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Follower of Ahlulbayt

Does the Ghaybah of Imam Mahdi Negate....

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Salamm

Does the Ghaybah of Imam Mahdi negate the rationality of the Prophet Muhammad (s) having to appoint a successor.

Many of us will argue that the Prophet (s) could not have left the ummah without a guide. You will hear many speakers use arguments such as "a librarian will not leave his library without appointing someone to look after it so why didn't the Prophet appoint someone to look after this ummah". Even some companions of the Imams were known to use analogies such as these to prove the logical necessity of the Prophet appointing a successor. 

Coming to my question, Imam Mahdi (a) is in occultation. He (a) is not physically guiding us and we cannot meet him to ask him questions. So, how can we justify the rationality of the Prophet having to appoint an apparent leader for the ummah when we don't even have an apparent leader for the ummah today? 

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These are some of my thoughts and questions.

If the inffalible Imam is in occultation. 12er need to rely on fallible scholars. So zaidi and Sunni relying on fallible leaders is not to far from current 12er.

What is the evidence that he went into occultation ?

What is the evidence that he is alive and present. ?

If he is can anyone bring any evidence on his influence today ?

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4 hours ago, Warilla said:

These are some of my thoughts and questions.

If the inffalible Imam is in occultation. 12er need to rely on fallible scholars. So zaidi and Sunni relying on fallible leaders is not to far from current 12er.

What is the evidence that he went into occultation ?

What is the evidence that he is alive and present. ?

If he is can anyone bring any evidence on his influence today ?

All available in sites like as Www.al-Islam.org also we talked in another posts about this multiple times you just need to do a simple search 

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16 hours ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

Salamm

Does the Ghaybah of Imam Mahdi negate the rationality of the Prophet Muhammad (s) having to appoint a successor.

Many of us will argue that the Prophet (s) could not have left the ummah without a guide. You will hear many speakers use arguments such as "a librarian will not leave his library without appointing someone to look after it so why didn't the Prophet appoint someone to look after this ummah". Even some companions of the Imams were known to use analogies such as these to prove the logical necessity of the Prophet appointing a successor. 

Coming to my question, Imam Mahdi (a) is in occultation. He (a) is not physically guiding us and we cannot meet him to ask him questions. So, how can we justify the rationality of the Prophet having to appoint an apparent leader for the ummah when we don't even have an apparent leader for the ummah today? 

Yes, it's true that you'll often hear popular speakers presenting this argument, or potentially even scholars, but our religion is not dependent on populist arguments, whether it comes from a speaker on the minbar, or even scholar who can be wrong about something given they are not infallible. Forget about all that.

Focus on what the actual beliefs of the religion are, which are what the Ahlul Bayt (عليه السلام) tell us to believe. Look through the chapters on imamah in our hadith compilations, and you'll see that the belief we hold is that there is the world is never devoid of a hujjah of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), the ghaybah is not a contradiction to this.

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8 hours ago, Reza said:

In that time period shortly after the Prophet’s death, a direct, apparent, physical presence was crucial.

Interesting. So after al-'Askari (a), you don't think the ummah needed a physically present guide? For the past thousand years, you don't think the world has needed a guide?

What I would say is that yes, there does not need to be a physically present guide at all times. However, the Prophet (s) was a political ruler. It is not possible for an infallible political ruler to leave it to fallibles to elect their own leader to conduct the affairs of the ummah. So the ghaybah of Imam Mahdi (a) does not contradict the fact that it was still necessary for the Prophet to appoint a successor.

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Guest Just Wondering
2 hours ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

 However, the Prophet (s) was a political ruler. It is not possible for an infallible political ruler to leave it to fallibles to elect their own leader to conduct the affairs of the ummah. So the ghaybah of Imam Mahdi (a) does not contradict the fact that it was still necessary for the Prophet to appoint a successor.

Why is it impossible?  

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4 hours ago, Guest Just Wondering said:

Why is it impossible?  

As per belief of Shia and most Sunni that all Prophets are infallible. 

