Roots of Religion: Recognition and Wilayat of the Imam and acceptance of deeds
On the Day of Judgment, the basis for deliverance and the means for entering Paradise is one’s beliefs and the acceptance of deeds. Only such beliefs and deeds will be worthy of reward that are accepted by Allah, the Almighty, otherwise all man’s actions will be in vain and will not merit any reward, on the contrary, man will become liable for divine punishment. For the acceptance of all deeds, Allah has made the recognition (marefat) and Wilayat of the Imams (a.s.) a necessary condition. Those whose hearts are void of the recognition and Wilayat of the Imams (a.s.) will find their deeds worthless on the Day of Judgment.
Zorareh (r.a.) asked Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.), ‘Is your recognition and that of other Imams (a.s.) obligatory upon all the creatures?’ Imam (a.s.) replied,
‘Allah has raised the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) as a Prophet for the whole world and he (s.a.w.s.) is Allah’s Proof upon all creatures. Those who bring faith on Allah and believe in His Apostle (s.a.w.s.), obey him (s.a.w.s.) and testify in him (s.a.w.s.), must necessarily acknowledge the Imamat of all Imams (a.s.). For those who do not believe in Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.s.), recognition of the Imams (a.s.) is a distant affair, since they have to first believe in Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.s.), recognise their rights and obey them both.’
‘I (Zorareh (r.a.)) asked Imam (a.s.)’ – What do you say regarding those who believe in Allah and the Prophets (a.s.) and testify to everything that Allah has revealed? Is it obligatory for such people to recognise your rights upon the creatures?
Imam (a.s.) replied,
‘Yes of course! Aren’t these the people who have recognition of so and so in their hearts?’ I said, ‘Yes it is so.’ Imam (a.s.) replied, ‘Do you think that Allah has inculcated the recognition of so and so in their hearts? By Allah! Allah has not inspired their recognition in their hearts, rather it is the work of Shaitan. By Allah our love that exists in the hearts of the believers is only by Allah’s Grace and only He has inspired it in their hearts.’
(Kafi vol. 1 pg. 181)
Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) declares,
‘We are those, whose obedience Allah has made obligatory upon the creatures. There is no possibility of distancing oneself away from our recognition. No excuse whatsoever either of unawareness (of our rights) or ignorance will be accepted. One who acquires our recognition is a believer (momin) and one who rejects it is an apostate (kafir), and he who neither recognises us nor rejects us, is strayed.’
(Kafi vol 1 pg. 187)
Fazeel b. Yasaar narrates from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.),
‘Religion is supported by five pillars, viz. Namaz, Zakaat, Fasting, Hajj and Wilayat. The people have not been invited towards any of these pillars as they have been invited towards Wilayat. However the people have taken the other four pillars and have discarded Wilayat (the most important pillar)
(Kafi vol. 1 pg. 18)
The traditions outlined above state explicitly that the acceptance of deeds and their rewards on the Day of Judgment is linked to the Wilayat of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). Only those who hold fast to Wilayat will be successful in the hereafter and will be granted access to Paradise.
In one narration, Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) declares,
‘If a person in the course of his entire life, prays in the nights, fasts during the day, donates in Allah’s way his entire wealth by way of charity, performs Hajj, but does not have the recognition and Wilayat of Allah’s ‘Wali’ and does not befriend him, then all his deeds will be rejected and he will not be eligible for any reward near Allah nor will he be included among the faithful ones (i.e. those who accepted Islam).
(Kafi vol. 2 pg. 19)
Such traditions are not only available in our books but also in the books of the Ahle Sunnah.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said to Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.),
‘If a servant of Allah worships Him for many years equal to the years that Hazrat Nuh (a.s.) propagated amidst his nation, distributes gold in Allah’s way equal to the mountain of Ohad, performs 1,000 Hajj in his lifetime on foot, is killed oppressively between Safa and Marvaa, but O Ali, if he does not befriend you, then he will not be able to even smell the fragrance of heaven, nor can he enter it.’
(Manaqib-e-Khwarazmi pg. 39 Tabriz Edition)
Such traditions are also available in Maqtal-e-Khwarazmi pg. 37, Dar Bahrul Manaqib pg. 38, Lisaanul Mizan Asqalani vol. 5 pg. 219, Hyderabad Deccan Edition. Yanabiul Mawaddah of Qundoozi, pg. 252, Irjahul Matalib of Amritsari pg. 521, "Manaqib-e-Ali" Aini Hyderabadi pg. 62 Hyderabad Edition. Mawaddatul Qurba of Hamdani pg. 64 Lahore Edition, Firdausul Akhbaar – Allama Shairuyyeh vol.3 pg. 409 Beirut Edition.
