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Recognition of the Imam



الإعتراف بالإمام 

Recognition of the Imam 


The Caliphate 


وحدثنا أحمد بن عبد الله بن يونس حدثنا عاصم بن محمد بن زيد عن أبيه قال: قال عبد الله قال رسول الله : لا يزال هذا الأمر في قريش ما بقي من الناس اثنان 

Ahmad b. `Abdillah b. Yunus from `Asem b. Muhammad b. Zayd from his father from `Abdillah. 

He said: The Messenger of Allah said: This affair (i.e. the Caliphate) will remain among the Quraysh even if only two people were left.1 (Sahih Muslim


حدثنا قتيبة بن سعيد حدثنا جرير عن حصين عن جابر بن سمرة قال: سمعت النبي يقول: إن هذا الأمر لا ينقضي حتى يمضي فيهم اثنا عشر خليفة قال ثم تكلم بكلام خفي علي قال: فقلت لأبي ما قال: قال كلهم من قريش 

Qutayba b. Sa`eed from Jareer from Haseen from Jabir b. Samura. 

He said: I heard the Prophet say: Verily, this affair (i.e. the Caliphate) will not cease until there have been twelve Caliphs among them.2 The narrator said: The Prophet then said something I could not follow. I said to my father: What did he say? He said: All of them will be from Quraysh.3 (Sahih Muslim


[1] There must always be a Caliph (interchangeable with the terms `alim or a hujja – see Shi`i versions) until Judgment Day. With the de-institutionalization of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1342 AH, Muslims must reflect on this hadith and recognize the Imam of their time. 

[2] These are the twelve Imams. The Sunnis have had far more than a dozen Caliphs, which means that their criteria for what defines a “Caliph” is faulty. They cannot agree upon a list of twelve Caliphs without any certainty, nor can they disassociate from those leaders who would fall outside of the hypothetical list.

[3] This is not a statement of tribalism, as the Quraysh are not inherently superior to other ethnic groups. Rather, the hadith is implying that the twelve appointed Caliphs will be from the Ahl al-Bayt. The Prophet advised the Muslims in Sahih Muslim to follow the man in position of authority, even if he were a black maimed slave.


Imams of Guidance and Imams of Disbelief 


محمد بن يحيى، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن الحسن بن محبوب، عن عبد الله بن غالب، عن جابر، عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام قال: قال: لما نزلت هذه الآية: “ يوم ندعو كل اناس بإمامهم " قال المسلمون: يا رسول الله ألست إمام الناس كلهم أجمعين؟ قال: فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله: أنا رسول الله إلى الناس أجمعين ولكن سيكون من بعدي أئمة على الناس من الله من أهل بيتي، يقومون في الناس فيكذبون، ويظلمهم أئمة الكفر والضلال وأشياعهم، فمن والاهم، واتبعهم وصدقهم فهو مني ومعي وسيلقاني، ألا ومن ظلمهم وكذبهم فليس مني ولا معي وأنا منه برئ. 

Muhammad b. Yahya from Ahmad b. Muhammad from al-Hasan b. Mahbub from `Abdillah b. Ghalib from Jabir from Abu Ja`far عليه السلام. He said: 

He said: When this verse was revealed, “The day we will call every person with their Imam” (17:71) the Muslims said: O Messenger of Allah, are you not the Imam of all of the people altogether? He said: So the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله said: I am the Messenger of Allah to the people altogether, but there shall be Imams over the people after me from Allah from my Ahl al-Bayt, rising amongst the people. So the Imams of kufr and misguidance and their partisans will give the lie to them and oppress them. Indeed whoever is loyal to them and follows them and believes in them then he is from me. Indeed whoever oppresses them and assists upon their oppression and gives the lie to them then he is not from me and not with me, and I am innocent (bari’) from him. (al-Kafi

(sahih) (صحيح) 


Those who recognize their Imam are rewarded 


عنه، عن ابن فضال، عن ثعلبة بن ميمون قال: أعرف إمامك [ فإنك ] إذا عرفته لم يضرك تقدم هذا الامر أو تأخر، ومن عرف إمامه ثم مات قبل أن يرى هذا الامر ثم خرج القائم عليه السلام كان له من الاجر كمن كان مع القائم في فسطاطه . 