There is no fallible leader in the verses of Qur'an mentioned for the guidance of the people. this is as per Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) way and it does not change.

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Guest Itsme
7 hours ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

Interesting. So after al-'Askari (a), you don't think the ummah needed a physically present guide? For the past thousand years, you don't think the world has needed a guide?

What I would say is that yes, there does not need to be a physically present guide at all times. However, the Prophet (s) was a political ruler. It is not possible for an infallible political ruler to leave it to fallibles to elect their own leader to conduct the affairs of the ummah. So the ghaybah of Imam Mahdi (a) does not contradict the fact that it was still necessary for the Prophet to appoint a successor.

After the death of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), there was an enormous power gap left. The Romans and Persians were looking into a a nascent Muslim community who had lost the only man capable of commanding such political and religious authority. Apostates began to rise from Yemen and other regions, and Islam was on the verge of being put onto the path of distortion and production of many spin-off sects. The Ansaar were off at Saqifah preempting certain members of the Muhajiroon from electing their own leader, such that Abu Bakr and Umar hurriedly left to avert what Umar regarded as a potentially deadly catastrophe that the Ummah was saved from. Soon would come men claiming Allah literally has a shin, fingers, two feet, ascends, descends, "in a manner that befits him". It is inconceivable even putting aside Shia Islam for the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) to not want to secure a smooth transition of power, either in appointing a leader or facilitating the process itself. 

We needed the Aimmah at this stage in order to reverse the true Sunnah, which was to undergo distortion, both on a Fiqh and Aqeedah level. By the time of Imam al-Mahdi ajfs, many of our canonical works were being compiled, the bulk of Fiqh and Aqeedah from our Aimmah and Jaffer b.Muhammed as Sadiq (عليه السلام) had been preserved, and with it, a light amidst the darkness lighting the pathway to the true Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and the right path. 

Would it be ideal to have an actual representative of Allah present here? Of course it would be, nobody would ever deny it would solve so much. However, Allah has decided to test us and other reasons which I have no knowledge of and he knows best, after having decreed a certain period with the Prophet and subsequent members of his Ahlul Bayt who have given us enough , and the world enough, such that their path is there , it exists, and core teachings are preserved.   

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Guest Itsme

Some people claim certain scholars have met the Imams, but I don't believe there is even a shred of evidence for it - in case someone claims he has physically met with anyone. I do not affirm or deny it. 

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On 4/4/2019 at 8:38 AM, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

Salamm

Does the Ghaybah of Imam Mahdi negate the rationality of the Prophet Muhammad (s) having to appoint a successor.

Many of us will argue that the Prophet (s) could not have left the ummah without a guide. You will hear many speakers use arguments such as "a librarian will not leave his library without appointing someone to look after it so why didn't the Prophet appoint someone to look after this ummah". Even some companions of the Imams were known to use analogies such as these to prove the logical necessity of the Prophet appointing a successor. 

Coming to my question, Imam Mahdi (a) is in occultation. He (a) is not physically guiding us and we cannot meet him to ask him questions. So, how can we justify the rationality of the Prophet having to appoint an apparent leader for the ummah when we don't even have an apparent leader for the ummah today? 

The concept of occultation was first attributed to the Shia of Muhammad Ibn Ali Al-Hanafiyyah. They claimed he was the Imam after his brother Hussain, as well as being the Mahdi who had come at the end times. When he was killed, his Shia could not explain his disappearance so they claimed he was in occultation receiving sustenance from Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and that he would return at a later time to restore justice and rule the Earth. After some time passed and they realised he was dead and not coming back, this group of Shia merged back into the wider community where I imagine some of their ideas diseminated to later be recycled 100 or so years later during the time of Muhammad Bin Hasan Al-Askari when he disappeared, though this is my personal opinion given what I said.

