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The Need for the Holy Imam (A.S.)

Source: Ain-al-Hayat, By: Allama Muhammad Baqir Majlisi


The Imam is the empowered entity who has been appointed by Allah as the Vicegerent of the Prophet (S) as guide for the spiritual and the temporal affairs of the believers. It has already been explained in the earlier chapter that guidance is not possible without the presence of the Prophet or his Vicegerents at all times.
Imam Ar-Ridha’ (as) has said that Allah has clearly ordered the people about the do’s and don’ts. He has also warned that the people should not go against His Commandments and become cause of controversy and punishment. Therefore it is imperative that the people have a mentor ordained by Allah who can enforce the Commandments and guide the people. If this were not the case then everyone would go his own way running after selfish motives.
Allah, therefore, in His wisdom, has nominated an Imam (as) for every period to prevent the people from discord and make them follow the norms laid down by Allah.
It is an established fact that no society or sect has functioned without a leader. Then how was it possible for the all-knowing Allah to leave His Creations without an Imam to guide them on the right path.
It is narrated that a group of people went to Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (as). At that moment the Imam (as) asked his student Hisham, to narrate the discussion he had with Umro bin Ubaid of Basra. Hisham said, “O Son of the Prophet (S)! I feel shy to speak in your presence.”
The Imam (as) said, “you must comply with the orders of your Imam.”
Hisham said, “O Imam (as)! There was a lot of talk about the erudition of Umro bin Ubaid in Basra and he used to lecture a group of Ahl-ul-Jamaa. Having heard a lot about him I went to the Basra Mosque to listen to his talk. Umro was sitting proudly clad in the raiment of the learned. The people were asking him questions and he was answering them. I was seated in the back row. I stood up and asked him: O learned person! I am a traveller. Do I have your permission to ask you some questions.
He replied, “yes.”
I asked him, “do you have eyes?”
He replied, “O son! What sort of question you asked? What reply can I give to this foolish question!”
I said, “Yes this is my question; please reply.”
He said, “Yes I do have eyes.”
I asked him, “What do you do with these eyes?”
He said, “I see with my eyes.”
I asked, “Do you have a nose?”
He said, “yes.”
I asked him, “What do you do with your nose.”
He replied, “I distinguish between fragrant and foul smells with my nose.”
I asked him, “Do you have a mouth?”
He said, “yes”
I asked, “What do you do with the mouth?”
He replied, “I find the taste of things through my mouth.”
I asked him, “Do you have a tongue?”
He said, “yes.”
I asked, “What do you do with your tongue?”
He said, “I speak through my tongue.”
I asked, “Do you have ears?”
He said, “yes”
I asked, “What do you do with your ears?”
He said, “I hear with my ears.”
I asked, “Do you have arms?”
He replied, “yes.”
I asked, “What do you do with your arms?”
He replied, “I lift things with my arms.”
I asked, “Do you have a heart?”
He said, “yes.”
I asked, “What do you do with your heart?”
He replied, “With the heart, I distinguish things that happen to the different parts of my body and the senses.”
I asked him, “Are these limbs and senses subordinate to the heart?”
He replied, “yes.”
I said, “How is it that in spite of being fit, the limbs and senses are dependent on the heart?”
He replied, “Whenever these parts of my body have a doubt about something they seek the advice of the heart to convert the doubt into clarity and decision.”
I asked, “This means that Allah has provided the heart in the human body to make decisions when the limbs and the senses are in doubt?”
He said, “yes.”
I asked, “O father of Marwan! God has not left the limbs and other parts of human body without the heart that controls and guides them. Is it possible that he would leave the world without an Imam or a guide?”
The scholar of Basra sat quiet for a long while. Then he turned towards me and asked, “Are you Hisham?”
I replied, “No.”
He asked, “Are you Hisham’s companion?”
I replied, “No.”
He asked, “Where do you hail from?”
I replied, “I am an inhabitant of Kufa.”
Hearing this he said, “Then! I have no doubt you are Hisham!”Then getting up he embraced me and made me sit near him. After this dialogue Umro refrained from making any remarks against the True Faith.
Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (as) smiled and asked, “O Hisham! Where did you learn all this?”
Hisham said, “Master! These thoughts just came to my mind.”
The Imam (as) said, “the things which came to you as an intuition are recorded in the books of Ibrahim and Musa (as).”

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