Table of Contents

Chapter 21: Necessity of Imam in Every Age

1 - Narrated to us my father; and Muhammad bin Hasan - may Allah be pleased with them - they said: Narrated to us Saad bin Abdullah that: Narrated to us Muhammad bin Isa bin Ubaid; and Muhammad bin Husain bin Abil Khattab from Muhammad bin Fudail from Abi Hamza Thumali from Abi Abdullah (a.s.) that he asked him:

“Can the earth remain without an Imam?” He replied: “If the earth is without an Imam for a moment, it will indeed sink into itself.”

2 - Narrated to us Muhammad bin Hasan bin Ahmad bin Walid (r.a.) that he said: Narrated to us Muhammad bin Hasan as-Saffar that he said: Narrated to us Abbas bin Maroof from Ali bin Mahziyar from Muhammad bin Haitham from Muhammad bin Fudhail from Abil Hasan Reza (a.s.) that he asked him:

“Can the earth remain without an Imam?” “No,” he replied. I asked: “It has been narrated from Abi Abdullah (a.s.) that the earth will not remain without an Imam except that Allah will be angry on the people or on His servants?” The Imam said: “It will not remain except that it will sink into itself.”

3 - Narrated to us my father; and Muhammad bin Hasan - may Allah be pleased with them - they said: Narrated to us Saad bin Abdullah that: Narrated to us Muhammad bin Isa bin Ubaid from Abi Abdullah Zakariya bin Muhammad Momin from Abi Harasa from Abi Ja’far (a.s.) that he said:

“If the Imam is lifted from the earth for a moment, it (the earth) will sink along with its inhabitants like the sea sinks along with those in it.”

4 -Narrated to us my father (r.a.) that he said: Narrated to us Saad bin Abdullah that he said: Narrated to us Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Isa and Ibrahim bin Mahziyar from Ali bin Mahziyar from Husain bin Saeed from Abi Ali Bajali from Aban bin Uthman from Zurarah bin Uyun from Abi Abdullah (a.s.) that he said at the end of the tradition about Husain bin Ali (a.s.):

“If the Divine Proof does not remain on the earth, it will be destroyed along with whatever is in it and upon it. The earth cannot be devoid of Divine Proof for a moment.”

5 - Narrated to us my father (r.a.) that: Narrated to us Saad bin Abdullah: Narrated to us Muhammad bin Husain bin Abil Khattab from Abi Dawood Sulaiman bin Sufyan Mustariq from Ahmad bin Umar Hallal that he said:

“I asked Abul Hasan Reza (a.s.): “It is narrated to us from Abi Abdullah (a.s.) that he either said: ‘The earth will not remain without an Imam’ or ‘it will remain without an Imam in it’; (what is the correct version?) He replied: ‘God forbid! It will not survive for a moment but that it will indeed cave into itself.’”

6 - Narrated to us my father (r.a.) that: Narrated to us Hasan bin Ahmad Maliki from his father from Ibrahim bin Abi Mahmood that he said: Ar-Reza (a.s.) said:

“We are the proofs of Allah upon His creatures, and His vicegerents on His servants and the trustees of His secrets. And we are the word of guarding, and the firm rope and we are the witnesses of Allah and His signs among His creatures. Through us Allah has maintained the heavens and the earth from crashing. And for our sake the rain falls and the divine mercy spreads. And the earth is never devoid of a Qaim from among us, be he apparent or hidden and if it be without divine proof for a single day it will cave along with its inhabitants like the sea sinks along with those in it.”

7 - Narrated to us my father (r.a.) that: Narrated to us Saad bin Abdullah bin Ja’far Himyari that they said: Narrated to us Ibrahim bin Mahziyar from his brother Ali bin Mahziyar from Muhammad bin Abi Umair from Saad bin Abi Khalaf from Hasan bin Ziyad that he said: I heard Abu Abdillah (a.s.) say:

“The earth can never be devoid of a scholar (Divine Proof) because neither can the system of the earth run nor can the people be reformed without it.”

