Imam Ridha



A narration attributed to Ad al-'Aziz ibn Muslim reports: “Abu Muhammad al-Qasim ibn al-'Ala', may Allah grant him blessings, in a marfu‘ manner (rafa'abu), has narrated from ‘Ad al-'Aziz ibn Muslim the following. "We had been with al-Ridha (a.s.) at Marw. During an assembly in the central mosque on Friday, we attended the gathering. It was when we had just arrived (in Marw). People spoke and discussed about the issue of Imamat (Leadership with Divine Authority). All the differing opinions among people in this matter came up. I then went to see my leader (a.s.) and informed him of the people’s controversies over the issue (leadership). The Imam (a.s.) smiled and then said the following. "O 'Abd al-'Aziz, people are ignorant and their opinions have misled and deceived them. Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, did not cause His Holy Prophet to leave this world before completing for him the religion. Allah sent him the Holy Quran in which all things are clearly explained. Allah has explained in the Holy Quran what is lawful and what is unlawful. He has explained totally the limits and the rules for all issues that people may face in the affairs of life. Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, has said, "We have left nothing without a mention of it in the Book. . . ." (6:38) During the last visit of the Holy Prophet to Makka for pilgrimage towards the end of his life the following verse of the Holy Qauran was sent to him. "On this day I have perfected your religion, completed My favors to you, and have chosen Islam as your religion. . . ." (5:3) The issue of Imamat (leadership) is part of the completion of religion. The Holy Prophet (s.a.) did not leave this world before explaining to his followers the principles of their religion and show them the path clearly, and he left them on a point of a path that faced the direction of the truth. He raised Ali (a.s.) among them as a flag and Imam (a leader). He did not leave anything that his followers needed without full explanation. Those who think that Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, has not completed His religion, they rejected the book of Allah and those who reject the book of Allah they have become expressed unbelievers in it. "Do they realize the value and the status of the Imamat (leadership) of the ’Umma (the nation) to justify their selection? Imamat (leadership) in fact, is far sublime in values, greatest in position, highest in status, the most exclusive issue in all aspects, the most profound and deep for the intellect of the people to reach and grasp it in their opinions, or to appoint an Imam through their selection. T Imamat (leadership) is that particular distinction which Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, has distinguished Ibrahim, the very close friend (al-Khalil), after Prophethood. This close friendship is the third stage (in the progression of spiritual degrees). It is a virtue with which, He honored him and established his fame. He then said, "Behold! I have made you an Imam for the people". Abraham, the close friend, then out of delight pleaded "Please let it be in my offspring also." Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, said, "My covenant does not go to the unjust ones." (2:124) Thus, this verse has declared the leadership (Imamat) of all the unjust ones as unlawful till the Day of Judgment and it has established it for those clean and free of evil and injustice. Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, bestowed him more honors in establishing Imamat (leadership) in purified and clean persons of his offspring. "We granted him Isaac and Jacob as a gift and helped both of them to become righteous people (21:72). We appointed them as leaders to guide the people through Our command and sent them revelation to strive for good deeds, worship their Lord, and pay religious tax. Both of them were Our worshipping servants." (21:73) "So the Imamat (leadership) remained in his offspring inheriting it from each other, generation after generation, until Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, made Prophet Muhammad (s.a.) to inherit it. And He, Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, said, "The nearest people to Abraham, among mankind, are those who followed him, and this Prophet (Muhammad) and the true believers. God is the Guardian of the true believers." (3:68) So the Imamat belonged to him particularly, and he (s.a.), then, entrusted Imam Ali ((a.s.) with it by the command of Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, as He had made it obligatory. It then came to be in his (Ali's) purified and clean of sins offspring, to whom Allah has given knowledge and faith, as in the words of He Who is Most High. "Those who have received knowledge and have faith will say, "By the decree of God, you have remained for the exact period which was mentioned in the Book of God about the Day of Resurrection. This is the Day of Resurrection, but you did not know." (30:56) Imamat (leadership) will remain in the sons of Imam Ali (a.s.) exclusively, till the Day of Judgment and there will no prophet after Muhammad (s.a.). Wherefrom then have these ignorant people received the right to select Imams? " Imamat (leadership) is, certainly, the position of the prophets, and the inheritance of the successors. Imamat (leadership) indeed, is the representation (khilafa) of