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Why Imamat

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Based on Shia 12er imamat
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  Imamat: The Perfection of Deen Since creation of prophet Adam (AS), a series of divinely appointed guides have continued to warn mankind.    And when your Lord said to the angels,  I am going to place in the earth a khalif  , they said: What! wilt Thou place in it such as shall make mischief in it and shed blood, and we celebrate Thy praise and extol Thy holiness? He said: Surely I know what you do not know. Quran [2:30]    And (We sent) messengers We have mentioned to you before and messengers we have not mentioned to you ; and to Musa, Allah addressed His Word, speaking (to him): (We sent) messengers as the givers of good news and as warners, so that people should not have a plea against Allah after the (coming of) messengers ; and Allah is Mighty, Wise. Quran [4:164-165]  Thus since the beginning of creation, Allah sent prophets/messengers. This series of guidance was however terminated after the demise of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the seal of the prophets. Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the Last of the prophets ; and Allah is cognizant of all things. Quran [33:40]  Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was a prophet of Allah, and his friend. And who has a better religion than he who submits himself entirely to Allah? And he is the doer of good (to others) and follows the faith of Ibrahim, the upright one, and Allah took Ibrahim as a friend . Quran [4:125] When Allah severely tested and tried the faith of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), he was also appointed as the Imam of mankind as the following verses testify.  And when his Lord tried Ibrahim with certain words, he fulfilled them. He said: Surely I will make you an Imam of men . Ibrahim said: And of my offspring? My covenant does not include the unjust, said He. Quran [2:124] Thus prophet Ibrahim (AS) was responsible for two divinely appointed offices, prophethood and Imamat. I have posted above a verse which concludes the termination of the office of prophethood after demise of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Can you show me any verse or hadith from history which points towards the termination of the office of Imamat?  The answer is simple. No! Because for you to show a verdict which terminates the office of Imamat, the verdict needs to exist, while it obviously is non-existent. Who were the Imams is another issue and will be discussed in another article. The question now arises that even after being a prophet of Allah and friend of Allah, what other honor and  authority would being the imam of men bring to prophet Ibrahim (AS). Secondly, why was prophet Ibrahim (AS) keen for imams to belong to his offsprings as well and was he granted that prayer of his or no.  Sunnis and shias interpret the office of Imamat differently. Some even consider prophethood and imamat to be the same thing. Some consider Imamt to be the same as Khilafat (political appointment). And We send not messengers but as announcers of good news and givers of warning , then whoever believes and acts aright, they shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve. Quran [6:48] Messengers and prophets were sent to convey the message of Allah, to warn and to give good news on the behalf of the creator. Messengers are the representatives of God on earth. Imam however is different from a messenger or a prophet. And We gave him Ishaq and Yaqoub, a son's son, and We made (them) all good; And We made them Imams who guided (people) by Our command , and We revealed to them the doing of good and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of the alms, and Us (alone) did they serve; Quran [21:72-73] So We caught hold of him and his hosts, then We cast them into the sea, and see how was the end of the unjust. And We made them Imams who call to the fire , and on the day of resurrection they shall not be assisted. Quran [28:40-41]  Thus the word Imam literally means to follow. In our case, Imam means to follow unconditionally irrespective of the persons position as a prophet or a non-prophet. A prophet can be an Imam but an Imam is not necessarily always a prophet as well . Firaun was an Imam who called people (who followed him and his commands) towards the hellfire. Those who considered him to be an imam followed his footsteps and will be doomed. ( Verily, I am going to make you an Imam (a leader) for mankind (to follow you).'') as a reward for Ibrahim's good deeds, adhering to the commandments and avoiding the prohibitions. This is why Allah made Ibrahim a role model for the people, and an Imam whose conduct and path are imitated and followed.  Tafsir Ibne Kathir, Tafsir of 2:124 Even Ibn Kathir agrees that Imams are role models for the people, and a role model is to be followed, in actions as well as orders. Where do we draw a line between prophets and Imams? My interpretation to the whole situation is as follows. Prophet Sheth (AS) was a prophet and not an Imam. Prophet Sheth   (AS) will be honored and respected.  He will guide fellow beings through revelations revealed to him and convey the message of Allah. However all of the actions and words of Prophet Sheth might not be a revelation. He can order something which is something of his own desire and not a commandment of Allah. This order of his can be followed or cannot be followed. Keeping in mind the fact that he is the prophet of Allah, his orders should be followed by his people but in strict terms, it is not necessary if it is clear that the order is a personal desire and not a revelation. Thus for Sheth's people, prophet Sheth is a role model only when he follows a revelation. For example, if Sheth's people are ordered to perform Salat, Prophet Sheth will perform salat as it  is revealed to him by Allah. Prophet Sheth's personal actions and opinions and desirous ways to perform salat will not be a part of religion and he will not perform salat in a way which he thinks is plausible.  Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was a prophet as well as an Imam. Being a prophet, he brought a new message to his nation. Being an Imam, his personal desires and actions started to become religious law. He became a role model independent of revelation.  