8 - And from the same chain of narrators from Ali bin Mahziyar from Hasan bin Ali Khazzaz from Ahmad bin Umar that he asked Abul Hasan (Imam Kazim):

“Can the earth remain without an Imam?” He replied: “No.” I asked: “It is narrated to us that it cannot be but that Allah will be furious on His servants?” The Imam said: “It cannot remain (except that) it will sink into itself.”

9 - Narrated to us my father; and Muhammad bin Hasan - may Allah be pleased with them -they said: Narrated to us Saad bin Abdullah; and Abdullah bin Ja’far, they said: Narrated to us Muhammad bin Isa and Muhammad bin Husain bin Abil Khattab from Abi Abdullah Momin and Hasan bin Ali bin Faddal from Abi Harasa from Abi Ja’far (a.s.) that he said:

“If the Imam is taken away from the earth it will sink along with its inhabitants like the sea sinks along with those in it.”

10 - Narrated to us my father and Muhammad bin Hasan - may Allah be pleased with them -they said: Narrated to us Saad bin Abdullah and Abdullah bin Ja’far they said: Narrated to us Muhammad bin Isa and Muhammad bin Husain bin Abil Khattab all of them from Muhammad bin Sinan from Hamza Tayyar that he said: I heard Aba Abdillah (a.s.) say:

“If none remains on the earth except two persons, one of them will be the Divine Proof” or he said, “The second of them is the Divine Proof”. This doubt is from Muhammad bin Sinan.

11 - And through the same chain of narrators from Muhammad bin Isa from Yunus bin Abdur Rahman from Abi Sabbah from Abi Abdullah (a.s.) that he said:

“Indeed Allah, the Blessed and the Mighty, does not leave the earth but that there is a scholar on it who is aware of every excess and deficiency so that if the believers observe excess in something he may return them (to the divine limits) and if they are deficient in something he may complete it for them. And if it had not been so, the affairs of the believers would have been unknown to them.”

12 - And through the same chain of narrators from Yunus bin Abdur Rahman from Ibne Muskan from Abi Baseer that he said: Abu Abdullah (a.s.) said:

“Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, certainly does not leave the earth without an Imam. If it had not been thus, the truth would not have been distinguished from falsehood.”

13 - Narrated to us my father; and Muhammad bin Hasan - may Allah be pleased with them -they said: Narrated to us Saad bin Abdullah; and Abdullah bin Ja’far, they said: Narrated to us Yaqoob bin Yazid from Ahmad bin Hilal – (when he was on the right faith) ¬from Muhammad bin Abi Umair from Uzainah from Zurarah that he asked Abi Abdullah (a.s.):

“Is it possible for an Imam to pass away without being succeeded by anyone?” The Imam replied: “It will never be so.” I (the narrator) asked: “Can it ever happen thus?” He replied: “No, it can never be so, except that Allah, the Mighty and Sublime will send wrath on His creatures and deal with them (immediately).”

14 - Narrated to us my father; and Muhammad bin Hasan - may Allah be pleased with them -they said: Narrated to us Abdullah bin Ja’far: Narrated to us Muhammad bin Ahmad from Abi Saeed Usfoori from Amr bin Thabit from his father from Abi Ja’far (a.s.) that he said:

“If the earth remains without an Imam from among us for a day it will cave into itself with all its inhabitants. And Allah will chastise them with His worst chastisement. Indeed Allah, the Blessed and the Mighty, has appointed us as His proofs in His earth and made us a security for the inhabitants of the earth. Thus till the time one of us is present there is security for the inhabitants of the earth. When Allah wants to destroy them without giving any respite or looking upon them with mercy, He will take us away from among them and raise us to Himself. Then Allah will do what He wants and what He likes.”