Given that the Mahdi is prophecised by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) to have his name, and his father will have his father's name I.e. he will be called Muhammad Bin Abdullah in Sunni hadith, it proves to be a massive thorn in the sides of those who attempt to use Sunni texts to prove Twelverism, since this falsifies the 12th Imam being the Mahdi... but I guess that does not stop people from picking and choosing deceitfully to call people to their position

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Guest Itsme
8 minutes ago, Ar.alhindi said:

The concept of occultation was first attributed to the Shia of Muhammad Ibn Ali Al-Hanafiyyah. They claimed he was the Imam after his brother Hussain, as well as being the Mahdi who had come at the end times. When he was killed, his Shia could not explain his disappearance so they claimed he was in occultation receiving sustenance from Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and that he would return at a later time to restore justice and rule the Earth. After some time passed and they realised he was dead and not coming back, this group of Shia merged back into the wider community where I imagine some of their ideas diseminated to later be recycled 100 or so years later during the time of Muhammad Bin Hasan Al-Askari when he disappeared, though this is my personal opinion given what I said.

Given that the Mahdi is prophecised by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) to have his name, and his father will have his father's name I.e. he will be called Muhammad Bin Abdullah in Sunni hadith, it proves to be a massive thorn in the sides of those who attempt to use Sunni texts to prove Twelverism, since this falsifies the 12th Imam being the Mahdi... but I guess that does not stop people from picking and choosing deceitfully to call people to their position

The tradition whereby the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) allegedly claims the name of Imam al-Mahdi's father will be the same as his fathers name is a Khabar al-Wahid. Apparently, other versions of the same Hadith only include the portion where he says "his name will be the same as my name". 

"The Prophet (ﷺ) said: If only one day of this world remained. Allah would lengthen that day (according to the version of Za'idah), till He raised up in it a man who belongs to me or to my family whose father's name is the same as my father's, who will fill the Earth with equity and justice as it has been filled with oppression and tyranny (according to the version of Fitr).

Sufyan's version says: The world will not pass away before the Arabs are ruled by a man of my family whose name will be the same as mine.

Abu Dawud said: The version of 'Umar and Abu Bakr is the same as that of Sufyan."

Source: https://sunnah.com/abudawud/38/4

Maybe I've missed the other traditions? What is stopping the part about "and whose father's name is the same as my father's" being a later addition not found in the version of the others? 

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Guest Just Wondering
1 hour ago, skyweb1987 said:

As per belief of Shia and most Sunni that all Prophets are infallible. 

There is no fallible leader in the verses of Qur'an mentioned for the guidance of the people. this is as per Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) way and it does not change.

My understanding is that all Muslims belief in the infallibility of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم, it’s just there’s a range on what is considered infallibility.  So this is not an argument for or against the need to choose an infallible leader بارك الله فيك because even if one was to believe the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم was a God والعياذ بالله it still wouldn’t necessitate that he would leave behind a political or spiritual successor.  Note that Christians don’t believe in successorship despite believe in (at the very least) the infallibility of Jesus عليه السلام.

As far as your second point, then what about verses 5:12 or 28:41?  In 25:74, we are told that the true worshippers of Allah make Du’a that Allah makes us Imams, and yet we are not infallible احسن الله إليك 

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In fact it is only occultation which fits in perfectly with the sayings of the Prophet(sawws) of continuity of the 12 Imams(عليه السلام), for otherwise with every other creed there is and are gaps or voids. 

Put the whole family of Ahadith on the 12 Imams and then try and see a picture through it.

Recite a salawat as that is succession in the Tashhudd of your salah.  And read just the Tashhudd one. Forget the others for now. 

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10 hours ago, Guest Just Wondering said:

 Why is it impossible?  

Here is my understanding. 

The Prophet (s) knows that there was going to be a Muslim caliph after him. There are a couple options with regards to how he (s) can handle this:

1) Either he himself who is infallible in matters pertaining to delivering the religion (and the matter of the next Muslim leader is part of the religion), will chose the successor. This successor will undoubtedly be the best option.

2) He lets the people decide the next successor. They are not infallible and can be influenced by their desires. The leader they will chose may not be the best option.

