Imam-e-Asr (a.t.f.s) says, May Allah bestow our Shias with the ability to obey, for if they had sincerely adhered to their covenant with united hearts, then there wouldn't have been any delay in our blessed reappearance (Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 52, pg. 329)
Is Imam (a.t.f.s.) Observing Us?
The belief in the Imamat of Ahle Bait (a.s) is the basis of all (other) Islamic beliefs and laws. It is on the basis of this belief that one can comprehend the accurate and genuine concept of Tauheed. The real grandeur and magnificence of Prophethood (Nabuwwat) is reflected only in the mirror of this belief. Actions are correctly performed under the guidance of this doctrine and it forms the basis of acceptance of all actions. The one whose heart is devoid of this belief will be in a great loss on the Day of Judgment. Salvation and entry in paradise is restricted to those who subscribe to this belief.
However, this belief does not imply that we only believe in the existence of our twelve Imams (a.s) and don't consider them as our guides and role models. The very fact that we consider these venerable personalities as our Imams (a.s) signifies that we accept them as our guides at every step and tread on their path without any questions. In all facets of our lives- individual or social, commerce issues or complex personal relations, or those dealing with family life and the worship of Allah and gaining His proximity- we should adopt those principles which are enumerated by these honorable personalities as the aim of our life and try to emulate them.
This belief also demands that we acknowledge and are convinced that our Imams (a.s) are observing our actions and none of our deeds are concealed from them.
Witness to our actions
Imam Sadiq (a.s) was asked about the meaning of the following Quranic verse:
'How will be the condition on the day of judgment when We shall bring forth a witness from every nation and We will make you (O Prophet) as a witness upon them.' Surah Nisa, Verse 41)
Imam (a.s) replied,
'This verse refers particularly to the nation of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). In every era an Imam from among us is a witness upon them and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is a witness upon us.'
(Al-Kafi, vol. 1, p.190, tradition 1)
Another person asked Imam Sadiq (a.s) about the following Quranic verse in which Allah says:
'In this way have We made you as the middle nation so that you be a witness on the people."
(Surah Baqarah, Verse 143)
Imam (a.s) replied:
"We are the 'middle nation'. We are the witnesses of Allah upon the creation and His Proof upon them.'
(Ibid, tradition 2)
traditions, it becomes clear that our Imam (a.s) witnesses our deeds. In
order to become a witness, it is necessary that the person should have
comprehensive knowledge about the thing that he witnesses. Hence when we
say that our Imam (a.s) is a witness to our actions, it means that he
has encompassing knowledge of all our actions.
Deeds presented before Imam (a.s.)
person by the name of Abdullah bin Aabaan az-Ziyaat was in the presence
of Imam Reza (a.s). He requested Imam (a.s) that he (a.s) should pray
for his well being and that of his family. Imam (a.s) replied, 'Am I not
doing like that? I swear by Allah that your deeds are presented to us
every morning and evening.' Abdullah says 'I was surprised (to hear that
our deeds are presented before Imam (a.s). Imam (a.s) is at one place
while he has the information of the entire world!)' Imam (a.s) replied:
'Have you not read the verse of Quran which says
'Then do your (good) deeds. Allah and His prophet and the believers are a witness to your actions."
(Surah Taubah, Verse 105)
I swear by Allah (the word) 'believers' (in the verse) refers to Ameerul Mo'mineen (a.s)."
(Al - Kafi, vol.1 p. 219, tradition 4)
Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) used to say,
'Why are you people troubling the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)?'
person asked, 'How is it that we are troubling the Holy Prophet
(s.a.w.a.)?' (i.e. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is not amongst us, then how
can we hurt or upset him). Imam (a.s) replied,
'Are you not aware
that your actions are placed before him (s.a.w.a.)? When he (s.a.w.a.)
witnesses a sin among your deeds then he (s.a.w.a.) gets distressed and
sorrowful. Don't make the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) unhappy. Instead, try to
make him (s.a.w.a.) cheerful.'
