is a fact. It is a reality. It is a tyrannical conjecture or a wounding lies, that the Shia had no other way but to switch their belief in such an event after the death of the eleventh Imam, Hasan Askari.
One, who is a stranger to religions, is totally ignorant to the realities of the invisible or unseen world, who has seen only matter or any other tangible thing; he wants to see, justify and even interpret the religious matters, no matter of its magnitude, and then decide or pass judgment. Every thing he thinks is the effect of a cause or a policy in a political class. Similar is the argument of Marxists too. Such should be, because of no acquaintance, no awareness.
From the ancient times they have questioned, because they want to see the matter and they have rejected, because they know not of anything or something beyond. Ulterior dimensions are sealed to their sight. It would be accepted if he shouts that he has seen; but, no, the cry of a blind has always been that he has DISCOVERED.
Of course, such type of analysis we see runs in all religions, true or otherwise. Such analysis is only workable in religions, which are not true because there is no other way. The viewpoint of the Sunni is vague. According to them there was no text nor was there a religions basis. The appointment of Abubakr to the caliphate was the consequence of the turmoil and confusion among Muslims that followed the death of the Prophet (SAW). A gathering took place at SAQIFA and to avoid a conflict or a civil disorder or any other danger it was important that Abubakr be appointed. Abu Bakr too in his turn with the same intention appointed Omar. Omar created a six men committee to decide after his death. These events were influenced by outside causes and which were gestant with historical aspects too. But political ends supervised and exercised guidance upon them.
In the light of these analysis’s it is acceptable that the governments that came into being after the Prophet (SAW) were absolutely due to the causes and effects which were never religious. But with regards to the Shia belief, these interpretations are not true nor are they acceptable because they believed in Imamate as they believed in the prophet hood. Their belief was in that which was a reality and their religion was a fact. They did not go beyond that.
F. TO SUPPORT THE LEADERSHIP OF AHLUL BAIT (MEMBERS OF THE PROPHET’S HOUSE) A RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTAL:
In this chapter the writer has composed comments which history and traditions reject. Documentary evidences and historical events repudiate his conclusions.
For instance, says he: “The support to the leadership of Alavees was at first not on the basis of any planning...” The fact is opposite. The religious basis pushed the people to the support of the Alavees. Those who opposed the events took place at SAQIFA and consequently rejected the authority of Abu Bakr, did so on a religion ground. Else, there was no other motive. The Prophet’s (SAW) words, his recommendations in this respect stood obligatory to them for their obedience.
People embraced the Shia faith only on a religion basis. The motive was religion. The instigation was the obedience to the Prophet (SAW). One has to refer to the books “Reality of Shiasm and its principles” (ASL AL-SHIA WA ASOOLOHA), “The History of Shiasm” (TAREEQ AL-SHIA) and “Shiasm in History" (AL-SHIA FIL TAREEQ). To become convinced of the facts. The speeches of Ali Bin Abi Taleb compiled in NARJUL BALAGHA (the tone of eloquence) throw light on this fact that the position of ARLUL BAIT (Members of the Prophet’s House) was that of leadership morally and materially. The angle of government is subordinate to it.
The writer in this chapter gives this opinion that it was exaggeration that gave shape to Imamate and brought forward the belief in the guardianship of Ali Bin
Abi Taleb. Why in this respect and in this particular regard has he not studied or searched or collected the sayings of the Prophet (SAW). Had he too heard as others had heard directly from the mouth of the Prophet (SAW) would have never told what is false and would have respected the truth? Since history has recorded every word uttered by the Prophet (SAW) he could have made himself acquainted with the Prophet’s trend or tendency. But the writer appears to be prejudice; not willing to take his look beyond the angle he has chosen.
Since l0 A.D writers have collected the sayings and the conversations and the speeches of the prophet (SAW); all point to the way Shiasm and all indicate what is an established fact Shiasm. To turn a blind eye to all these and to say that till the tenth and twelfth century there was no sign of the Shia belief, is not only injustice but a shere lie. The blood that was shed prior to this period of those who were Shia by Ziad and his like is also neglected and ignored. Why were they martyred? They adhered to this belief. Such a type of research into the history of Shia the writer has made and with such an outlook he has emerged that one can not but doubt his honesty and fear his intention which is full of venom.
Since the beginning, the Shia have acknowledged, the Imamate. “OULIL AMR” (Master of command) he attributed to the twelve Imams individually. It is an irrefragable fact that ever since the beginning the Shia has had a religions fundamental. Denial of this fact is to deny the existence of historical personalities. To reject is to admit.
Sometimes the writer says that Shiasm from the very beginning was a party, which stood opposing the Sunnism. How wrong he is! The very Islam in its pristine purity and in its virgin originality is the Shiasm - Committed to the sayings of the Prophet (SAW) and adhered to the text. On the other hand, Sunnism came into being in the periods subsequent to Islam and subject to the circumstances that were forced into existence immediately after the Prophet’s death. The text was not important to them. It was a party created to oppose a prescribed program of Islam. It was a party only to impede the progress of Islam. In order to not hurt the feelings of our Sunni brothers we will not go further. It was a deliberate creation to stop the current of a religion; up not be stopped, to divert its flow; or if not, to deviate the people and to confuse the thing for them.
Finally we should pronounce that party which balanced the text of the Prophet’s words and that of the Quran in the scale of interests, fostered its own conclusions against the authority of the Prophet, and preferred its own interpretation to justify its ends. This was a particular class grouped together with a deliberation; as the time elapsed, their scholars who were courtiers worked out an ideology to it. Theirs is an invention and Shia’s is the religion.
G. MANY MISTAKES:
The writer has made so many mistakes that to point them out one by one is indeed a great task.
For instance, one is this. Re says that the radical Shias, as he has them termed, who believed in the armed upraisal, were too lavish in attributing extraordinary tributes to Imam. To give him information we would like to comment here:
Those who had insisted on an armed upraisal were the Shias of the Zaidi sect. They thought that the Imam should carry a sword and he should carry the armed upraisal. Unlike the Shia, that is common Shia, they had some particular specification and tributes for the Imam, which was special to themselves.
The revolution that took place against Bani Ommaiya can not be attribute to any group among the groups of Shia. The atrocities committed by them and the cruelties, which they showed against the people of the Prophet’s House (AHLULBAIT) constitute the real reason, the cardinal cause and the fundamental factor of their downfall. A general tumult and a common turmoil had already emerged every where and had established a ground of uncertainty. The situation was that of excitement either to deliver a revolution or to lead people to revolt. As is usually the case every opponent tried to gain benefit of the situation. Of course, the most zealous of all was the ZAIDAIA faction. Besides, there was also another faction by the name of BANI ABASS who considered themselves heir to Ali Bin Abi Taleb because of the link to Abu Hashim Abdulla Bin Mohhamad Hanefi. In these groups and factions there was, indeed, one who had the right to the leadership and to whom the leadership had been offered however he rejected the offer. He was Jafar al-Sadiq, the sixth Imam. This policy which he adopted and practiced was what the Prophet (SAW) had fixed for him was to the greater interest of Islam. The Islamic justice, the Islamic teaching were promoted by not accepting the political leadership. He re-opened the school for lessons long forgotten and corrected those, which were wrong.
The flurry settled down and the turmoil ended as the government of Bani Abbas came into being. They came as one should have come. The ground itself paved the way for an armed revolt; they did not pave the way for the armed upraisal. All counted the armed revolt effective but the Zaidi faction thought that the armed revolt effective but exercised by the Imam. He who does so is the Imam, no matter whether he comes out a victor vanquished.
H. IMAM JAFER AL-SADIQ AND RELIGION:
The prime factor for the disappointment of the Shia was the lack of a uniform or coherent ideology; and this continued to be so till the time of the great Imam of the Shias, Jafer al-Sadiq. This is what the writer says.
We do not know what he actually means. If he means, positively, that the uniform ideology of Shia as it was, the friends and the supporters of AHLUL
BAIT (The Prophet’s Household) had not known it or were not aware of it or had not recognized it correctly but they were made acquainted with it by the Imam Al-Sadiq. And that he, Imam Al-Sadiq, subsequently due to the awareness, which he had brought about amongst them, could establish that great school of knowledge, which educated the people with the true Islam to follow Ali and his offspring, the AHLUL BAIT, was its reality and entity. In his time, Al-Sadiq’s, the knowledge was spread and made within the reach of all those to whom mattered the facts. Many misconceptions. Wrong conclusions, and mistaken ideas about Islam that were propagated earlier were revised for the people reputed, rescinded, repudiated and retained only realities. This was a great achievement.
Now, if the writer means, negatively, that Imam Jafer Al-Sadiq was the inventor of the ideology; it is not true.
Who was he to invent one? The ideology of Shia is what Islam is. From the very beginning, from the days of the Prophet (SAW) it was at a uniformity. The Prophet’s words his sayings and his addresses had already made it clear. The passage of time had no bearing on them. It was in itself complete and consummate. The Shia ideology was the element that made the propagation perfect. The events which occurred, in themselves carry the element of truth, goes a long way to establish the truth of this ideology and manifests the mistaken aspect of the opponents and adversaries. The behavior and the conduct of Bani Ommiya, who led the government in their hands, itself gave the awakening to the people. They as successors to the Prophet (SAW), adopted wicked ways and deeds which made the people hate them because their actions were not coherent with the seat of the Prophet they had occupied. The more they hated them the more they pondered the position of ARLUL BAIT (The Prophet’s Household members). There was not the remotest resemblance with the teachings of Islam. Soon it became obvious that the leadership must go to its rightful owners, those of the ARLUL BAIT. The very difference in the mode of life of the Members of the Prophet’s household and that of the caliphs of Bani Ommiya was quite open to the observation of the people, it brought the Shia ideology closer to their hearts.
As he earlier proceeded, here too he proceeds on the same basis of the materialistic aspect. The historical causes, social trend and the political ground to him is the reason for the belief of the Shia in Mehdism. Political defeats and victories, in his view, have a part in the build up of this belief. It is quite easy to deny what is not seemed or to doubt what is not found in a material search. In religions studies a belief is a fundamental. First to avoid the belief and then to search is to first become blind and then to set out on sightseeing. In such a way even the prophethood and even the presence of God can be discussed in order to deny or can be put to question so as to obviate its credibility. To believe wrong could be the consequence of social causes or of the illiteracy. The real belief is above these things because it is in the root of human nature. There were many who claimed to be Mehdi. Their claim did not gain ground because they were after a political end. These interpretations, deviations and analysises do not touch the root but show the prejudice.
God, revelation, and prophet hood is a fact; there is a motive in man to accept this fact. Since it is so, on the other hand, persons have lied and have claimed to be God or a prophet.
Between those two can there be a parallel?
The matter of Mehdism was told by the Prophet (SAW). His associates and companions heard it. It is a fact foretold by the Prophet (SAW). Here it attains authenticity. It has been utilized for personal gains towards a political end. But it is not true that this issue was the product of events which later took the shape of belief and immuned its object with a sin, that is, ‘MASOOM’
Events, happenings or incidents sometimes guide a man towards truth. For example, Abraham, the prophet, that great believer in the oneness of God, educated the people to believe in one god in a very odd and at the same time very effications way. As the night fell and the stars glittered, he said it is god. When it disappeared he was disappointed and said, “I do not like that which vanishes.” He made it clear that the star is not god. Then in the next stage the moon ruled the sky with its serene and silent light. Abraham said; “This is god.” The moon too disappeared. Abraham again became disappointed and said that he could not love what does not stay. Then in the day when the sun shone brightly, Abraham said; “This is god.” But in the evening the sun too disappeared. Here Abraham shouted; “The sun is not god. I worship the God who never disappears.” Yes, incidents can lead to facts. But the truth of a belief is never the effect of a cause and nor is it a second grade fact.
If we persist in our denial under some pretext or the other, the philosophy of true religions and their schools shall confront us. As time lapsed people became more ardent towards Ali and his offspring, and the Shia ideology penetrated deeper and deeper into the hearts; this we can say as a fact. But that the very
ideology, the very religion, the Shiasm, the occultation of Mahdi, all was a consequence of events or a product of age or a built up structure, is wrong to say and not correct. It purports to say that evidence matters not. The Prophet (SAW) had more than once told about the twelve Imams. He had foretold their names individually. He had also prognosticated (predicted) the conditions that would prevail in that time of each one of the twelve Imams. He foretold all these details when at the time only three of the future Imams existed. All heard this and recorded it. Along the passage of time the Imams too ended at twelve as the Prophet had foretold. As such there remains no margin of doubt nor room to surmise. No one can say that it was made-up. Anyone with some information of history and a scant knowledge of traditions and a fundamental knowledge of Islam will not believe what the writer has argued. For example, the Prophet (SAW) had predicted that Ammar would be martyred. In fact, Ammar was killed by Mawiya. There are several such examples.
Then, what is correct to do? To lie aside such method of analysis and to search the tributes and particulars of Mehdi in traditions and the narration that have descended to us so as to find out whom these qualities correspond and specifications apply to. Destinations are pawned in the right roads. A journey is in the mortgage of a path. If the path is wrong the journey shall ever wander.
The word MAFIDI means one who is guided. Anyone guided by God is Mahdi. The word is common and general in its sense. According to the sense that this word reflects, all the apostles, messengers, and prophets of God were - the guided ones. If we term the Prophet (SAW) himself and Ali Bin Abi Taleb and every other Imam as ‘Mahdi’ we have not committed a mistake. Of course, all of them were guided ones; so they were Mehdis.’ Even this word (MAHDI) can be applied to those who were taught in the schools of the Prophet or the Imams. For instance, the companions of Imam Hussain or of any other Imam or the particular ones among the Shia or any other Shia who attained the guidance or were guided to the path if called ‘Mahdi’ it is not an exaggeration. But, all know that it is confined and limited to one. When the Prophet (SAW) disclosed the tidings he did not mean it in a general sense. His words specify a particular one as he says to his daughter, Zehra (AS); “Mahdi is from your sons; give the tidings.” “AL-Mahdi is from my sons.” “AL Mahdi is from the sons of Fatima.”
So, this is a title or a distinction for one particular person, extra ordinarily dear to the prophet (SAW) who has kept the members of his house and the Muslim in waiting for him.
The word ‘Mahdi’ embraces a range of sense that could be extracted from guidance. To show the way, to take to destination, or any other thing to which guidance could be applied; is among the meanings. This word also applies to other than human. The Quranic verse says: “Our Lord who bestowed to every thing its creation then guided.” In the research of this word it appears that it has been applied only to those whom God has guided and whose guidance over-flows in him. He has consumed the guidance to the extent that he can show the path to others. The guidance has so overtaken him that he becomes a prism reflecting it from every angle. His conduct, his character, his behavior, his word, and his life as a whole become a beacon for others to be followed. In such a sense this word is generally applied to the apostles of God and the Imams. As per the traditions that abound in this respect, Mahdi is the very same one whom the Prophet (SAW) has identified as having every good quality. He is the Redeemer from God and to do justice to all is his task, other synonyms too are his titles.
In case, Mukhtar or any other bestowed this title on Mohammed Hanafia is only to seek blessing out of it, and not in a trust that he was Mahdi.
There were reasons for the upraisal of Mukhtar. Important of them was that Maitham Tammar in prison had informed him that he would escape from the prison of Ibn Ziad and that he would take the revenge of Imam Hussain’s blood and that Ibn Ziad would be killed by him. The upraisal that developed was on the ground and the pretext of revenge for the bloodshed of Imam Hussain. This pretext brought together all those who were ashamed of their participation
against Imam Hussain and, therefore, they wanted to amend their mistake or purge the stain from their record. They thought it obligatory on them to join the movement against Bani Ommiya. For this very reason Bani Ommiya could not crush the movement. Mas’ab on behalf of his brother Abdullah, who regarded himself a caliph, fought with Mukhtar and defeated him. Abdullah Zubair after the martyrdom of Imam Hussain took the issue of Imam Hussain’s blood as a pretext. The martyrdom of Imam Hussain was the greatest weak point of Bani Ommiya. This shows how distant they were from Islam.
Indeed, this fact can not be denied that the title of Mehdi was misused. Under this brand personal interests have had been transacted. The writer has elaborated what we too admit, that is that the occultation of Mahdi and his reappearance again stood for some to take an undue advantage. Some claimed that Mohammed Hanafla would take reappearance. For the first time a trade was established with the capital of this belief. But the belief remains in its original entity. It is an evergreen, which never looses its leaves, but is forever green. The prophet (SAW) first talked about it. Ali Bin Abi Taleb has also spoken on it. Mawiya too, according to the book “MALAHEM WA FITAN” is reported to have discussed this issue with Abdullah Bin Abbas. He on his part regarded Mahdi to be from Bani Ommiya.
In any case, it is not new that there have been persons who claimed themselves to be Mahdi and even a prophet. There have also been some that have claimed to be god! In our age we of different movements, human rights, justice, democracy, social equality and so forth. These are the ladders for some climb to their political ends. In the past the belief of Mahdi too has served a ladder for many who have aspired a political elevation or a social altitude, to attain a station higher than others. Anyway, these claims did not fool the people because they were fully aware that the qualities Mahdi has these claimers have not. Generally the term of Mahdi remained open. Although Shia and non-Shia know the family root of Mahdi, There are some who still believe those claiming to be Mahdi even though Imam Mahdi’s background is well known. Likewise, such allegations with regards to Mohammed Hanafia do not establish that Mehdism is a recent product. This belief is coeval with Islam. This belief held such a strong hold on the people that they became to enthusiastic, too zealous, and too staunch towards it. They were ready to welcome and embrace him who could rescue them from tyranny and deliver justice. Therefore, the claims although met the acceptance of the people. In some cases, this claim furnished an avenue for various revolts and scattered upraising.
The writer’s claim is groundless as he says that all the Imams since the victory of Abbasies were regarded as Mahdi and that their death was not taken for granted and that their return was held in a constant expectation and a fervent anticipation. Yes, there was one incident in which the seventh Imam, Mosa Bin Jafer, died in prison where he was being held by the orders of Haroon al-Rasheed. Some refused to acknowledge him dead. They consoled themselves by fancying Mehdism in him, which naturally entailed a waiting for his reappearance. In their grief they imagined that he would soon reappear. It is likely that some mischievous elements might have injected such a pang into their minds. There were very few who went wrong; and the wrong itself was so evident that it could not deceive many more. The Shia believed in the demise of the Imam, from Ali to the eleventh one Hasan Askari. Why not take evidence from history. Later those few who had believed in Imam Musa Bin Jafar’s reappearance realized their mistake and acknowledged his death. In the case of the sixth Imam Jafer al-Sadiq, he himself time and again declared that he was not Mahdi the awaited one. The qualities of Mahdi he had repeatedly disclosed.
The sons of Imam Hussain came to be noticed not because of Imam Hussain’s compaign against tyranny but due to their own ability and capacity. In knowledge, in practice, in endurance and partitude they stood perfect, each in his time and age. No other one than they were more befitted to the leadership. The nine sons, one after the other, from Zainulabedeen to the twelfth one Mahdi became Imams due to their own deservation. Of course the sacrifice done by Imam Hussain and his martyrdom at Kerbala enhanced the popularity of his sons. God too as a reward to his martyrdom settled the Imam hood in his progeny. As the Quranic Verse says: “Indeed, God purged Adam and Noah and the progeny of Abraham and the house of Omran over the worlds;" it can be deduced that the same might have been the Divine intention with regards the turn of Imam Hussain; “God knows as how and where to house His Mission.”