Allah and the deputy of the Messenger (s.a.), and the office of Amir al-mu'minin (a.s.) and the inheritance of Imam al-Hasan and al-Husayn (a.s.) "Imamat (leadership) is, in fact, the reins of the religion, the social system of the Muslims. It is best for the world, and honor for the believers. Imamat (Islamic leadership) is Islam's maturing root, and its towering branCh Through the Imam (a.s.) prayers are complete, Zakat, (charity) is paid, fasting, is maintained, Hajj is performed and Jihad, proper defense is exercised, the wealth of the nation (fay') and charity (sadaqat) are increased, the laws are enforced and the frontiers are protected and defended. "The Imam declares as lawful what Allah has done so and prohibits what Allah has prohibited. He enforces the criminal laws of Allah, defends the religion of Allah and he provides guidance with wisdom, good advice and with the topmost strong evidence. "The Imam is like the risen sun that beautifies the world with its light and is in the horizon above the harm of hands and eyes. The Imam is as the bright moon, the shining lamp, the brilliant light, and the guiding star in the depth of darkness, in the middle of the towns, in the wilderness and the high seas. The Imam is as crystal-clear water to thirst, an indicator of true guidance and the protector against destruction. The Imam is as fire of a lighthouse that provides warmth and guidance for those who seek heat protection against fatalities. Whoever would depart him would perish. "The Imam (in terms of blessings) is as the rain-bearing cloud, the drenching rainfall, the shining sun, the shadow providing sky, the open fields, the gushing forth spring, as a pond and a garden. The Imam is as a comforting friend, a very kind father, a real brother, a tender-hearted mother of a small child, a refuge for people in disastrous conditions. The Imam is Allah's trustee over His creatures, His authority over His servants, His representative in His lands, the preacher of His cause and the defender of His sanctuary. "The Imam is clean of sins, free of faults, possesses special knowledge and is distinguished in forbearance. The Imam maintains law and order in religion. He is the might of the Muslims to enrages the hypocrites, and futile to unbelievers. The Imam is the peerless person of his time, no-one can reach even near his rank in virtue and no scholar is comparable to him. No one can become A number of our people has narrated from alternative for him, nor is there anyone similar to him or just like him. His is exclusive in all virtues of which none is acquired or is sought after, in fact, his virtues are all from bestowed up on him by the source of all virtue, the Generous One. Who is he that can know all about the Imam, or can select him? To affirm the ability of selection is very far from the truth. Intellects have become confused, understanding has lost the meaning, awareness is frustrated, eyes have become dull and tired, the great ones have become humble, the sagacious ones have become bewildered and people of forbearance have lost patience. The orators have become speechless, the intelligent ones have become ignorant and the poets have become exhausted. The man-of-letter have become helpless, people of eloquence have turned wordless to speak of any of the aspects of his status or a virtue of his virtues and instead have confessed their helplessness in the matter. How can one speak of him in full, or describe him in the real sense or understand anything of his affairs or find an alternative for him sufficient for what he sufficed. There is no such thing and no where such is found. He is like a star away from the reach of those who try to reach, or those who try to describe. Where does the idea of selecting him would then stand in such case? How can then reasons and intellects reach him and where can one find a person like the Imam? "Would they think that such a person can be found outside the family of the Holy Prophet (s.a.)? Their souls, I swear by Allah, have told them a lie. Falsehood has induced in them evil hopes. Be on your guard against A number of our people has narrated from uphill and crushing battle in which they would slip back to their first foothold. They intend to raise the Imam by their confused, fruitless and faulty intellects and their misleading opinions. It would do to nothing god except taking them away from the truth. (May Allah be their adversary. Where are they headed.) (Holy Quran 9:30) They have aimed at a difficult task and have spoken something meaningless. They have strayed far away from the truth and have faced huge confusions. They have knowingly ignored the Imam (a.s.). It is Satan who, has made their deeds to seem attractive to them and has blocked them from reaching the path (of guidance) when they know it fully. They have turned from the choice that Allah and His Messenger and his family of to accept their own choice. The Holy Quran calls up on them, "Your Lord creates and chooses (to grant mercy) to whomever He wants. (In matters of guidance) they (unbelievers) do not have the choice to choose whatever they want. God is too exalted to be considered equal to anything else." (28:68) It also says, "The believing men and women must not feel free to do something in their affairs other than that which has been already decided for them by God and His Messenger. One who disobeys God and His Messenger is in plain error. (33:36) It further says, "What is the matter with you? How could you judge this to be so? (68:36). Do you have a book from which you study (68:37) that tells you to do whatever you want? (68:38). Do you have a covenant with Us which allows you to do whatever you want until the Day of Judgment? (68:39). (Muhammad), ask which of them can guarantee that on the Day of Judgment (68:40). they will receive the same thing that the Muslims will? Do they have any witness to such an agreement? Let them bring out such witness, if they are truthful."