Discourse 1: Divine Leadership is one of the major principles of the Religion, the necessity of the leader being Innocent and appointed by God
The most important difference of opinion between the Sunnis and the Shias is the matter of Divine Leadership (Imamate). And this matter is of such importance that the origins of all other differences in opinion stem from it. The scholars of the Shia religion say that Divine Leadership (Imamate) is one of the major religious principles (Usul-ul-Din). However, the Sunnis say that Imamate is one of the minor religious principles (Furu- ul-Din).
Coincidentally, it has been mentioned in both the Shia and the Sunni books that His Holiness the Noble Messenger (S) stated, "If one passes away and does not acknowledge the Divine Leader (Imam) of his time, it is as if he has died in the Age of Ignorance."1
When someone died in the Age of Ignorance, he died as an atheist since he neither recognized God nor God’s Prophet. And someone who does not believe in the leader of his time is just like that, and has died in a state of unbelief. For this very reason acknowledging the Divine Leader of the time is one of the major religious principles, not one of the minor religious principles. Thus, not believing in this principle results in unbelief and irreligiousness.
Thus, the true religion is the religion of the Shias with twelve Divine Leaders after the Prophet Muhammad (S) in which Divine Leadership is one of the major principles of religion.
Another difference of opinion between the Sunnis and the Shias is that the Shias believe that the Divine Leader must be the most knowledgeable and the most virtuous of all the people. This means that from the aspects of knowledge, perfection and praiseworthy temper, he should be the best. The Sunnis, however, do not believe that the Divine Leader (Imam) should be more virtuous than others. They believe that one with a lesser degree of nobility can be put in a post to command over one who is nobler than him. However, this is illogical from the standpoint of the Intellect, since one's Intellect assumes that the noblest person must rule.
Another difference of opinion between the Shias and the Sunnis is that the Shias believe that the Divine Leader must be sinless since he is the successor to the Prophet (S). However, the Sunnis believe that being sinless is not a condition for being a Divine Leader. This is because the Sunni Caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman) were idol-worshippers until the age of forty or more.
On the contrary, the Sunnis believe that being just is enough for being the Divine Leader, while those three Caliphs did not even have justice.
Why is sinlessness the condition for being The Imam? This is because the Divine Leadership consists of leading mankind in worldly and religious affairs. In other words, the successor to the Prophet (or to any Divine Leader after the Prophet (S)) is one who handles all the people’s worldly and religious affairs in the same way that the Prophet Muhammad (S) managed the affairs.
Therefore, the Divine Leader must be sinless just like the Prophet Muhammad (S) was so that nothing is added on or taken away from the religious rules, and the Divine Leader does not cause any problems in religion. This is due to the fact that the Divine Leader is the Protector of the Religion, and the Protector must be trustworthy in order that no innovation appears in religion.
There is another difference of opinion between the Sunnis and the Shias. This is that the Sunni scholars say that the Divine Leader is chosen by the people; meaning that the people must gather together so that the Divine Leader (Imam) and the Prophet’s Caliph successor may be chosen. The Sunni scholars say the reason for this is that the Prophet’s companions gathered together and had a consensus on the issue of Abu Bakr being the Caliph.
Meanwhile, the Shia scholars prove this to be wrong since there was no real consensus in choosing Abu Bakr as the Caliph, since the gathering faced a lot of disagreement from a lot of the companions such as Abbas - the Prophet’s uncle (a.s.); Salman; Abuzar; Miqdad; and His Holiness the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.). Therefore, there was actually no consensus in the group. The Shiites also believe that the consensus of the people about the Divine Leader is not proper, since a Divine Leader must be Immaculate and no one but God knows about this.
Thus the consensus of the people is not the proper means for declaring a Divine Leader, since it is established that a Divine Leader (Imam) must be immaculate and no one but God can be aware of all the private actions and inner thoughts of an individual. Therefore, it is only God who can appoint someone as an Immaculate Divine Leader. This position (being the Divine Leader can only be filled after God informs the Prophet (S) (or the present Divine Leader) about the person to fill that position next.
Actually, this is what occurred, since we can see that at the advent of the Appointment to the Prophethood (Be'sat) the Prophet (S) introduced the Commander of the Faithful to be his successor and stated, "Whoever pledges allegiance to me in order to assist me in the affairs of the religion will be my Caliph and my successor." Ali was the first man to pledge allegiance to the Prophet. His Holiness Ali (a.s.) stated, "O God’s Messenger (S)! I am ready." Then His Holiness the Prophet Muhammad (S) stated, "Thus you are my successor."
The same has been stated in the book Tarikh-i-Tabari on the authority of the Noble Prophet Muhammad (S) who stated, "Which one of you will help me in this mission and be my successor?” Then His Holiness the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) stated, "O God’s Messenger (S)! I am ready." Then His Holiness the Noble Prophet Muhammad (S) stated, "Thus you are my Trustee and Successor."2
This happened at the advent of Muhammad’s appointment to the Prophethood (Be’that). However, the Prophet Muhammad (S) repeated these statements at the oasis between Mecca and Medina called Qadir-i- Khum at the end of Muhammad’s Prophethood.
Most of the learned scholars have reported it and it is so frequently reported that it is a certain fact. It has also been reported in Shia narrations. Thus God the Exalted ordered Muhammad (S) to appoint His Holiness Ali (a.s.) to the position of Divine Leadership (Imamate).
Both Sunni and Shia scholars have mentioned that the following verses have been revealed about His Holiness the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.):
1 - 'O Messenger! Proclaim the (message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His mission. And Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief). For Allah guideth not those who reject Faith.' The Holy Quran: Al-Ma’idah 5:67.
2- '…This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…' The Holy Quran: Al-Ma’idah 5:3.
3- ' Your (real) friends are (no less than) Allah, His Messenger, and the (fellowship of) believers, those who establish regular prayers and regular charity, and they bow down humbly (in worship).' The Holy Quran: Al-Ma’idah 5:55.
Also the phrase 'those charged with authority among you' in the following verse refers to the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) and the rest of the Divine Leaders after him,
'O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you…' The Holy Quran: An-Nisa 4:59.
The best proof for the Prophethood of the Prophet of Islam is that Ali (a.s.) has acknowledged it as we can see in the following verse,
"The Unbelievers say: 'No apostle art thou.' Say: 'Enough for a witness between me and you is Allah, and such as have knowledge of the Book.'" The Holy Quran: Ar-Ra’d 13:43.
Of course, it is clear that the individual mentioned in this verse by the phrase 'and such as have knowledge of the Book' is His Holiness - the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.). This means that the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) is the one who clarifies the Quran, is the one who protects the Quran, is the one who keeps the Quran, and is the one who interprets the Quran.
As the Noble Prophet (S) stated, "God the Blessed the Sublime stated, 'I will not torture anyone who loves Ali even if he commits sins, and I will not have mercy upon Ali’s enemies even if they obey Me.”3
Thus, is necessary for everyone to love the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.). This will cause an individual to be saved from the worldly and eternal torture.
And it is impossible that whoever likes the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) to be friendly with his enemies since God the Exalted has stated,
"Allah has not made for any man two hearts in his (one) body..." The Holy Quran: Al-Ahzab 33:4.
