Imam Reza's Account of Imamate
Abdul-Aziz-bin-Muslim related: We were accompanying Imam Reza(A.S.) in Marw. Once, we were in the central mosque when people discussed the matter of imamate and referred to the great variance of people's opinions in this regard. I then visited my master Ar-Reza(A.S.) to inform him of people's discussion.
He then smiled and said: O Abdul-Aziz, people are ignorant and unaware of their religion. Almighty Allah did not made his Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) die before He had perfected the religion for him. He revealed to him the Holy Quran in which there is the explanation of everything that people may need completely. Allah the Majestic says: Nothing is left without a mention in the Book.( Holy Qur'an 6:38).
During the Farewell Pilgrimage, which was the last days of the Holy Prophet's lifetime, Allah revealed to him: On this day I have perfected your religion, completed My favors to you, and have chosen Islam as your religion. (Holy Qur'an 5:3).
The imamate is a part of the perfection of the religion. The Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) did not depart this world before he had manifested to his ummah the points of their religion, showed them the - right - courses that they should take, situated them on the right path, and assigned Ali(A.S.) as the leader and Imam for them. As a matter of fact, the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) did not leave anything without thorough manifestation. He whoever denies the Book is converting to atheism.
Do they acknowledge the true standing of Imamate and its position in the ummah, before they choose for themselves?
Allah gave Abraham the prophet(A.S.) imamate as a third rank after prophecy and intimacy and as a virtue by which He conferred honor upon him -Abraham- and praised him. Allah says: When his Lord tested Abraham's faith, (by His words) and he satisfied the test, He said, "I am appointing you as the imam of mankind." Abraham the prophet (A.S.) was highly delighted for gaining this rank; therefore, he hoped it would be passed to his descendants. Abraham asked Allah, "Will this imamate also continue through my descendants?" The Lord replied, "The unjust do not have the right to exercise my authority.( Holy Qur'an 2:124) This Verse cancels the imamate of any unjust one until the Day of Resurrection, and dedicates it to the choice ones exclusively. Then Allah honors this imamate when He decides it be in the offspring of the immaculate choice ones. He says: We granted him - Abraham - Isaac and Jacob as a gift and helped both of them to become righteous people. We appointed them as imams to guide the people through Our command and sent them revelation to strive for good deeds, worship their Lord, and pay retax. Both of them were Our worshipping servants. (Holy Qur'an 21:73-4) The successive generations kept on receiving the imamate in inheritance in that order until it reached the Holy Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W.). In this regard, Allah says: The nearest people to Abraham among mankind, are those who followed him, this prophet (Muhammad (S.A.W.)) and the true believers.( Holy Qur'an 3:68) In this manner, the imamate became exclusive for them Then the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) gave it to Ali(A.S.) to be successive in his choice offspring upon whom Allah conferred knowledge and faith. This is indicated in Allah's saying. Those who have received knowledge and have faith will say, "By the decree of Allah, you have remained for the exact period which was mentioned in the book of Allah about the Day of Resurrection. This is the Day of Resurrection, but you did not know. (Holy Qur'an 30:56) This Verse shows the decree of Allah regarding the question of imamate that will persist in the Holy Prophet's progeny until the Day of Resurrection, since there will be no prophet after the Holy Prophet Mohammed(S.A.W.).
After all, how can those ignorant people choose for imamate out of their opinions?
Imamate is the rank of the prophets and the heritage of the prophet's successors.
Imamate is the representation of Allah the Majestic and His Messenger (S.A.W.), the position of Amirul Muminin Ali(A.S.), and the succession of Al-Hasan(A.S.) and Al-Hussein(A.S.)
The Imam is the head of the religious affairs, the system of the Muslims, the goodness of the world, the stronghold of the believers.
The Imam is the rising principal and the noble branch of Islam.
The accomplishment of the prayers, zakat, fasting, hajj, jihad, the availability of spoils and alms, the execution of the doctrinal provisions and the rules, and the protections of the fronts and the borders -all these are achieved through the Imam.
The Imam legalizes whatever Allah deems legal, forbids whatever Allah deems illegal, executes the doctrinal provisions that Allah enacts, protects the religion of Allah, and calls to the path of Allah through wisdom, good advice, and strong evidence.
