well known tradition narrated both by the Sunnis and the Shias
in 92 different books proclaims: Anyone who dies without having
recognised the Imam Zamana (aj) (the contemporary Imam), will
die the death of ignorance. The word "death" in this
hadith is interpreted by the Ulama as the end of this mortal
The Holy Quran proclaims:
"Every soul shall taste of
countless occasions in His Holy Book, Allah (swt) explains that the
termination of this mortal life does not mean the end of a soul.
Rather, death is merely a transfer from mortality to
One day a man called Jabir asked Imam Sadiq ('a) to explain the
philosophy of death. Our Imam explained:
"Death is not
destruction as people think but a change of form in life. If a Muslim
has faith and is wise, he would not be afraid of his
transformation. However, if I debate with a non- Muslim and he
asks me why Allah makes men die whom he created and gave life
to? I would answer him that death is a passage to another life and in that next phase
he is given life again."
In Sura-e-Hadeed, Allah promises reward for those:
believe in God and His messengers" they , He says are: "
the just men and the martyrs in their Lord's sight".
What a great honour Allah confers upon those who believe in His
messengers ! They are regarded as "martyrs in their
Lord's sight" Allah lovingly ensures, "they
have their wage and their light." Nevertheless, on the
other hand, those people who denied Allah's messengers and
refused to recognise them, are destined to be the dwellers of Hell.
The Almighty clearly states:
But the unbelievers, who have cried lies to our signs,
are the inhabitants of hell.
The significance of recognising our Imam-e-Zamana ('a) is
emphasized by the fact that the Masoomeen (allaihimusalam)
guarantee a death of ignorance for anyone who fails to perform
this duty, We are told that : Anyone who dies without having
recognised Imam-e-Zamana ('a) will die the death of ignorance.
What does the word "recognise" indicate in the
given hadith? How should we recognise our Imam? Does it mean we
must meet him in person, hear him and see him or does it simple
demand us to acquire knowledge about him and to know who he
really is? The Holy Prophet ('s) proclaimed:
"One who dies with the love of Mohammed ('s) and his
progeny will be included among the martyrs"
This tradition is verified by the ayat from Sura Hadeed quoted
above. Allah confirms: Those who believe in God and His messengers are the just men and
the martyrs in their Lord's sight. Recognising and honouring the
prophets and Imams is repeatedly emphasized in our religion because in His book Allah describes
them as the ones who "bring forth mankind from the
shadows to the light".
Sura-e-Nisa, He commands:
O believers, obey Allah,
and obey the Messenger and those in
authority among you.
Traditions explain that "those in authority" who
are to be obeyed are not the caliphs, presidents, kings or
rulers chosen by the people themselves but rather those who have
been granted the authority by the Creator Himself. He chose the
Holy Prophet ('s) and his household to be models and teachers
for humanity. He blessed them with a special knowledge and
authority and declared in Sura-e-Ahzab:
People of the House God only desires to put away from you
abomination and to cleanse you.
Thus we must recognise and follow the Imams who have been
cleansed and purified by Allah Himself to be the teachers and
models for humanity.
In 1280 HIjri, Sayed Hashim Rashti decided to perform Haj. Sayed
relates that when we arrived at Vazantalrome and were planning
to leave for Tarabazoon, another pilgrim called Haji Jabbar came
to us and warned that the area was very unsafe and that we must
try to stay with a larger group of people who were leaving two
or three hours before Namaz-e-Fajr. We followed the advice and
departed with a larger group of people the next night. We hadn't
gone very far when the air became very misty and heavy snowfall
began. I tried very hard to stay with my friends but all my
efforts proved futile and I soon realised that I was left all
alone. Terrified, I dismounted the horse and began wondering
what I should do. Finally I decided to find a place and sit till
sunrise so that in daylight I may find my way back to the place
we had departed from. I began walking and soon found a man
shovelling snow off the trees in a garden.
came up to me and asked me in Farsi, " Who are
answered, " I have lost my friends and I am not familiar
with this route."
That man stated: "Say Namaz-e- Shab so that you may find the
says, I obeyed, when I finished praying, that man came back to
me and said: "You still haven't left!"
replied: "I still haven't found the way".
He told me to recite Ziarat-e-Jamea. Sayed recalls that despite
having recited the ziarat regularly, he did not know the ziarat
by heart. He was never able to memorise it. However, that particular night, he stood up and recited the
whole ziarat by heart.
He relates that the man came back in a little while and said:
"You still haven't left and are still sitting here."
Sayed Rashti admits that I could not control my tears and cried
out in sheer disappointment: "I still haven't found the way."
This time the man told Sayed to recite Ziarat-e-Ashoora. He
recalls that like Ziarat-e- Jamea, I didn't know
Ziarat-e-Ashoora either but I recited the whole ziarat with
The man returned again and said: "You're still here!"
I answered: "No I'll stay here till sunrise."
The man said: "Come I'll take you to your friends."
man mounted his horse and asked me to sit behind me. I took the
reins of my own horse and tried to pull it behind us but it
didn't move an inch. He took the reins from my hand and the
animal began walking. On the way, the man placed his hand on my
lap and asked me:
"Why don't you recite Namaz-e-Shab?" and then
he said ,"Namaz-e-Shab, Namaz-e-Shab, Namaz-e-Shab!"
Then he asked: "Why don't you recite Ziarat-e-Ashoora?"
repeated "Ashoora, Ashoora, Ashoora"
Finally, he said, "Why don't you recite Ziarat-e-Jamea?"
and repeated, " Jamea, Jamea, Jamea!"
In a little while he pointed out, " Look your friends
are performing wuzu for Namaz-e-Fajr."
I got off his horse and tried to mount my own but failed to do
so. He helped me and turned my horse's head towards the stream.
I began wondering who this man is? How does he know Farsi? Most
of the people living in that area were Christian Turks. I was
amazed that he managed to reunite me with my companions in such
a short period of time. I turned around to find him gone. There
were no traces of him anywhere.
We must try to know our Imam and find out what he expects from
us. Although, we cannot see and hear him, our Imam-e-Zamana (aj)
never fails to assist us. People often question the use of
having an Imam (aj) who can neither be heard nor seen. People wonder what his role is in human life?
(aj) himself explained:
"I will be like the sun
veiled by the clouds and people will benefit from me just as
they do from the sun behind the clouds."
We must stop to consider why our beloved Imam compares himself to
the sun? There are striking parallels between the roles of the
sun and an Imam in sustaining the world. As we all know, the sun
keeps all the planets including the earth in their orbits. If the
sun was displaced for a single moment, our whole solar system
would be obliterated. Imam-e-Zamana (aj) is like the sun. Earth
would be destroyed if he departed.
tradition by Imam Baqir ('a) verifies,
"If one of us
Imams is absent even for a single day, the earth would swallow its
Quoran - Arthur J. Arberry and M.H.Shakir Translations
Author: Fatema Tahira Zaidi
Chief Editor: Hj Nurzaynab El-Fatah
Production: Hj S. Abidin
26 Shobaan, 1424.
Modification Date: 15
January 2009 Safar, 1431
04knowHim. Know Him
Before You Die
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