(68:41). Again the Holy Quran says, "Is it that they do not think about the Quran or are their hearts sealed?" (47:24) Or as it says, ". . . their hearts were sealed and they were left with no understanding." (9:87) or like, "Do not be like those who said that they have heard (the Messenger's commands) but do not pay any attention to them (8:21). The most wicked beasts in the sight of God are the deaf and the dumb who have no understanding (8:22). Had they possessed any virtue, God would certainly have made them hear. Even if God were to make them hear, they would still turn away from (the words of God)." (8:23) or like, "you said that you had listened but you disobeyed.. . ." (2:93) It is the grace from Allah and He gives to whoever He wills. Allah is possesses great generosity. How would they have the right to choose the Imam (a.s.)? The Imam (a.s.) is a scholar that is not ignorant of any thing, a shepherd who does not become, the mine of holiness purity, of worship and restraint from sins and Knowledge and worship. He (enjoys) the blessings of the exclusive prayers of the Messenger of Allah and of being of the progeny of the Holy Lady, al-Batul. There is not question about their genealogical purity. He is of the house of Quraysh and the top most in clan of Hashim and of the family of the Messenger of Allah, enjoying the happiness of Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, is the honor of all nobility. He is of the offspring of ‘Abd al-Manaf. He possesses (a body of) increasing knowledge. He is perfect in forbearance, the only one to qualify for the position of Imamat (leadership). He has full knowledge of the politics, whose obedience is obligatory by the command of Allah. He is appointed for Imamat by the command of Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High to give good advice to the servants of Allah and to protect the religion of Allah. Allah grants success and support to the prophets and the Imams (a.s.) through His treasured knowledge and command in a way that is granted to no one else. Thus, their knowledge is above the knowledge of the people of their times as mentioned in the following words of Allah. "Is the one who guides to the Truth a proper guide or one who himself cannot find guidance unless he is guided (by others)? What is wrong with you that you judge (so unjustly)?" (10:35) and in, "Whoever is given wisdom, certainly, has received much good. . . ."(2:269). Or as about Talut in the following words, "God has chosen him as your ruler and has given him physical power and knowledge. God grants His authority to anyone whom He wants. God is Provident and All-knowing. (2:247) or as He has said about His Prophet (a.s.), "God has revealed the Book to you, has given you wisdom, and has taught you what you did not know. Certainly God's favor to you has been great." (4:113) He also said about the Imams from the family of the Holy Prophet (s.a.) "Are they jealous of the favors that God has done to some people? We have given to the family of Abraham the Book, Wisdom, and a great Kingdom (4:54). Some have believed, others have disbelieved and tried to prevent people from believing. For these people, only the intense fire of hell is a sufficient punishment." (4:55) When Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, chooses a person for the affairs of His servants, He opens his heart for the task, places in it the fountains of wisdom and inspires him with knowledge. He then never becomes tired of answering questions and never becomes confused to miss the right answer. He is infaliable, Divinely supported, successful and gaurded. He is immune from sins and shortcomings and faults. Allah has granted him this exclusively so that he would serve as the Divine authority over His servant, as a witness over them and this is grace of Allah that He grant to whoever He wills and Allah’s grace is the greatest. Can one among the people have such things so they would choose him as the Imam or can their selected person have such distinctions to be preferred over the others? They, swearing to the house of Allah, have transgressed against the truth and have thrown the book of Allah behind their backs as if they do not know. In the book of Allah there is guidance and cure but they have ignored it and have followed their own desires. For this reason Allah has criticised, expressed anger and condemmned them in His words as follows. "Who strays more than one who follows his desires without guidance from God? God does not guide the unjust people." (28:50) . "The fate of the unbelievers will be to stumble and their deeds will have no virtuous results;" (47:8) "This act greatly angers God and the believers. Thus does God seal the hearts of every arrogant oppressor." (40:35). May Allah grant blessings up on Prophet Muhammad and his family and may He grant them peace, a great deal of peace.