Assuming the Prophet (s) wants the best for Islam and the ummah, I don't see how it is possible for #2. 

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8 hours ago, Ar.alhindi said:

Given that the Mahdi is prophecised by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) to have his name, and his father will have his father's name I.e. he will be called Muhammad Bin Abdullah in Sunni hadith, it proves to be a massive thorn in the sides of those who attempt to use Sunni texts to prove Twelverism, since this falsifies the 12th Imam being the Mahdi... but I guess that does not stop people from picking and choosing deceitfully to call people to their position

 

The Hadith which says the Mahdi will have the name Muhammed b. Abdullah are fabricated and weak narrations according to Sunnis themselves. 

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:salam:

In order to ask our questions properly, sometimes we need to look at the history of the problem and the history of the question. This question can be traced back to the time soon after Ghaybah - particularly in Baghdad with the rise of Shi'I scholarship there. One of the major principles used by Mu'tazli and Shi'I scholars to derive many theological conclusions was the principle of grace (qa'idah al-lutf). This principle, alongside the principle of al-husn wa al-qubh al-aqli (intelligibility of good and evil), are the cornerstone of much of Shi'I theology (I am not addressing later Sadrian reinterpretations that were made to these theological conclusions, because those even impacted the idea of the Mahdi and the notion of the Perfect Man becomes an important element in those interpretations).

Classical Shi'a theologians proved the necessity of Imamah and also the concept of infallibility through the principle of Lutf. The principle of Lutf essentially dictates that God must do all which would allow us humans to get closer to obeying Him and farther away from disobeying Him. This was the gist of it, although there are different divisions of Lutf and the books of theology have extensive discussions on them and what are their examples. For example, Lutf can be divided into Muhassal and Muqarrab. Muhassal are those instance of Lutf which give human life purpose and meaning in light of allowing them to obey and staying away from disobeying God, so for example legislating Divine Law, sending a Prophet (p), physically creating us in a way that we can carry out these responsibilities. Muqarrab are those instances which God does to motivate humans in obeying Him and staying away from disobeying Him - for example, promising us hell and heaven, reiterating that life is a test, allowing for a Prophet/Imam to physically rule and govern etc.

It was in this context, that this question was then posed against the Shi'as: You who believe in the principle of Lutf and had claimed that it is according to this principle that there must be an Imam at all times, accessible, how do you reconcile this principle with the idea of the Ghaybah?

The likes of Sayyid Murtadha, Shaykh Tusi, Khwaja Nasir al-Din Tusi and others have all addressed this topic at length. Unfortunately, these writings are only available in Arabic or Farsi, and not much exists in English. They would take too long to translate as well, but I can give a brief summary of the arguments.

We need to first acknowledge that the principle of Lutf does not negate human free-will. Meaning, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) could do Lutf on His part, but we out of our free-will may choose to not benefit from it or take it seriously. That being said, let us see how the Imam is a Lutf to begin with: a) His mere existence while he is accessible; b) His mere existence while he is inaccessible; c) His physical ability to govern and rule.

We need to see what the traditions say about the reasons for the Ghaybah and then see whether anything is in conflict with the principle of grace and to what extent. The reasons mentioned in traditions are usually: 1) Fear and threat of enemies; 2) Trial for believers; 3) Opportunity to prepare for the end of times.

The first reason is directly tied to human free-will. It is like when other Imams were imprisoned, Allah had done Lutf and sent forth an Imam, but people did not benefit from them and in fact, some decided to imprison them. Likewise, the Prophet (p) when he was in Makkah, he was unable to rule and govern, and at times may have been inaccessible (for example, when He was sanctioned for 3 years). However, one would need to realize, in all these cases, one cannot say that the Prophet or Imam were not an instance of Lutf (even if they are inaccessible), rather even their mere existence can be argued to be an instance of Lutf (as the Shi'as will argue, especially with traditions that say there always needs to be a Hujjah on Earth).

