Importance of Marifat
How much you love another depends on how great your marifat of that person is. If a scholar dies who lives far away, then you will feel a little grief. If your neighbor dies, you will feel intense grief even if your ne ighbor is an ordinary person. The reason is you have no marifat of the scholar, but you have the marifat of your neighbor. Likewise, however the more marifat a person gains of Ahlul Bayt (as), the more he will love Them.
Because it is the desire of Allah that His slaves, servants, and the whole of creation should love Ahlul Bayt (as), then certainly we must love them fiercely. Ordinary love will not be acceptable to Allah. This is why Allah made this wajib (compulsory) upon His creation to gain the marifat of the Imam of their time. Our love for Ahlul Bayt (as) must reach its ultimate pinnacle.
Never consider marifat to be an ordinary act because religion, iman (faith), and the Day of Judgment are all completely dependent upon marifat. This is why RasoolAllah (saw) said, "Anyone who dies without gaining the marifat of the Imam of his time dies the death of an ignorant (jahil), kufr (disbeliever), and nifaq (hypocrite)." Now you can understand the importance of marifat that even if a person, who has prayed his whole life, fasts everyday, has performed hajj will die as a munafiq simply because he did not gain the marifat of the Imam of his time.
If someone asks you how marifat begins, the brief answer is it begins from three things; knowledge, deep reflection, and connecting with your Imam (as) through your heart. However much your knowledge increases, however much time you spend reflecting upon, and however much strong your connection with your Imam (as) is in your heart is how much your marifat will increase. When the marifat increases, your love automatically increases. This is the real purpose of your life.
If you do not achieve this, then your whole life becomes worthless. Every passing moment should cause your love to increase. Because RasoolAllah (saw) did not ask for mohabbat (love) as the reward of His prophecy, He asked for muwaddah. Muwaddah is such a love which gets stuck in one s heart in such a way that if this love is removed from your chest, then the heart will come out with it. In order to have such intense love, one must struggle intensely.
Even the smallest negligence in the marifat of Imam (as) can take one far from his purpose.
Adopted from the book: "Kashaful Salat" by: "Seyyed Baqir Nisar Zaidi"
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