From him from ibn Faddal1 from Tha`laba b. Maymun. 

He said: Recognize your Imam, for verily when you have recognized him, the advancement or delay of this affair2 will not harm you. And whoever recognizes his Imam then dies prior to seeing this affair, then the Qa’im عليه السلام comes forth, there would be for him the same reward as those who will be with the Qa’im in his pavilion. (Tusi’s Ghayba

(muwathaq) (موثق)


[1] al-Hasan b. `Ali b. Faddal was a Fat`hi companion of Imam ar-Rida. Upon his death, he became an Imami. He was reliable (thiqa). His narrations will be considered muwathaq in this compilation.

[2] The appearance of the Mahdi.



Recognition of the Imam is obligatory 


وحدثنا محمد بن الحسن بن أحمد بن الوليد رضي الله عنه قال حدثنا محمد بن الحسن الصفار والحسن بن متيل الدقاق وعبد الله بن جعفر الحميري جميعا قالوا حدثنا محمد بن الحسين بن أبي الخطاب ويعقوب بن يزيد وإبراهيم بن هاشم جميعا عن محمد بن أبي عمير وصفوان بن يحيى جميعا عن عبد الله بن مسكان عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال من أنكر واحدا من الأحياء فقد أنكر الأموات. 

Muhammad b. al-Hasan b. Ahmad b. al-Walid رضي الله عنه narrated. He said: Muhammad b. al-Hasan as-Saffar, Hasan b. Matheel ad-Daqqaq, and `Abdillah b. Ja`far al-Himyari narrated from Muhammad b. al-Husayn b. Abu’l Khattab, Ya`qub b. Yazid, and Ibrahim b. Hashim from Muhammad b. Abi `Umayr and Safwan b. Yahya from `Abdillah b. Muskan from Abi `Abdillah عليه السلام. 

He said: One who denies the one who is alive is like one who has denied those who are dead.1 (Kamal ad-Deen

(sahih) (صحيح) 


حدثنا أحمد بن زياد بن جعفر الهمداني رضي الله عنه قال حدثنا علي بن إبراهيم بن هاشم عن أبيه عن محمد بن أبي عمير عن غياث بن إبراهيم عن الصادق جعفر بن محمد عن أبيه عن آبائه عليهم السلام قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم من أنكر القائم من ولدي فقد أنكرني. 

Ahmad b. Ziyad b. Ja`far al-Hamadani رضي الله عنه narrated. He said: `Ali b. Ibrahim b. Hashim narrated from his father from Muhammad b. Abi `Umayr from Ghiyath b. Ibrahim from as-Sadiq Ja`far b. Muhammad from his father from his forefathers عليهم السلام. 

They said: The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said: Whoever denies the Qa’im from my offspring will have denied me. (Kamal ad-Deen

(sahih) (صحيح)


وعنه، عن عبد الله بن ميمون القداح، عن جعفر، عن أبيه قال: " قال علي بن ابي طالب عليه السلام: منا سبعة خلقهم الله عزوجل لم يخلق في الارض مثلهم: منا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله سيد الاولين والآخرين وخاتم النبيين، ووصيه خير الوصيين، وسبطاه خير الاسباط حسنا وحسينا، وسيد الشهداء حمزة عمه، ومن قد طار مع الملائكة جعفر، والقائم " 

And from him from `Abdillah b. Maymun al-Qadah from Ja`far from his father. 