The second reason says it is a trial for the believers - this itself is Lutf (Muqarrab), and the third reason is also a Lutf Muqarrab, because knowing that an Imam exists and that there will be a just government established in the future and that this Imam will need pious followers, is motivation for the believers to work harder and be committed to their religion. So the Ghaybah itself results in two further instances of Lutf.

However, we can admit that lack of accessibility is definitely a deficiency in Lutf (even if its cause is from us), but Lutf is of different degrees and just because one degree of it is missing, it does not mean it is completely absent. As such, we argue that even the mere existence of the Imam - even if they are absent and physically inaccessible, they are Lutf as far as they are a Hujjah on Earth. In fact, Sadra and post-Sadrian Shi'a philosophers have utilized these traditions and other understandings to expand on this even more and have claimed that the mere existence of the Imam is a mediating entity through which all types of blessings and grace of Allah are bestowed upon us. Consider reading: Mullā Ṣadrā's philosophical arguments for the necessity of the imamate, by Sayeh Meisami for a brief overview of this interpretation.

On a side note, many contemporary scholars have questioned the applicability of the principle of Lutf, saying even if the principle is true, we can never understand its instance and applications. If one believes in this, then they can no longer use the principle of grace to build up many aspects of their theology and they would need to take another approach, but at the same time, this question may also not directly concern them.

Wasalam

Edited by Ibn al-Hussain

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On 4/5/2019 at 1:26 PM, skyweb1987 said:

1. There  is no concept of people chosen leader as successor of the Prophet for the guidance of the people in Qur'an. Shia has their leader who is 12th successor of the Prophet Muhamamd (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم).

2.  Do you believe only Imam Al Mahdi as is in ghabah? I quote the examples that we believe and have not seen those like Angels, Prophets, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and others.

 3.  Do you believe the Prophet Esa as is alive for more than 2000 years? He will come and pray behind the Imam Mahdi as as per hadith both in Shia and Sunnis. if the Prophet of bani Israel coming as follower is alive then the infallible Imam from the progeny of the chief of the Prophets Muhamamd saaqw is also alive. He is not separated from the Qur'an that the book for all generations then it is again a predominant proof that Imam is alive. Do you  not believe that the Prophet Khizer as is alive fort thousands of years?

wasalam

 

1)Imam Ali is. The succesor of the final Prophet.

2)No I don't believe

3)I don't  believe in Prophet Isa's return. 

Edited by Warilla

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@ShiaMan14       @Salsabeel       @S.M.H.A.     @Sirius_Bright

 

https://www.shiachat.com/forum/topic/235061659-does-the-ghaybah-of-Imam-Mahdi-negate/?do=findComment&comment=3207630

 

Looks like you missed this one, your comments appreciated.

 

Edited by haideriam

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On 4/4/2019 at 2:38 AM, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

Does the Ghaybah of Imam Mahdi negate the rationality of the Prophet Muhammad (s) having to appoint a successor.

 

The Imam (عليه السلام) benefits the community even while concealed, just as the sun benefits us even while it's hidden behind clouds.  Everyone's heard this argument.

Additionally, the Imam (عليه السلام) guides the ulema who guide us.  He (عليه السلام) is known to guide lay followers as well directly. 

Additionally, the world cannot be without a Hujjat.  That condition is satisfied in Ghaiybat.  The Prophet (saww) appointed an Imam and Hujjat who would succeed him who would safeguard the religion from enemies and would guide the delivers.  The 12th Imam (عليه السلام) still performs that role from Ghaiybat.

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On 4/6/2019 at 6:45 AM, skyweb1987 said:

As per belief of Shia and most Sunni that all Prophets are infallible. 

Sunnis believe in fallibility of all human beings, including the Prophets. Once the Shias pointed out ridiculousness of such beliefs, some of the Sunnis started developing various and contradictory theological concepts such as that, for example, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his purified family) was fallible with infallibility at times (and/or reverse), that he was infallible only during his religious teachings but not the other times etc. One can find all of that in the “authentic” Sunni ahadith books. Salafis believe that the Prophets committed minor sins, but not the major ones. See more in the following articles:

https://uncoveredsunnism.wordpress.com/2017/08/06/Sunni-insanity-Prophet-Muhammad-was-bewitched/

https://uncoveredsunnism.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/Sunni-insanity-Prophet-Muhammad-was-sinful-and-fallible/

Quote

There is no fallible leader in the verses of Qur'an mentioned for the guidance of the people. this is as per Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) way and it does not change.

