This is one of the most important and obligatory duty. The validity of this is evident from traditions that speak of the duty of Amr bil Ma’roof (Enjoining Good). In addition to this, it is an established fact that after the Imam (as) the best creatures in the world are the followers of Imams (as) who invite other people towards their Imamate.
This is also proved from the following traditions: Indeed! The religious scholar who teaches people their religious subjects and invites them towards their Imam is better than 70,000 worshippers. In another tradition from Sulaiman bin Khalid it is reported he asked Imam Sadiq (as) that there was a family who was perceptive to his advice, so should he invite them to Imamate? Imam (aj) replied, “Yes! The Almighty Allah says:
O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones.1
Here it will be sufficient to just mention the exegesis of the following verse in Tafseer Imam Hasan Askari (as):
وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ لَا تَعْبُدُونَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ
And when We made a covenant with the children of Israel: You shall not serve any but Allah and (you shall do) good to (your) parents, and to the near of kin and to the orphans… (Qur’an, Surah Baqarah 2:83)
Imam (as) said Indeed the Messenger of Allah (S) said: The worst orphan is one who has been separated from his Imam and cannot reach him; and when he needs guidance in a religious matter he does not know what is the Imam’s opinion regarding it. Hence one who is learned in our sciences, if he is near, should guide one who is ignorant of the law of the Shariah. And know that, one who guides him and brings him to the right path, he would be our comrade and companion in elevated ranks of Paradise. This tradition is narrated to me by my father from his forefathers from the Holy Prophet (S).
Amirul Momineen (as) said: A Shia of ours who is a scholar of our laws, if he brings out our weak Shias from the darkness of ignorance into the light of knowledge that we have bestowed him, on the Judgment Day he would arrive in the fields of gathering, wearing a crown of heavenly light. Its light will reach to all the people of the gathering and he will be wearing such a dress that the whole world and what its contains cannot equal a strand of this dress.
Then a proclaimer will call: O servants of Allah, know that! He is the disciple of a scholar of the progeny of Muhammad (S). All those whom he took out from the darkness of ignorance in the world, should become attached to his light, so that he may take them out of the perplexity of darkness of Judgment Day to Paradise. Thus he will take along with him to Paradise, all those he had taught a good matter, removed the lock of ignorance from his heart, removed some doubt or explained something.
A woman came to Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.) and said: My mother is very old and she has a doubt about a point of Prayer. She sent me to inquire about it. Lady Fatima told her about it. She again asked something and Lady Zahra (s.a.) answered her. Again she asked the same thing and Her Eminence (s.a.) answered her again. She argued ten times and every time she got the same answer. Then she became ashamed of asking the question again and again and said: O daughter of Messenger (S). I don’t want to give you more trouble.
Fatima (s.a.) said: Don’t worry, you may ask whatever you like. If a hundred thousand gold coins are offered to a man to carry a heavy load to the roof, would it be unpalatable to him? The woman said: No. Fatima said: Such a quantity of natural pearls are fixed as wages for every question for me as are more than enough to fill the space between the earth and sky. That is why it should not be unpalatable to me to answer these questions. And I have heard from my respected father (S) that on the Judgment Day, our Shia scholars will be bestowed with robes of honor for their knowledge and their efforts in guiding people.
So much so, that each of them will have a thousand robes of Noor. Then a proclaimer will say by the command of Allah: O those who took care of the orphans of Aale Muhammad (as), who were separated from their real parents that is the Purified Imams (as), your disciples and orphans are present here, whom you protected and gave them clothes. Now adorn them with garments of Paradise just as you adorned them with clothes of knowledge in the world.
The scholars will then adorn their disciples and orphans, according to the level of knowledge they had learnt from them. So much so, that some orphans will receive a hundred thousand robes of honor. In the same way these orphans will distribute robes of honor to their disciples. Then Allah will order to again give robes of honor to the guardians of these orphans. Again they will get robes of honor. Thus they will be doubled. And after distributing robes of honor to their disciples, their remaining robes will be doubled. The same will be done with the disciples.
Then Fatima (s.a.) said: O maidservant of Allah, a strand of those robes is a hundred thousand times better than all that is in the world, because all those thing are offensive.
