QUESTION 10:What is 'Al-Rajah' and why do you believe in it?
ANSWER:'Al-Rajah' in the Arabic language means 'return' and referring it technically, it means: 'return of a group of people after death and before resurrection.' This is known to take place concurrently with the appraisal of the awaited Mahdi (p). This is one of the realities with no disagreement regarding reason or revelation.According to the Islamic point of view, and other divine religions, the essence of a human being is constituted by his incorporeal soul which is also expressed as 'self', and this remains intact even after the death of his body, continuing it's eternal life. The Almighty Lord, who is the absolute omnipotent with no impediment limiting His ability, mentions in His divine book concerning the reality to this matter.With this brief introduction, it is quite clear that 'Rajah' is possible a matter from the logical point of view; because when considering it, it becomes clear that the return of this group of people is much easier than their creation in the first place. Thus the Lord who created them at the beginning, is undoubtedly able to bring them back to life again. According to the revelation, examples of 'Rajah' can be clearly observed in the previous nations: As the Holy Quran says:"And when you said: O Musa, we will not believe in you until we see Allah manifestly, so the punishment overtook you whilst you turned your backs over them. Then we raised you up after your death that you might give thanks."And in yet another instance, regarding prophet Jesus (p) states:.., and bring the dead to life with Allah's permission"The Holy Quran not only approves the possibility of 'Rajaah', but also confirms to the mass return of all the humans after their death. The Holy Quran in the following two verses points to the return of a group of people after death and before resurrection:"And when the word shall come to pass against them, We shall bring forth to them a creature from the earth that shall warn them and show them of their disbelief, because people did not believe in our communications. And on that day when we will gather from every nation a party from among those who rejected our communications, thereafter they shall be formed into groups."In order to prepare a back-ground of reasoning for these two verses regarding the matter of 'Rajaah' before resurrection, let us consider the following points:The commentaters of the Holy Quran believe that these two verses describe about the day of judgment, the first verse talks about one of the signs before resurrection. Jalal Al-deen Al-Soyuti, in the interpretation of 'Al-dor Al-manthoor', narratedfrom Ibn Abi Shaibah from Hudhaifah says that 'emergence of the reptile of earth' is one the incidents before the day of resurrection.There is no doubt that on the day of resurrection, all the human beings will be mustered together, and not a single group will be left out from any nation. Quran, regarding the inclusiveness of the return of the human, says the following:" this a day on which the people shall be gathered, and in another verse says: "And together the day on which we will cause the mountains to pass away and you will see the earth a leveled plain and we will gather them and leave not any one of them behind."Therefore, on the day of resurrection, all the individuals in the earth will be brought back to life and this is not specific for only a special group.The second verse declares the resurrection of a special group and a specific gathering of nations, not all humans. This verse states, "And on the day when we will gather from every nation a party from among those who rejected our communications."This verse clearly testifies the fact that not all humans will be resurrectedResult:According to these three brief introductions, it is quite clear that the resurrection of a special group of humans, who deny the divine signs, which can be understood from the second verse is an accident, which will occur before the set up of the day of judgment. Therefore, the resurrection of the humans on that day includes all the individuals and is not specified to one group.With this explanation, the clarity of our points that are based on the return of a group of humans after death and before the day of resurrection is proven: and this is the phenomenon of 'Rajaah'.Thus, the prophet's household, who are the companions of the Quran and the interpreters of the divine revelation, have given guidance in this field, and in order to be precise, we shall limit ourselves to point out two of their traditions:Imam Sadiq (p) says:"There are three considerable days kept for God, a day for the up raiser (p), a day for the return, and a day for the judgment."And in another instance says:"He is not considered one of us who doesn't believe in our return."It is worth mentioning to two points here:Philosophy of 'Rajaah'By contemplating the aims of the return, one can observe two of the sublime goals to this phenomenon, one is demonstrating the real majesty, and greatness of Islam, and the disgrace of infidelity; the other is rewarding the faithful and good-doers, and retribution of the infidels and oppressors.Apparent distinction between "Rajaah" and reincarnation. It is necessary to mention that "Rajaah" according to the Shia, does not mean to imply to the belief in reincarnation, because the theory of reincarnation is based on denying the resurrection and considering the universe as having a continuous circulation, where each circle repeats the previous circle.According to this theory, the soul of any human after death, will again return to this world and move into another body. So if the soul in the past was of the good doers, it will settle in the body where it shall have a blissful life, and if it was of the evildoers, it will move into the body where in the next stage it will have a difficult life. This return is considered his first resurrection! Whilst believers of 'Rajaah' follow the Islamic religion correctly by believing in the resurrection and judgment; on the other hand, consider the transfer of a separate soul from one body to another as being virtually impossible. They believe that only a group of people will return to this world before the day of judgment, and after attaining the wisdom and imbibing the interest concerned with this return, will once again come to the eternal world so that on the day of resurrection, they shall once again be resurrected along with the others; This is a state when not a single soul shall be separated form its original body and joined to another.(Baqara : 55, 56.)(Ale-Imran : 49)(Naml :82-83)Al-Dor Al-Manthor, vol.5 p. 177 in the interpretation of the verse 82 sure Naml.(Hud : 103)Al-Dor Al-Manthoor, vol.3 p. 349 has interpreted this day to being the Day of Judgment.(Kahf : 47)Sadr Al-Mutaliheen in the book of Asfar vol.9. sect. 8 chapt. 1, p. 3 regarding the annulling of reincarnation states: ".. if a departing soul becomes attached to the another body either during childhood or other than that, this necessitates that one of the being is in potency and the other in actuality and this is impossible due to the fact that the constitution between the two is a natural union, and a natural union in itself is not possible between two matters that is, one in actuality and the other in potency!"
