دفتر نشر آثار علامه حکیم سید محمد جواد موسوی غروی

فهرست عناوین

کد : 1256
تاریخ انتشار : 1392/08/21

متن ترجمۀ انگلیسی مقالۀ «امام؛ پیشوای سیاسی یا الگوی ایمانی؟»

The Imam: A Political Leader or Role Model for the Faithful?
By: Dr. Sayed Ali Asghar Gharavi
The occasion of Ghadir-e-Khumm [a place on the road from Mecca to Medina where the Holy Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him, delivered a farewell address to his followers as he returned home from his final Hajj] has emerged in history as central to the debate between Shia and Sunni scholars on the issue of leadership in Islam.  The two sects have very different commentaries on what the Holy Prophet said and what he meant. Sunni scholars read the Prophet’s address there to be simply a declaration of friendship between the Holy Prophet Muhammad and his close companion, Ali ibn Abi Talib.  Shia scholars see the event as nothing less than the time and place where the Holy Prophet himself declared to all the Muslims in no uncertain terms that after him, the leadership of the community should rightfully fall to Ali.  In Iran today, the Shia interpretation of the events of Ghadir-e-Khumm is being put to use by clerical supporters of those in power to justify theocracy and condemn democracy[, thus a modern re-examination of the event and speech are in order]
We believe that Muhammad is the Seal of the Prophets of God. His death over 1400 years ago means much more to us that the suffering and sorrow of his absence. The closing of his lips forever means the end of direct revelation from Heaven for the guidance of mankind. Of course God guides His servants to the straight path constantly and without lapse, but the period of direct revelation of the truths of our existence and the detailed explanations of the secrets of human happiness is over.  In light of this, the magnitude of the final words of the Final Prophet are clear.  His final speech, at Ghadir-e-Khumm, must by all rights be examined with the utmost seriousness and depth.  This is why that speech has been at the core of centuries of debate and many viewpoints.  This essay is one such examination and viewpoint.
One of the central themes in the Qur'an is the demand God makes on Prophets and their followers to establish Leadership (imamah) and to establish a Nation (ummah). An ummah is a nation with a common understanding of the meaning of life and who follow one imam or leader.  In the Quran, the Holy Prophet Abraham is the first to openly proclaim monotheism and to form such an ummah. It means he gathered together a group of people who shared a common understanding of the world (a common mellah).  The people of Abraham’s ummah -- by virtue of their common world-view or mellah -- were an integrated and united group of companions in their values, their behavior, and their objectives.
And (remember) when his Lord tested Abraham with (His) commands, and he fulfilled them. He said: Lo! I have appointed thee an Imam for mankind. (Abraham) said: And of my offspring (will there be leaders)? He said: My covenant does not include wrong-doers. (Qur’an Chapter 2, verse 124).
The Lord selected Abraham, completed His Words for him, then said ‘I make you their Imam’. We can understand from the content of this verse that after the revealing certain words for Abraham, God has given to him what is needed for the guidance of society towards the Divine, and that he can now serve in the role of  Imam.
The core question is this: did God’s intent in bestowing this leadership (being the Imam) imply political leadership of a country?
To help answer this question, we can refer to the following verse of Quran, which is understood by Shia scholars to have been revealed in conjunction with the declaration made by the Prophet at Ghadir-e-Khumm that Ali Ibn Abi Talib should be his political successor:
‘This day, I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My Blessing upon you, and I have approved Islam to be  your religion’ (Quran Chapter 5, verse 3)
Is this understanding of this verse acceptable? We can investigate this question from different angles:
  1. Verses before and after this verse confirm that the Lord charged the Messenger to convey whatever is revealed to him fully and correctly, and the threat of  harm should  not prevent him from performing this mission.  He should not be sad of the revolt and rebellion of unbelievers. It seems that the “completed favor and blessing” referred to in the verse is the revelation of God, meaning the Quran, and its concrete realization, meaning the religion of Islam. When the revelation is delivered to people without any defect and harm, the blessing has been completed.