15 - Narrated to us my father; and Muhammad bin Hasan - may Allah be pleased with them - they said: Narrated to us Abdullah bin Ja’far Himyari from Ahmad bin Hilal from Saeed bin Jannah from Sulaiman Ja’fari that he asked Abul Hasan Reza (a.s.):

“Can the earth remain without a Divine Proof?” He replied: “If the earth is without a Divine Proof for a fraction of a second, it will cave into itself along with its inhabitants.”

16 - Narrated to us Muhammad bin Hasan (r.a.): Narrated to us Saad bin Abdullah; and Abdullah bin Ja’far Himyari, all of them from Muhammad bin Isa from Ali bin Ismail Mithami from Thalaba bin Maimoon from Abdul Ali bin Ayan from Abi Ja’far (a.s.) that he said:

“Allah does not leave the earth without a scholar who reduces what they (people) increase (in religion) and increases what they reduce. If it had not been thus, the affairs of the people would have become confusing for them.”

17 - Narrated to us my father (r.a.); Narrated to us Abdullah bin Ja’far Himyari from Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Isa from Husain bin Saeed from Faddala bin Ayyub from Dawood from Fudhail Rassan that he said:

Muhammad bin Ibrahim wrote to Abi Abdullah (a.s.): “Tell us about the excellence of you Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).” So Abi Abdullah (a.s.) replied to him: “Indeed the stars are placed in the sky as means of security for the folks of the heavens. If the stars go away from the sky the folks of the heavens will get what they are promised. And the Messenger of Allah (S) said: My Ahlul Bayt is appointed as the means of security for my Ummah. Thus when my Ahlul Bayt go away, my Ummah will get what it is promised.”

18 - Narrated to us Muhammad bin Umar al-Hafiz Baghdadi that he said: Narrated to us Ahmad bin Abdul Aziz bin Jaadi Abu Bakr that he said: Narrated to us Abdur Rahman bin Salih: Narrated to us Ubaidullah bin Musa from Musa bin Ubaidah from Iyaas bin Salamah from his father in a tradition traceable to an infallible that he said: The Messenger of Allah (S) said:

“The stars are (means of) security for the folks of the heavens and my Ahlul Bayt is (the means of) safety for my Ummah.”

19 -Narrated to us Muhammad bin Umar: Narrated to me Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Sirri bin Sahl: Narrated to us Abbas bin Husain: Narrated to us Abdul Malik bin Harun bin Antara from his father from his grandfather from Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (S) said:

“The stars are (means of) security for the folks of the heavens. Thus when the stars go away the folks of the sky shall also be gone. And my Ahlul Bayt is (the means of) safety for the inhabitants of the earth. Thus when my Ahlul Bayt go away the folks of the earth shall also be gone.”

20 -Narrated to us my father (r.a.): Narrated to us Saad bin Abdullah from Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Isa from Abbas bin Maroof from Abdullah bin Abdur Rahman Basri from Abi Maghra Humaid bin Muthanna Ijli from Abi Baseer from Khaithama Jofi from Abi Ja’far (a.s.) that he said:

“We are the Jambullah (side of Allah) and we are His chosen ones and His Pool. We are the inheritors of the prophets. We are the trustees of (secrets) of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime. We are the proofs of Allah and we are the pillars of faith and we are the foundations of Islam. We are from the mercy of Allah on His creatures. We are those through whom was the beginning and will be the end. And we are the Imams of guidance and we are the lamps of darkness and we are the minarets of guidance. We are the foremost and we are the ultimate. We are raised standard for the people.

One who got attached to us got the truth and one who left us was drowned. We are the chiefs with white-forehead. We are the best creatures of Allah and we are the clear and straight path to Allah, the Mighty and Sublime. We are from the bounties of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime on His creatures. And we are the illuminated path and we are the mines of prophethood and the site of placing prophethood. We are those to whom the angels come and go. We are lamps for those who take light from us.

We are the path of truth for those who follow us. We are the guides to Paradise and we are rope of Islam. We are that bridge, such that one who passed through would not be surpassed and one who left was destroyed. And we are the highest peaks and we are those through whom Allah, the Mighty and Sublime sends His mercy and through us sends the rain. And we are those through whom chastisement is warded off from you. Thus one who recognized and understood us and became aware of our rights and accepted our guardianship, is from us and (is heading) to us.”

