By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
“He who obeys you has in fact obeyed Allah; he who disobeys you has in fact disobeyed Allah; he who loves you has in fact loved Allah; he who hates you has in fact hated Allah…”
The above passage is from the famous “Ziyarat-al-Jame’at-al-Kabira”, which begins with the phrases: “Peace upon you, O the Household of Prophethood, Location of the Divine Mission; Descent of Angels; Abode of Revelation…”
It is indeed an excellent description of the pivotal position in the world of creation of the Infallible Ahl al-Bayt or the Blessed Household of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA). God Almighty Himself has vouchsafed the spotless purity of this group in the Holy Qur’an (33:33) and commanded Muslims to adhere to their path.
This famous “Ziyarah” or standard form of salutation comprehensively dwells on the fundamentals of faith, the bounties of the world bestowed on all creation, and the eternal bliss of paradise promised to the true believers.
It was bequeathed to us by the 10th Infallible Heir of the Almighty’s Last and Greatest Messenger to all mankind, Imam Ali “an-Naqi” (the Pure), whose martyrdom we commemorate every year on the 3rd of the sacred month of Rajab.
Known also as “al-Hadi” or the Divinely-Inspired Guide, he needs no introduction.
Born in 212 AH (828 AD) in Medina, he lived at a critical period of history when hypocrites masquerading as Muslims had distorted the teachings of the Prophet and emptied Islam of its spiritual contents. These charlatans, in order to justify the rule of the usurpers and imposters who posed as caliphs, although neither any Ayah of the Holy Qur’an supported their claim to leadership nor any Hadith of the Seal of Messengers, tried to keep away the masses from the Ahl al-Bayt.
In such an atmosphere, the Tenth Imam strove to serve as Barometer of Faith, enduring the hardships imposed by the tyrannical Abbasid regime, including exile from Medina and stay in Samarra in Iraq under virtual house arrest, and at times under imprisonment, so that the genuine teachings of Islam will forever remain alive.
He removed ambiguities, enlightened minds, instilled hearts with faith and inculcated souls with the proper cognizance of the Almighty Creator and the Final Heavenly Scripture, the Holy Qur’an, for universal guidance.
One of the famous statements of the Tenth Imam in this regard is the phrase: “Iman is that which hearts acknowledge and deeds prove, while Islam is that which tongues testify and marriage becomes lawful with.”
He thus expounded that “Iman” or true faith stems from the depth of the heart, while “Islam” is verbal expression of submission to the One and Only God and testimony of the mission of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), even if such a belief has not yet penetrated the heart.
This is evident by Ayah 14 of Surah Hujuraat, where God informs Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) of the dubious beliefs of most of the neo Muslim Arabs:
“The Bedouins say, ‘We have faith.’ Say (O Prophet to them), ‘You do not have faith yet; rather (you should) say, “We have embraced Islam,” for faith has not yet entered your hearts…”
The holy Qur’an has indeed drawn a permanent line between “Iman” (true belief) and the mere claim to be Muslims of those whose hearts have not been touched by true faith, as is evident by their deeds which are against the letter and spirit of Islam.
Thus, the person who spared no efforts to instil “Iman” in the hearts of Muslims during his 34-year mission on earth, was victim of those whose hearts were empty of real faith, while they paid mere lip service to Islam in order to deceive the unsuspecting masses.
Imam Hadi (AS), whose period of imamate coincided with the tyrannical rule of Mu’tasem (the assassin of the 9th Imam), Watheq, Mutawakkil, Muntasir, Musta’in and Mo’taz, struggled against heavy odds to make Islamic triumphant.
His greatest tormentor was Mutawakkil – the most infidel of all Abbasid rulers – who ordered the destruction of the holy shrine of Imam Husain (AS) in Karbala, and in a vain bid to stop pilgrims from visiting the martyrdom place of the Prophet’s grandson, subjected them to heavy fines, including amputation of limbs.
Before this tyrant could harm the Prophet’s righteous successor, his own son dispatched him to the bowels of hell.
When the powerful Turkic guards installed Mo’taz as the caliph, this wretch whose breast brimmed with blasphemous malice against the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt, decided to poison the food of the Imam through his agents. He thought that by cutting short the lifespan of Imam Hadi (AS), he could prolong his own illegal rule.
Due to this cowardly act, the Tenth Imam departed from the mortal world, a martyr, at the age of 42 in 254 AH (868 AD).
Mo’taz, however, was utterly wrong. Soon, in less than a year after the Imam’s martyrdom, the Turkic guards who three years earlier had installed him as caliph by removing his cousin, Musta’in, beat and kicked him most humiliatingly to death after exposing him to the torrid sun. They then threw away his corpse to rot. This is the fate of the enemies of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt.
Today, there is no trace of the graves of the Abbasid caliphs, let alone their palaces, while Imam Hadi (AS) continues to rule the hearts of those endowed with “Iman”.
His glorious shrine in Samarra, after due renovations, continues to welcome pilgrims from all over the world despite the dastardly bomb blasts by the Takfiri terrorists and their supposedly Muslim backers, whose hearts are obviously devoid of “Iman” and brim with hypocrisy and unbelief, as is evident by their violation of the letter and spirit of the holy Qur’an.
The wordings of the “Ziyarat-al-Jame’at-al-Kabira” continue to testify that truth is indeed with the Prophet and his Infallible Ahl al-Bayt, and never with the imposters and the usurpers.