  2. If it is true that Chapter 5, Verse 67 -- ‘O Messenger, deliver that which has been sent down to thee from thy Lord’ – refers to the declaration of Ali to be the Prophet’s political successor (khalifah), then the verse above (“This day, we have perfected your religion…”) should be mentioned immediately after this, because the Lord is Wise and such a delay would not be consistent with this.
  3. In general, assigning verses of the Quran very specific events should be accompanied by very clear reasoning, otherwise it renders the text incoherent. If we consider this verse to be the equivalent of a political appointment, it would be inconsistent with other verses that command the Prophet to consult with the people in running the people affairs pertaining to this world: ‘And take counsel with them in the affair’ (3: 159) and ‘And those who answer the call of their Lord and establish prayer, and whose affairs are a matter of counsel’ (42: 38).
  4. Imam Ali, Peace be upon him, himself confirms this point in the Nahj ul-Balagha repeatedly that political governance should be based on oaths of allegiance and the vote. For instance, Imam Ali wrote to Muawiyah (recorded in the sixth letter in Nahj ul Balagha):
‘Verily, those who took the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman have sworn allegiance to me. Now those who were present at the election have no right to go back against their oaths of allegiance and those who were not present on the occasion have no right to oppose me. And so far as the shura (a leadership selection council) was concerned it was supposed to be limited to muhajirs and ansars [two groups of early companions of the Prophet] and it was also supposed that whomsoever they selected, became caliph as per approval and pleasure of Allah...’
The words of Ali obviously show this fact that caliphate is not something appointive from God but that the Prophet’s political successor should be elected by the people.
  1. Imam Ali never mentioned his divine right to rule or his caliphate attained through Prophetic declaration. Even where he defends his right to the caliphate, he emphasizes his competencies for the role, and informs people that they have a clear choice. The relation between ‘awareness and choice’ in all of Imam Ali’s sermons recorded in the Nahj ul Balagha is so clear that it leaves no doubt of how Ali sees government. In addition, we can see this when we examine his words and deeds during his 25 year at a political dissident and 5 year as political leader. 
  2. Ali’s behavior with three earlier caliphs, mainly Abu Bakr and Umar, as it is written in many historical books, show obviously that Ali never treated them as people who disregarded the Prophet’s words and usurped the government! His wonderful cooperation with caliphs, which is repeatedly emphasized by himself, shows such compassion that leaves nothing to doubt. For example, in the book ‘al gharat’ from a Shia scholar named Saghafi, it is narrated from Imam Ali: ‘when the Prophet (Peace be upon him) completed his obligations, God removed him from finite world to the eternal world, then Muslims succeeded him with two worthy Amirs and those two Amirs acted according to the Quran and Sunnah, and they made their decisions properly, and never exceeded Prophet’s tradition and path. Then the Lord took their souls, may God give them the grace.’
  3. If Imam Ali believed that God commanded him to take the caliphate after the Prophet, wouldn’t we expect, based on his reputation for bravery, courage and justice, he would unsheathe his sword to implement God’s command, even if he was by himself?  Is it not unlikely for the man referred to as “the gate of wisdom of the Prophet” to hesitate in his own defense?
  4. A review on Imam Ali’s stated concerns about government at that time, recorded in various historical books and Nahj ul balagha itself, shows that all of his protests are from the perspective of limiting the power of government.  He was concerned that the caliph or anyone else would limit people’s own authority. For example, he disliked the idea that a caliph would appoint his successor, or act in a way cause a certain person to be selected. Ali’s protests focused on such machinations. This is exactly what we witness today in Iran in what is referred to as “managed elections”. He did not protest the fact that the Saqifa council did not select him, but he reacted against straitening the selection field, and against the limitations put on him so that he couldn’t to become a candidate before the people. We can understand from Ali’s words clearly that his only concern is limiting the selection field allowed for people’s vote.