As we said earlier this title in its general sense is also applied on all the Imams; on Imam Hussain and so forth. The traditions also indicate that all the Imams are Mahdi: However there was only one whose particular qualities and condition pointed to, and that was the twelfth Imam.
The writer says that the conflicts, which confronted Bani Ommiya, provided the opportunity for the Imams to prescribe a doctrine and arrange an ideology framing, its rules and regulations. He says that under the supervision of Imam Baqer and Imam Jafer al-Sadiq an ideology for a sect of Imamia was arranged. If the writer means to say that the ideology of Imamate or Shiasm was invented by the sixth Imam, he was mistaken or he is deliberately telling what is not true. Shiasm is in the womb of Islam; and, hence, delivered only by the Prophet (SAW). The sayings and the Lectures of Imam Ali in NAHJUL BALAGHA point to this fact.
Imam Baqer and Imam Sadiq only explained its aspects and dilated its corners and expounded its angles to the people. In other words they brought to attention what had been neglected and re-established what had been ignored. Indeed, the sense of Shiasm became complete in their times. Deviations were steered to the fight direction and the extreme ideas were nullified by their teachings. This ideology proved to be a right one and made it clear that it was the same in which Islam proposes or points to. They also made it known to the people that only an Imam was competent enough to give interpretations, fix the limits or expound the boundaries.
People too acknowledged that their knowledge was a Divine deposit with them; and the vast hidden meanings of the Quranic literature was made known only to them. People also experienced that no scholar among them equaled or stood parallel to them. But, the writer has acknowledged the unique and the elevated position of Imam Zainul abedeen. This means that the similar position of the other Imams could easily be proved. In support of this we can refer to the book “AL-BA’ETH AL-HATHEETH” written by Ahmad Shaker in which he says that the most authentic and creditable narrations are those narrated by Imam Zainulabedeen, Imam Mohammed Baqer, and Imam Jafer al-Sadiq.
With regards to the fact that the Imams were the speaking Quran the writer says that this belief was invented during the time of Imam Baqer. He should know that it was not an invention. It was told by Imam Zainulabedeen, Imam Hasan, Imam Hussain, Imam Ali and finally the Prophet himself. The Imams were introduced as equal the Quran, parallel with the Quran. If the Quran is a book, they are its utterance. If the Quran is Divine they too are Divine figures. What they say and what they practice is within the frame of the Quran. Their deeds correspond to the Quran and do not contradict it. In other words they are as sacred as the Quran. Why should we doubt it?
Either the writer has not understood the events or evil intentions are his. When a mischief is made deliberately it is with a preplanned design. He says that Imam Baqer and Imam Sadiq at various intervals were invited by the people to revolt against the governments of the time. Both the Imams in their respective periods did not accept the invitation. They, the Imams - each in his time, knew that the support of the people could not be relied upon because their support did not go beyond the terrestrial government. The Imams knew that the people desired the regime to change hands from the Abbasies to the Alavies. It was not possible to establish a rule or government of the Imamate. For example the upraising of Abu Muslim and his like to take the affairs in their own hands and to establish the government of the Imam; such a thing never entered the remotest of possibilities. In order to correct his misunderstanding we should furnish him with some explanation. Not only did Imam Baqer and Imam Sadiq refrain from undertaking the establishment of another government but all of the Imams did. Why? They knew that the support that was being offered was no more than a transaction. Bani Ommiya and then Bani Abbas had both established an example, which attracted and tempted all to taste its sweetness. Under the pretext of the caliphate they had turned it into an empire and ruled as dictators not in accordance with the Prophet’s (SAW) teachings and the Quran but in line with their own lust, desires, and sinful ways. The exaggerated show of dignity that had taken shape, indeed, was a good temptation for others. But the Imams could not go that way. They were to help establish the government of God under the strict rules of the Quran and within the boundaries of the Prophet’s tradition. So, if any Imam accepted the support, he was to give favor in return to those who gave their support. Therefore, they refused the offer because of the unworkability of the bargain. People were not ready for the rule of Imamate because they would receive that justice had to give. For this reason Imam Ali also rejected the support offered by Abu Sufyan. The support was in anticipation of worldly gains, which contradicted the Divine justice, which was in them (the Imams). When one misses the opportunity or rejects a support he should assume something lies within and beyond one’s understanding of knowledge. The Imams have had the obligation vested to them by the Divine and prescribed by the Prophet. Each had his duty assigned according to the conditions and circumstances surrounding him at the time. As it was a Divine design so they prognosticated the advent of Mehdi whose responsibility is to establish the government of God.
Sometimes even among Shia people have emerged to damage. Their ignorance acquits them of their mischief but can not prevent its effects that remain. They knew nothing about the status of an Imam. Since they knew nothing, to have them comment on the status of the Imams be an absurdity. Therefore the Sixth Imam, Jafer Sadiq, distanced himself from such people. Mohammad Bin Abi Zainab known as Abul Khattab is one of them. He has written what mostly disturbed Imam Sadiq. When one quotes such people, or their writings, as the writer has, it would have been wiser for him to check things out more thoroughly. The Imam of his time has cursed such narrators lose their authority.
When they are void of any credibility then the argument that points to them holds no water. The knowledge of the unseen is Divine. The Prophet (SAW) and the Imams were Divine figures holding the Divine office. Knowledge of God is this quality. Knowledge to the quality, of the quality, as ancient as the entity of God is to be immediate or direct without the need of a media, to be infinite and stintless, and to be the absolute is a subject which can not be dealt here; but the Prophet (SAW) Ali Bin Abi Taleb and his sons the Imams wore all gifted with such knowledge which others were not acquainted with. A rotating chain of the sayings of the Prophet (SAW) support this thing.
The activities of all Imams are one and the same. According to their circumstances and the demand of that particular time they acted accordingly. So we can not frame them in the terms presently known to us such as ‘radicals’, ‘liberals’, ‘exteremists’, ‘modertes’ and so on. Each one adopted a strict policy to avoid any division among the Shias. Likewise, the Prophet (SAW) and Ali Bin Abi Taleb. Of course, we notice the actions of some as being conservative while the other’s as extremist. Their school of thought was the same although it might have posed as being different as per the circumstances of the time. They were strict followers of the instructions of the Quran such as; “Take to forgiveness, order the good and confront the ignorants.” “The good is not at equity with evil. Do what is good.” And, “Whosoever offends you, you too offend him in the same which he has offended you.” “Pity should not overtake you in the religion of God.”
In general the situation and the environmental condition in the era of the Imams caused them to act for the safeguard and protection of Islam. The Shia did adhere to the original line of Islam, which the Imams knew and defined for all. As they were better qualified to know the position and to rescue the religion from taking a different turn, they did not move an inch in their advises and admonishment; and that few were called Shia. Imam Sadiq did nothing new except that he explained and taught the religious boundaries obligations, duties etc. which was, of course, for all but only Shia acted thereon and adhered thereto.
The writer again here too speaks wrongly. He says that in the days of Imam Sadiq the leadership split into two - that of terrestrial and the other of spiritual. Each one separated from the other. Shias have never thought nor did they ever consider that the Imams should not possess a worldly leadership and that they are fit only for a spiritual leadership. They did and do consider that they hold both offices, that is, the leadership of worldly affairs and the spiritual leadership. Both positions are combined in their authority. Shias, therefore, regard those who seized power out of the hands of the Imams as tyrants. They could not revolt without the Imam’s permission. They took to propagate the facts. They confronted the tyrants. They acted prudently and with caution so as not to provide the slightest pretext that could result in a general massacre of Shias. Shia conduct has always been such as to make the rulers of their time sympathetic towards them.
It was unacceptable that the leadership be divided into sectors. It can be said that before the martyrdom of Imam Hussain both dimensions were combined in the leadership. For example, Omar Bin Khathab and Osman Bin Offan were regarded as such. But when the martyrdom of Imam Hussain occurred the Muslims themselves regarded the leadership as forming two separate angles, which was a result of that unique Holy war. They gave the most important one, that of religion and its issues to the Imams because they never considered the caliphs as their real spiritual leaders. They respected the caliphs as a symbol towards maintaining the unity and preserving the existing state. The advantage of the influence which the blood of Imam Hussain exercised on the preservation of Islam can not be computed neither by the Shia nor by the Sunni.
In some cases if this be said, it will sound reasonable, that the readers were satisfied that the Imam would not create a danger of upraising against them. For example, to some extent we see such a conviction in Mansoor with regards to Imam Jafer Sadiq. But, still he was not convinced because he adopted provisionary measures such as to keep a vigilant watch on the Imam and to have spies watch over him. Finally in order to relieve himself of this suspense of danger he poisoned him Imam Sadeg and ended his life. Likewise did Haroon to Imam Mosa Bin Jafer. He imprisoned him for years and finally got rid of him by terminating his life. This clearly indicates that the Shia regarded both the dimensions of leadership, of worldly and spiritual, in the person of the Imam.
The Imams were individuals who worked and toiled to the benefit and profit of all Muslims. A dead earth is brought to life by rains and the naked trees of autumn are clad by spring in a new dress of a uniform and universal green. It is befitting similitude to provide a resemblance for our easy comprehension of the task and toil of the Imams for Islam and common good to all. Therefore’ such a project could not have progressed without inspirations from the Divine or a
secret plan designed and given to them by the Prophet (SAW). Why should it not be a divine decree communicated to them? We can not find any other possibility. The best argument is to question the very performance itself. Ali Bin Abi Taleb sat home for twenty five years, Imam Hasan adopted the policy of peace, Imam Hussain did not take rest till his and his sons, nephews and friends’ blood was not shed, Imam Zainulabedeen adopted a language of supplication in his gospel “SAHIFA SAJJADIA,” Imam Mohammed Baqer and Imam Jafer Sadiq broke the beds of the fountain of knowledge which inundated all the dry lands - even the deserts, and the other Imams, each acted uniquely, independently and differently. Why? What for? Why was there uniformity in their policies or methods? They acted only on instructions beyond common vision and far from a general comprehension. Whatever their ways and whatever their methods their variety preserved the unity.
What else could one do if he were to have a treasure amidst robbers and thieves? Gangsters, spies, enemies, hypocrites, fake and feign friends, were like snakes crawling under grass: and one had to make a movement! How hard an ordeal for one not to be robbed, cheated and deceived, not be fooled and not to be bitten by the renomous snakes and cobras hidden under his paces - sometimes hissing in a friendly tone and sometimes hissing in hatred. Danger and terror waited always at the steps of the door. To call for help was to declare helplessness and encourage the enemy; and to fight was to be exposed to certain and annihilate the very signs for future generations. Still, in spite of those hardships, and regardless of those setbacks, they kept Shiasm safe and secured so that the sweet smell of the original Islam could fill the air. When a putrid stench disturbs the senses there should be an ever-fresh flower in the shape of an everlasting lili or an eternal rose to refresh the mind and redress the nerves. This flower shall ever remain reminding that a Mehdi is to come and what is taken will be returned.
The Shia ideology was always smooth and practicable. Imamate being the base, and the fundamental of this base being that in a Muslim Society, leadership should be in the hands of one who should succeed the Prophet. The Prophet’s successor, should be form every angle and aspect a perfect man - better than and superior to others in knowledge, ability, capacity, reason and cognosence, awareness, nearness with the Prophet. These qualities in all their dimensions are not to be found in any other than Ali (AS). It is a fact. Ali (AS) was the best qualified one for the job. Besides, the Prophet himself had already installed him as his successor and on many occasions had introduced him as his successor. And beyond this he also introduced his successors’ successors the twelve Imams. This is not to interpret that it was a bodily or physical inheritance of one another. But it was the inheritance of qualities too. What God had distinguished in the Prophet (SAW) was inherited by his AHLUL BAIT the twelve Imams. The Quran says: “Indeed, God chose Adam and Noah and Abraham’s progeny over the worlds.” Therefore, obedience to the Imams is obligatory, and equal to obedience to the Prophet. The Imams would be regarded as guardians, leaders and obeyed.
This program was proclaimed. The path was shown. The guidance was thus framed. All in line with God’s will. It was not a desire, nor an ambition, nor an imagination. But a robbery does not justify that the robbed one had no possession over the belonging. In political dimension it was deviated and put into different turn. But the real guidance is not an impracticable one. The guidance remains there.
What the apostles have pronounced or proclaimed is that they have told the truth, shown the way and indicated the end, which is resurrection. Whether the people accept or reject this does not mean that it is not workable. The program is made open. If there are people too misfortunate to adopt and accept it, does not justify in alleging that it is unworkable. If one charts a plan and wants to implement it but the conditions do not favor, then it can be justified in saying that it was a fiction and not workable. But, here a religious program, a spiritual plan, a celestial timetable is made by one who says; “We guided him the path; whether he be grateful or ungrateful.” The workability of such a program does not depend upon one’s taste or pleasure. One rejects it under an excuse of fiction. The plan is made public; the program is made known to all. This is in the first place important. The belief in Imamate like the other pillars of religion, oneness of God, the prophet hood of all the apostles sent by God, Judgment Day, is an independent entity which stands firm as other religious fundamentals do. To have faith in it or in them or not is not the condition of its proclamation. If people accept it, it is for their own good. If they reject it, it is in their own misfortune. But the program is there - neither rescinded nor nullified.
Likewise same logic governs the proceeds of the Imams. Their policies were not fiction. Whatever Ali Bin Abi Taleb did was quite in line with the circumstances of his time. He remained aloof for twenty-five years. Yes, the necessity was so. Imam Hassan and so Imam Hussain and so his sons the other Imams, were not leaders of some fictious ideology. They were quite aware of the conditions and knew very well what they had to do and what they were doing. Every deed of theirs stands a fact and every practice of theirs a paragon of their far sightedness. Therefore, they attained the good and achieved the aim. Imam Hussain was aware of the consequences if he were to reject Yazid’s authority. Yet, he did not yield. He endured the ordeal and surrendered to the sword but remained stubborn in opposing the tyranny. It was up to him to depend the Prophet’s seat. So he did. The choice of the way was to his prudence. If it was a fictious ideology then why did he give up his life? One does not undergo such an ordeal for himself and sufferings for his family and friends for a thing, which he knew to be untrue. Only the truth attracts the men of truth. Only truth is worth the sacrifice. In ancient days nations too alleged that it was false what the prophets of those days had declared. These allegations are not new. They shall continue as long as man is ignorant.
Imam Hussain did not restrict Yazid and his followers from occupying the Prophet’s seat. But he dismissed, discarded and dethroned him from the hearts of the people. This was the reason that Mawiya at length failed in uprooting Islam. The Prophet Mohammed (SAW) proclaimed Islam but Hussain made it permanent. Every Imam had his own way towards protecting Islam. No one among them toiled for an imaginatory thing. It is far from reason to suffer for a thing which has no existence as it is quite a reason to suffer for a thing, which has an existence and the existence has no guard. The Shia ideology is false! Then the ideology of Islam too is the same. People gathered round the Imamate because of the atrocities and crimes the rulers committed. The more their cruelty the more the people banked their belief in Imamate.
There were those among the people who later understood what they had earlier misunderstood. Those who remained indifferent in the days of the caliphs immediately after the Prophet’s death thought that the change if Imamate would not change the path of Islam. But gradually they realized that by the change of Imamate everything had changed completely. The very Islam was obliterated; a mist was covering it making its vision vague and infuscated, about to vanish. The seat of the Prophet (SAW) had turned into a throne, over it everything undesirable was allowed and everything unlawful was legitimate. To occupy the seat under the title of caliph was the sanction to do what lust dictated and what greed dictated. The traditions and the customs of the bygone days of Kasra, Khaisaz, and the courts of their oppressors were returning into practice. To re-adjust the things, to setup this upset, to bring back what had gone, to put right the course, and to correct the wrong, was not possible by any means other
than to put the course on its original track and to follow the line of Imamate.
Another thing, the sinful actions of life led by the tyrant rulers helped the people to believe more in Imamate and become Shia because they, on the other hand, saw the piety, simplicity, honesty, truth, openness, frankness, of the Imams. The life of an Imam stood for them a page in which to compare the caliph. His gambling, debauchery, tricks, lies, and etc. pushed the people to think and ponder a little and enabled them to revise their understanding, this revisal was their Shiasm. Imam Sadiq spread the Shia teachings and the original Islamic knowledge. It is not an imaginary ideology. These are the facts, how long will the writer ignore them and fancy otherwise?
As far as religious footings are concerned there cannot be any similarity between a Shia and a Sunni. The religious understanding can not be a platform common to both. “Argue them with that which is good”; is the beacon that the Shia follows in their behavior with Sunnis. TAQIA that is to show a face favorable or to behave in correspondence with theirs or to act in a way not to wound the feelings, these dimensions and its like is in itself a religious and Quranic one, stands a ground for confronting a Sunni. It is a religious duty to behave well. The Shia should take care to behave pleasantly towards a Sunni and have such a matual understanding that could teach him the real fundamentals of Islam and could attract him to the real entity of Islam. He may find guidance as he transacts with a Shia. The minimum that could be expected from a Sunni is that he distances himself from tyrant rulers and their junta.
If one takes a look he can clearly see inside. Speaking without seeing is always contrary to the facts. To revolt is not prudent; to do what is in the interest of Islam; to hold the interest of Islam high, is and has had been the motive of a Shia Imamia. To revolt is not the absolute necessity; such is the Shia conception. We have examples and we follow them. Ali Bin Abi Taleb preferred to remain silent rather than to fight without support. Had he fought the very name of Islam would have vanished. Of course, he argued and debated; but his endeavors availed nothing. No one heeded what was right. They had surrendered to the authority of Abu Bakr and then Omar and then Othman. Likewise, Imam Hasan made peace with Mawiya. What they did was not to their own benefit but to the advantage of Islam. However hard they paced and however difficult the toleration, they endured with fortitude. The school of AHLUL BAIT was protected with a great many sacrifices.
The episode of Karbala is some thing exceptional. Its type is of its own neither preceded nor can it ever be repeated. It is such a paragon that a Muslim or non-Muslim, anyone, however disappointed, distressed, depressed, disgruntled and deprived would become hopeful and would find a way out. Although that upraising was crushed and seemingly repeated but at length it turned victorious and eradicated the very dynasty of Bani Ommiya and preserved Islam in its originality. After this upraising of Imam Hussain (AS) no other episode took place that should have had been the cause for Shia distress or disappointment. Shia governed the dominion of faith, knowledge, and belief in AHLUL BAIT. To confront tyranny in any age is the only power of Shiasm among Muslims, even alone Shia is the dread of a tyrant no matter whether a ruler or a caliph or a king.
The writer is again uneasy here. He said, that the Imams felt happy when their followers attributed them with super natural and extraordinary qualities and that they did not protest nor did they try to stop them. The arcanum knowledge or the concealed knowledge is another thing that has discomforted the writer. In order to comfort him we shall here try to be kind to him, only reminding him that he might have either forgotten or might not have studied enough to obtain the knowledge in which to speak and write.
There is a general law in which it is said that where there is no wrong there is no protest. Yes, the Imams have even cursed them who happened to attribute them with divine qualities or any other exaggerated particularities. They, the Imams, were never happy of such ignorance. They corrected the mistake. What contradicts Islam has no link with Shiasm. The treasures of knowledge in every aspect was deposited with them by God, that is, knowledge to them was God’s gift. But, if they claimed any divinity on the strength of the huge funds of knowledge, the writer’s discomfort is justifiable. They have always stressed on the need of worship to God and not one among the Shia has ever fancied in his remotest imagination that they are equal to God; they are created ones not the creator; they need to be fed -hence, needy; they depend on God - hence, not on themselves; they are men like us - hence, no similitude with God; such is the belief of a Shia. God has vested them with the knowledge not common to all. So, they were superior to all in knowledge. This is a fact. Where is it wrong? Does the writer mean to say that they should have protested to God for having given them (the Imams) the gift of knowledge? Ibn Khaldoon believes that the knowledge of the unseen was with Imam Sadiq. In NAHJUL BALAGHA too we see evidences that knowledge of the invisible world was with the Imams.
