13. Division of the Dominion of Leadership
The writer again here too speaks wrongly. He says that in the days of Imam Sadiq the leadership split into two - that of terrestrial and the other of spiritual. Each one separated from the other. Shias have never thought nor did they ever consider that the Imams should not possess a worldly leadership and that they are fit only for a spiritual leadership. They did and do consider that they hold both offices, that is, the leadership of worldly affairs and the spiritual leadership.
Both positions are combined in their authority. Shias, therefore, regard those who seized power out of the hands of the Imams as tyrants. They could not revolt without the Imam’s permission. They took to propagate the facts. They confronted the tyrants. They acted prudently and with caution so as not to provide the slightest pretext that could result in a general massacre of Shias. Shia conduct has always been such as to make the rulers of their time sympathetic towards them.
It was unacceptable that the leadership be divided into sectors. It can be said that before the martyrdom of Imam Husayn both dimensions were combined in the leadership. For example, Omar Bin Khattab and Osman Bin Affan were regarded as such. But when the martyrdom of Imam Husayn occurred the Muslims themselves regarded the leadership as forming two separate angles, which was a result of that unique Holy war. They gave the most important one, that of religion and its issues to the Imams because they never considered the caliphs as their real spiritual leaders.
They respected the caliphs as a symbol towards maintaining the unity and preserving the existing state. The advantage of the influence which the blood of Imam Husayn exercised on the preservation of Islam cannot be computed neither by the Shia nor by the Sunni.
In some cases if this be said, it will sound reasonable, that the readers were satisfied that the Imam would not create a danger of uprising against them. For example, to some extent we see such a conviction in Mansoor with regards to Imam Ja’far Sadiq. But, still he was not convinced because he adopted provisionary measures such as to keep a vigilant watch on the Imam and to have spies watch over him.
Finally in order to relieve himself of this suspense of danger he poisoned him Imam Sadiq and ended his life. Likewise did Haroon to Imam Musa Bin Ja’far. He imprisoned him for years and finally got rid of him by terminating his life. This clearly indicates that the Shia regarded both the dimensions of leadership, of worldly and spiritual, in the person of the Imam.
The Imams were individuals who worked and toiled to the benefit and profit of all Muslims. A dead earth is brought to life by rains and the naked trees of autumn are clad by spring in a new dress of a uniform and universal green. It is befitting similitude to provide a resemblance for our easy comprehension of the task and toil of the Imams for Islam and common good to all.
Therefore, such a project could not have progressed without inspirations from the Divine or a secret plan designed and given to them by the Prophet (S). Why should it not be a divine decree communicated to them? We cannot find any other possibility. The best argument is to question the very performance itself.
Ali Bin Abi Talib sat home for twenty five years, Imam Hasan adopted the policy of peace, Imam Husayn did not take rest till he and his sons, nephews and friend’s blood was not shed, Imam Zainul Abideen adopted a language of supplication in his gospel “Sahifa Sajjadia” Imam Mohammed Baqir and Imam Ja’far Sadiq broke the beds of the fountain of knowledge which inundated all the dry lands - even the deserts, and the other Imams, each acted uniquely, independently and differently. Why? What for?
Why was there uniformity in their policies or methods? They acted only on instructions beyond common vision and far from a general comprehension. Whatever their ways and whatever their methods their variety preserved the unity.
What else could one do if he were to have a treasure amidst robbers and thieves? Gangsters, spies, enemies, hypocrites, fake and feign friends, were like snakes crawling under grass: and one had to make a movement! How hard an ordeal for one not to be robbed, cheated and deceived, not be fooled and not to be bitten by the venomous snakes and cobras hidden under his paces - sometimes hissing in a friendly tone and sometimes hissing in hatred.
Danger and terror waited always at the steps of the door. To call for help was to declare helplessness and encourage the enemy; and to fight was to be exposed to certain and annihilate the very signs for future generations. Still, in spite of those hardships, and regardless of those setbacks, they kept Shi’ism safe and secured so that the sweet smell of the original Islam could fill the air. When a putrid stench disturbs the senses there should be an ever-fresh flower in the shape of an everlasting lili or an eternal rose to refresh the mind and redress the nerves.
This flower shall ever remain reminding that a Mahdi is to come and what is taken will be returned.