Imamat, Nature and Morals Values
Islam is the only religion acceptable to Allah. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) declared Islam to be the religion of nature. Every person is born on the religion of Islam but after birth he gets moulded as per the family and surroundings. If these effects have come from sources incompatible with human nature, they sit like dust on his nature but cannot destroy it and this nature expresses itself at a given opportunity. Hence, we see that the magicians of Pharaoh who considered the Pharaoh as their god, on receiving reminders from Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) immediately accepted the Lord of Moosa (a.s.) and fell in prostration to Him.
This natural recognition through which a person recognizes his God has been given to him before his birth in a prior world (known as Aalam-e-Zar or the world of particles). The Compassionate God knew that this person will get engrossed in the world’s distractions, forget this recognition and be eligible for everlasting chastisement. Hence, due to his beneficence, He sent Prophets and Imams (a.s.) so that they draw the peoples’ attention towards this and invite them to ponder on this point.
We also see that every person naturally feels the need for a guide in his existence. Some people take undue advantage of this natural need. We see that those who seek wealth present themselves as leaders for the people and the common man falls in the trap of treachery of such people. Hence, we see that even in the history of Islam, there were many who fooled the people by claiming to be Mahdi and destroyed their hereafter. Since this issue is related to human nature, it is not only found in Islam, but in every religion. We find such self proclaimed guides, who for the love of wealth, claim to be peoples’ guides and the masses, due to the dust of worldly desires on their innate nature, follow these imposters.
How is it possible that Allah, who has arranged for every natural need of man, would not arrange for the natural need of a guide for the people who would help in cleaning the dust on his nature? Hence Allah, in Aalam-e-Zar itself, introduced the Imams (a.s.) along with Himself and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Unfortunately, just as man forgot his real God and started worshipping gods other than Him, similarly, he forgot the real divine guides and started to follow pseudo-guides.
Allah the Almighty has informed in Surat al-Mulk that this world is a place for examination and man will be evaluated as per his actions. It is clear that evil will gain power over goodness. Evil has two methods through which it attacks human nature, usurpation and seeking status. There are two aspects of usurping someone’s rights.
One aspect is of the usurper represented by those who seek wealth.
The other aspect is the breach of trust represented by those who accept and follow the fraudsters and give away the right of the real divine guide to the impostors. Just has the usurpers of Imamat are sinners themselves, those who follow these usurpers are equal party to the sin. The other aspect is of seeking position and status. Such a guide only has one aim and that is to attain some status or position. Allama Iqbal explaining this aspect says,
“These possessions, wealth, relations and bonding
Are idols of imaginations – there is no god except Allah”
God is limitless in His Beneficence. He sent Prophets (a.s.) to complete his proof on those who worshipped pseudo-gods and they (a.s.) invited the masses towards Allah and drew their attention to the real God whose worship they have neglected due to the dust of factors like relations, bonding, idols and imaginations.
With the mercy through which Allah drew man’s attention towards natural worship and the real God, He, with this same infinite mercy, through the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) drew man’s attention to right of natural obedience of the rightful Imam. Hence, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), on divine orders, in Ghadeer-e-Khum, completed the proof over all the people and introduced that person who will fulfil man’s natural need for guidance just as pure water quenches the thirst of the thirsty.
Just as despite receiving reminders of the prophets (a.s.), if a person does not leave false gods, he will be eligible for everlasting chastisement, in the same way, if after the announcement of Ghadeer, if someone does not accept Imam Ali (a.s.) as Ameerul Momineen, he shall remain in hell forever.
To consider Imam Ali (a.s.) as Ameerul Momineen should not just be a verbal utterance because Vilayat is related to the entire existence and behaviour of man. This point was made clear by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on the day of Ghadeer itself when before the announcement of Vilayat, he (s.a.w.a.) asked the people whether he did not have more authority on them than they themselves? And when people accepted, then he (s.a.w.a.) announced
“Of whomsoever I am the master, this Ali is his master”.
Hence Imam Ali (a.s.) holds more authority upon us than we ourselves. Under this very authority, we should mould our character in such a manner that he (a.s.) wishes and not as we wish or our society wishes. Therefore, in the battle of Siffin, when Abbas Ibn Rabiyah whom Ali (a.s.) had stationed at a particular spot, came into the battle field at the challenge of an enemy soldier and killed him, Ali (a.s.) first corrected him that fighting the enemy was not as important as obeying the Imam’s order. And after this correction, he also forgave him like a compassionate father.
The divinely appointed guide possesses lofty morals and with the help of divinely endowed vision, calls the people to such actions which lead to their everlasting good fortune. Just as when Hazrat Eesaa (a.s.) asked his companions not to pick anything from the ground but when they saw three golden bricks lying on the ground, the world overpowered the three of them and they stopped to pick up those bricks. But then when the world asked each one of them that they alone become the owners of all three bricks, they killed one another and all of them went to hell.
Obedience of the divinely appointed guide benefits a person provided we actually accept them as our masters and consider ourselves as their lowly slaves. After recognizing the rightful guide, our natural instinct prepares us for this. If we make them as our role model and act based on it, we will traverse towards the aim of our lives and fulfill the aim for which the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was raised. He (s.a.w.a.) says mentioning one of the aims of his appointment, “I have been raised for the perfection of morals.”
Allah, through the words of Hazrat Hud (a.s.) says in the Quran,
“I am a trustworthy messenger for you. Then fear Allah and obey me.”
The more a person traverses the stages of morals; he will find the obedience of Imam (a.s.) easy in difficult situations. The best example for this is Hazrat Abul Fazl Abbas (a.s.) who was known for his bravery. He was desired by Ali (a.s.) before his birth. Right from childhood, he was reminded that he has to showcase his bravery in the battle of Karbala. But in order to display this bravery, he was dependent on the orders of his Imam (a.s.). The son of Imam Ali (a.s.) showed the character of Imam Ali (a.s.) and just as Imam Ali (a.s.) obeyed the instructions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) after his martyrdom, and displayed patience, Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) also showed patience in Karbala.
Ghadeer fulfills man’s natural need for a guide and strengthens man for obedience of the Imam and prevents him from breaching this trust.
Allah is Merciful and Forgiving. But if someone sins against a human, then Allah will not forgive him as the sin is against a human being. Hence, if Allah will not forgive the breach of right of a normal human being, then how is it possible that He forgive the trampling of the right of His appointed proof?
Our observation of the society demands us to think that have we been successful in honouring the right of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) whose name is most lofty. If we are fifty–fifty in this aspect then we should be conscious that we do not become the subject of Allama Iqbal’s couplets:
“Prostration for the Creator and friendship with the Satan,
Whom will you ask for reward in the hereafter?”
All Praise be to Allah who made us attached to the Mastership of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and the Imams (a.s.) from his progeny.