10) Piety And Imamate
One of the other instances in which the word Taqwa has been used is when we obey Allah and obey the apostle and those in authority from among us, for there is a perpetual life in obedience and perpetual punishment in disobedience. Beyond doubt, if God has punished a nation with thunderbolt, heavenly and earthly afflictions, and if they have been afflicted with famine, it has been due to disobedience of divine calls and challenges to the Messenger of Allah (SAW).
Hence, we notice that in most cases when prophets have invited people to monotheism, to God and to the adherence to the prophets, the word Taqwa has been used. In the Quranic Chapter, the Poets (ash-Shu’ara 26), we read about the states of prophets Moses, Noah, Salih, Hud, Lot and Shu’aib (AS). When they say to their tribes: “Surely I am a faithful apostle to you” immediately, they says: “Therefore guard against (the punishment of) Allah and obey me.”
Sometimes, the Lord of the universe advises His messenger to practice Taqwa: “O prophet! Be careful of (your duty to) Allah and do not comply with (the wishes of) the unbelievers and the hypocrites, surely Allah is Knowing, Wise. And follow what is revealed to you from your Lord: surely Allah is Aware of what you do.”1
In certain verses, the following has been added: “And do not obey the bidding of the extravagant.”2
In certain Quranic chapters, God says: “O you who believe! Answer (the call of) Allah and His apostle when he calls you to that which gives you life; and know that Allah intervenes between man and his heart, and that to Him you shall be gathered. And fear an affliction which may not smite those of you in particular who are unjust; and know that Allah is severe in requiting (evil).”3
The Holy Prophet (SAW) has been quoted by Abu Ayyoob al-Ansari as saying: “O Ammar! Soon after me, there will be big mischief so much so that swords will be drawn, some will kill each other and some will hate each other. In that case, it is incumbent upon you to resort to this bald-headed man, sitting on the right side of me (meaning Ali ibn Abi Talib). If all people follow one line and Ali follows another line, you should follow his line and leave others. O Ammar! Surely Ali will not misguide you and will not direct you to destruction. O Ammar! To obey Ali is to obey me and to obey me is to obey Allah.” 4
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported by al-Mufaddhal ibn Umar as saying: “God Almighty has chosen Ali as an emblem and standard between Him and His creatures. No one has such a position. Therefore, whoever obeys him is a believer and whoever denies him is an unbeliever. Whoever denies him will enter fire.” 5
The Imam (AS) has also been reported as saying that when Gabriel appeared to the Messenger of Allah (SAW), he said: “O Mohammad! Allah sends you greetings and says: I have created the seven heavens and what is there in them…and I have not created any place higher than the Rokn (the corner of the Kaaba) and the Maqam (the place where Prophet Abraham (a.s.) used to offer prayer). If any one of my servants call Me and meets Me (dies) while he denies the Imamate of Ali, I will throw him into the fire on his face.”6
Imam Ali (AS) has been reported as saying: “There is no heresy unless a Sunnah (prophetic norm) is abandoned (by it). Therefore, keep away from heresy. Walk on a sound way, for long-cherished orders (orders of God and the Messenger) are the best. What heresy has produced will be the worst.” 7
After warning the people of Basra about what was to occur, Imam Ali (AS) says: “Whoever can, at this time, keep himself clinging to Allah should do so. If you follow me, I shall certainly carry you, if Allah so wills, on the path of paradise, even though it may be full of severe hardship and of bitter taste….You should adhere to the Book of Allah because it is the Strong Rope, a clear light, a benefiting cure, a quenching for thirst, protection for the adherent, and deliverance for the attached. It has no any curving to be straightened, and does not deviate from the truth. Whatever it is repeated and whatever it knocks the hearings, it does not become old. Whoever speaks according to it, speaks of the truth and whoever acts according to it shall advance (to success).”
A man stood up and said: ‘O Ameerol Mo'minin! Tells us about the disturbance and whether you enquired it from the Holy Prophet (SAW)’. Thereupon Ameerol Mo'minin said: “When Allah, the Glorified sent down the verse: ‘Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, we believe, and not be tried?’8 I came to know that the disturbance would not befall us so long as the Prophet is among us.