May Allah illumine our hearts with the true recognition and love of Imam Ali (a.s.) and his children – the infallible Imams (a.s.). May Allah keep us on this path till the last moment of our life. On the Day of Judgment, may He raise us in the shadow of the Wilayat of Ali (a.s.) and his progeny (Imam a.s.) Inshallah.
Our duties towards our Imam (a.s.)
Allama Al Haaj Mirza Muhammad Taqi Musawi Isfahani (r.a.) has compiled a book ‘Wazifatul Anaam Fi Zamaane Ghaibatil Imam (a.t.f.s.) (The duties of the people during the Ghaibat of Imam-e-Zamaana (a.t.f.s.)). He has included 54 duties in this book. The illustrious scholar Dabbiruddin Sadrul Islam Ali Akbar Hamdani (T.S.), in his book ‘Takaliful Anaam fi Ghaibatil Imam (a.t.f.s.)’, has counted 60 duties. Both these respected scholars have narrated the duties in the light of Quranic verses and traditions. We have outlined below a few critical duties and we pray to Allah to give all of us taufeeq to fulfill all the duties. Ameen.
Allah, the Almighty, has narrated in the Holy Quran that the recompense for the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.s.) efforts is love and kindness towards his Ahle Bait (a.s.). Today Hazrat Wali-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.) is the sole surviving member of the Prophet’s Ahle Bait (a.s.) and deserves all our love and affection. Frequent remembrance increases love.
Allah asked the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) at the time of Meraj,
‘Do you want to see those people?’
I went forward and there I saw Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) with the other Imams (a.s.) including the Qaim (a.t.f.s.). Among them the Qaim (a.t.f.s.) was shinning like a brilliant star. I asked Allah,
‘Who are they?’
‘They are the truthful Imams (a.s.) and he is the Qaim, who will make lawful My lawful and make unlawful My unlawful (i.e. he will interpret laws of Akham the way they should be interpreted). And he will take revenge from my enemies. ‘O Muhammad befriend them and love them, because I love and befriend them and love them and I also befriend those who befriend them.
(Ghaayatul Maraam pg. 189, tradition 105, Ehtejaaj vol. 2,
pg. 316, Wazifatul Anaam pg. 48-49)
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is himself Allah’s cherished one (mehboob). Despite this, Allah declares,
‘If you love them, then I will love you intensely!’
From this we realise how important it is to have love for Imam (a.t.f.s.). If a person is sincere in his love and affection for the Imam (a.t.f.s.), then Allah, Himself, will befriend him.
2. Educating and training the people:
To make necessary arrangements for the religious education and training of the Shias during the time of Ghaibat, is one of the crucial duties of the Shias today. It is narrated from Imam Ali Naqi (a.s.),
‘If there had been no scholars during the Ghaibat of our Qaim, who would be inviting the people towards him (Qaim) and imparting them his recognition, who reform their religion through Allah’s clear proofs, who protect the people weak in matters of Allah’s religion from Shaitan and his corruption and the trap of the Nasibis (the enemies of Ahlul Bait (a.s)), then indeed all the people would have gone astray from Allah’s religion. But these are the people who are protecting the hearts of the weak Shias like the captain who protects the people who have embarked on his ship. These are the best people and have an exalted position near Allah.
(Kafi vol. 2, pg. 33)
Awaiting (intezar) for Imam (a.t.f.s.) day and night is one of the important duties of the Shias. With this, his remembrance is enlivened in the hearts and it increases love and affection for Imam (a.t.f.s.). Indeed intezar is the best form of worship. Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s.) declares,
‘Our Mahdi (a.s.) is Qaim. It is obligatory to await his reappearance in his Ghaibat.’
(Kamaaluddin vol. 2, pg. 226)
Imam Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) revealed,
‘The best worship is patience and awaiting for his (Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.)) reappearance.’
(Tohful Uqool pg.201)
Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) stressed,
‘One who dies in the state of intezar (i.e. while awaiting for his Imam) is like that person who is with the Imam (a.t.f.s.) in the battlefield, under his very tent.’
(Beharul Anwaar vol. 52, pg. 126)
Intezar is not just a verbal commitment. Rather it is an intense desire, which is found in the depths of the hearts that can transform a person completely.
4. Submission and obedience :
To submit oneself completely before the orders of Imam (a.t.f.s.) is a responsibility of the Shias. This duty is not specifically related to Ghaibat. One should not question why and what regarding the order, deeds and traditions transmitted to us through truthful sources. Regarding the obedience to orders and commands, Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s.) revealed,
‘After me, the obedience of my son Ali Naqi (a.s.) will be obligatory. He will be succeeded by his son Hasan Askari (a.s.).
After this Imam (a.s.) became silent. The narrator asked ‘Who will be the Imam after Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.)?’ Imam (a.s.) started weeping profusely and said
‘After him, his son Qaim (a.t.f.s.) will be the Imam’. He will be in Ghaibat and pious and sincere people will await his reappearance while those in doubt will deny him and will ridicule his remembrance (zikr). Those who will hasten will be destroyed and those who submit will be successful.’