(Ibid., tradition 3)
Imam (a.s.) recognizes each one of us by our names
are familiar with only those individuals whom they see and recognize
and the majority consists of those individuals whom we don't recognize.
Therefore a smart and cunning person can deceive others who don't really
know him very well. However, none can deceive the Imams (a.s), because
the Imams (a.s) recognize each and every one of us by our names.
Imam Reza (a.s) once wrote in one of his letters,
Mohammed Mustafa (s.a.w.a.) is the Trusted One (Ameen) of Allah among
His creatures. After his (s.a.w.a.) demise, we are his inheritors and
are the trusted ones of Allah on this earth. We know who among you will
be involved in which examination and calamity and where you will die. We
know the lineage of the Arabs. We also know who will be born on the
religion of Islam. If we see someone then we immediately recognize how
strong is his faith and the amount of hypocrisy in him. And we have the
names of our every Shia along with the names of his father.'
(Ibid., p. 223, tradition 1)
simply calling ourselves as Shias is not sufficient. Instead we should
beseech Allah that our names should be included in the list of those
Shias who are with our Imam (a.t.f.s.)
Imam (a.t.f.s.) has information of each and everything
Mufazzal (r.a) once asked Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) 'May I be sacrificed
for you! Is it possible that Allah makes the obedience of a person
obligatory on everyone but conceals from that person the knowledge of
Imam (a.s) replied,
'No. Allah is more kind,
sympathetic and generous upon His servants than that He should make the
obedience of an individual obligatory on everyone but should conceal
the news of the heavens from him'.
(Ibid., p. 261, tradition 3)
In another tradition, Imam Mohammad Baqir (a.s) declares,
is much higher and greater than this that He makes the obedience to
someone as obligatory on everyone else, but conceal from that person the
knowledge of the heavens and the earth'.
(Ibid., p. 262, tradition 6)
the light of these traditions it becomes clear that every morning and
evening, the news of the heavens and the earth is presented before our
Imam (a.s). In this way, he is aware of the minutest details of our
Imam (a.s.) is more compassionate and tender than our father
only are our Imams (a.s) aware of all our deeds and actions, but they
are also affected by our pains and sufferings. The following incident
underlines this fact and shows us how much our Imams (a.s) value and
cherishes their Shias.
A person by the name of Rumailah narrates:
'In the days of Hazrat Ali (a.s) I was severely ill. On Friday I
recovered a bit. I thought to myself - how nice would it be if I have my
bath today and recite namaz behind Ali (a.s). Hence I got up and after
taking a bath, went to the mosque. While Ali (a.s) was delivering the
Friday sermon, my condition again deteriorated. After namaz Ali (a.s)
went to a place by the name of 'Qasr', I too accompanied him. He (a.s)
said to me,
'O Rumailah! Why are you restless?'
I narrated to him (a.s) about my illness and explained to him my condition. Then Imam (a.s) said,
Rumailah! When a believer becomes ill then we too are affected by his
illness. If someone becomes sorrowful and distressed then we too become
sorrowful. If someone prays then we say 'Aameen' for his supplication.
And when he becomes silent (i.e. he stops praying) then we pray for
Rumailah asked Imam (a.s) "My master! Are you referring
about those believers who are staying in this place of 'Qasr'? What
about those who stay in the different corners of the earth?' Imam (a.s)
'O Rumailah! There is no believer - in the east or in the west - who is hidden from us'.