21 -Narrated to us my father (r.a.): Narrated to us Saad bin Abdullah from Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Isa from Husain bin Saeed from Hammad bin Isa from Ibrahim Umar Yamani from Abi Tufail from Abi Ja’far (a.s.) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (S) said to Amirul Momineen (a.s.):

“Write down what I dictate to you.” Ali (a.s.) said: “O Prophet of Allah, do you fear that I will forget?” He replied: “No, I am not worried about your forgetfulness. I had prayed to Allah to make you remember and protect you from forgetfulness. But you write down for your partners. Ali (a.s.) asked: “Who are my partners, O Prophet of Allah?” The Prophet said: “The Imams from your progeny through whom my Ummah will get rain.

Through whom their supplications will be accepted and through whom Allah will ward off calamities from them and through them mercy will descend from the heavens.” Then he pointed to Hasan (a.s.) and said: “He shall be the first.” Then he gestured to Husain (a.s.) and said: “(The other) Imams shall be from his progeny.”

22 - Narrated to us Muhammad bin Ahmad Shaibani (r.a.) : Narrated to us Ahmad bin Yahya bin Zakariya al-Qattan: Narrated to us Bakr bin Abdullah bin Habib: Narrated to us Fadl bin Saqr Abdi: Narrated to us Abu Muawiyah from Sulaiman bin Mehran Amash from As-Sadiq Ja’far bin Muhammad from his father Muhammad bin Ali from his father Ali bin Husain (a.s.) that he said:

“We are the Imams of the Muslims, and the proofs of Allah on the whole universe. We are chieftains of the believers, and the brilliant-faced guides and we are having absolute authority on the believers. We are such a security for people on the earth, like the stars are for the dwellers of the heavens. And those for whose sake the Almighty Allah has restrained the heaven from falling into the earth and secured the earth from shaking up those who dwell upon it. The rain falls due to us and the blessings of the earth are distributed and are brought out of the earth.

If none of us remains on the earth, it would swallow its dwellers, and the Almighty Allah has not left the earth without a Proof (Hujjat) since the time of the creation of Prophet Nuh (a.s.), whether it is apparent and obvious or unseen and hidden. And the earth shall not be devoid of Proof till the Doomsday occurs. If there is no Proof of Allah, none would worship the Almighty. Someone asked: Then how would people derive benefit from an unseen and hidden proof? The Imam replied: “Just as they receive benefits from the sun that is hidden behind the clouds.”

23 -Narrated to us my father (r.a.): Narrated to us Saad bin Abdullah: Narrated to us Ibrahim bin Hashim: Narrated to us Ismail bin Marrar: Narrated to me Yunus bin Abdur Rahman: Narrated to me Yunus bin Yaqoob that:

“A group of companions were gathered round Abu Abdillah (a.s.); Humran ibn Ayan, Muhammad ibn an-Numan, Hisham ibn Salim and at-Tayyar were in that group. With them was Hisham ibn al-Hakam, who was young. Abu Abdillah (a.s.) said to him: ‘O Hisham, will you not tell me how you debated with Amr ibn Ubayd? How did you question him? Hisham replied: ‘O son of the Messenger of Allah! I respect you too much, and hence I feel shy before you, and I find myself tongue-tied in your presence.’ Abu Abdillah (a.s.) said: ‘Do as you are told.’

Hisham said: ‘I was informed of the situation of Amr ibn Ubayd, and that he was sitting in the mosque of Basrah (for teaching). This was distressing for me, so I set out to meet him and reached Basrah on Friday. When I arrived at the mosque of Basrah, I found a large circle surrounding Amr ibn Ubayd, who was wearing a black woolen cloth round his waist and another over his shoulders. People were asking him questions. I asked the people (who were standing) around him to make way for me, which they did, and I sat upon my knees in the back row of the students (who were sitting). Then I said: O learned scholar! I am a stranger. Will you allow me to ask a question? He replied: Yes. I said to him: Do you have eyes? He replied: O my son! What kind of a question is this? How can you question a thing which you see (clearly yourself)? I said: But this is my question.

