Who are the 'Imams'?
ANSWER:The honorable prophet during his lifetime, had already declared that after him, twelve noble persons will reach leadership and all of them will be from the Quraish, and that Islam's dignity and honor will be achieved during their time.Jabir bin Samarah said:"I heard the messenger of Allah (p) saying, Islam will continue to flourish until the time of twelve caliphs, then said something that I didn't hear, so I asked my father as to what he had continued to say, to which he replied,"All are from Quraish."In the history of Islam, the caliph is he who is the protector of Islam's dignity and can be no one other than the twelve Imams whom the Shia believe in, because the twelve caliphs whom the prophet introduced were immediately after his holiness, known as his successors and caliphs.Now let us find out who exactly who these twelve caliphs are?If we bypass the four caliphs whom the Sunni's refer to as 'Al-Khulfa Al-Rashideen', then does it mean that the rest of the caliphs did not bring any dignity? The life history of the Umayyid's and abbasides, and the caliphs who were present as that time, attest to this. However, the Shias twelve Imams who were all the manifestation of piety during their lifetime, were preservers of the tradition of the messenger of God. The companions, their disciples, the later generations and the historians attested to their knowledge and authority, and these revered twelve Imams are known to be the following:Ali Ibn Abi TalibHasan bin Ali (Al- Mujtaba)Hussein bin Ali.Ali ibn Al- Hussein (Zainul-Abideen)Muhammed bin Ali (Al-Baqir).Ja'afer bin Muhammed (Al-Sadiq)Musa bin Ja'afer (Al-Kazim)Ali ibn Musa (Al-Reza).Muhammed bin Ali (Al-Taqi).Ali ibn Muhammed (Al-Naqi).Hassan bin Ali (Al-Askari).Imam Mehdi (Al-Qaem). Widely transmitted narrations are recorded about him as being the awaited Mehdi whose descendence is fromour honorable prophet, by many Muslim narrators. For further acquaintance with the life of these great leaders whose names were mentioned by God's messenger (p), refer to the following books:Tadhkira Al-Khawas (Al-Ummah)Kaifiyyat Al- Athar.Wafeyat Al-Aayan.Aayan Al-Shia (written by seyyid Muhsin Al-Ameen Al-Amili) which is more comprehensive than the above mentioned booksSahih Muslim, vol.6 p.2 print: Egypt.
Why is it so that when we send benedictions upon the Holy Prophet, we follow it with mentioning blessings on his household and recite,
"Allahumma swale Ala Muhammed wa Ale Muhammed."ANSWER:It is quite certain that the prophet (p) himself taught the Muslims the way of sending benedictions upon him. When the holy verse,"Surely Allah and His angles bless the prophet, O you who believe, call for divine blessings on him and salute him with a (becoming) salutation."Was revealed, the Muslims asked the prophet as to how they can do so, to which the Prophet replied, "Don't make the incomplete benediction," They asked again,"How can we do that?" He then replied by mentioning, "Allahumma swale Ala Muhammed wa Ale Muhammed."The position of the household of the prophet is so high and lofty that Shafe'e says in his well-known poem:O family of the prophet, Your love is an obligation from God, that was revealed in the Quran.Of your lofty position, it is enough that whosoever didn't send benedictions upon you, his prayer is not accepted.Ahzab: 56.Al-Sawaeq Al-Muhriqa. (Ibn Hajar) 2nd print: 'Maqtabatel Qahera', Egypt, chap. 11 sect. 1, p.146; and repeated in 'Al-Dur Al-Manthoor', vol.5, interpretation of (Ahzab: 56) narrating from narrators and authors of 'Sahahs' and 'Masnads' such as Abdul-Razaq Ibn Abi-Shaibah, Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim, Abi-Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nessai, Ibn Majah and Ibn- Mardawaih from Kaab Ibn Ajrah from the honorable Prophet (p).Al-Sawaeq Al-Muhriqah, sect.11 p.148, from 1st chapter, book of Ethaf (Shabrawee), p.29 and 'Mashreq Al-Anwar' (Hamzawee Maliki) p. 88, Al-Mawahib (Zarqani) and Al-esaaf (sabban) p. 119.
How do you claim that your Imams are infallible?