Discourse 2: ‘Those who are true’ refers to the Members of the Holy Household and the attributes and virtues of the Commander of the Faithful Ali
God the Blessed the Sublime stated,
"O ye who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are true (in word and deed)." The Holy Quran: At-Tauba 9:119.
Of course, it is clear that there must exist a group of ‘those who are true’ for God the Exalted to invite the believers to follow them. According to what has been derived from the narrations, and what is certain from all the passages His Holiness the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.), Her Holiness Fatimah Zahra (a.s.), and the rest of the Immaculate Imams (a.s.) are the true symbols of the truthful individuals. This is because they possess the rank of sinlessness, and that has been narrated in some of the narrations, "Be with Ali (a.s.) and his companions"4 implying the decree of God the Blessed to follow Ali (a.s.) and His companions; believe in their kindness and Leadership, and accept their being in charge of our affairs.
When it became clear that what was meant by 'those who are true' (Sadiqeen) was actually the fourteen Immaculate individuals5; and when we stated that when honesty comes it means that everything else also comes, it becomes clear that the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) and all the other Divine Leaders (a.s.) from his progeny were truthful in all their intentions and actions both before God and the people. This is certified by the following tradition on the authority of God's Prophet (S) in which he (S) stated, "I will leave two weighty things with you one of which is greater than the other one. It is God’s Book that is a rope extended out from the heavens onto the Earth. The other one is my Itrat6; that is members of my Household. Therefore, be careful and see how you treat these two after me."7
And it is stated in another Prophetic narration in which God's Prophet (S) stated, "The similitude of the members of my Holy Household to you is like that of Noah’s Ark which whoever boarded was rescued, and anyone who did not was drowned.”8 Therefore, it has become clear that the Muslim nation must follow the fourteen Immaculate ones (a.s.) in all their worldly and eternal affairs.
As parts of the Quran interpret other parts of it, the same holds true for the above-mentioned verse. It interprets other verses. For this very reason, in this Noble verse God the Exalted has stated that you must
'Fear Allah and be with those who are true (in word and deed)." The Holy Quran: At-Tauba 9:119.
I stated that 'those who are true' are those who are better than all the people in terms of all virtues, perfection, and honesty.
In another Quranic verse it can be seen that the attributes of such individuals are expressed and specifically distinguished, so that the attributes of 'those who are true' are clearly made known as we read,
"It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces towards East or West; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing." The Holy Quran: Al-Baqara 2:177.
Thus, this verse comments upon the verse at the beginning of this discussion for the very reason that in the first verse of the discussion it is stated '…be with those who are true (in word and deed)' and the attributes of the 'those who are true' are expressed in this verse. It is clearly stated that those who have these attributes; and are the best amongst all those in terms of virtues and perfection and 'are the people of truth.'
Therefore, this verse confirms the verse at the beginning of the discussion. So it is evident that the point of this noble verse is to obey and follow the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) and the Immaculate Imams (a.s.), since they are the only people in the Muslim nation who have the attributes mentioned in the Noble verse to the best extent.
Of course, the attributes and virtues of His Holiness the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) are as clear as the sun is and they cannot be covered up in any way. When Muaviyah dominated over the Muslims, not only was the mentioning of His Holiness Ali’s virtues and attributes prohibited and restrained, but also Muaviyah ordered that narrations about Abu Bakr, Uthman and Umar be made up. However, the virtues and attributes of His Holiness Ali (a.s.) filled and covered up the whole world, even though Muaviyah tried to prevent the publicizing of the virtues of His Holiness Ali (a.s.). The Shias could not express those virtues, and Ali’s opponents concealed those virtues out of their enmity and hatred.
It is quoted on the authority of Muhammad Ibn Idris Shafi-ee who is one of the four Sunni leaders that when some questions about the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) were asked of him, he answered, "What can I say about the one whose friends have not expressed his virtues out of fear, and whose enemies have concealed his virtues and attributes from others due to their enmity. However, his virtues and attributes were widely spread around the whole world."9
It has also been quoted on the authority of Muhammad Ibn Idris Shafi-ee in the book Isna Asharia that there exist certain nobilities in His Holiness Ali (a.s.) that are combined together even though they contradict each other. His Holiness was the perfect combination of those contradictory attributes. Shafi-ee says the following about the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.),
1- "Knowledge and action were combined to the most perfect extent in the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) such as rarely can be found in anyone else."10 Most often knowledgeable men do not do what they say, but “doing what you say” (the virtues of knowledge and action) were combined together in the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.). Combining them together at this stage of perfection is exceedingly difficult. However, knowledge and action were combined together to the most perfect extent in the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.). And it rarely happens that these two virtues are combined together.
Of course, it is clear that His Holiness was the gate to the city of the knowledge of the Prophet (S)11 as the Prophet (S) stated, "I am the city of Knowledge and Ali (a.s.) is the gate to that city. Whoever wants to learn some knowledge must enter from that door (Ali (a.s.))."12
Also it has been stated by the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.), "God’s Prophet (S) taught me one-thousand gates of knowledge each of which opens up to one-thousand other gates."13
Also the following is attributed to His Holiness Ali (a.s.), "Should I be asked to judge, I shall judge based on the Torah for the Jews, based on the Bible for the Christians, based on the Psalms of David for the followers of David, and based on the Quran for the Muslims."14
It is also generally accepted by both the Shias and the Sunnis that the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) stated the following from the top of the pulpit, "Ask me questions before the time when I am not available, because I am wiser about the way to get to Heaven than the roads on the Earth."15
Also in another place he (a.s.) stated, "No one else after me will make this statement unless he is a liar."16
Both the Shias and the Sunnis have narrated this matter. Whoever made this statement after His Holiness Ali (a.s.) was publicly disgraced since this statement was especially attributed to His Holiness Ali (a.s.).
Therefore, one must go to the doors of the houses of the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) and the Immaculate Imams (a.s.), and learn Islamic precepts from them. One must refer to them and must never go to the door of the house of anyone else. ‘Anyone else’ means those three caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman) and the Ummayad clan caliphs and the Abbasid clan caliphs and others such as those. This is because they did not have the religious knowledge, and for this very reason they were actually not the Prophet Muhammad’s successors.
For example, it was asked of the first caliph Abu Bakr,
“What is the meaning of the Arabic word abba (or fodder) in the verse 'And fruits and fodder?' The Holy Quran: ’Abassa 80:31.
Even though he was an Arab, he stated he did not know! Abu Bakr was asked many questions but did not know the answer.17 Umar was also asked a great deal of questions, but he went to the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) and got the answers by referring to Ali (a.s.). A lot has been written about these cases, and Umar stated the following in approximately seventy of those cases, "If Ali (a.s.) did not exist, Umar would be ruined."18 And on another occasion Umar stated, "I had to seek refuge in Allah on any occasion where there was a problem, and Abul Hassan Ali a.s) was not available."19 The same was the case for Umar on other occasions when he was unable to resolve the problems and stated, "O Ali (a.s.)! I will not survive after you."20
The case was the same for Uthman who was not able to provide answers for the problems. Also the four leaders of the Sunni schools of thought did not know theology and had only learnt some theology from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) and the other Divine Leaders (a.s.). Thus, one must refer to the Immaculate Imams (a.s.) in all of the sciences of theology and generally in everything. This is referred to in a poem on the authority of Sheikh Ibrahim ibn Soleiman al-Qatifi, "Do not pay any attention to the sayings of Abu Hanifeh, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Shafe-ee and Malik as well the sayings of Ka’b-ul-Ahbar. Instead express your love for and follow those Holy Imams who say, 'We narrate from our ancestors and they narrate from Gabriel and Gabriel narrates from God the Exalted.'"21
Thus His Holiness the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) ranked first in knowledge. Also in the stage of action it is evident what state he was in. In the stage of worship His Holiness (a.s.) stated one-thousand units of prayers at night. And there was also the prayer stated while an arrow-head was pulled out of his blessed leg. And His Holiness (a.s.) was so deeply involved in worship that he did not pay any attention to this.