He said: O my son! Ask, even though your question may be foolish. I told him: Then answer my question. He said: Ask (it). I said: Do you have eyes? He said: Yes. I said: What do you do with them? He replied: I see with them. I asked: Do you have a nose? He replied: Yes. I said: What do you do with it? He replied: I smell odors with it. I asked: Do you have ears? He replied: Yes. I said: What do you do with them?

He replied: I hear sounds with them. I said: Do you have a heart (the seat of the soul and perception)? He replied: Yes. I said: What do you do with it? He replied: I discriminate with it whatever is presented to the parts of my body and (my) senses. I asked: Are you not, with these parts of your body, without need of your heart (soul)? He replied: No. I said: How can this be when they are quite sound and health? He replied: O my son!

When the parts of the body doubt regarding anything which it smelt, tasted or heard, they refer it to the heart to remove the doubt and replace it with certainty. Hisham said: I said to him: Has Allah appointed the heart to remove the doubts of the body? He replied: Yes. I asked: The heart is necessary, otherwise the parts (of the body) cannot reach certainty. He replied: Yes. I said: O Abu Marwan! Allah, the Blessed, the Sublime, did not leave the parts of the body without appointing a guide (Imam) for them so that they might verify the truth and reach certainty about what is doubted.

How could He leave all His creatures in confusion, doubt and difference of opinion without appointing anyone as their guide (Imam), to whom they might refer their doubts and confusions, when He has given the parts of your body a guide to whom you can refer your doubt and confusions? He was completely silent, and said nothing to me. After some time, he turned towards me and said: Are you Hisham ibn al-Hakam? I replied: No. He asked: Are you one of his companions? I replied: No.

Then he said: Where do you come from? I replied: I am of the people of Kufa. He said: Then you are surely he. Then he embraced me and vacated his seat for me. And then he kept silent until I got up. The narrator said: Abu Abdillah (a.s.) smiled and said: O Hisham! Who taught you this? Hisham replied: It is something which I learnt from you and put together (in the way). He said: By Allah, this is written in the books of Ibrahim and Musa.”

The author of this book says: That which proves our contention that the system of nature depends on the existence of the Imam is that Allah, the Mighty and Sublime does not send chastisement on a community till the prophet does not go away from it. As Allah, the Mighty and Sublime says with reference to the incident of Prophet Nuh (a.s.):

حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَاءَ أَمْرُنَا وَفَارَ التَّنُّورُ قُلْنَا احْمِلْ فِيهَا مِنْ كُلٍّ زَوْجَيْنِ اثْنَيْنِ وَأَهْلَكَ إِلَّا مَنْ سَبَقَ عَلَيْهِ

Until when Our command came and water came forth from the valley, We said: Carry in it two of all things, a pair, and your own family- except those against whom the word has already gone forth.1

Thus Allah, the Mighty and Sublime commanded Prophet Nuh (a.s.) to take the believers with him and separate from the community and not mingle with them. And Allah, the Mighty and Sublime said:

وَوَحْيِنَا وَلَا تُخَاطِبْنِي فِي الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا إِنَّهُمْ مُغْرَقُونَ

… and do not speak to Me in respect of those who are unjust; surely they shall be drowned.2

In the same way in the case of Prophet Lut (a.s.) He said:

نْ يَصِلُوا إِلَيْكَ ۖ فَأَسْرِ بِأَهْلِكَ بِقِطْعٍ مِنَ اللَّيْلِ وَلَا يَلْتَفِتْ مِنْكُمْ أَحَدٌ إِلَّا امْرَأَتَكَ ۖ إِنَّهُ مُصِيبُهَا مَا أَصَابَهُمْ