ANSWER:There are several proofs that state the infallibility of the Shia Imams; and we will only mention one of them: According to the Sunni and Shia scholars, the prophet (p), in the last days of his life said, "I am leaving amongst you two weighty things, God's book and my household and these two will never be separated from each other till they join me at the pool (k)."The point noteworthy here is: Quran is undoubtedly secure from any deviation and error. It is virtually impossible for the divine revelation to be tinted by mistakes while it's reveler is the Glorious Lord Himself, and its revelation is sent through the angel Gabriel and the receiver being the honorable Prophet (p)! Due the fact that the infallibility of the three is crystal clear, and Muslims all over the world believe the infallibility of the Holy Prophet and the fact that he is immune from any mistake whatsoever, in form of receiving, protecting it and propagating its message. Therefore, if it is clear that God's book has such pure and firm infallibility, the prophet's household is also immune from any mistake or error. This is so because in this narration, the prophet's household were mentioned as the those who are accompanying the Holy Quran in guiding and leading the nation, and due to this 'accompanying', both tend to have the same infallibility.In other words, it doesn't make sense to consider fallible individuals as being the ones accompanying the holy Quran that is in the purest form.The most evident witness to the infallibility of the imams (p) is mentioned by the prophet (p) himself that: "They will not separate in (guidance and leadership) till they join me at the pool (of Kawthar)."If it was so that the prophet's household are not immune from mistakes and in some instances might have been liable to make them, then they have already separated from the Quran which is free from all mistakes, and they have gone astray, whilst the holy prophet himself strongly emphasized to their infallibility, by negating them from any mistake whatsoever. Of course, what the holy prophet meant by his household were not all his relatives, because all of them were not free from mistakes. It is only a special group of his family (etrat) who possessed this honor, and this position applies to only a few of them. These are the ahl-bait who all along history, were the illuminators of the path of the nation, the protectors of the prophet's tradition and the guardians of the Islamic laws 'Sharia'.Mustadrak Al-Hakim, 3rd volume, p.148. Al-Sawaeq Al-Muhregha, sect. 11, chapt.1, p. 149. Similar to this context in 'Kanz Al-Amal', 1st volume, section of Al-etesam bil Kitab wal sunnah' p.44 and in Masnad Ahmad 5th volume, p. 182-189 among others.
Why do you recite "Ash hadu anna Aliyyan waliyyu Allah" in the call of prayer, thereby witnessing the guardianship of Ali (p)?
ANSWER:Whilst answering this question, it is befitting to consider the following points:All Shia scholars in their different books of jurisprudence, either argue, or some go on to emphasize that testifying the guardianship of Ali (p) is not part of the Adhan (call of prayer) or Eqamah, and nobody has the right to include it in part of these two. According to the Holy Quran, Ali (p) is mentioned as one of God's chosen friends.And likewise in the same verse, it declares his guardianship to the believers where it says:"Only Allah is your wali and his apostle and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate whilst they bow (performing Ruku).Both narrations from Sahih and Masaneed of the Sunnis have also mentioned that the holy verse was revealed regarding Ali (p). Hassan bin Thabit said the following poem:You are the one who helped the poor whilst bowing, may all the souls be ransomed for you, O best of the bowers.Therefore God revealed the best guardianship to you and explained it in the clearly defined religious laws. The honorable prophet said: "Surely deeds are according to the intentions."i.e, the criteria and acceptance of any deed is related to one's intention.Thus, it is due to this, that the guardianship of Ali (p) is one of the fundamentals of which the Quran has also clearly testified, however the previous verse of the Holy Quran does not state it to be part of the Adhan although there is no prohibition to mention it, and is regarded in the same manner as bearing witness to the honorable prophet (p) and his messenger ship. What is significant to mention here is the fact that if at all, adding a sentence in the Adhan is not recommended, and the Shia are criticized for this matter, then how can the following instances be justified:
Who is 'the Mahdi' from the family of the Holy prophet, and why to you await for his re-appearance?
ANSWER:One of the principles to which all the heavenly religious adhere to, is agreeing on the matter concerning a "Universal reformer", who will appear at the end of the time. Not only will He reform the Islamic world, but also the Jews and Christians will eagerly await this universal reformer of justice.When referring to both the old and new testaments, the reality of this matter is clarified.At this juncture, the honorable prophet (p) in one of his traditions that was narrated by the Islamic narrators, stated:"When nothing remains of life except for one day, God will send a man from my household who will fill the earth with justice after it having being filled with oppression."Therefore, just as we had said earlier, people of the heavenly religions fully agree on the belief of such a reformer, and in addition to this, there are also many traditions mentioned in the authentic books of the Sunnis. Moreover, the narrators and Islamic researchers of both the sects (Sunni and Shia) have written many books regarding the awaited Mahdi.These traditions specify his characteristics tracing right down to his descendents, reaching directly to being the son of Imam Hassan Al-Askari (as), the eleventh leader of the Shias. According to these narrations also, our awaited Imam has the same name as the honorable prophet (p), and