He said: `Ali b. Abi Talib عليه السلام said: From us there are seven that Allah عزوجل has created that He did not create in their likeness in the world: from us is the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله, the master of the firsts and the lasts and the seal of prophets, and his deputy2 is the best of deputies, and his tribe is the best of tribes – Hasan, Husayn, his uncle Hamza [who is] the master of martyrs,3 Ja`far [who is] the one who soared with the angels, and the Qa’im. (Qurb al-Isnad

(sahih) (صحيح)


الحسن بن ظريف، عن أبيه ظريف بن ناصح قال: كنت مع الحسين بن زيد ومعه ابنه علي، إذ مر بنا ابو الحسن موسى بن جعفر صلى الله عليه فسلم عليه ثم جاز فقلت: جعلت فداك، يعرف موسى قائم آل محمد؟ قال: فقال لي: إن يكن أحد يعرفه فهو. ثم قال: وكيف لا يعرفه وعنده خط علي بن أبي طالب صلى الله عليه وإملاء رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله. فقال: علي ابنه: يا أبه كيف لم يكن ذاك عند أبي زيد بن علي؟ فقال: يا بني، إن علي بن الحسين ومحمد بن علي سيدا الناس وإمامهم، فلزم يا بني اباك زيد أخاه فتأدب بأدبه وتفقه بفقهه. قال: فقلت: فاريه يا أبه إن حدث بموسى حدث يوصى إلى أحد من أخوته؟ قال: لا والله ما يوصي إلا إلى ابنه، أما ترى - أي بني - هؤلاء الخلفاء لا يجعلون الخلافة إلا في أولادهم 

al-Hasan b. Thareef from his father Thareef b. Nasih. 

He said: I was with al-Husayn b. Zayd and with him was his son `Ali when Abu’l Hasan Musa b. Ja`far صلى الله عليه passed by us, so he greeted him and carried on. So I said: May I be your ransom, does Musa know (or, recognize) the Qa’im of the Family of Muhammad? He said: So he said to me: If anyone were to recognize him, it would be him. He then said: And how is it that he would not recognize him when he has the writing of `Ali b. Abi Talib صلى الله عليه and the dictations of the Prophet4 صلى الله عليه وآله ? So his son `Ali said: O my father, why was that not with my forefather Zayd b. `Ali? So he said: O my son, verily `Ali b. al-Husayn and Muhammad b. `Ali are the masters of the people and their Imams, so, my son, your forefather Zayd adhered to his brother, and was mannered by his etiquette and was trained by his fiqh. 

He said: So I said: So, my father, if something were to happen to Musa, would he depute one from his brothers? He said: No, by Allah, he will not depute anyone except his son. Have you not seen – O my son – that these successors (al-khulafa’) do not make their succession (al-khilafa) go to other than their children? (Qurb al-Isnad)

(sahih) (صحيح)


الطالقاني، عن أبي علي بن همام قال: سمعت محمد بن عثمان العمري قدس الله روحه يقول: سمعت أبي يقول: سئل أبو محمد الحسن بن علي (ع) وأنا عنده عن الخبر الذي روي عن آبائه (ع) أن الارض لا تخلو من حجة الله على خلقه إلى يوم القيامة وأن من مات ولم يعرف إمام زمانه مات ميتة جاهلية (فقال (ع): إن هذا حق كما أن النهار حق. فقيل له: يابن رسول الله فمن الحجة والامام بعدك؟ فقال: ابني محمد وهو الامام والحجة بعدي، من مات ولم يعرفه مات ميتة جاهلية) . أما إن له غيبة يحار فيها الجاهلون، ويهلك فيها المبطلون، ويكذب فيها الوقاتون ثم يخرج فكأني أنظر إلى الاعلام البيض تخقق فوق رأسه بنجف الكوفة. 

at-Talaqani from Abu `Ali b. Himam. He said: I heard Muhammad b. `Uthman al-`Amri قدس الله روحه say: I heard my father5 say: 

Abu Muhammad al-Hasan b. `Ali عليه السلام was asked, while I was with him, about a tradition that was narrated from his forefathers عليه السلام that the Earth does not remain without Allah’s hujja over His creation until the Day of Judgment, and if one were to die without recognizing the Imam of his time, he would die the death of jahiliyya. He عليه السلام said: Verily, this is true just as daytime is true. It was said to him: O son of the Messenger of Allah, who then is the hujja and the Imam after you? So he said: My son MHMD,6 he is the Imam and hujja after me, whoever dies without recognizing him dies the death of jahiliyya. Behold, he will certainly have an occultation regarding which the ignorant (jahiloon) will be perplexed, the invalidators will be destroyed, and the time-assigners will lie. Then, he will appear. It is as if I am looking at the white banners waving over his head in the Najaf of Kufa. (Kamal ad-Deen)

(majhool kal-sahih – Teacher of Saduq) (من مشايخ الصدوق - مجهول كالصحيح)


محمد بن إسماعيل، عن الفضل بن شاذان، عن حماد بن عيسى، عن إبراهيم ابن عمر اليماني، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: إذا قلنا في رجل قولا، فلم يكن فيه وكان في ولده أو ولد ولده فلا تنكروا ذلك، فإن الله تعالى يفعل ما يشاء. 

