17

Chapter Seventeen: Arguments of Shaykh Tusi

Our discourse with respect to the occultation of the Master of the Age pursues two paths: One is that we say, since (a) it is proved that there must be an Imam in every age, (b) and that it is not possible that the people, being fallible, be at any give time without a chief, (c) and that the chief must be ascertained to be infallible, (d) and it is the case that such a chief is either manifest and known or hidden and unbeknownst, (e) and likewise it is clear that all those for whom a manifest imamate is claimed, their infallibility is not ascertained, but rather the outward appearance of their actions contradict infallibility, it is inferred that the infallible imam who must exist in every age is hidden and invisible. Likewise, taken into consideration that all those for whom infallibility is claimed, and are said to be invisible and hidden, such as the proclaimed hidden leaders of the Kaisaniyya, Nawusiyya, Fatihiyya, the Waqifiyya, and others, their words are invalid, the Imamate of Ibne Hasan and his occultation and his guardianship (Wilayah) is proved. This argument, relying on these premises, which are very transparent, and the fact that the truth is not outside the bounds of this Ummah, does not need take on the burden of proving his birth and explaining the reason of his occultation and proving his guardianship.

The second pathway of our argument is thus: The inquiry of the occultation of Ibne Hasan is secondary to proving his Imamate. Our adversary either submits to us in the question of his Imamate and inquires about the reason of his occultation, obliging us with answering him; or he does not submit to us in the question of his Imamate, in which case, to inquire about the reason of the occultation of someone whose Imamate has not been proven will be meaningless. If disputed about proving his Imamate, we prove it through our assertion as follows:

The necessity of Imamate in every condition and age as long as Divine obligations and duties fall on the shoulders of the fallible human beings is proved through forceful proofs.

It is likewise proved that one of the conditions of the Imam is to be certain of his infallibility. On the same token, it is clear that the truth is exclusive to this Ummah. With these premises proven and clear, we find the Ummah divided into a number of beliefs.

One congregation says that there is no Imam. The premise averring the necessity of Imam in every age and condition invalidates this assertion.

Another group claims the Imamate of someone whose infallibility is not certain, an assertion invalidated on the grounds of our proofs with regard to the necessity of certainty about the infallibility of the Imam. Observation testifies to the contrary of the contention of others who maintain the infallibility of their professed imams. Because the actions of these imams are apparent and their conditions violate infallibility, hence no need to take the burden of disproving a belief the contrary of which is so very evident.

Entities for whom infallibility has been claimed and certain congregations have followed them, such as the Kaisaniyya who maintain the imamate of Muhammad Ibne Hanafiyyah, the Nawisiyya who profess the

imamate of Ja’far Ibne Muhammad and that he has not died, and the Waqifa who believe that Musa Ibne Ja’far has not died-these beliefs are invalid for the reasons we will shortly state.

Thus, both pathways depend on the invalidation of the beliefs of these denominations in order for our purpose to be established.

Likewise, the three principles-the necessity of the presence of an Imam, necessity of certainty of his infallibility, and that truth is exclusive to this Ummah-which we mentioned, must be established for this argument to stand. We will elaborate on each one of these premises in a brief manner, since their detail exists in our book on Imamate to an extent that can hardly be expanded further, whereas the purpose of this book is exclusive to the topic of occultation and no more. Allah is the One Who we seek success from for this with purpose.

Proof for Supreme religious leadership

The proof for the necessity of leadership is that it is a favor and a principle that rationality testifies to its necessary validity. It is like knowing that God exists, a principle every mukallaf must be availed to.

Don’t you see that it is evident that when a fallible group of people are without an awe-inspiring and venerable leader, who would stop the enemy, reprimand the criminal, seize the hand of the counterfeiter, and defend the weakling against the strong, mischief occurs, deceptions spread, debauchery increases and propriety becomes a rarity? And when they have a leader with these qualities the situation becomes the opposite, with integrity expanding and encompassing, mischief becoming uncommon and rare? This is so very obvious and any man of common sense would agree to it­ rendering anyone who disputes it unworthy of conversation.

We have fully responded to any imaginable query with this regard inTalkhis Shafi andSharh Jamal , and will not lengthen the inquiry by mentioning them here.

Objections of an Ahle Sunnat scholar

I found one of the recent-day writers criticizing the work of Sayyid Murtadha on the question of occultation, wishfully assuming that he has discovered a line of reasoning and adorning his falsity as righteousness for someone who lacks talent and intellectuality. I would like to discuss his arguments. He says: The discourse about occultation and criticism thereof consists of three stages:

First: We prove to the Imamiyah that occultation involves an evil aspect (qubh ), or that conferring obligations during occultation involves an evil aspect. They will be required to prove that occultation does not involve any evil aspect, because if evil is involved, occultation becomes evil, through it may carry a good aspect, just as we say in conferring a duty that is beyond one’s capacity, that it involves an evil aspect, though it may involve a good aspect by being aLutf (grace) for others.

Second: Occultation violates the argument of the necessity of Imamate in every age. Because, if the fact that the presence of a venerable and awe-inspiring leader in charge of the affairs, who leads the public away from evil, makes his presence a necessary Lutf in every age and conferring of

obligations without him wrong, this principle cannot stand violated in the time of occultation, since we would be away from evil in the time of occultation if we were with a leader who has these qualities. This is the proof of the necessity of such Divinely ordained leadership. However, the existence of a leader as such is not proved in the time of the occultation, nor has been proven that it is unjust to have religious obligations when he is not present. Thus, the proof stands violated.

Third is to say that according to you, the benefit of Imamate is that it leads the society away from wrong. However, this cannot be achieved with him being hiding and therefore, his existence and nonexistence have no difference. As his hidden existence does not correspond to his necessary existence you have argued for, your argument does not lead to the necessity of his existence during occultation.

Therefore, though your argument indicates your point when he exists in the condition of administering the society, it does not prove an Imam who is not running the affairs of the society, nor is an Imam who is running the affairs of the society.

Reply

The assessment of this argument is as follows: The first segment of his argument, “We prove to the Imamiyah that occultation involves an evil aspect,” is a mere promise he makes. It was worthy that he had explained “the evil aspect” which he desired to prove to the Imamiyah, so it would have been possible for us to contemplate it. He has not done that and therefore, his argument is inconclusive.

If he should say in the way of inquiring, “Do you reject that occultation involves a wrong aspect?” our response would be that wrong aspects are conceivable in the context of oppression, vanity, lie, debauchery and ignorance, and none of these things are involved here. This leads us to reject the presence of any wrong aspect.

If it should be asserted that the wrong aspect is the fact that according to you, he is always the reason for the justification of conferment of religious obligations, whereas the Lutf of his administration of the affairs and the fear of his chastisement are not materialized; this a breach in the Lutf deferred to themukallaf , hence the aspect of evil.

The answer to this criticism would be that we have explained in the context of the necessity of Imamate, as we referred to it, that his administration of the affairs and fear of his chastisement are not availed to the mukallafs due to their own behavior. Because they forced him to go into hiding by threatening him and did not empower him to run the society. Therefore, this is an evil that they have caused themselves.

This is similar to a case where someone says, “Religious obligations with respect to a person who does not have the knowledge of the existence of Allah, the Exalted, is wrong, since he has not been availed to the knowledge that is Lutf for him. Therefore, committing him to religious obligations is wrong.” The same way our adversary would answer a question as such-that the infidel did that on his own, because Allah assigned ways to His cognition and gave him the capacity to attain belief, and if he did not respect

that and did not attain faith, he did that on his own and this does not render his subjection to religious duties wrong.

We reply that though administration of affairs by the Imam is not a blessing that the mukallafs enjoy in the time of the occultation, but that is something they caused themselves. And should they provide the Imam with the power to run the affairs, he will appear and administer the society and his Lutf will materialize. Therefore, religious duties are not wrong during his occultation, for the guilt rests in the mukallafs, and not in the Imam. We have explained similar cases in the books we referred to, and we will mention them should the need rise in the future.

As for the second segment of his argument: It is based on his own words. We do not say he did not understand what he stated, for this man is better than that, however, he desired to misguide and disguise lunacy in lucidity, by saying, “The argument for the necessity of the leadership stands violated by the occultation, since if the fact that an awe-inspiring Imam, who is in charge of the affairs makes people away from the wrong, renders his presence a necessary Lutf in all ages and religious obligations without him unjust, this would be violated in the time of occultation and conferment of obligation would not be wrong in his absence. Therefore, the argument leads to a conclusion that does not exist. And this is contradiction.”

We said this is disguising lunacy in lucidity because he presupposes that we say the proof for the existence of the Imam stands in the time of occultation while there is no Imam, which is a contradiction. However, we do not say that. Rather, our proof in the time of the presence of the Imam is the very same proof in the time of his occultation, for the Imam is Lutf in both conditions. We do not say that the leader does not exist in the age of occultation; rather, we maintain that the leader exists, however, due to the behavior of the mukallafin he does not administer the affairs of the society, not that his administration of the society is not a Lutf anymore. Rather, it is Lutf as ever. And it has not materialized due to reasons not endorsed by Allah. This is similar to the following argument: “How can the knowledge of the existence of God be Lutf, while the infidel does not know about God’s existence? Since the infidel is obliged with duties and he is not blessed with faith, it proves that the knowledge of God’s existence and faith is not always Lutf. Because if it were, it would be self-contradictory.”

Our response in the query of Imamate is similar to their response in the query of faith, to wit, belief in God is Lutf as ever with regard to the infidel, but he has failed to gain it because of his failure to think, which would have led him to this belief, and therefore, conferring religious duties on him is not wrong.

Likewise, we say that Imamate is Lutf for the mukallaf in the time of occultation; and all that God must provide in order for this Imamate to materialize, He has provided. However, his administration of the society is not materialized because of the mukallfin themselves. Therefore, the responses to both queries are parallel. Discourse with this regard is also detailed, as we mentioned.

And the third segment of his assertion: “The benefit of Imamate is that it takes the society away from the wrong according to you. However, this

cannot be achieved with him in hiding and therefore, his existence and nonexistence have not much difference. As his hidden existence does not correspond to his necessary existence you have argued for, your argument-despite being contradicted when he is found administering the society, and administering the society is not necessary during the occultation. It does not lead to the existence of an Imam who is not running the affairs of the society, nor such an Imam exists at this time.”

We respond that the adversary has done little more than complicating his argument, as logicians say, by turning around premises and referring them to one another. Obviously, he has intended to disguise lunacy beneath lucidity, and fallacy beneath logic. Otherwise, the subject is clearer than to be ambiguous. When has the Imamiyah said that the administration of the affairs by the Imam is not necessary during the time of occultation so it could be said your proof does not prove the necessity of the existence of an Imam who is not administering the society because this is the time of occultation?

Rather, what we have enunciated time and again is that his administration of the society is necessary in all conditions, his occultation as well as his appearance. However, in the time of his appearance he is able to administer the society and he does that, and in the time of occultation he is unable to perform that and does not do it, because public administration does not remain obligatory anymore. We explained that the mukallafin are to be blamed for this, as they prohibited him, did not empower him, and took on the task themselves. We compared this to the subject of faith in the Deity time and again.

Further clarification of Shaykhul Taifa

Furthermore, we know that once religious duties have been conferred, Imamate is necessary because assigning him bears a Lutf and he performs duties which no one else can. One has to bear in mind that empowering and assigning the right person is not in the capacity of “the senior and wise” (ahl al-hall wa al-aqd), especially so according to the Adliyya, the category this adversary belongs to.

Therefore, no one says that the necessity of appointing the leader is diminished now as his empowerment is not possible. Our answer with respect to the occultation of the Imam is the same as their answer in the incapacity of “the senior and the wise” with respect to choosing a suitable candidate for Imamate. The only difference is that we say we know this through rationality and they say it is known through the Shariah which is a difference that does not divide us on the issue.

Critique: When “the senior and the wise” lack the power to choose who is best for Imamate, Allah bestows otheraltaf (graces) which take the place of an Imam who is in power. Therefore, religious commands remain intact and are not relinquished. Some of the Shaykhs have said that the appointment of an Imam is necessary in the Shariah for worldly expediencies, and it is not necessary that Allah bestows aLutf when a worldly benefit is missing.

Answer: The idea that the appointment of the Imam is for worldly expediencies is false, for if it were as such, his appointment would not have

been obligatory, whereas they have no disagreement that establishing Imamate is obligatory when possible. Additionally, the many affairs which the Imam leads - such as Jihad, overseeing the governors and judges, distributing the spoils, executing the penalties and punishments - they are religious matters that cannot be abandoned. If they were for worldly expediencies, they would not be obligatory. Therefore, his argument is not binding.