he is the twelfth leader and the grandson of Hussein bin Ali bin Abi-Talib (p).The awaited Mahdi was born by the will of the divine commandment in the year 255 of Hijrat (from the time the prophet migrated to Madina) and even today, he is still living, of course without being identified, though we perceive not.A point noteworthy mentioning here, is that such a long life is not in disagreement according to science and general knowledge or even with logic and revelation. According to the current research, the world of knowledge is trying to increase the natural life-span of human beings and firmly believe that humans do have the potential to live a longer life than the expected one. The possibility of which would be increased if some of the plagues and normal ailmare strictly prevented. History has recorded the names of some of the individuals who have even naturally had a lengthy life span. The Holy Quran states the following regarding Prophet Noah:"And certainly we sent Nuh to his people, so he remained amongst them a thousand years save fifty .."As for Jonah, the Quran states the following about him:"He would certainly have tarried in its belly to the day when they are raised."Furthermore, both prophet Khizr as well as Jesus (peace be on them) happen to be alive even today, and to which all the Muslims agree as mentioned in the holy book of Allah. Old Testament: Psalms of David, chapt. 96,97 and the book of prophet Daniel, chapt. 12. New Testament: Mathew chapt. 24, Mark, chapt. 13, Luke chapt.21 (quoted from 'An awaited whom the world is still awaiting')Sahih Abi-Dawud, printed in Egypt, Al-Taziyyah printing house, vol.2 p. 207; Yanabi Al-mawadda, p.432; and Noor Al-absar, chapt. 2 p. 154.Other books such as Al-Bayan fi Akhabar Sahib Al-zaman, written by Muhammed bin Yusuf bin Al-Kanji Al-Shafe'e, and the book of Al-Burhan fi Alamate Mahdi Aakhir Al-zaman, written by Ali bin Hasim Al-deen known as Al-muttaqi Al-hindi and the book of Al-Mahdi was Al-Mahdawiyah written by Ahmad Amin from Egypt.As for the Shia scholars, they have written many such books which to enumerate is not an easy task, such as: Al-Malahim wal Fitan, ..Yanabi Al-mawaddah, chapt.76, Al-Manaqib narrated from Jabir bin Abdullah Al-Ansari.Sahih Tirmidhi, printed in Delhi, year:1342, vol.2 p.26; and Masnad Ahmad, printed in Egypt, year: 1313 vol.1 p. 376.Yanabi Al-Muwaddah, p.443Yanabi Al-Muwaddah, p.432(Ankabut:14)(Saffat : 144)
If the Shia religion is the true one, then why is it that only a minority have accepted it, and majority of the Muslims all around the world have still not acknowledged it?
ANSWER:The recognition of truth and falsehood is not based on the fewness or greatness of its followers. In today's world, unfortunately the Muslims happen to be only a fifth or one sixth compared to the non-Muslims. Most of the inhabitants of the far-east are idol-worshippers, cattle-worshipers and others who deny the true faith with their belief being attached to some baseless religion or a belief of some weird kind that we don't even know of and which only happens to be unassuming!China, which consists of a population over one million, is part of the atheist communist community, and most of the people in India (consisting a population close to a million) are cattle and idol-worshippers.On the other hand, being the majority is not a sign uses to be counted as the true religion. The Holy Quran often reproaches the majority and praises some of the minorities. Let us refer to some of the examples related to this subject:.., and thou shalt not find most of them thankful."".., its guardians are only those who guard (against evil), but most of them do not know.""., and very few of my servants are grateful."After looking at all these examples, it becomes clear that a practical human being never ought to fear the number of followers, even though they be few, or even become haughty if it was the other way round. This calls for one to use his intellect when deciding between wrong and right, and derive the benefit from its light.A man came to the commander of the faithful and said: "How can it be that the people who were not on your side in the battle of the camel, who happen to be constituted among the majority, be wrong?"Imam Ali (p) replied: "Truth and deception is not known by the number of followers; Get enlightened so that you can know who are the truthful ones and likewise, be aware of falsehood so that you can easily catch hold of the liars."It is necessary for a Muslim to analyze this matter in a logical and scientific manner by applying the verse that follows, "And follow not that of which you have no knowledge of" This serves a torchlight to pave their way.Furthermore, even though the Shia population is lesser than the Sunnis, an exact census proves that one fourth of the Muslims in the world happen to be Shia, living in Muslim inhabited countries; Along the annals of history, there have been scholars and famous writers and authors counted amongst the Shias. It is worthy to mention that the founders of Islamic sciences mostly happened to be Shias, such as: Abu Al-Aswad Al- doali who was the founder of the knowledge of 'Nahw' (Arabic grammar), Khalil bin Ahmad, the founder of 'Orud' (prosody), Ma'ath bin Muslim bi Abi Sarah Al-Kufi who was the founder of the knowledge of 'Sarf' (morphology) and Abu Abdullah Muhammed bin Orman Katib Khurasani (Marzbani) one of the pioneers in the science of 'Balaghat' (rhetoric's). For further information of the vast writings of the different Shia scholars whose enumeration is almost impossible, one can refer to the book of 'Al-Thareekh Al-Tasaneef Al-Shia', the book of 'Aayan Al-Shia', and for acquaintance of the great Shia scholars and their biographies, as well as acquisition of information about the Shia history, one can refer to the 'Tareekh Al-Shia'(A'araf :17)(Anfal : 34)(Saba : 13)(Isra : 36)For more details refer to 'Aayan Al-Shia', vol.1, subject 12, p.194If you desire further details, one can refer to the book of 'Ta'sees Al-Shia' written by Sayyid Hassan Sadr.