31: Striving For Imam (aj)

As much as possible, one should strive in the service of Imam (aj) because tradition says that the universe exists due to the barakat of Imam (aj). Secondly there are some angels who are specially appointed in the service of Imam (aj) and they do not even sit down in his presence without his permission. There are many types of these traditions; however we are not relating them for prolonging the discussion but just as a proof we present herewith a tradition of Imam Sadiq (as) wherein he says, “If I live till his time, I shall spend my life in his service.”

I say: Pay attention to this statement. This saying of Imam (as) in not something unusual or astounding. It is the reality. It indicates the superiority of Imam az-Zaman (aj) and it shows that if the service of Imam az-Zaman (aj) had not been the best form of worship and obedience, Imam Sadiq (as), whose each moment of his life was spent in worship, would not have expressed his desire to spend his valuable time in the service of Imam az-Zaman (aj).

Among the points mentioned in the Imams statements is that the followers of the Holy Imam (as) are the best of followers and according importance and respect to the Imam of the Time (aj) is the best of all and his companions are the best of the companions, just as the Ummah of the Last Prophet (S) is the best of all Ummahs. It is so because the status of the followers depends on the status of one whom they follow. And since the position of the Imam of the Time (aj) is known we can estimate the status of his followers and those who believe in his Wilayat. May the Almighty Allah include us among them.

First: The statement of the Holy Prophet (S) in which he said that followers of the Imam of the Time (aj) are his brothers as mentioned in the following: One day the Messenger of Allah (S) said twice in the presence of his companions: “O Allah, show my brothers to me. Companions who were around him asked: Are we not your brothers, O Messenger of Allah (S)?

He replied: No, you all are my companions, and my brothers would be those people at the end of the time who would believe in me without having seen me, the Almighty Allah has informed me about their and their fathers’ names before they will emerge from the loins of their fathers and the wombs of their mothers. For each of them, it would be more difficult to guard their religion than walking on thorns in the darkness of the night or holding embers; they would be lamps in darkness, the Almighty Allah would save them from every mischief and evil.”

Second: It is that they shall be the most excellent people of all times, because it is mentioned in the tradition of Imam Sajjad (as) that he said: O Abu Khalid, during this period of occultation, those who believe in his Imamate and who await for his reappearance, they shall be better than the people of all times because Allah, the Mighty and Sublime would bestow them intelligence, understanding and recognition and for them occultation would be same as presence. Their status shall be like that of the holy warriors who fought under the command of the Messenger of Allah (S). It is they who are sincere and are our true Shias. They shall call the people to the religion of Allah openly and secretly.1

Third: The rewards of their worship acts is multiplied. Thus is mentioned in a narration from Imam Sadiq (as) that he said: O Ammar, giving Sadaqah in secret is better, by Allah, than giving it openly; similarly, by Allah, your worship in secret with your hidden Imam during government by an illegal ruler, and your fear of your enemy during government by an illegal ruler and in a state of truce with your enemy, is better than that you should worship Allah, may remembrance of Him be made Mighty and Majestic, during the manifestation of the Truth with the Imam of Truth which is manifest during the government of Truth. Worship while you fear during government by an illegal ruler is not the same as worship and security during the government of Truth.

Know that whoever of you now prays a prescribed prayers at its hour in congregation, thereby concealing himself from his enemy, and completes it correctly, Allah will register rewards for having completed fifty prescribed prayers in congregation; and that whoever of you prays a prescribed prayers at its hour by himself, thereby concealing himself from his enemy, and completes it correctly, Allah to Whom belong Might and Majesty, will register thereby reward for having completed twenty-five prescribed prayers recited alone; and that whoever of you prays a supererogatory prayers at its hour and completes it correctly, Allah will register thereby reward for having completed ten supererogatory prayers; and that whoever of you performs a good deed, Allah to Whom belong Mighty and Majesty, will register reward for having performed twenty good deeds; and Allah, to Whom belong Might and Majesty, will handsomely double [the reward] of the good deeds of the believer among you when he does good deeds and practices Taqayyah with regard to his religion, his Imam and himself, and keeps his tongue in check; for Allah, to Whom belong Might and Majesty is Generous.’2 This tradition is mentioned in many books, like Al-Kafi3, Kamaluddin and Biharul Anwar etc.4

