The dimensions of the knowledge of Imam, according to shi ism 2

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Necessity of Imam with regard to explaining the Divine teachings
In the second part of the knowledge of Imam according to shi’ism the following issues will pointed the necessity of Imam, necessity of Imam with regand to leadership and spiritual life.

In the discussion of prophecy it was mentioned that according to the immutable and necessity law of general guidance, each created species is guided thorough the path of genesis and generation toward the perfection and felicity of its own kind, the human species is not an exception to this general law. Man must be guided through the very instinct of seeking reality and through thought concerning his life in society in such a way that this well- being in this world and the next is guaranteed. In other words, to attain human happiness and perfection, man must accept a series of doctrines and practical duties and base his life upon them.

It has, moreover, already been said that the way to understand that total program for life called religion is not through reason but through revelation and prophecy, which manifests itself in certain pure being among mankind who are called prophets. It is the prophets who receive from God, through revelation, the knowledge of men’s duties and obligations as human beings and who make these known to men, so that by fulfilling them men may attain felicity.

It is evident that in the same way that this reasoning proves the necessity for knowledge to guide men to the attainment of happiness and perfection, it is also proves the necessity for the existence of individuals who preserve intact the total body of that knowledge and who instruct the people when necessary. Just as the Divine Compassion necessitates the existence of persons who come to know the duties of mankind through revelation, so also it make it necessary that these human duties and actions of celestial origin remain forever preserved in the world and as the need arises be presented and explained to mankind. In other words, there must always be individuals who preserve God’s religion and expound it when necessary.

The person who bears the duty of guarding and preserving the Divine message after it is revealed and is chosen by God for this function is called the Imam in the same way that the person who bears the prophetic spirit has the function of receiving Divine injunctions and laws form God is called the prophet. It is possible for Imamate and prophecy (nubuwwat) either to be joined in one person or to be separte.

The proof given previously to demonstrate the inerrancy of prophets, also demonstrates the inerrancy of the Imams, for God must preserve his true religion intact and in such a state that it can be propagated among mankind all times, And this is not possible without inerrancy, without Divine protection against error.

Necessity of Imam with regard to continuing the message of prophet
The previous argument about the reception of Divine injunctions and laws by the prophets only proves the basis of prophecy, namely the receiving of Divine injunctions the argument does not prove the persistence and continuity of prophecy, even though the very fact that these prophetic injunctions have been preserved naturally raises the idea of persistence and continuity. That is why it is not necessary for a prophet (nabi) always to be present among mankind but the existence of the Imam, who is the guardian of Divine religion, is on the contrary a continuous necessity for society. Human can never be without the figure whom shi’ism calls the Imam whether or not he is recognized and known.God, the Most Exalted, has said in His book, so if these disbelieve in it, we have already entrusted it to a people [ i.e, the Imams] who do not disbelieve in to (Quran, VI, 90).

As mentioned above the functions of prophecy and imamate may be joined in one person who is then appointed to the functions of both prophet and Imam, or to both the reception of the Divine law and its preservation and explanation .And some times they can be separated, such as in periods during which there is no prophet living but when there is true Imam living among men. It is obvious that the number of God’s prophet is limited and the prophets have not been present in every period and age.

It is also of significance to not that in God’s Book some of the prophets have been introduced as Imams such as the prophets Abraham whom is said, And ( remember) when his Lord tried Abraham with (His) commands, and he fulfilled them, He said: Lo! Have appointed thee a leader [imam] for mankind (Abraham) said: And of my offspring (will there be leaders)? He said: My covenant in cludeth not wrongdoers (Quran, II, 124). And God has also said, And we made them chiefs[imam] who guide by our command (Quran,XXI, 73).

Necessity of Imam with regard to guiding and spiritual life
In the same way that the Imam is guide and leader of men in their external actions so does he possess the function of inward and esoteric leadership and guidance. He is the guide of the caravan of humanity which Moving and esoterically toward God. In order to elucidate this truth it is necessary to turn to the following two introductory comments first of all, without any doubt according to IsIam as well as other Divine religions the sole mean of attaining real and eternal happiness or misery, felicity or wretchedness, is by means of good or evil actions which man comes to recognize through the instruction of Divine religion as well as through his own primordial and God- given nature and intelligence second, through the means of revelation and prophecy God has praised or condemned man’s actions according to the language of human beings and the society in which they live. He has promised those who do good and obey and accept the teachings of revelation happy eternal life in which are fulfilled all desires that accord which human perfection, And to the evildoers and in iniquitous he has given warning of a bitter perpetual life in which is experienced every from of misery and disappointment.

