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Does Establishing the Right and Eradicating the Wrong Require Rebellion against the Unjust Ruler?

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Does Establishing the Right and Eradicating the Wrong Require Rebellion against the Unjust Ruler?

The Imamate and leadership are of great importance in the Islamic order that is referred to in the true narration of Zurarah citing Abi Jaafar. He said, “Islam was built on five pillars: Prayer, Zakat, Hajj, Fasting [of Ramadhan] and following the leadership.” Zurarah said, “I asked, “Which one is the best?” He said, “Following the leadership is the best as it is their key. The leader indicates and shows them all.” Imam also said, “The absolute rule and its pinnacle, key, and entrance to everything and the satisfaction of Allah is the obedience of the Imam after you know him.””([1])

In my opinion, the Imam (P) was not describing the principles of the religion that are supposed to be believed in; otherwise, he would have mentioned monotheism, Prophet hood and Judgment Day. He (P) was describing the basis of religion that lays its foundation in the souls of people and in the aspect of practical implementation of Allah’s words. {He has ordained for you of religion what He enjoined upon Noah and that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus - to establish the religion and not be divided therein}(Shura: 13). He assured that the key and guarantor for such is the just authority of the infallible Imam at the time of his presenceand his deputy in leadership,also. With the Imam, the duties and “Sunnahs” are established, and this reflects a meaning found in the hailing words used during the visit of Imam Hussein (P), “I am witness that you have truly prayed and given Zakat.”

There is a narration of the clear and the vague citing Imam Ali (P) in which he says, “Prayer is first; then comes Zakat, fasting, Hajj, and following the leader. The last concludes them all and maintains all the duties and Sunnahs.”([2])

Another narration citing Imam Rida (P) says, “The Imamate is the status of the prophets and the legacy of the successors. The Imamate is the Caliphate of Allah and the Prophet (P). It is the stance of Imam Ali and the legacy of Hassan and Husayn (P).” The Imamate is the harness of the religion and the regulations on Muslims. It is the righteousness on Earth and the dignity of the believers. The Imamate is Islam’s growing origin and its sublime branch. The Imam concludes Prayer, Zakat, fasting, Hajj, and Jihad. He provides the revenue, alms, and endorses punishments and rules. He protects frontiers and borders. An imam tells what Allah allows and what he forbids. He implements the punishments that Allah wants and protects the religion of Allah. He calls to the path of Allah with wisdom, good advice and true evidence.”([3]) So on and so forth until the end of the conversation.

Some narrations explained the importance of the Imamate and its great blessings and impacts counterintuitively by mentioning the underlying disadvantages when it is not established and when it is forcefully usurped from its rightful Imams. Imam Rida (P) said in the narration of the Origins and Rationales (Uyun-wa-Ilal) on the reason why an Imam was there, “If they had no Imam, the sect would be extinct, the religion would be lost, the laws and regulations would have been changed, and the heretics would have added to religion. The atheists would have taken from it. They would have forged that to Muslims.”([4])

In my opinion, in the light of the above, the usurpation of the leadership from the rightful leaders and the assumption of the status of the noble Imamate would be one of the greatest sins that must be changed and overruled in view of the great dent cast on the religion and the loss to the Muslims([5]). Imam Sadek summarized the consequences of this grave sin in the famous narration of the masterpieces of the minds (Tuhaf Uqul), “When the unjust leader rules, he steps on the right, all of the right (That means he overrides the right and in another version, the right is eradicated.). Injustice is recalled; oppression, unfairness, and corruption prevail. [Holy] books are suspended, andprophets and believers are killed. Mosques are destroyed and divine laws and messages are changed.”([6])


([1]) Kafi: 2/18; The Book of Belief and Disbelief; Chapter of Pillars of Islam; Section 5.

([2]) Bihar al-Anwar: 93/62; the Letter of the Clear and the Vague: 77 of Al-Nu’mani’s Interpretation.

([3]) Usul al-Kafi: Section 1/ Book of Evidence (Kitab al-Hujja); Chapter of the Rare Compilation of the Virtues and qualities of the Imam Section 1.

([4]) Ilal al-Shara’i: 1/253; Chapter: 182, Section 5; Uyun Akhbar Al Rida; Chapter 34, Section 1.

([5]) Refer to a letter titled, “What did the Nation lose when it Installed Someone non-worthy of Leadership) in the Rhetoric of the era: 1/217.

([6]) Masterpieces of the Minds: 212.

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