(Basaaer al-Darajaat; part 16, tradition 1)
this incident it becomes evident that our Imams (a.s) hold their Shias
dearer than a father holds his son. Thus when Imams (a.s) love us so
much, then the least that we can do is perform such actions that are a
cause of happiness for them and refrain from those deeds which anger and
A signed letter (Tawqee) from Imam Mahdi (a.s.)
let us pay attention to this tawqee (a 'Tawqee' is a letter signed by
Imam (a.s) himself in the time of his occultation) through which we
learn that Imam's (a.s.) knowledge encompasses all our actions.
word of the blessed Tawqee addressed to Shaikh Mufeed (r.a) spells out
this fact. Those people, who in the time of major occultation are
serving the religion of Islam, are defending the laws and beliefs, are
taking care of the weak and helpless Shias have been addressed by the
one who is the cause of the existence of this Universe , Hazrat
Wali-e-Asr (a.t.f.s.) - as "the brother with an upright character and a
learned and intelligent friend". This form of address itself is a proof
that our Imam (a.t.f.s.) is aware of our deeds and our character. Imam
(a.t.f.s.) (may our lives be sacrificed for him ) states,
though we are residing away from the settlements of oppressors - as
Allah has destined this in the best interest of the Shias - yet our
knowledge encompasses all your information. Nothing is hidden from us.
We are conscious of the problems and the degradation which all of you
are enduring right now. The reason for all this is that you are
indulging in all those (prohibited) things from which your elders used
to abstain and you have abandoned the promise and the pledge that was
taken from you as if you have never ever known this promise."
words of Imam (a.t.f.s.) reflect his remorse on our heedlessness,
negligence and disgraceful actions. But the words that follow are an
indication of his fatherly love and his compassion.) Imam (a.t.f.s.)
"We are not negligent of your affairs and neither do we
forget your remembrance. If it would have been so, then calamities and
difficulties would have encircled you and the enemies would have
At the end of this Tawqee, Imam (a.t.f.s.) continues,
each one of you should perform such actions which will bring you close
to our love and should abstain from those deeds which are a cause of our
displeasure and anger. This is because our reappearance will occur
unexpectedly and at that time your repentance will serve no purpose.
Your remorse and your regret will not protect you from our
(Al-Ehtejaaj of Sheikh Tabarsi, vol. 2, p. 497, 498)
In another Tawqee to Janab Sheikh Mufeed (r.a), Imam (a.t.f.s.) declares,
Allah grant the 'Taufeeq' (grace) to our Shias for His obedience. If
our Shias would have remained united and would have been steadfast in
fulfilling their pledge, there would not have been any delay in our
meeting with them. They would have been blessed with our meeting and our
presence through their recognition and their truthfulness. But the
thing which has delayed our reappearance and has distanced us from them
is the news that we get about their deeds which we dislike and don't
expect from them."
(Ibid., p. 499)
There is one very
important thing that is highlighted from the above discussion - the
Imams (a.s.) (particularly the Imam (a.s.) of our time) are aware of our
each and every movement. Nothing in this world is concealed from their
divine eyes. In the supplication on Fridays related to Imam-e-Zamana
(a.t.f.s.) we recite:
"Peace be upon you, O the eyes of Allah among His creation!
In the presence of an Emperor
a blind individual stands in the presence of a king then he will
observe the same etiquette of honor and respect due to a king, which are
applicable to the one who is actually seeing the king (even though the
blind man is unable to see the king.) This is because the blind man
perceives the presence of the king and realizes that he is standing
before a king. He himself is unable to see the king, but he is convinced
that the king is observing him.
The situation is similar during
the time of the major occultation. A believer is unable to see his Imam
(a.t.f.s.) but he is certain that Imam (a.t.f.s) is observing him. Due
to his conviction, he is always aware of the fact that he is standing in
Imam's (a.t.f.s.) presence. He considers Imam (a.t.f.s.) to be a
witness to his each and every action. In Dua-e-Nudbah we recite
"May I be sacrificed for you! You are that concealed one who is constantly present in all our gatherings!"
faith and certainty demands that we always realize that we are in the
presence of Imam (a.t.f.s.) and hence maintain the decorum of honor and
O Allah! For the sake of Your immaculate, infallible
friends (a.s) and their sincere followers, grant us such upright faith
and perfect certainty. Aameen!