The writer says that the founders of Imamate have split the faith of Shia into five fundamentals; unity of God, Justice, prophet hood, Imamate, and resurrection. How long can he persist in his prejudice or demonstrate his ignorance? What we know is that all his studies have gone with winds. In each nook he enters and comes out telling things which were never there. He sees what is not and what is he sees not. He wanders in the wilderness and avoids the rich shadows of huge trees and the cool of fountains. He is a vagabond in the desert hit by the sinister heat of the sun, fatigued, wearied, tired, and stricken by thirst and hunger. To guide such a traveler to rest and ease is not easy. ‘Founders of Imamate’; what does he mean? ‘Founders of Islam’; if we were to say would it not sound strange and senseless? If he is in search of founders we point to God and the Prophet (SAW). The fundamentals, five in number, mentioned by him are the real and basic owes. Every Muslim should have faith in them. They are in line with reason. Among these fundamentals the JUSTICE of God and IMAMAT are ignored by the Sunni sect. They do not believe in that. Among the Sunni sect there is a sect or a group by the name of Ash’ari who strictly refuse these two pillars. To make it plain and simple we should say that whatever the Shia believes in whether it be the JUSTICE of God or it be the IMAMAT, it is directly taken from the Quran and immediately based on the Quran and at once spoken by the Imams. We can not understand as to why a link is given or a relation is established with the MOTAZELA sect. This sect of MOTAZELA or its faith ETEZAAL goes congruous with Shiasm only to the extent and length of what they have grasped and held in their grip the very Shia faith. As such “AL-JABR WAL TASHBEEH AMAWIAN WAL ADL WAL TOWHEED ALAWIAN”, that is, the similitude of Bani Ommiya and the justice and Oneness of God of the Alawies, forms a ground common to them.
Here those writers who have not studied widely thus not gaining enough information about Shiaism and the past of Shiaism have confused themselves with the terms MOTAZELA and ASHAYERA. Although they have made research in this respect and in spite of their research they still do not know the religion of Seyed Mortaza, the most renown scholar of the Shia sect, whom they suspect of being a MOTEZAL because of his disagreement with ASH’AERI belief.
As the writer takes rest he enjoys the relief which is in his conclusion that the fundamental of Imamate and its doctrine is at congruity with the birth of Shiasm of Imamia then its growth into a belief full of exaggeration, and from a belief to a roll of a redeemer taking a form and shape of a leader and that leader is the Imam, qualified in divinity or divinity giving him quality. What a perfect plan it is and how nicely designed and delicately determined! This can not be but the result of efforts abortive and vain, which Shiasm had undergone to find the ALAWI caliphate and which deservedly crushed and brought a political defeat for them. But their defeat in the political arena took their Shiasm to higher and writer plains of expansion in spite of the hindrances that impeded their way from the Sunni side. Such is his rumination.
Firstly, he should know that the fundamental of Imamate is among the original fundamentals of Islam. It is a spring of faith and a fountain wherefrom flows the faith. The Quranic verses and the repeated conversations of the Prophet further establish this faith. The passage of time has no part in it. The victories neither added there on nor did the defeats reduced there from. It is solid; it is pure; it is real; it is original.
Secondly, the belief in Imamate has no relation with exaggeration. It is an evil design to administer a relation with exaggeration. The qualities of an Imam are described by the specifications given by the Prophet (SAW). The constant traditions are there in this respect. What the Prophet (SAW) says is authentic and the authority incontrovertible and irrefragable. The tributes of the Imams are fixed, are told, indicated, shown and proved. The Imam is a creature of God like others; He is dependent upon God like others. “He does not possess for his self any gain or any loss unless it should be from God.” The Imam is not a prophet. In other words, no religion is revealed to him nor is any Divine Decree communicated to him nor does descend upon him any Revelation. Unlike an apostle or a prophet he is not in contact with the Angel who constantly used to descend with God’s commandments. Since the Imam succeeds the prophet he is the guardian of the religion brought down by the Prophet (SAW). The divine communication through angels or revelations terminates at the prophet upon who descends a mission or a religion to be delivered to people. Therefore, there remains no necessity for this communication with the Imam because of his care taking office for that religion or mission introduced by his predecessor the prophet.
It is quite likely that the pens of animosity misinterpreted the office of the Imam and his status while it is quite a plain and simple thing within the frame of reason.
It is obligatory and incumbent upon one to recognize the Imam of his time
and acknowledge his authority. By the Imam we mean him who is installed by a Divine Decree through the Prophet. Such an Imam has absolute worldly and religious authorities. He represents the qualities of those possessed by the Prophet (SAW), except the prophet hood. He is immune of sin. He is the rightful successor of the Prophet and a legitimate occupant of his seat. The writer has obfuscated the things, which are plain and easy. Mahdism and the absence of the present time Imam too is made complicated, as he seems to have been confused. Mahdism is a thing foretold by the Prophet Sunni scholars have acknowledged this thing. There exists an Imam in our time whether present or absent, visible or invisible. The traditions have established it. So why the argument? Why so much confusion? To believe the Prophet but not to believe his words is a deplorable act. We can not believe in some and reject others. Partly we believe in the Prophet’ sayings and partly we deny them. What kind of Muslims are we? Religion is wholesome. Belief too should be wholesome, total, full, consummate and complete.
The writer exaggerates. If he himself is a believer he should not tell such things. Belief is an exaggeration not to a believer but to him who sees only matter and investigates matter alone. A believer no matter in what faith he believes, Christianity, Judism, Islam, he has taken for granted what is invisible to him, remote to him, not tangible to him. A divine and a divinity; is it an exaggeration? For a materialist the very religion itself is an exaggeration. What to a believer is a tangible fact, although out of vision, although invisible, although remote to touch; to a materialist is an exaggeration. Well, the miracles of Moses, Abraham, Jesus and the other apostles or Imams are only exaggeration to one who has no belief in the other world which for the present is unseen to us. If we deny the Prophet as a partner in divinity; yet, it is contrary to faith and tantamount to pagan hood. But when we do not trespass the boundaries and believe within the frame fixed by God and His Prophet (SAW) where is the falsehood? An Imam is not a prophet or a prophet God. Stations are known; positions are prescribed; status stated; ambit is put there to avoid the ambition; so how can deception creep in?
The difference in the date of birth of the twelfth Imam is of very little vaniance comparing to that of the other Imams. Some narrations say the date of Mehdi’s birth is at parity with the number of letters in the word NOOR that is light according to the ‘ABJAD’ calculations. The more acceptable statement is that of MR. Fazl Bin Shazan, coeval with Imam Hasan Askari, who indicates 255 .
The 12th Imam birth was surrounded by conditions not usual or normal. His absence was more than his appearance. His father, Imam Askari allowed only a few chosen associates of his own to see his son and become blest by his appearance. His short absence commenced as soon as he became Imam. In his absence he appointed deputies who were his agents. This was immediately after the death of his father Imam Hasan Askari.
The writer has this to say. The atrocities of Bani Abbas towards the progeny of Ali and the sons of Imam Jafer Sadiq had created unrest and confusion as well as the problem of succession to Imam Hasan Askari (260, 874 AD). At Samerra there rendered elements and factors, which as a result brought on the theory of the Imam’s occultation.
However it was not a theory but a reality, a fact, a truth. It was written in books before Imam Hasan Askari had become Imam that the twelfth Imam would take shelter in absenting himself and that he would take refuge in his own disappearance and that for his safety he would resort to his own occultation under God’s command. Some took advantage of the opportunity. Jafer claimed that he was the awaited one. People did not believe him because of his reputation. The hers’ claim further strengthened the belief of the Shia in the Imamat of Mehdi. Their trust nullified the false claims.
What we can understand from the writers tone, is that in a sense from the time of Imam Sadiq and onward the term IMAMAT did not carry any political meaning, that is, IMAMAT was bleak of political platform and barren of political performance. The Imams and their followers remained safe to a certain extent.
The writer should know that the Imams possessed the combined offices, that of political leadership and that of the religious one. Both the Imams and the Shias knew that the Imams held both offices. In addition, the Shia views them as the sole heirs of the Prophet. The rulers of Bani Abbas were no more than the robbers and confiscators of their right and what belonged to them. The rulers too were alive to this fact that they were transgressers and trespassers to that which was not theirs. Time and again Mansoor, Haroon, Mamun, and other rulers had acknowledged the fact that the religious position was not theirs to hold, nor that of the political position. They were only occupants while the right was that of the Imams.
In the view of the writer the belief in a redeemer is merely a Shia belief which was rendered advantageous to Bani Abbas as well. As the Sunni school of thought emerged, they held on to this belief which at times was to their interest. This belief of a redeemer was that of all Muslims. Who actually was and is this Redeemer? This stood the dispute that divided the opinion among Muslims. Bani Abbas tried to show that the Redeemer was one from them. They could only try when there existed a general belief. It is a good proof that the Muslims commonly were holding this belief without any reservations. Mansoor tried to introduce his son Mohammad Bin Abdullah as the Redeemer. For this purpose he gave him the title of MEHDI. The efforts in this field regardless from where it came from did not succeed, because the people did not approve of their reputation for such a post.
The writer writes that there was a dispute about who would succeed as imam. He twists and turns the understanding of the reader and tries to make the subject as much murky as possible. Dispute is a common thing to occur when a matter happens to be of importance. The more important the matter the more deeper the dispute. The outcome is important. The Imamate of Kadum took its seat in the hearts. A general love surrounded him and a certain respect was rooted in the hearts, which received him. His succession became authentic and legitimate by his own life, which was in the eyes of the people. His straightforwardness, simplicity, truth, humbleness, worship, piety, generosity, and charity, all these qualities gave the proof of his right to succession and his deseruation to be the Imam-His death in the prison which was obtained by means of poison, left far reaching effects on the regime of Haroon. Shafeyee, the founder of the Shafeyee sect among Sunnis left Baghdad in protest for Egypt. All have praised the personality of Imam Kadum. Similarly the death of Imam Reza which too was by poison and likewise the death of Imam Jawad which too was by poison. The martyrdom of these Imams left a very bad reflection on the regime of the day.
Another blunder of the writer is that he consider Imam Hadi and Imam Hasan Askari to have had witnessed the total downfall of the Bani Abbas dynasty. The fact is that the collapse of the Bani Abbas dynasty took place in theera of Mostasam, as he was killed by Halako in the year 656 Hijra. So, in the time of these two Imams the Bani Abbas dynasty was fast going down, and the military officers were handling the installation of a caliph and again dismissing or discarding him.
That the Imams through their own agents or elements acquired information and knowledge current with the affairs of their time is not to be debated. However, the writer claims that they became aware of the fact the Alawi Imam by the name of Mahdi would come, and that he would not be able to stop the flow of events due to the severe corruptness in general. Therefore says the writer, they decided to postpone the reappearance of the “Awaited One” indefinitely. Yes, the events had become such, however the writer fails to understand that the reappearance of the twelfth Imam was not postponed by Imam Hadi nor Imam Askari, for they had no such power. It was a Divine secret in which only Allah himself knew and planned. According to various narrations, those of Shia and those of Sunni, nobody knew nor does know the person who is to appear and when he will appear. Even the Imams, except Mahdi himself, knew not the specified man. It is a Divine responsibility. And, it is in Divine hand. Its knowledge is with God. Its delay or its urgency is the concern of God. The writer fails to dig any deeper. For it is the insight that probes and opens the horizons of a vast sight to see. What we know is that which the Prophet (SAW) and the Holy Quran has taught us. That is a redeemer will come to rescue the world from tyranny and to spread therein justice is a promise committed by God to mankind; and it has been foretold by the Prophet. But no one is competent to set its timing. It is not a human programme. Hence, it is not for human to decide. When one can not decide he can deny. Here denial is not important, because to deny facts does not uproot them.
Alhamdolelah, the writer, sees and accepts the cruelty, and tyranny of Motawakkil. He says without reservation; and this is, indeed, appreciable. In the court, Motawakkil became upset, very much so that he wept under the crushing strokes of his soul. The writer attributes his inner disturbance to the recitation of Quranic Verses. He is wrong. Imam Hadi spoke to him in poetry. Because part of the verse has been translated from Arabic to English, some of the beauty has been lost;
“Over the peaks of mountains, guarded they lived;
Never saved them the peaks they were deceived.”
Again the writer goes astray. “Why do not you fear them a dread?” “Lo, he who hates him and his heart is satisfied with belief.” These are the Verses of the Quran. It pertains to Ammar to conceal his faith. To conceal one’s faith or to hide one’s religion if the conditions demand so; is God’s order. To avoid danger in any respect, either to life, property, reputation, or to personal prestige one should conceal his true belief. Reason and logic says so. To do otherwise is wrong as it is to expose one to danger. The writer says that the Shia invented TAQIA in order to protect themselves against the Sunni who were a majority and also from the rulers who were too Sunni. So under the pretext of TAQIA. The writer is short o of knowledge in this subject. As we pointed out earlier it is a clear commandment from God. To obey God is not wrong.
The Imam’s scholars have classified political and social grades. From Qulaini to Tosi Nomani who are regarded as some of the first ones to write about the absence of the Imam. Prior to them there was a group of doctors who dealt with this subjects and wrote books. Fazl Bin Shozan (died in 260) and still farther back there were Abrahim Bin Husham Abil Fazl Al-Nasheri and others constitute a class of writers.
IMAMAT OF TWO BROTHERS:
Imam Hasan (AS) and Imam Hussain (AS) were two brothers and at the same time Imams. In that period and age both were Imams one obeyed the other; the younger brother obeyed his elder, as he became Imam. Imam Hasan (AS) actually held the political authority as well as the religious one. He administered social affairs and held the government over them. Imam Hussain (AS) had no say as long as his brother Hasan was alive. The writer now tries to establish a link on this precedent and suggests that the Imamate was of Abdulla Ajta instead of Mosa al-Kadum or to the both of them and similarly to Jafar brother of Imam Hasan Askari. The office of Imamate is Divine. As such, the Imamate is not dependent on our pleasure. It is not our right to suggest one for the Imamate or not to approve the others. When Mosa al-Kadum became Imam, Abdullah goes out of question. Likewise Jafar is not Imam because Hasan Askari is the Imam. The Imamate of Hasan and Hussain can not be a base for any who happens to be a brother of the Imam to become Imam. To avoid such a kind of mischief or this type of interpretation the Prophet (SAW) in his life time had repeatedly disclosed the names of the Imams individually. He had even specified the characteristics of them. So, that neither doubt nor suspicion would remain.
Regarding the Imam after the martyrdom of Imam Hasan Askari a man by the name of NOU BAKHATI had written a book under the title “HREQ AL-SHIA” (sects of Shia). This man says strange things never heard before nor will be heard anymore. A few examples of his findings: After the martyrdom of Imam Hasan Askari the Shia divided into groups and sects. They split into fourteen sects although it is not a fact he says. His book “HREQ al-SHIA” gives a wide range of sections, groups, and divisions. As one goes farther into this book he sees that the word GROUP can not be applied at all since there was none. A SECT can not be called a SECT since that SECT did not exist at all. A DIVISION can not be named a DIVISION since there were not one or two persons who differed or said anything different. But all such trifles and superfluous conjectures have gone a great deal to give bulk to the book. In what times they existed; he does not say. What were the names of those DIVISIONS or SECTS or GROUPS; he himself knows not because he does not say. How long did they remain in their difference? Why didn’t their GROUP or their DIVISION gain ground so as to attract followers? Who was their leader a chief? All these and such questions remain without answer. There is nothing real in the hook. The great scholars Shaik Mofeed and Shaik Akbar Tosi have rejected the existence of divisions. They replied in “A story of NOU BAKHTI” it was “AL-FOSOOL AL-MUKHTARA” (The selected chapters). In a book by Shaik Mofeed he says in its second volume, “There is no sect, no group in existence. In our times till the year 372 there has been no sect other than the twelve Shia Imamia.” This is an introduction for our readers to form a background for themselves, for their own judgment or opinion because the writer has brought forward NOU BAKHTI’s book in his argument.
There are books written about nations, creeds, and so on. But these books were written under a prejudice of exaggeration and not on fact. Whatever one sees in print does not mean it has authority behind it therefore be accepted. History can not show any trace of any of those sects. No date can be fixed as to when; no location can be pointed to as to where; then the very debate on it is of no sense nor of any use discussing. Probabilities do not become facts. A man might have existed who deviated, divided, disgruntled, deprived, and depraved; but surely he was not a SECT, GROUP nor DIVISION.
There is no evidence to show that Jafar had a following. There is likelihood that political and or animosity of some might have given a wider range to Jafar. But he neither gained nor established a following. The only sect that was there and that is still there in spite of the ups and downs of the passage of time, regardless of the vicissitudes of political events, and despite the changes that are common to man is the sect which believes in the Imamate of the 12th Imam, son of Imam Hasan Askari. The Shia Imamia which as said, did not surrender to
temptation but adhered to faith and preserved the belief, although however difficult. Great scholars appeared in this sect. A great many books have been written in this field.
Whatever differences might have happened concerning the person of Mahdi, it was not so wide as is pretended and not so serious as is said. There were no fourteen sects as is now claimed. The writer can not gather a hundred men as the followers. To tell, one can also tell that Omar caused a division or created a division among Muslims as, after the Prophet’s death he shouted and clamored that the Prophet had not died. This divided the Muslims into two groups - one who believed in the eternal life of the Prophet taking his death for his absence and the other one who believed in his death. But a lunatic opinion, single and alone, uttered with a calculated mischief aimed at a particular deliberate purpose or intention can not be a criterion on which an ideology can be rested. As soon as it is said, it is dismissed because it reflects the mind of the sayer.
The sect that acknowledges the Imamate or the Imam hood of Mahdi, son of Imam Hasan Askari has existed for centuries. From the 3rd century the sects that are mentioned in the book have had been without existence. They have vanished. They never existed. Leaving aside the alleged sects, the truth is that the Authority of God can not be absent from the earth. This authority is vested in the person of Mahdi, the Imam of our time. The Shia can not ignore the Imam. Here ends the circuit of fictious sects.
“MILEL WA NAHAL” of Shahrastani “AL-FASAL” of Iban Hagam; these books speak of divisions and describe the sects or groups with full mistakes and deliberate errors. To rely on them is irresponsible because they have been written without study. Every prejudice is gratified in it and malice has taken a breath of relief as it speaks about Shia without knowledge. No information, no knowledge seems to have been necessary to write this book. Another book “AL-FARAKH BAIN ALFIREQ” and another book “AL-TAISEER” carries a theme which ignorance could be proud of. Where there is no literacy, there is fancy; where there is no information, there is imagination; and the books are written. These books are deal, thus should they be left.
