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True recognition of the Imam (pbuh)

As the first step, we should strive to have a true recognition (Ma'rifat) of the Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) with all his exclusive rights. This is one of the most important conditions for those expecting him, and is their prime duty. True recognition of the Imam (PBUH) is not just to know his name and his lineage.

At the most primary level, recognition means acknowledgement of his rights and authorities, while at an advanced level it is acknowledgement of his light (Nur). Fudhail Ibn Yasar narrated:

I asked Imam al-Sadiq (PBUH) about Allah's saying, "On the day that We shall call every group with their (respective) Imam." (17:71) The Imam (PBUH) replied, "O Fudhail! Know your Imam, for if you have real understanding of your Imam, postponement or advancement of this matter (al-Faraj) shall not hurt you.

He who recognizes his Imam and dies before the rising of the holder of this matter, he is like the one who is sitting in his army. Nay, he is like the one who is sitting under his banner." 46

It is noteworthy that the above tradition also points to the issue of al-Raj'a (earthly return). The one truly cognizant of the Imam and committed to him is of the Imam's soldiers and will return to this world by Allah's permission to help the establishment of the kingdom of justice once the Imam (PBUH) reappears. In another tradition, it is narrated:

Imam al-Sadiq (PBUH) said, "The lowest limit of the recognition of Imam is that He is the peer of the Prophet (PBUH&HF) without the degree of prophet hood and is his inheritor, and that obedience to him is obedience to Allah and obedience to His Apostle, and submitting to him in all matters and returning every (religious) issue to him and taking his words." 47

Furthermore, it has been narrated:

Imam Baqir (PBUH) said, "Certainly, people are charged with three obligations: Recognition (Ma'rifa) of the Imams (PBUT), submission to them in what reaches them (of their instructions), and referring to them in any disagreement (in religious matters)." 48

Moreover, Ibrahim al-Ziyad narrated:

Imam al-Sadiq (PBUH) said, "He who claims to recognize us but adheres to other handholds is a liar." 49

In one of his Tawqi', Imam al-Mahdi (PBUH) wrote:

"Seeking the knowledge of religion (al-Ma'arif) from other than us (Ahl al-Bait) is equivalent to denying us." 50

The traditions are quite clear that a person who does not refer to Ahl al-Bait (PBUT) in every religious issue has not recognized Ahl al-Bait (PBUT) as the guiding Imams.

The religion belongs to Allah and any one who has really acknowledged this fact, seeks the knowledge of religion only through His vice- regents. Seeking guidance and religious knowledge from other than Ahl al-Bait (PBUT) is equivalent to denying them as His vice-regents.


46. al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 371, Hadith 2; al-Ghaiba, al-Nu'mani, p. 329, Hadith 2; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 52, p. 141, Hadith 53.

47. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 36, p. 407, Hadith 16.

48. al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 390, Hadith 1; Wasa'il al-Shia, vol. 27, p. 67, Hadith 33216; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 2, p. 202, Hadith 74.

49. Ma'ani al-Akhbar, p. 399, Hadith 57; Wasa'il al-Shia, vol. 27, p. 129, Hadith 33397; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 2, p. 83, Hadith 7.

50. Mustadrak Safinat al-Bihar, Shaikh Ali al-Namazi, vol. 1, p. 10.

Adapted from the book: "Moment by Moment: Expecting the Advent of al-Qa'im (PBUH)" by: "Vahid Majd"

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