Imamat - Divine Leadership - Its status, position and appointment


حدثنا أبو العباس محمد بن إبراهيم بن اسحاق الطالقاني رضى الله عنه قال: حدثنا أبو أحمد القاسم بن محمد بن على الهاروني قال: حدثني أبو حامد عمران بن موسى بن إبراهيم عن الحسن بن القاسم الرقام قال: حدثني القاسم بن مسلم عن اخيه عبد العزيز بن مسلم قال:

كنا في ايام على بن موسى الرضا عليهم السلام بمرو فاجتمعنا في مسجد جامعها في يوم الجمعه في بدء مقدمنا فإذا راى الناس أمر الامامة وذكروا كثره اختلاف الناس فيها فدخلت على سيدى ومولاي الرضا عليه السلام فاعلمته ما خاض الناس فيه فتبسم عليه السلام ثم قال: يا عبد العزيز جهل القوم وخدعوا عن اديانهم ان الله تبارك وتعالى لم يقبض نبيه (ص) حتى اكمل له الدين وانزل عليه القرآن فيه تفصيل كل شئ بين فيه الحلال والحرام والحدود والاحكام وجميع ما يحتاج إليه كملا فقال عز وجل: (ما فرطنا في الكتاب من شئ) وانزل في حجه الوداع وفي آخر عمره (ص) (اليوم اكملت لكم دينكم واتممت عليكم نعمتي ورضيت لكم الاسلام دينا) وأمر الامامة في تمام الدين ولم يمض (ص) حتى بين لامته معالم دينهم واوضح لهم سبيلهم وتركهم على قصد الحق واقام لهم عليا عليه السلام علما واماما وما ترك شيئا يحتاج إليه الامه إلا بينه فمن زعم ان الله عز وجل لم يكمل دينه فقد رد كتاب الله عز وجل ومن رد كتاب الله فهو كافر,


Narrated from Abdul Aziz ibn Muslim,

At the times1 of Ali ibn Musa Al-Ridha (as) we were in Marv. We had gathered together in the Jami’a mosque where the people were talking about the concept of Divine Leadership (Imamat) and the many differences which the people have with each other in that respect. 

I went to see my Master Imam al-Ridha (as) and told him what the people said in that regard. 

He (as) smiled and said, "O Abdul Aziz! The people are ignorant and have been deceived regarding their religion. Allah (swt) did not take away the life of His Prophet (S) until after He perfected the religion for him and sent him the Quran in which everything including the allowed, the forbidden, the bounds, the decrees and everything which is needed is clarified. Then Allah (swt) said, "Nothing have we omitted from the Book…" (6:38)

"During the Farewell Pilgrimage, which was made in the last days of the Prophet’s (saww) lifetime, God revealed to him, "This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favors upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion" (5:3) It is the Imamat which completes the religion. The Prophet (saww) did not die until He clarified the knowledge of their religion for them, showed them their way, put them on the straight path, established Ali (as) as their Guide and Imam, and stated whatever the people needed. Whoever thinks that Allah (swt) has not completed His Religion has, in fact, denied Allah's Book. Whoever denies Allah's Book is a disbeliever (Kafir)"

هل يعرفون قدر الامامة ومحلها من الامة فيجوز فيها اختيارهم؟! ان الامامة اجل قدرا واعظم شانا واعلى مكانا وامنع جانبا وابعد غورا من ان يبلغها الناس بعقولهم أو ينالوها بارائهم أو يقيموا اماما باختيارهم


"Do these people understand the rank of Imamat & its position in the community that they think its permissible for them to select Imams. Imamat is much more magnificent, exalted in status, higher in position and difficult to get near its position, and much more deep-rooted than to be understood by the intellect or opinions of the people so that they can elect an Imam by themselves"

ان الامامة خص الله بها إبراهيم الخليل عليه السلام بعد النبوة والخلة مرتبه ثالثة وفضيلة شرفه بها واشاد بها ذكره فقال عز وجل: (انى جاعلك للناس اماما) (1) فقال الخليل عليه السلام: سرورا بها (ومن ذريتي) قال الله عز وجل: (لا ينال عهدي الظالمين) فابطلت هذه الاية امامة كل ظالم الى يوم القيامة وصارت في الصفوة ثم اكرمه الله عز وجل بان جعلها ذريته أهل الصفوة والطهارة فقال عز وجل: (ووهبنا له اسحاق ويعقوب نافله وكلا جعلنا صالحين وجعلناهم ائمة يهدون بامرنا واوحينا إليهم فعل الخيرات واقام الصلاة وايتاء الزكاة وكانوا لنا عابدين)`


"Indeed Imamat is that particular distinction with which Allah (swt) has distinguished Ibrahim (as), His very close friend (al-Khalil), the 3rd station after prophet-hood & friendship. It is a distinction with which He honored him and praised him with it. 

