A fact concealed in the belief in divine monotheism (Tawheed) is that none, except Allah, has the right to rule over others. Even a father does not enjoy any sovereignty over his children. When a father does not possess this right, the question of other individuals ruling over their fellow beings, commanding and prohibiting, appointing them to a position or removing them from it, does not arise. To the extent that man does not have any right over his own self. Therefore, any government or rule that comes into existence without the permission of Allah the Almighty will be unjust and inequitable, and will be considered as an interference in divine affairs. Consequently, if a person or a nation obeys such a government or ruler, he/it has obeyed an oppressor and a tyrant and instead of responding to the divine call, he/it has chosen a way that is other than that of Allah.
Therefore, all the people of the world, who believe in divine unity, should accept a government or a leadership that is from Allah and in which His satisfaction is involved. Whether this patronage and mastership is that of a father over his small children or that of an individual over his self and his wealth. Had Allah not granted this authority to a father over his children, the former would never have enjoyed the right to rule over them. Similarly, had Allah not made man the owner of his self and his wealth, he would neither have had the right to dominate his self and his wealth nor would he have had the power of decision making. Had Allah not made the possessor of unclaimed land as its automatic owner, it would be impossible for man to become its holder. Now, if he claims independent ownership, such a claim would be null and void because he has claimed ownership in Allah’s dominion without His permission.
In the holy Shariat of Islam, all the ownership that has been discussed is in some way or the other connected to divine nature (fitrat) and Shariat is in total consonance with fitrat. But even this natural mastership cannot come into the fold of Shariat without the permission of Allah. Since governance and authority is the exclusive right of Allah, none except Him can decide about it. Evidently, Allah has granted some of His servants the right to rule.
From the above discussion, it can be derived that the system of Imamat and leadership in Islam is that some have been given the right of mastership and authority from the side of Allah and with His permission. Thus, the obedience of such persons is obligatory and if their commands and prohibitions are not duly complied with, it would tantamount to a direct violation of Allah’s orders. Also, a basic difference between the order of Imam and that of his representative, like the jurists, is that if a jurist gives an order that is in direct contrast with a divine command, defiance of such an order would not be the disobedience of Allah’s commands. For, the famous tradition would be applicable over here.
“There is no religion for the one who obeys the creature while disobeying the Creator.” (Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 73, p. 393)
In a divine government, there is no vertical rule, either in ascending order or descending order. Rather, in a divine government, only Allah rules Sovereign. Just as Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) stated in a reply to a query from Ibn Abbas,
‘A divine government means that truth is established through it and falsehood is destroyed.’
If these two objectives are not achieved, such a government can neither be termed as divine nor is it necessary to obey it. Those at the helm of affairs will be accountable for not implementing the commands and prohibitions of Allah. Neither a ruler nor any of his subordinates has the right to disobey Allah and none without exception has the privilege to expect anything else, but divine obedience, from the people.
Another sign of this government is that nobody indulges in exaggeration or dethroning another in achieving any position or rank. If any person or group adopts any of these tactics, then certainly he is not worthy for such a position or rank.
In this system, position implies hardships and difficulties. The more sensitive the position, the greater will be the burden of responsibilities. Also, the value and worth of the position holder depends on his sincerity and good dealings. It is possible that an ordinary laborer, on account of his sincerity and diligence in his work, is dearer and more respected before Allah than the governor of a city.
Adi Ibn Haatim al-Taai told Moaviyah about the style of Ali Ibn Abi Taalib’s (a.s.) governance,
“The strong does not fear his oppression and the weak does not despair of his justice.”
(Mawaaqef al-Shia, vol. 3, pg. 222)
That is, the strong is sure that Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) will not go out of his limits in a rage, due to some extraneous reason. Similarly, a weak is convinced that he will definitely receive justice at his (a.s.) hands and that his right will not be usurped. Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) himself asserted,
“For me, a weak and feeble person is respected till I don’t get his right back for him, and a strong and powerful man is weak and infirm till I don’t take back the rights of others from him.”
Briefly, in this system, the belief in Tauheed will be manifested with all its splendour and glory. There will be no distinctions in this society. National unity will be observed. There will be one religion, one law and one government, a demonstration of constant reformation and progress. Just as some of the commentaries have indicated while discussing about the following verse of the Holy Quran,
“Then whoever hopes the meeting of his Lord, he should act righteously and not associate anybody in the worship of his Lord. “
(Surah Kahf (18): verse 110)
It shows that ‘not associating anybody in the worship of Allah’ means that in the government of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.), one should not accept any other rule. This mastership is exclusively and solely for Allah the Almighty and one should not include or associate anybody in it.
It is recorded that somebody asked Imam Sadeq (a.s.) about the aforementioned verse. He (a.s.) replied,
“The best righteous act is the recognition of the Imams (a.s.). And not associate anybody implies belief in Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) and his offspring (a.s.) as Imams and not to consider others in their caliphate and mastership. That is, not to regard outsiders as eligible for this esteemed position.”