Imam Hasan Mujtaba (as) said: If an orphan of Aale Muhammad (as), being separated from Imams, wanders in ignorance and is supported and taken out from his ignorance; and matters doubtful on him are clarified by a person. This person in relation to one who takes care of an orphan, feeds him and give him water, is like the sun in relation to the Suha star.
Imam Husain Ibne Ali (as) said: One who takes care of an orphan of ours who is separated from us due to our concealment, and instructs him about our sciences that he has learnt, till he brings him to the straight path, Allah tells him: O My kind and sympathizing servant, I am more deserving of kindness and forgiveness. O My angels, prepare a hundred thousand palaces in Paradise for him, for each letter that he has taught and provide him all the good things in it.
Imam Zainul Abideen (as) said: Allah revealed to Prophet Musa (as): O Musa, endear Me to My creatures and endear My creatures to Me. Musa (as) asked: My Lord, how can I do that? Allah said: Remind them of My bounties and bestowals. If you bring back one who has ran away from Me or missed the right path, this deed will be better than worshipping Me for a hundred years in such a manner that you fast all days and pray all nights. Musa (as) asked: My Lord, who is it that avoids you?
Allah revealed: One who is disobedient. Musa (as) asked: Who is it, that has gone astray from Your path? Allah said: One who does not know the Imam of his time, who may have taught him the manners of Islamic laws and method of worshipping Allah, through which he may gain the pleasure of Allah. Or that after recognizing him, he has separated from him and is unaware of the ways of religion.
Amirul Momineen (as) said: Convey the good news of great rewards to our scholars.
Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) said: The scholar is like one who has a candle through which he provides light to others. Hence all those he provides light, pray for him. In the same way, through his candle of knowledge, a scholar removes the darkness of ignorance and perplexity. Hence the one whom he provides the light of his candle and through which he takes him out of perplexity and frees him from ignorance, is one who has been saved from Hell fire.
Allah gives him a reward for each hair of the one he has saved in such magnitude that it is more than giving a hundred thousand bags of money in charity in the way Allah has not commanded. Rather such charity will be a trouble for the giver. But Allah will give him a reward, which is greater than that of praying before Holy Kaaba.
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) said: Our Shia scholars will ascend to the boundary, which is joined with the boundary of Iblees and his militant deities; and they keep them away from attacking our weak Shias. They do not allow Iblees and Ahle Bayt-haters from becoming dominant upon them. Thus one who is capable of this, is a hundred thousand times better than one who fights Jihad against the people of Rome, Turkey and Khazr, because they protect the religion of our devotees from the attacks of the enemies of religion and remove sorrow and troubles from them.
Imam Musa Kazim (as) said: A scholar who teaches an orphan of ours who is away from us, something he is in need of, and saves him from deviation and ignorance, is more distasteful to Iblees than a thousand worshippers because that worshipper only wants to save his own self whereas the scholar wants to keep an eye on his own self as well as others from the hands of Iblees and his transgressing disciples. And in the same way he is much better in the view of Allah than a hundred thousand worshippers.
Imam Reza (as) said: On Judgment Day the worshipper will be told: You were very good that you protected yourself and others people from sorrow and trouble; hence you may enter Paradise. Although this scholar got more than you because he saved the people from enemies and increased the bounties of Paradise for them and obtained the pleasure of Allah for them.
Then that scholar will be addressed: O protector of the orphans of Aale Muhammad (as) and the guide of their weak devotees and friends, wait a little, and intercede for those who obtained or learnt something from you. He will stop on hearing this, and after interceding for them, enter Paradise along with his ten men who had obtained knowledge from him and those who became disciples of disciples till Qiyamat. Now see what is the difference between these two stages.
Imam Muhammad Taqi (as) said: Those who support the orphans of Aale Muhammad (who are separated from their Imam and confused and perplexed in their ignorance, caught in the hands of Shaitan and our hateful enemies) and saves them from their clutches and frees them from their confusion, removing the temptations of Satans, defeating them and become victorious through the evidences of their Lord and the proofs of their Imams over the Ahle Bayt-haters; they are having as much excellence over other people just as the heavens are superior to the earth and are superior to the Empyrean, the throne and the curtains. And they have as much precedence over the worshipper as the full moon is superior to a dim star in the sky.