Fourth: It is that their certainly is stronger and their faith is more astonishing as mentioned in Kamaluddin, from Ali Ibne Abi Talib (as) in a long tradition about the bequest of the Prophet (S) in which he mentions that the Holy Prophet (S) said to him: “O Ali, know that, the faith is astonishing and certainty great of those who shall be there in the last period of time. There will be no prophet among them and Divine Proof will be hidden from them; inspite of that they will believe in black upon white (writings/books).”5

Fifth: It is that they are the friends of the Prophet and the most respected people of his Ummah on Judgment Day, as quoted in Kamaluddin from Messenger of Allah (S) that he said: “Blessed be those who are fortunate to live in the time of Qaim of my Ahle Bayt; those who would believe in him during his occultation and before his advent, who would love his friends and remain aloof from his enemies. Such people would be my closest ones and my friends on Day of Judgment.”6

Sixth: In Ghaibat of Shaykh Tusi it is narrated from the book of Fadl bin Shazan through a correct chain of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (S) said: Very soon a people will come after you such that one person from them will earn a reward equal to fifty of you. They asked: O Messenger of Allah (S), we were with you in the battles of Badr, Uhad and Hunain and the Qur’an was revealed about us. His Eminence (S) said: Indeed, if that which will befall on them, befalls you, you will not be patient as they would be.7

Seventh: In Ghaibat of Shaykh Tusi and other scholars have narrated through their own chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) that he said: The most proximate servants of Allah and those with whom Allah is pleased are those who when the proof of Allah disappears from their sight and they don’t know about his location, yet they continue to have faith that the Proof of Allah can never be invalid and day and night they continue to wait for him. And the wrath of Allah is on those of His enemies who when the proof of Allah disappears from sight, they fall into doubts and denial. He (Allah) knew that His special servants will never fall into doubts and if it were not so, He would not have taken away His Proof from their sight even for a moment. And it (doubt) is not except from the bad people.8

Eighth: It is that due to them calamities are warded off and rain descends from the sky, as mentioned in Biharul Anwar etc. from His Eminence, Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as) that he said: A time will come upon the people when their Imam shall disappear from their view. Blessed be those who remain firm upon our guardianship during such times.

The least divine reward that shall reach them would be that the Almighty Allah shall call them and say: O My servants and maidservants, you brought faith in My secret and believed in My unseen. Then good news to you for My goodness and rewards as you are truly My servants and maidservants. I shall accept your deeds, disregard your faults and forgive your sins. And due to you I shall send rain to My creatures and ward off calamities from them. If you hadn’t been there I would have sent My chastisement upon them…9

I say: O my brothers, now that you know some of the merits of following and making efforts in service of our master, the Imam of the Time (aj), it is necessary for you to strive to obey and serve His Eminence, and to be thankful for that great blessing, and you must continue in this and not forgo the remembrance of the Holy Imam (as) due to prolongation of his occultation. You must not be greedy after the people of the world and be patient on the hardships that afflict a little part of your life so that you may get a long relief. May the Almighty Allah, through His excellence, make us of those who are such; as He is close to His servants and He answers their supplications.

Some points: Here it would be better to clarify and explain some important points.

First: It is that in our leader and master His Eminence, the Imam of the Time (aj) all such virtues and excellences have come together, that each of them alone would justify our efforts in his service and obedience. For example: Absolute Wilayat, caliphate and successorship of His Eminence (aj) from the Almighty Allah and the Messenger of Allah (S).

For example: It is the right of the scholar, as logic and texts also prove, that it is appropriate to serve the scholar as mentioned in Kafi through the author’s own chain of narrators from Muhammad bin Sinan that he said: His Eminence, Isa Ibne Maryam (as) said: O Hawariyun, I wish to ask you for something, please get it for me. They replied: Your order will be obeyed, O Spirit of Allah.

Then His Eminence stood up and kissed their feet (In some versions it is mentioned that he washed their feet). The Hawaris said: It is more appropriate that we do this, O Spirit of Allah. He said: Indeed, the one most worthy of service is the scholar. Indeed I have explained like this so that, after me you may be humble to the people as I have done to you. Then Isa (as) said: Wisdom is built by humility and not by arrogance, just as vegetation grows on fertile land and not on a [rocky and barren] mountain. 10

For example: It is paternal right as His Eminence (aj) is our kind father as mentioned in traditions – and this matter has been discussed in Part Three of this book, which Insha Allah is sufficient and established.