One of the very important actions of His Holiness Ali (a.s.) was his Holy War in the Battle of the Trench (Khandaq) in which he struck down Amru ibn 'Abd Wudd.22 The Noble Prophet (S) stated the following about this incident, "Ali’s strike of the sword in the battle of Khandaq was the best of all the actions of my nation up until the Resurrection Day."23 This has been expressed in the following way in some other narrations, "The strike of the sword of His Holiness the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) is the most excellent worship of all the worship of the genies and mankind up until the Judgement Day."24
And this is much less than the Holy Wars of His Holiness Ali (a.s.) and the rest of the battles which were sincerely waged for God’s sake. Only God knows the worth of those battles. Therefore, it is obvious that knowledge and action were completely combined in Ali (a.s.) at the most perfect level.
2- "Excellent personal merit, noble descent and humbleness were combined together in His Holiness Ali (a.s.) and both of them reached the most perfect extent."25
Ali (a.s.) was the Prophet’s cousin and the offspring of Abu Talib also known as Sayyid Batha who was an important man amongst the Arabs. Al-Hassan (a.s.) and Al-Husayn (a.s.) were Ali’s (a.s.) children and his wife was Fatimah Zahra (a.s.) - the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad (S). No better personal merit and noble descent can be imagined than this. With all this greatness and nobility, the humbleness of His Holiness (a.s.) had reached the stage of such perfection that he took company with the poor. And he (a.s.) stated, "I am a poor companion of the poor."26
Of course, many cases regarding Ali’s (a.s.) humbleness have been narrated. And it is important that even though his (a.s.) personal merit, noble descent, and humbleness had reached the utmost extent, they were all combined together. And it rarely happens that someone with noble descent and excellent personal merits is also humble. Yet it is highly improbable for those attributes to be perfected in one person.
3- "Poverty and generosity combined together within His Eminence Ali (a.s.). And both of them reached the state of perfection although it is highly improbable for these two attributes to be combined together (within an individual)." 27
Persons who are poor are not generous. And those who are generous are not poor. However, the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) was poor as well as generous. Of course, His Holiness Ali (a.s.) was poor before the time of the Caliphate. This means that he (a.s.) did not have any wealth. However, the sincere generosity of His Holiness (a.s.) at that time was remarakable. The Chapter of the Quran (Hal Ata) was revealed about the sincerity of His Holiness (a.s.) and the Prophet’s (s) Household when they gave charity and were generous.
4- "Ascetism accompanied by a good temper had reached the most perfect extent within His Holiness Ali (a.s.) although it is highly improbable that these two attributes combine together (within an individual)."28
Often, people who are ascetic are bad-tempered. It rarely happens that they are pleasant and have a good temper. At the same time, ascetism and having a good temper could be found in His Holiness Ali (a.s.) at their most perfect extents. His Holiness (a.s.) stated, "I swear by God that in my opinion the world is more base than a meatless bone of a pig in the hands of a person who has leprosy."29
His Holiness Ali (a.s.) separated himself totally from the world, and paid no attention to it and what was in it at all. Thus, his asceticism reached the most perfect level. He reached the same level of perfection in being good-tempered so that his enemies stated the following in order to express it as a fault in him, "His Holiness Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) jokes too much."30 However, the jokes stated by Ali (a.s.) were very much similar to those stated by God's Prophet (S) and were nothing but the truth.
5- "Bravery and tender-heartedness had reached their most perfect extent in His Holiness (a.s.) although it rarely happens that these two combine together." 31
The bravery of the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) was such that all agreed upon the fact that no one like him in bravery had ever lived. He (a.s.) stated, "I swear by God that even if all the Arabs unite together against me I shall not run away from the battlefield, and when the occasion arrives I shall do my best to subdue them."32 The Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) was so brave that anyone who encountered him (a.s.) in the battlefield became frightened and lost his self-control.
The same point is stressed in a supplication referred to as 'The Greetings to the Divine Leader of the Time' in which we read, "May God's blessings, greetings, increase and blessedness be granted to the owner of the Prophetic call and Haydar's33 bravery."34 Here one of the attributes of the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) has been mentioned as Haydar’s bravery.
The issue of pulling out the gate of the fort at Khaybar is another amazing event about which even the Sunni poet Ibn Abil Hadid has composed the following poem, "O the one who pulled out the gate at Fort Khaybar even though forty-four who tried to do so together could not do so."1 The Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) himself stated the following in this regard, "I pulled out the gate of Fort Khaybar not using my own power. Rather I did it with the Power of God."35
We can conclude that opposing attributes were combined together in the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) to the point of perfection. That is why it is commonly stated that the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) is and was the perfect combination of opposing attributes.
Movement implies the uprising of one or a group of people for a good and admirable affair which is to the benefit of the general public. There have always been movements and uprisings of the followers of the Truth against the followers of the False. For example, the Prophets (a.s.) uprose against the polytheists and the idolaters.
His Holiness Abrahim (a.s.) uprose against Namrood and His Holiness Moses (a.s.) uprose against the Pharoah. And His Holiness Jesus (a.s.) uprose against the unbelievers from the Jewish tribe. His Holiness the Seal of the Prophets Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (S) uprose against the unbelieving Arabs, polytheists and idolaters. Likewise His Holiness the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) uprose against Muaviyah. His Holiness the Master of the Martyrs Imam Al-Husayn (a.s.) uprose against Yazid and the Ummayads.
Amongst all of these movements, the movement of His Holiness the Master of the Martyrs Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) is more outstanding than all the other movements, even those of the Prophets (a.s.). One of the reasons for this is that the calamities which His Holiness the Master of the Martyrs Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) suffered were much more severe than the calamities which the Prophets (a.s.) suffered during their uprisings.
You may ask what the goals of His Holiness Imam Husayn (a.s.) were for this astonishing uprising. You can find the answer to this question in Imam al-Husayn’s (a.s.) own sayings. Before the Karbala tragedy, he (a.s.) delivered a sermon in Mina for a large group of people during the reign of Muaviyah. There was a group of companions and followers present as well as some of the adherents of Muaviyah who made up narrations.
His Holiness (a.s.) blamed those people who pursued the same goals as those of the Ummayads. His Holiness (a.s.) guided and advised them. At the end of this sermon His Holiness (a.s.) recited the following supplication which expresses parts of his real objectives, "O Allah! You know that it was not a matter of conflict for power or request for the worldly pleasures and vanities (that made me say so), but it was just for showing the signs of Your Religion and spreading improvements over Your lands so that the wronged servants will be safe and secure, and Your Ordinances, Traditions, and Laws will be acted upon."36
God the Blessed the Sublime says,
"We sent aforetime our apostles with Clear Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance (of Right and Wrong), that men may stand forth in justice; and We sent down Iron…" The Holy Quran: Al-Hadid 57:25.