The eight points above have been explained briefly, but it appears that the meaning of ‘perfecting the blessing’ in that verse is not government and religious leadership, but rather fulfilling the transmission of the revelation to the Prophet and its correct reception and delivery to people without any defect and shortage. This perfect and complete Quran can be the Imam and guide for the Ummah. The same thing was fulfilled about Abraham. Abraham became Imam and a model for the Ummah because the blessing fulfilled to him. For Muslims, the blessing was fulfilled because they received the Prophet and the revelation of the Quran. Therefore they must act in accordance with the Quran and Prophet’s example to be a model in thought and practice for other nations.  
Imam Ali did his best to think about the Quran and implementing its principles. Sheikh Muhammad Abduh, when speak about Ali’s manner and thought, refered to him as the Quran incarnate. Unfortunately, as Imam Ali is reported to have said, “my shia, instead of considering the Book as their imam, consider themselves as imams of the book.” Contrary to Ali’s wishes, they became servants of their own ignorance and cry out continually for his violated right to so some short-term worldly governmental position! A position he is reported to have described as “worth less than a goat’s sneeze”. Is if possible that that which is “worth less than a goat’s sneeze” be a mighty blessing from God, and be the fulfillment of God’s blessing and perfection of His religion as well?
Imam Ali wisely warned us of such days: ‘Of certainly a time will come upon you after me when nothing will be more concealed than rightfulness, nothing more apparent than wrongfulness and nothing more current than untruth against Allah and His Prophet. For the people of this period nothing will be more valueless than the Qur'an being recited as it ought to be recited, nor anything more valuable than the Qur'an being misplaced from its position. And in the towns nothing will be more hated than virtue, nor anything more acceptable than vice… In these days the Qur'an and its people will be exiled and expelled. They will be companions keeping together on one path, but no one will offer them asylum. Consequently at this time the Qur'an and its people will be among the people but not among them, will be with them but not with them, because misguidance cannot accord with guidance even though they may be together. The people will have united on division and will therefore have cut away from the community, as though they were the imams of the Qur'an and not the Qur'an their Imam. Nothing of it will be left with them except its name, and they will know nothing save its letters and words...’
It is hard to believe that the shia of Ali ignored his practices and his sermons, which is an obligation to cling firmly together by means of “Allah's strong rope”, the Quran, and instead of profound thinking about the Quran’s verses and practice its principles, they have distorted Imam Ali’s name with their imperfect and incorrect interpretation of the Book, and mixed it with fictitious sayings, and tried to divide Muslims, and in the name of love of Ali committed a great injustice to a man in the path of divine and a jewel of humanity? Without exhibiting any similarity with Imam Ali’s manners and actions, they proudly speak of being his shia, who await his intersession for them on the day of judgment!
Of course, this is nothing new. Few liked to follow the way of life and practices of Imam Ali when he was alive. We can understand from Ali’s sermons and letters in the era of his caliphate that when he became the ruler after the election and allegiance, he understood that people don’t like him to implement real justice. For this reason he complained about his followers as Shia who like Ali’s name but not his example.
Who could have predicted that the words of Imam Ali, upon whom be Peace,  would be exploited to gain and maintain political power? How could Ali’s exemplary behavior be used for gaining and maintaining office?  It is a historical fact that when he was the Caliph, he knew that Ibn Moljam Moradi was sent to kill him by order of the Khawarej, but Imam Ali chose to not post guards for himself or to punish the criminal before commitment of the crime.
Ali is the Imam, and his most important role is being the Imam, and this role is as an example of leadership for all time. He should not be reduced to a political governor for a few people for a few days.  Rather than being a short-lived Muslim ruler, Imam Ali is model for all of humanity. This is his mantle of great leadership. The caliphate is worthless compared with his real role.  Ali sought to set an example and model for leaders and rulers throughout history, even and the cost of sacrificing himself. Ali is Imam, first and foremost. He is the Imam of morality, honor, dignity, freedom, justice and humanity. An Imam whose only concern is explaining the path outlined in the Quran, and path which God has sent to us through his Messenger. His mind was never enthralled by the caliphate and worldly government, which he refers to as a ‘leash on his neck’.  He considered himself as obligated to the complete embodiment of the message of revelation.  Ali sought to be the Imam of an ummah whose blessing is completed by implementing that message.