Numerous verses from the Holy Qur'an affirm the existence and even the necessity of infallibility, although the term “infallibility” has not been used. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) would never order people to follow a fallible Prophet. People may choose to follow a false Prophet, but they’re not purposely made to do so by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ), therefore all Abrahamic Prophets were infallible and we reject the Jewish, Christian and Sunni notion that the messengers of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) could be sinful in any way. 

 

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5 hours ago, haideriam said:

No comments

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On 4/4/2019 at 8:38 PM, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

So, how can we justify the rationality of the Prophet having to appoint an apparent leader for the ummah when we don't even have an apparent leader for the ummah today? 

But we do, that’s why it’s wajib in orthodox Islam as a muqalid to do taqlid to one of the living marājiʿ, they act as a bridge between us and the hidden Imam. Something that some ignorant people forget or don’t even know. Ayatollah al-uzma isn’t a person like us. The Imam is still alive, however in occultation. There are credible proofs of pious ulama in the past being contacted by the Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) during the Major Occultation. Some scholars (may Allah be pleased with them all), such as al-Shaykh al-Saduq and al-Shaykh al-Tusi have devoted particular chapters of their books to stories of people who have met the last Imam (may Allah hasten his reappearance) and have explicitly confirmed the possibility of meeting him. I think the most recent person to be granted that enormous privilege is said to was Sheikh Allamah Abu al-Hassan al-Sha’rani (may Allah be pleased with him). We also have supplications for the meeting. In his Makarim al-akhlaq, al-Hasan b. al-Fadl al-Tabrisi writes: "it is transmitted that if one continuously recites the following supplication after every obligatory prayer, his life will be so long that it would be boring for him and he would finally meet with Sahib al-Amr (that is, Imam al-Mahdi). Here is the supplication:

Quote

"O God! Send your peace to Muhammad and the family of Muhammad! O God! Truly your truthful, accredited messenger, your peace be upon him and his family, said that you said: ‘I never doubted anything I do as I doubted the reception of the soul of My faithful servant who dislikes death and I dislike to bother him.' O God! So send your peace to Muhammad and the family of Muhammad and hasten the faraj, victory, and comfort of Your saints and do not bother me and such and such a person (here you can mention anyone you want)."

اَللّٰهُ أَعْلَم

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Guest Engineer 73
On 4/4/2019 at 12:38 PM, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

So, how can we justify the rationality of the Prophet having to appoint an apparent leader for the ummah when we don't even have an apparent leader for the ummah today? 

قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَصْبَحَ مَاؤُكُمْ غَوْرًا فَمَنْ يَأْتِيكُمْ بِمَاءٍ مَعِينٍ

For deen to become perfect (kamil), it was necessary for Prophet (S) to deliver the message and appoint the leader for the Ummah. The decision of Ummah to dislike or refuse the guidance and to side line and even kill the chosen ones, has nothing to do with the rationality of the appointment of a leader. 

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Salam,

One thing that we may not know or understand is the line of communication between the 12th Imam and his followers.

In the time of 1st to 11th Imams, it was more physical (direct).  During ghaibat, the line of communication is hidden and not made known to public.  Those who have the communication must keep it so secret or concealed from public, unless Imam himself reveal it or allow the person to reveal it to certain people..  That is why taqiyyah is wajib and very important.  To ensure the concealment, there is hadith that say..those who claim to meet Imam publically is a liar.  Meaning, Imam will cut off from the person who revealed the line of communications

Rasulullah appointed successors.  We are now blessed with a Living Imam that is with us, guiding us and protecting us all the time.  He has long life.  Enemies cannot break into his line of communications and will not understand his strategies.  Even, if all headphones, computers and internet line are tapped by enemies, still the line of communication between Imams and his followers are hidden.  Even syaitans are not able to break into the communications and pass the messages to humans.