This independency however is granted by Allah. The example of Hajj is there. Hajj is a ritual which was performed by Ibrahim (AS) and his family. It became a part of religion. Similarly Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was a prophet as well as an Imam. Indeed We see the turning of your face to heaven, so We shall surely turn you to a qiblah which you shall like ; turn then your face towards the Sacred Mosque, and wherever you are, turn your face towards it, and those who have been given the Book most surely know that it is the truth from their Lord; and Allah is not at all heedless of what they do. Quran [2:144] The changing of Qiblah was a desire of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and it was nested within the recommendations of religion. Is obeying Muhammad (SAW) the same as obeying Allah? Technically yes, but infact, they are two different orders. O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Messenger , and do not make your deeds of no effect. Quran [47:33] Allah tells us, that if we need to make our deeds useful, we will have to do two things, one is to obey Allah, and the other is to obey Muhammad (SAW). If both were the same, there would not have been any need for a repetition in the same verse. This is a proof in itself, that not only are these two obediences different but also that they hold the same importance. The problem is, we have not seen Allah, nor the angel, then how can we obey him? Logic dictates that obeying Muhammad (SAW) is the same as obeying Allah. This is true technically, but there is a difference. As i said earlier, Muhammad (SAW) was a rasool as well as an Imam. The obedience to Allah is the obedience to the revelations revealed to Muhammad (SAW) by angel Gabriel (AS). Thus, obedience to Muhammad (SAW) as a Rasool Allah is the obedience to Allah. Obedience to Muhammad (SAW), independent and irrespective of the revelation revealed, is obedience to Muhammad (SAW) as an Imam.   If a revelation is revealed, which tells the Muslims that alcohol is banned, and Muhammad (SAW) tells that to the Muslims, then avoiding alcohol will be obedience to Allah, because we followed Muhammad (SAW) as a Rasool or messenger of Allah. If no revelation regarding an issue is revealed, but Muhammad (SAW) tells you to divorce your wife, even if there is no apparent reason, and Muhammad (SAW) tells it to you out of his personal desire and free will, then divorcing your wife will take shape into a religious responsibility, and if you divorce your wife, it will be your obedience to Muhammad (SAW) as an Imam.  This is the difference  between the two obediences Allah has ordered time and time again in the Quran.  However, there is yet another issue. How will we know if what Muhammad (SAW) is telling us to do, is a revelation or something out of his personal desire? First thing, in either case, we are to obey him (SAW) because he is not only a Prophet but also an Imam. Disobedience to either will make you one of the rejecters. To make the issue simple, let us talk about a prophet who was not an Imam. Let us take prophet Sheth (AS). Obedience to Sheth (AS) is compulsory all the time. Because he is not an Imam but only a prophet, Sheth (AS) is not allowed to order his followers anything out of his own desire. If he (AS) does something which he was not supposed to, then the monitoring of Allah is very severe and he makes his prophets pay the price of their participation outside the orders of Allah. Examples of Adam (AS) and Yunus (AS) are infront of us! Thus any order a Prophet gives to the followers, is confirmed to be from Allah, for if it was not, Allah would not allow his Prophets to intermingle their desire with the message, because that authority lies with imamat.  Having said that, it does not mean at all, that an Imam can allow alcohol, when Allah has banned it. An Imam can desire anything and following it is our religious duty, but Imamat is given to those whose Infallibility is of the highest level, thus their desire is not prone to error. Surely Firon exalted himself in the land and made its people into parties, weakening one party from among them; he slaughtered their sons and let their women live; surely he was one of the mischiefmakers. And We desired to bestow a favor upon those who were deemed weak in the land, and to make them the Imams, and to make them the heirs , Quran [28:4-5] It is also interesting to notify the fact that Allah chooses the Imam, from among those who are deemed weak. Hints for the wise are sufficient. Coming back to the second question, was Ibrahim's (AS) progeny granted Imamt, as per his plea? The answer is yes. When Allah made Ibrahim an Imam (Leader for the faithful), he asked Allah that Imams thereafter  be chosen from his offspring. Allah accepted his supplication, but told him that there will be unjust  people among his offspring and they will not benefit from Allah's promise. Thus, they will neither  become Imams nor be imitated (for they will not be righteous). The proof that Ibrahim's supplication to Allah was accepted is that Allah said in Surat Al-`Ankabut (29:27), And We ordained among his offspring prophethood and the Book). Hence, every Prophet whom Allah sent after Ibrahim were from among his offspring, and every Book that Allah revealed was to them. As for Allah's statement, ((Allah) said, My covenant (prophethood) includes not Zalimin (polytheists and wrongdoers). '') Allah mentioned that there are unjust people among the offspring of Ibrahim, and they will not benefit from Allah's promise, nor would they be entrusted with anything, even though they are among the children of Allah's Khalil (intimate friend, Prophet Abraham). There will also be those who do good among the children of Ibrahim, and these it is who will benefit from Ibrahim's supplication.  Ibn Jarir said that this Ayah indicated that the unjust shall not be Imams for the people. Moreover, the Ayah informed Ibrahim that there will be unjust people among his offspring. Also, Ibn Khuwayz Mindad Al-Maliki said, The unjust person does not qualify to be a Khalifah, a ruler, one who gives religious verdicts, a witness, or even a narrator (of Hadiths).''  Tafsir Ibne Kathir, Tafsir of Verse 2:124 Kathir interprets imamat to be the same as prophethood which is not quiet true as stated earlier. However, the progeny of Ibrahim (AS) did produce Imams who were not unjust which is a hint
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