Therefore, attaining justice has always been one of the great goals of the Prophets.
Other goals of the Imam (a.s.) were to rescue the oppressed servants of God from the wickedness of the oppressors, and rid the oppressed of oppression. He (a.s.) also wished for the people to act upon the obligatory and recommended deeds and the laws of God's Religion.
It can be understood from the above that the objectives of His Holiness Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) were merely invitation to monotheism; worshipping God; propagating the Islamic sciences; advocating justice; fending off oppression from the oppressed; and acting upon the Islamic Decrees and Ordinances.
Now let us investigate about the state of the Muslims during the time of Imam al-Husayn (a.s.), so that it becomes clear for which objectives His Holiness (a.s.) uprose. Of course, we know that Muaviyah's main aim was to wipe Islam off of the face of the Earth and destroy it.
This can be confirmed by reports in some Sunni historical books. For instance, one can see the following reported in the historical book Murooj Az-Zahab by Masudy which is acknowledged by both the Shia and the Sunni scholars. In that book, it is reported that Mutrif Ibn Muqayrih ibn Shu’bah stated, ‘I had gone along with my father Muqayrih to visit Muaviyah, and my father always talked about Muaviyah’s cleverness. One day I found my father so upset that he refused to eat dinner. I asked him,
'Why are you so upset?' He replied, 'I have just arrived home from the presence of the most wicked person - Muaviyah. I stated to him that now that he has become the King of the Islamic country, he must desire the good and establish justice. However, he answered me like this, 'Abu Bakr ruled for a few years and left. No mention was ever made of him again. It was just the same for Umar and Uthman. Nothing remains of their names, but the name of Muhammad (S) is still greatly mentioned. And five times a day it is stated in the prayers Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan Rasool Allah (I bear witness that Muhammad is God’s Messenger). I will not be calm until I wipe that name off the face of the Earth.'"
From this statement we can understand that the aim of Muaviyah and other Ummayad Caliphs was to wipe out Islam. Actually they were the enemies of His Holiness the Prophet (S); and their enmity for Muhammad (S) was carried over to the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.).
Since they could not be enemous of the Prophet (S), they expressed their enmity for His Holiness Ali (a.s.) as Abdullah Ibn Abbas says, ‘The reason why they cursed the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) was that they wanted to curse the Prophet (S).’ They wanted to defame the Prophet (S), but did not dare to do so.
Of course, there exists many reasons why the aim of the Ummayad clan was not only fighting with the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) and His Holiness the Seal of the Prophets Muhammad (S), but their main aim was to sever the roots of Islam and monotheism. Thus, after Muaviyah took over the reigns of the rule, firstly he ordered that no one should state the virtues of the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.), and anyone who mentioned those virtues should be punished. Secondly, he decreed that narrations from the Prophet (S) be made up about the virtues of Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman.
Therefore, people such as Amru 'As, Abu Hurayrih and Muqayrih ibn Shu’bah and others began to fake narrations about the virtues of Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman. Presently some of those very same narrations exist in some of the books. And there are also some narrations about the virtues of His Holiness the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) which were so well known that they could not be denied; such as, "I am the city of knowledge and Ali (a.s.) is the door to that city."37
They even faked some additions to those narrations, and stated that the Prophet (S) stated, ‘I am the city of knowledge and Ali (a.s.) is the door to that city. Abu Bakr is the foundation of that city, Umar is the wall of the city, and Uthman is its ceiling.’38 Nowadays this narration can be found in their books. Some of the Shia sages object to this and say a city has no ceiling.
Or for instance, there is a well-known narration about Imam al-Hassan (a.s.) and Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) that could not be denied since God's Prophet (S) had said, "Al-Hassan and Al-Husayn are the Masters of the Youth of Paradise."39
To oppose what the Prophet (S) had said, they made up another narration as follows, "Abu Bakr and Umar are the elders of the old men in Paradise."40 Of course, this is objectionable since there are no old men in Paradise and everyone shall be resurrected as a young person in Paradise. They faked many other narrations about the virtues of Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman and the deficiencies of the Hashimites, and even taught those narrations to young children in schools.
Muaviyah ordered that Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) be cursed and insulted all over the country from the farthest East to the West from the top of the pulpits; in the Friday congregational prayers; and on every other occasion.
This was done in such a way that the cursing and insulting of Ali (a.s.) was normal in all the Islamic countries, and continued up until the time of Umar ibn Abd ul-Aziz until he himself banned this practice of cursing and insulting.
However, his prevention of that practice lasted only for the period of two and a half years while he was the Caliph. After him, the rest of the rulers from the Ummayad clan continued the practice of cursing and insulting Ali (a.s.). This continued up until the time of the rule of the Abbasid clan.
The Abbasids ordered that every Shia individual should be killed wherever he or she was seen, and his or her house should be destroyed. Moreover, they ordered that their salaries should be cut off. Thus, mass killing and looting of the Shias began in all cities.
All of this happened during the time of His Holiness Imam Husayn (a.s.) and His Holiness (a.s.) witnessed these events. For example, it has been stated in history books, "Ziyad ibn Abih ordered his governor in Basra called Samrat ibn Jundab to kill eight-thousand Shias whose only sin was to be a follower of Ali (a.s.)."41
Only God knows what terrible things happened in other cities. All of this took place during the time of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and His Holiness (a.s.) was a witness to those bitter events.
Imam Al-Hassan Mujtaba (a.s.) deemed it necessary to reconcile with Muaviyah for the survival of the Religion. Imam Al-Husayn (a.s.) found himself to be subject to the same circumstances during the reign of Muaviyah. Apparently, he (a.s.) found it necessary to make peace with Muaviyah. Muaviyah did not obey the peace conditions. Included amongst them were the following three conditions:
1- Do not curse the Commander of the Faithful, (but they cursed him).
2- Shias must be safe, but they were not.
3- Muaviyah must not designate Yazid to be his successor, but he did. Muaviyah opposed the peace conditions. However, since the same conditions existed as before, Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) waited until Muaviyah died. After Yazid took over the reigns of the rule, His Holiness the Master of the Martyrs al-Husayn (a.s.) uprose. Once Yazid came into office, he wrote to Medina’s governor to force Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) to pledge allegiance to Yazid. He ordered that they should kill the Imam (a.s.) if he refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid. Marvan encouraged Valid to do so and Valid decided to carry out this order. Therefore, Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) could not stay in Medina anymore and was forced to leave for Mecca at night. He (a.s.) stayed there for four months. Meanwhile, Kufians wrote twelve-thousand letters to His Holiness (a.s.), and some of them departed from Kufa to Mecca to invite His Holiness (a.s.) to Kufa. This continued and they strongly insisted upon it. Thus His Holiness the Master of the Martyrs (a.s.) sent Muslim ibn Aqil as his representative to Kufa. Upon the arrival of Muslim ibn Aqil, 18,000 people from Kufa swore allegiance to him.
After the people swore allegiance to Muslim ibn Aqil, he wrote a letter to Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) which confirmed that the people had sworn allegiance. On the other hand, Yazid ibn Muaviyah had ordered thirty people from the Ummayad clan to secretly kill the Imam (a.s.) when he was circumambulating around the House of God (the Ka’ba).
