Responsibility 12: Giving the Imam Priority in our Lives
Another responsibility of the believers is to place the wishes and desires of Imam al-Zaman (ajtf) above our own wishes and desires. A true believer must always give precedence to the Imam’s requests over his own pleasure and happiness.
Before a believer carries out a task, one must first think to himself if that action is in accordance with the wishes of the Imam or not? If one feels that the Imam will be happy with it, then one should go ahead and follow through and that too only to earn the Imam’s satisfaction and not for one’s own pleasure or to satisfy his lower desires.
If an action one wishes to perform will not please the Imam, then one should not perform it. In essence, a believer should try to struggle against the lower self in order to earn the satisfaction of the Imam.
A person who acts in this manner will definitely earn the attention of the Imam and will be of those whom the Imam will love. In turn, the Imam will remember that person in a positive way and supplicate for him.
The following tradition narrated by Abi ‘Abdillah, Imam Ja’far b. Muhammad as-Sadiq (as) sheds more light on this issue in which a person asked the Imam a question:
مَا أَكْـثَرَ مَا أَسْمَعُ مِنْكَ يَا سَيِّدِي ذِكْرَ سَلْمَانِ الْفَارْسِيِّ؟ فَقَالَ لاَ تَقُلْ سَلْمَانَ الْفَارْسِيَّ وَ لٌكِنْ قُلْ سَلْمَانَ الْمُحَمَّدِي. أَتَدْرِي مَا كَثْرَةُ ذِكْرِي لَهُ؟ قُلْتُ لاَ قَالَ لِثَلاَثِ خِصَالٍ إِحْدَاهَا إِيْثَارُهُ هَوى أَمِيرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَلى هَوى نَفْسِهِ وَ الثَّانِيَةُ حُبُّهُ الْفُقَرَاءَ وَاخْتِـيَارُهُ إِيَّاهُمْ عَلى أَهْلِ الثَّرْوَةِ وَ الْعُدَدِ وَالثَّالِثَةُ حُبُّهُ لِلْعِلْمِ وَ الْعُلَمَآءِ. إِنَّ سَلْمَانَ كَانَ عَـبْداً صَالِحاً حَنِيفاً مُسْلِماً وَ مَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِِينَ
“Why do I hear you speak so much about Salman al-Farsi, O’ my master?” The Imam replied: “Do not call him Salman al-Farsi, rather refer to him as Salman al-Muhammadi. Do you know why I speak so much about him?” The man replied to the Imam: “No I do not know.” The Imam said: “Because of three traits which he possessed.
The first one is that he preferred the wishes and desires of the Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali. Abi Talib (as) over his own desires. The second reason is because he loved poor people and preferred them over those who had wealth and riches. The third reason is due to his love of knowledge and those who possess knowledge (the ‘Ulama). Unquestionably Salman was a servant (of Allah), righteous, upright, submissive (to Allah) and he was not from among the polytheists.”1
- 1. Biharul Anwar, vol. 22, pg. 327, sec. 10, no. 33