TRADITIONS THAT ARE TOLD ABOUT THE IMAMAT OF THIRTEEN ONES
In our article “JILA AL-BASAR LE MAN YATAWALLA AL-AIYEMME AL-ISNAESHAR” (glisten of sight to one who yields to the twelve Imams) we have dealt over this subject. The traditions that indicate that there are thirteen Imams are not authentic ones. The narration should be constant, that is, heard by many; hence, told by many or circulated mouth by mouth. Such narration of any tradition is gestant with credibility. If it is told by one person it does not stand credible. When the Prophet (SAW) spoke, he spoke among his associates or in a gathering or amidst a few people. So, his conversation was heard by more than one man; and accordingly narrated by more than one. If a tradition is narrated by only one source and there is no second to it; it is void of any authenticity. This is a standard or a law for gaining certainty about the issue pertaining to belief and other religious matters. On the other hand, the traditions that indicate the number of Imams as twelve are many and related by several and told by various sources. In the book MASNAD of Ahmad al-Hanbali there are above thirty sources mentioned having had heard from the Prophet (SAW) the number of Imams to be twelve. Muslim in his “SAHEER” quotes eight sources who have related the traditions indicating the number twelve. In the Shia books there are hundreds of sources who have mentioned the Prophet’s sayings the traditions, that fix the number of twelve. Besides, the sources form the man of good reputation. There remains no doubt in the authencity of the very subject. However the traditions or tradition quoting the number of Imams to be thirteen has been invented. Since it is a lie it is dismissed.
What is attributed to Saleem does not exist in his (SALEEM’S) book. Saleem is reported to have narrated that the Prophet (SAW) had told Ah Bin Abi Taleb that he and twelve ones from his progeny are the rightful and legitimate Imams. The very authentic copies of the book of SALEEM BIN QAIS mostly possessed by scholars do not have what it is alleged to him. What the book of Saleem Bin Qais carries is the various narrations of several sayings of the Prophet (SAW) all to the effect that the Imams are twelve and their names starting from Ah Bin Abi Taleb down to Mahdi are indicated. This book came into being in the first century of Hijra and remains till now well credited and well trusted. The names of the twelve Imams were mentioned at a time when they were not yet born. So what is a false accusation or an unfounded allegation merely attributed to Saleem Bin Qais is only a matter of prejudice, to obfuscate the very subject and infuscate the understanding.
It is common practice to fabricate a fiction and then set out in conquest of a writer who may transact this counter note on his credit because of the customers who bank in him their trust. Better than Saleem Bin Qais they could not have found. As his notes are plenty, one counter can easily be mixed therein. If at all it is deducted, a general clamor would stout that it is Saleem’s; since Saleem’s would obtain currency and circulate from hand to hand. Such a fraud is also played with Abi SAHAL NOUBAKHTI. This silly trick has persisted deliberately. Writer should have checked them. Translators also proved negligent in this respect. Anyway, we should pronounce here that such a stratum will not be of benefit to any nor will it serve as a religious cause nor will it advance any religion forward. It would only create a mist on the understanding of readers. The root of belief in a ‘MEHDI’ is also to be found in the Tora and that of the Bible prior to Islam. Any literature that could be traced in the distant past will say something of this kind. This is the pedestal of the Divine Religion.
The writer sees everything from a material aspect. He has not yet reached a destination. Everywhere he stops and wanders again and says something in the pain of fatigue. Moslems believe generally in Mahdi; it is a political belief. The Shia believes in Mahdi particularly; it is a political effect. What is a belief? He has several titles such as MEHDI, REDEEMER and etc.; they are invented by history. Let him at least for once tell something of sense. Any link with the world, the other one, is out of question to the writer. He compares natural phenomenon with religion. The moon, earth, sun and animals all appear and disappear in a cycle, come and go; likewise religion too is to him. He wants to reach a religion after having lost the religion. The world that is next, the self that is in a man, the ulterior influence of invisible on visible, the unseen on the seen, the spirit and its environment, the soul and its surroundings; all these things carry no sense to him. What holds a matter matters to him. So, he is altogether on quite a different track, which never joins the straight path of belief. He displays a series of historical events as his discoveries. He has assorted the events, adjusted the episodes, rejected and accepted some while misplacing others in an order prove his point. When he offers his cargo he misleads the customer. The titles such as MEHDI, GHAYEB, HUJJAT which are rooted in the Quran and transplanted in the Prophet’s sayings are regarded by him as the names that came into being due to certain incidents or events in history.
Had he cared for traditions he would have come to know that the titles ‘AL-QAYEM’, ‘HUJJATULLAH’, ‘KHALEEFATULLAH’, ‘AL-MENDI’ belong to the twelfth Imam. But the language of tradition is strange to him nor is he familiar with the tone of the Prophet (SAW).
In some time or some era one title might have been widely spoken. Again in certain conditions some other title might have given more consolation or satisfaction to the people. For this reason some among the titles of the twelfth Imam are more famous. We observe this in the names of God also. AL-SHAFI, AL-SALAAM, AL-HAHZ, AL-RAHMAN, AL-REZZAGH are more uttered. The personal circumstance has a bearing on this as one resorts to a particular tribute or quality moves them to the other. But this could not mean that God was lacking those qualities in ancient times and got them as time progressed. Such results are the natural outcome of the analysis done on the basis of matter. Therefore, the very method of analysis, that is, the material one, is wrong and will lead one astray. The belief in God is the consequence of a centipede of things and a train of suppositions. Before that, there was no belief in God. Likewise, the qualities which are the names of God. This is the result of a materialistic view of the things. Finally, one has to deny all God and prophets. Such a result of such a wrong method of analysis can not convince one nor
could it be justified in rejecting God. It will not succeed to shake the belief of a believer.
The moment Mahdi came into being the titles were fixed to him because of the qualities he possessed. Mehdi the rescuer, fixed one, good doer, master of the command, master of time, master of age, and master of moment is he. Each of those titles reflects a particular dimension of his personality and of his task. The possessor of those titles is the twelfth Imam. Mahdi is the same twelfth Imam and the 12th Imam is the same Mahdi that the scholars of Sunni have acknowledged. Abu Davood is one of them. He in his book “AL-MEHDI” says that the twelfth Imam is the seal of the Imams.
Although the writer’s uproar, this time he quotes page 282 from the book “GHEEBAT” (absence) of Tosi that, “QAYEM means he will upraise after meeting his death.” About this sufficient explanation Tosi has provided; “but to deal this subject we first should necessarily speak of the Imamate.” As the ramification is getting wider we shall speak about the Imamate only briefly because its short summary suffices to take in the details.
Imamate in Shiasm is based on the Holy Quran. There are numerous traditions of the Prophet that support the establishment.
1. Imamate is a Divine obligation. Persons competent enough become the choice of God. They are vested by God with this mission. God’s choice of the person to this office is pronounced to the people by the Prophet at God’s desire.
2. The prime and the supreme condition for an Imam that qualifies him to be the Imam is his infallibility, that is, immunity from sin or wrong doing, and his superiority in knowledge with the others so that all could obey his instructions and follow his guidance. Khaleel Bin Ahmad narrates a description of Imam by Ali Bin Abi Taleb: “All need him while he needs no one. This is an indication that he is the Imam of all.”
3. The earth can not be without an Imam or the Authority of God. Everyone should know and recognize the Imam of his time. If he dies without knowing his Imam, he has died as though in ignorance.
4. Imams are twelve as per the sayings of the Prophet.
5 . All the Imams are from the Prophet’s House. They do not exceed twelve including Ali. According to the Prophet’s words, repeatedly said, they are at parity with the Quran and as heavy (important) as the Quran itself. They never part with the Quran. They remain always associated with it.
6. All Imams individually possess the worldly and the spiritual leadership. The only thing that they do not share nor possess is the prophet hood, which was terminated at the Prophet himself. NAHJUL BALAGHA describes them as God’s Authority over His creatures. They are the boat of safety. They are the refuges for the nation. They are the guards to protect the people from divisions and deviations. He who does not recognize them and they do not recognize him shall not enter heaven. He who denies them and they who denies him shall enter hell.”
7. The Imams were introduced before hand by the Prophet (SAW) who disclosed their names and specifications individually. Each Imam has introduced the following one his successor indicating his name and his person. These are the fundamentals of principle belief. There is no likelihood, no possibility for any mistake or confusion in the order and the person of the Imam, because of the precautions already taken by the Prophet (SAW) in his time in disclosing their names individually. Also each Imam pointed out to the people
his successor (the next Imam). One should take these matters into consideration if he were to know something of the Imamate. For a believer who acknowledges God and the Next world the ground is reason on which the pillars of belief rest. These fundamentals are irrefragable and incontrovertible because they are supported by the Quran and the constant circuit of the Prophet’s traditions.
This subject that the IMAMAT is a Divine obligation has been established by the Quran and the tradition that took the wing of constancy. Dr. Allama Hilli in his book “TWO THOUSANDS” (ALFAIN) has brought forward two thousand arguments and evidence to prove this subject only. Basically this subject springs from TOWHEED (oneness of God) and it is the oneness of God that gives origin to this subject. Imamate is so basic and so fundamental that it is deep-rooted in Towheed. Towheed is the essence of Islam. And, it is this Towheed that establishes Imamate thereby making it obligatory upon all Muslims. The importance of Imamate is reflected form this where we suffer:
“To Him is the Command and to Him is the order and He is the Sultan and He is the Ruler and He is the Guardian and He is the cognizant of the interests of the creatures. There is no order nor is there a dismissal to any one without Him.”
The matter of immunity from sin gives strength to this subject besides the superiority of knowledge. The Quran here says: “He who guides to the truth more deserves to be followed; he who does not guide should be guided.” The Imam should necessarily be infallible. Reason requires so. Dr. Allama Huh has established this fact through two thousand arguments. One many refer to book ALFAIN.
There should be God’s Authority over the earth. “To each nation there is a leader.” “And we have reached the word to them.” “A day (in which) we call every people with their Imam.” These Quarnic verses with due consideration to their interpretation and the sayings of the Prophet thereon prove that the earth can not be empty of an Imam. The books, those of Sunnis, Shias, Zaidias, and those of Imamias all say collectively the same. There is uniformity of opinion at this point. TAZ-KARAT AL-HOFFAZ of the Sunnis has acknowledged the necessity of the presence of an Imam on earth. Whether the Imam is hidden or apparent, concealed or absent or open he is there as should be.
In the book SAWAYEQ and other books of Sunni scholars a long statement of Imam Zainulabedeen is narrated. The Imam in his long statement says that the earth can not remain without an Imam from the House of the Prophet (SAW). If there happens to be any word coming to this fundamental it is worthless and groundless.
Imam Zainulabedeen says in his supplication in his SAHEEFA SAJJADIA:
“O, God, you have supported your religion in all times by the Imam whom you made a banner to your servants and a tower in your dominion after making his rope to reach yours and you made him a medium to your paradise. And
obedience to him you made obligatory. And you warned about disobedience to him. To carry on his orders, you ordered; and to stop at what he stops the action, you commanded. No advancer advances from him nor does a delayer lag behind him. He is the Fortress of seekers and the cave of believers and the path of adheres and the worth of the worlds.”
In this supplication the Imam is well sketched. The states and the station of the Imams is made clear. Shiasm can be observed in this supplication.
After all these discussions it is a wonderful thing to say “The upraising of QAYIM after death was acknowledged earlier but later on this thought was rejected by scholars.”
Any thought in a Shia atmosphere if expressed by the Prophet (SAW) and Ali Bin Abi Taleb and all other Imams are a fixed truth. Any other thought contrary to it is of no credit and is void of truth. In an analysis some seek to find out a trifle and enlarge it magnifying it in order to avoid the truth or to reject the fact. Some non-Muslim Islamic scholars have done this to serve their venom.
It is not our point to overlook the loophole. What we say is, do not overlook the important ones. One should examine and compare both and see which one is acceptable.
The Imam first dies and the upraises. This is contrary to the fundamental. The earth in that case would remain without an Imam, which is not possible. The age of the Imam is lengthy as his occultation too. If we accept his death first and then his becoming a redeemer, we have to reject what the Prophet (SAW) and Ali (AS) and the other Imams have told us. A narrator by the name of Mosa Bin Sadan Hannat (whom is not regarded as a man of reputation) quotes another man by the name of Abdulla Bin Qassim. Abdulla Bin Qassim was called ‘the her’. Such a man can not be trusted. This liar hero quotes his source as Abu Saeed Qurasani. Abu Saeed Qurasani’s whereabouts are not known. Besides this, there is not other source to have had told the same thing or a similar one to it.
If we look at the word QAYIM we understand it to mean that an upraising is ahead, and this Imam is to be the doer or possessor of that ‘QIYAM’. An upraising which is to be against the political conditions and religious perversion and social depravations of that time. He will uproot every root of tyranny and fill the world with justice. Generally the word ‘QIYAM’ (upraisal) is contemporary with surmise. All Imams were QAYIM that is ‘responsible’. But each of them was in accordance with the conditions of his time. The situation he was in was one concerned to him. But in a broader view and a broader sense this title QAYIM is particular to Mehdi because the QIYAM is going to be a wider, universal one not confined to a specified time and place. His QIYAM (upraisal) will embrace the conditions of individual, social, political, and economical ones. The application of this title brings to mind that of only the 12th Imam and no other one.
Saddookh has narrated a tradition. His source is Kamaluddin. Kamaluddin narrates that he (Kamaluddin) heard the 9th Imam, Mohammed al-Taqi (A.S.) say: “The Imam after me is my son. His word is my word. His order is my order. To obey him is to obey me. The Imamate will run to his son, Hasan Askary. What he says is to be obeyed. His word is his father’s word. His order is the order of his father.” Then he became quiet. Kamaluddin asked; “Oh, son of the Prophet of God! Who is the Imam after Hasan?” The Imam wept. Then he said; “Imam Hasan Askari’s son, AL-QAIYM AL MONTADER.” Then Kamaluddin asked; “Oh, son of the Prophet of God, why is he called AL-QAYIM?” The Imam answered; “Because he will bring an upraising.” Kamaluddin asked; “Why is he called the awaited one?” The Imam replied: “Because there will be an absence that wilt be very long. Faithful ones will await his appearance. Those who have doubt will reject him. Those who believe in him will be redeemed.”
In another source “MA’ANI AL-AKHBAR”, the same is also mentioned. Some have indicated other reasons too for his title ‘QAYIM’. One is that he will appear and raze a war against tyranny with his sword. Now, for his other title, Mahdi, there are several interpretations. AL-MEHDI is as independent a title as is AL-QAYIM. One whom God has guided is called Mahdi.
According to predictions, the reforms and the deeds that Mahdi will perform will suit the title AL-QAYIM. It is also known that these titles, “AL-QAYIM” and “AL-MEHDI” were heard from the Prophet’s mouth. There is no sense in arguing that one title is superior to the other. Both belong to one and both were given and pronounced by one.
The writer in this chapter has written what reflects his prejudice or ignorance. The Imam will appear; the Imam will rescue the world from tyranny; all this imagination is the product of the last decades of Bani Ommiya’s rule. The tyranny of Bani Ommiy’s government invigorated this belief more deep. But in no way did it create this supposition or this fancy as the writer says. It is as old as Islam itself The Prophet (SAW) himself had disclosed MEHDISM and told the people what we now know. It is a promise given by the prophet (SAW) and as is known, the Prophet (SAW) did not utter out of his own desire or lust. It is God’s word and Divine Revelation from which he speaks. So, it is a promise given to us by God through the Prophet (SAW).
The writer says that the title of MEHDI was given to rescue the Shia from dullness and hopelessness. To inject them with ray of hope or a beam of anticipation towards a better future. As we have repeatedly said it is a reality. The title has nothing to do with the disappointment of a man or a group of men. The title does not add anything to the personality of the Imam. His responsibility is already foretold by the Prophet (SAW). The Shia did not invent anything so far as religion is concerned. The title MAHUI is also acknowledged by Sunni scholars. It was heard on the tongue of most well known Sunni authorities. As such, it seems that it is the writer who is trying to invent something at this stage.
It is not bad to give a summary about the event of Mahdi’s birth. The birth of Mahdi the son of Imam Hasan Askari is recorded by historians as being a simple event.
However the birth is surrounded by some strange signs. The writer is not willing to see or accept the strange signs because he says that no such events were recorded. Which records he uses for his research, we do not know. An event of birth is not to be elaborated - generally speaking. Sources that are close to the house of Imam Hasan Askari (AS) should also be contacted to see what they know and have to say. Historical science has gone too flaccid as its scholars have shown prejudice in recording the events or the facts. However, facts do remain unchanged although the attitude of a historian is however changeable.
The birth of messengers is gestant with unusual events, extra ordinary. Adam’s birth for example was a strange thing. The birth of Abraham, Is’haq, Moses, and Jesus were all strange, Jesus (AS) still in a cradle spoke. All these events were super natural and extra ordinary. If these events are not historical, then the birth of Mahdi too is not one. If those events are regarded as being historical, the birth of ‘Mahdi’ too is one. The negligence of some historians do not spoil the event. As a figure of speech, no matter how many veils are hung to hide or conceal something, if a candle is placed beyond the veils even the slightest light will still pass through those veils. Often is the case that an unauthentic source says something ignorant and it becomes history; but an occurrence of importance and magnitude which took place and is told by persons of repute and renown, still is not considered history! What a portentous display of prejudice and partiality it is! The writer says that the biographies of the Imams of the Shia have been so written that they are like the stories of the SOHS. The stories of the SOFIS are far from sense and reason. The writer could have said that the biographies of the Imams are like the stories of the births of prophets like Abraham, Is’haq, Ismaeel, Moses, Jesus and Yehya. But, taste is needed to install a similitude. Delicacy is the demand, wit is the want and vigilance is the vitality, needed to bring a similarity of the same sanctity. The stories of the SOFIS are fabricated in order to attain the level of godly figures so as to make them credible. They are fake, false, and feigned. But the facts of the prophets or the Imams do not break apart by false statements as a shadow can not eradicate a light. It is the evil that proves a virtue. A dark night is the indication of a bright day, which dawns from within its folds.
The very sense the word history imparts should be defined here. Some events are perhaps narrated in the books of philosophy or medicine and not in the book of history. Although irrelevant of its place it is still history or an historical event. Whether it be the prophet of God or kings what they do goes down as history. Therefore, history can not be confined to a man or a particular group or
a particular performance. As a result there is no classification or category to which certain events are regarded as historical or non historical. The writer is wrong. The birth of the twelfth Imam was history in itself as well as a historical event.
About the creation of the Imams and the Prophets, that is, how they were created or the nature of their creation. Shias are not different with others in its conception or conviction. About the creation of the Prophet (SAW), the Sunni sect has a great deal of narration and traditions. The same Sunni sources have much to say with regards to the creation of Ali Bin Abi Taleb, Imam Hasan, Imam Hussain, and Fatima daughter of Mohammed. As to the reason of the creation of the prophet (SAW) and the Imams the Quran gives a root. “Indeed, God has chosen you and purged you and selected you over the men of the worlds.”
As for the prophet Moses the Quran says: “And, We revealed to the mother of Moses to feed him with her milk and if she happened to fear about him, throw him into the river and not fear nor grieve. We shall return him back to her and make him among the messengers.” From this we infer that the mother of Moses was informed about the return of her child back to her and that he would become a prophet of God.
In his book AL SIFWA Zaid Bin Ali Bin Hussain describes the issue of AHLUL BAIT (members of the Prophet’s (SAW) House) their being chosen ones. He lists from the Quran to support his statement. From a viewpoint of Islamic principle and belief, the extra ordinary type of creation of the Imams can not be waired of taking into consideration the miracle in the birth of Jesus Bin Maryem.
The writer concludes that because Mahdi will appear on the day of ASHORA he will, therefore, make his headquarters either in Kofa or in Kerbala. Also because Mahdi descends from the progeny of Ah his upraising too will be in Kofa and Karbala. However let us stop here and look a little closer into the matter.
