Introduction

A lot of people have the desire to be known by a title for the sake of prestige. The people of the community would then respect them according to the designation. The main driving force behind this is the ego factor. Take a look at this ego-breaking Verse.

Shakir 28:83 that future abode, We assign it to those who have no desire to exalt themselves in the earth nor to make mischief and the good end is for those who guard (against evil)

Then there are those who use other's titles for themselves when they do not deserve them. The whole affair becomes extremely serious when the titles being used are the ones that belong exclusively to the Holy Infallibles (a.s.). TAFSEER IMAM HASSAN AL ASKARI (A.S.)

Imam Ali Ibn Husayn (a.s.) narrated that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said: 'If any of my male or female servant were to leave our wilayat, oppose our way and call others with the good names of ours which Allah (s.w.t.) has Chosen for establishing the affairs of the religion and the world, and the titles of ours, having full belief,

without dissimulation, fear or religious reason, then Allah (s.w.t.) will raise them on the Day of Judgment and ask them, "O my slave, have you taken a Lord besides me?" And it will be said to them, "Allah is the Guardian", their fate will then be with their shaytans who used to surround them and they used to obey them, "So now ask them for your reward for what you did"'.

As can be seen quite clearly that it is very dangerous to either adorn oneself or refer to others with the titles which belong exclusively to the Holy Infallibles (a.s.). According to the above Hadeeth,

if we were to refer to some people with a designation which belongs exclusively to the Holy Infallibles (a.s.) then we will be told "So now ask them for your reward for what you did". Incidentally these guys have been referred to as shaytans.

Mawlana (Our Master)

This is one of the most commonly used titles for the priests in the Indian Sub- continent. Maybe the users are not aware of its meaning, but the priests for whom it is being used are certainly aware of its implications. They are quite happy of being referred to as Mawlanas.

Let us now look at correct usage of this title.

[Shakir 47:11] That is because Allah is the Protector of those who believe, and because the unbelievers shall have no protector for them.

So Allah (s.w.t.) is our Master (Mawlana). Who else?

About 1400 year ago, at the plains of Ghadeer a declaration was made clarifying the Mastership of Imam Ali (a.s.), by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.).

(Of whomsoever I am the Master, Ali is his Master)

Celebrations broke out after this announcement and the people began congratulating themselves over this and hugging each other, that since the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) is definitely our Master, therefore Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) is now declared to be the Master in the same sense. Allegiances were paid by the notables and everything seemed hunky dory.

Their sinister hidden desires only came to the fore later on, as soon as the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) passed away, at the conspiratorial gathering which took place at the tent of Bani Sa'da where they declared someone else as the ruler.

Since then, until today, there have been numerous governors and rulers with political aspirations as well as having desires to control other people in whichever way they can. This situation has become so ridiculous these days that any one with a turban on his head (or even a hat sometimes) gets referred to as 'Our Master', and is happy with this reference. Now, if the people are doing this due to their ignorance, then surely these Mawlanas should have corrected them. But they seem to like basking in their glory of being masters and have let this situation carry on.

The shameful thing about this is that even the first three Caliphs, who were very eager to adorn themselves with as many exclusive titles of Imam Ali (a.s.) as they possibly could, did not have the courage to use the term Mawlana for themselves.

Neither their historians of old nor the contemporary ones have ever referred to them as such.

From among the Shiites, Sheykh Kulayni, Syed Razi, Sheykh Sadouq etc. none of them ever used the term Mawlana for anyone other than the Holy Infallibles (a.s.). These days however, every other turbanite is being referred to as a Mawlana.

Let us take a look at what happens in the Mosques and Hussaynias during the Holy month of Ramadhan. The Shiites recite Du'a E Tawassul in great numbers during which they pronounce the fourteen Holy Infallibles (a.s.) as their Masters, after which they duly go back to referring to the priest with the same reference as their fifteenth.

O Abul Hasan, O Commander of the Faithful, O 'Ali, son of Abu Talib, O decisive argument of Allah over mankind, O our chief, O our Master . . .

This reference, which gets repeated for each of the fourteen Holy Infallibles is clearly in line with the pronouncement of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) at Ghadeer Khumm, as this title is to be used exclusively for the Holy Infallibles (a.s.). The fifteenth reference is clearly out of line.

QUESTIONS

Why are these priests not correcting the ignorant one who refer to them as such? Is this because they like equating themselves with the Holy Infallibles (a.s.)? What is their justification of the usage of this term for themselves? Are they now going to stop using this title?