Imam Ali Naqi (as) said: If after the occultation of your Qaim (aj) there had not been scholars who invited people to him, guided them to him, protected the religion of Allah through His arguments and evidences, taken out people from the clutches of the deception of Iblees and his transgressing disciples and Ahle Bayt-haters, no man would have remained on the religion of Allah and all would have apostatized. But they control the reins of the weak Shias just as the boatman steers the ship. It is these who are excellent and honorable in Allah’s view.
Imam Hasan Askari (as) said: Our Shia scholars who take care of our weak friends, will appear on Judgment Day, with a beautiful crown on their heads. Light will emanate from them and illuminate the field of resurrection which is as wide as a distance of three hundred thousand years’ travel. All those who have received their support and freed from ignorance by the light of their knowledge will cling to a branch of their light.
They will be picked up and raised to such a height that they will reach to the level of the High Heavens. Then they will be taken to their mansions in the vicinity of their teachers and their Imams; and Ahle Bayt-haters, who come in contact with the lights of their crowns will become blind, deaf and dumb; and the most severe flames will be appointed for them, which will pick them up and take them to the blazing Hell and put them in the center of it.2
Also, that which supports this matter is the saying of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime:
ادْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ ۖ وَجَادِلْهُمْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ
Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and have disputations with them in the best manner. (Qur’an, Surah Nahl 16:125)
The evidence of this verse consists of three points:
First: Even though it is addressed to the Messenger of Allah (S) it is meant for all in general like in the case of the verse:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْتُمُونَ مَا أَنْزَلْنَا مِنَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالْهُدَىٰ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا بَيَّنَّاهُ لِلنَّاسِ فِي الْكِتَابِ ۙ أُولَٰئِكَ يَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّاعِنُونَ
Surely those who conceal the clear proofs and the guidance that We revealed after We made it clear in the Book for men, these it is whom Allah shall curse, and those who curse shall curse them (too). (Qur’an, Surah Baqarah 2:159)
And the verse:
وَلْتَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ
And from among you there should be a party who invite to good and enjoin what is right. (Qur’an, Surah Aale Imran 3:104)
It is mentioned in traditions that Qur’an is according to the Arab saying: ‘I am telling it you but it is directed to your neighbor.’ In addition to this, reason shows that the aim of sending of the prophets, appointing of successors and placing of scholars to disseminate knowledge and making it incumbent on the people to ‘ask those who know’, is to identify the path of God and to obtain salvation and success. Thus it shows that it is the duty of every enlightened Muslim to invite to the path of the Almighty Allah.
Second: Without any doubt, ‘path of Allah’ denotes a way, by treading which, one can obtain Allah’s pleasure and satisfaction, just as there is no doubt that the way is recognition of the Imam and following him, and it is something without which it is impossible to obtain Allah’s pleasure, even though one may be a believer in the oneness of God and prophethood.
In the same way a person can never obtain salvation and success, if he does not recognize the Imam of the Time (aj) and follows him, even though he may be having faith in all the other Imams (as). This point is mentioned in the tradition of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) in which he says: One who believes in the Imamate of all the (eleven) Imams but denies the twelfth is like one who believes in all prophets but denies His Eminence, Muhammad (S).
It is so because the position of intercession is accorded specially to our master Hazrat Hujjat (aj) as stated in a tradition of the Holy Prophet (S) describing the scene of Judgment Day that we quoted in volume one also in which he said: “Mahdi is their intercessor”, in spite of the fact that the Imams and prophets would also intercede on Judgment Day.
In Ziarat Jamia it is mentioned: “You are the great medium (Sabeel) and the solid path…” Although this does not contradict the interpretation of the word ‘Sabeel’ as the religion of Allah, etc., as we have already explained that the perfection of religion cannot be achieved without recognition of the Imam. Therefore the Almighty Allah says:
الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ
This day have I perfected for you your religion. (Qur’an, Surah Maidah 5:3)
After the Holy Prophet (S) had appointed the Caliph and emphasized the recognition of His Eminence (aj) and the Imam who were to come after him. Thus it can be concluded that it is prohibited to conceal the truth and it is obligatory to call towards the recognition and obedience of the Imam of the Time (aj) as per the command of the blessed verse.