 

 

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On 4/6/2019 at 11:52 PM, Ibn al-Hussain said:

We need to first acknowledge that the principle of Lutf does not negate human free-will. Meaning, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) could do Lutf on His part, but we out of our free-will may choose to not benefit from it or take it seriously. That being said, let us see how the Imam is a Lutf to begin with: a) His mere existence while he is accessible; b) His mere existence while he is inaccessible; c) His physical ability to govern and rule.

We need to see what the traditions say about the reasons for the Ghaybah and then see whether anything is in conflict with the principle of grace and to what extent. The reasons mentioned in traditions are usually: 1) Fear and threat of enemies; 2) Trial for believers; 3) Opportunity to prepare for the end of times.

The first reason is directly tied to human free-will. It is like when other Imams were imprisoned, Allah had done Lutf and sent forth an Imam, but people did not benefit from them and in fact, some decided to imprison them. Likewise, the Prophet (p) when he was in Makkah, he was unable to rule and govern, and at times may have been inaccessible (for example, when He was sanctioned for 3 years). However, one would need to realize, in all these cases, one cannot say that the Prophet or Imam were not an instance of Lutf (even if they are inaccessible), rather even their mere existence can be argued to be an instance of Lutf (as the Shi'as will argue, especially with traditions that say there always needs to be a Hujjah on Earth).

The second reason says it is a trial for the believers - this itself is Lutf (Muqarrab), and the third reason is also a Lutf Muqarrab, because knowing that an Imam exists and that there will be a just government established in the future and that this Imam will need pious followers, is motivation for the believers to work harder and be committed to their religion. So the Ghaybah itself results in two further instances of Lutf.

 

Ok so from the principle of lutf we understand that there has to be an Imam at all times, irrespective of whether the hujjah is accessible or inaccessible. 

In light of this, I'm interested in how you would interpret these traditions from Basa'ir:

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حدثنا محمد بن عيسى وأحمد بن محمد عن الحسن بن محبوب عن يعقوب السراج قال
قلت لأبي عبد الله عليه السلام تخلوا الأرض من عالم منكم حي ظاهر تفزع إليه الناس في حلالهم وحرامهم فقال يا أبا يوسف لا ان ذلك لبين في كتاب الله تعالى فقال يا أيها الذين آمنوا اصبروا وصابروا عدوكم ممن يخالفكم – ورابطوا –امامكم- واتقوا الله – فيما يأمركم وفرض عليكم –

[Muhammad bin `Isa and Ahmad bin Muhammad both told us, from al-Hasan bin Mahboub, from Ya`qoub al-Sarraj that he said: I said to Abu `Abdillah (as): “Would the Earth be devoid from an apparent man of knowledge from among you, so that the people may seek him in their issues of Halal and Haram?” He (عليه السلام) replied: “O Abu Yusuf, NO. This is clear in the book of Allah: {O you who have believed, persevere and endure} against your enemies who oppose you {and remain stationed} with your Imam {and fear Allah} with what he orders you to do.”]

 

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حدثنا محمد بن عيسى عن الحسن بن محبوب والحجال عن العلا عن محمد بن مسلم عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام قال لا تبقى الأرض بغير امام ظاهر

[Muhammad bin `Isa told us, from al-Hasan bin Mahboub and al-Hajjal, from al-`Ala, from Muhammad bin Muslim, from Abu Ja`far (عليه السلام) that he said: “The Earth shall not remain without an apparent Imam.”]

