An Imam has various characteristics (1), among which the most important of them is the guidance of people. In addition to the apparent guidance the Imam has for the people, he has a specific kind of guidance and spiritual pull, and with it the Imam has an impact on the hearts of those qualified, which will guide them towards the highest degree of guidance. This is called the innate guidance.
Through innate guidance the Imam, with his ability of having knowledge of the unseen, can cleanse and ignite the hearts and move the souls towards Allah. With the permission of Allah, the Imam has power over the hearts and souls of the people. He helps worthy hearts that need guidance towards the road to completion. He is like a doctor who cares for and is worried for his patient’s health.
History has recorded many incidents regarding the spiritual and innate guidance of people by the Ahlul Bayt (PBUT). The following is a similar example from Imam Reza (PBUH).
Ahmad ibn Abi Nasr Bezanti (2), a companion of Imam Reza (PBUH) narrates, “Imam Reza (PBUH) sent his ride for me so I can visit him in the village of Serria.(3) Once I had arrived, I entered upon the Imam and stayed there till after dark. When the Imam wanted to stand up, he said, ‘I don’t think you can return to Medina at this time of night.’
I said, ‘Yes, may my life be sacrificed for you; that is true.’
Imam said, ‘You can stay with us tonight, and return to Medina tomorrow with the help of Allah.’
I said, ‘I am obedient to your order.’
The Imam then asked his servant to place the Imam’s own personal bed, blanket, and pillow for me. I wondered to myself if anyone had spent the night in this manner. And that maybe Allah had given me a special status to bless me with such honor, more than perhaps other companions. As I was pondering over these thoughts I looked into how the Imam had sent his personal ride for me to bring me to his place, placed his personal rugs, and allowed me to sleep in his blanket and place my head on the pillow that belonged to him. I thought perhaps no one of his companions had been blessed as such.
I was sitting and pondering over my thoughts when the Imam who was sitting beside me suddenly says, ‘When Sa’sa’eh ibn Sohan (4) who was among the companions of my grandfather Amiral-Mu’minin (PBUH) became ill, Amiral-Mu’minin (PBUH) went to visit him. He sat by his bed and showed affection. When he wanted to leave, he said, “Sa’Sa’eh, do not use my visit to you as a form of pride over your friends, do not use me as an excuse to glorify yourself amongst people, (thinking) that I am the person whom Amiral-Mu’minin came to visit me when I was ill. I had a religious responsibility, which I completed. Do not place this as your (merit), rather look at your own actions and see how they are. My coming, beside your bed and visiting you is not an act of saving for you. Attend to your actions, for they will look unto your actions on the Day of Judgment.’
With that Imam Reza (PBUH) completed the story, stood up, said goodbye, and left.5”
Indeed this is how the Imam (PBUH) with support from his spiritual power became aware of the inner thoughts of Bezanti, and helped him realize the danger present in self-centeredness and seeing oneself as greater than others.
1.The Universe and the life of mankind is managed under two systems: Takvin and Tashri’i.
Takvin System means the laws which encompass the universe in which mankind has no control over it.
Tashri’i System means the laws which are within the reach and control of mankind.
Imam has certain statuses in both of these systems. In the Takvin world, by the will of Allah (SWT), the Imam possesses the ability to create and control anything and anywhere in the universe. This is known as the Wilayah Takvini.
In the Tashri’i world also Imam holds certain significances such as:
a-Rule: Execution of divine justice, confronting the tyrants that step on the divine religion and keeping Allah’s values alive.
b-Reference: Explanation and interpretation of the teachings of the Holy Quran and all the divine commandments.
c-Innate guidance: Most important among these guidance, is Imam’s leadership of followers at their practical deeds and to direct their souls towards getting closer to Allah (SWT). (Reference: Imam Reza (PBUH), the resemblance of Allah’s kindness by Ayatollah Zia’ Abadi, pg. 32)
2.Ahmad Ibn Abi Nasar Bazanti whose full name is “AbuJa’far Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abi Nasr” was among the Imamiah scholars of Kufah; he was one of the companions of Imam Kadhim, Imam Reza and Imam Jawad (PBUT). Bazanti is amongst the most authentic narrators of his era and also an eminent scholar of jurisprudence. He passed away in the year 221 AH.
3. Serria is the name of a village near the city of Medina which was constructed by Imam Kadhim (PBUH) (Manaqib Ibn Shahr Ashub, vol. 4, pg. 382)
4. Sa’sa’eh ibn Sohan was among the remarkable companions of Amiral-Mu’minin (PBUH). Because of his efforts in defending the usurped right of Amiral-Mu’minin (PBUH) and his resistance on diverging the traditions of the great Prophet (PBUH&HP), during the caliphate of Uthman, he was exiled from Kufah to Demascus; and later exiled again by Muawiyah to Bahrain. Sa’sa’eh was a true companion to Amiral-Mu’minin (PBUH) and always supported him in battles and difficult situations. He was amongst the few who attended the funeral of Amiral-Mu’minin (PBUH) in the middle of the night that was performed in secret.
5.Qurb al-Asnad, pg. 377; ‘Uyoon Akhbar al-Reza(PBUH), vol. 2, pg. 213; Rejal al-Kashi, vol. 2, pg. 853 (with minor changes)