20. The Issue of absence or occultation is a reality and not a theory or a fancy
The writer has this to say. The atrocities of Bani Abbas towards the progeny of Ali and the sons of Imam Ja’far Sadiq had created unrest and confusion as well as the problem of succession to Imam Hasan Askari (260, 874 AD). At Samarra there rendered elements and factors, which as a result brought on the theory of the Imam’s occultation.
However it was not a theory but a reality, a fact, a truth. It was written in books before Imam Hasan Askari had become Imam that the twelfth Imam would take shelter in absenting himself and that he would take refuge in his own disappearance and that for his safety he would resort to his own occultation under God’s command. Some took advantage of the opportunity that Ja’far claimed that he was the awaited one. People did not believe him because of his reputation. This claim further strengthened the belief of the Shia in the Imamate of Mahdi. Their trust nullified the false claims.
What we can understand from the writers tone, is that in a sense from the time of Imam Sadiq and onward the term Imamate did not carry any political meaning, that is, Imamate was bleak of political platform and barren of political performance. The Imams and their followers remained safe to a certain extent.
The writer should know that the Imams possessed the combined offices, that of political leadership and that of the religious one. Both the Imams and the Shias knew that the Imams held both offices. In addition, the Shia views them as the sole heirs of the Prophet. The rulers of Bani Abbas were no more than the robbers and confiscators of their right and what belonged to them.
The rulers too were aware of this fact that they were transgressors and trespassers to that which was not theirs. Time and again Mansoor, Haroon, Ma’mun, and other rulers had acknowledged the fact that the religious position was not theirs to hold, nor that of the political position. They were only occupants while the right was that of the Imams.