For example: Right of Faith and Islam as mentioned Kafi in a tradition of Abu Motamar in which he said: I heard Amirul Momineen (as) say: The Messenger of Allah (S) said: A Muslim who serves a group of Muslims would not rewarded by the Almighty Allah except by that he would get the same number of servants in Paradise.11

I say: Without any doubt, if the faith of all Muslims is weighed against the faith of our master (as), indeed the faith of His Eminence will be found heavier than theirs. On the basis of this the excellence of serving His Eminence should be compared to serving the believers. In addition to the merits of His Eminence, that I don’t have the capacity to describe because they are beyond human computation.

For example: Our status in relation to His Eminence is the position of a slave to his master, because people are the slaves of the Holy Imam (as) in obedience as proved by traditions on this subject and therefore it is a matter of certainty.

For example: Relationship of His Eminence to the Messenger of Allah (S) as explained to you in Part Five. And if you like me to enumerate to you all the justifications for striving in service of the Imam it would not be possible for me to explain and write about, because they are unlimited. From the aspect of what we have often mentioned all the apparent and hidden blessings of the Almighty Allah, which surround us all of them are due to the Barakat of the Imam (as). Thus for each of the blessing we are duty bound to be thankful to him, just as it is obligatory for us to be thankful to the Almighty Allah. Thus it is proved that there are countless justifications for us to be in service on the Holy Imam (as). Allah says:

وَإِنْ تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا

And if you would count Allah’s favors, you will not be able to number them. (Qur’an, Surah Nahl 16:18)

Second: That service to the Imam is distinguished from help and assistance in two ways: One is that service can be offered directly but help can be rendered indirectly also. Secondly, service consists of humility and display of lowliness for the master, contrary to help and assistance; thus every service is help also, but the converse is not the same.

Third: It is serving our master the Imam of the Time (aj) by doing what he has ordered, or doing that which will be help and favor to him even though he might not have specifically ordered it. Sometimes, these can be seen under the heading of good deeds, like praying for an early reappearance of His Eminence, organizing gatherings for his remembrance, compiling books on the subject of His Eminence, printing and distributing these books, reciting Salawat and salutations on His Eminence, doing favors to friends and Shias with the intention of serving the Holy Imam (as), doing favors to the Shias and friends of the Holy Imams (as) is doing favor to them and being nice to them is being nice to the Holy Imams (as); considering them unimportant is considering the Holy Imams (as) unimportant, and reason also supports this matter. Among the traditions that are recorded on this matter, is a tradition mentioned in Kamiluz Ziaraat through the author’s own chain of narrators from His Eminence, Abul Hasan Musa bin Ja’far (as) that he said: One who is unable to visit us should pay a visit to a righteous follower of ours, as a reward for our Ziarat will be written for him; and one who is unable to do a favor on us should do favor to our righteous follower, and the reward of doing a favor to us will be noted in his account.12

For example: In Rauda Kafi through the author’s own chain of narrators it is narrated from Abu Haroon that he said: His Eminence, Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as), in my presence, told some people from Hazzar: What has happened to you that you have considered us insubstantial? At that moment a man from Khorasan arose and said: We seek Allah’s refuge that we should consider you all insubstantial or that we consider something from your commands and practices to be petty.

His Eminence (aj) said: Then how you are one of those who has considered us petty? He said: I seek refuge from the Almighty Allah that I should consider you petty. The Imam said: May Allah forgive, did you not hear so and so follower of ours in Jofa begging to you: Allow me to ride with you for a mile as by Allah I am very tired. By Allah, you didn’t even look up at him and considered him of no importance. And one, who considers a believer unimportant, has considered us unimportant and has trespassed the sanctity of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime.13

  • 1. Kamaluddin, Vol. 1, Pg. 320
  • 2. Kamaluddin, Vol. 2, Pg. 643, Tr. No. 7
  • 3. Usool Kafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 333
  • 4. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 52, Pg. 127, Chapter 22, Tr. No. 20
  • 5. Kamaluddin, Vol. 1, Pg. 288
  • 6. Kamaluddin, Vol. 1, Pg. 286
  • 7. Al-Ghaibah, Shaykh Tusi, Pg. 275
  • 8. Al-Ghaibah, Shaykh Tusi, Pg. 276
  • 9. Biharul Anwar; Vol. 52, Pg. 145, Tr. No. 66
  • 10. Usool Kafi, Vol. 1, Pg. 37, Tr. No. 6
  • 11. Usool Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 207
  • 12. Kaamiluz Ziaraat, Pg. 319, Chapter 105
  • 13. Raudatul Kafi, Vol. 8, Pg. 102, Tr. No. 73