Imamate in the Holy Qur’àn:
The Almighty Allah said: “And (remember) when his Lord tried Abraham with (His) commands, and he fulfilled them, He said: Lo! I have appointed thee a leader for mankind. (Abraham) said: And of my offspring (will there be leaders)? He said: My covenant includeth not wrong-doers.” (2:124)
In this noble verse Allah tells us that Imamate being a Divine post encharged by Allah to whomever He chooses from among His bondmen, when saying: “I have appointed thee a leader for mankind”. The verse further elucidates that Imamate is a covenant from Allah never including but the pious bondmen, whom Allah has elected for this task, due to denying it for the wrong-doers, who never deserve the covenant of Allah — the Glorified and the Exalted.
The Almighty has said too: “And We made them chiefs who guide by Our command, and We inspired in them the doing of good deeds and the right establishment of worship and the giving of alms, and they were worshippers of Us (alone).” (21:73)
In another place, Allah, the Glorified, said: “And when they became steadfast and believed firmly in Our revelations, We appointed from among them leaders who guided to Our command.” (32:24)
He also said: “And We desired to show favour unto those who were oppressed in the earth, and to make them examples and to make them the inheritors.” (28:5)
Some may fancy that the denotation conceived from these verses being that the meant Imamate here is prophethood and message, which is a wrong concept for Imamate in general, as every messenger is a prophet and leader (Imam) but not every Imam being a messenger or prophet!
For this reason, Allah — the Glorified and Most High — has expressed in His noble Book that His godly bondmen are entitled to ask Him to grant them this reputable appointment, to have the honour of guiding people, and gaining out of this high reward. The Most High said: “And those who will not witness vanity, but when they pass near senseless play, pass by with dignity. And those who, when they are reminded of the revelations of their Lord, fall not deaf and blind thereat. And who say: Our Lord! Vouchsafe us comfort of our wives and of our offspring, and make us patterns for (all) those who ward off (evil).” (25:72-74)
Besides, the holy Qur’àn has used the word Imàmah to point to the oppressive leaders and rulers, who misguide their followers and nations, leading them toward corruption and torment in the world and Hereafter. Talking about Faraoh and his troops, the Almighty Allah said in His noble Scripture: “Therefore We seized him and his hosts, and abandoned them unto the sea. Behold the nature of the consequence for evil-doers! And We made them patterns that invite unto the Fire, and on the Day of Resurrection they will not be helped. And We made a curse to follow them in this world, and on the Day of Resurrection they will be among the hateful.” (28:40-42)
On this basis, the Shi‘ah’s claim is nearer to what the holy Qur’àn has ordained, since Allah — the Glorified and the Mighty — has explicitly expounded with no doubt, that the Imamate being a Divine appointment Allah imparts upon whomever He wills, and it is the covenant of Allah of which He deprived the oppressors. And since the Prophet’s Companions other than ‘Ali (A) have ascribed partners unto Allah during the pre-Islamic era, thus they turn to be among the wrong-doers, being incompetent for Allah’s covenant encharging them with Imamate and caliphate. While the Shi‘ah’s claim stands firm that al-’Imàm ‘Ali ibn Abi Tàlib was the only one, from among all other Companions, having the right to Allah’s covenant of Imamah, due to the fact that he has never worshipped other than Allah, and never prostrated to any idol, the reason why Allah has granted him honour, out of the Companions. If it is said that Islam exonerates whatever is past before it, we never object, but there is a great difference between that who was a polytheist and repented afterwards, and that who used to be immaculate and pure, knowing none but Allah.
Adapted from the book: "To Be With the Truthful" by: "Muhammad al-Tijani al-Samawi"
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