What do you mean by your belief in intercession?
ANSWER:Intercession is one of the fundamentals of Islam that is quite certain, to which all the Islamic sects accept with the aid of both Quranic verses and the traditions even though they might have a difference in their opinion regarding the result of intercession. The reality of intercession is that the human who is created with sublime qualities and bestowed with a special proximity and position before Allah, asks God for recompense of sins or the elevation of degree from the chosen servants of Allah.The honorable prophet (p) said:"I was graced with five things. One of which being graced with intercession, so I limited this for my nation."Limitation of Intercession:From the Quranic point of view, the absolute and the unconditional intercession is only effective if the interceder is permitted by God to intercede in the first place. The only group who have this privilege are those having spiritual proximity to God, and thus permitted to intercede others. The Holy Quran states in this regard:"They shall not control intercession save he who has made a covenant with the beneficent God."Yet in another verse, it says:"On that day shall no intercession avail, except for him whom the Beneficent God allows and whose word He is pleased with."Secondly: The person that is worthy of receiving the intercession ought to have the merit to receive the divine grace through the interceder. i.e., his faith toward God and his spiritual bond toward the interceders creating a connection thereby. Therefore, the non-believers who don't have faith in Allah and among the sinners such as those who don't pray and commit other atrocities, like the murderers who lack the spiritual bond to their interceder, will definitely not be worthy of any intercession.Quran, regarding those who don't pray and those who deny the existence of the day of resurrection states: "So the intercession of the intercessors shall not avail them."And regarding the oppressor, says: ", the unjust shall not have any compassionate friend nor any intercessor who should be obeyed."Philosophy of Intercession:Intercession as a way towards repentance, is a ray of hope for the one who in the midst of being misguided and disobedience, can get rid of their sins and spend the rest of their lives in God's obedience; because when the sinful human feels that within certain limited conditions, he can attain the interceder's intercession, will strive to observe this limit and not step further to commit sins.Result of Intercession:The Interpreters of Quran have difference in opinion regarding the result of intercession, be it forgiveness of sins or elevation of degree, however, when we regard the tradition of the Holy Prophet (p) the first point is more than obvious:"My intercession on the day of judgment is even for those who commit great sins in my 'Ummah' (nation)"Masnad ahmad, vol.1 p.301, sahih Bukhari, vol.1 p.91 print in Egypt.(Maryam:87)(Taha:109)(Mudathir:47)(Mu'min:18) Sunnan Ibn Majah, vol.2 p.583, sunnan Abi-Dawud, vol.2, p.537; Sunnan Al-Tirmidhi, vol.4 p.45.
Is the asking of intercession from those worthy to intercede, considered as polytheism?
In clarifying this question, it is said that intercession is the exclusive right of God, as the HQuran mentions in this regard: "Say, With Allah's is the intercession altogether."Therefore, asking intercession from other than God, is asking God's absolute right from his slave, and such a request in reality, is worshipping other than God and is in disagreement with monotheism in worship.ANSWER:What is meant by 'polytheism' here, is not attributing partners to God in essence or creation, however it is polytheism in prudence and guardianship. It is clear that explaining this matter needs accurate interpretation of worship and we all know that not any kind of submission or request from a slave is to be considered as worship. According to the clear statement of the Holy Quran, the angles prostrated to Adam: "So when I have made him complete and breathed into him of My spirit, then fall down making obeisance to him. And the angles did obeisance, all of them."Moreover, the sons of prophet Jacob (p), and even he himself, prostrated toward Joseph (p):"And he raised his parents upon the throne and they fell down in prostration before him.."If such a submission was regarded as a form of worship to Prophet Jacob (p), the infallible, he wouldn't perform such an action and would not be pleased with his son's act of prostration, thus, this is only done because of considering prostration as being the highest sign of submission.Therefore, we should separate the concept of submission or requesting from others, from the actual meaning of worship. The reality of worship is that the human considers any being as God and thereby performing worship in submission toward him; or considers a being as God's creature assigning Godly works to him in the manner that the management of the universe and the forgiveness of sins is allocated to him.However, if our submission towards a certain person, would be such that we neither tend to consider him as God nor thinking that Godly works were assigned to him, such a submission is none other than merely respecting him; just as the angle's respect before Adam (p) and Jacob's sons respect towards Joseph (p).When we regard the question carefully, it should also be noted that when thinking about the intercession entrusted only to the true interceders, who help intercede through the forgiveness of sins, such a belief can result in polytheism; because this is infact requisiting the work of God to other than Him. However, if the thought takes a turn, such that a group of God's pure slaves, without them being