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Responsibility 92: Performing Good Deeds on Behalf of the Imam

Another responsibility is to perform acts of worship on behalf of the Imam such as giving Sadaqah, performing Hajj and recommended Salat and going for the Ziyarat of the Infallible A`immah (as) or other righteous believers either alive or dead. It should be noted that this is something other than performing the act and dedicating the reward to the Imam.

Therefore, the meaning of performing acts of worship and other righteous acts which can be done by proxy do not include the obligatory act of worship such as the five daily Salat or the obligatory fasting of the month of Ramaďhan since it is not permissible to do these things by way of proxy (for one who is alive).

The narrator of the following tradition said that he asked Imam Musa b. Ja’far al-Kadhim (as):

أَحُجُّ وَ أُصَلِّـي وَ أَتَصَدَّقُ عَنِ الأَحْيَاءِ وَ الأَمْوَاتِ مِنْ قَرَابَـتِـي وَ أَصْحَابِــي؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ، صَدِّقْ عَنْهُ وَ صَلِّ عَنْهُ وَ لَكَ أَجْرٌ (آخِرٌ) بِصِلَتِكَ إِيَّاهُ

“Can I perform the Hajj and the Salat and give Sadaqah for the living and deceased from among my close family and friends?” He replied: “Yes, give Sadaqah and perform the Salat on their behalf and due to you seeking to maintain the ties of closeness with them, there is an additional reward for you.”1

From this tradition, we clearly understand that to perform actions by proxy for Imam al-Zaman (ajtf) the leader and master of all the true believers - according to the first way mentioned is permissible.

A true believer must give whatever amount of Sadaqah or perform the recommended Salat on behalf of his Imam. For example, one can perform the Salat of Ja’far al-Tayyar or the Salat of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (as) on behalf of his living Imam.

Through this act, not only will the believer avail himself of the reward for performing that action, but in addition he will also receive a reward for maintaing the ties and relations with his Imam!

Some of the acts of worship which a person is able to perform by way of proxy for the Imam include:

1. Different Salat [the Salat of Ja’far al-Tayyar, Salat of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali b. Abi Talib and the other Infallibles and the other recommended Salat which have been mentioned in the detailed books of prayer and supplication]. A person is even able to perform a general two Rak’at Salat with the intention that he is offering the prayer as a gift to the Imam.
2. The recommended Hajj or ‘Umrah
3. Tawaf of the Ka’bah
4. Giving Sadaqah
5. Recitation of the Qur`an
6. Sacrificing an animal
7. Paying back the debts of a true believer
8. Performing the visitation (Ziyarat) of the graves of the Messenger of Allah and the other Infallibles (as) and their righteous companions. In addition, one can also visit the graves of other true believers from either far or near with the intention that the reward is to be given to the Imam.
9. Freeing a captive, and in this day and age, freeing a prisoner by paying his debts, for example.

Just as has been mentioned, performing actions by proxy in relation to the obligatory actions such as the five daily prayers is not permissible, except in certain circumstances such as in the performance of the Hajj. A person once asked Imam Ja’far b. Muhammad as-Sadiq (as): “A person performs the Hajj on behalf of another person – how much of a reward and recompense is he given?”

The Imam replied:

لِلَّذِي يَحُجُّ عَنْ رَجُلٍ أَجْرُ وَ ثَوَابُ عَشْرِ حِجَجٍ

“For a person who performs the Hajj on behalf of another person there is a reward and recompense equal to the performance of ten Hajj.”2

In another tradition, Imam Ja’far b. Muhammad as-Sadiq (as) said:

لَوْ أَشْرَكْتَ أَلْفاً فِي حَجَّتِكَ لَكَانَ لِكُلِّ وَاحِدٍ حَجَّةٌ مِنْ غَيْرِ أَنْ تَنْقُصَ حَجَّتُـُكَ شَيْئاً

“If you were to make a thousand people partners in the reward for your Hajj, then for each and every one of them, there will be a reward for performing one Hajj, with no reduction in the reward of your Hajj!”3

Imam Musa b. Ja’far al-Kadhim (as) said:

فَإِذَا أَتَيْتَ قَبْرَ النَّبِــيِّ  فَقَضَيْتَ مَا يَجِبُ عَلَيْكَ، فَصَلِّ رَكْعَتَينِ ثُمَّ قِفْ عِنْدَ رَأْسِ النَّبِـيِّ  ثُمَّ قُلْ: أَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ يَا نَبِـيَّ اللٌّهِ مِنْ أَبِي وَ أُمِّي وَ زَوْجَتِـي وَ وُلْدِي وَ جَمِيعِ حَامَّــتِـي وَ مِنْ جَمِيعِ أَهْلِ بَلَدِي، حُرِّهِمْ وَ عَبْدِهِمْ، وَ أَبْيَضِهِمْ وَ أَسْوَدِهِمْ فَلاَ تَشَاءُ أَنْ تَقُولَ لِلرَّجُلِ: إِنِّـي أَقْرَأْتُ رَسُولَ اللٌّهِ عَنْكَ السَّلاَمَ إِلاَّ كُنْتَ صَادِقاً

“When you come to the grave of the Prophet (saws), and after performing that which is obligatory upon you (the Ziyarat rites) then perform a two rak’at Salat. Then, stand near the head of the Prophet (saws) and say:

أَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ يَا نَبِـيَّ اللهِ مِنْ أَبِـي وَ أُمِّي وَ زَوْجَتِـي وَ وُلْدِي وَ جَمِيعِ حَامَّــتِي وَ مِنْ جَمِيعِ أَهْلِ بَلَدِي، حُرِّهِمْ وَ عَبْدِهِمْ، وَ أَبْيَضِهِمْ وَ أَسْوَدِهِمْ

“Peace be upon you, O’ Prophet of Allah, from my father, mother, wife, children, all of my friends and everyone in my city the free and the enslaved the white skinned and the black skinned.’

(If you act in this way) then you will not say to a person “‘I conveyed greetings and salutations to the Messenger of Allah on your behalf’ except that you will be speaking the truth.”4

When it comes to the recommended deeds, a true believer can either perform them himself for the Imam or hire another person to do them on his behalf.

For example, one can hire somebody else to, on behalf of the Imam, perform the Hajj or perform a recommended Salat.

  • 1. Wasa`il ash-Shi’a, vol. 5, pg. 367, no. 9 (with a slight difference); Biharul Anwar, vol. 88, pg. 310, no. 3
  • 2. al-Kafi, vol. 4, pg. 312, no. 2
  • 3. Ibid., vol. 4, pg. 317, no. 10
  • 4. al-Kafi, vol. 4, pg. 316, no. 8

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