As for the theory that Allah will do something to take the place of the presence of an Imam, it is a void idea, since if it were such, it would not be required to appoint an Imam in all conditions, even when it were possible, and it would be only a matter of choice, like thekifayee obligations. The fact that we know that the appointment of the Imam is necessary in all conditions indicates the falsity of their assertion. Besides, either way the logic of this reasoning encourages that when the infidel does not attain belief in Allah, He will do him a Lutf that takes the place of belief in Him, which leads to the conclusion that belief in Allah is not always necessary. Or a parallel argument would follow that because the restraint from oppression that is attained when one has faith is a worldly expediency, belief in Allah should not be necessary for it. If it should be argued that there is no alternative to belief in Allah, on the same grounds we will assert that there is no alternative to the Imam. We have explained this fully in Talkhis Shafi. Likewise, if they should expound that abstinence from the wrong when one has belief is a religious matter, we would assert that its analogy in the being of the Imam is the same.

Critique: Given the existenceof a leader who is obeyed and runs the affairsof the society is necessary, either it is all the work of Allah to offer, or it is for Allah to create him and for us to empower him with the administration of the society, or it is required of us both to create and empower him.

If you say all of that is necessary for Allah, your assertion will be contradicted by the time of occultation, as He has not created an Imam who is running the society. If it is required of us to do it all, it is a task that we do not have the capacity to perform, for we do not have the ability to create him. If it is required of Him to create him and for us to invest him with the power and authority of administration, then first, what is your proof? Second, it proceeds that we should be required to do something which is actually a Lutf for someone else. How would it be possible that Zaid be required to empower the Imam so Amr’s Lutf can be materialized? Is this but a violation of principles?

Answer: Our assertion is that since the existence of an Imam with the authority to administer the society is proved to be a Lutf, due to the arguments we have established for this purpose, and as his creation is not in our power, it would not be right that we should be required to create him, for it would be assigning a duty that is beyond our capacity. As for empowering him with administrative affairs and strengthening his scepter, many a time it is within our capacity and the capacity of Allah. However, when He does not do that, we infer that it is not necessary for Him to do so and that it is necessary for us, because he must be in charge of the affairs so

the purpose of the Divinely ordained duties be materialized. We explained that should investing administrative powers be the work of Allah, the Exalted, He would compel the creation to that purpose. However, getting between him and his enemies, strengthening his command through angels, would lose the purpose of the Divinely ordained duties and would lead to compulsion. Therefore, it is our duty to empower him in every condition and should we not do that, it is something that we have done it ourselves. As for their assertion that this amounts to procuring Lutf for someone else, it is incorrect, because we say, each person who helps the Imam and strengthens his scepter, enjoys a benefit specific for himself, may it carry expediency for others as well. It is like what you say about the apostles that their carriage of the burden of Prophethood and delivery of the message to the public bears expediency for others. This requires the adversary to answer a query about “the senior and the wise” that how is it that it is obligatory upon them to choose an Imam for expediencies that encompasses the entire Ummah and is that but a requiring one to do something that benefits someone else? Whatever may be your justification with regard to the situation of the apostles is our very answer here.

Other objections and their replies

If it should be inquired, “Why do you believe that he must exist in the time of occultation, and why is it not possible that he does not exist?” We will respond that we consider his existence necessary for the following: His administration of the affairs and leadership of the society, which is Lutf with respect to us, is not possible without his existence. And as his creation is not in our capacity, we said it is obligatory upon Allah, or else it would mean that we are not the missing part of the cause of materialization of Lutf, meaning that, missing the Lutf is His work and not ours. However, if He creates him but we do not vest the power of running the society in him, it is our work, and therefore, ordainment of duties is correct. Whereas, in the previous supposition it would be incorrect.

Inquiry: What do you mean by saying that we should empower him? Do you mean that we find him and converse with him? That is not possible without him being existent. You will be told that none of that is possible without him being manifest and without us knowing, or someone of us knowing, his place. If you say, “We mean by empowering him that we should submit to his obedience, fight under his command, refrain from helping the tyrants, and rise to his support when he calls us to his Imamate and proves it to us through his miracles,” we will say to you it is possible for us to do that during the occultation, even if it is a time without an Imam. How do you say then what we have been ordained to do cannot be performed without an Imam?

Answer: Our response here is what Murtadha has mentioned inDhakhira and what we have mentioned inTalkhis Shafi . The Lutf that reaches us from the Imam’s running the affairs and administering the society cannot materialize without three elements: One pertains to Allah, and that is that He creates the Imam. The second element pertains to the Imam, which is that he carries the burdens of Imamate and performs its duties. The third element pertains to us, and is to wit, to help him and support him and submit to him.

The obligation of undertaking the tasks of Imamate is secondary to his existence, for a task cannot be undertaken by a nonexistent entity. Therefore, Allah’s creation of him is prior to his obligation of accepting leadership and our obligation of supporting him is secondary to these two elements, because it is obligatory upon us to obey him when he exists and has undertaken to carry the burdens of Imamate and perform its tasks. With this prologue in mind, how can it be questioned that why does not he remain nonexistent? Should it be inquired, what is the difference between him being existent and hidden, and being nonexistent until Allah knows our determination to empower him and that is when He creates him; our answer will be that it is not worthy of Allah, the Exalted, to oblige us to empower someone who is nonexistent, for it is an impossible task. Therefore, he must exist. Should it be inquired that why does not Allah create him when He knows we are determined to help him altogether in one time since He will manifest him in time as such; we will answer that the imperativeness of supporting him and determination of his obedience is required in all conditions, which requires that to support and obey and to follow his path should be possible in all conditions, or else, obliging with this duty would be wrong. The suggestion would be relevant if we were not obliged in all conditions to his obedience and submission to his command and rather it were required of us at the time of his appearance. However, the reality is contrary to this.

Queries to the deniers of Imam Zamana (a.s.)

We address our adversary who desires to convince us of the Hujjah’s nonexistence on the grounds of his occultation and ask him why is it not possible that Allah, the Exalted, enacts the obligation of believing in him as a duty without creating signs and reasons for the validation of such belief, since He knows that we will not consider such signs and reasons, and when He discovers from our condition that we intend to consider them and are determined to think, He creates the reasons and proofs of believing in Him.

We ask what is the difference between existent proofs and reasons, which are not considered and are not used to deduce faith from them, and nonexistent ones, which Allah will create when we decide to mull over them. And when the adversary says that creating proofs and reasons is a form of granting the capability to perform, like providing the necessary physical power and instrument for an act of obedience, without which to Allah’s requiring of a duty would be wrong; we will respond that likewise, the existence of the Imam is a necessary component of the required capability to obey the Lord and if the Imam does not exist, we will be unable to obey Him, just as if the reasons were nonexistent, it would have been impossible for us to infer the validity of religious belief from them. So the two cases are parallel. This line of reasoning refutes all criticisms applied here, which contain answers that do not satisfy us as answers and questions of the adversary in regard to them. This argument has been fully explicated in my books, specially so inTalkhis Shafi ; therefore, we will not prolong the discourse by going into detail here.

The adversary has analogized that if Allah had made it obligatory upon us to make ritual ablution from the water of a specific well that does not

have a rope for pulling water, but He declared, “Should you approach the well, I would create a rope for you for pulling water,” this would take away any excuse we may have. And should we not approach the well, the misgiving would be our own doing, not Allah’s. Likewise, a master says to his servant who is far from him, “Buy some meat for me from the market,” and the servant replies, “I cannot do that because I do not have the money for it.” The master replies, “If you come to me, I will give you the money.” This will eliminate the slave’s excuse and if he does not come to take the money, it will be a misgiving caused by himself, not by his master. Same is the condition of the appearance of the Imam with regard to our duty of providing him help and power. Therefore, it is our lack of providing help and power that is the reason that he has not appeared in these conditions, not his lack of existence. Since if we had provided him help and power, he would have been created and he would have appeared.

This argument presupposes that it is our obligation to provide him help and power when he appears and it is not mandatory upon us in every condition. Even if we yield to the example he has mentioned, his argument does not stand, because if Allah, the Exalted, has ordained us to pull water right now, it is necessary that the rope be existent right now, because that is what eliminates the legitimate excuse. However, if He says, If you approach the well, I will create a rope for you, obligation is to approach, not to pull water. Therefore, the ability to approach is what is sufficient at that time, because he is not required to pull water from the well, yet. It is when he approaches the well that he becomes ordained to pull water, and then it is necessary that He creates the rope for him. An analogous instance to this would be that if it were not obligatory on us in every condition to obey the Imam and empower him, in such times, his existence would not have been necessary.

However, since his obedience is obligatory in the present, and we do not find obedience to him to be stipulated with any condition or a specific time, it follows that he must be existent, so the legitimate excuse of the Divinely ordained duties is removed and such duties become fair. The response to the example of the master and his slave is the same. Because he ordered his servant to approach him at present, not to buy. And when he approaches him and he requires him to buy, he must give him the money. That is why we said that Allah, the Exalted, has set obligations for all who will come until Judgment Day, and it is not necessary that they should be existent and without legitimate excuses, for He has not set obligations over them now; when He creates them and removes their excuses with respect to the duties by granting them power and instruments and setting proofs, then the duties will encompass them. Thus, his fallacy loses its tenability by this elaboration.

Besides, if the Imam bears the Divine duty of establishing the order and carrying the burdens of Imamate, how is it possible that he be nonexistent? Would any sane person see it fair to commission someone nonexistent with acts and duties? Bear in mind that these duties of his are not stipulated to our empowerment of him at all, but rather, our obligation of empowering

and strengthening him is secondary to him carrying these duties, as explained earlier and as it is very clear.

Furthermore, they are asked, Did not the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) hide in the Mount of Abu Talib for three years, where no one was able to reach him? Did he not hide in the Cave for three days? Why do not you apply the analogy there as well that Allah should discontinue his existence for that period, while keeping the duties over public for whom He sent him as a Lutf? If they say that he hid after he called the people to his message and manifested his Prophethood, and when they threatened him he went into hiding; we will respond that likewise the Imam did not go into hiding but after his forefathers manifested his position and his qualities and guided the people to him, and when his father Hasan Ibne Ali (a.s.) feared for his life, he hid him. Therefore, both situations are identical.

Moreover, we demand them to give us an answer in the following case: Allah discerns from the condition of a person that it is in the best of his interest that He sends a particular prophet to him who will inform him of what is good for him, and He knows that should He send the said apostle, this person will kill him. If He prohibits him from killing the apostle through coercion, it will be disadvantageous for him and others. Is it fair that this person should be bound by the Divinely ordained duties while an apostle has not been sent to him, or should he not be bound by these duties? If they say that he should not be bound, we ask them, why not if it entails for him the possibility of knowing what is best for him byempowering the apostle to deliver tohim the message? And if yousay he must bethe bound to theDivinely ordained duties andthe prophet isnot sent tohim, we will ask you, How is it possible to bind him by these duties when the necessary Lutf has not been conferred to him?

If they should say he has done that by his own choice, we will say that he has not done anything. Only Allah knew that he will not allow the apostle and knowing this does not justify that he should be bound by duties, which he does not know. If this should be fair then it is fair that anyone should be bound by duties he does not know when Allah knows that he will not consider them. An absurd supposition. Therefore, it must be said that Allah will send the apostle to this person and will require this person to submit to the apostle, so he may not have any legitimate excuse, and then He will protect His apostle through means which do not violate free-will, or renders him such that he is unable to kill the apostle, in which case he will not be able to reach him through his own actions. This is our very identical situation with the Imam during the occultation.

Should it be suggested that He must inform him through someone other than the apostle that it is in the best of his interest that the apostle has been sent to him, so he may know it is his own wrongdoing, our reply will be that on parallel grounds, Allah has informed us through the tongue of His Messenger and the Imams (his forefathers), peace be unto them, the Hujjah’s position and He has obliged us to obey him. And if we do not know what we should do, it is our own guilt, hence the equivalence of the two situations.

Evidence of the infallibility of the Imam

As for the proof of the second principle, which is that it is the feature of the Imam that his infallibility must be ascertained, it is that the reason for which we need the Imam is our fallibility, for if the public were infallible, they would never need an imam. It is when they are fallible that they need him. This leads one to infer that the reason for the need to the Imam is fallibility, as we say that the reason for the need to an action to its efficient cause is itshuduth , on the virtue of the fact that an entity that can have huduth, it needs to an efficient cause in its huduth, and an entity that cannot havehuduth , it never needs an efficient cause.

This leads us to the inference that every muhdath needs a muhdith. On parallel grounds, the need of every fallible to an imam must be acknowledged, or the rule of causality will be violated. Should the Imam be a fallible, this reason for the need to an Imam will exist in him and his need for another Imam will be just as dire. And the same argument applies to his Imam, leading to the conclusion of infinite number of Imams or to an infallible imam, which is our purpose.

We have established this argument in our books, therefore, we will not prolong the inquiry by raising further questions and answering them, as the purpose of this book is different from other books and this much suffices.

Truth is not beyond the pale of the Islamic Ummah

As for the third principle-the truth is exclusive to this Ummah-it is a common grounds agreed upon by us and our adversaries, even if we may disagree in its reason.