the actual possessors of the position of intercession, and in a specified framework, are merely granted the permission to cause intercession for the sinners, their belief in the unity of God remains intact. We should not be heedless of the fact that the most important condition of all is God's permission and pleasure lying in the intercession. Thus it becomes clear that request for the intercession from a pious servant of God is not accompanied with regarding him to be God, nor necessitating the assignment of divine affairs to him, rather, the requesting of a favor from someone whose work is assigned by God to offer his intercession.During the lifetime of the Prophet (p), we see that sinners would often come requesting for repentance to which the prophet never accused them of polytheism. It is narrated in 'Sunnan Ibn-Majah' that the honorable Prophet said: "Are you aware of the choice that the Lord has bestowed me tonight with?" We said:"Allah and His messenger possess the greatest knowledge."He said: "He gave me to choose between the half of my nation to enter paradise or 'intercession' and I chose the latter."We said: "O messenger of Allah, pray to the lord to make us of those people (the people who are worth receiving the intercession)."He said: "Intercession is for every Muslim."In the above-mentioned tradition, the companions of the Prophet undoubtedly requested intercession from him; by saying: 'Pray to Allah."The Holy Quran also mentions: "And had they, when they were unjust to themselves, come to you and asked for forgiveness from Allah and His apostle who in turn had asked forgiveness to Allah for them, they would have found Allah to be oft-returning, Merciful."In yet another instance, Quran speaks of the sons of Jacob (p) saying: "They said: O our father, We ask for forgiveness for the faults we have committed, surely we were the sinners." To which Jacob (p) promised them forgiveness and never accused them of polytheism. He said: "I shall ask the forgiveness for you from my Lord; surely He is the All-Forgiving, the All-Merciful."(Zumar: 44)(Sa'd : 72-73)(Yusuf: 100)Sunnan Ibn Majah, vol.2 chapt, Dhikr Al-Shafa'ah, p.586(Nisa: 64)(Yusuf: 97)(Yusuf: 98)
QUESTION 13 :Is the asking help from other than God, regarded as Polytheism?
ANSWER:From the intellectual point of view, and also that of revelation, all the human beings, and all the creatures for that matter that exist in the universe, are in need of God for their continuation of existence just as they were in need of Him for them coming into existence.The Holy Quran, in this regard, says:"O mankind, you are from those who stand in need of Allah, and Allah is He who is the self-sufficient, the praised one." In another instance, the Holy Quran mentions the fact that all the victories are exclusive to the Lord of universe saying that: ".., and victory is only from Allah, the mighty, the wise."According to the indisputable principle of Islam, we, as Muslims, recite in each of our daily prayers the following verse of the Holy Quran: "Thee alone we worship and Thee alone we beseech for help." Therefore, we shall clarify to the answer by saying that: Seeking help from other than God can be imagined in two ways:1. The first one being that, we seek help from an individual whom we consider as being independent and needless towards God.There is no doubt that such help-seeking would be absolute polytheism to which the Holy Quran highly disregards, expressing it to be as unsubstantiated: "Say, who is it that can withhold you from Allah if he intends evil for you rather than showing mercy towards you? And they will not find for themselves besides Allah any guardian or colleague." The second way being that, when seeking help from another entity, we ought to keep in mind the fact that he is a creature of the Lord who is constant need of Him for his existence, and is not independent of himself. It is a gift bestowed to him by the Lord to intercede others and solve their problems. According to this way of thinking, the person whom we seek help from is only an intermediate between himself and God, whom the glorious Lord has appointed to fulfill his desires. This way of seeking help is in reality only attained through God, because it is He who gave existence to these means and causes in the first place and granted power to them for the performance of the needs of others. It is due to the presence of such intermediaries that the life of human is eased when he sought help through them or else he would he would face constant turmoil in life. At this point, when we observe them with this view, that is, them being the elements of achievements of God's help, and that both their existence and affectivity is from God, then this seeking of assistance does not contradict with monotheism and unification.If a monotheist and God-knowing farmer receives help from elements such as earth, water, air and sunlight for the growth of his plants, he is in reality seeking help from none other than God, because it is solely He, who gives the elements the means, power and ability to grow. It thus becomes clear that the seeking of help is in complete agreement with the spirit of unification and monotheism. Furthermore, the Holy Quran commands us to seek help from phenomenon (such as perseverance and prayers), where it clearly says:"And seek assistance through patience and prayer, and most surely it is a hard task except for the humble ones."It is therefore obvious that patience and persistence are works and we are demanded to seek help from them; Meanwhile, such help-seeking is not in disagreement with restricting aid to God in the verse,". And thee do we beseech help."(Fatir:15)(Ale-Imran : 126)(Fateha :5)(Ahzab :17)(Baqarah :45)