A Replay To Belief Of Mahdism In Shia Imamate

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A Replay To Belief Of Mahdism In Shia Imamate Author:
Publisher: Naba Organization
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A Replay To Belief Of Mahdism In Shia Imamate

This book is corrected and edited by Al-Hassanain (p) Institue for Islamic Heritage and Thought

Author: Ayatullah Lutfullah Safi Gulpaygani
Publisher: Naba Organization
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A Replay To Belief Of Mahdism In Shia Imamate
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A Replay To Belief Of Mahdism In Shia Imamate

A Replay To Belief Of Mahdism In Shia Imamate

Author:
Publisher: Naba Organization
English

This book is corrected and edited by Al-Hassanain (p) Institue for Islamic Heritage and Thought

5. Mahdi, a term and a sense, and the false claimers

The word ‘Mahdi’ 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 (S) himself and Ali Bin Abi Talib and every other Imam as ‘Mahdi’ we have not committed a mistake. Of course, all of them were guided ones; so they were Mahdis.’ 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 Husayn 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 (S) disclosed the tidings he did not mean it in a general sense. His words specify a particular one as he says to his daughter, Zahra (as); “Mahdi is from your sons; give the tidings.” “Al-Mahdi is from my sons.” “Al Mahdi is from the sons of Fatimah.”

So, this is a title or a distinction for one particular person, extra ordinarily dear to the prophet (S) 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 everything its creation then guided.” (20:50)

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 (S) 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 uprising 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 Husayn’s blood and that Ibn Ziad would be killed by him. The uprising that developed was on the ground and the pretext of revenge for the bloodshed of Imam Husayn.

This pretext brought together all those who were ashamed of their participation against Imam Husayn 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 Ummayah. For this very reason Bani Ummayah 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 Ibn Zubair after the martyrdom of Imam Husayn took the issue of Imam Husayn’s blood as a pretext. The martyrdom of Imam Husayn was the greatest weak point of Bani Ummayah. This shows how distant they were from Islam.

Indeed, this fact cannot be denied that the title of Mahdi 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 Hanafia 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 loses its leaves, but is forever green. The prophet (S) first talked about it. Ali Bin Abi Talib has also spoken on it. Mawiyah too, according to the book “Malahem Wa Fitan” is reported to have discussed this issue with Abdullah Ibn Abbas. He on his part regarded Mahdi to be from Bani Ummayah.

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 have seen the same from different movements, human rights, justice, democracy, social equality and so forth.

These are the ladders for some to 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 Mahdism is a recent product. This belief is coeval with Islam. This belief held such a strong hold on the people that they became too 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 uprisings.

6. Belief of the Mahdism of Imams

The writer’s claim is groundless as he says that all the Imams since the victory of Abbasids 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, Musa Ibn Ja’far, 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 Mahdism 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 Ibn Ja’far’s reappearance realized their mistake and acknowledged his death. In the case of the sixth Imam Ja’far Al-Sadiq, he himself time and again declared that he was not Mahdi the awaited one. The qualities of Mahdi he had repeatedly disclosed.

7. The Sons of Imam Husayn; the Reason for their coming to front

The sons of Imam Husayn came to be noticed not because of Imam Husayn’s campaign against tyranny but due to their own ability and capacity. In knowledge, in practice, in endurance and attitude 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 Zainul Abideen to the twelfth one Mahdi became Imams due to their own deservation.

Of course the sacrifice done by Imam Husayn and his martyrdom at Karbala 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 Imran over the worlds;" (3:33)

It can be deduced that the same might have been the Divine intention with regards the turn of Imam Husayn;

“God knows as how and where to house His Mission.”

8. The title of Mahdi is applied on all the Imams

As we said earlier this title in its general sense is also applied on all the Imams; on Imam Husayn 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.

9. The Shia Doctrine and Ideology

The writer says that the conflicts, which confronted Bani Ummayah, 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 Baqir and Imam Ja’far Al-Sadiq an ideology for a sect of Imamiah was arranged.

If the writer means to say that the ideology of Imamate or Shi’ism was invented by the sixth Imam, he was mistaken or he is deliberately telling what is not true. Shi’ism is in the womb of Islam; and, hence, delivered only by the Prophet (S). The sayings and the Lectures of Imam Ali in Nahjul Balaghah point to this fact.

Imam Baqir 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 Shi’ism 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 Abideen.

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-Hadith” written by Ahmad Shaker in which he says that the most authentic and creditable narration are those narrated by Imam Zainul Abideen, Imam Mohammad Baqir, and Imam Ja’far 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 Baqir. He should know that it was not an invention. It was told by Imam Zainul Abideen, Imam Hasan, Imam Husayn, Imam Ali and finally the Prophet himself. The Imams were introduced as equal to the Quran, parallel with the Quran. If the Quran is a book, they are its utterance. 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?

10. Support to the Imams

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 Baqir 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 Abbasids to the Alavies.

It was not possible to establish a rule or government of the Imamate. For example the uprising 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 Baqir and lmam 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 Ummayah 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 (S) 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 Mahdi whose responsibility is to establish the government of God.

11. Knowledge of the Imams about the unseen

Sometimes even among Shia people misunderstanding the Imams have emerged. Their ignorance acquits them of their mischief but cannot 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 would be an absurdity. Therefore the Sixth Imam, Ja’far 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 and they lose their authenticity.

When they are void of any credibility then the problem that points to them for solution holds no water. The knowledge of the unseen is Divine. The Prophet (S) 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 cannot be dealt here; but the Prophet (S), Ali Bin Abi Talib 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 (S) support this.