Because the proof of the validity of consensus of the Ummah in our belief is the fact that no age can remain without an infallible Imam, who cannot possibly do a wrong, based on our proofs, therefore, the truth does not leave this Ummah, for the infallible entity is amongst us; and according to our adversary, on the virtue of the arguments they mention, which conclude that consensus is a binding proof. Therefore, there is no need to occupy ourselves with proving this principle.

Having established these principles, the Imamate of the Master of the Age (a.s.) is proved; because everyone who believes that the Imam must be infallible, is certain that he is the Imam. There is no one who believes in the Imam’s infallibility and questions his Imamate, except parties that irrefutable proofs demonstrate the invalidity of their creed, such as Kaisaniyya, Nawusiyya and Waqifa. When we disprove their claims, the Imamate of our Master is demonstrated.

Refutation of Kaisaniyya beliefs

The arguments that prove the invalidity of the creed of Kaisaniyya, who believe in the Imamate of Muhammad Ibne Hanafiyyah, are many. One of them is that if he were an Imam, with ascertained infallibility, there must be explicit statements by the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) and Amirul Momineen Imam Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) about him, because infallibility can only be determined through the word of another infallible entity.

However, the Kaisaniyya do not claim an explicit tradition with this regard. Instead, they rely on weak instances which have led them to confusion but are far from being explicit words, such as that Amirul

Momineen (a.s.) granted him the standard on the battle of the Camel in Basra, and such as his saying, “You are truly my son,” while Hasan and Husain (a.s.) were also his sons. These instances do not establish his Imamate in any way, and rather, indicate his excellence and high position. Besides, the Shia narrate that a conversation took place between him and Ali Ibne Husain (a.s.) with respect to him being worthy of Imamate and they both invoked a rock to issue a verdict and the rock testified on the Imamate of Ali Ibne Husain (a.s.). This humbled Muhammad Ibne Hanafiyyah and he submitted the position to his nephew and professed belief in his Imamate. This narration is quite reputable before the Imamiyah. Secondly, the Shia have narrated inordinate number (mutawatir) of traditions from his father and his grandfather explicitly naming Ali Ibne Husain for Imamate. These traditions are present in our books and we will not lengthen the book by bringing them here. Thirdly, there are the narrations recorded from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) by the Ahle Sunnat as well as the Chosen Congregation carrying explicit words with regard to the Twelve Imams and anyone who believes in their Imamate is certain of the demise of Muhammad Ibne Hanafiyyah and the continuation of Imamate to the Master of the Age (a.s.). Fourthly, this sect has died away. Not in our time, nor before us for a very lengthy time, a believer of this creed has existed. If it were a true faith, their extinction would not have been possible.

Query: How can their extinction be known and why is it not possible that in faraway lands, such as islands in the seas and sides of the earth, there may be nations believing in this word, just as it is possible that there may be people believing in the word of Hasan that someone who commits a major sin is a hypocrite.

Therefore, it cannot be claimed that the followers of this path no longer exist. It would have been possible if Muslims were few in the world with scant number of scholars, whereas Islam has spread and scholars are in abundant numbers. So how can that be known?

Answer: This assertion leads to the impossibility of discerning the consensus of the Ummah on any principle or idea, as it is always convenient to say that perchance there is someone in some remote periphery of the earth who disagrees with this. It follows that there might be in faraway parts of the earth who says that cold does not violate fasting and that it is permissible for someone fasting to eat until sunrise. For the first was the view of Abu Talha Ansari and the second that of Huzaifah and Amash. Likewise, there are many other rulings of jurisprudence on which the companions and the Tabiin disagreed, and then later on the disagreements disappeared and the Ummah united on a different view. Therefore, it is worthy to doubt that and mistrust any consensus on any question that has previously been the subject of disagreement. This is argument of a person who says that consensus cannot be discerned and as this question is not exclusive to our subject, there is no reason we should go into its details here.

We know that the Ansar demanded caliphate and the Muhajireen turned them away and then Ansar submitted to the idea of the Muhajireen, according to the adversary. If someone should argue that Caliphate is possible for the Ansar, for a disagreement has occurred on this matter, and

perchance there is someone in the peripheries of the earth who believes in this, whatever the adversary says in response to him, is our very identical answer here as well. If they argue that consensus is a valid proof before you only when the infallible is included, from where do you know his word is included amongst the words of the Ummah; we will answer that as Imam is one of the scholars of the Ummah, his word must be included amongst the words of the scholars, for he cannot be a loner and manifesting infidelity, because that is not permissible for him. Therefore, his view has to be one of the views, even if we may not know which one is the Imam’s. When we consider the views of the Ummah and find some scholars disagreeing, if we know them and their birth and place, we will not honor their views, for we know the Imam is not one of them. And if we doubt a scholar’s ancestry, the question will not be of consensus. Therefore, we consider the views of the scholars of the Ummah, and do not find anyone amongst them advancing this idea, which is the faith of the Kaisaniyya or the Waqifa. And if by supposition we find one or two instances, we know their place and their birth, and do not heed to their word and consider the views of the remainders, amongst whom we are certain that the Infallible is present. Therefore, this problem is solved by this explication and its weakness is demonstrated.

Nawusiyya

As for those who profess to the Imamate of Ja’far Ibne Muhammad, namely, the Nawusiyya, and believe that he is alive and has not died and he is the Mahdi, the argument against them is clear, for we know Ja’far Ibne Muhammad died just as his father and grandfather died and Amirul Momineen (a.s.) was killed and the Messenger (a.s.) passed away.

If dispute should be allowed in the case of Ja’far Ibne Muhammad, all these instances should be open to dispute, leading to the belief of the Ghulath and the Mufawwidha, who denied the murder of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and that of Husain, peace be with them all. All pure sophistry.

Waqifiya

As for the reason of the invalidity of the path of the Waqifa, who stop at the Imamate of Abul Hasan Musa (a.s.) and say that he is the Mahdi:

Their assertion is invalid because his death was manifest and well known and widely reported, as the deaths of his father, grandfather, and his other forefathers before him were witnessed and reportedly widely. If we doubt in his death, we will not have any merits of distinction from the Nawusiyya, Kaisaniyya, the Ghulath, and the Mufawwidha, who disputed the deaths of his forefathers, peace be with them all.

Besides, his death was widely witnessed, more so than the death of anyone of his forefathers, because it was very so more visible.

They called the judges and the witnesses and a proclamation was made in Baghdad over the bridge and it was declared, “He is the person the Rafidha believe is ever-alive and immortal, and has died now through a natural death.” And the other similar acts of publicity of his death are facts that cannot be disputed.

The author says: Shaykhut Taifa then records a large number of traditions, which we have narrated on his authority in the chapter of the demise of Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) ofBiharul Anwar . Then Shaykhut Taifa continues:

The demise of the Holy Seventh Imam is more evident than to need the relation of a tradition about it, for an adversary on this matter is a person who rejects the obvious. Such doubts legitimize doubts in the death of anyone of his holy forefathers, peace be with them all, and others, rendering the death of anyone dubious. Notwithstanding that it is well-known that he bequeathed his son Ali (a.s.) after him and referred his affairs to him after his death. Narrations with this regard are more than to be accounted for.

The author says: Then Shaykhut Taifa mentions some of the traditions which I have registered in the section pertinent to the Imamate of the Eighth Hujjah (a.s.). Then he says,

Query

If it is said: It was mentioned in your discourse that we know the death of Musa Ibne Ja’far just as we know the death of his father and grandfather. This justifies the following critique: We know that Hasan Ibne Ali Askari did not have a son, just as we know he did not have ten sons, just as we know that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) did not have a son who outlived him.

If you should say that if we knew the former of the two the same way as we know the second, it would be impossible to have a disagreement on the former, just as it is impossible to have a disagreement on the second; your adversary can say that if we knew the death of Muhammad Ibne Hanafiyyah and Ja’far Ibne Muhammad and Musa Ibne Ja’far in the same manner we know the death of Muhammad Ibne Ali Ibne Husain al Baqir, there would not be any dispute in the former just as it is not possible to have a difference on the latter.

Reply

To prove the negation of the birth of an offspring is impossible in any situation. It is not possible to claim that someone who is not known to have an offspring does not have an offspring. Such claims are made through likelihoods and conjectures and circumstances indicating that if he had an offspring, it would have been known and its news would have spread.

However, many a time, prudence indicates that men of wisdom and letters hide their offspring for various considerations. Many kings hide their offspring for their fear and compassion for their progeny. This has been observed often in the routines of Persianemperors and kings of the antiquity and their stories are famous. People sire sons from their concubines or from their wives they have married secretly, so they reject and ignore their progeny, fearing enmity with their other wives and children.

This is also not uncommon amongst the people. Some people marry a woman of low social prominence and class, while they are coming from theupper echelon and when they father a son from such a woman, they consider it a challenge to their distinction to attribute the son to himself so they deny

their relationship altogether, and some of them pity andoffer the boy some of their wealth.

Sometimes a man of a low stature marries a woman coming from a noble family, many a time because of her infatuation in him and without her family knowing, either because her guardian does not exist as many jurists allow that, or the ruler has taken over her affairs and marries her to him. When a son is born for him, though the boy is healthy, she disowns the son because of her pride or because of her fear from her guardians or elders.

Many other reasons are conceivable, which we will not mention to avoid lengthening the discourse. Therefore, it is not possible to negate fatherhood altogether. We can know that only when all the aspects are immaculate and it is known there is no encumbrance from declaring fatherhood-only then the negation of fatherhood can be known.

Our knowledge that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) did not have a son who outlived him is due to our knowledge of his infallibility and his Prophethood, and that if he had a son he would have made it known, because there was no fear in making it public. Moreover, we know through the consensus of the Ummah that he did not have a son who lived after him.

The same cannot be claimed with respect to the offspring of Hasan (a.s.) because Hasan (a.s.) was interdicted and was practically a prisoner. There was much worry and concern and fear for the offspring, as it had been a known and famed article of the Shia faith that the Twelfth Hujjah is going to be the Establisher (Qaim) of the Order for the termination of the governments. Therefore, he was inevitably wanted.

Also he feared from his family members like Ja’far Kazzab, his brother, who was eyeing the inheritance and the wealth with greed. Thus, he hid his son and doubts with respect to his birth were caused. It is not warranted to analogize the negation of having a son to the subject of knowing the death of a person. Because when someone dies, the deceased is seen and known, and his death is known through the circumstances and other evidences that compel anyone who sees them into conviction and when he informs someone who has not seen the deceased personally, he would be compelled to conviction as well.

The parallel analogy of the two situations is like the edict of the jurists that witnesses can only testify to prove rights, not to negate them, because negation is not subject to observation unless it is based on an affirmation. Therefore, the difference of the two situations is clear.

Objection

If it is said: The merit is the same between the two scenes, for in the case of death, many a time it is observed that the man is dying, just as midwives witness the birth of a child. However, not everyone witnesses the death of another man, just as not everyone witnesses the birth of a child.

The best a man may know about the death of another person whom he has not seen die is to be his neighbor, know of his malady, visit him during his unwell period, then learn of his worsening condition, and then hear wailing from his house, while there has been no other sick person there. Then he sees the family of the sick neighbor sit in mourning and observes marks of grief and loss on their faces. Then his inheritance is distributed and

long times pass while no reason can be thought off that his family would proclaim his death while he is alive.

The same is true with respect to birth, since women witness the pregnancy and talk about it. Specially, if she is the honor of a nobleman, people will discuss the condition of such a person. And if he courts a concubine, his visits to her will not remain a secret. And when the child is born, people of the house will exude gaiety and jubilation. People will congratulate them if the family is a prominent one and the news will spread. And according to the prominence of the family, people will know that such and such has sired a baby, specially so when it is known that there is no objective in expressing that a baby has been born for him or not. So when we consider this, the ordinary behavior is the same in both cases. And if Allah should desire to supercede the ordinary behavior, He can do it in either one of the two.

It is possible that He may disallow through certain encumbrances the pregnant woman to be seen and that her delivery not to be attended but by a few who are as trustworthy as themselves in safeguarding their secret.

It is equally possible that a man should become sick and visitors visit him and when his malady worsens and his death is expected and hope is lost in his life, Allah transfers him to a mountain top and place in his stead a dead person who looks like him. Then through encumbrances He disallows him to be viewed except by trusted individuals. Then the corpse is buried and his funeral is attended by all those who expected his death and had lost hope in his life, all thinking that the one who is buried is the one who was sick.

Many a time, it is possible that a man’s pulse and breathing ceases, and then Allah breaks the ordinary norms and takes him away from the people, while he is alive. Because a living individual needs pulse and breathing in order to exhale burning gases from around the heart through inhaling cool clean air, to cleanse the heart. It is possible that Allah creates coolness in the air surrounding the heart so it may work in the place of the cool air that enters through respiration and it is possible that He arranges that none of it may bum, for the heat that is produced therein is killed by the coolness.

Reply

First we say that no one who believes in the occultation takes recourse to such superstitions, unless he is deprived of proofs and unable to refute a strong doubt.