Muhammad b. Isma`il7 from al-Fadl b. Shadhan from Hamad b. `Isa from Ibrahim b. `Umar al-Yamani from Abu `Abdillah عليه السلام.

He said: When we say something about a man from us, and that is found in his sons or grandsons, then you must not deny it – for Allah تعالى does what He wishes.8 (al-Kafi)

(majhool kal-sahih) (مجهول كالصحيح)


[1] Those who have denied the living hujja are like those who have denied the deceased hujaj of the past. 

[2] `Ali b. Abi Talib. 

[3] Hamza b. `Abd al-Muttalib was the master of martyrs of his era, and Husayn b. `Ali is the master of martyrs of all eras. 

[4] This is a reference to Kitab `Ali and other books in the possession of an Imam during his Imamate. 

[5]`Uthman al-`Amri was the first ambassador of the Mahdi in his minor occultation, and Muhammad b. `Uthman al-`Amri was his second ambassador.

[6] It was (or still is) forbidden to say the first name of the twelfth Imam, which is the same name as the final prophet. Shaykh as-Saduq and Shaykh al-Kulayni preferred to write the four Arabic letters that constituted the name separately and unconnected.

[7] Muhammad b. Isma`il was a majhool contemporary of Shaykh al-Kulayni, but his narrations from Fadl b. Shadhan are considered acceptable. 

[8] Allah can delay the relief until whenever He pleases. 



Emulation of the Imams 


حدثنا محمد بن الحسن بن أحمد بن الوليد رضي الله عنه قال حدثنا محمد بن الحسن الصفار قال حدثنا أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى ومحمد بن الحسين بن أبي الخطاب والهيثم بن أبي مسروق النهدي عن الحسن بن محبوب السراد عن علي بن رئاب عن أبي حمزة الثمالي عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام قال سمعته يقول إن أقرب الناس إلى الله عز وجل وأعلمهم به وأرأفهم بالناس محمد صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم والائمة عليهم السلام فادخلوا أين دخلوا وفارقوا من فارقوا عنى بذلك حسينا وولده عليه السلام فإن الحق فيهم وهم الأوصياء ومنهم الأئمة فأينما رأيتموهم فاتبعوهم وإن أصبحتم يوما لا ترون منهم أحدا فاستغيثوا بالله عز وجل وانظروا السنة التي كنتم عليها واتبعوها وأحبوا من كنتم تحبون وأبغضوا من كنتم تبغضون فما أسرع ما يأتيكم الفرج. 

Muhammad b. al-Hasan b. Ahmad b. al-Walid رضي الله عنه narrated. He said: Muhammad b. al-Hasan as-Saffar narrated. He said: Ahmad b. Muhammad b. `Isa, Muhammad b. Husayn b. Abu’l Khattab, and Haytham b. Abi Masruq an-Nahdi narrated from al-Hasan b. Mahbub as-Sarrad from `Ali b. Ri’aab from Abu Hamza ath-Thumali. 

He said: I heard Abu Ja`far عليه السلام say: The closest of people to Allah عز وجل, the most knowledgeable about Him and the most kind to the people are Muhammad صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم and the Imams عليهم السلام, so enter where they enter and disassociate from whom they disassociate with. It denotes Husayn and his descendants, as the truth is with them and they are the successors; the Imams عليهم السلام are amongst them. So wherever you see them follow them, and when the day comes when you no longer see one from them, beseech Allah عز وجل and remain on the sunna you are upon. Love those whom you love and hate those whom you hate, for what comes to you of the relief will not be expedited. (Kamal ad-Deen)

(sahih) (صحيح)
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