Thus, all the conditions led to the depature of the Imam (a.s.) from Mecca to Kufa. For this reason, the Imam (a.s.) left Mecca and uprose against Yazid although His Holiness (a.s.) himself knew that he (a.s.) would be martyred in this way. Moreover, the Prophet (S), the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.), and His Holiness Imam al-Hassan Mujtaba (a.s.) had previously foretold about the events of Karbala and the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) before it happened.
When Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) was about to depart from Mecca, he (a.s.) delivered a sermon and said, "Death is written down for the offspring of Adam (a.s.) and accompanies them just like a necklace worn by a young lady around her neck which accompanies her. Indeed, I see that wolves (of Kufa and Damascus) tear up my body into pieces in the land of Karbala and I get covered up with blood. Whoever is ready to sacrifice himself in this way may depart along with me tomorrow morning."42
We can understand from the Blessed Imam’s (a.s.) words that His Holiness (a.s.) explains clearly that he (a.s.) would be martyred. Although in reality His Holiness (a.s.) was aware of his upcoming martyrdom, he (a.s.) had been invited by the people to go to Kufa. The Imam (a.s.) combined his outward and inward duties. His outward duty was to go to Kufa and his inward duty was to attain martyrdom.
Of course, the goal of all the Prophets and their mission from God has been to struggle to revive the Religion of the Blessed God even if they may be killed on this path. Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) also fought in order to revive God's Religion even though he (a.s.) knew that he would become martyred in this way. God established this victory in the martyrdom of Al- Husayn (a.s.) as we notice its impact today in the mourning ceremonies. The Religion survived and it will continue on forever due to the blessedness of the mourning ceremonies which are always held for the martyrdom of Al-Husayn (a.s.).
We read the following in the Varith pilgrimage supplications, "I bear witness that, verily, you established the prayers; gave the prescribed share to the needy; commanded to do that which is right and lawful, and not do that which is wrong and unlawful; and sincerely served Allah, till the inevitable came unto you…"43
As you can see, the facts and the Islamic teachings are usually expressed in the mourning ceremonies held for Imam al-Husayn (a.s.). It is due to the blessings of such meetings that the people learn the Islamic decrees. Thus the uprising of Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) will forever assist the revival of the religion of Islam. We also read the following in the Arba'een pilgrimage supplications, "O God! Al-Husayn (a.s.) was one who gave his life for Your sake to save the people from ignorance and loss." 44
Some may say that if Al-Husayn (a.s.) knew about his destiny to be martyred since the Prophet (S) had given the news of that ending - then he (a.s.) should have stayed in Medina to be martyred. Why did he (a.s.) go to Mecca and then on to Karbala to get martyred there? The answer is that had Al-Husayn (a.s.) remained in Medina to be martyred in private, his martyrdom would not have had the same effect that it had and it would not have such an everlasting influence.
He (a.s.) decided that the martyrdom should take place in a very vast place where more than thirty-thousand troops had gathered to kill him while he did not even have any water to drink or food to feed his family and companions.
They killed the best companions of Imam al-Husayn (a.s.); chopped off the hands of Abul Fazl Abbas (a.s.); killed Ali Akbar and Ali Asghar; and ultimately killed Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) and chopped off his head. They did not stop at this and continued their atrocities by captivating the members of his holy household and took them on a caravan to Kufa and Sham (Damascus).
Thus we may conclude that the goal of Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) was to revive monotheism, Islam, Islamic knowledge, decrees and orders and the establishment of justice. Therefore, we should revive these in our daily lives and express Divine Decress to those under our control as much as we can as we read in the following tradition from the Prophet (S), "It has been narrated on the authority of God's Prophet that you are all responsible for those who are under your control."45
There are various narrations about the Master of the Martyrs in both Shia and Sunni sources. For example, there is a narration in which God's Prophet (S) said, "There is hidden love for Al-Husayn in the hearts of the believers."46 This implies that whoever believes in God and loves Him would also love Al-Husayn (a.s.). This is because Al-Husayn (a.s.) was a true servant of God and gave his life to revive the Religion. We also read in the Holy Quran,
"On those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, will Allah Most Gracious bestow love." The Holy Quran: Maryam 19:96.
Therefore, we may conclude that one who believes and does good deeds will also be loved. There is another narration in which God's Prophet (S) said, "Al- Husayn (a.s.) is from my flesh and blood and I am from Al-Husayn (a.s.)."47 The first part of this is clear but the second part means that the Prophet (S) declares everything in Islam to be due to Al-Husayn's (a.s.) sacrifice. Were it not for the bravery and sacrifice of Al-Husayn (a.s.), the Religion which the Prophet Muhammad (S) had brought would have been lost.
A careful historical review of that time shows that Islam was nearly abolished and the Ummayads planned to totally eradicate Islam and all the Religion for which many Prophets (a.s.) had struggled.
It was Al-Husayn (a.s.) who saved the Quran, Islam and the Religion by sacrificing his life, and the lives of his relatives and companions, and the captivity of the members of his household.
In another tradition about the nobility of Al-Husayn (a.s.) we read that God's Prophet (S) said, "It is written on the pillars of the Throne that Al-Husayn (a.s.) is the lantern of guidance and the ark of salvation."48 What is meant by "the lantern of guidance" is that Imam al- Husayn (a.s.) appeared as a lantern at the time when the darkness of loss and corruption during the oppressive rule of the Ummayads covered the whole world to eliminate it. What is meant by "the ark of salvation" is that whoever relies on Imam Al-Husayn (a.s.); follows Imam Al-Husayn (a.s.); revives his (a.s.) goal of the revival of Islam; and tries to honorably act out the Islamic decrees; and make others do the same; has revived Imam al-Husayn’s (a.s.) aim. Consequently, he will be saved.
Even the captivity of the members of the household of Al-Husayn (a.s.) including Imam Al-Husayns' sister Zaynab (a.s.) caused the people to understand more about the unbelief and the falseness of the Ummayad clan. It was then that the truthfulness of Islam appeared much more clearly and the falsehood of the Ummayads became apparent. God the Blessed the Exalted announced the great event of the martyrdom of Al- Husayn (a.s.) and the captivity of his family to all the Prophets. For example, God informed Adam (a.s.) - the father of mankind - about that event as we read, "O Adam! This is the beloved offspring of the Messenger of the end of time. They will kill him when he is alone and has no one to assist him."49
God the Blessed the Exalted created all the creatures for the sake of mankind. However, all of mankind was created for the perfect man. The perfect man is that very same God’s vicegerent who must always be on the Earth. Until man is on the Earth and the creatures on the Earth are moving around, this vicegerent must exist as we read in the Holy Quran,
"Behold, thy Lord stated to the angels: I will create a vicegerent on earth." The Holy Quran: Al-Baqara 2:30.
When God the Blessed the Exalted decided to create mankind, He informed the angels.
The meaning of the term "vicegerent" is the one person created on the Earth being the manifestation of the Divine Names and Attributes; the manifestation of Divine Knowledge and the manifestation of God’s Power and the rest of the attributes.
