Na'ib E Imam (representive of the Imam)
Nice title eh? As soon as Shiites look at this title their hearts simply fall for the guy who uses it. This is due to their love for Imam Mahdi (a.s.). The only problem is that Imam Mahdi (a.s.) never allocated this title to be used by any of these guys. Let me explain.
Historically, this term was used to denote the four representatives of the Twelfth Holy Imam (a.s.) who were the residents of Baghdad, during the minor occultation. All the Holy Imams (a.s.) from the first Holy Imam (a.s.) to the eleventh Holy Imam (a.s.) had their own representatives in different areas but the had never used this title for them. What was the reason for labelling these four as such when they themselves never used this title nor did anyone else ever used it for them during their time and there is no reference for this in history books?
The colossal Al Kafi of Sheykh Kulayni which was written during the minor occultation has no mention of this. In fact, none of the four canonical books of the Shiites has any reference to this. Yes, the only one who claimed to be the representative was Shamalghani, who was immediately reprimanded by way of a Holy letter.
The Shiites then used to go in front of his house and send curses upon him. He is being referred to as the accursed one even today. (Maybe the Shiites of that time comprehended the weight of this title).
There is only one reason that comes to the fore as to why this label was stuck to the four representatives, and that is to profit from it during the time of occultation so that a parallel system of rule can be established. They then classified the four as special representatives and themselves as general representatives. But this is an invalid act as the special representation has yet to be proven and so how can you prove general representation. Even if the special representation is somehow proven, that still does not prove their general representation because:-
None of the four representatives were Mujtahids which these people have now become.
None of them ever used the weapon invented by the Sunnis (Usool E Fiqh) in order to refute the Hadeeth of the Holy Infallibles (a.s.). None of them has ever issued a Fatwa.
None of them had ever considered the people to be ignorant, placed a collar of Taqleed on their necks, published any of their Tawzeehs, or created their own respective group of emulators. None of them ever tried to equate themselves with the Holy Infallibles (a.s.).
None of them ever played the drum that: 'Without their Taqleed none of your deeds are acceptable'.
All of them were just contact points between the people and the Holy Imam (a.s.). Their job was just to take questions to the Holy Imam (a.s.) and bring back the answers from him (a.s.). They never answered any of the questions of their own accord.
The system of representation was ended by the Holy Imam (a.s.) in his last letter to the fourth of them which has been recorded by Sheykh Sadouq. Take a look at the last letter of our Holy Imam Mahdi (a.s.). IKMAL UD DEEN WA TAMAAM UN NE'MAT - VOL.2 H44
It is narrated from Abu Muhammad Al Hassan Bin Ahmad Al Maktab who said: I was in the same city in the year when Sheykh Ali Bin Muhammad Al Samiri May Allah purify his soul I was with him before he died. During that time a letter arrived from Imam Mahdi (a.s.).
'In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. O Ali Bin Muhammad Al Samiri may Allah give great reward to your brothers, you are going to die in six days, So, wind up your affairs, but appoint no one in your place, because from the day of your death the period of my second occultation (Gaibat e Kubra) will begin. Hence forth, I will not reappear, unless and until with the permission of Allah (s.w.t.). My reappearance will take place after a very long time when people's hearts will have hardened the world will be full of injustice and sins.
Among my Shiites will be those who will claim to have seen me. Beware! Anyone who makes such a claim before the coming out of Sufyani and the sound from heaven announcing my reappearance, is a liar and imposter. There is no Might nor Strength except in Allah the High the Grea't. I made a copy of this letter and came back.
On the sixth day I returned and found him in a coma. People who were there asked him (Ali Bin Muhammad Al Samiri) who his successor is after him. He said: 'This matter is in the hands of Allah (s.w.t.) and He will fulfill it'. And then he died. These were the last words heard from him.
In this letter, the Holy Imam (a.s.) has advised him to wrap up his affairs and not to appoint anyone else. The Holy Imam (a.s.) put an end to this chain of contact points once and for all did not differentiate between the special and the general representatives nor did he say that, if, from now on anyone wearing a turban on his head were to come to you then you should accept him.
He also said that from now on if anyone claims to have seen me is a liar and an imposter. Therefore, today, if someone makes the claim that the Holy Imam (a.s.) comes to him and explains the solutions to the problems has surely forged a lie against the Holy Imam (a.s.). How can it be when there is no contact?
The main reason for making the claim of being the Holy Imam (a.s.)'s representative is so that all his (a.s.) affairs should get transferred unto him and no one would be able to challenge him as the Holy Imam (a.s.) will no longer be reprimanding him by way of a letter. People should consider the orders of the 'representatives' orders to be the orders of the Holy Imam (a.s.).
Since, without being in the Taqleed of the Holy Imams (a.s.) none of our deeds are acceptable, the same would now be the case for them as they now represent him. They would now be handling the affairs of religion and if he (a.s.) were not to make his (a.s.) appearance, then there is no problem as all the affairs are taken care of. The reason for awaiting his (a.s.) appearance has just been negated by these guys.
Who appointed these general representatives during the major occultation? Who classified the representation between special and general?
Are any of the acts and claims of these self-appointed general representatives valid? What about those of them who claim to have met Imam Mahdi (a.s.) during their lifetime? Why are we regarding them as saints when the Holy Imam (a.s.) has referred to these claimants as liars and imposters?