First, it is an acknowledged fact that Mahdi hails from the Prophets (SAW) House because he is the twelfth Imam. But what relation is there with Kerbala and Kofa? We can not limit his range of activity for the whole earth is in his range of activity. All predictions indicate such as we have repeatedly pointed out, the traditions of the Prophet (SAW). The writer has connected Mahdi’s appearance to the martyrdom of Hussain. This he has done deliberately so as to limit the whole issue and to prove it has a background of revenge. The writer knows very well that the Imams were all from the House of the Prophet (SAW), that is, his offspring. So, the twelfth Imam too, Mahdi. Nobody has limited Imamate to the Household of the Prophet (SAW), it is God’s design, His desire, His deed, and His determination because Imamate is His office and an Imam is His choice as to who to be and from where. Mahdi hails from the progeny of the Prophet, it is a fulfillment of a condition among the conditions concomitant with the office of Imamate. As such he should be from AHLUL BAIT (from the Prophet’s house). This ensures that all his doings and deeds will all be in the line of the Prophet (SAW) himself.
Under this title or leading the following may be said;
A. the disappearance of the Imam was an event of most importance. Shias became upset and much disappointed they were uncertain as to what would happen politically, religiously and socially. It’s far reaching effects in every as peek at every field was alarming. Some remained dumbs founded, perplexed and confused knowing not what to do. A true Shia’s concern was as to how to confront the adversary who was a staunch appetent, a Sunni, and how to protect his own strategy in that political hurricane; and to this added his worry as to how to guard an ordinary Shia whose belief was their hunt in which it was a moving object in the jungle that had engaged their arrows and could fell prey to the beast of their propaganda. The safety of a common Shia, and the danger of the security of a learned Shia was the anxiety of the hour. Although they saw themselves exposed to an ambush from behind a tree in that society, which to them had turned into a forest ruled by wild and bestial animals, yet the most learned scholars of Shia were safe in their hidings. They were armed by the Prophet’s (SAW) traditions and the verses of the Holy Quran, which had established the truth of Imamate to rescue them and to guard a common Shia against the danger.
As a result we now see that Shiasm has survived every risk of eradication. It has preserved its originality rejecting any deviation. Whose make up is her original face and whose ornaments are her natural features. Indeed, malice incited the ugly to abnubilate her beauty by any fuliginous way or to fash its admirers. But her admirers stood a grueling test and her own numinous beauty stood a palladium. However, no matter their practice the Shiasm deranged its entity. The learned ones gave refuge to the thought of the people. The NAWABS took the affairs of the Shia in their hands.
While everything was in order, the belief in the twelfth Imam was never shaken; NOUBAKHTI says that in the town of Qum, there existed a sect that believed in thirteen Imams. We have heard nothing of that kind, and know that all there believed and believe in twelve Imams. Everyone in books of narration claim that there existed scholars during the past two and half centuries to tell people about the Imamate of the twelve Imams.
Yes, a deeper look will show that a few who had turned aside from the original path in search of personal gains or to whom a deliberate deviation had taken far away from the track, later regret persuaded them and repentance returned them back to their right path and to which they adhered in fealty and stuck in faith.
B. Earlier to Ibn Babway and Nomani others like Fazi Bin Shazan (died 260) have written books about both the periods of the absence of the twelfth Imam. These books had appeared before the birth of Imam Hasan Askari. Mashikha Hasan Bin Mahboob (died 224) has also written about this subject. The writer
too maintains that the two periods of the absence of the Imam has brought forward changes in the views. We should point out here that both periods were of importance and of a new kind in the history of Shiaism but not in the sense that the theme of Shiaism varied with that of the past. These two periods further cemented the faith of those who were having a pre knowledge through the sayings of the Prophet (SAW) and the Imams.
The way of installing a proof or housing evidence was at variance among the lecturers. But at the same time they all depended on the traditions, that is, the sayings of the Prophet (SAW). Side by side they used reason as well. This method of presenting or producing evidence of reason or logical proofs became wider and wider during the space of time. From the time of Shaikh Mofeed to the time of Allama Hilli and toward this method took an entity to itself. The proof for divinity, the evidence for prophet hood attained a wider range. Likewise, there is still a possibility that it may still go beyond. But the evidence of narration, that is, the narrative proofs remains what they had been because the words could be invented to install in the prophet’s (SAW) sayings.
C. The absence of the Imam is reflected in a way to give an impression that to revolt against tyrant rulers is not an obligation on the people. Therefore, the scholars, that is, the Shia clergymen and their jurisprudents in association with the family of Boway did not oppose the caliphate of the Bani Abbas dynasty. They propagated Shiasm. If the Boway family (AALBOWAY) committed atrocities, Shias had no obligation to oppose it. It was only the right of the Imams to revolt or upraise against the tyrant rulers and their governments. If the occultation of the twelfth Imam makes an upraising impossible then no upraising should take place and the concern should be only towards the protection of Shiasm. To bring down a government is the only right of the twelfth Imam.
Such an impression is quite wrong and misleading. First: Shias were in no circumstances and under no conditions obliged to bring down the governments of the Bani Abbas dynasty. Shias were and are obliged to obey the Imam. The Shia ponders, thinks and considers himself under the yoke of twelve Imams, individually and collectively. Even to this day the yoke of the Imamate of the twelfth Imam is around the neck of the Shia. Bani Abbas knew this. They knew that to bring down their government was not the responsibility of a Shia. It depended on the stand and outlook of the Imam of that time. Obedience of the Shia to their Imam, their love, affection, and faith in him was to Bani Abbas a dread and a matter to take into calculations and something to bestow consideration to. On the other hand, the conduct, character, behavior, abundant knowledge, truth, honesty, up righteousness, straightforwardness, endurance, tolerance, forbearance, and forgiveness of the Imam was in itself an element and a factor that weakened the Bani Abbas politically, socially and morally. This the Bani Abbas well knew that they very presence of the Imam, whoever he be, was
their own weak point because his existence demonstrated what he possessed and what they were deprived of. Whatever qualities and abilities they had, the Bani Abbas caliphs were short of. They lacked. The people too witnessed the same what the Bani Abbas saw. The ability of the people to judge and compare could not be taken away from them. As they compared, they hated one and liked one; they hated one and honored one; they hated one and obeyed the other. This being out of their power, the Bani Abbas remained always uneasy, harassed, confused, and uncertain. To secure their own rescue from this harassment the easiest thing to do was to detain the very object of fear. This they did. They imprisoned the Imams. They put them under home arrest. They implied secret agents, police to keep a watch on them. They broke the link of the people with them. Motawakkal brought the tenth Imam, Ali Al-Naqi, from Madina to Samerra so that he may keep a direct watch on him and control his every movement.
In any circumstance there was never the question that the Shia would revolt. In the days of the tenth and eleventh Imams, Ali Al-Naqi and Hasan Askari, there was no probability of any such thing. It was a general belief that it was up to the Imam to decide what to do. But there was a strong belief running among Shias that each Imam did what he was under commission to do. The Prophet (SAW) had a charted and the programme by the command of God for every Imam, framing his responsibility. So, every Imam in his time acted and behaved accordingly. This secret chart was transferred from one Imam to the other. The other factor to be considered is this, that in those days conditions had become so bad and the people were in such a low mentality that there was no preparedness on their half to consume a change. In such a probability of failure it was wise to avoid the upraising. Its consequences would have been more futile and reverse rather prolific and useful.
The Bowihian’s stand did not totally discard the caliphates of the Bani Abbas dynasty although they took the helm of affairs in their hands. They installed a caliph and they even dismissed a caliph. But they did not declare their disagreement with the machinery of the caliphate. Had they done so they would have had to confront a huge front of opposition of Sunnis. A total chaos would have entailed posing a general danger to Shias. Any change in their stand would have reflected a religious basis for that change. To avoid Bani Abbas and appoint an Alawi caliph was tantamount to the continuation of the same trend. Some say that the interests of AALBOWAY was in keeping the Bani Abbas dynasty in order to retain their own power. Anyway, AALBOWAY was neither to do nor think of any other way. This should not be forgotten that in the time of the absence of the twelfth Imam some of the Bani Abbas clan was not bad towards the Shia. They even pretended to be Shia. Naseruddin Allah was a scholar among the caliphs of Bani Abbas. He believed in the Imamate of the twelfth Imam and in his absence. He even considered himself as the deputy of
the 12th Imam.
There runs a theory that no one has a right to revolt against tyrant governments during the absence of the 12th Imam. This is absolutely wrong. To upraise against tyranny in the event of possible conditions is in jurisprudence an obligation. This obligation becomes a general one in case the tyranny of a ruler happens to consume one’s property, life, or one’s honor so that all people should go to the victim’s help. To defend against a tyrant needs no sanction of a religious jurisprudent.
Defense is a sacred liability. To defend a Muslim, or to defend a Muslim society is obligatory no matter whether the enemy be an outsider or one from inside. For example the ex-shah of Iran wanted to change the Islamic identity of Iran. So to defend such a danger becomes a liability. In jurisprudence these questions are discussed, the defense or the effort to oppose the tyranny of a ruler who is not a jurisprudent or a believer. These issues during the period when the Imam is absent are decided by the Shia of jurisprudence. In the span of the absence of the twelfth Imam the tyrant governments in certain conditions become compulsory to be brought down.
D. The motive of ALLBOWAY in their upraising obviously was political with lust for power. But it can not be waived off that originally they should have been motivated by religious matters or the atrocities committed against the Shia might have incited them to revolt against the tyrant rulers.
On the ground that their upraising was contrary to Shia religious standards we can not condemn them. There are several considerations. When their upraising had succeeded their behavior in general and that of some of them in particular was far better than all their predecessors. They even surpassed in their competency and good conduct with others. The rulers among them showed no enmity with the Shia. They were jealous and very much enthusiastic towards propagating the Shia belief and at the same time advertent enough to not encroach the Sunni sanctity. In other words they had brought freedom for the Shia and obliterated those conditions that necessitated the TAQIA (concealing one’s belief). In any case, their policy was not to invalidate the Sunnism or to crush any other religion. They did quite the opposite to what their predecessors had done. They provided liberty for Shias and also opened avenues for them to enter any government service. AAL BABWAY nullified the previous policy for restricting Shias in every aspect of social life. So, they in fact protected Shiasm and helped it. What they gave to others by way of freedom they gave to Shias as well. Because of the equity, which they maintained with the Shia, they were accused of religious bigotry. However, we are not here to defend the AAL BABWAY>’s policies. This can not be denied that they too were a dynasty, which appeared on the political scene and became recorded in history. They differed with their previous rulers who were Sunnis and did everything against the Shias by way of harm. One of them was Motawakkel who even tried to
annihilate the Shia belief. But the BABWAY dynasty did not act to take revenge nor did they adopt any negative attitude towards the Suni. They opened opportunities of jobs and propaganda to them. They were more human comparing to their predecessors like Motawakkel, Salahuddin Ayubi and Taqhrool Saljokhi. The Babway dynasty was in fact Shia. They believed in IMAMAT and also the disappearance of the twelfth Imam. But they did not intervene nor did they interfere in religious matters. What they pondered they used to pronounce openly. The Shia clergymen coordinated with the BABWAY’s harass on the basis that, in the politics people should not take part nor they should participate in revolts against the governments. This is wrong. The Shia religion does not dictate such a thing.
If we look from a political angle, the Babways were Shia. Therefore they felt themselves secure from any Shia revolt against them. Since they were good with the Sunnis if by any case the Shia were to make any upraising it would have been crushed by the forces adversary to the Shia thought. All the political fronts of the Shias would have been lost. If Shia clergy would have revolted the result would have been the same. On the other hand, Babways had paved the way for the Shias to enter into jobs and have well stations in society. So, the Shia thought it prudent to support the BABWAY rules. In such circumstances the Shia clergy took to serve the expansion of knowledge and the propaganda of the Shia ideology and at the same time made it obligatory upon them to support the BABWAYS.
As things took shape an understanding opened its umbrella shadowing the Shias and the BABWAYS without these being a contract or an agreement. Their understanding was the result of the security which the BABWAY rulers felt at the hands of Shia, and the contemplation of the Shia clergy that the harm of a revolt would be more than the gain. To not make a movement was a religious conviction to one party while to the other a good prudent policy to honor that conviction.
In any case let us pronounce that we can not repudiate the legitimacy of their rule, at least, some of them.
Difference in the date has opened avenues to the writer to tell what is his lust and to say what is his wish and to write what is his pleasure. Yes, there is a difference; so what? Does this difference change anything? Does it bear on any dimension? The beginning of the Imam hood (IMAMAT) of the 12th Imam is in the very year 260. To penetrate deeper we see that the very pregnancy of his mother remained unnoticed. Miraculously it was a concealed matter. Then, his birth; this too was a secret known only to very few close ones. In other words, this Imam ever since he began life either in the womb of his mother or in the vast of this universe, either as a babe or as an infant, a veil surrounded, concealing him or any sign of his or any symptom that could indicate his whereabouts or his existence. He was destined to remain under the veils of secrets. It was for the absence to steal his presence into disappearance. He is in reservation kept most cautiously by the Divine for the future. Several curtains should hide him under the guard of wonder and the vigilance of surprise. Several hands of doubt collectively could not lift any of the curtains nor could a deliberation peep through it. The mystery is beyond the ken of human, and the ambit of the calculation of two and two is four, because God’s job can not be circumference by our understanding. He is that treasure which should be kept secret till time is ripe, till sight can tolerate the fire of its diamond. His absence was a calculated affair. The Imamate of the Imams had its cycle and Imam Hasan Askari was still peddling it. So, it is wrong to suppose that the era of the Imamate had ended. When the eleventh Imam was still alive the era was alive too. In the year 260 the martyrdom of Imam Hasan Askari put an end to an era and opened a new one. The twelfth Imam took the office. Then he went into hiding. Then he appeared. Then he went into hiding.
The writer says that the first time the term GHEEBAT (absence or disappearance) was introduced; it was in the book by the name of KAMALUDDIN. He says that it is likely that Qulaini too might have explained such a thing earlier.
First fact is regularly being ignored time and again, forgotten by the writer that the sense and the meaning of GHEEBAT was already a known fact, as it was in the traditions and the narration that have hailed immediately from the Prophet (SAW) and the Imams. So, the occurrence of such an event GHEEBAT was an event not a surprise. The awareness of the people towards this fact is older than the book KAMALLUDDIN of Sadoq and the book KAH of Qulaini. They did not invent it but mentioned the traditions about it. If anyone were to give an explanation of the OHEEBAT it could have been the same about Sadoq and Kafi have told in their books. Besides, those who have survived both the periods of the GHEEBAT (absence or occultation) have told the same thing and have narrated their experience. What was foretold is narrated; and what was foretold took place.
Earlier to Nomani in the books of the Prophet’s sayings and conversations (TRADITIONS) both types of the Imam’s disappearance (GREEB AT) have been mentioned. There are some who have been written before the end of the short GHEEBAT. The writer now tells us in a way to suggest that when the GHEEBAT happened these books too appeared. Since he has no belief in the invisible or unseen (GHAIB) he should say so. He can even suggest that whatever is written is after the happenings although the Prophet might have foretold then.
He wants to accuse the great scholars who were great authorities such as Sadoq, Nomani and others of fraud and fabricating traditions. May God guide him.
The GHEEBAT was split into two periods - one a short duration, the other with an indefinite duration. The lengthy GHEEBAT was anticipated. Ali Bin Mohammed al-Samri and others were having a mental preparedness. Nomani and others consider the GHEEBAT as a sign attesting the Imam hood of Mahdi.
The writer says that both kinds have had a root in the recent narration. The narration can not be new or recent. All of them are old because they relate to the time of the Prophet (SAW). If the writer knows let him specify which are the new ones and which are the old narration?
We can make not such that the narration of Imam Ali Bin Abi Taleb (AS) are older than those by Imam Hasan (AS) Imam Hussain (AS) or Imam Zainulabedeen (AS). Likewise what Imam Baqer (AS) has told is older than that which Imam Sadqq (AS) told. So this should be his sense, divided among the Imams in accordance to their order and periods. But, actually the fifth Imam, Baqer, is the first Imam who started a school in which he told many things explaining the legislation and other issues. The narration that hailed newly or recently relates to the period after the period of Imam Baqer (AS). This issue is useful in distinguishing the dates or locating the duration of period with regards to narration and other religious jurisprudence. This standard can not be maintained after the period of Imam Askari. Usually the narration can be considered false if they come after the duration of the period of Imam Askari. But such a supposition can not be given to the narration that pertain to the GHEEBAT of the twelfth Imam because they were told in every age right from the Prophet’s (SAW) time down to Imam Askari (AS). There was nothing to be added thereon or to be deducted there from. Whatever the new authors have written they have depended upon the old authors. The interpretations and comments made thereon are all in uniformity because of the pedestal being one. There can be a difference in synonyms, such as short absence, little absence, long absence, lengthy absence, continued absence and so on.
These terms GHEEBAT SUGHRA (short GHEEBAT) and GHEEBAT
KUBRA (long absence) were not invented in the era of Safavi. They have no bearing on the reality. There had been two periods. The narration can not be changed by the marginal diameters or spaces down by suppositions. Furthermore, belief can not be shaken as well. Any other interpretation would only show one’s own mind and the extent of its listing to falsity the fact.
To invalidate a narration one should search the ground of that particular narration. If the narrators of that particular narration have any credibility reputation or a reliability that could creep in a catena of continuity up to the authority of Imam Sadiq (AS) reason would not approve its repudiation. What Noubakhti has written of the Shia sects should be something of prediction about the unseen future. To foretell what will happen in the future no one would claim, unless he should have prophecy, which no one has. So, it is quite easy to tell what this imagination might bring to his mind. In such an event he has rejected the established traditions and acknowledged the realities of history.
People were left adrift in an ocean of uncertainty knowing not where the stand is for them and to which shore they should land. The writer has magnified the things because he is looking through a microscope of prejudice. Any little thing would appear to him big. The things were not as he is pretending to have been. A little commentary on his statements seems necessary. Chaos and tumult; they are a natural corollary of uncertainty. There were those who were faithful to their belief and ardent in their faith. They knew who their Imam were and who the present one was.
They also had pre-knowledge of the absence of the Imam as they had heard or read the Prophet’s (SAW) sayings. It is a common practice to ask. They should have told as they should have been asked. Had there really been a chaos where was it? In the center town of the Shias in Qum we did not hear nor did we witness such chaos.
What the winter says come out to prove that the Shia belief of twelve Imams hails from a strong origin. The scholars, the thinkers and other personalities of the day were believers in the Imamate of the son of Imam Askari (AS) and in his occultation (GREEBAT). He refers to the ministerial families of BANI Furat and the relations of ABU SUHAIL NOUBAKHTI. This is the strength of a religion. The curiosity of the enemies should have tried to find out the fact. They could not establish otherwise. During the GHEEBAT a link of deputies with the Imam take his orders; it seems practicable as well as reasonable.
All the traditions about the GHEEBAT narrated by Shazan, Nomani, Kamaluddin are attested by sources of authority and based on evidence passed on from the Imams by the Prophet (SAW) himself. All these sayings were predictions, that is, years behind the events and the events far ahead the sayings.
The Shias who were in various provinces and parts would not have accepted to revert, refer or consult to the NAWABS (deputies) of the Imam had there not been a cogent conviction for them. There had been links that establish the connection with the Imam. It was a well-organised and systematic network of communication to the Imam and from the Imam. Ali Bin Babway, a man of thought and knowledge, writes a letter to the Imam through the NAWAB (Imam’s deputy) and gets an answer through the same channel. Had there not been a truth in it a man of Ali Bin Babway’s like would not have corresponded with the Imam. This in itself is proof.