12. Various phases of the Deeds of the Imams

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 cannot frame them in the terms presently known to us such as ‘radicals’, ‘liberals’, ‘extremists’, ‘moderates’ and so on. Each one adopted a strict policy to avoid any division among the Shias. Likewise, the Prophet (S) and Ali Bin Abi Talib.

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 and enjoin good and turn aside from the ignorant” (7:199)

“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 advices 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.

13. Division of the Dominion of Leadership

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 Husayn both dimensions were combined in the leadership. For example, Omar Bin Khattab and Osman Bin Affan were regarded as such. But when the martyrdom of Imam Husayn 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 Husayn exercised on the preservation of Islam cannot 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 uprising against them. For example, to some extent we see such a conviction in Mansoor with regards to Imam Ja’far 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 Sadiq and ended his life. Likewise did Haroon to Imam Musa Bin Ja’far. 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 (S). Why should it not be a divine decree communicated to them? We cannot find any other possibility. The best argument is to question the very performance itself.

Ali Bin Abi Talib sat home for twenty five years, Imam Hasan adopted the policy of peace, Imam Husayn did not take rest till he and his sons, nephews and friend’s blood was not shed, Imam Zainul Abideen adopted a language of supplication in his gospel “Sahifa Sajjadia” Imam Mohammed Baqir and Imam Ja’far 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 venomous 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 Shi’ism 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 Mahdi is to come and what is taken will be returned.

14. The Practical Ideology of Shia’sm

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 from every angle and aspect a perfect man - better than and superior to others in knowledge, ability, capacity, reason and cognizance, 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 (S) was inherited by his Ahlul Bait the twelve Imams. The Quran says:

“Indeed, God chose Adam and Nuh and the descendants of Ibrahim and the descendants of Imran above the nations”. (3:33)

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;

“Indeed, We guided him to the way, be he grateful or be he ungrateful.”(Quran, 76:3)

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 Talib did was quite in line with the circumstances of his time. He remained aloof for twenty five years. Yes, the necessity was so. Imam Hasan and so Imam Husayn and so his sons the other Imams, were not leaders of some fictitious ideology.

They were quite aware of the conditions and knew very well what they had to do and what they were doing. Their every deed stands a fact and their every practice are paragons of their far sightedness. Therefore, they attained the good and achieved the aim.

Imam Husayn 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 on the Prophet’s seat. So he did. The choice of the way was to his prudence. If it was a fictitious 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 Husayn 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 Mawiyah at length failed in uprooting Islam. The Prophet Mohammed (S) proclaimed Islam but Husayn made it permanent. Every Imam had his own way towards protecting Islam. No one among them toiled for an imaginary 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 of 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 seal of the Prophet (S) 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 their courts of oppressions 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 Shi’ism.

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 fantasize them otherwise?

15. The salubrity and Islamic tendency in the behavior of Shia towards Sunni

As far as religious footings are concerned there cannot be any similarity between a Shia and a Sunni. The religious understanding cannot be a platform common to both.

“Argue them with that which is good”; is the beacon that the Shia follow 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 it’s 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 mutual 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 Imamiah. To revolt is not the absolute necessity; such is the Shia conception. We have examples and we follow them. Ali Bin Abi Talib 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 Mawiyah. 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 many great sacrifices.

The episode of Karbala is something 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 uprising was crushed and seemingly repeated but at length it turned victorious and eradicated the very dynasty of Bani Ummayah and preserved Islam in its originality.

After this upraising of Imam Husayn (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 Shi’ism among Muslims, even alone Shia is the dread of a tyrant no matter whether a ruler or a caliph or a king.

16. Extraordinary Qualities of Imams and the Knowledge of Secret

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 here we shall 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 Shi’ism. 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.

17. Division of religious principle - Shia and the religion of Etezaal

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 he sees is 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 (S). 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 Imamate 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 Imamate, it is directly taken from the Quran and immediately based on the Quran and at once spoken by the Imams. We cannot 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 Shi’ism only to the extent and length of what they have grasped and held in their grip of the very Shia faith. As such “Al-Jabr Wal Tashbeeh Amawian Wal Adl Wal Tauheed Alawian”, that is, the similitude of Bani Ummayah 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 Ash’aria. Although they have made research in this respect and in spite of their research they still do not know the religion of Sayyid Mortaza, the most renowned scholar of the Shia sect, whom they suspect of being a Motazel because of his disagreement with Ash’ari belief.

18. Doctrine of Imamate and super exaggeration

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 Shiaism of Imamiah 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 cannot be but the result of efforts abortive and vain, which Shi’ism 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 Shiaism 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 (S). The constant traditions are there in this respect. What the Prophet (S) 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 nor any loss unless it should be from God.” (Quran, 10:49)

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 (S).

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 (S), 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 cannot believe in some and reject others. Partly we believe in the Prophet’s 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, Judaism, 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 (S) where the falsehood is? 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?

19. Discrepancy in the date of birth of Mahdi

The difference in the date of birth of the twelfth Imam is of very little variance comparing to that of the other Imams. Some narration says the date of Mahdi’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.

20. The Issue of absence or occultation is a reality and not a theory or a fancy

The writer has this to say. The atrocities of Bani Abbas towards the progeny of Ali and the sons of Imam Ja’far Sadiq had created unrest and confusion as well as the problem of succession to Imam Hasan Askari (260, 874 AD). At Samarra 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 that Ja’far claimed that he was the awaited one. People did not believe him because of his reputation. This claim further strengthened the belief of the Shia in the Imamate of Mahdi. 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 Imamate did not carry any political meaning, that is, Imamate 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 aware of this fact that they were transgressors and trespassers to that which was not theirs. Time and again Mansoor, Haroon, Ma’mun, 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.

21. Belief in a redeemer

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. Itself 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 Mahdi. 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.