(Kamaluddin, Vol. 2, pg. 378, H. 3)
5. Spending (Infaak):
It is important for the Shias to spend in the way of Imam (a.t.f.s.) and to support his mission. It is narrated from Imam
Jafar Sadiq (a.s.),
‘Nothing is more loved by Allah than that dirham which is expended for the Imam (a.s.). Certainly on the Day of Judgment, Allah will make that dirham equal to the mountain of Ohad.’
(Kafi vol. 1, pg. 451)
In another tradition it is narrated that one dirham that is expended for Imam (a.t.f.s.) is a 1,00,000 times better than that which is not expended on Allah (and Imam).
(Beharul Anwaar vol. 96, pg. 216)
‘To spend in Ghaibat on Imam (a.t.f.s.) is far superior than spending after the reappearance.’
(Wazifatul Anaam pg. 63)
6. Grief and sorrow :
It is the duty of the Shias to be sorrowful, to shed tears and wail while remembering Imam (a.t.f.s.) in Ghaibat. The more one loves Imam (a.t.f.s.), greater will be his grief due to separation from Imam (a.t.f.s.). Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) narrated,
‘I swear by Allah your Imam (Mahdi (a.s.)) will be away from you for a long time, and with this you will be involved in a difficult test. The condition will be so perplexing that some people will say, that he has died or been killed, or gone away in some valley. At that time, the eyes of the believers will shed tears.
(Kamaaluddin vol. 2 pg. 347)
It is very beneficial to pray Dua-e-Nudba (especially on Friday mornings) while remembering Imam (a.t.f.s.) and shedding tears on him (a.t.f.s.).
7. To pray for his reappearance:
One of the most important duties today is to pray for Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) earliest reappearance. As the recognition and love of Imam (a.t.f.s.) increases, so also the attachment and sincerity to pray for his early reappearance. There are innumerable benefits in praying for Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) reappearance. Ayatullah Muhammad Taqi Musavi Isfahani (r.a.) in his book Mikyalul Makarim has listed close to 80 benefits in praying for Imam’s (a.t.f.s.) reappearance. He has written this book on the explicit orders of Imam (a.t.f.s.) himself.
Imam (a.t.f.s.) himself has written a letter (tauqee):
‘Pray excessively for the hastening of my reappearance, for surely there is deliverance for you also in it.’
In another tradition, Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) declares,
‘I swear by God, he will have such a prolonged Ghaibat that only those whom Allah has kept steadfast on his Imamat and to whom he has given the grace of praying for his early reappearance will be protected from destruction.’
8. Good deeds:
To perform deeds on behalf of Imam (a.t.f.s.) is a duty of the Shias, which is only a reflection of our love and affection for him. Doing this will increase the weight of our deeds. Moreover, with the sincerity of our intention (of pleasing Imam (a.t.f.s.)), our deeds are also accepted easily. It increases taufeeqaat, and results in nearness to Allah.
9. Good akhlaq:
Good character, best conduct, obedience to Allah, intense worship, refraining from sins, in the time of Ghaibat is more difficult than in the time of reappearance. When the elders are in the house, then the children are well-behaved, it is only when the elders leave the house that the level of children is truly tested. There is a tradition from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.),
‘One who desires to be in the company of the companions of the Qaim, then he should await, be pious and adorn himself with good character. Then he will be called as a true awaiter. If he dies in this state before the reappearance of the Qaim, then he will get the same reward as the one who is alive at the time of reappearance.’
(Behar vol. 52 pg. 140)
In one of his Tauquee (letter), Imam Waliul Asr (a.t.f.s.) himself writes,
‘..those things which have increased the distance between us and have caused delay in our meeting, are those detestable deeds that are reaching us (from the side of Shias).’
10. Help and defend:
During the time of Ghaibat, one of the important duties of the Shias is to protect the belief in Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) by defending it against the enemies and all others who object to it. It is the right of Imam (a.t.f.s.) upon us that we defend him by replying (convincingly) to the objections of the enemies related to the belief in Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). For this task we have to equip ourselves with knowledge and recognition of Imam (a.t.f.s.) so as to effectively face the enemies and crush their plans against Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). For this we have to educate the children and youth in particular who are easy targets for the enemies. We must strive to instill love and affection for Imam (a.t.f.s.) in the hearts of everyone around us and in this manner prepare true awaiters for Imam (a.t.f.s.). This will be a great service in defending the Imamat of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) and Inshallah, Allah will definitely reward us for our efforts.
This marks the end of our discussion on Imamat. Inshallah in the forthcoming lessons we shall commence our discussion on Qiyamat.