This very noble verse of the Quran which all the Muslims accept proves that the vicegerent of Allah who is the manifestation of the Divine Names and Attributes must always exist on the Earth. Of course, this vicegerent of Allah is either a Prophet or the Prophet’s successor.
That is just how it was. After Adam (a.s.) - the father of mankind - became the vicegerent of Allah on the Earth, the Prophets and their Trustees came in order to be the Divine Vicegerents. Finally, this great post was turned over to the Seal of the Prophets His Holiness Muhammad ibn Abdullah (S).
After the Prophet Muhammad (S), the twelve Divine Leaders (a.s.) - who were the Trustees of the Prophet (S) - were the Vicegerents of God. The twelfth one being that Holy Essence His Holiness Hujjat ibn al-Hassan al-Askari (May God expedite his noble appearance). Nowadays, he (a.s.) is the Vicegerent of God on the Earth and he (a.s.) is the Supervisor of our time. Even though we are deprived of seeing that Divine Proof, he is unseen until God decides that he should appear and please the people with his appearance. And we ask God the Blessed to benefit us with the sight of that great handsome face.
In another verse it is stated,
"I have only created Genies and men, that they may serve Me." The Holy Quran: Al-Zariyat 51:56.
It is stated in another narration, "O Children of Adam! Everything was created for you, while you were created for Me." This means that we were created to become perfect and worship God in a pariseworthy way. Therefore, it becomes clear from this verse and narration that the goal of this world’s creation is worshipping God. Now it must be asked whether that would be fulfilled even if there are several billion people on the Earth who commit sins and disobey God. The answer is clearly negative. However, this would be achieved if there is only one perfect individual who exists in all eras. This is so that God is worshipped in the way that He must be worshipped. If such an individual does not exist at any moment in time, the problem which the angels stated would arise as we read,
"… They stated: Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?" The Holy Quran: Al-Baqara 2:30.
But God stated,
"I know what ye know not." The Holy Quran: Al-Baqara 2:30.
This means that God did not create the world for the type of people who make mistakes, disobey God, commit sins, and shed other people's blood. Rather, God created everything for those whom the angels did not know about. Then God taught Adam (a.s.) - the father of all mankind - the names of those who God the Blessed the Exalted created everything for. Firstly, there is His Holiness the Seal of the Prophets Muhammad (S) and the Immaculate Imams (a.s.) and Her Holiness Fatima Zahra (a.s.); and then there are the Divine Prophets and their Trustees.
God’s response to the angels was that the reason behind His creating anyone on Earth is a prelude to the creation of the Holy Lights. Thus the goal behind the creation of the Earth is the existence of the perfect man who is either a Prophet or one of his Trustees. This series of events from the beginning of creation up until now has never stopped, and will not cease up until the Resurrection Day. Therefore, today the heavens and the Earth continue to exist awaiting the Holy Divine Leader of the Time - His Holiness Hujjat ibn al-Hassan al-Mahdi (May God the Sublime expedite his noble appearance). He was the ultimate cause for Creation.
Another verse which indicates the issue of Al-Mahdi the Saviour is as follows,
"Before this We wrote in the Psalms, after the Message (given to Moses): My servants the righteous, shall inherit the earth." The Holy Quran: Al-Anbiya 21:105.
This means that the bad deeds of those who are corrupt; oppressive; shed blood on Earth; and oppress others will end, and the 'righteous' (Holy Lights) will rule over the Earth and inherit it. Here the phrase the 'righteous' (Holy Lights) refers to the Divine Leader of the Time (May God the Sublime expedite his noble appearance).
Of course, this verse refers especially to the Imam of the Time (May God the Sublime expedite his noble appearance) and his companions. If some people become polluted by committing sins in that time, they are few in number and they shall perish.
In the Era of Appearance, the Holy Imam of the Time (May God the Sublime expedite his noble appearance) will rule over the world, and establish justice all over the world. There are many narrations in this regard from both Shia and Sunni sources all of which agree that such a blessed person will come who is a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (S) and from the progeny of Al-Husayn (a.s.). Their only difference in opinion regards who that person will be. Even many of the Sunnis believe that the Imam of the Time will be Al-Mahdi (a.s.), the son of Imam Al-Hassan al-Askari (a.s.) as the Shiites do.
Therefore, God has promised the glad appearance and uprising of His Holiness al-Mahdi (May God the Sublime expedite his noble appearance). And this promise shall be fulfilled. God the Blessed the Exalted will make the Imam of the Time appear when He deems it appropriate, and by the means of His Holiness Imam al-Mahdi (a.s.) God will fill the Earth with justice when it is filled with oppression.
In another verse it is stated,
"Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion - the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which they (lived), to one of security and peace: They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me. If any do reject Faith after this, they are rebellious and wicked." The Holy Quran: Al-Nour 24:55.
Therefore, since God does not take back His Promise, every Muslim should believe in the Riser as we read, "Anyone who dies without having recognized the Divine Leader of his time has died as if he has died in an ignorant state."50 There are many more verses in the Quran in this respect. However, we shall restrict ourselves to just the above three.
There are many narrations which have been expressed about the fact that this Earth will not be left without a Proof (meaning a Divine Leader of the time) and if there is a time when the Earth does not have a proof, it will devour all its inhabitants. In other narrations, it is stated that if the Earth is ever left without a Proof it will become full of waves and will not be get calm, just as the sea has great waves.
His Holiness the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) told Kumayl Ibn Ziyad (May God the Sublime grant him residence in Heaven), "Indeed this Earth will not be left without His Proof who will either be apparent and the people can see him or he will be concealed."51 This means that he chooses not to be seen by the people.
What was stated so far were a few examples of narrations that have been related by the Shias which were narrated on the authority of some of the Immaculate Imams (a.s.). They state that there must always be an Immaculate Divine Leader on the Earth. There are also some narrations which all the Muslim sects accept. One of these narrations which is surely to be found amongst all the Muslims is the narration which His Holiness the Noble Prophet Muhammad (S) stated as follows, "Anyone who dies without having recognized the Divine Leader of his time has died as if he has died in an ignorant state."52 This means that such a person has died as an atheist.
What we can conclude from this narration that:
1- It is of the utmost importance to recognize the Imam of the Time and everyone has the duty to recognize him.
2- In each era the Imam of that time must exist.
It was previously stated that the Sunnis also accept that in each time there must be an Imam and it is necessary to recognize him. However, it is interesting to see what they say about the meaning of the above narration. Another narration which has been quoted on the authority of the noble Prophet Muhammad (S) must be taken into consideration. It is quoted in another narration that God's Prophet (S) said, ‘The affairs of my Nation will proceed until there come twelve Caliphs all of whom are from the Quraysh.’53
Some of the Sunnis say that the Imams whose recognition is necessary are as follows. They say that the twelve consist of the first three Caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman), and then His Holiness the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.).Then they consider Muawiyah and Yazid to be the next Imams. Next they complete the list of the twelve Imams from the rest of the Ummayad clan. Some of them consider that the issue of the twelve Divine Leaders ends with the Ummayad dynasty.
However, many of these Ummayad Caliphs regularly drank liquor and were extremely corrupt and disgraceful. Some of them have included some of the Abbasids and resorted to them to complete the list of those twelve persons. In this list only the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) is an exception and is rightly an Imam. They claim that after these twelve, the kings who ruled such as Taymur, Genghis Khan and other oppressive kings who came were Divine Leaders although we all know what kind of individuals they were.
