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The Obligations of Muslims during the Occultation

It is true that the Prophet and the infallible Imam were appointed by God to undertake the governance of the community affairs as their rulers, and that the Prophet and the Imam should exert themselves to execute the divine will in this regard. Nevertheless, the essential obligation lies on the shoulders of the people who should provide the critical support needed by the Prophet and the Imam to attain the power and use it for advancing the purposes of God. As long as the people do not show their loyalty and obedience to these divinely designated leaders, it is simply unthinkable to see the ideal governance being effected. By the same token, during the absence of the Imam, as in our own times, Muslims have the responsibility to seriously work for the establishment of the Islamic form of government. Islam, even under present conditions, has not suspended the duty of Muslims to implement and to follow its directives. In fact, many Islamic rulings are directed towards the generality of the Muslim community:

Go forth, light and heavy! Struggle in God's way with your possessions and your selves; that is better for you, did you know. (Tawba [9], 41)
Struggle in the way of God with your possessions and your selves. (Saff [61], 11)
And fight in the way of God with those who fight with you, but aggress not. (Baqara [2], 190)
As to the thief, male and female, cut off the hands of both, as a recompense for what they have earned, and a punishment exemplary from God; God is All-mighty, All-wise. (Ma'ida [5], 38)
The fornicatress and the fornicator -- scourge each one of them a hundred stripes, and in the matter of God's religion let no tenderness for them seize you ... (Nur [24], 2)
O believers, be you securers of justice, witnesses for God, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents and kinsmen, whether the man be rich or poor. (Nisa' [4], 135)

All these verses are addressed to the generality of the Muslims and demand from them that they respond to their social obligations that are related to the betterment of Islamic public order. It is evident that carrying out these social injunctions cannot be possible without an authority who can ensure its fair execution. The nature of injunctions dealing with public order inevitably requires a governing body invested with executive powers to effectuate Islamic ordinances. In other words, the comprehensive realization of an Islamic public order with all its spiritual, moral and legal dimensions is impossible without a government invested with executive powers. To practice Islam in all its dimensions necessarily requires the existence of a government that is committed to do its bidding. Thus the Qur'an says:

He has laid down for you as religion that He charged Noah with, and that We have revealed to thee, and that We charged Abraham with, Moses and Jesus: 'Perform religion, and scatter not regarding it.' (Shura [42], 13.)

It is possible to conclude from these general addresses of the Qur'an to all believing Muslims and the provisions made by the Prophet for giving permanence to the governance of Islamic public order through Islam's social-political-legal-moral teachings that during the occultation of the twelfth Imam Muslims have the obligation to work seriously towards the implementation of Islamic ideals in their everyday personal and social lives. As long as we believe that Islam came to provide happiness in this and the next world and, therefore, it legislated laws to cover every aspect of God-human and human interpersonal relationships, then we must maintain the necessity of managing our affairs in accordance with these laws. This conclusion becomes even more pertinent if we remind ourselves that we also believe that these laws were not given for the short period of the Prophet's life only; they will be with us until God resurrects us for the Final Judgement. Hence, our endeavors to effect these norms today assume some urgency. Muslims must resolve to prepare themselves to be worthy of supporting the final revolution of the Mahdi by constantly evaluating their shortcomings and reforming themselves to undertake the great responsibility of making the Islamic public order the only viable order that can guarantee peace with justice and harmony on the earth.

Adopted from the book : "Al-Imam al-Mahdi (a.s.); the Just Leader of Humanity" by : "Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini"

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