The Imam is as same as the shining sun whose light covers the whole world while it stands erect in the horizon and neither sights nor can hands catch it.
The Imam is the luminous full moon, the bright lamp, the rising light, the guiding star in tenebrous gloom, the guide to the right, and the savior from demise.
The Imam is the guiding fire on highlands, the heat to the seekers of warmth, and the rescuer from dangers. He whoever departs the Imam will surely perish.
The Imam is the raining clouds, the torrential downpour, the shady sky, the plain land, the abundant spring, the brook, and the garden.
The Imam is the lenient custodian, the humane father, the full brother, the like of the sympathetic mother to her baby, and the shelter of the servants.
The Imam is purified from sins, freed of defects, given knowledge exclusively, characterized with forbearance, the system of the religion, the stronghold of the believers, the punishment of the hypocrites, and the perdition of the disbelievers.
The Imam is the unique in his time. No one can catch up with him and no scholar can amount to him. There is no substitute for him and there are no like or match to him. The whole virtue is dedicated to him without seeking or acquisition. It is only the choice of the Favorer Endower Allah.
How is it then possible for any body to understand the reality and the quality of the Imam? How impossible this is! Minds are too astray, intellects are too lost, wits are too perplexed, the speakers are too mute, the poets are too unversed, the authors are too impotent, the eloquent are too wordless, and the scholars are too weak to describe a single feature or a single virtue of the Imam's features and virtues. As a consequence, they confessed of their shortcoming and inadequacy to do so. How is it then possible to describe of their shortcoming and inadequacy to do so. How is it then possible to describe him as a whole or portray his manners? How is this possible while the Imam is as far as stars from the reach of the debaters and the describers?
Do they think they can find imamate in anybody other than the Holy Prophet's family? Then are deceived by their opinions and they are indulging in the false hopes. They are surely climbing a rugged ascent and a slippery mount that will surely cause them to stumble to the rock bottom because they have intended to nominate an imam out of their opinions. How can they nominate an imam while the true Imam is permanently knowledgeable that ignorance never reaches him and a custodian that never betrays? He is the core of the prophecy whose lineage is too honorable to be criticized and no highborn individual can ever dare him.
The Imam's tribe is Quraish his clan is Hashim, his root is the Messenger of Allah(S.A.W.), the master of the celebrities, and he is the offspring of Abd-Manaf.
The Imam is that whose knowledge is increasing and whose forbearance is perfect. He is cognizant of policy and worthy of leadership. The obedience to him if obligatory. He is the executor of Allah's commandments and the adviser of Allah's servants.
Allah leads the prophets and their successors to success and the right, and gives them (a part of His stored) knowledge and wisdom exclusively so that they become the most knowledgeable of people. Allah the Majestic says: 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)? (Holy Qur'an 10:35).
Relating the story of Saul, Allah says: Allah has chosen him as your ruler and has given him physical power and knowledge. Allah grants His authority to anyone whom He wants. (Holy Qur'an 2;247).
About David the prophet(A.S.), Allah says: David slew Goliath and Allah granted David the kingdom and wisdom and also taught him whatever He wanted. (Holy Qur'an 2:251).
Addressing to the Holy Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W.), Allah says: Allah has revealed the Book to you, has given you wisdom, and has taught you what you did not know. Certainly Allah's favor to you has been great. (Holy Qur'an 4:113).
About the Imams of the Prophet's family, progeny, and offspring, Allah says: Are they jealous of the favors that Allah has done to some people (the Imams)? We have given to the family of Abraham the Book, Wisdom, and a great Kingdom. 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. (Holy Qur'an 4:54-5).
When Allah selects someone (the Imam) for managing the affairs of His servants, He grants him the inclination to do so, fills in his heart with springs of wisdom, and bestows upon him with fluency. Hence, he will have the ability to answer any question and will say nothing but the truth. The Imam is therefore granted successfulness, right guidance, and advocacy and will be saved from error and flaw.
He is given such characteristics so that he will be an argument against the creatures and a witness on the servants (of Allah). Can they then ensure such characters for the one they choose as imam out of their opinions?