Of course, it is evident that this is all nonsence and no wise person can accept that the Imam of the Time upon whose existence the survival of the world depends can be any of these people.
During the rule of the Uthmani Bayazid King, there was once a discussion held amongst the Sunni clergy who were discussing the following narration, "Anyone who dies without having recognized the Divine Leader of his time has died as if he has died in an ignorant state."54
It was asked who was then the Imam of the time at that period? They stated, "The Imam of the time now is the king of the time (who was the Uthmani Bayazid King.) One of the Sunni clergy men rubbed his beard and said, "O God! Then on the Resurrection Day you are going to torture my beard for not recognizing Bayazid!?"
Some of the Sunni scholars who realized that the above interpretation of this narration is not logical said that the first three caliphs meaning Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman were three of the twelve and then the rest of them were from the Divine Immaculate Leaders starting with the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.). They wrote many books about the twelve Imams, their virtues and attributes and the wonders of the Immaculate Ones (a.s.). They do not accept the birth and the occultation of His Holiness Hujjat Ibn Al-Hassan Al-Mahdi (May God the Sublime expedite his noble appearance).
They completely object to this matter (Mahdaviyat). So to speak, these are those very same twelver-Imams Sunnis who have been involved in such a destiny because of the false explanation which they have made up about this narration. For gaining more information, you can refer to the books Najm-as-Saqab and Yanabee-ul-Mavaddat and see how many books the Sunnis have written about this issue meaning the mentioning of the virtues and the attributes of the Household of Innocence and Purity (a.s.). They have not only written many books about the Imams but also they have written special books about the Imam of the Time (May God the Exalted expedite his noble appearance). They have written special books such as the book Al-Bayan-fi-Akhbar-i-Sahebul az- Zaman written by Gangi Shafiiand, the book Aqdad ud-Durar fi-Akhbar-i Imam-ul-Muntazir written by Damishqi, the book Al-Burhan-fi-Alamat-i- Mahdi Akhar-uz-Zaman written by Mulle Ali Muttaqi, and the book Manaqib Al-Mahdi written by Abu Naim Isfihani,etc. In these books the Sunnis have recorded the conditions of the Imam of the Time (a.s.) and the quality of his birth and occultation in the same way that the Shias have written.
Thus you see that the above narration is generally accepted by all Muslims.However, those who interpret "the Divine Leader of his time" to be other than the twelve Immaculate Divine Leaders starting with the Commander of the Faithful Ali (a.s.) and ending with the Riser Al- Mahdi (a.s.) are wrong, and shall ultimately laugh at themselves. Some have stated that the phrase "the Divine Leader of his time" refers to the Quran. However, when they are asked why don't the more than one billion Muslims know the Quran today, they respond that it only refers to the opening chapter of the Quran. You can easily see that this cannot be accepted at all.
On the other hand, the following narration is cited in Sunni sources, "The Prophet (S) said, 'This good religion will proceed on and no one can harm it until there come twelve Leaders after me. They are all from the Quraysh.'"55 It is also quoted in another narration that God's Prophet (S) said, “The affairs of my Nation will proceed until there come twelve Caliphs all of whom are from the Quraysh.”56
There are also narrations on the authority of God's Prophet (S) related by the Sunnis themselves in which Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari quoted that His Holiness the Seal of the Prophets Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (S) clearly names the twelve Immaculate Divine Leaders naming the first one of them to be Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), and then Imam al-Hassan (a.s.), Imam al-Husayn (a.s.), Imam as-Sajjad (a.s.), Imam al-Baqir (a.s.), Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.), Imam al-Kazim (a.s.), Imam al-Ridha (a.s.), Imam al-Javad (a.s.), Imam al-Hadi (a.s.), Imam al-Hassan al-Askari (a.s.), and the Imam of the Time al- Mahdi MGB). These are the Immaculate Imams who succeed the Prophet (S).57
Also in another narrations some of the Sunni scholars have written that the Noble Prophet (S) stated, "The twelfth Imam has a long period of occultation during which the Shias benefit from him just as the people may benefit from the sun when it is concealed behind clouds."58
Therefore, we see that the names of the twelve Imams have also been mentioned in the main Sunni sources. Thus, no room remains for any doubt and all the Muslim sects have quoted the relevant narrations.
Moreover, there are also some references to the coming of the Prophet Muhammad (S) and the twelve Divine Leaders after him in the Torah and the Bible. We find the following reference in the Torah, "After God gave the glad tidings to His Holiness Abraham (a.s.) that God will grant him Issac (a.s.) and Jacob (a.s.) and some Prophets will be created from their progeny, Abraham (a.s.) said, "O God! What will You grant to my son Ishmael?" God said, "I heard your sayings about Ishmael. I'll make him great and fortunate and I will honor him with the blessing of His Holiness Muhammad (S) and I will create from the progeny of Ishmael twelve important Masters after that Prophet (referring to His Holiness Muhammad (S))."59
Thus you see that this is in agreement with what the Prophet Muhammad (S) said about the twelve Leaders after him as we read in the following tradition, "I heard the Prophet (S) say, ‘There will be twelve Leaders after me.’"60
We may conclude that all the nations in the world are awaiting the coming of the Reformer of the end of time. There is no doubt about this and it is supported by many of the religious books of various religions. There is a lot of evidence in books and narrations which say that the true Reformer is the Holy Imam of the Time His Holiness Hujjat Ibn Al-Hassan Al-Mahdi (May God the Exalted expedite his noble appearance).
The survival of the heavens and the Earth and the system of the universe today depends upon the Immaculate Hujjat Ibn Al-Hassan Al- Mahdi (May God the Exalted expedite his noble appearance) as we read in the following verse,
"And the Earth will shine with the Glory of its Lord…" The Holy Quran: Az-Zumar 39:69.
Also many narrations about the very pleasant appearance of His Holiness Hujjat Ibn Al-Hassan Al-Mahdi (May God the Exalted expedite his noble appearance) have been narrated both by the Sunni clergymen and the Shias and have been recorded in credible sources. We can cite the following narration as an example, "Even if only one day remains in the world, God will extend that day until one of my offspring appears and by him God will fill the world with justice after it has been filled with oppression."61
Nowadays, oppression has spread all over the world notwithstanding unbelief, idolatry and polytheism. Actually Muslims are under a lot of pressure and we see that many of the Shia Muslims are subject to oppression. Hopefully, God will expedite the appearance of that innocent light - the Imam of the Time - so that relief and comfort will come in the affairs of the Muslims especially the Shia Muslims.
- 1. Kafi, 2/21.
- 2. Tarikh-i-Tabari, 3/1171-1172.
- 3. Al-Khisal 24-7 [24-7 (The compiler of the book narrated) that his father – may God be pleased with him – narrated that Al-Hassan ibn Ahmad al-Askif al-Qumi linked up this tradition to Muhammad ibn Ali who narrated that Muhammad ibn Hisan al-Qoosi quoted Ali ibn Muhammad ibn al-Ansari al-Marvazy, on the authority of Abdullah ibn Abdul Karim al-Razi known as Abi Dor.at, on the authority of Abdul Hamid al-Himmani, on the authority of Layth, on the authority of Mujahid, on the authority of Ibn Abbas that God.s Prophet (S) stated, “Gabriel came to me while he was very happy.