We will discuss this critique on the grounds it has been articulated and will say that the way mentioned for knowing someone’s death is known is not always correct, because sometimes all of these elements combine but the lie reveals, because the person who displayed all of this had a smart objective. He pretended to be sick and goes forward to his family displaying all of that to test those who profess obedience and loyalty to him.

Similar cases to this have happened many times in the lives of kings and philosophers. Sometimes people confuse a heart attack and exude all of that and then the mistake is revealed. This is also evident in the public behavior. Death is only known through observation of the cessation of sensation and suspension of pulse that last for very long times. Many other signs, known through experience, can be included also, which someone who has experience with the sick and has treated them knows.

And this is the condition of Musa Ibne Ja’far (a.s.), because he appeared before multitudes of people, who cannot fail to discern his condition or confuse his situation. The suggestion that Allah may take away one person and bring another who looks like him in his place is not correct at all, since this shuts the doorway of reasoning and leads to doubts in observations and that all that we see today is not which we saw yesterday, raising doubts about the death of all the deceased and advancing the belief of the Ghulath and the Mufawwidha who denied that Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and the Doyen of the Martyrs were killed. A line of reasoning that leads to such absurdity has to be specious.

The assertion that Allah works a coldness in the interior of the body around the heart, which makes do in stead of air, is a mere wishful effort of pretending to know medicine. It encourages doubts with respect to the death of all who are dead, as we mentioned. Besides, per medical principles, the motion of the pulse and veins originates from the heart, and fades only with the fading of the natural heat. When the pulse ceases, the fading of the natural heat is inferred and thus, death of the subject. This is not dependent on inhaling. Therefore, physicians examine the pulse when the respiration stops or it is weak. Therefore, his argument and his analogy to birth of a child is shown to be refutable.

His claim that births of children become well-known is correct only within the supposition he mentions that the birth be at the house of a nobleman, who has proclaimed the expectation of the birth of the child and there is no reason he should hide it and keep it a secret. However, if we suppose that for certain reasons, which we mentioned, the nobleman hides the matter and keeps it a secret, it is not necessary that the birth will be known at all, let alone be well-known.

Besides, the Shariah allows that birth is proved through the testimony of a midwife and a fatwa is issued on the basis of her testimony, whether she is dead or alive. When this is allowed, on what basis the testimony of multitudes who have narrated the birth of the Master of the Age (a.s.) and have met the reliable men who have met that sacred entity is rejected? And we will bring the narrations from those who have met him.

The adversary has expressed indirectly that it is possible that a reason may rise, requiring the expediency that when the child is born, Allah transfers him to a mountain top or another place, where he can remain unbeknownst and where no one finds out about him. He has done this only to demonstrate an analogy with similar expediency with respect to death and when we explained the distinction between the two occasions.

What do the other sects say?

The other groups that have disagreed and have professed the Imamate of someone else-such as the Muhammadiyya, who believed in the Imamate of Muhammad Ibne Ali Ibne Muhammad Ibne Ali Imam Reza (a.s.); and the Fathiyya, who believed in the Imamate of Abdullah Ibne Ja’far Ibne Muhammad Imam Sadiq (a.s.) and proclaim the Imamate of Ja’far Ibne Ali at this time; and like the denomination that believes that the Master of the

Age has been conceived but is not born yet; and like the ones who believed that he has died and then he will live again; and like the people who believed in the Imamate of Hasan and claimed that his Imamate is certain and the birth of his son has not been proved and that we live in a time with no Imam, their words are very obviously false for a number of reasons.

One of these reasons is their extinction. There is no one left today who believes in these doctrines anymore. And if they had been correct, they would not have perished.

Another reason is that Muhammad Ibne Ali Askari died during the lifetime of his father. His death was well-known and traditions with that respect are evident and reputable. Anyone who rejects them is like someone who rejects the death of anyone of his forefathers, peace be with them.

The author says: Then Shaykhut Taifa, may Allah sanctify his tomb, brings some of the narrations which we have chronicled in the previous volume. And then he says: As for the saying that Abu Muhammad did not have any offspring and that there is a hidden conceived baby who will be born: It is invalid because this suggests that this age is devoid of an Imam of guidance and we have demonstrated the falsity thereof. Additionally, we will demonstrate that he sired a famous son and we will mention the traditions with that respect, which will invalidate this assertion as well.

As for the saying that the situation is confusing and it cannot be ruled whether Hasan sired a son or not, and until the birth of his son is established, we will adhere to the Imamate of Hasan: It is also invalidated through our assertion that no time can be without an Imam, because we know Hasan (a.s.) is dead just as know many other people are dead. And we will establish the birth of his son as well, so their word will also be falsified.

As for the belief that there is no Imam after Hasan (a.s.): It is invalid due to our rational as well as Shari proofs that no time can be devoid of an Imam. The belief that Abu Muhammad passed away and then he will come back to life after his death is also invalid, because it suggests the lack of an Imam from the time of his death until Allah brings him back to life.

The argument, which is based on the tradition that “the Master of this Affair will live after he dies” and that he has been named, Qaim because he will rise after he dies, is invalid. Because first the tradition is not reliable, and even if it is reliable, it can be interpreted that it means he will rise after his name dies, that is, no one mentions him except those who believe in his Imamate and then Allah will manifest him to all of the creation. Besides, we have established that every Imam who stands in place of a previous Imam is called Qaim.

As for the believers of the Imamate of Abdullah Ibne Ja’far, namely the Fatahiyya, and that of Ja’far Ibne Ali, their creed is wrong, because an Imam has to be infallible and these two were not infallible. Their evident actions, which contradict infallibility, are widely known and scholars have narrated them and are present in the books and we will not prolong the discourse by bringing them here. Besides, the established principle, which is beyond doubt amongst the Shia, is that Imamate shall not pass from one brother to another after Hasan and Husain (a.s.). Therefore, the Imamate of Ja’far after his brother is void.

Conclusion

Having established the invalidity of all of these beliefs, the only valid belief that remains is that of the Imamate of Ibne Hasan (a.s.) or else it would follow that the truth is outside this Ummah. When his Imamate is proved through this line of reasoning and we find him to be hidden from the eyes, considering his infallibility and that the duties of Imamate fall on his person and on his shoulders, we infer that he has not disappeared but for a reason that has allowed it and a necessity that has compelled him to it, even if we may not know it in detail. This is analogous to the diseases, which afflict the children and the cattle, and the creation of harmful elements and repulsive faces and the ambiguous verses of Quran. When we say we know that Allah, the Exalted, is All-Wise and it is not possible that He does something that is not wise and valid, we infer that there are aspects of wisdom in these things, though we may not specifically know them. Likewise, we say about the Patron of the Time that we know he has not disappeared but for a wise matter, which has allowed him to do so, though we may not know in detail.

Another Objection

If it is said: On the basis of his occultation, we question your belief in his Imamate. We say, if you cannot describe the wisdom of his disappearance, it indicates the invalidity of your belief in his Imamate. Because if it were valid, you were able to describe the wisdom of his occultation.

Reply

If it is fair to infer this conclusion from our position, the atheist view must proceed from the position of all of the Adliyya that the Divine acts, which are seemingly devoid of aspect of wisdom, lead to the conclusion that their doer is not wise. Because the atheist says, “If He were wise, you would have been able to explain the aspect of wisdom in His actions.” Otherwise, what is the difference between our assertion and the assertion of the ‘Adliyya?

If you say, “We first inquire into Divine wisdom and once it is proved through independent proofs, then we find these acts that are hard to explain, we interpret them on the basis of His wisdom which has already been proved. Therefore, it does not lead to any contradiction of what we already know. And if the atheists do not accept His wisdom, the discussion will transfer to proving the Divine wisdom that has already been proved through independent arguments.”

We will say the same here, to wit, his occultation is secondary to his Imamate. Knowing his Imamate through independent proofs and realizing his infallibility through other sets of proofs, we interpret his occultation and disappearance on grounds that are compatible to his infallibility. Therefore, there is no difference between the two areas.

Then the interlocutor is asked, “Is it possible that the occultation may have a valid reason that has caused it and a wise explanation that has prompted it or it is not possible?”

If he should say, “It is possible,” he will be told, “If it is possible, then why does occultation lead you to conclude the nonexistence of the Imam in

this time, despite that you consider it possible that occultation may have a reason that is not incompatible with the existence of the Imam? Is it not like the argument of a person, who negates the wisdom of the Creator on the basis of pains and diseases of the children, not withstanding his acknowledgement that their pains and diseases may have a valid explanation that does not violate wisdom? Or the argument of a person who argues on the basis of the superficies of the ‘ambiguous verses’ that the Almighty is similar to physiques and creates the actions of the servants, despite his profession that these verses may have valid interpretations that do not violate the principles of wisdom and Divine justice and monotheism and negation of His physicality.”

If he should say, “I do not consider this possible.” It will be said to him, “This is utter obstinacy in a subject that your knowledge does not encompass its dimensions, and you cannot be certain in a question as such. How do you say it is not possible? How is this statement different from the assertion of someone who says that the ‘ambiguous verses’ cannot have valid interpretations that conform to the arguments of rationality and they must be interpreted literally?”

If it is said: “We are able to illustrate the explanation of the ‘ambiguous verses’ in detail, and rather, the knowledge of a portion thereof is sufficient for and if more than that is offered, that is merely complimentary.” If you can satisfy yourselves with an assertion such as that, likewise, we are capable of providing reasons for the validity of occultation and the wise purpose therein that is not incompatible with his infallibility, which we will mention hereafter and we have elaborated upon it sufficiently inKitabul Imamah .

They are further asked, “How can the Imamate of Ibne Hasan (a.s.) be proved and substantiated by the succession of rational principles we established, yet it can be said that occultation cannot have a valid reason? Is it but contradiction? Is it but parallel to the position of profession of monotheism and Divine equity and then averring that the ‘ambiguous verses’ cannot have an interpretation that conforms to these principles?”

If they say, “We do not accept the Imamate Ibne Hasan,” then our discourse with them is with respect to proving Imamate, not the wisdom of occultation, and the proofs of his Imamate (a.s.) have been fully discussed and there is no reason to repeat them. We say this because the argument of the wisdom of occultation of the Imam is secondary to his Imamate. However, before his Imamate is proved, there is no justification to discuss the reason of his occultation, as there is no justification to interpret ‘the ambiguous verses’ and the pains of children and the necessity of following religious duties before believing in One God and His equity.

Question

If it is said: Does not the inquisitor have the choice to inquire about the Imamate of Ibne Hasan, in order to know its validity, or to inquire about the reason of occultation?”

Reply

There is no such choice, because a person who doubts the Imamate of Ibne Hasan, the discourse with him must be about the explicit narrations of his Imamate and one must avail him to the proofs of his Imamate. It is not rational to discuss with him the reason of his occultation while he doubts his very Imamate, because the inquiry of the offshoots is not sensible but after the authentication of the fundamentals. We prioritized the inquiry of his Imamate over the inquiry of his occultation and its wisdom because his Imamate is based on intellectual matters that are beyond skepticism, whereas, the wisdom of occultation may seem obscure and confusing.

Therefore, to discuss the clear and the manifest is worthier than the discussion of the perplexing and the complicated. This is parallel to our dialogue with the adversaries of religion, where we prioritize the discussion of the Apostleship of our Messenger over discussing their claim that their religion has come for the eternity.

Because the former is clear and manifest and the latter is complex. This criterion is identically present here.

And if they should argue back that there is a certain evil aspect involved in occultation, this has already been answered that aspects of evil are conceivable, such as that occultation is an act of oppression, lie, vanity, ignorance, or that it leads to mischief. And none of these are involved in the occultation of the Imam. Therefore, it should not be claimed that there is an evil aspect involved in it.

Another Query

If it is said: Why does not Allah bar the people from reaching the Imam and why does not He protect him in a way so he may establish his rule and our Lutf is materialized for us? Just us we say about the Prophet when Allah sent him, He protected him until he had delivered the Shariah, it would be necessary that the Imam’s case be the same.

Reply

Protection is of two kinds. One of kind is not incompatible with conferment of religious duties as it does not compel the subject to forsake the wrong. The other kind of protection leads to such compulsion.

And Allah has provided the first protection, as He has protected the Imam from oppression by forbidding it and by encouraging obedience to him and compliance to his orders and prohibitions and that he may not be disobeyed in any of his orders and that he should be helped in all matters that strengthen his rule and power. All such measures are compatible with conferment of obligations. If someone disobeys with this regard and does not take the necessary measures for this objective to materialize, he has done that on his own, and it is not the work of his Creator.

The other kind of protection is that He literally protects him from his adversaries by using coercion and compulsion and by rendering them incapable of oppressing and disobeying him. Therefore, this is not compatible with religious duties, which require free choice in order to have meaning, and thus, religious obligations must be annulled.

