Titles of Hazrat Imam-e-Asr
Prophethood and Imamat were instituted to guide people towards the right path, dissuade them from vanity, restore human qualities, suppress the evil temptation of ones self, living peacefully, curb and eliminate evils such as jealousy, enmity, pride etc. and also to encourage qualities such as self-sacrifice, understanding other and preferring others over ones own self. In short, perfecting all human qualities and to draw people towards the stage of self-actualization.
Irrational desires are obstruction to guidance
For overcoming avid desires one must seek guidance from a pure soul, who is free from every blemish. Prolonged and irrational desires are so forceful that it attracts a person to itself without giving him the opportunity for evaluating its drawbacks. At the beginning, he is carried away but at a later stage he finds himself in a situation where he cannot see light at the end of dark tunnel and ultimately is destroyed by it. For safe sailing a rational attitude to differentiate between ones desires and inclinations. This cannot be achieved instantaneously. Man climbs the ladder of consciousness slowly and through sweet and sour experiments, civilization has progressed steadily and has reached to present stage where it is perceived to be in final stages of perfection. But one area which is grossly neglected is purification of soul. When intellect will get perfected man will automatically realize this important aspect and will develop his hidden conscience. At that time, the movement will be towards true religion which has a pious leader to provide guidance, slowly when man will realize the system of his creation he will relinquish the worship of other objects and will turn towards almighty Allah.
Showing people the straight path, that could lead them towards salvation, was the aim of all the prophets and their successors and especially of our Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) who was deputed as guidance and mercy for entire mankind. He established the faith and religion, but the work of protection and interpretation was entrusted to his vicegerents. Circumstances were so created that it became impossible to implement and implant lofty ideals of Islam and to spread light of Islam to every corner of world. Matter reached to such a position that they were forced to remain silent or unsheathe their sword for a combat. The choose to remain silent and avoided unnecessary bloodshed of muslins, even though it was their right to fight for it, they did not took such a step because people were new and were not oriented to ideals of Islam. Let me put it in words of Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s.):
Then I began to
think whether I should assault or endure calmly the blinding darkness of
tribulations wherein the grown up are made feeble and the young grow
old and the true believer acts under strain till he meets Allah (on his
death). I found that endurance thereon was wiser. So I adopted patience
although there was pricking in the eye and suffocation (of
mortification) in the throat (Nahjul Balagah, Sermon No.
situations were faced practically by each and every Imam. For this
reasons, Imams (a.s.) concentrated all their attentions on preaching and
propagating religion and simultaneously training his companions as
examples to be emulated. Due to this true religion remain protected in
form of books and practically in form of his companions. Today, what we
witness of religion is the outcome of their effort. Their influence was
such on people that pseudo scholars and despotic rulers were forced to
apparently proclaim Islam.
Guidance in every arena
regarding inclinations, way of thinking, ethics and various actions
performed in due course of life. Guidance for individual and for society
at large. Guidance in matters of this world and of hereafter are some
aspects in which man is in need of guidance. Depression, famine,
earthquake, corruption and designation of calamites result from sins
committed by man. If this sins are rectified then prosperity will reign
and this will require guidance.
He is called 'Mahdi' because Allah will guide him towards secrets of universe. Hidden treasures will come to fore and he will invite people to appropriate wealth for which they used to shed blood, break the ties and resorting to prohibited things. He will be bestowed with a position not bestowed to anyone before.
Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said
that he is from me and
bears my name. He will protect my religion and establish my traditions.
He will fill the earth with Justice and equity as it will be filled
with injustice and oppression(Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 51, pg.
A simple straight forward reply to this is that a person who is possessor of guidance can only guide others towards right path. A retainer of guidance can only guide people in their affairs. A teacher cannot, teach a subject to his students unless and until he himself has full command over the subject.