(Behaarul Anwaar, vol. 36, pg. 106)
The last block in the series of Imamat is Hazrat Hujjat Ibn al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.). We are living in the era of his Imamat and are benefiting from all the bounties because of his holy existence. All the Imams (a.s.), during their lifetime, had the power to rule, to appoint and to eject a person from a particular office. The same applies for Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) and there is no partner for him in this regard. At the time of his reappearance, conditions will be created so that we derive more benefit from his holy existence. All the obstacles that were in the times of the previous Imams (a.s.), as well as during the occultation of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.), will be done away with. All divine names like the Master, the Just, the Judge, the Sovereign, the Avenger, the Illuminator, the Subduer, the Manifest, etc. will be displayed with all their magnificence and grandeur. In other words, Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) will be the complete manifestation of these divine names as he is the caliph and ruler appointed by Allah. The position of divine caliphate will radiate and glow because of his holy presence. Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) will be the axis and focal point of all the works that are included as divine affairs.
Allah the Almighty, on account of His infinite wisdom, will grant existence to all things through the medium of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.). The basis of all of these will be divine monotheism and everything will come into existence with the permission and order of Allah.
In traditions, the reappearance of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) has been deemed as the fulfillment of aims of unity and oneness e.g. one government, one statute, one religion and one society. Allah will help Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) conquer the entire world. In a famous tradition, Jaaber Ibn Abdullah Ansari quotes the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.),
“He is the one whom Allah will make to conquer the East of the earth and its West (i.e. the entire universe).”
(Kitaabul Arbae’en, pg. 224)
The day of victory will be a great day. According to some of the commentaries of the Holy Quran, this day will be the day of conquest by Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) over the entire universe. It will be the day when the unbelievers, who will bring faith on seeing its greatness, will find that their faith is of no avail to them and they will not be given any respite. There will not remain a village or a hamlet but that the voice of ‘there is no god but Allah’ will be heard therein.
Islam will be the world religion. The concept of ownership will come to an end. The world will be one. There will be no visa/passport requirements for traveling from one country to another. Today, people have been divided on the lines of country and state. All this will come to an end with the advent of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.).
Faith will have effects and blessings, and belief in Allah will be manifest, as the Holy Quran states,
“Had the villagers believed and acquired piety, We would certainly have opened upon them the blessings from the sky and the earth.”
(Surah A’raaf (7): verse 96)
The door of blessings from the sky and the earth will be opened. Wars, disputes, polytheistic systems, malice and envy will be converted to fraternity, brotherhood, real peace, pure heartedness and a divine monotheistic system.
The proof for these is the tradition recorded by Ayyashi (r.a.) on the authority of Ibn Bukayr, who asked Imam Moosa al-Kaazem (a.s.) about the verse,
“And to Him submits whoever is in the heavens and the earth, wittingly or unwittingly, and unto Him they shall be made to return. “
(Surah Aale Imraan (3): verse 83)
Imam (a.s.) replied,
“This verse was revealed concerning our Qaem. When he will reappear, he will present Islam to the unbelievers of the East and the West. So, whoever accepts Islam willingly, he will order them to do what the Muslims have been ordered like prayers, fasting, hajj, zakaat, etc. But if somebody does not accept Islam willingly, Imam will kill him. Finally, there will not remain any disbeliever on the face of the earth.”
Ibn Bukayr argued, “May I be held your ransom! Creatures are too many to either believe or be killed!” Imam (a.s.) retorted,
“Verily, when Allah intends something, He makes little as more and vice-versa.”
(Tafseer-e-Ayyaashi, vol. 1, pg. 182)
In another tradition, under the verse
“Those, if we establish them in the earth, will perform prayers, pay the poor-rate, enjoin good and prevent evil. And with Allah is the fate of affairs. “
(Surah Hajj (22): verse 41)
Imam (a.s.) explains,
“This verse is for the progeny of Muhammad. Allah will entrust the East of the Earth and its West for Imam Mahdi and his companions and through them, He will make Islam dominant. Through them, He will destroy the innovations just as fools try to eliminate the truth so that no sign of oppression remains. They will enjoin good and prevent evil. All the affairs will be in the hands of Allah.”
(Tafseer-e-Qummi, vol. 2, pg. 87)
Besides these, there are numerous consecutive traditions that explain this goal and in which, the aims of natural desires are discussed. Today, the immoral and the depraved, like those at the helm of the United Nations, are taking undue advantage of these natural cravings, raise slogans of human rights, justice and equality while rendering the masses even weaker and feebler.
The reason for this is the human nature that desires a government based on justice, equality, security and safety and in which the rights of the people are respected. This is the government and religion that shall appear in the last era with the obedience of a great leader. A leader loved by Allah’s friends, Prophets and all of His righteous servants. His rule will encompass the globe. The world will march forward in respond to his call and accept his lofty ideals and aims, a call sounded from the Holy Ka’bah by the son of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) and the light of Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) and Hazrat Zahra (s.a.).
Hoping for the day of the weak and the oppressed, that is, the day of Imam-e-Zamana’s (a.s.) reappearance, a day that will bring the message of peace and security. The day when the world, filled with mischief, sins and corruption will be converted to a heaven brimming with peace, security and justice.
“And our last call is that all praise is for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.”