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['Aalim Network QR] Imam between Jesus (as) and the Prophet (saw)


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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\
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Salaamun 'Alaykum

The following question was kindly answered by Syed Muhammad Rizvi.


Fee Amaanillah,

Akil Karim
Moderator - 'Aalim Network

---------- Forwarded Message ----------

QUESTION:

I have a question about imamate.  I had learned that each generation has
its imam, including the generations before the Prophet (saw). I wanted to
know if this is correct, and if so, what about the people who lived between
the time of Jesus (as) and the Prophet? (saw)  Who was their imam?

"Whosoever dies without recognizing the Imam of his time dies the death of
the Jahiliyyah." (Prophet (saw))


ANSWER:

The following is the answer to your question about an "Imam" between the
time of Jesus (a.s.) and the Prophet of Islam (a.s.).
 
Frist of all, Imam means "a divine leader" appointed by Allah, subhanahu wa
ta'ala. An Imam can be a nabi, a rasul, or a successor of a Messenger of
God. For example, we can say that Ibrahim, Musa, Harun, Muhammad and 'Ali
(peace be upon them all) were Imams. However, Ibrahim, Musa and Muhammad
(s.a.w.) were Prophets and Messengers of God also; whereas, Harun was a
Prophet and a successor of Musa; but 'Ali was not a prophet or a messenger
of God, he was successor of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).

Secondly, what Shi'ism believe on this issue is that at no time is the
earth without a "hujjat" of Allah. Hujjat means 'proof'; it is used to
describe a divinely appointed guide for the people. The hujjat can be a
prophet, a messenger, or his successor.

Thirdly, not all the prophets were sent for the entire mankind. The
nubuwwat of Prophet 'Isa (a.s.) was not universal; he was not sent for all
the people; he was sent only as a nabi for the Israelites. This is also
confirmed by the statements of Jesus quoted in the present-day New
Testament where he says, "I have not been sent but to the lost sheep of the
house of Israel." Therefore, we see that while the children of Israel followed 
their
prophets from the line of Ish„q bin Ibrahim, Ismail bin Ibrahim was sent as
a prophet to the Arab people. Consequently, it was possible for an
Israelite to gain salvation by following Jesus while his Arab contemporary
could gain salvation by following Ismail and Ibrahim.

Among the later prophets, only the nubuwwat of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.)
was for the entire human society as Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, says: "And
We have not send you but as a mercy for the universe." (21:107) "And We did
not send you but as a bringer of good news and as a warner for the people
altogether." (34:28)

So your question should be that who were the hujjats of God among the
Israelites after Jesus till the advent of Islam, and who were the hujjats
of God among the Arabs after Ismail till the advent of Islam.
Unfortunately, I do not recall any names in our sources among the disciples
of Jesus as the guides after him. But I believe there must have been some
who were true and uncorrupted in their belief in the nubuwwat of 'Isa, and
who continued to guide others and also foretold the coming of Prophet Muhammad 
(s.a.w.). For example, Salman al-Farsi, in his journey from Zoroastrianism to
Christianity to Islam, was guided by a Christian holy man who gave him some
specific signs to look for in the person of the last Messenger of God who
he believed was to emerge during their time. And that is how Salman found
his way to Islam and Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).


Was-salaam,

Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi



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