Epitomes of Life
We should learn the history of the lives of the infallible Imams, not only as "glorious and invaluable memories", but also as "paragons and lessons". It is not possible to do so without paying due attention to the precept and political strategy of these honorable figures.
I have personally developed an interest in this aspect of the infallible Imams' lives and it is pertinent here to submit that for the first time this idea occurred to me during a crucible and an ordeal test.
Although I had already been acquainted with the infallible Imams as figures who struggled in the way of the sublimation of the word of "Tawhid" (monotheism) and those who devoted for the establishment of a divine government, what became clear to me at that stage was that the lives of these honorable figures - despite their superficial and sometimes contradictory differences - were all and all a continuous, prolonged movement which began in 11 hijra, continued until 250 and ended in 260 hijra which is the commencement of the Minor Occultation [of Imam Mahdi (May Allah Hasten His Reappearance)].
Without any doubt these honorable figures performed their duties like a single personality, following a single goal towards a single direction. Hence, instead of studying the lives of Imam Hassan Mujtaba (as), Imam Hussein (as), and Imam Sajjad (as) individually, we should perceive them as an individual who lived for 250 years, launching his movement in 11 hijra and continuing it until 260. This approach will prevent wrong inferences drawn from the superficial differences in the precepts of the Imams that sometimes even look contradictory. All the stances and movements of this great infallible Imam are comprehendible on the basis of this approach.
Any wise, sagacious human being, even if not infallible, would have his "situational" tactics and stances in a long-term movement. He may move fast on some occasions, while in other occasions he may move slowly; he may even tactically withdraw, while those who are aware of his knowledge, sagacity and goal-oriented movement, consider his tactical withdrawal as a step forward. According to this approach, the life of Imam Ali (as) is part of a continuous movement, which was followed by Imam Hassan Mujtaba (as), Imam Hussein (as) and other eight Imams until 260 hijra.
I realized this point that year and tried to study the lives of these honorable figures on the basis of this approach. The more I delved into the issue, the more this point was acknowledged.