{Rational reasons for Imamate and Mahdism - No. 11-17}



The principle of purposefulness for proving the existence of the Imam

Another logical reason to prove the existence of the Imam is the principle of purposefulness.

Human being is made up of body and spirit and just like his body, his spirit is developing. The requisite of development is the existence of a guide who can help him. Although wisdom is responsible for guiding the human, because of being bounded to the physical world and the existence of enemies like vain desires and animal tendencies, there should be another guide which assists it as well.

This guide is Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) during the era of prophecy. Certainly, there should be other guides after him as well, because the human race continues to live. If the divine path, plan and guide don’t exist, the creation of humans would be in vain. And the risk of distortion of the religion and the existence of hostile groups also emphasize this necessity.

(Kashf al-Murad by ‘Allama al-Hilli, p. 324; Masael-e Kolli-e Emamat (The General Issues of the Imamate), p. 111-136)


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Inductive reasoning

The inductive method states that one can achieve general facts from individual and partial facts. In inductive reasoning, the pattern of thinking is from part to whole. In other words, by observing what is true for fixed part, we can deduce that it holds for the whole (that includes the part).

One of the reasons to prove the necessity and continuation of the existence of Imam, is inductive reasoning:

All prophets from Adam (PBUH) to Muhammad (PBUH), had special and appointed successors after themselves; so why should not the custom of the existence of a leader and a guide hold in the case of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who there is no prophet after him?!

(Ali bin Babawayh, Al-Imama wa al-Tabsera, ch. Al-Wasiyya min ladon Adam (PBUH), p. 21 and 23)



The comprehensive manifestation proof (Part 1)

All the divine characteristics explain the essence of God and these characteristic enable us to better understand God. The divine commandments and these characteristic are unified together and are not apart from each other.

Allamah Hilli, in explanation of the speech of Khawja Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, has mentioned the necessity of existence of Imam and says:

 “In order to display and manifest these God’s names (designations) and also to describe and explain them, the existence of prophets is mandatory, so that the humans’ wits can be fortified through the prophet’s language. Therefore; the prophet is the one who explains all these names (designations) and characteristics of God where it peaks with the rank of the Imamate and it is all mentioned in ‘Ziyarat Jami’ah Kabirah’”.

(with minor changes and explanations)



The comprehensive manifestation proof (part 2)

The continuation of Allamah Hilli’s explanation about the words of Khwaja Nasir al-Din Tusi for making the necessities of the existence of Imam clear:

...1-Although human perceives numerous facts of essential and secondary affairs of the religion through wisdom, but sometimes there are temptations and indecisions in the depth of his soul that prevent trusting and performing them, but when these rational precepts are reinforced by the word of the divine leader, any indecision and doubt and hesitation will fade away and human will go after his rational knowledge confidently.

2. There are many affairs that wisdom doesn’t perceive the propriety and obscenity about them and it should get help from divine leaders in order to recognize their goodness and badness.



The basics of the narrations; the basics of the rationalism (Part 1)

The basics of the Mahdism talks are sometime narration-based and sometimes rational-based…. And now the basics of the rational theology:

We know that wisdom, alone, can never prove an individual perfectly. We cannot create rational reasons for proving an individual. One of the rational basics is that the prophecy and Imamate is a divine merit… Muslims also say that this divine merit lasts until Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The Sunnism says that this divine merit which was in the form of prophecy and Imamate, was cut by the death of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Therefore, the relation of humans was cut with the divine world.

But we question that why God granted such a divine merit to the people who lived in the past, and He is not giving it to us or the people who will come in future? Are we inferior to them? Shiism has solved this problem, saying that this divine connection is not in the form of prophecy to bring a new religion with new obligations; but the divine merit still exists in a perfect human being and it will reach to the mankind through this perfect human. Today that connection is Imam Mahdi (PBUH). This logic was explained by Allame Tabataba’ei to Professor Carbon.



The basics of the narrations; the basics of the rationalism (Part 2)

Based on what was said in the previous part, this reason and many other reasons from narrations, Imam and divine proof must always exist. It’s not possible to imagine a time that there is no divine proof. So, our time can’t be without the existence of a divine proof. Therefore, Imam Mahdi (PBUH) exists in our time and he is alive.

Imam Sadiq (PBUH) said: “We, the Imams, are safety for the inhabitants of the earth; just as stars are safety for the inhabitants of the sky. God has kept the sky from falling to the earth by us. (It has not been kept) Unless with His permission and for us, so it does not destroy its inhabitants and He pours rain for us and spreads His mercy and the earth gives out its blessings. If an Imam doesn’t exist on the earth, the earth will swallow its inhabitants. Since the day God created Adam, the earth hasn’t been without a Proof, either he was apparent and known or absent and hidden, and it won’t without a proof till the Judgement Day. He, is the Proof of God. If not, they will not worship God.

Suleyman, the narrator of the hadith, says: “I asked Imam Sadiq (PBUH): “How do people benefit from the absent Imam?” He said: “As they benefit from the sun behind the clouds.””

( “Entezar” Quarterly, v. 1, p. 66)



The debate of Hisham Ibn Hikam

Hisham, a student of Imam Sadiq (PBUH), says: “I entered Basra on a Friday and went to the mosque. Amr ibn Obaid Al-Mu’tazeli was sitting and a group of people were around him, asking questions. I also sat at the end of the crowd and asked: “Oh scientist! I’m not from this city; would you let me ask a question?” He said: “Ask whatever you want.” I said: “Do you have eyes?”

 “Don’t you see! What a question?” he said. Then I said: “My questions are like this.” He answered: “Yes, I do have eyes.” I asked: “What do you do with your eyes?” He answered: “Whatever which is visible, I can see. I can determine its color and type.” I questioned: “Do you have a tongue?” He answered: “Yes, I do.” I asked again: “What do you do with it?” He replied: “I recognize the taste of food. I said: “Do you have nose?” He said: “Yes, I smell things and differentiate the good and bad smells.” I questioned: “Do you have ears?” He answered: “Yes, I do. I can hear the voices and realize them.”

I said: “Apart from these, do you also have ‘Wisdom’?” He answered: “Yes, I do have it.” I asked: “What do you do with it?” He answered: “If the other organs get into doubt, my heart will resolve it” (Therefore; the heart and wisdom are the guide for the organs). Hisham says: “I confirmed him and then I said, yes, Almighty God has created the heart to guide the organs and the senses.”

 “Oh scientist! Is it true if someone says that the God who has not left ears, eyes, and the other organs of the human body guideless, has left alone the Muslims after the death of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), without a guide and leader, so they get into trouble and doubt? Does any wisdom accept this?”

(Kafi, v. 1, p. 169)




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