I asked, ‘O my friend Gabriel! As happy as you are please tell me what you have to say so that I know what the place of my brother and cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) is in God’s presence?’ Gabriel stated, ‘I promise by Him who appointed you to the Prophethood and chose you for that mission that I have only descended down to the Earth for that very same issue. O Muhammad! The Sublime God sends greetings to both of you and says, ‘Muhammad is the Prophet of My Mercy and Ali is the Upholder of My Proof. I will not torture anyone who loves Ali even if he commits sins, and I will not have mercy upon Ali’s enemies even if they obey Me.’”
Ibn Abbas added that God.s Prophet (S) stated, “When the Resurrection Day comes, Gabriel will come to my presence with the Flag of Praise (Leva ul-Hamd) which has seventy long narrow pieces each of which is wider than the Sun and the Moon. He will come to me when I am sitting on one of the chairs in Paradise atop one of the many sacred pulpits. I will take the flag and entrust it to Ali ibn Abi Talib.”
Then Umar ibn Khattab jumped up from his place and stated, “O Prophet of God! How could Ali stand to hold it with it having seventy pieces each of which is wider than the Sun and the Moon? Then the Prophet (S) replied, “When the Resurrection Day comes God will grant Ali (a.s.) powers similar to the powers of Gabriel, light similar to the light of Adam, patience similar to the patience of Paradise, beauty similar to the beauty of Joseph, a good voice like the voice of David. Were it not that David is going to be the speaker of Paradise, God would have given David.s voice to Ali (a.s.). Indeed Ali will be the first person to drink from the fresh cool water (Salsabil) and ginger (Zanjebil) Pool. When Ali takes one step on the Bridge, his other foot will be held firmly on it. There is such a position and rank for Ali and His followers in God’s presence that the people of the past and the people of the latter times would envy.”]
- 4. Tafsire Nur ul-Saqalayn 2/280.
- 5. Muhammad (S), Fatimah (a.s.), Ali (a.s.), and the other eleven Divine Leaders from the progeny of Fatimah (a.s.).
- 6. See tradition No. 23-1 rgarding the meaning of Itrat where God’s Prophet stated, ‘I am leaving amongst you two weighty things: God’s Book and my progeny; my family. They will not depart each other until they will join me at the Divine Pool.’
- 7. Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha 31-40.
- 8. Bihar ul-Anwar, 23. We also read the following in Al-Khisal 24-1, " God.s Prophet (S) say, .O Ali! Your similitude in my nation is like that of Noah’s Ark which whoever boarded was rescued, and anyone who did not was drowned.."
- 9. Ithna Asharia 64.
- 10. Ibid.
- 11. Yanabi ul-Mavadat 54.
- 12. Bihar ul-Anwar, 40/202-206.
- 13. Al-Khisal, 24-1.
- 14. Bihar ul-Anwar, 40/125.
- 15. Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 189.
- 16. Irshad ul-Quloub, 2/376.
- 17. Nur ul-Saqalayn, 5/511.
- 18. Bihar ul-Anwar, 46/309.
- 19. Bihar ul-Anwar, 40/149.
- 20. Bihar ul-Anwar, 40/148.
- 21. Bihar ul-Anwar, 108/117.
- 22. We read the following in Al-Khisal, 22-31: [Then Ali (a.s.) stated, ‘I swear to you by God! Is there anyone amongst you who went to fight with Amru ibn ‘Abd Wudd when he came into the field and challenged someone to fight with other than me? You were all scared. It was I who stood up. God’s Prophet (S) asked me, ‘Where are you going?’ I replied, ‘To fight this corrupt person!’ The Prophet (S) stated, ‘This is Amru ibn ‘Abd Wudd!’ I stated, .O Prophet of God! If he is Amru ibn ‘Abd Wudd, I am Ali ibn Abi Talib.’ The Prophet (S) stated the same thing to me again. I gave him (a.s.) the same response. Then the Prophet (S) stated, ‘Go in the name of God!’ Once I went there and approached him, he asked me, ‘Who are you?’ I stated, ‘I am Ali ibn Abi Talib!’
He stated, ‘O cousin! You are a noble fighter. Please return! I was friends with your father and I was his companion. I do not like to kill you.’ I told him, ‘O Amru! You have made a covenant with God to honor one of three proposals presented to you by anyone.’ Amru stated, ‘Go ahead and propose!’ I stated, ‘Bear witness that there is no god but God, Muhammad is God’s Prophet and confess to what he has brought to us from God.’ Amru stated, ‘Present your second proposal.’ I stated, ‘Return to your own house.’ Amru stated, ‘By God, the women of Quraysh are going to say that I was scared and ran away from the battlefield.’
Then I stated, ‘Get off your horse and let’s fight.’ He accepted this proposal and got off his horse. We started to fight and two strikes were exchanged between us. His strike ruptured my armor and his sword reached my head, but I chopped off his legs with my strike. God had him killed by my hands. Is there anyone amongst you to have done this?’ They replied, ‘By God; no.’]
- 23. Ihqaq al-Haq 8/319.
- 24. Iqbal al-A’mal 467.
- 25. Ithna Asharia 64.
- 26. Rowzat al-Shohada Kashefi 172.
- 27. Ithna Asharia 64.
- 28. Ithna Asharia 64.
- 29. Nahjul Balaghah, Words of Wisdom 116.
- 30. Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 84.
- 31. Ithna Asharia, 64.
- 32. Nahjul Balaghah, Letter 45.
- 33. Ali (a.s.) usually referred to as Haydar and Haydar’s bravery refers to Ali’s bravery.
- 34. Khaje Nasir Tousi’s supplications for the twelve Divine Leaders.
- 35. Amali Sheikh Sadooq
- 36. Tuhuf ul-Uqool.
- 37. Al-Qadir 6 pp. 61-79.
- 38. Al-Sawarim al-Muhqarih 132.
- 39. Bihar ul-Anwar, 37/73.
- 40. Bihar ul-Anwar, 37/73.
- 41. Mukhtasar Tarikhe Damesq, 9 pp.86-88.
- 42. Kashf ul-Qamma, 2/29.
- 43. Mafatih al-Jinan, Chapter 3.
- 44. Mafatih al-Jinan, Chapter 3.
- 45. Bihar ul-Anwar, 72/38.
- 46. A slightly different form of this narration is in Bihar ul-Anwar, 43/272.
- 47. Bihar ul-Anwar, 43/270.
- 48. Bihar ul-Anwar, 36/204.
- 49. Bihar ul-Awar, 44/245.
- 50. Yani’ye al-Mavada, 3/206.
- 51. Nahjul Balaghah, Words of Wisdom 147.
- 52. Yani’ye al-Mavada, 3/206.
- 53. Al-Khisal, Narration No. 12-38.
- 54. Yani’ye al-Mavada, 3/206.
- 55. Al-Khisal, Narration No. 12-29.
- 56. Al-Khisal, Narration No. 12-38.
- 57. Ta’vil la-Ayat al-Zahera, 141.
- 58. Ta’vil la-Ayat al-Zahera, 141.
- 59. Tora, Parash.
- 60. Al-Khisal, Narration No. 12-13.
- 61. Sahih Turmuzi