With a cursory examination of the Holy Qur’anic verses and the narrations of the infallible figures, one can prove the necessity and indispensability of a government at all times in the Islamic and Shi’ah school.
Islam has invited people toward gathering and contact with one another and the unity of stance and solidarity and has warned them against discord, division, seclusion and being a burden upon the society.
The Qur’an says, “Indeed, the believers are brothers to one another”1.
“Everyone should clutch the divine rope and don’t be dispersed”2
It has been quoted from Imam as-Sadiq (‘a), “Anyone who distances himself from the Muslim community even as far as a stone’s throw, he has removed the string of Islam from his neck”3
Nahj al-Balaghah, sermon 127 reads, “Always stay with the massive congregations and the mass of people because the hand of God is with the congregation and avoid division. Truly, the man who strikes out on his own will be the prey of Satan.”
From the aforementioned verses and similar ones, it is clearly demonstrated that Islam wants Muslims to coexist with unity and harmony and it is clear that to realize this goal, government and leadership of Imams is indispensable because they manage and organize the society and preserve the unity and solidarity of people and accurately run the social affairs.
It has been quoted from Imam Ridha (‘a), “Indeed, the leadership of Imams is the guardian of the religion and the system of Muslims, and the interests and the dignity of the believers. It is a growing root and a fruitful and shady branch. The integrity of the daily prayers, Zakat, fasting, the Hajj pilgrimage, struggle, (Jihad), the collection of taxes and alms and the endorsement and implementation of the verdicts and rules and the safeguarding of borders and boundaries of Muslims are entrusted to Imams and are carried out by him”4
An excerpt of Nahj al-Balaghah reads, “The position of the leader of the affairs is like the position of the string of the rosary to its beads that keeps them together. So when the string is broken its beads are scattered everywhere and they can’t be collected again. “
It has been narrated from the Messenger of God (S), “Obey the one to whom God has entrusted the state of affairs because he organizes the Islamic rules.”
Therefore, it is manifest that Islam possesses a government and leadership. Now, this question arises, are the points and objectives that have been raised in aforementioned verses and narrations and similar ones, confined to the time of the Prophet and the infallible Imams and God, the Exalted, is content with the suspension of His rules and commands during the absence of the Imam of the Age and then God does not desire the interests and the dignity of believers and the safeguard of borders and the removal of the threats of the foes?
I can definitely say that it is not confined to that period and all these objectives continue during the absence therefore, the formation of the government during the absence like when the Prophet or the infallible Imams were present is essential and necessary.
From the examination of verses and narrations, having drawn the conclusion that even during the absence of the Imam of the Age, there should be a government, we turn to this question that who should be placed at the top of this government and assume the leadership of Muslims?
With a little contemplation and carefulness, we will learn that the leader of Muslims should possess the following characteristics:
1. He must be wise.
2. He must be a professing Muslim and a faithful Shi’ah.
3. He must be just.
4. He must be competent enough to manage the affairs of the society and Muslims.
5. He should not suffer from vices such as ambition, greed, cupidity, compromise and negligence in affairs.
6. He must be a jurisprudent, familiar with the Holy Qur’an, narrations, and Islamic teachings and jurisprudence.
Since the leader of Muslims must certainly possess these qualifications, the eligible jurisprudent for the leadership during the absence of an infallible Imam has been introduced and appointed in the narrations of the infallible figures.
And thank God, that in our time, the late grand Ayatullah Imam Khomeini, who was one of the manifest embodiments of a qualified jurisprudent could demolish the monarchy and eliminate tyranny and oppression and exploitation with awe-inspiring diligence and perseverance and the help and the extensive efforts of the seminaries and the devout and faithful people and formed a government that was desired by the saints (Awliya’) and assumed the leadership and brought Muslims and Shi’ahs the credit to enjoy an Islamic state which is based on the leadership and sovereignty of a qualified jurisprudent.
At the conclusion of this lesson, it is necessary to bear in mind that obedience to the sovereignty of the jurisprudent and the leader of Muslims is like compliance with the Imam of the Age (‘a) obligatory and as it has been narrated from Imam as-Sadiq (‘a), “Anyone who rejects the edict of a sovereign jurisprudent is like he has rejected an infallible Imam and the rejection of an infallible Imam constitutes infidelity and apostasy.5”