The writer says on the authority of Fathia that a group of Shia believed in the Imamate of Jafer and many yielded to his authority. By saying so the writer wants to say what he, of course, does not say but means to say, however does not want to go that far. Well, we say that he means that Mahdi was fake Imam because of Jafer. Why does he not ponder the other way? Why wasn’t Jafer a false Imam? The biography of Jafer was known to one and all. His reputation, his conduct his behavior, his temperament brought him no respect from the
people. Therefore, he was immediately ignored although he was supported by the government of the day in order to create a rift and split. Those who gathered around him were the paid agents of the government.
Another mistake. The writer sees the Imam as an infant. But the consensus shows that the Imam had attained his boyhood.
The unity among Shias is of course due to a belief common among them. In a stock all are shareholders; and all are united too. The belief in the Imamate of the twelfth Imam has brought all Shias together. But the writer says that the Imam’s deputies (NAWABS) had brought all together. Of course they were men of reliance and respect in all the Shia places. For example, Abulafer Omravi was very much respected. They were symbols of unity and honor of the Shia but not the reason for it. The Nawabs were only agents of the Imam. The cardinal and supreme factor was the very Imamate of Mahdi, which held the mosaic together. Today too this belief in Imamate holds the jurisprudents in awe and reverence and the deputies of the Imam.
It might be felt that the appointment of one ambassador depends upon the recommendation of his predecessor to the Imam or with a consensus of the Shia scholars or clergy. As the previous one appoints the new one. Such an air of conception hangs around the third ambassador Hussain Bin Rooh. But, the reality is something else. It is the direct choice of the Imam himself; an immediate selection by himself alone. It was not a contract or agreement between the persons or parties. Since the man was appointed by the person of Imam Mahdi himself, the appointed one was highly respected and revered among the people - commons and dignitaries. It was a commonly known fact that the ambassador was the Imam’s choice and in contact with him. Had it been otherwise, such men of repute such as Abu Suhail Noubakhti, Ibn Mateel, Hasan Bin Jana Nasibi would have disputed and never obeyed the ambassador.
The long absence (GHEEBAT KUBRA) was an anticipated one during the short one (GHEEBAT SUGHRA). In that period books too were written about this subject. No ambassador was appointed after Ali Bin Mohammed Saruri. The reason is not known. It could be that the Imam did not find a trustworthy one. It could be this that the Nawabs of the period of short GHEEBAT were to acquaint the people with the coming GHEEBAT that was going to be indefinitely long.
The confirmation of Mahdism of the twelfth Imam starts from this period as the last leader of the Moslems. Ever since the Shias came to know that the Imam’s appearance was not definite in the near future they took him to be their Mahdi.
We should correct him. He was the twelfth Imam known to all and acknowledged by all. It was not a condition that he should go into hiding in order to become Imam. For an Imam, disappearance or hiding is not a necessary condition. But that he was the Mahdi promised by the Prophet (SAW) was a thing not certain. Of course, it is a common thing to have an existence of doubt in the minds. Every issue in accordance with its magnitude is shaded by doubt or there are some whose business is to create doubts. Therefore, this should not be denied that the short period of the Imam’s absence and the beginning of the long period have been covered by doubts. The scholars should pay heed in this respect to furnish the facts so as to obviate he doubts and present the subject in the minds in a clear picture.
The writer raises a question as to when and how the representation of the Imam (Mahdi) is vested to the jurisprudents indirectly and with full distinctions. How has he comes to such an interpretation?
A simple thing becomes complicated because of the reasoning the writer has resorted to. The link of the defeat of the Ullama (clergy) against the governments of AAL BABWAY, SAFAVI, and KACHAR is connected here.
The issue of the jurisprudents being the oracles for the people in the times of GHEEBAT, short or long comes into the light from two dimensions.
The vital importance goes to the establishment of a link with the Imam by any means if not direct.
One: God’s commands are to be understood so as to be acted upon. If in the time of the Prophet (SAW) or any of the Imams a man could not reach any of them he would then go to a clergy so as to ask his questions and learn what he has sought out to learn. This is a reasonable solution. Therefore it is only reasonable that during Imam Mahdi’s occultation the same would happen. The question that has been brought up as to what period the jurisprudents actually became oracles for the people are not a sensible one. In the days of the Prophet (SAW) or the Imams or in the days of GHEEBAT any one who had a high knowledge on religious issues stood as an authority to be referred to. It was not limited to a certain time or place Knowledge can not be limited to a time or space. One who has a through knowledge of a subject stands as a guide whenever referred to and by whosoever.
Two; An oracle is an administrator of a society or a leader of a society, because he meddles in disputes, solves their problems, gives opinion in their differences and judges their quarrels and attends their various difficulties. In such a dimension, the jurisprudents before the time of Imam Hasan Askari (AS) had an active part. It was obligatory for the people to contact them. For a jurisprudent the government of the Imam is valid. A jurisprudent is in his place a representative of the Imam. This is an issue purely of jurisprudence. The guardianship of a jurisprudent is a second grade authority which descends from the absolute authority of the Imam. In this regard there is no general agreement among the scholars. Some consider the guardianship of the Ullama (clergy) not fixed because they do not think that there is enough proof. Is’haq Bin Yakob says that the uncertainty could run into events, as well as certain things which could not be determined. The deputies of the Imam had a general responsibility. They had no intention to collect money. The writer is accusing a group of good people without feeling the least moral responsibility.
The guardianship of the jurisprudents is absolutely necessary. Whether some believe it or not, their being representatives of the Imam they all agree that on some matters no one other than a jurisprudent can have guardianship. To command the people towards virtue, to restrict the people from evil is the
responsibility of a jurisprudent. But the actions of a jurisprudent are regarded as final and to be honored. The governments and their power or authority over the people is a thing religiously illegal. Therefore, the governments are regarded as tyrants. In this description all governments are alike whether BABWAYS, SAFAVIS, KACHARS.
The writer thinks that the text of the tradition as told by Is’haq Bin Yakob was deviated in later days. We tell him he is wrong.
The versions might differ in words but the text remains the same.
One thing which waives off the writer’s wrong conception is; in the text, there is a word in Arabic, “ALAIKUM” or “Upon them” which makes no sense in the age of total occultation (GHEEBAT) of the Imam, because there is no link, no NAWAB, nor deputy, and therefore no link with the Imam. This pronoun ‘ALAIKUM’ better suits the days of short GHEEBAT. We suggest that it should be translated as ‘UPON YOU’. The writer has not attended these little things because of his over happiness in having gained something more important. Such examples abound. The translation of BIHAR has rendered the word ‘ROWAAT’ into jurisprudents, while such does not exist in the writings of Majusi. This is in the days of Kachar. The word “ROWAAT” is not in the Arabic text of BIHAR because it was not necessary. The writer now takes this and uses it as a weapon in which to accuse the Shia writes in interpreting the traditions as time fits. Our readers can judge for themselves whether to come to such a conclusion is just or unjust.
WHAT IS THE PHILOSOPHY IN IMAM MAHDI STILL REMAINING ABSENT?
In view of the writer, conditions were favorable for the appearance of the Imam in the days of the AALBOWAY government and there existed also militarily possibilities. But on what ground was the Imam to make his appearance?
The answer to such a question lies in what Sadogh has said, and that is the conditions were not secure enough as to ensure his appearance. There was no assurance as to how many people and whom he could actually trust. Was there any security in finding 313 people as associates or companions. I have said before that a number of 313 men absolutely perfect in belief, completely humble to the orders, totally resigned to the will of God, and whole heartedly ready for any sacrifice or ordeal can not be expected among us. In words all stand but in practice who stands? To give a test all will fail. Who knows how many agents there were in their guise. So on what tested ground is it said that conditions were favorable? It is only a pretext. It is a pretension. The time is only known to God alone. He knows and He decides the hour, because He is aware of even what is concealed hearts. We have nothing but to resign to Him who is the Master mind of religion.
HESITATION AMONG THE FOLLOWERS OF THE SCHOOL:
The matters written or told by IBN BABWAY shows the scale of hesitation and the extent of surmise and the amount of doubt among the followers of the Shia school. This statement of the writer is not true. Why? He says or imagines that a majority of Shia was dubious not quite certain, that is, certitude missed them and doubt gained them. Where there is a question, there is an answer. This does not mean that the question is the consequence of doubt. If a thing is answered by way of explanation, it is not that the society is drowned in doubts or it is overpowered by uncertainty, there is question and a question is espoused with reply. What IBN BABWAY points out is a thing plain and common. He says that the enemies, opponents and adversaries were creating doubts and pushing them by way of propaganda. They aimed at misguiding people who were poorly educated or had little knowledge and less information. It was such doubts that were used to be answered. In every society, in every religion it is a common thing. Anyone either a Shia or a Sunni can ask as to why the Imam is absent or as to when he will appear. This is a good symptom in a society. It indicates a mental awareness or a religious awakening or an upraising of spirit. He wants to base his belief on the foundation of knowledge and the pedestal of cogency rather than on a track, which was paced by his forefathers. He asks, interrogates, inquires, and investigates but still does not change his course. This shows his staunch belief in the correctness of his path, which ascertains him of
the destination he is heading to. To most questions the answer of the Prophet (SAW) applies: “This is God’s command and a secret among the Divine secrets”
The writer says this is a thing newly thought upon and newly introduced. If he means that this issue is being newly argued; it is something else. In every environment a different tone is spoken. In every time a different vogue rules the taste. Therefore, we should speak what suits the language of the writer and at the same time avoid misleading our readers.
His claim that “ESMAT” (immunity from any wrongdoing or infallibility) is a newly made up thing, is completely out of tine. By so saying he has gone a great deal in repudiating or rejecting the prophet hood of the apostles and the Imamate of the Imams. The ‘ESMAT’, the infallibility of them is supported by REASON and attested by the Book of God - The Holy QURAN. The ALLAMA Hilli, has spoken of one thousand proofs. Nomani has narrated the tributes, which were narrated earlier to him by the eleventh Imam Hasan Askari (AS). It is well understood and well acknowledged. But what to do with ignorance? It is man’s arrogance to reject; his reason is his taste.
Under this subject he too has gone astray. By ‘ROWAAT’ (narrators) he means jurisprudents. The motive to him appears being the difference between the jurisprudents and the kings or rulers. His evidence is the saying of SAHEB JAWAHAR about the difference of opinion in the Friday prayers. What he says or what he has gathered by way of information is exaggeration. The writer is aiming at, a new forty volume jurisprudence series of books. It is not so easy to reject others opinion.
‘Rowaat’ applies to those who know the science of HADITH (tradition) - they should be experts in them to understand or make out sense. This has no relation to recent times. He can not link this word NARRATORS or ‘ROWAAT’ to jurisprudents. Those who are the scholars in this science of tradition are called ‘ROWAAT’ (NARRATORS).
Of course, the issue of the ‘jurisprudents’ guardianship during the absence of the Imam is mostly in dispute, or discussion, because it is a matter of public concern. Since it is a question of jurisprudence and a subordinary one, difference of opinion is common. In every certitude the dispute runs in the essentiality of there being a ruler, and a sanction from a jurisprudent. His proceeds, exercise of power and obligation of obedience to him or the government should be authorized by a jurisprudent. These are the issues totally of a different rank and category mentioned in jurisprudence.
The writer is again wrong in assuming that the twelfth Imam, according to the primitive and primary sources, was supposed to appear in the near future. The sources, which he is titling as primary or primitive have already said that the period of the absence (GHEEBAT) would be long and indefinite and that it would be gestant with ordeals. Jaber Ansari narrates the Prophet’s (SAW) words: “He is that who remains hidden from Shias and his friends. His ‘Imamate’ (Imam hood) would be difficult for words to confirm unless God tests the hearts against the belief.” Jaber says that the Prophet (SAW) spoke this when he first introduced the name and the pedigree of Imam Mahdi. Ali Bin Abi Taleb in NAHJUL BALAGHA says: “There is no ordeal longer than this and so hope remoter than this.” There are several narration in this regard. But none is there to indicate a hope of his appearance in the near future. There are a few sayings which do not have a ground and which are before the Imam hood of the eight Imam, Imam Reza (AS), that the appearance of the Imam was procrastinated due to the deeds of the Shia. The reason for the delay is a deed. This is groundless.
The writer says that the resort to reason is due to the lack of tradition or a fraud in tradition. Well, then what is the way to reach the truth if reason is rejected? What is heard might be wrong; what is said might be commentitious; what is told could be deceptive; well, then to what alternative should one resort to as a dernier one? In every dispute, reason has often stood powerful and strong. But on what reason the writer is not willing to entertain a reason is astonishing enough.
In any case, supposing there is any deviation in a tradition this would not amount to say that every tradition is invalid. What is false would not be so impetus as to nullify the fact. If in a bundle one thing happens to be short, it would not mean that the whole bundle is missing. Likewise, if an argument lames it can not be said that reason can not pace. In a human life hearing or oral evidences have a great influence? It is from this hearing that one garners knowledge, collects acquaintance with sciences, treasures information and holds it as a rod for aid. It is an irrefragable fact that in every age the market of false and fraud has had been flourishing, very much profitable, very much prolific. Still no one has denied the value of oral communications. A general consensus has approved oral evidences and oral proofs. This too can not be denied that every thing does not undergo the load of reason as; it is only accustomed to the yoke of proof that should be audible.
Besides, things pertaining belief or a faith like the prophet hood of the prophets, and the Imamate of the Imams, or the Day of Judgment, or the Next world one should create certitude in them. Else any proof, any evidence, any testimony would not help because it is not in their range to create a belief. If a narrator has narrated and the source of his story is only one it should be attested by the standard of that only source and should be an argumentally established one. Else, such narration can not be trusted.
After this prelude we go back again to the issue of OHEEBAT (absence) of the Imam and his Imam hood. To trust we need the source of the stories or the narration that surround this subject to be trustworthy and reliable. Who can be more so than the very person of the Prophet himself? If what we hear does not convince us we revert to reason. What is wrong in it?
If he says all the news and the hidings and the narration are fabricated ones, deprived of reality and brefet of truth, from the side of Bani Ommiya and Bani Abbas, that is, by their courts and courtiers, to obnubilate the real status of the Imams and to solidate their own stations, that is, to propagate after than realities and spread a mist so that the mentalities could not visualize farther it could serve a fortress to them necessary for their safety. No one denies this. Yes, it was so; and, indeed, such they worked. But to what end? All such fabricated stories, false narration, fake sayings, flame words, and feigned traditions are distinguished. Therefore, they are sifted from the real and authentic ones, as
grains from dust. Besides, the narrators too who were hired for this mission are pretty much discredited into their biographies and they are no more credible in the science of HADITH (tradition). They are discarded. When distinction is drawn between the truth and the false it is not a problem to ascertain the correct one from the wrong. The credibility of the traditions that pertain the Imamate established. This subject is a vast one, which opens wider avenues of discussion before us. The enemy of the Shia has in every age taken stand against them. The writer says that the narration and traditions are all false and fabricated ones. If so, why the enemy at every time and in every era of a caliph whether he be from BANI OMM’YA or he be from BANI ABBAS? Why were the people restricted from telling and hearing the traditions (that is the Prophet’s words) that mirrored the real station of the Imams and reflected their tributes? They are lies. Why care? Why be afraid of lies? A lie lives shorter than truth. A lie is always lame. A lie can not form a dread. The BANI OMM’YAS and BANI ABBAS even imprisoned those who only narrated what they had heard from the Prophet (SAW) about any of the twelve Imams. They confiscated the belongings of those persons. We just ask WHY? The writer is claiming that the traditions were a fraud. Volumes are written about the atrocities of the caliphs because of the traditions which the scholars spoken or wrote and the poets sang all in the praise of the Prophet’s Household - the Imams. Even the Sunni authorities, like BUKHARI has written in his book SAHEEH about Imam Sadiq (AS), he first curses them who had restricted the narration of such traditions. He says: “God curse them for turning down the truth.” Abu Hanifa, a student of Imam Sadiq (AS) too admits the greatness of the truth surrounding the Prophet’s Household, the AHLUL BAIT. But all this is a lie to the writer. We leave him to BUKHARI.
Reality of reason, as the writer says, is it preferable over the reality of hearing? This is a question well drawn and it can be well answered. The subject of IMAMAT is like that of prophet hood and the conditions surrounding a prophet. To prove a general Imam hood, that is, the need for an Imam and the conditions of Imam; reason is enough to prove it. Had the issue of IMAMAT been one of those that remained out of the premises conception and reason, not independent enough to have say in it, the hearing of the proof would suffice like that of the Prophet’s (SAW) teachings. What the Prophet (SAW) has advocated or instructed is in itself a ground for the reason to be taken in account. The condition that an Imam should have immunity from any wrong doings, that is, ESMAT, and for his appointment people have no part; it is reasonable. On the other hand, what is heard form the Prophet (SAW) in this regard is also a proof- a ground to establish the truth? What the Prophet (SAW) said and what we heard from him is alike with reason sufficient to establish the truth.
Reason can not accept what one accepts by hearing. For some items only hearing of the proof is essential. For example, the existence of an Imam, the benefits, the blessings that ensue there from can not be proved by reason; they can be established only by audible evidence. This is also applied to the prophet hood.
With regards to a particular Imam, the previous one introduces the coming one that is his successor - exactly the same as the prophets did. Jesus (AS) foretold the prophet hood of Mohammed (SAW). The predecessor informs the people as to whom his successor is. The testament of one prophet or imam to the prophet-hood or the Imam hood of the coming one is a proof to establish the truth of that prophet or the Imam. To explain here we should say that a miracle is a proof for the prophet. Almost all the prophets were blest with this power to perform miracles by the Greatness of God. The first Prophet can not establish the truth unless he should show or comply with the demands to show a miracle. God has sent His Prophet with the power to perform miracles because a miracle can not be denied, and it establishes the truth of his being a prophet. A miracle is a proof that of reason and that of hearing. The miracle can be seen by those who are there and can not be witnessed by those who are somewhere else. Here to them only the narration, the hearing is proof authentic enough to establish the truth. The Quran is the only miracle, which does not demand any hearing proof because of its eternality. It is the perfection of Islam and its rules and its morals.
The Imamat of the first Imam. A text that of Divine establishes its truth. It is the Prophet (SAW) who should establish the Imamate of the Imam he is appointing. The Prophet’s word here is authority because h is God’s command through the Prophet’s word.
Imam too performs miracle. The proof of Imamate is his miracle or the Prophet’s appointment or word. Since the Imam is appointed by the Prophet
(SAW) by the command of God is the proof of his truth.
In other words it is upon the Prophet (SAW) to establish the Imamate whom he has introduced under God’s order. Supposingly the proofs, which are forwarded by the Prophet, were not available to us or they become doubtful or various interpretations had made it dubious, then the one man to turn to would have been Ali Bin Abi Taleb. As there being no one other than him referred to or mentioned by the Prophet. Since the man in guardian is one, the benefit of doubt can not be availed by any one else. It was one man, as told by the Prophet (SAW), instructed and specified by him. Here the truth goes to the favor of Ali Bin Abi Taleb because there was no one second to him.
An Imam appointed by God through His Prophet is infallible and immune from sin. He should act as a leader, guide, and guardian of the people in all their religious, social, political and social spheres. Ali Bin Abi Taleb was a Divine Imam immune from sin, infallible and impeccable. There was other than himself that such a claim was made.