Common excellences in Prophet and Imams

As for the Prophet (s.a.), we say that God must protect him so he may deliver religious laws, because it’s not possible to discern religious laws except through him. Therefore, it’s necessary that God protects him. However, the Imam is not like him, because as far as the delivery of the religious laws are concerned, the public does not have any excuse and all rules they need are indicated by their proofs and it is possible for them to learn them without the need to the Imam’s words.

If we suppose that religious duties cannot be known except through the words of the Imam, then it will be necessary that God Almighty should protect him and manifest him in such a way that no harm can reach him, as in the case of the Messenger (a.s.).

The like of the case of the Imam is that once a prophet has delivered the message and then his security is threatened, it is not necessary for God to protect him, because the excuse of the public has been removed through his delivery and they have a path to discern the Lutf conferred upon them. However, it is possible that there might be another message that must be delivered in the future, which may require God to protect him as He protected him in the beginning. Thus we equated the matter between the Prophet and the Imam.

If it is said: Explain it to us anyway - though you are not bound to - the reason of the occultation and what can its reason be, in a way that it may be clearer in reasoning and more cogent in demonstration.

Answer: What one can be certain of to be the reason of the occultation of the Imam is his fear for his life by murder through the threats of the oppressors to him and their disallowance of him to administer the affairs he is responsible to direct and administer. As he fears for his life; it becomes necessary that he goes into occultation and hiding, just like the Messenger (a.s.), who once hid in the Mountain and another time in the cave and he had no reason but the threat of harm against him. It cannot be suggested that the Prophet (s.a.) went into hiding from his people after he had delivered what he was required to deliver and they did not have any need to him anymore-whereas the discourse with respect to the Imam is contrary to that-and furthermore, the hiding of the Prophet was not long and stretched, whereas ages have passed since the beginning of the occultation of the Imam.

This suggestion is foul, because the reality is not as hinted, because the Prophet (s.a.) went into hiding in the Sheb Abu Talib and in the cave in Mecca before the migration, a time when he had not delivered the entirety of religious codes. Most of the religious rules and a considerable portion of the Quran descended in Medina. So how did you rule that it was after the delivery? If the matter was as hinted that the delivery had been completed before the Prophetic occultation, the completion of delivery does not fulfill the need to his administration and leadership, his orders and prohibitions, for no one can say that after the religious laws have been delivered, no one needs the Prophet’s leadership. The adversary does not believe in such a view.

This is a reply to a person who says that the Prophet (s.a.) had delivered all that our welfare depended on, and what he was going to deliver in the future was not expedient to be delivered to the public presently; and

therefore, his occultation was reasonable, whereas, the Imam is not like that according to you, as his active leadership in every instant is a Lutf to the creation, therefore, in no circumstance his occultation is warranted and his aide and protection is necessary so he may appear and the legitimate reason of not following religious codes by the mukallaf be removed.

This is invalid because we explained that though the Prophet (s.a.) had delivered all that mankind’s welfare depended on at that time, his leadership and his orders and prohibitions were needed without any dispute amongst scholars. However, despite that, it was permissible for him to go into hiding. Likewise is the Imam.

Besides, Allah’s order to the Prophet (s.a.) to hide in the Mountain at one time and in the cave the other, is a sort of protection, because it is not full protection in which He would literally defend him against his enemies through making his enemies weak or strengthening him through angels. Because it is possible to conceive harm to the religion stemming from strengthening him through such measures.

Therefore, it is not right for God to do that. And if it should be devoid of any aspect of wrong, and God knows that expediency requires so, He would strengthen him through angels and defend him against his enemies. And when He does not do that, and it is proved that He is All-Wise and that it is incumbent upon Him to disallow any legitimate excuse on part of the mukallafin not to obey the religious codes, we discern that His taking such measures would evoke no benefit, but rather it would be inexpedient.

What we say is that in general it is incumbent upon Allah to strengthen the hand of the Imam to facilitate his uprise and his administration of the society and to perform that through angels and men. However, when He does not do that through angels, we discern it is because it involves inexpediency. Therefore, this must be rendered through men. And should they not perform that, it is something of their own misdoing not that of the Lord’s. Thus, this explication invalidates all criticisms of this sort expressed at this juncture.

If it is permissible for the Prophet (s.a.) to undergo hiding, inasmuch as he was needed, due to the fear of harm, and the blame in this regard faces the individuals who threatened him and forced him to go into hiding, likewise, the occultation of the Imam is on the same grounds. To make a distinction in this regard in terms of the length and shortness of the occultation, is not correct, because there is no difference between short and brief occultation and lengthy and protracted occultation, since when the blame of hiding does not rest on the person who is undergone hiding, bur rather on the ones who have forced him to going into doing so, the cause that has prompted the hiding can have a long duration as it can a short one.

Objection

If it is said: If it is fear that has forced him to go into hiding, verily his forefathers, according to you, were living under Taqayyah and fear from their enemies. Why did not they go into hiding also?

Reply

Fear from their enemies did not threaten his holy forefathers, peace be with them, as they adhered to Taqayyah and ostensibly retracted from the claim of Imamate and denied it from themselves. Whereas, the Imam of the Age faces every fear, because he is the one to rise with the sword and make the call for his leadership and fight his adversaries. Where is the similarity between his fear from his enemies and the fear of his forefathers, if there is no scarcity of reflection? Moreover, when anyone of his forefathers, peace be with them, was murdered or died, there was someone qualified for Imamate from their progeny to replace him and fill his position, whereas the case of the Master of the Age is diametrically opposite to this, since it is well-known that there is no one to succeed him and sit in his position. Therefore, the difference between the two instances is clear.

We have also previously elucidated the difference between the instance that he exists in hiding where no one or few can reach him and the instance of his nonexistence until his capacity of governance is known and then God creates him.

Likewise is their criticism, which asks what is the difference between his existence in a way that no one can reach him and his existence in the heaven. Because we shall say that if he exists in the heaven in a way that the condition of the dwellers of the earth does not remain hidden from him, the heaven is like the earth in such a case, and if it does remain hidden, such an existence equates to his nonexistence. Then the argument is turned around against them about the Prophet (s.a.) by asking, “What is the difference between the prophetic existence in hiding and his nonexistence and his being in the heaven?” Whatever answer they will give with respect to this question is our very answer to them with respect to their question, as we elaborated earlier.

They cannot make a distinction between the two cases, saying that the Prophet (s.a.) did not hide from everyone and merely hid from his enemies and the Imam of the Age is hiding from everyone.

Because first, we are not certain that he is hiding from all of his devotees, and such incertitude is sufficient in this argument. Furthermore, when the Prophet (s.a.) hid in the cave, he was hiding from his devotees and his enemies and there was no one with him except Abu Bakr.

And it was possible that he had gone into hiding without anyone, friend or foe, had prudence demanded that.

Application of Divine Penalties during the Occultation of Imam Zamana (a.s.)

If it is said: What is the case with the penal codes in the time of occultation? If they are not enforced against criminals, as the Shariah has demanded, then it is an abrogation (naskh) of the Shariah. And if they are still in effect, then who is going to implement them?

We will say: Rightful punishments remain in the account of the people who deserve them. If the deservers are still alive when the Imam appears, he will enforce these punishments against them on the basis of either testimonials or their own confessions. And if this is not done because the deservers have died, then the sin of suspension of the punishments rests on

the people who threatened the Imam and forced him into occultation. This does not constitute the abrogation (naskh) of penal codes, however; because, a penal code has to be upheld only when there is the power and capacity for upholding it and when there is no encumbrance on the way. Its enforcement is not binding if there is encumbrance. Abrogation (naskh) is involved when a code is not to be enforced even when there is the power and capacity to enforce it and there is no encumbrance.

Such people are asked, “What do you say about the state in which ‘the wise and the senior’ (ahlal-hall wa al­ aqd) are not able to select an Imam? What is the case of the penalties?” If you say they are not binding, this is abrogation (naskh) on the same merits you accused us of abrogation. And if you say penalties remain enforceable with respect to their deservers, this is our very answer as well.

If it is said: Abu Ali has argued that in the conditions in which “the senior and the wise” are not able to select an Imam, Allah does works that stand in place of enforcing the penalties and take away the excuse of the mukallafs; and Abu Hashim has said that enforcing penalties is a worldly matter and has no relationship with religion.

We say: If we say the same thing that Abu Ali has said: it will not be disadvantageous to our position, because enforcement of penal codes is not the reason for which we consider the existence of the Imam necessary, so when they are not enforced, it could lead to the untenability of the proofs of Imamate.

Enforcing penal codes is religio-legal matter, and we said that it is possible that the obligation of its enforcement lose its imperativeness when the Imam lacks power, or that it may remain owing in the accounts of the criminals. As there are these possibilities, it is also possible that Allah does works that replace the enforcement of penal codes. If we should accept Abu Ali’s assertion, it will not harm our stance at all.

As for Abu Hashim’s view that penal codes are for worldly benefits, it is unacceptable; because penal codes are obligatory acts of worship, and if they were for sheer worldly benefits, they would not be obligatory. Besides, he believes that enforcing the penalties falls in the category of requitals, and legal penalties are part of Divine punishments, some of which have been brought in this life for certain expediencies. How can he still say that they are for worldly expediencies? Therefore, this argument does not stand.

Finding the truth during the occultation of the Imam

If it is said: What is the path for finding the truth in the time of the occultation of the Imam? If you say that there is no way, you have led the public to confusion and misguidance and doubt in all their affairs. And if you say that the truth is found through its proofs, you will be told that this is a clear admission of lack of need to the Imam through these proofs.

We will say: True propositions are of two sorts: One kind is supported by rational arguments and the other kind is based on proofs that are narrated. Propositions based on intellectual premises are established and discerned through their proofs, and propositions based on narrations are substantiated through their proofs, which comprise the sayings of the Prophet (s.a.) and

the Imams, who have explained the subjects and elaborated them and have left nothing unexplained.

However the case is as we assert, we have proved the need of the Imam, because the reason of this need, which is continuous in every time and age, is that he is Lutf for us, as discussed earlier, and no one can take his place.

The need to narration is also clear, because though narrations are from the Prophet (s.a.) and the forefathers of the Imam, peace be with them, it is possible that the narrators turn away from them, either intentionally or by mistake, and the narration may remain disconnected or through someone who is not reliable. We have discussed fully inTalkhis Shafi and will not prolong the inquiry by bringing it here.

If the adversaries say: We suppose that some of the narrators concealed the Shariah and the word of the Imam is needed and the truth may not be known but through him, and on the other hand, the fear of life from his enemies continues. So what is the solution?

If you should say that he will appear despite his fear for his life, it follows that his fear for his life does not warrant his occultation in the first place, and thus, he must appear.

If you say that he will not appear and the duties that have not reached the Ummah are not binding, it is an assertion against the consensus (Ijma), which says that everything the Prophet (s.a.) has introduced in his Shariah and has explained it, is imperative and binding on the Ummah until Judgment Day.

If you say that the duty is still binding, you are suggesting a duty that is beyond our capacity and an obligation to perform a task, which we do not know.

We will say: We have answered this question inTalkhis Shafi in detail. In brief, if Allah knows that some of the narrations pertinent to the biding religious laws have not reached the people in a situation of Imam’s Taqayyah and fear from his enemies, He will annul their imperativeness from the people who do not have access to them.

However, if consensus (Ijma) proves that religious duties are continuously binding over all of the Ummah until Judgment Day, it can be inferred that if such an interruption in transmission of narrations occurs, it will be only in a situation when the Imam is able to appear and make declarations and clarifications.

Statement of Sayyid Murtadha (a.s.)

Sayyid Murtadha (a.s.) was lately saying that it is possible that there may be many things that have not reached us and are entrusted with the Imam and the narrators have concealed them and have not narrated them. However, it does not follow that people are not bound by these religious duties.

Because if the reason of occultation is his fear for his life from the people who have threatened him, the people who have forced him into hiding are ultimately responsible for the missed teachings of the Imam and his leadership, as they forced him into occultation. And if should these people end threatening him, he will appear and the Lutf of his leadership will

materialize and the teachings he has to offer will manifest. Therefore, he has not caused this concealment of the religious teachings.

However, if the enemies do not end the fear and it continues, they are responsible for both cases. This argument is strong and supported by principles.

Opinion of an Intellectual

Amongst our scholars there is a view that the reason of his hiding from his devotees is his fear they will spread his news and discuss their gatherings with him out of happiness, which will lead to fear from the enemies.

This is criticized because the wise Shia cannot fail to discern the harm posed to him and themselves from expressing their gathering with the Imam. So, how can they inform about it while they know the extent of the general harm that is threatening them? If this is possible in the case of one or two individuals, this cannot be said about the congregation of his Shia to whom he is not appearing.

Besides, it follows that his Shia have lost the occasion of benefiting from him in a way that cannot be made up for, because if his hiding is based on the prediction of something they will do in the future, it is not within their capacity to do something that will facilitate the rise of the Imam. This precipitates the nullification of the religious duties in which the Imam is Lutf for them.