So I said: O Messenger of Allah, what is this disturbance of which Allah, the Sublime, has informed you? And he replied: ‘O Ali, my nation shall be tried after me.’ I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, on the day of Uhud, when Muslims had fallen martyrs and I was not among them, and this had been very annoying to me, did you not say to me: ‘Cheer up, for you shall be killed (martyred) later on!’
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: ‘Yes, it is so, but what about your endurance at receiving martyrdom?’ I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, this is not a matter of endurance, but it is a matter of delight and gratefulness.’ Then he said: ‘O Ali, Muslims shall soon fall into sedition because of their properties their wealth, put Allah under obligation that they have faith, expect Allah’s mercy, and wish to be safe from His wrath, and because of false doubts and desires, they take His unlawful things as lawful. So, they will then consider wine as just a juice of grapes and dates, bribe as gift, and usury as selling and buying, and thus consider them lawful.’
I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, how should I deal with them at the time? Shall I consider them as apostates and disbelievers or ones involved in sedition?’ He said: ‘Sedition and trial.’” 9
What mischief is worse than this! After the Messenger of Allah (SAW) the Ummah was divided into seventy-three sects as the Holy Prophet (SAW) had said: “The Jews will become seventy-one sects, the Christians seventy-two and my Ummah will be divided into seventy-three sects (after me).” 10
Ibn al-Maghazeli has reported: “The Holy Prophet(SAW) said to Ali ibn Abi Talib: ‘The Ummah after me will soon hatch plots against you.’” 11
Imam Ali (AS) has been reported by many narrators as having said: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said to me: ‘Surely God has made Jihad against mischief-makers incumbent upon you as He made Jihad against the atheists incumbent upon me.’ I asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah! What is this mischief that has made Jihad incumbent?’ The Holy Prophet (SAW) said: ‘There are some who bear witness to the Oneness of God and my mission but they challenge the Sunnah.’ I asked the Holy Prophet: ‘What should I fight them for while they bear witness to what I testify?’
The Holy Prophet (SAW) said: ‘For the heresy in religion and challenging Imamate.’ I said: ‘You promised that I would be martyred. So I beg God to bring about my martyrdom soon before you.’ The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Who will fight the Naketheen (the breakers of covenant who fought against Imam Ali (a.s.) in the battle of al-Jamal), the Qassiteen (the oppressors (Mo’awiya and his followers) who fought against Imam Ali (a.s.) in Siffeen), and the Mariqeen (the renegades or the Kharijites who fought against Imam Ali (a.s.) in an-Nahrawan) then?”12
Therefore, it is incumbent upon every human to exercise piety in obedience. He should be obedient to those whom God has ordered. Jabir al-Ansari has been reported by Jabir al-Ju’fi as saying: “I asked the meaning of the following verse from the Holy Prophet: “O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you.”13
The Holy Prophet (SAW) said: ‘They are my successors and the Imams of Muslims after me. The first of them is Ali ibn Abi Talib, then al-Hasan and al-Hossain, then Ali ibn al-Hossain, then Mohammad ibn Ali known as Baqir in the Torah. O Jabir, you will live long enough to see him. Whenever you meet him, give my regards to him. The next will be as-Sadiq, Ja’far ibn Mohammad, then Musa ibn Ja’far, then Ali ibn Musa, then Mohammad Ibn Ali, then Ali ibn Mohammad, then Hassan ibn Ali and then a person of my name, the poof of Allah on the earth, Baqiyyatullah, the son of al-Hassan ibn Ali, one at whose hands Allah will conquers the east and the west of the earth. He will be in occultation away from his followers and companions that no one shall keep on believing in his imamate except those whom Allah has tried their hearts with faith.”14
- 1. Qur'an, 33:1-2.
- 2. Qur'an, 26:151.
- 3. Qur'an, 8:24-25.
- 4. Khulasat al-Minhaj, vol. 2, P. 187.
- 5. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 69, P. 133.
- 6. Ibid.
- 7. Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 1, P. 432
- 8. Qur'an, 29:2.
- 9. Nahj al-Balaghah, vol. 1, P. 490.
- 10. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 28, P. 29.
- 11. Ibid., P. 75.
- 12. Ibid., P. 79.
- 13. Qur'an, 4:59.
- 14. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 23, p. 289