Without any doubt God, who stand in every way above all that we can imagine, does not, as we do possess thought moulded by a particular social structure, the relations of master and servant ruler and ruled, command and prohibition, reward and punishment, do not exist outside our social life. The Divine order is the system of creation itself, in which the existence and appearance of every related solely to its creation by God according to real relations and to that alone. Furthermore, as has been mentioned in the Holy Quran for example: By the seripture which maketh plain Lo! We have appointed it aLecture in Arabic that haply ye may understand, And lo! in the souree of Decrees which we possess it is indeed sublime, deeisive(Quran, XLIII, 2-4) and prophetic hadith religion contanins truths and verities above the common comprehension of man, which God has revealed to us in a language we can comprehend on the level of our understanding.

It can thus be concluded that there is a real relationship between good and evil actions and the kind of life that is prepared for man in eternity, a relation that determines the happiness or misery of the future life a according to the Divine will. Or in simpler words it can be said that each good or evil action brings into being a real effect without the soul of man which determines the character of his future life, whether he understands it or not, man is like a child who is being trained. From the instructions of the teacher, the child hears nothing but do’s and but does not understands the meaning of the actions he performs. Yet, when he grows up, as a result of virtuous mental and spiritual habits attained in ward ly during the period of training, he is able to have a happy social life, If, however, he refuses to submit to the instructions of the teacher he will undergo nothing but misery and unhappiness. Or he is like a sick person who, when in the care of a physician, takes medicine, food and special exercises as directed by the physician and who has no other duty than to obey The instructions of his doctor. The result of his submission to his order is the creation of harmony in his constitution which is the of source of health as well as every form of physical enjoyment and pleasure. to summarize, we can say the within his outward life man possesses an inner life, a spiritual life, which is related to his deeds and actions and develops in relation to them, and his happiness or misery in the hereafter is completely dependent upon this inner life.

The Holy Quran also confirms this explanation (such as these verses: And every soul cometh. along with it a driver and a witness (And unto the evildoers it is said):Thou wast in heedlessness of this, now we have removed from thee thy covering and picrcing is thy sight this day (Quran, L, 21-22) whosoever doeth right, whether male, or female and is a believe min verily we shall quicken with good life (Quran, XVI,97)Obey Allah, and the messenger when he calleth you to that which quickeneth you (Quran, VIII,24) on the day when every soul will find itself confronted with all that it bath done of good and all that it hath of evil (Quran, III,30) Lo! we it is who bring the dead to life. we record that which they send before (them) and their footprints, And all things we have kept in a clear register(Quran, XXXVI, 12). In many verses it affirms the existence of another life and another spirit for the virtuous and the faithful, a life higher than this life and a spirit more illuminated than the spirit of man as we know it here and now. It asserts that man’s acts have inner effects upon his soul that remain always with him. In prophetic sayings there are also many references to this point. for example, in the Hadith- I mi’raj ( hadith of the nocturnal ascension ) God addresses the prophet in these words: he who wishes to act according to Mysatisfaction must possess three qualities he must exhibit thankfulness that is not mixed with ignorance, a remembrance upon which the dust of forget fullness will not settle, and a love in which he does not prefer the love of creatures rather than my love. If he love Me, Iove him, I will open the eye of his heart with the sight of My majesty and will not hide from him the elites of My creatures. Iwill confide in him in the darkness of the night and the light of the day until conversation and intercourse with creatures terminates. Will make him hear my word and the word of angels. I will reveal to him the secret which I have veiled from My creatures, I will dress him with the robe of modesty until the creatures feel ashamed before him. He will walk upon the earth having been forgiven. I will make his heart possess consciousness and vision and I will not hide from him anything in paradise or in the Fire. I will make known to him whatever people experience on the Day of Judgment in the way of terror and calamity (Bihar, al- A war, VOI, XVII, P, 9).