As for the twelfth Imam, the earth should have God’s representative, ‘HUJJAT’, that is, the Authority, the witness. In no age can the earth remain without one. The claim of Imamate is made to him alone. So he stands as the Imam whether present or absent. The others who made the claim proved themselves liars. In the denial of Imamate we deny justice to God. It is the demand of justice, as reason dictates that God should keep His Authority in the world. If evil grows and is not checked then it could be attributed to God and that is absolutely unreasonable.
The writer has discussed in length this subject. The main theme is the dispute which has argued both Asha’ira and Motazila, what it goes to good and evil and which rejects one (Asha’ira) and confirms the other who is Motizala.
We have repeatedly said that Shiasm is an independent school; its originality is that of Islam, it is not influenced by any extraneous thoughts or any exotic ideas; it is strictly in line coherent, congruous, and concurring with the teachings of the Impeccable and Infallible Imams. In logical issues, arguments have included the standard of LOTF (MERCY OR GRACE). The Shia has followed and benefited from the Holy Quran. The gist of belief, the theme of faith, the kernel of trust lies with the holy persons of the Imams in the Shia school of thought. This is very close to reason that the ITEZAL sect might have extracted many things from Shiasm, and depended on Shia thought. Their leaders could have been the pupils of our Imams.
‘LOTF’, or GRACE with the GHEEBAT (absence) of the twelfth Imam is mostly rejected by the Sunnis. The writer has reiterated the reply from the Shia sources. We suffice on that.
The occultation of the twelfth Imam is a thing in itself an independent subject, already foretold by the Holy Prophet (SAW) himself. Ah Bin Abi Taleb too has referred to it. Shia and Sunni traditions have both mentioned it. Jaber too has said that the absence of the twelfth Imam is a grace (LOTF). The Prophet (SAW) said: “By him who has sent me with the Message, they will be illuminated by his light, and they will benefit from his guardianship, as people benefit from the sun from behind the clouds.”
To deny every ‘LOTF’ (Grace or mercy) of the existence of the absent Imam, and to deny its influence, that is, the graceful or merciful one, in the era of his absence (GHEEBAT) does not fall in line with reason. The grace, mercy or the ‘LOYF’ exists, as it is contemporary with the existence of the Imam whether he be present or absent from touch or sight. If not so, then for humans what is the usefulness of him - a Divine choice - obliged by Divine will to remain in hiding. God does not do a thing, which is vain and void of sense, or short of benefit, or lame in advantage. Whatever proceeds from the wish or will of God bears fruit to mankind. Fecundity is His intention; prolific to His design; grace and mercy his degree; and LOTF His Imam the hidden Imam is an absolute personification of His mercy. It is through ‘LOTF’ that the Imam should be appointed by God and designated through the Prophet (SAW). Imam is in GHEEBAT, that is, he is absent; but the mercy is current - the snows of the Himalayas are far from sight, but the Ganges flows down to the Bay of Bengal. In Bengal, the Himalaya peaks are not visible nor are they in other regions; but the Ganges flows, irrigating vast patches of land throughout the Northern Belt to the East. Since we do not see the snows of the Himalayas should we deny the existence of the
Ganges river as well? If it is not a mercy, then Mahdi is not an Imam. It is his Imamate that makes him graceful to man. It is the scent of a flower that gives it worth. Flowers made of paper could be more elegant; but they have no grace of odor and no LOTF of fragrance. Tosi says: “The Imam’s existence is LOTF, his action LOTF.” Ali Bin Abi Taleb says: “Else, the proofs of God will be void and vain will be His signs.” An Imam whether present or absent is a ‘grace’, a ‘mercy’, a ‘LOTF’ of God because he is His sign, guardian of His religion, holds His office and was chosen by Rim. The Imam who can carry out or execute the office of Imam hood also imparts the GRACE of God. To deny him the GRACE is to deny him the Imamate. It is not possible that, a Prophet can not guide or influence the people. The mercy of his prophet hood can not be denied, because of its essentiality with prophet hood, and its being in consistence with the office of prophet hood. To appoint an Imam is God’s mercy, and mercy from God is His obligation towards His servants and creatures.
God has appointed the son of Imam Hasan Askari as the Imam. If we deny it, it tantamount to say that God has abstained from bestowing mercy upon us in the period of GHEEBAT. To say so is to deny God. It is by His Mercy that we have an Imam. His GHEEBAT (absence) does not reject the reality whatever hails from God - is LOTF; the 12th Imam is LOTF and his GHEEBAT is LOTF because it is God’s order.
The writer has claimed that due to his research, he has come to the following conclusions; that the theory of “Esmat” or immunity from sin has come about and even grown deeper as time has passed, because of the distance between the people and the Imams. He uses IBN BABWAY and Mofeed as his witnesses.
A belief remains stable throughout the passage of time. Everything else along with time diminishes changes and even vanishes. A true religion does not undergo this element. A true religion remains original. The present day belief of the Shia is consistent with the past. The flow of ages has not decreased nor increased it. That the Shia in the earlier ages did not believe in the ‘ESMAT’; is a statement groundless and unfounded. As they grew distant from the Imams they believed in their ‘ESMAT’. In the words, the factor of this belief is the distance. This way of thinking is utterly ignorant. The Shias have always held the same belief. He has preserved what the school of Imamate or in particular, the school of Imam Jafer Sadiq (AS) has given to him. His belongings are of a known origin and of a trustworthy brand. Likewise the belief of Shaikh Mofeed was not a new one. The narration, traditions, and interpretations of the Quranic verses have been used as his base. What SADOOQ says in ‘AYUN’, is not of his invention. What a Moslem knows generally, he has collected in ‘AYUN’ we do not see a thing of non-existence changing its guise to something of existence. What Shiasm has said is only the echo of what the Prophet (SAW) had uttered or the Imams had told. The issue of ESMAT. The immunity from sin, is no exception to this rule. Sadooq has repudiated the idea. But from his tongue a great many lies are being born. The Prophet’s sayings of THAQALAIN (two heavy things), and his words “ALI is WITH TRUTH AND TRUTH WITH ALI”, “ALI is WITH THE QURAN AND THE QURAN WITH ALI” all these and several other ones have elucidly expound and enlarged the comprehension and the very gist of ESMAT. The writer asks as to why the Shia paid or pay heed to these words of the Prophet (SAW). Or why they draw a meaning out of the sayings of the prophet or recite the Quran and try to understand it? Why isn’t the writer prepared to conceive that without ESMAT, there can be no Imam or prophet? ESMAT is fundamental and it is the condition that qualities the imam for Imamhood. No one has this except those chosen ones. Then, no one is a prophet or imam except the chosen ones.
As for ‘IJMA’, or ‘agreement’, the writer says at the end of ESMAT. The Shia Imamia regard this method as being void and null because of the pressure of an Imam amidst the people. The writer adds that the Shia have chosen to disregard the consensus (IJMA) of Sunnis who did the same to give a legitimacy to the caliphate of Abubakr.
Let us explain here that it had no bearing on the caliphate of Abubakr at all. An Imam should enter into consensus (IJMA); else, he has no validity. To give value or credit or authenticity to an ‘IJMA’ in which the Imam might not have participated is wrong and not valid.
Next, Abubakr did not carry any consensus. He became caliph on the strength of terror, and tyranny. People were forced td acknowledge his authority. Is it a consensus? So; why wasn’t that consensus present with Ali Bin Abi Taleb? Why didn’t the men of importance among the Bani Hashem, not surrender to his authority? But the writer still calls it a consensus ‘IJMA’. If IJMA (consensus) was the way or a salutary ground that gives validity to the caliphates; why didn’t Omar go through it? No ‘IJMA’ (consensus) took place; however Omar became caliph. The criterion can not be conceived? They advocate and they act differently. Othman as well came to power through a committee of six men appointed by Omar. Where had the ‘IJMA’ gone? They act as though public opinion means something to them. However what is obvious is that they did not care at all about the ‘IJMA’ or consensus that is the public opinion. The obvious and apparent evidence points out that three men came to power in three different ways. One, with a so called ‘IJMA’ (consensus), another, no consensus at all- just by force, the third, by a pre appointed six men committee. Mawiya too openly made his resurgence to the caliph of his time, Ali. He was a dictator - he cared for neither law nor rule, no power limited him. Where was the ‘IJMA’ consensus now? The writer ignores that the ‘IJMA’ was scalped, and changed to meet their demands. The writer knows well that those rulers and caliphs had no popular backing nor a publish support. The ‘IJMA’ then was a slogan, a protect, and no more. If a real ‘IJMA’, or in our acquainted term, a referendum were to be launched they would see who would succeed and who would lose. Caliphs such as Abu Bakr, Othman and Mawiya were put into power by a few people who were motivated by their own interests. They met and agreed; they designed, decided and acted - there always hung a veil and they named this secrecy as a referendum ‘IJMA’. Tyranny stood at hand to come to their aid.
The writer says that in order to invalidate the authority of Abu Bakr the Shia subjected the ‘IJMA’ to the participation of an infallible Imam. It was a reality that any ‘IJMA’ or referendum could lose authencity if the Imam did not participate in it. If ‘IJMA’ is their ground why was Ah absent in that ‘IJMA’? There were many besides Ali who did not know of such an ‘IJMA’ at all. The Imam was not referred to; he was not asked at all; his opinion was never sought; in fact, it was kept an arcanum from him. Then what referendum or “IJMA” was it!?! This is a trick, misleading the public under the name of ‘EJMA’. The result is always deceiving because the IJMA is deceiving. In truth, in reality, in fact, can the writer tell us that Abu Bakr reached power on the strength of public opinion - EJMA? If so, why was it that in the EJMA many were not present? Ali’s opinion was not important? Was he not one among Muslims; was it not important what he said? His opinion was never sought. So, this was not an ‘EJMA’. Let them seek for some other name. This ‘EJMA’ with a design preplanned and a malefic motive worked out into long concealed implacability. Acrimony was from its very foundation, and from the very beginning it was invalid, vague, void, and null nothing beyond a show. But the name still stood ‘EJMA’. The Prophet’s (SAW) corpse was still fresh in the ground. It was only Ali (AS) busy and occupied in his funeral, and they in their plan and feigned ‘EJMA’. It originated, as we said earlier, in order to save face. The Prophet (SAW) died. They left his side and hurried to SAQIFA. ABUBAKR was declared there as caliph. None knew except some who held contradicting motives adversary intentions and inimical designs. To this the writer has given the name of ‘EJMA’. The course of Islam was changed while the body of the Prophet (SAW) still on the ground was not yet buried. People were astonished. Force was used and terror was applied in order to silence them and obtain their acceptance. They conceived of plan in order to give them legitimacy. They decided to brand it with the mark of ‘EJMA’. A saying from the Prophet (SAW) too imputed; “My nation does not gather over wrong nor go astray.” If this was the ground of legitimacy, then what was the legitimacy for Omar, Othman, Mawiya and several others becoming caliphs? Why was the EJMA not practicable there or why did they not resort to it? No answer.
The writer goes so far as to say that the Shia belief or Shiasm took its form gradually on the ladder of events. That it was product of accidents and a manufacture of episodes is completely untrue. We reiterate that the Shia belief or Shiasm is rooted in Islam. As the Book said so it is; as the Prophet demonstrated so it is. A great scholar, ABAN BIN TAQLAB, of the Sunni thought, was asked as to what a Shia and Shiasm is. He replied:
“A Shia is he who follows Ali (AS). If for instance all the companions or associates of the Prophet (SAW) happened to agree over an issue and Ali happened to differ from it, or the whole Nation agreed over a thing and Imam Jafer Sadiq’s word differed with it, a Shia would obey the Imam’s word.” The authority is the word of the Imam, although ‘EJMA’ might have preceded it. The Imam is immune from sin and the Shia depends on the Imam and act by his guidance. The oldest Sunni sources have confirmed the truth of Shiasm.
What was predicted did not produce a result, what was foretold was not applicable; circumstances did not come under the fang of prediction; hence, the appearance of the 12th Imam remained uncertain. The writer says this. The time of appearance of the Imam was and still is unknown. Therefore, there was no prediction in this respect. The Shia knew this. There was no uncertainty about it nor is there today. If the writer says the uncertainty lies in the belief he is wrong. The matter is clear. Knowledge of time is known to no one except God. That the Shias in hopes of the future, abstain from taking part in politics is wrong. The political activity of Shias is undeniable. Sometimes Shias have remained aloof and at a distance from politics which again in itself is a policy. Religious prudency dictates at interludes for policies to vary. Many only look at the periphery of the events. The political stand that a Shia takes is on the fundamental of a campaign. He opposes a tyrant government and supports anything having to do with belief. His position has always been strong solid in the political field.
The writer has tried with obvious efforts to minimize the value of the belief in Mahdi. He constantly repeats his allegations. He goes on saying that the Ommiyads, as well as the Abbasids lost ground and power. The Shia became hopeful and encouraged. This did not last long. Despair and disappointment overtook him. The writer says next that a few appeared in the role of Mahdi. Shias again became hopeful. A new dimension was given to Mahdism. The writer proceeds to say that several faces were given to the belief and to the Redeemer. Also several HADITH (traditions) were told in this respect. The writer says that sometimes various signs were pronounced as to the appearance of the Imam in order to tranquilize the Shia and drown him into intoxication.
The defeat of the Bani Abbas rulers had no part in the bloom of Shiasm. They were like HALAKO dictators. The Bani Abbas rulers were more or less believers in Mahdi - the twelfth Imam. One of their caliphs, Naser, considered himself as a deputy of the twelfth Imam. The story of ISMAEEL HARQALI indicates that caliph MOSTAZEE had a belief in Mahdi.
Secondly, the Shia never despaired. There was no reason for this nor any cause. The writer’s conclusion is unfounded. As we have said before, the Shia has maintained his own belief. Since the early days of Islam all Muslims inclusive of the Shia believed in the advent of a Redeemer.
The Holy Quran says that good doers will inherit the earth.
The believers in Mahdism are charged with vigor in waiting that day. The science books of ancient times, like the ZABOOR and TORA also give similar promises. Certain people have always tried with great effort to create chaos and discolor this belief. It was by Divine consent that this belief was revealed to the Prophets David, Moses and Mohammad (SAW). It was revealed to Prophet Mohammad what the future would hold. These hidings has circulated from mouth to mouth and traveled on the wings of time, ages have fluttered, and centuries have flustered to carry it to us to remind us of the advent of Mahdi. Whatever the endeavor, whatever the effort, whatever the try; this tower can not be pulled down by any distraction because REASON has stood as a foundation to its erection.
In this chapter one does not read the writer’s mind but sees his identity. With whatever weapon available to him, he assaults Shiasm with a malicious intention. How sad it is to see one, such as him giving in to worldly advantages. However flagitious the intention we shall not despise him. An imperturbable soul gapes for understanding. We shall endure the writer, to pity him in his attempt to plot against Shiasm.
In my good will I had considered him to be a Shia in the prelude of this treatise, however now I may censured of predilection towards him. He seems not to have any obligation or malevolent ends toward writing the book. However he can not be vindicated in not having one, have met him briefly, and to me, he posed as an ardent believer in the Shia faith and a staunch adheres to the Shia school. I still think good of him and still entertain goodwill towards him. I am willing to conjecture that this man should have written the book in order to echo what the adversaries have said, or make his book popular with those who are researchers in Islam or in Middle Eastern studies so as to show himself disguised as a Muslim bigot. I have nothing better to say of him. God alone knows; He is All knowing and He knows the secrets hidden in one’s heart. Quite likely he wants to please many groups at the cost of the anguish of Shiasm. We should regretfully admit that a strange and unearthly notion is in vogue and the vogue is effulging among new comers.
Of course, they hold themselves amenable to their conscience; and they only display their own derailment. If they wish to barrow their own faith it will be their own mistake in which they have chosen the smelly stench over the fresh, sweet fragrance of flowers.
The time too is encouraging, and books are being written which could propagate the vilification of a religion rather than a religion itself. To mock faith is to gain a furor. To negate, nullify, and invalidate, is the most befitting style that a writer may choose to follow. Unfortunately writers without a zeal to keep the faith in whatever they are born in or to maintain one at whichever they are, or to seek one instead of posing as nullifidians. Under a membrane of religion they enter and rob the belief leaving behind traces of doubt. In such a hurricane stands firm the mansion of Shiasm; the waves ever falling beat themselves upon the tower and return scattered and split, feeble and flaccid having had squandered their strength and lost their prowess.
Therefore, they like the books, which interrogate the essentiality or reality of a religion and debate it on the ground of visible and tangible matter rather than to prove its truth. They reward such a writer and regard such a book. The proof whether that of hearing or that of reason to them is not wholesome. They want DOUBT - to be said, to be read, and to be believed in. We have no dispute with the writer himself nor do we wish to quarrel him. We leave it to him to mend his
mistakes. We have indicated in the proceeding discourses the way and method of analysis. We face here two angles; One- the wrong conclusions, accusations and wrong allegations are made by a particular man; Two- the way of research that amounts to science or knowledge seems to us personal. So, we can not take a seat of judgment nor do we like to pass one.
Now we draw the attention of our readers to his statements and afterwards to our answers. Partly his statement runs thus:
1. Some narrations (i.e. ‘HADITH’) like that of Abi Hamza he refers to; in which the appearance of the Imam was considered a relief and rescue. However the Imam did not appear which imputed the change of God’s mind. At first God has made up His mind then later changed it. He says that it was ‘BADA’. ‘BADA’ means first occurrence of a thing, that is, an ‘occurrence’ without precedent or without pre-knowledge or a pre-plan.
2. He says: “In the principal beliefs of a Shia it is permissible to think that God decides to do something but because of unforeseen circumstances which impede an becomes a hindrance, he of Shia either delays His plan or totally cancels it. The name of this theory is “BADA” means ‘OCCURRENCE’ without a precedent. He continues that the doctrine of “BADA” was introduced by the earlier leaders of Shia. They brought forward this theory in order to justify or vindicate or extenuate their own defeats or failures in establishing an Islamic just government, which they had claimed to do. Their defeat again was justified to be for their own good. So the writer says similar things.
3. According to the writer BADA goes a long way to establish that the knowledge of the Imams was parochial and limited. He argues and in his words he seems quite certain that Ismaeel was appointed Imam by his father, Imam Sadiq (AS), but died in his father’s lifetime. Hence, the Imamate was switched to another son of Imam Sadiq (SA) by the name of Kadum. This was, says the writer a “BADA” which the Imam could not have been known earlier. He appointed his son Ismaeel as Imam but he was not aware that the Imam hood was to go to Kadum his other son. The Divine decisions too change as the conditions do. The writer even questions the divine knowledge. God is not omniscient, because at some times His calculations too go wrong.
4. In the writer’s opinion the Shia deans and speakers were having in Divinity the same belief as that held by MOTAZELIS which included the theory of ‘ABAD’ (occurrence). But the ‘Occurrence’ (the BADA) was regarded by the Motazalees as being true, because God does the best for his creatures. But Ash’aries have repelled and exorcised this theory on the ground that it shows the inability of God to foresee what is to happen. So, God is short of foresight and short of full knowledge. This contradicts the quality of God. But that the Shias adopts this theory with a great mastery, so as to obviate the contrast of words and adjust this thing without contradicting their own advocacies. The writer here dwells on the theory of Sadooq in the interpretation of creation. The
writer has also quoted a narration (HADITH) from Imam Jafer Sadiq (SA): “Whoever says that God does a new thing without pre knowledge; I seek distance from him. And he who says that God sometimes does not like His own performance; he has denied God.” The writer has mentioned several other HADITHS, and narration quoted in the Quranic verses, which all prove that God’s knowledge is absolute and circles everything and circumferences all. The Shias have always held this belief. It is a false accusation that the Shias regard God as not being firm in His determinations. We exorcise this allegation. The writer claims that the change of Imamhood from Ismaeel to Kadum still remains an unsettled issue. IBN BABWAY has narrated the uneasiness of Imam Sadiq (SA) with regards to the death of his son Ismaed. He reports the Imam having had said: “Nothing has indicated God’s will more evidently than what has happened by the death of my son.” He adds: “perhaps he would have been the Imam after me had he lived.” This appears as a mistake in translation. His actual words mean this: “Let people know that he is not the Imam after me. Actually there is no any such word that confirms the Imam hood of Ismaeel. The thing that is confirmed is his death and the Imamate of Mosa al-Kadum.”