So remove your followers in a part of the night- and let none of you turn back- except your wife, for surely whatsoever befalls them shall befall her…3

Thus Allah, the Mighty and Sublime commanded Prophet Lut (a.s.) to leave them before sending down wrath because till the time he remained among them, divine chastisement cannot descend. In the same way whenever Allah, the Mighty and Sublime decides to send punishment on a community, first He orders the prophet who is among them, to leave them and go away. Similarly when Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) feared that divine wrath would befall his people, he went away from them saying:

وَأَعْتَزِلُكُمْ وَمَا تَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَأَدْعُو رَبِّي عَسَىٰ أَلَّا أَكُونَ بِدُعَاءِ رَبِّي شَقِيًّا فَلَمَّا اعْتَزَلَهُمْ وَمَا يَعْبُدُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ

And I will withdraw from you and what you call on besides Allah, and I will call upon my Lord; may be I shall not remain unblessed in calling upon my Lord. So when he withdrew from them and what they worshipped besides Allah…4

Allah, the Mighty and Sublime destroyed them and threw into the bottom¬most layer of Hell, those who had harassed Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.), tortured him, threw him into the inferno and Allah also saved Prophet Lut (a.s.) as mentioned by the Almighty Allah:

وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ وَلُوطًا إِلَى الْأَرْضِ الَّتِي بَارَكْنَا فِيهَا لِلْعَالَمِينَ

And We delivered him as well as Lut (removing them) to the land which We had blessed for all people.5

And Allah bestowed Ibrahim (a.s.) with Ishaq and Yaqoob as Allah, the Mighty and Sublime says:

وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ إِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ نَافِلَةً ۖ وَكُلًّا جَعَلْنَا صَالِحِينَ

And We gave him Ishaq and Yaqoob, a son’s son, and We made (them) all good.6

And the Almighty Allah said regarding the Holy Prophet (S):

وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَأَنْتَ فِيهِمْ

But Allah was not going to chastise them while you were among them.7

It is mentioned in a correct narration from our Holy Imams (a.s.) that even if someone sees in dream that the Messenger of Allah (S) or one of the Imams (a.s.) is entering a village, this will be sufficient to secure the people of that village from that which they are afraid of.

The argument that Hisham presented to Amr bin Ubaid also proves the occultation and it is that just as the heart is concealed from all the organs. Neither is it visible to the eyes nor can it be smelt by the nose nor tasted and nor the hands can touch it. In spite of the fact that it is in occultation, it is the controller of all the organs and it assures their proper working. If the heart is absent it is not possible to control the other organs of the body and there will be total chaos in its working. Thus just as all the organs of the body are needful of the heart for their proper working in the same way the world is needful of the Imam for its survival and proper working.

Just as traditions told us about the position of the heart in the body in the same way they have informed us about the position of the hidden Proof that his advent would be from Mecca. Here, heart does not stand for a lump of our flesh because by itself it is of no use to the organs of the body. It actually denotes that subtle heart that the Almighty Allah has placed in this piece of flesh.

It is something that neither vision perceives it nor can it be touched or obtained. Its existence can be perceived only from the fact that through it one can distinguish between right and wrong and get control of the other physical organs. And the absence of this important organ will subject the whole system of the body into disarray.

Moreover just as this subtle element is powerful enough to control the physical organs in the same way the hidden Imam or the Divine Proof that is in occultation is sufficient to ensure the guidance and proper control of the creatures. That is why Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, made the creatures needful of an Imam (though in occultation) through whom calamities may be warded off from them, through whom they may receive sustenance and through whom they may receive rain. And there is no strength except by Allah.

  • 1. Surah Hud 11:40
  • 2. Surah Hud 11:37
  • 3. Surah Hud 11:81
  • 4. Surah Maryam 19:48-49
  • 5. Surah Anbiya 21:71
  • 6. Surah Anbiya 21:72
  • 7. Surah Anfaal 8:33