Abu Abdallah – May peace be upon him- has recounted that prophet of God – may peace and blessings be upon him- received Harithah ibn Malik ibn al- Nu’man and asked him, how art thou, Oh Harithah? He said, oh prophet of God, I live as a true believe. The prophet of God said to him, Each thing possesses its own truth. What is the truth of thy word? He said, oh prophet of God! My soul has turned away from the world. My nights are spent in a state of a wake dness and my days in a state of thirst, It seems as if Iam gazing at the Throne of my Lord and the account has been settled, and as if Iam gazing at the people of paradise who are visiting each other in heaven, and as if I hear the cry of the people of hell in the fire, Then prophet of God said, This is a servant whose heart God has illuminated (Al- Wafi by Mulla Muhsin fayd kash Ani, Tehran, 1310- 14, VOI, III, P, 33).

It must also be remembered that often one of us guides another in a good or evil matter without himself carrying out his words. In the case of the prophets and Imams, however, whose guidance and leader ship is through Divine Command, such a situation never occurs. They themselves practice the religion whose leader ship they have undertaken, the spiritual life toward which they guide mankind is their own spiritual life (Is he who leadeth to the Truth more deserving that he should be followed or he who findeth not the way unless he ( himself) be guided what aileth how judge ye? -Quran, X, 36), for God will not place the guidance of others in some one’s hand unless he has guided him himself. special Divine guidance can never be violated or infringed upon.

The following conclusions can be reached from this discussion:
(1) In each religion community the prophets and Imams are the foremost in the perfection and realization of the spiritual and religions life they preach, for they must and do practice their own teachings and participate in the spiritual life they profess.
(2) Since they are first among men and the leaders and guides of the community they are the most virtuous and perfect of man.
(3) The person upon whose shoulders lies the responsibility for the guidance of a community through Divine, in the same way that he is the guide of man’s external life and acts, is also the guide for the spiritual life, and the inner dimension of human life and religious practice depends upon his guidance (And we made them chiefs [who guide by our command, and we inspired in them the doing of good deeds (Quran, XXI,73) and when they became steadfast and believed hrmly in our revelations we appointed from among them leaders {Imam} who guided by our command (Quran, XXXII,24) one can conclude from these that, besides au outward leader and guide, the Imam possesses also a kind of spiritual power to guide and attract which belongs to the word of the spirit, he influences and conquers the hearts of people of capability through the Truth, the light, and the inner aspeet of his being and thus guides them toward perfection and the ultimate goal of existenee).

The previous discussions lead us to the conclusion that in Islam, after the death of the Holy prophet, there has continuously existed and will continue to exist within the Islamic community ( ummah), an Imam ( a leader chosen by God). Numerous prophetic hadiths. (Jabir samurah has said that the heard the prophet of God say, Until the time of twelve vieegerents (khalifah) this religion will continue to be powerful, Jabir said, the people repated the formula Allah is Great and cried? then the prophet said some thing softlyIasked my father, oh father what did he say? My father answered, then prophet said, All the vieegrents will be from Quranysh, sahih of Abi Dawud, cairo, 1348, VOI, II, P, 207 Musnad-I Ahmad VOI,V,P, 92 several other hadiths resembling this are also found and salmam farsi said, Icome upon the prophet and sawHosseion – upon whom be peace on his knees as he was kissing his eyes and mouth and saying thou art a noble man son of a noble man,an lmam, son of an lmam, a proof (hujjah), son of a proof, the father of the nine proof’s of which the ninth is support ‘ (qai’m) …..Yanabi al mawaddah, p. 308), have been transmitted in shi’ism concerning the description of the Imams, their number. The fact that they are all of the Qurayah and of the Household of the prophet, and the fact that the promised Mahdi is among them and the last of them. Also, there are definitive words of the prophet concerning the imamate of Ali and his being the first Imam and also definitive utterances of the prophet and Ali concerning the imamate of the second Imam. in the same way the Imams before have left definitive statements concerning the imamate of those who were to come after them. According to these utterances contained in Twelve- Imam shi’ite sources the Imams are Twelve in number and their holy names are as follows (1) Ali ibn Abi Talib, (2) Hossein ibn Ali (3) Hasan ibn Ali (4) Ali ibn Hossein (5) Muhammd ibn Ali (6) Ja’far ibn Muhammd
(7) Musa ibn) Ja’far (8) Ali ibn Musa (9) Muhammd ibn Ali (10) ) Ali ibn Muhammd (11) Hasan ibn Ali, and (12) the Mahdi.

Sources

shiah- pages:267 to 277

Keywords


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