Reply of Another Scholar

There is another view that the reason of his hiding from his devotees is because of his enemies; because the subjects, both devotees and enemies, can benefit from the Imam when his reign prevails and he runs the affairs and he is apparent and is exerting leadership without any encumbrance or challenge. Whereas, the enemies have obviously barred and prevented him from this. They have said that there is no purpose in his clandestine appearance to some of his devotees, because the expected benefit of leading the Ummah cannot be fulfilled but through his appearance and exertion of leadership for all. Therefore, the reason for the Imam’s hiding in the way in which it is Lutf and prudent for all is the same.

Reply of Shaykh Tusi

It is possible to question this assertion by saying that though the enemies have prevented him from appearing to exert leadership and administration, they have not, however, barred him from meeting the specific devotees of his he would wish to meet, who believe in obedience to him and adherence to his orders. If there is no benefit in this sort of meeting that is restricted and specific, because he is ordained for all, this suggests that the Imamiyah Shia have not availed any benefit from the demise of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) until the days of Hasan Ibne Ali Askari and until the Qaim. It also suggests that the devotees of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and his Shia did not enjoy any benefit from seeing him prior to his assumption of the administration and the scepter. The asserter of these words has reached where no sensible man would reach. Besides, even if it is accepted that the

Imam can only benefit when he is apparent to all of the subjects and his orders are executed over them, their view loses its tenability from another aspect, namely, it follows that the religious rules for the sake of which the Imam is the Lutf, will lose their imperativeness.

Because if the Imam does not appear to them, probably it is not because of them and nor it is in their capacity to remove the cause of his occultation. Therefore, the religious rules must not be binding for them.

Because if one nation can prevent the Lutf of another nation of mukallafs, and the duties for which that Lutf was a Lutf, remain binding for them, on the same token, it is possible that one mukallaf may prevent another mukallaf through imprisonment or other similar means, which he cannot remove, and on virtue of which he cannot walk, but the duty of walking shall continue to bind him.

They cannot differentiate between such imprisonment and Lutf, as the former renders the duty impossible and its occurrence is not imaginable whereas the absence of Lutf is not like that.

Because majority of the adliyya believe that the absence of Lutf is like the absence of power and means, and that a duty with respect to someone who is devoid of the required Lutf is like a duty without the power and means of accomplishment and presence of encumbrances, and that a person who deserves a Lutf and does not receive it has legitimate excuse not to comply with the Divine rulings, just as someone who is imprisoned and restricted has a legitimate excuse not to perform a task that cannot be performed while incarcerated.

Another Reply

The appropriate answer to this question which we mentioned on behalf of the adversary is to say that first, we do not believe in his occultation from all of his devotees. Rather, it is possible that he appears to the majority of them. Everyone can only know his own condition. If the Imam appears to him, his excuse not to comply with religious duties ends. And if he does not appear to him, he discerns that the nonappearance is because of himself-though he may not know specifically why otherwise, binding him with religious duties would be wrong.

When he knows that he is obliged with religious duties and that his Imam is in occultation from him, he discerns that it is because of himself. This is similar to the view of our scholars that someone who has not contemplated the means of cognition of Allah, the Exalted, and thus, has not found certitude about Him, he must be certain that this is due to a shortcoming of himself or else religious duties must not be required from him.

Based on this, the strongest reason that can be given for this is that if the Imam appears and his person is not recognized and identified, it is necessary that he works a miracle to indicate his truthfulness. And it requires reflection to know whether something is a miracle, which can be subject to doubts.

Therefore, it is not possible that it be evident from the condition of a person to whom the Imam has not appeared that if he appears to him and shows him a miracle, he may not reflect well and have doubts and believe

that he is a liar and spread this news and cause the harm that was mentioned earlier.

Question

If it is said: What is the fault of the devotee to whom the Imam has not appeared, because such prediction can be made about him, and how can he reflect on the miracle that will come with the Imam and what can he do to compensate for the cause of the occultation?

Reply

We will say: The reason for hiding from the devotees is nothing but the known fact of his shortcoming and his capacity for its recompense, because it is possible that it should be known from the condition of the devotee that when the Imam appears to him, he will not mull the miracle that will be with the Imam, which will be a misdoing of his own, leading to lack of discrimination between miracles and ordinary events and a proof and a doubt.

If the devotee was in a better position, he would not have failed the miracle of the Imam. Therefore, he must make up for this shortcoming of his. No one can say that this is a duty that is beyond his capacity and reliance on an unknown event in the future, because this devotee does not know his specific shortcoming in contemplation and reasoning, so he could make up for it and prepare himself for it; we believe you are binding him to something that does not legitimately bind him. That can be the case with regard to a religious duty that is sometimes clear and sometimes confusing with some other duty; and if the capacity with respect to both duties exists, then when the devotee introspects and sees that the Imam does not appear to him and he does not consider the aforementioned wrong reasons of the occultation valid, he realizes that the reason of the occultation is indebted to himself. And when he realizes that the strongest of the proofs is what we mentioned, he discerns that the shortcoming is his own with respect to the miraculous signs and their conditions.

Therefore, he must reflect on that and get rid of doubts and anything that causes confusion. Whoever takes toils in this regard and reflects well, he will definitely discover the difference between the right and the wrong. Man is himself on occasions as this knowledgeable of himself. It is not possible to do anything beyond to ask to go to the extreme in investigation and research and finding and submitting to truth. We mentioned that this case is similar to what we say to our adversaries when they look into our proofs and do not attain satisfaction.

Question

If it is said: If the case is as you are saying, it would be necessary that he does not know any of the miracles in this condition and this leads to not knowing the Prophethood and the veracity of the Prophet, which further takes him outside the bounds of not only Iman but also Islam.

Reply

We will say: That does not follow, because it is not impossible to be subject to doubts in certain miracles and not all of them. It is not necessary

that if doubts arise with respect to some miracles, they do with respect to all of them.

Therefore, it is possible that the miracle indicating Prophethood not be subject to doubt and thusly he attains certitude that it is a miracle and realizes the Prophethood of the Prophet (s.a.) and the miracle that appears on the hands of the Imam be another matter, in which he could have doubts, and thus, he finds doubts in his Imamate, even if he is a believer in Prophethood.

This is as we say. If someone who believes in the Prophethood of Musa (a.s.) due to his miracles which prove his Divine mission, does not properly view the miracles that manifested fromIsa and our Messenger Muhammad (a.s.), it is not necessary to believe that he did not view these miracles, because it is possible that he may be aware of them and how they indicate their purpose, though he may not know these are miracles and their indication of their purpose has been unclear to him.

Question

If it should be said that according to this, everyone to whom the Imam has not appeared should be certain that he is committing a major sin, which is an extension of Kufr, because he is guilty, according to what you have presumed him to be, with respect to the occultation of the Imam and his loss of what is beneficial for him; this makes the devotee of the Imam his enemy.

Reply

We will say that it is not necessary that the said shortcoming be Kufr or a great sin in this condition. He did not believe that the Imam is not his Imam, nor did he threaten his life. He merely failed to understand certain things, which was like a cause for that it was known from his condition that this doubt in Imamate will occur from him in the future and has not occurred now. Thus, he is not necessarily a disbeliever, or like a person who considers the Imam a liar or doubts his truthfulness. It is a sin and a mistake that do not negate belief and merits for rewards. The devotee of the Imam does not go into the same category as his enemy in this case, because the enemy holds an opinion about the Imam which amounts to disbelief and a major sin, and the devotee is opposite to that. We said that what is “like a cause” for disbelief is not necessarily disbelief at this stage, because if someone of us believes that someone he is an independent cause with respect to other objects, it will be ignorance and mistake, but not Kufr.

It may be possible to predict about such a person that if a prophet comes to him and does a miracle that Allah puts an object into his hand, that he will not accept that. Definitely, if he knew it were a miracle, he would have accepted it and his belief about the power of the person would be like a cause for this and this is not Kufr.

Question

If it is said: This answer too does not conform to your principles, because your denomination believes that someone who has faith in God, His attributes, the Prophet and Imamate, he cannot commit an act of Kufr. If this is the case, how do you explain the reason of the hiding of the Imam from

the Shia if the Imam appears and manifests miracles, the devotee will doubt in the miracle and will not recognize it. And doubts with regard to that is Kufr. This is not compatible with the principles of your religion.

Reply

We will say: The premise you have mentioned is wrong, because to doubt the miracle that will appear on the hands of the Imam is not inconsistent with belief in the person of the Imam in general. It is inconsistent with the fact that what is generally known and believed in is he is this specific person or not. And such a doubt is not Kufr. If such doubt were Kufr, it would be Kufr even if he does not manifest a miracle, because before the miracle is worked, he doubted whether this person was the Imam or someone else. It would be consistent with his belief in the Imamate of the Imam in general, if he doubts his Imamate in general, and that is impossible.

Occultation of the Imam is also a divine grace (Lutf)

Sayyid Murtadha (r.a.) used to say, that the question of the adversary from us that why the Imam does not appear to his devotees is irrelevant, because if he means that the Lutf of the devotee does not exist and therefore, his religious duties are not binding, it is not correct.

Because his Lutf exists, since he knows that he has an Imam who is in occultation and he expects him to rise any hour and rule over the world. Therefore, he must fear that the Imam may appear and punish him and thus, must abstain from wrong acts and perform his obligations.

Thus, the occultation for him is as if the Imam is in a nearby land. Many a time, the condition of occultation is more so effective in this regard, because in such a case the Imam can be with him in his land and in his neighborhood and watching him without his knowledge.

Concealed Births

We had mentioned previously that the concealment of the birth of the Master of the Age is not unordinary, as the likes of it have occurred in the narrated stories of kings. Scholars of Persia and other narrators of the lives of rulers and have mentioned similar accounts, such as the well-known story of Kaikhisrau; whose mother was the daughter of Afrasyab, the king of the Turks, and concealed his conception and birth, and whose grandfather, Kaikawas, the king of Persia, desired to kill him. So his mother hid him and his story is famous in the books of history. Tabari has mentioned it.

The Quran has spoken of Ibrahim and that his mother gave birth to him in secrecy and how he hid him in a cave until he grew up and then his story unraveled. It mentions the story of Musa (a.s.) that his mother threw her in the water for her fear of his life from the Firon. This is a famous story and the Quran has mentioned it.

The story of the Master of the Age is similar and equal to these. So how can it be said that it is against the ordinary? Some people have a son from concubine that he hides her from his wife until he is at his deathbed, when he confesses.

Some people hide their progeny because of their family, fearing that they will kill his son out of greed in the bequeathals. These events are not

uncommon and they happen. Therefore, one must not evince wonder in the like of it in the Master of the Age. We have witnessed many events like this and have heard much about them, therefore, we will not prolong the discourse with more examples, because it is clear in the practices of the society. There are many people we have found whose lineage has been clarified a long time after their fathers’ death. No one knew such a person’s lineage until two Muslims testify that his father had confided in them in secrecy due to his fear from his wife and his family; so they testify afterwards so that they can be related to a particular man or woman.

Why the Promised Mahdi was born in an Extraordinary Manner

As for the acts of Ja’far Ibne Ali, the uncle of the Master of the Age, his rejection of the testimony of the Imamiyah that his brother, Hasan Ibne Ali had a son born in his lifetime, his rejection of his existence after his brother, his usurpation of his brother’s bequeathals and inheritance, his behest to the rulers of the time to imprison the concubines of Hasan in order to force them to negate pregnancy to underscore his rejection that his brother had a son, and his declaration that any Shia who claimed that Hasan left behind a successor was worthy to be killed, these cannot confuse a learned man, because everyone agrees that Ja’far was not infallible like prophets, that had he been so it would have been impossible for him to reject the truth and uphold the wrong. Rather, he was fallible and able to make mistakes.

The Quran has spoken of the wrongs of the sons of Yaqub to their brother Yusuf and how did they throw them into the well and sold them at a very insignificant price. And they were the progeny of the prophets, and some people believe they were prophets. If they can perpetrate such a grave error against their brother, how cannot Ja’far Ibne Ali utter denials about his nephew out of greed for the worldly pleasures? Who can consider this impossible but a bull-headed adversary?

If it is said: How is it possible that Hasan Ibne Ali may have a son while during the malady in which he passed away, he addresses his final will regarding his trusts and alms to his mother, whose name was Hadith and whose patronymic was Umme Hasan, and refers their affairs to her? If he had a son, he would have mentioned it in his final will.

We will say: He did that in order to advance the purpose he had in hiding his birth and concealing him from the rulers of the time. Had he mentioned his son and addressed his final will to him, he would have breached his sole purpose. He needed the men of the government and yeomen of the king and the witnesses of the judges to refer to her in order to safeguard his trusts and alms and also to maintain secrecy of the existence of his son by not mentioning him and to protect his life by not mentioning him.

