Importance of Imamate and Status of Imam (as)
Adopted from the book: "Mahdaviyat in Hadith"
Imamat is a matter of great merit. In fact no other issue in Islam is more significant than the subject of Imamat. Its importance lies in the fact that it's the only reliable means to reach to the true recognition of Allah. It is only through Imamat that one can obtain the true recognition of Allah and comprehend the manner of worshipping Him. If anyone adopts some means of worshipping Allah other than the one suggested by the Imams (a.s), he will never be successful in his endeavor.
The following phrases of Ziarat-e-Jameah-e-Kabirah highlight this point beautifully.
"May my parents, myself, my family and my wealth be sacrificed for you. The one who desired to reach Allah began from you. The one who has acknowledged His Unity has obtained Tauheed from you. The one who loves Allah turns towards
you" (Mafatihul Jinaan)
In this same Ziarat, it is mentioned elsewhere
'The one who comes to you has received salvation and the one who forsakes you is ruined. You invite (the people) towards Allah and point towards Him."
When we ponder over these phrases of Ziarat-e-Jameah, it becomes clear that only the path shown by the Able Bait (a.s.) can lead us to true recognition of Allah and His Tauheed and in this manner He can be worshipped as He ought to be worshipped. And should it not be like this? These are the personalities who invite the people towards Allah and show the path towards Him since Allah has created man solely for His worship. Allah says in the Quran
" I have not created man and the jinn except that they should worship Me.'
(Surah Zaariyat: 52)
If man wants to realize the aim of his creation, then he should worship Allah. And for Allah's genuine and acceptable worship it is necessary to tread the path shown by the Able Bait (a.s.).
In the light of the phrases of Ziarat-e-Jameah let us also cast a glance at the phrases of Dua-e-Nudbah. .This Dua is specifically for Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.). It is recommended to recite it on Idd-ul-Fitr, Idd-uz-Zoha, Idd-e-Ghadeer and every Friday in which it is found
'... Where is that gate of Allah through which it is possible to reach Him? Where is the face of Allah towards whom all other 'friends (Awliya) of Allah turn? Where is the one who is the medium between the heavens and the earth ?'
The Imam (a.s) of every era is the means for reaching towards Allah. It is through the Imam alone that Allah's true recognition can be acquired and it is through him that one can leam to worship Allah and reach Him. In this era the 'Proof (Hujjat) of Allah and the Imam of the time is none other than our twelfth Imam Hazrat Hujjat b. Hasan Askari (a.t.f.s.).
Genuine recognition and Allah's worship i.e. establishing a divine link through knowledge and actions, is facilitated through the belief in Imamat. The belief in the Imamat of Imam-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.) means acknowledging the gate that helps man reach Allah's recognition.
Status of Imamat
Allah has bestowed the illustrious status of Imamat upon our Imams (a.s) not without any reason or wisdom. Allah Himself alludes to this
fact in the noble Quran when He declares
'So when they were patient, We made them Imams from amongst themselves who guide the people by Our commands.'(Surah Sajdah: 24)
This brief verse highlights four crucial points:
'We have made them as Imams.'
This shows that the right of appointing an Imam rests exclusively with Allah and with none else. This is a matter of appointment of an Imam for the entire creation and not a matter of appointing some 'Imam' for congregational prayers in a local mosque.
Allah has appointed only a few from the nation for this crucial position. This shows that each and every person is not eligible for this rank. Allah sees the qualities and abilities and only then does He bestow this honor.
They Guide the people
They guide the people by Our commands and orders. There are two types of systems prevalent in the universe viz. (creation) and (order). The system of creation is that system wherein (he things come into existence through the normal process of "cause and effect". For instance the sperm gradually (after passing through various stages) is converted into a man. Or a seed after undergoing through the normal processes finally becomes a tree. On the other hand, in the system of 'Amr' - which is superior to the system of creation - things don't move through the normal process. Nor is time and space a pre-condition for the actualization of the outcome. Here only the intention of 'Be' is sufficient. As Allah says in the Quran:
'His command - when He intends anything -is only to say, "Be" and it becomes.'
(Surah Yasin: 82)
This means that the mere intention of a thing is sufficient to bring about its existence. Neither any cause or reason is essential nor are there any restrictions of time and place. These Imams (a.s) guide by virtue of (this) command of Allah. If they desire to guide someone then a simple intention on their part is enough to guide that person. Like the way Janabe Zohair b. Qain (r.a.) was guided by Imam Husain (a.s). In a brief meeting of a just a few moments. Imam (a.s) changed Zohair b. Qain (r.a.) completely. But in order to be included in this form of guidance it is necessary that a person raises himself to such a high level that he becomes eligible to derive benefits from the winds of guidance. Idleness is from our side.
It is essential for the earth to bear such qualities that will make it profit from the pure drops of rain and will lead to the flourishing of flora and fauna. Today this guidance is present for us in the form of Hazrat Wali-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.). The only precondition is that we should derive benefit from him.
This particular phrase shows why this distinction of Imamat was granted to them. It is truly a miracle of Quran that it had explained the exalted status of Imamat in only two words. As if the entire sea has been capsuled in a pair of hands. Allah - through the phrase has defined the foundation of Imamat and through the phrase He has elucidated the responsibility of Imamat.
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