Third: It is that inviting to His Eminence according to exigency of condition of the invitees in defect and perfection is of three types; sometimes it is obligatory to act upon all the steps of invitation and sometimes it can be achieved only through some of them. Thus the first step is to invite through wisdom. That is why in the verse of Qur’an, it is mentioned before discussion and debate.
And wisdom in some traditional reports is interpreted as the recognition of the Imam and being away from greater sins for which the Almighty Allah has decreed hellfire. In some other instances it is through recognition and contemplation on religion. Methods other than these are also mentioned in traditions.
A comprehensive corollary of these matters is knowledge and action. It can also be related to the dictionary meaning of the word of ‘wisdom’, because it is derived from Hakama which means the rein used for controlling animals. In the same way, knowledge and action, keeps the person within the obedience of the Almighty Allah and outside the control of Satan. Therefore it is mentioned in a verse:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا إِذَا مَسَّهُمْ طَائِفٌ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ تَذَكَّرُوا فَإِذَا هُمْ مُبْصِرُونَ
Surely those who guard (against evil), when a visitation from the Shaitan afflicts them they become mindful, then lo! they see. (Qur’an, Surah Araaf 7:201)
وَمَنْ يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَلْ لَهُ مَخْرَجًا
And whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah, He will make for him an outlet. (Qur’an, Surah Talaq 65:2)
It is from this aspect that the Almighty Allah has said:
وَمَنْ يُؤْتَ الْحِكْمَةَ فَقَدْ أُوتِيَ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّا أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ
And whoever is granted wisdom, he indeed is given a great good and none but men of understanding mind. (Qur’an, Surah Baqarah 2:269)
Thus one who has got the Taufeeq for knowledge and action, has in fact obtained the recognition of the Holy Imams (as) and it is ‘a lot of good’. This would make you know that ‘a lot of good’ has been interpreted in traditions to be the recognition of Amirul Momineen (as) and the Holy Imams (as). It is same as stated in the saying of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) that: “We are the actual ‘good’ and its branch is obedience of the Almighty Allah and our enemies are the real ‘evil’ and knowing them is disobedience of the Almighty Allah…” please pay attention on this point so that the matter becomes clear for you. From what we have mentioned above it is known that invitation to His Eminence is having four ways:
One: Inviting with the help of wisdom of knowledge
Two: Inviting through wisdom of action
Three: Inviting through good exhortation
Four: Inviting through debates and discussions
Now that you have understood this, I say: Inviting through wisdom of knowledge, with reference to the obligation of recognition of someone who invites to Him and value of Marifat and its mediums are known through explanations of qualities and excellences and signs of that person, and also the explanation of the duties of people towards them and to mention the sources of his proximity like…
Invitation through practical wisdom with discipline and order of the inviter which is his duty in each of the mentioned stages, and to arrange that which will be obtained through motivating a person to fulfill the rights of the Imam and perfect his recognition. So that a person of recognition may follow the one who invites to Imam (as); whereas the ignorant person begins to be curious and questioning. Such type of call leaves effect on the hearts and achieves its aim. Therefore Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) has said: Be a caller of people without using the tongue.
As for exhorting in the best way; through advice and motivation and warning and explanation of knowing the Imam and his rights that have been trespassed and abandoning those who consider them unimportant and carelessness in fulfilling their rights that bring hardships and their punishments, etc…according to the requirement and that which is the source of following the Imam (as), will be achieved.
As for the best way of debates; it is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) that he said: That is through Qur’an. And it is narrated from Imam Hasan Askari (as) that he said: This debate is through proofs and evidences, and not that you reject a truth or claim a falsehood.3
I say: Each of the above points can be explained in detail but it is beyond the scope of this book and this is sufficient for the wise; but some more points will be mentioned in the 52nd duty, Insha Allah.