Anyone who thinks that this is the proof of the falsity of the Imamiyah belief, he is not familiar with practices in the world. Imam Sadiq Ja’far Ibne Muhammad (a.s.) did similar to this when he addressed his final will to five people, the first of whom was the ruler of the time, Mansur. He did not exclusive address his son Musa (a.s.) in them in order to protect him. He addressed al-Rabi’, the judge of the time, and his concubine Hamida

Barbariyya, and he mentioned his son Musa Ibne Ja’far (a.s.) last in order to hide his position and protect his life. He did not mention along with his son Musa (a.s.) any other of his sons. Perhaps they included someone who would have claimed the position of Imamate after him and had argued so on the basis of his inclusion in the addressees of the final will. And had not been Musa (a.s.) prominent and well known amongst his sons, and his position and relationship to him famous, and his scholarship and erudition well established, and had he been unknown, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) would not have mentioned him in his final will and would have sufficed on the others, as did Hasan Ibne Ali, the father of the Master of the Age.

Question

If it is said: Your assertion that since the birth of the Master of the Age until this day, which is a long period of time, no one knows his place and his residence, nor does anyone reliable brings any news about him. This is extraordinary, because everyone else who underwent hiding from an oppressor due to fear of his life or other reasons, he does not go into a very lengthy hiding and it does not take more than twenty years. Likewise, he does not hide from everyone the place of his hiding and some of his trusted followers and his family do know his place and bring the news of his meeting. Your belief is very different from that.

Reply

We will say: The case is not as suggested. A number of the companions of Abu Muhammad Hasan Ibne Ali (a.s.) saw him during the lifetime of his father and they were his companions and close devotees after his father’s demise.

They were middlemen between him and his Shia and were well known, as we have narrated, and carried religious guidance to the Shia and brought his answers to their questions and received their religious dues from them for him. They were a group who were declared righteous by Hasan Ibne Ali (a.s.) in his lifetime and he had appointed them his trustees and had designated them with overseeing his properties and his affairs, mentioning them by their names and names of their fathers such as Abu Amr Uthman Ibne Saeed Samman, his son Abu Ja’far Muhammad Ibne Uthman Ibne Saeed, and others that we will mention in detail.

They were wise, trustworthy, extremely reliable, intelligent, and men of great noble characters. They were respected by the rulers of the time for their respectability and majesty, and were honored for their trustworthiness and famed noble characters. They were so trustworthy that they would return even their enemies’ trusts.

This invalidates the assertion that no one has seen our master.

After the companions of his father, communication was intact with him through the emissaries between him and his Shia, whose words were trusted and their piety and trustworthiness made them reliable. We may bring some of their narratives in this regard in the future.

Narrations from his holy forefathers (a.s.) had preceded him that the Qaim (a.s.) will have two occultations, one of which is longer than the other; and that in the first communication with him will be established and

in the second one, communication with him will not be established. The events unfolded as predicted by these narrations, enhancing the strength of our arguments.

We will explain this reasoning in the future, God willing. This is not an event so out of the ordinary, as they have suggested.

Even if it were so, it is reasonable that Allah may violate the ordinary in the case of hiding a specific person and conceal him because it is expedient and wise.

Disappearance of the prophets

Khizr (a.s.) is alive since before our time, since the time of Musa (a.s.) according to the majority of the Ummah until our time. This is a matter of consensus amongst historians that no one knows his place of residence and no one knows if he has any companions except his story with Musa in the Quran and the various narratives that some people think they have seen him as a pious man and after separation from him have came to the conclusion that he has been Khizr.

There is the story of the hiding of Musa, the son of Imran from his homeland and his flight from the Firon and his folks, as spoken by the Quran. No one found him for a long period of time, nor did they recognize him until God sent him as an apostle and he made the call to follow him and then the friend and the foe recognized him.

There is the story of Yusuf, the son of Yaqub, to which a Surah of the Quran is dedicated and it recounts how he was hidden from his father, an apostle who received revelations day and night, yet the news of his son is hidden from him and his sons, who would meet him and transact with him and would not recognize him. Years passed like before Allah revealed his story and united him with his father and brothers. Such an event is extraordinary and we have not heard the like of it.

There is the story of Yunus, the son of Mata, the messenger of God, with his people and his flight from them when they disputed him for long and violating him did not concern them much. So he went into occultation from them and from everyone so much so that no one knew where he was. God hid him in the abdomen of a fish and saved his life for the sake of expediency until that period was passed and God returned him to his people and united them. This is also extraordinary and far from the ordinary events we hear, narrated by the Quran.

Likewise is the story of the “people of the cave” narrated by the Quran how their story unfolded and how they hid from their people and fled to save their religion. If the Quran had not spoken about it, our adversaries would have rejected this in order to facilitate their denial of the occultation of the Master of the Age. However, Allah informed us that they remained three hundred years like that in hiding, in fear, and then Allah brought them back to life and they returned to their people. Their story is well known.

There is the story of the “owner of the donkey,” whose story is narrated by the Quran and the “people of the book” believe that he was a prophet. God made him dead and then brought him back to life. His food and drink did not change. That was very extraordinary.

If all these events are well known, how can they reject the occultation of the Master of the Age? Except that the adversary may be an atheist, nihilist, negating all of these as impossibilities, in which case we will not discuss with him the subject of occultation. But rather our discourse with him will change to the very existence of God and that this is within the bounds of God’s infinite power. Our discourse with regard to occultation is with someone who is a Muslim and confesses that this is within the realm of power of God and we are showing similar examples to him.

Similar examples of this narrated by historians and biographers are many such as in the stories of the kings of the Persians and their hiding from their people for a period in which they do not know their whereabouts and they return to show their purpose from the enterprise. Though the Quran has not spoken of this, it is chronicled in history.

Likewise a number of rulers of Rome and India had hidings and unordinary events which we will not mention, because the opponents may reject them as is their habit in order to reject the traditions.

Long age of Imam Zamana (a.s.) is not extraordinary

If it is said: Your claim of the long life of your Patron is extraordinary, as according to you, he remains a man of complete intelligence, strength and youthful looks. Because he is, according to you, at this time, which is 447 A.H., is a hundred and ninety-seven years old, as his birth was at 256. Ordinarily, no man lives this long. How did ordinary norms stand violated about him, whereas they are not violated except in the cases of the prophets?

Reply

We will say: There are two answers for this. One is that we do not accept that this is a violation of all ordinary norms. Rather, similar long lives, and lives longer than his, have been recorded, and we mentioned some of them such as the story of Khizr (a.s.) and the narrative of “the people of the cave” and others. Allah has reported that Nuh (a.s.) lived fifty short of one thousand years amongst his people.

Historians say that he lived longer than that, and the said period was the length of time in which he called his people to faith after he was sixty years old. It is narrated that Salman Farsi met Isa Ibne Maryam and lived until the time of our Prophet (s.a.). His story is famous. The story of people with long lives amongst Arabs and non-Arabs are famous and chronicled in books and in history.

Scholars of hadith have narrated that Dajjal is alive and that he was present in the time of the Prophet (s.a.). Dajjal is the enemy of God; if a long life is possible with respect to an enemy of God because of certain expediencies, how cannot the same be possible about a bosom friend of God? This is but obduracy.

The author says: Then Shaykhut Taifa mentions stories of people with long ages, as we will bring in the future. Then he proceeds as follows:

“If our adversary considers this impossible from astrologers and physicists, then the inquiry is about the basics of this question. The world is a creation and it has a Creator, Who has set the ordinary norms of short and

long lives and He is capable of lengthening lives and taking lives. If this is clarified, then the inquiry becomes easy.

If our adversary accepts this but says this is out of the ordinary norms, we have already responded to that it is not out of all of the ordinary events. If he says it is out of the bounds of our ordinary events, we will ask: What is wrong with that?

If they should say that such events are not possible, but in the times of the prophets, we will say that we dispute that assertion. We believe that extraordinary events can be worked by the prophets, Imams and virtuous servants of God. The majority tradition scholars, and many of Mutazelites and Hashawiyya accept this. And if they call them “karamat,” that is a difference only in words. We have proved the possibility of these events in our books and have explained that extraordinary events prove the truth of the person who brings them forth; and we discern he is either a prophet, an Imam, or a virtuous man through his words. All the doubts they raise with this regard, we have responded to them in our books and will not prolong the discussion by bringing them here.

The frailty and feebleness of the body that comes with the passage of time and old age is not something that is inevitable. Allah has set the ordinary pattern that this comes along as the time goes by. This is not however necessary and God is able not to do according to the pattern He has set. If this is accepted, it is proved that the phenomenon of long lives is possible. We recorded narratives of people who did not change with the passage of time and their old age. How someone who believes that Allah will settle the believers forever in Paradise as youths who will never grow old can reject this?

Of the proofs proving the Imamate of the Master of the Age and that his occultation is not an impossible phenomenon is the narrations of the two distinct denominations, the Ahle Sunnat and the Imamiyah, that the Imams after the Prophet (s.a.) are twelve, not more not less. When this is proved, anyone who is certain of it, will be certain of the Imamate of the Twelve Imams. We profess their Imamate and believe in the existence of Ibne Hasan and his occultation. Because anyone who disagrees with the Imamiyah on anyone of these Imams, their Imams do not remain on this number, but rather, increase. When this specific number is proved through the narrations we will bring, our objective is proved.

The author says: Then Shaykhut Taifa narrates some of the narrations about the Twelve Imams from both denominations, which we have recorded. Then he says:

Objection

If it is said: First prove to us the veracity of these narrations, for they are singularly narrated traditions and do not prove a topic for sure. This is a subject that requires certainty. Second, prove to us that these narrations intend the Imams you believe in. The traditions you narrated from your adversaries, and the majority of the narrations you narrated through your own sources, if we set aside their disputability, they do not mention the Imamate of your Imams, because they include others. How do you say that your Imams are the ones intended by these traditions?

Reply

We will say: The proof of the veracity of these narrations is that the Shia Imamiyah have narrated this through widely-related (Tawatur ) inordinate numbers of narrators and the reliable chains of narrations thereof are recorded in the books of the Imamiyah in the proofs of the Imamate of Amirul Momineen (a.s.).

Besides, the narration by the two different denominations, which have different beliefs, is a proof of the veracity of the narrations they both agree upon. That is because it is customary that anyone who believes in an idea, which is proved through narration, then he has every motivation to narrate those narrations, and his adversary will have every motivation to invalidate his narrations or to weaken him and reject his narrations.

Such is the practice in praising individuals or criticizing them. When we see that a group averse to this one narrates the same narrations they have narrated, and have not questioned its narration or its content, this indicates that God has undertaken the narration thereof and has forced them to narrate it. And this is a proof of the veracity of the narration.

A glance at our opinion

The proof of the fact that our Imams are intended by these narrations is that when it is proved through these traditions that the Imams are twelve Imams and that they neither exceed this number, nor are they short of it, our creed is proved, because the Ummah is divided into denominations: we, who believe in this number and believe in the Imamate of our Imams, and others who do not believe in this number and their Imamate. If someone should believe in the number and does not believe in their Imamate, he is treading outside the bounds of consensus (Ijma ), and any belief outside the bounds of consensus (Ijma ) is definitely void.

Also of the proofs of the Imamate of Ibne Hasan (a.s.) and his occultation is the widespread and well known traditions and sayings from his forefathers, peace be on them, uttered long before these times. These traditions state that the Master of the Age will have an occultation and they describe the qualities of his occultation and the disputes and events that will take place in its duration. They state that he will have two occultations, one of which will be longer than the other, and that in the first one communication will be open with him and in the second his news will not be coming. The later events unfolded as predicted by the traditions.

Had they not been correct, and had his Imamate not been valid, they had not corresponded with events which happened later, because that cannot happen but through God’s delivery through the tongue of His Messenger.

This path of reasoning is also a measure on the basis of which scholars have previously argued. We will mention just a few of the narrations that carry this meaning, to indicate the veracity of our claim, because complete incorporation of all the narration with this regard will be long and they are present in the books of hadith and can be found there.

The author says: Then Shaykhut Taifa narrates the narrations, which we have narrated from him in the previous and coming chapters ofBiharul Anwar . Then he proceeds:

If it should be said that all of these narrations are singularly narrated traditions, which cannot be conclusive in a subject as this, as it requires certainty.

We will reply that our argument is based on the portion of these narrations, which predict an event before its happening and then that event happens as predicted. This is the proof of the Imamate of Ibne Hasan, because the knowledge of an event before it happens cannot be known but through Almighty God. Even if there were not but one tradition and its content corresponded to events later on, that is sufficient.

That is why the predictions of the Quran about future events are the proofs of the truthfulness of the Messenger (a.s.) and that Quran is from God, the Almighty, inasmuch as it is heard from a single narrator. But it does prove this single narrator’s truth on the basis of this argument.

Solitary report and Widely related reports

Besides, narrations in this regard are mutawatir, narrated in inordinate numbers both by the same words and recounting the same concepts. As for the inordinate number of traditions carrying the same wordings, the Shia have narrated each such narration by mutawatir measures.