Also this one from Illal al-Sharai':

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أبى رحمه الله قال: حدثنا محمد بن يحيى، عن محمد بن الحسن بن أبي الخطاب عن الحسن بن محبوب، عن يعقوب السراج قال: قلت لأبي عبد الله " ع " تبقى الأرض بلا عالم حي ظاهر يفزع إليه الناس في حلالهم وحرامهم؟ فقال لي إذا لا يعبد الله يا أبا يوسف

‘I said to Abu Abdullah, ‘Does the Earth ever remain without a living Scholar in the apparent, the people can refer to him with regards to their Permissibles and their Prohibitions?’ So he said to me: ‘If that (is the case), Allah would not be worshipped, O Abu Yusuf!

Maybe this above one, 'Ālim (عالم) doesn't refer to an divinely appointed Imam, but any scholar. Although, I don't find this interpretation strong in light of the traditions from Basa'ir. 

 

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However, we can admit that lack of accessibility is definitely a deficiency in Lutf (even if its cause is from us), but Lutf is of different degrees and just because one degree of it is missing, it does not mean it is completely absent. As such, we argue that even the mere existence of the Imam - even if they are absent and physically inaccessible, they are Lutf as far as they are a Hujjah on Earth. In fact, Sadra and post-Sadrian Shi'a philosophers have utilized these traditions and other understandings to expand on this even more and have claimed that the mere existence of the Imam is a mediating entity through which all types of blessings and grace of Allah are bestowed upon us. Consider reading: Mullā Ṣadrā's philosophical arguments for the necessity of the imamate, by Sayeh Meisami for a brief overview of this interpretation.

 

On 4/13/2019 at 4:31 PM, Guest Engineer 73 said:

قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَصْبَحَ مَاؤُكُمْ غَوْرًا فَمَنْ يَأْتِيكُمْ بِمَاءٍ مَعِينٍ

For deen to become perfect (kamil), it was necessary for Prophet (S) to deliver the message and appoint the leader for the Ummah. The decision of Ummah to dislike or refuse the guidance and to side line and even kill the chosen ones, has nothing to do with the rationality of the appointment of a leader. 

I am still trying to figure out how the principle of lutf would necessitate the Prophet (s) having to announce a successor after him. We know that an Imam being inaccessible due to occultation or being imprisoned, is a deficiency in lutf. However, the Prophet (s) at the end of his life, was not inaccessible at all. So this is how I understand it:

1) The Prophet is physically ruling and is not in occultation or imprisoned at the end of his life. There is no deficiency in lutf.

2) The Prophet (s) wants there to be no deficiency in lutf after he is gone as well. In order for there to be no deficiency, there has to be a divine hujjah that is accessible and physically ruling after him. 

3) Since the Prophet isn't under any tyrannical government or ruler that will kill him for making such an announcement, it is necessary for the Prophet (s) to announce the divine hujjah after him, which would mean that there would be no deficiency in lutf. 

4) All the other Imams were under tyrannical rulers, and if they made such an announcement, then they would have been killed by the rulers. Meaning, it was better for the Imams to not make a public announcement like the Prophet (s) did at Ghadeer, because then the rulers of their time would have killed them and their sons, meaning there would be no divine hujjah on Earth— accessible or inaccessible.

 

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18 hours ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

In light of this, I'm interested in how you would interpret these traditions from Basa'ir:

Also this one from Illal al-Sharai':

Maybe this above one, 'Ālim (عالم) doesn't refer to an divinely appointed Imam, but any scholar. Although, I don't find this interpretation strong in light of the traditions from Basa'ir. 

I haven't looked at scholarly opinions, but just by reading them myself I can say one of the ways to interpret these would be by reading them as qadhiya fi al-waqi'ah where the Imam (a) is addressing not in general universal terms, but speaking specifically to the conditions of the person (something very common in hadith, but often overlooked by us since we are theologically programmed to think every word the Imams (a) said is meant to be universally applicable at all times and places).

In other words, the hadith could mean that for those individuals asking the question, during their lifetime the Earth definitely did not remain empty without an apparent Imam (a) and that is what they should have been concerned with.

Interestingly the last tradition of Abu Yusuf can be used to show the aspect of Lutf - since the existence of the Imam (a) is tied to worshiping Allah.

Wasalam

Edited by Ibn al-Hussain

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