So Allah (swt) said, "Verily! I have made you an Imam for the people." Abraham, the close friend, then out of delight said, "And it (Imamat) will be in my offspring also."  Allah (swt) said, "My covenant does not go to the unjust ones." (2:124) 

Thus, this verse has declared the leadership (Imamat) of all the unjust ones as unlawful until the Day of Judgment and it has been limited to the choicest and elite ones. Then Allah (swt) honored him in establishing Imamat in best and clean persons of his offspring. 
Allah has said, "We granted him Isaac and Jacob as a gift and each of them We made righteous (21:72)
"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" (21:73)

فلم تزل في ذريته يرثها بعض عن بعض قرنا فقرنا حتى ورثها الله تعالى النبي صلى الله عليه وآله، فقال جل وتعالى: إن أولى الناس بإبراهيم للذين اتبعوه وهذا النبي والذين آمنوا والله ولي المؤمنين فكانت له خاصة فقلدها صلى الله عليه وآله عليا عليه السلام  بأمر الله تعالى على رسم ما فرض الله، فصارت في ذريته الأصفياء الذين آتاهم الله العلم والايمان، بقوله تعالى: " قال الذين أوتوا العلم والايمان لقد لبثتم في كتاب الله إلى يوم البعث فهي في ولد علي عليه السلام خاصة إلى يوم القيامة، إذ لا نبي بعد محمد صلى الله عليه وآله فمن أين يختار هؤلاء الجهال


"So Imamat remained in his offspring inheriting it from each other, generation after generation, until Allah (swt) made Prophet Muhammad (saww) to inherit it. And He (swt) said, "The nearest people to Abraham, among mankind, are those who followed him, and this Prophet (Muhammad) and the true believers. Allah is the Guardian of the true believers." (3:68)

"Imamat belonged to Him particularly, and He, then, entrusted Imam Ali (as) with it by the command of Allah (swt), as He had made it obligatory. 
It then came to be in his (Ali's) purified and clean of sins offspring, to whom Allah has given knowledge and faith, as in the words of Allah, the Most High, "Those who have received knowledge and have faith will say, ‘By the decree of Allah, you have remained for the exact period, which was mentioned in the Book of Allah about the Day of Resurrection. This is the Day of Resurrection, but you did not know." (30:56) 

Imamat will remain in the sons of Imam Ali (as) exclusively, till the Day of Judgment and there will be no prophet after Muhammad (saww). Where-from then have these ignorant people received the right to select Imams?

إن الإمامة هي منزلة الأنبياء، وإرث الأوصياء، إن الإمامة خلافة الله وخلافة الرسول صلى الله عليه وآله ومقام أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام وميراث الحسن والحسين عليهما السلام إن الإمامة زمام الدين، ونظام المسلمين، وصلاح الدنيا وعز المؤمنين، إن الإمامة أس الاسلام النامي، وفرعه السامي، بالامام تمام الصلاة والزكاة والصيام والحج والجهاد، وتوفير الفئ والصدقات، وإمضاء الحدود والأحكام، ومنع الثغور والأطراف


"Imamat is certainly, the position of the prophets, and the inheritance of the successors. Imamat indeed, is the Vicegerency  (khilafa) of Allah and the succession of the Messenger (saww), and the position of Amir al-Mu'minin Ali (as) and the inheritance of (Imam) al-Hasan (as) and al-Husayn (as).

"Imamat is, in fact, the reins of religion. It is the ruling system of the Muslims. It is best for the world, and honor for the believers. Imamat is Islam's growing foundation, and its towering branch. Through the Imam (as), the prayers, Zakat, (charity), fasting, Hajj and Jihad are completed. And the wealth of the nation (fay') and charity (sadaqat) are increased, the laws & legal punishments are implemented and the frontiers are protected and defended.

(in progress .. )

[Source: Uyoon al-Akhbar al-Ridha, Vol. 1, Chapter, 20, Hadith. 1 & al-Kafi, Vol. 1, Chapter. 15, Hadith. 1]