Such is why Ali is an honored figure for all Muslim, both Shia and Sunni, as well as many non-Muslims, who have acknowledged and written of his distinctive character. Ali performed his role as Imam completely and thus has become an Imam and model for all nations. In a Friday Prayer sermon in 1979, The late Hakim Allamah Gharawi called Imam Ali "an enduring reason for the completeness of Islam", because of Imam Ali’s role in defining and maintaining the basic concepts of Islam. He said: ‘Ali implemented justice and equality in the Islamic nation in the right sense of their meaning, and taught freedom of thought to people.  He disregarded his right in order to respect popular vote, so as to leave this as a precedent. His vision was government of the people by the people, and that this would be the model forever. This is one of the characteristics of Ali’s Islam. Ali implemented the principles of Islam. His plans and works are recorded, and his speeches are written.  For this reason I say that everything is now complete and Ali is the latter factor for the completeness of Islam’.
Certainly, this ideal human being is deserving of this description from our Prophet: "Indeed Allah, the Almighty is my mowla (leader, chief) and I am the mowla of all the believers." Then he took the hand if Ali and said, "For whom so ever I am their mowla, this Ali is his mowla too. Oh Allah, be the friend to whoever befriends Ali, and be the enemy to anyone who harbours enmity against him." (Kitab al Kafi, part 4, chapter 65)
Now, if we refer to first verse we mentioned here about imamate of Abraham, we can see Abraham also became Imam after divine words were revealed. This means that when a human being reaches the level where they embody the message of God, they became the representative of God (khalifatullah), and only then is it possible to become an Imam. Ali became Imam when he could actualize all of the Creator’s words and manifest His praiseworthy qualities. Not just for five years but forever and for all eras and for all mankind. And this is the Great Imamate. Anyone who takes the Holy Quran as his or her Imam and adheres to the Book and its divine words can become a model and Imam for all over the world.
‘He named you Muslims aforetime and in this revelation, that the Messenger may be a witness to you, and that you may be witnesses to mankind’. (22: 78) Doesn’t the Great Leaderdship (ze’amate kubra) mean just this? Is there any resemblance between this kind of leadership – which Imam Ali is its true and complete example -- with the caliphate and political leadership? Has the confusion over the use of this word, Imam, resulted is such deviation from the truth?
In conclusion, appointing (nasb) of a successor or caliph to run a government and manage worldly affairs, is not part of the duty and mission of prophets, including Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him. Prophets, especially Muhammad, have this mission:“he will relieve them of their burden and the fetters that they used to wear. Then those who believe in him, and honor him, and help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him: they are the successful.” (7: 157).  For someone to take it upon himself to appointment someone to be in power in a country is a violation of freedom.  It is a form of bondage and slavery. Such an act contradicts the goal of sending the Prophet Muhammad, as clearly stated in the verse mentioned above. The Messenger of God would never violate the message he himself brought. This is the reason why the Shia showed such fierce opposition to the appointment of Umar to be Caliph by Abu Bakr and the appointment of Uthman to be Caliph by Umar. They clearly saw this as something contrary to the Quran and the Sunnah, and opposed to the principle of human freedom.  How ignorant to think that God grants liberty to men to accept or reject faith in Him and His religion, yet He does not grant men liberty to choose their own leaders?!  Therefore, the message that was delivered at Ghadir-e-Khumm by the Messenger of freedom, salvation and justice, was the introduction to his nation of an Imam and Mowla for all time, not appointing and designating a political governor for a short time.
Dear God, in the light of teachings of Your holy book, release us from darkness and corruption. Lead  us into the light of faith and awareness to fulfill Your promise and to become a model like our leader Ali. Dear God, we pray that You send Your greetings to Ali, in thankfulness for the good Imam he is for us and the good servant he is for You! Ameen.
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