5. Then the writer narrates the interpretation of ‘BADA’ from Shaik Mofeed, which is most accurate and conspicuous. Then he writes the statements of Shaik Tosi. But the pity is, instead of reaching to a conclusion he remarks this; “All these things puts one into hesitation with regards to all the traditions pertaining to the appearance of the Imam.” He paces the paths that of Mofeed, and that of Tosi, but did not reach the destination because his fate was to wander. He combines and says: “It seems that to appoint a day of the appearance of the Imam for Shia scholars was less than to appoint a year for this issue of dispute.” He perhaps wants to say that they abstain from fixing a month and a day in order to guard themselves against the results. But he goes on further to which we draw our reader’s careful attention.
1. Abi Hamza has narrated from Imam Baqer (AS) that, Ali Bin Abi Taleb has said that after seventy there will be relief. Here the writer comments: Because of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain it was delayed until the year 140. Then when the Shias did not keep it a secret, it was once more delayed. God did not keep the knowledge of its time with any of the Imams.
This narration is discrepant. In the books of ‘RIJAAL’, that is the biography of the narrators, Abi Hamza died in the year 150. Hasan Bin Mahboob who has narrated on the authority of Abi Hamza died in the year 224 at the age of seventy-five. This shows that when Abi Hamza died Hasan Bin Mahboob was only a child of one year. So, this narration is invalid because a child of one can not possibly tell what the writer wants to be told. There should be someone else between him and Abi Hamza. Since it is unknown as to who he was we can not credit this narration. As we said before, the source of news must be accepted and supported by authority. This news is quite vague because there is no support
What appears to us is this; in spite of the innumerous sayings of the prophet (SAW) and the Imams (HADITH) all of them from reliable sources, and quite clear to us say that the appearance of the twelfth Imam will be unknown and an indefinite length of time will have to elapse. In the horizon near and close there would be no sign to see of his appearance. There are lectures and speeches by Ali Bin Abi Taleb, in which he has elucidly said that the Imam would appear at a time when time will be at the threshold of the end. He has also foretold the ordeals that the believers would have to undergo, and the sufferings they would have to endure. The writer pays no regard to these sayings but sticks to the utterance of one man!
2. The determination of God varies, differs and changes. If the translation be correct; we take refuge in God alone from this nonsense. Destiny is changeable but not the will of God. Does God make a decision in ignorance, and then turn it down at the time of cognosance and knowledge? Is God unknowing at sometimes and knowing at others? May God forbid? The writer believes such and such a belief suits the writer himself. Shias never believe in such a ‘Kufr’ pagan hood. This conjecture is totally refuted, and rejected by the Shia. Shiasm is clear, cogent, and candid; and a Shia is clean. God is almighty and far from being what His enemies attribute Him to be. The Shia knows Him that His qualities are perfect and they worship Him accordingly. Qualities of perfection and those, which complete the beauty, are His. What happened is in the cronical of His cognizance. What occurs is in His knowledge and what will be is in His attention. Time has no province on His Being. He governs time. Everything is circumvented and circumfrenced by His Absolute awareness. He knows what each womb hides. To say that He is partly ignorant and partly wise is wrong. Ignorance is for humans.
Whatever we know; was known before by Him. Knowledge is His tribute while to us it is an achievement; knowledge rests with Him whereas it is sought by us. What is sought can amount to more or less, because it depends upon the length of seeking. However God’s knowledge is boundless and unlimited. We need knowledge; we crawl from IGNORANCE towards knowledge; so we leave one to gain another. We are in constant migration from want to need, from less to more, from short to perfection. But perfection is a tribute of God. He never stands needy to seek that which supplies and caters this is the outlook of the Shia towards his God.
3. Doctrine of “Occurrence without precedent” (BADA) is not a Shia invention nor is it his fancy. This has long ago been waired off and reputed by Shia scholars. If it is to be discussed; it is a factor that of Quranic and Islamic values as well as that of the Unity of God. First of all the Shia neither handled this element justify any defeat, or to accommodates political end. This theory of “BADA” is a column in the science of divinity. It is not a tool so as to be
tightened or loosened as needed. The Holy Quran says; “If the people of the villages had believed and feared we would have opened over them blessings from heaven and the earth. But they lied and we punished them for what they were doing.” Also: “Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea by what the hands of the people have earned.”, “And told your Lord; ‘Call me I answer to you.”, “Repent to your Lord. He is the Forgiver. He sends rains for you through the sky.”, “And, We promised thirty nights to Moses and completed them by ten.”, “Its Faith was its advantage had believed a village. But the nation of Yunus when they believed we waived off the punishment from that of shame in the world and left them for while.”, “If you are thankful, I, indeed, will increase it for you.”, “And he who fears God, He makes a way out to him and provides him that he calculates not.”, “That God never changes His boundaries which He favored upon a nation unless they change what in themselves.” And several other such verses.
The Shia believes in the absolute power and all comprising knowledge of God. “Nothing is hidden from Him in the earth nor in the sky. He is the knower of the conditions of this servants and His creatures - their past, their present and their future are at parity to Him. Nothing hides from Him and never poses a thing to Him from ignorance to knowledge.” These are what Shias believe of God. From the foregoing verses of the Quran this secure is known. Gratitude becomes reason for the increase of the bounties from God. Piety paves a way to come out of the difficulties, and God sends to him Provision from the quarters, which he can think of. He sends His rains. He attends the needs at supplication. Faith, repentance, and compunction. He wards off the punishment. His advantage of His bounties causes one to miss His bounties. To support this there are traditions from both Sunni and Shia sources which abound much. Events too, there are in this respect. Religious programs, instructions, supplication, and dependents on Him. Compunction, alms, establishing link among family relations, gratitude, good hidings, warrant, negative and positive teachings, relieving ones soft and getting rid of self purity and purgency all can not be justified on the ground of BADA as the writer has interpreted it. “BADA” means the influence of the things on man’s life and his good ending and likewise his bad ending; and not in the sense of ignorance of God.
Sometimes there are causes that result in a thing or reasons that cause a thing. Likewise the causes result in something not to happen, or impede an occurrence. Or its effects further go ahead in advancing negative influence or positive ones. So, the outcome of it comes out strange neither a calculation could anticipate nor could anticipation calculate. It is an odd cycle of currency of events or the sudden anicut of impediments, obstacles, hindrances - a flux and reflux, a wave and a bed of sea, a vacuum and a tower of equrgitation, a total obviation and an apparent surprise; all this is a well organized decree of Divine projected, planned, and programmed for man and man has no say in it. All these things,
effects, reflections, action of the causes and their stagnancy are recorded in the gist of the Book. These things have bearing on the choice of man but occur by the will of God in accordance with the destiny He has dictated. So there is no coersian nor is it a delegated one, but it is in between the two. “Neither a compulsion nor an assignment but something between the two things.” God has decreed that the fire burns; every creature thrives in its own line. But the causes of annihilation and establishment, that is, the essentialities of ‘being’ for many incidents or many obstacles, which in some cases are materialistic humans, are adhibited to them; these are not called ‘BADA’. The term of BADA implies to the occurrences unusual and uncommon, like charity, supplication, links amidst relatives that influence or happenings or hinder the happenings, and man regards them by judging the visible material causes as a certainty, but occurs the opposite. Both the cases are the same. In one a man notices the flow of affairs and calculates thereon as to where they would end, and makes out the consequences in anticipation. In the second, the flow of affairs gives a man an impression on which he makes up the result in advance; but occurs quite the opposite of what was once a certainty. Human is not acquainted because it is from an invisible atmosphere. Since man knows not, he tries to establish arguments whereas from Him is everything. The synopsis of BADA in the sense gives this verse of the Holy Quran; “And the Jews said that both hands of God are tied. Tied are their hands; they are cursed for what they said; for God’s both hands are open.”
Like the belief of the Jews that Gods hands are tied, can not do a thing; this is to negate ‘BADA’, while its correct meaning is that, God’s hands are open; His Power is Absolute without stint and with Absolute knowledge.
In order to make it clear we would like to repeat our explanation: Supposingly, the correct meaning of ‘BADA’ is the sense in which God is taken for granted as being ignorant; and whit does not contradict the idea that God’s power is limited, runs opposite to reason.” He is powerful over everything and aware of everything”, seems the best synopsis of ‘BADA’. God has so designed things that they possess particular reasons for the being, which is, the How of events, likewise their effects. The hidden causes, which in thousands is the work of God either immediately or otherwise have a bearing on God’s decree. Fire burns - cause and effect is deposited in it; but the efficacy of it that is, the eventuality of it depends upon the will of God. In this respect the invisible causes and absence of matter, also play a part, their influence is effective and for stretching, such a dependency upon God and supplication and so forth. Now the factors among those of material and moral ones superceded the stranger. For example a general corollary of maintaining family thinks among relatives is longevity. ‘BADA’ does not depend on material causes. Moral causes as for God’s design are effective. Above all, what God intends - overruns all. Where effect work, it gets ground; where obviation eradicates the track of a thing, it is
also due to reasons of its own. The rule of cause and effect is superceded by God’s decree. Therefore, the unseen causes become a ground to be believed in. “Every day He is in business”; proves this. “To Him is the Command, order and creation. To God is the rule that of present and that the past”; and the continuity of His government and all the qualities of action which should be believed in. Without His consent, intention, sanction and without His order nothing moves and nothing happens. Our inability to understand Divine affairs and the links therein and there from does not change anything. Human beings are unable to understand Divinity. Many have belief in God but they do not have knowledge about Him. God is a reality that remains remote from human. Understanding which gives sanctuary and sanctity to the entity of God. Minds can not avail the conception although reason provides the proof. It is very knowledge that we are absolutes unable to conceive God. A delicate datum of mysticism it is.
‘BADA’ could mean obliteration of effect. The interlinks are corollary to God’s plan. We see an incident that is saved from happening, a danger that is warned off; is due to causes invisible from us and from the unseen origin.
We can say briefly that it should mean that everything is under God’s command. Certainties fail if not concomitant with His Will. This conception is supported by “And with Him is the gist of the Book.”
Such interpretations are made by many scholars, which go to prove that “BADA”s logic and reason does not attribute to God’s inability to conceive the haughtier. Shiasm deals with the fact that man should never forget God, and should not depend on outer elements or visible causes. Man should believe in this verse: “Say o, God you are the Possessor of things, give the things to whomever you like and take back the things from whomever you want and give respect and vility, in your Hand is the food; You are powerful over everything.”
Without such a belief, which is the true reflection of ‘BADA’, man can not cultivate wisdom nor can he pace the path of knowledge. To him the ladder of ascendancy to higher altitudes would not be available in which to attain the exalted anagogic that could bring to his sight the divine regions to enjoy. This belief is natal to him and innate with him. His conscience can not deny that which his ignorance rejects. In times of dread one remembers God and calls Him by His exalted nouns - PROVIDER (REZZAKH), CURER (SHAFI), SUFFICER (KAFI), and PROTECTOR (HAFIZ) all these have a bearing on “DADA” “Nothing worships God like AL-BADA”; shows the importance of BADA. The compendium of BADA comes out that it does not limit the power of God, and does not contradict the absolute knowledge of God. The sense of BADA is misrepresented. It is imputed to the limit of God’s knowledge. It is not so. It has been confused with the saying of the Jews. There appear to be two confusions:
First: The compulsion; whatever occurs is with and in the knowledge of God, however the knowledge comes to Him later. Of course, this is not permissible
for God’s tributes. “Everyday occurrences happen that are in His knowledge; He creates, provides, and create obstacles. All are His performances. Nothing would nor will happen beyond the province of His knowledge and nothing He could do is beyond the limit of His knowledge. This shows where He has no knowledge, He is ignorant, and where He is ignorant He can do nor create anything. But the qualities of God do not accept such specifications. God is above all these things. His knowledge can not be limited or His Power. This is quite a worthy logic that negates the omnipotence of God, and as a result invalidates the very Divinity. We are judging God on our own capacities, which are, of course, limited in knowledge and in practice - this is a repelled conjecture. The conscience of man knows whether he is bound or free. It is just like when one doubts the heat even though he sees the fire.
Second is; God creates and God annihilates. There is no complesion on the part of God. To obviate the effect or to create a cause is God’s will. Whether we agree or not will not be of any difference. Divine’s performance is not of His Mercy. God’s knowledge is not an obstruction to the flow of events. God knows, and His knowing has no negative effect on the occurrences. Similarly God knows His creation. His knowledge does not stop man from taking choice, or deprive him of the power to choose. This sense is reflected in the following couplet, which is said in reply to Khyam:
“Because Divine knowledge is disobedience; Reason rejects this pordentors ignorance.” 1
This question comes to mind even while the philosophy of ‘DADA’ exists and that is; how was it that news and events of the future were related to the prophets and our Prophet (SAW) as well?
‘Dada’ has no bearing. The unseen, foretold by the prophets or the Imams is due to the knowledge vested in them by the Divine. It is an accusation on the honesty of the prophets or Imams because what they have foretold came true. Their knowledge of the unseen is the knowledge of God given to them. They saw what they forecast to happen.
What God has informed or taught the prophets, and authorized them to tell, ‘DADA’ has no province in it. The prophet (SAW) had informed Ammar that he would be a killed at the hands of tyrants. The Prophet (SAW) had also foretold of Ali Din Abi Taleb’s assasination, the martyrdom of Imam Hussain and the events that would ensue. The Prophet (SAW) had said in advance that Fatima; his daughter would be the first one to meet him after his death. The Prophet (SAW) had given predictions of Mahdi and his appearance. Ali Bin Abi Taleb also predicted some future happenings. Sunni authorities have all accepted these predictions given by the Prophet (SAW) himself, as well as those given by Ali Bin Taleb. We can not say that they said some thing and something else happened. There are reports and all of them untrue just like one narrated by Abi Hamza. Such fake and false reports abound in History. They can not be
trusted because they are told by one person only. Had it been true others too would have reported it as they could not have remained blind to an event or deaf to a word? For instance, there was another claim reported by Omar Bin Homaq to this effect, that he had visited Ali Bin Abi Taleb and that Ali (AS) had been wounded by Ibn Muljim. He told him that he would soon leave him and that in the year seventy there would be havoc and calamity. The narrator proceeds and says that he asked Ali (AS) as to whether after the havoc there would be ease and comfort, but Ali (AS) condition worsened and he did not reply. OmKulsoom cried. The Imam asked OmKulsom not to cry which was torture to him, and that she did not see what he had been seeing then - Angels that were in the skies and behind them the prophets and apostles who had come to receive him. And that, the Prophet had held his hands and told him to come, for it was a better place. The narrator adds that hence once more repeated his question which Ali (AS) replied that every clamity is followed by comfort and that there is ease after every havoc. He said: “God eradicates what He desires and establishes what He wants and with Him is the gist of the Book.”
As can be observed in this narration the information is watery. Nothing is said directly. The Holy Quran says; “Indeed, after every hardship there is ease.” This report has nothing to do with the appearance of Mahdi. To take this narration for something else is an exaggeration. Here ‘DADA’ has no part. There are many such narrations.
I would like to apologize from all dear reader in having dwelt over this subject too long. If any one would like to learn more about ‘DADA’ he can refer to my book ‘SIR AL-BADA’ (Secret of DADA), in which I have gone into much detail - there are other books too useful in this field. What my intention was from this discourse; was to bring to the attention of the writer and the readers that the subject of DADA is not a simple one. Such a complicated matter can not so easily be understood, and when a thing is not fully understood it is not wise to give or pass a judgment. Likewise, without proper knowledge information and proofs it would be far from justice to accuse and attack Shiasm, and it’s school of Imamate. My point was just to make the writer understand that he has gone astray. The material advantage or political end has tempted one to say what he himself knows is untrue, to write what he himself well knows is false, to reject where acknowledgement is due and to acknowledge where it should be repelled, to create doubts if not he himself doubts in the Divinity, in the unseen causes and the invisible universe, in the purity of Imams and the prefect ness of their office, in the Absolute tributes of the Almighty shows the shallowness which is in itself a proof that there is no fish because there is no depth. The mysticism, Islamic issues and the Mahdism all should be wairell off because there is delay in the appearance of Mahdi. The writer should ponder a little and think as to where he stands in relation to his own conscience.
A researcher can not believe the faith of a sect, or a religion of a multitude or
trifles and superfluous ‘hear-says’. He should turn that heavy rock which is kept as a door to hide the truth, instead of sweeping the ground only to be blinded by the dust, and to say he sees only dust. This is his own failure not the religion’s shortage.
In the end the writer has dwelt on the ‘RAJ’YAT’ or ‘the return’ based very much on the narration of Mufazzal Bin Omar. Here we only suffice on three points and will not ad to the length of this article.
1. The belief in the Imamate of the twelfth Imam, Mahdi, and in his reappearance is not concomitant with the belief in the return (RAJ’AT) of all dead ones. May be one has belief in Mahdism and not in the ‘RAJ’AT’ (the return of the dead ones). On the other hand both these beliefs have a Quranic ground and the Prophet’s (SAW) words. The Imamate of the twelve Imams and the salutary of Mahdism is a thing particular and especial that constitutes a fundamental, and forms a pillar in the principles of the religion. The two matters - Mahdism, Imamate and the ‘RAJ’AT’ have no interwoven course, nor does one depend on the other for support.
2. ‘RAJ’AT’ that is the return of the dead back to this world is not a Shia belief or a Shia fundamental; but it is purely an Islamic issue - common to Shias and Sunnis as well. The Quranic verses predict it and in this, both sects, Shia and Sunni, equally share. “And the day we resurrect from every nation groups from those who belied our signs while they despise.” “And we will resurrect them not letting one go.” That the details of ‘THE RETURN’ was not based on authentic narration are void.
3. The narration of Muffazzal, the base for the writer, is not trusted by many scholars and researchers in the science of traditions ‘HADITH’, that is, traditionists. Whatever the narrator has said by way of details is unfounded. The book, which the writer is depending on is a book scarcely known among Muslims. It is rarely read by any and seldom could be of use except to only a few, and those few belong to a category, which have no acquaintance with the Shia belief, ideology or Shia logic.
If the writer had read the bottom of page 53 in the first volume of ‘DIHAR’, where this narration is mentioned, he would never have trusted that narration and would never have made it the base now mentioned in his book.
I pray to God the Almighty to bless the researchers and the writers in the toil of their task, and to provide them with a correct outlook, so that deliberation may not blind them nor bigotry persuades them. Indeed, to err is human. But to avoid is also in human power. We should not allow ourselves to impute others’ mistakes, deliberations or to attribute to any intention. We must follow and trust
reason and not go astray, we should believe in the decency of reason and truth. too see myself very much in want in this field, I take refuge in God, seeking His help and His guidance. I should here like to offer my apologies, in case; I have been short of politeness. I bank on the funds of their understanding and their forgiveness.
In the name of Allah
Are those who know equal to those who do not know?
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