And this concept has been narrated in inordinate numbers through different words, because the great number of narrations, their different occasions, and their distinct chains, and the remote narrators thereof, prove their veracity. Because not all of them can be false. That is why on many occasions the miracles of the Prophet (s.a.) other than the Quran, and many other themes in the Shariah are proved through Tawatur, though the wordings may be singularly narrated. This is an accepted measure before our adversaries in this question. Therefore, they should not abandon and forget it when we come to discuss Imamate.

It is not worthy that close-mindedness leads one to reject self-evident things. This measure is accepted in praising or denouncing men. Therefore, they have argued for the generosity of Hatim and bravery of Amr and other things in the same way, though every instance of Hatim’s generosity and Amr’s stance in the battles is a singularly narrated incident. This is abundantly clear.

Of the proofs of the Imamate of Ibne Hasan, in addition to what has been mentioned so far, is that there is no dispute between the Ummah that a Mahdi will rise in this Ummah who will fill the earth with justice and equity as it shall be filled with oppression and inequity.

When we have established that the Mahdi is from the progeny of Husain and have invalidated any claimant for this position other than Ibne Hasan (a.s.) it is proved that he is the one intended by these narrations.

The author says: Then Shaykhut Taifa mentions the traditions of the Ahle Sunnat and the Chosen Congregation about the Mahdi (a.s.) which we have mentioned. Then he proceeds:

The fact that he is from the progeny of Imam Husain (a.s.) is proved by the narrations we mentioned, which describe that the Imams are twelve and mention their details. And because everyone who believes in the number we have mentioned, he believes that the Mahdi is from the progeny of Husain (a.s.).

Then Shaykhut Taifa mentions the traditions in this regard, as we have narrated from him. Then he says:

Question

If it is said: Is it not that these traditions have been the subject of dispute by various groups? The Sabaiyya have said that he is Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and he has not died. Some have said that he is Ja’far Ibne Muhammad who has not died. Some have said that he is Hasan Ibne Ali Askari (a.s.) and he has not died. Some have said that the Mahdi is his brother, Muhammad Ibne Ali, who is alive and has not died. What is your proof that would invalidate these assertions?

Reply

We will say: We have invalidated all of these assertions by proving that the individuals they believe to be alive are dead, and by proving that the Imams are Twelve, and by the rational arguments concluding the Imamate of Ibne Hasan through the miracles that prove his Imamate and through the narratives of his birth and his miracles that prove his Imamate.

The assertion that Amirul Momineen (a.s.) is alive is of an obdurate person, for the knowledge of his death and martyrdom is more famed than the story of the death of anyone else.

To doubt his death encourages doubting the death of the Prophet and all of his companions. Furthermore, his final will and the prediction of the Prophet (s.a.) that you will be killed and that your beard will be dyed with your blood also invalidates this assertion. These are facts that do not require us to bring narrations to prove them.

As for the death of Muhammad Ibne Ali Ibne Hanafiyyah and the invalidation of those who claim his Imamate, we talked about it previously in this book. Also, when we prove that the Mahdi is from the progeny of Husain (a.s.) the belief of the adversary of his Imamate is invalidated.

As for the Nawusiyya, who express uncertainty after Ja’far Ibne Muhammad (a.s.), we explained the invalidity of their belief, as we know that Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) passed away and that his son Musa Ibne Ja’far rightly succeeded him and that the Imamate of the Twelve Imams is a proven fact. The fact that he expressly confided a final will underscores our point.

As for the Waqifa who pause at the Imamate of Musa Ibne Ja’far (a.s.) saying that he is the Mahdi, we have invalidated their belief by proving that Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) passed away and that his death was a well-known historical reality and that his son, Imam Reza (a.s.) was the Imam after him, and this much is sufficient for the reasonable people.

As for the Muhammmadiyya, who said that Muhammad Ibne Ali Askari is the Imam and that he is alive and has not died, their assertion is invalid on the basis of our proofs of the Imamate of his brother, Hasan Ibne Ali the father of the Qaim (a.s.). Furthermore, Muhammad died in the lifetime of his father and his death was apparent and visible like the death of his father and grandfather. To dispute that would amount to disputing a self-evident reality.

As for those who believe that Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) has not died and he is alive and he is the Mahdi, their assertion is invalid, because we know he died just as we know his forefathers before him died. And the path of knowing their death is the same and the proofs are the same. Besides, the followers of these ideas have perished and no longer exist, and had they been righteous in their beliefs, they would not have perished.

The author says: Then Shaykhut Taifa brings for all of this great many traditions, which he have narrated in the previous volumes in section more suited for them. Then he proceeds:

As for the belief that Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) will come back to life after his demise and he will establish the Divinely ordained government, arguing on the basis of the tradition from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.), “He is been named Qaim, because he will rise after his demise.” Their belief is wrong, because it is proved that he has passed away, and the assertion that he will come back to life requires proof. If it is possible for them to say that, it is possible for the Waqifa to say that Musa Ibne Ja’far will come back to life after his death. Additionally, it follows that the era will be devoid of an Imam after the demise of Hasan until he comes back to life, which has been rationally proven to be invalid. The traditions, which assert that should the earth remain without an Imam for an hour it would perish, invalidate this belief.

The saying of Amirul Momineen (a.s.), “O Allah, you do not leave the earth without a Hujjah, either apparent and famed or hidden and unknown,” prove this.

Even if we accept the reliability of the tradition, “he will rise after his demise,” it could mean that he will rise after his name will die and after he will be hiding and will not be known, which is possible in the language. Our proof that the Imams are Twelve also disproves this claim. Besides, the followers of this creed have perished, and praise belongs to the Lord. Had they been righteous in their beliefs, they would not have perished.

As for those who believe that the time remains devoid of an Imam after Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.), their belief is invalid because we have proved through rational as well as narrational proofs that the time does not remain devoid of an Imam in any condition. Their argument that there were times when there were no prophets cannot benefit them, since we do not believe that there has to be a prophet in every age and such an assertion does not prove the possibility that an era can be without an Imam. Besides, the followers of this creed have perished as well, and praise belongs to the Lord. Therefore, this belief is also invalid.

As for the believers in the Imamate of Ja’far Kazzab after his brother, their belief is wrong, because an Imam has to be infallible and beyond making mistakes and he has to be the most knowledgeable of all of the Ummah in the rulings. However, indisputably Ja’far was not infallible.

The actions manifested by him, which contradict the notion of his infallibility, are more than to be enumerated and we will not prolong the book by chronicling them here. Should a need arise in the future, we shall mention some of them. As for his knowledgeability, he did not have any.

How can he be an Imam then? Besides the followers of this creed have perished, and due to Allah is all praise and gratitude.

As for the assertion that Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) did not have a son, it is invalid, because we proved that the Imams are Twelve and this Divinely ordained authority is bestowed to them. As for the one who thinks that the situation is confusing to him and he does not know whether Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) did have a son or not, and that he will adhere to the Imamate of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) until it is proved that he had a son, his assertion is invalid, because we proved the Imamate of Ibne Hasan (a.s.) and we proved that the Imams are twelve. Retaining these proofs in mind, one need not be confused, but rather, it is most convincing that Hasan’s son is the Imam. It is further strengthened by our proofs that no Imam passes away until he sires an heir and sees his legatee.

Our rational and narrational arguments that the era does not remain devoid of an Imam also invalidate this assertion. Their elicitation of the narration, “Adhere to the first until the next one is possible for you,” is unreasonable, as this is a singularly narrated tradition. Besides, Saad Ibne Abdullah has interpreted it thus, “Adhere to the first one until the second one appears to you.” In this case, it is a proof of the successor (a.s.), because it requires to adhere to the first and not to seek the news of the next when he is in hiding and occultation due to Taqayyah, until Allah gives him permission to appear and he will be the one whose rule will manifest and whose person will be famed. Furthermore, believers in this dogma no longer exist, and praise belongs to the Lord.

As for those who have proclaimed the Imamate of Hasan and have said that Imamate has ended as Prophethood has, their assertion is worthless, because we have proved through rationality and traditions that no time can remain devoid of an Imam and that the Imams are twelve and that the Qaim was born after Hasan. Besides, they have also gone extinct, and praise belongs to the Lord.

We also demonstrated the invalidity of the promoters of the Imamate of Ja’far Ibne Ali, namely, the Fatahiyya, who believe in the Imamate of Abdullah Ibne Ja’far after the demise of Imam Sadiq (a.s.). And when Abdullah passed away without leaving any son behind, they came back to the Imamate of Musa Ibne Ja’far and after him proclaimed the Imamate of Hasan Ibne Ali. And when Hasan Ibne Ali died, they claimed the Imamate of Ja’far. Their belief is false for the reasons we invalidated the Imamate of Ja’far Ibne Ali and because there is no disagreement amongst the Imamiyah that Imamate pass from one brother too another after Hasan and Husain and we have brought in that regard great many traditions.

Another reason is that there is no disagreement that Ja’far was not infallible, while it is proved that an Imam has to be infallible. His actions contradict his being infallible.

It is narrated that when Ja’far was born for Abul Hasan (a.s.), people congratulated him. But they did not see any signs of gaiety in him. He was asked about it. The Imam replied, “Take his matter easy. He will misguide a great many congregation.” His shameful actions and sayings narrated are

more than to be recounted and we keep will keep ourselves clean by not mentioning them.

As for the one who says that the successor has a son and that the Imams are thirteen, their assertion is invalid because of our proofs that the Imams are twelve. Therefore, this assertion has to be discarded. Besides, all of these sects have perished, thanks God, and there is not a person who would uphold any of these beliefs, and this itself is the proof of their falsity. This is the end of the inquiry by the Shaykh of the Congregation (a.s.).

Explanation of Allamah Majlisi

The author says: The inquiries of Shaykhut Taifa, the most respected Tusi ask for detailed explanation and analysis and further substantiation that our book is not the place to conduct them. We brought his inquiry here because his book is one of the sources from which we have narrated our traditions. The place where these rational and intellectual arguments need to be further elaborated is the books of theology.

As far as the traditions relevant to the subject are concerned, we have treated the matter with such generosity and efficiency that there is no capacity of doubts for any reasonable person, and rather even an adversary. We will expand on the submission of the Shaykh of the Congregation (a.s.) while replying to the queries of the adversary that every Shia from whom the Imam of the Age is hiding during the time of the occultation, he is guilty and sinful. It follows that no one of the righteous and saved congregation can be described as an Adil, since this sin of theirs that has prevented his appearance is either a major sin or a minor sin they have repeatedly committed. And both cases negate being Adil.

So how can the narrators of the traditions and the Imams of congregational prayers can be ruled to be Adil? How can their word be accepted in testimonials? On the other hand we definitely know that in every age there are men of great piety who will not hesitate to confess his Imamate and profess obedience to him as soon as the Qaim (a.s.) appears and manifests a minor miracle. There is no doubt that in many ages of the past, the prophets and their successors were imprisoned and cut off from public access. Considering the condition of their followers, it was abundantly clear that they were not guilty for that. When the Prophet (s.a.) hid in the cave, his appearance to Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and being in his presence was a Lutf for the latter. Meanwhile, it is not possible to suggest that the shortcoming in this regard was that of Amirul Momineen (a.s.).

The reasonable answer is that Lutf is a condition for the validity of religious duties only if it does not entail harm. We know that if Almighty God manifested a sign indicating His will when a sin is committed, for instance darkening the faces of the sinful person, it would encourage them to obey and discourage them to defy.

However, because this would bring about many harms and wrongs, He does not do that. It is possible that his appearance to his devotees only may entail great calamities for the followers of the Qaim (a.s.) causing their annihilation and destruction. His appearance in such circumstances will not be Lutf for them. His assertion that religious duties without Lutf are like

religious duties with a deity, if we accept its validity is true when it is Lutf and disallowing harms and damages are not involved.

To derive a conclusion, afteral-husn wa al-qubh al-’aqlfyayn are proved, and that common sense indicates that Lutf is obligatory from Allah, and that the existence of the Imam is Lutf on the basis of the consensus of all men of reason that prudence lies in the existence of a chief who calls to the betterment and disallows mischief, and that his existence is most beneficial for the public and encourages them to righteousness, and that he must be infallible and that infallibility can be known only through revelation, and that consensus is established on the fallibility of everyone but the Master of the Age, the existence of the Master of the Age is proved.

His occultation from the adversaries is apparent and is due to their guilt. As for occultation from those who believe in him, it is possible that some of them maybe guilty and the others may be denied some of the blessings of his presence for larger considerations of harms that would stem from the adversaries, or for an expediency for them in his occultation so that they believe in him despite the concealment and doubts and the severity of problems, which further leads them to greater rewards. Besides, the Imam’s delivery of his benefits and guidance does not depend on his appearance in such a manner that they would know him. It is possible that the majority of the Shia receive great many blessings from him, unbeknownst to them, as suggested by the narration, which will come, “He is in his occultation like the sun above the clouds.”

Moreover, the occultations of the prophets are sufficient evidence that such sort of existence of the Hujjah is a blessing, or else it would not have been sanctioned by Almighty God. As for the queries imaginable with respect to any of these premises and answers thereof, they are deferred to the books pertinent to the subject.