Chapter Two: Defining the concept of Imamate

The Deobandi Madrassa Inaamiya launched their onslaught on the Shi’a concept of Imamate as follows:

Madrassa Inaamiyah states:

Shi’i religious literature abundantly clarifies the fact that Shias believe in the continuation of Nubuwwat after Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). The only cover presented by Shi’ism for this Kufr belief is a name, viz., Imaam. Instead of calling the one they believe to be a Prophet or Nabi or Rasool, they describe him as an Imaam, and instead of saying Nubuwwat they say Imaamat. But, in terms of Shi’i religion there is absolutely no difference between a Nabi or a Shi’i Imaam.


These ignorant creatures clearly do not know the meaning or significance of Imamate in their own Sect. Imamate succeeds Prophethood, and is there to protect the Deen. The difference between a Nabi and Imam, is the Imam protects the Shari’a brough by the last Nabi, Muhammad (s). Imamate means to lead; the Imam is that person who leads you. Writing on Imamate, Allamah Taftazani stated:

“Imamate is an empire in terms of the vicegerency of Prophet (s), for the affairs that pertain to the world and religion”
Sharah Maqasid, Volume 5 page 232


Ahkam al-Suntaniya (English), page 10 by Mawardi

Ahkam al-Suntaniya (English), page 10 by Mawardi

Renowned Sunni scholar Mawardi (d. 450 AH) wrote:

“Imamate is prescribed to succeed Prophethood as a means of protecting the Deen, and managing the affairs of this world”
Al-Ahkam al Sultaniyyah page 10 (Ta-Ha publishers, London)

Shah Ismaeel Shaheed Dehlavi comments on the position of the Imam:

“Imamate is the Shadow of the Prophethood…”
Mansab-e-Imamate, page 105

On the rank of Khilafath / Imamate Shah Moinuddin Ahmed Nadvi writes:

“In reality Khilafath or Imamate is the Prophets standing position, after him it is guidance for the Ummah…after Prophethood it carries the greatest position is Islam”.
Khilafah Rashideen page 11

Allamah Shibli Numani stated in much better way:

“The rank of Imamat is actually a reflection of Prophethood and the nature of the Imam has been found to be very close to the nature of the Prophet”
Al-Faruq, page 325 (Published by Maktaba Madina, Urdu Bazaar, Lahore)

Imam Rabbani; Shaykh Ahmad Sarhandi while referring to the same rank of Imamate as Wilayah wrote:

“The gist of the discussion is that Wilayah is the reflection of Prophethood”
Maktubaat, Volume 2 page 253 (Idarah Islamiyah. Lahore)

If believing that Imamate succeeds / represents Prophethood constitutes Kufr, then Madrassa Inaamiyah clearly need to focus their attention on these great Sunni Ulema who advocated the same position as the Shi’a.

The necessity of Hujjutullah [Imamate] for the survival of the earth

Sipah-e-Sahaba’s beloved author Maulana Manzoor Ahmed Numani (late) had cited the following Shi’a traditions from Usul-e-Kafi so as to mock the Shi’a viewpoint on Imamate:


Manzoor Numani states:

The world can not exist without an ImamThe next chapter in the book is entitled. The world can not endure without the Hujjat (Imam). There are several narrations in it on this subject from which we shall be reproducing the following two:- Abu Hamza relates: “I asked Imam Jafar Sadiq whether the earth can exist without an Imam. He replied, ‘If the earth is left without an Imam it will sink’”. (Usul-e-Kafi. P. 104).It is narrated that Imam Baqar said, “If the Imam is taken away from the earth even for an hour, the earth and all that is on it will shake like waves that rise in the ocean”. (p. 104).

Manzoor Numani states:

The Hujjat (Ultimate Proof) of God for bondmen can not be established without an Imam.It is related in the Chapter called, Kitabul Hujjat, in Usul-e-Kafi that the sixth Imam Jafar Sadiq once said:- ”The Ultimate Proof (Hujjat) of God on hiss creatures is not established without an Imam so that through him men may obtain knowledge and awareness of him and His religion”.

Reply One: Sunni scholars have deemed believing in the presence of Hujutllah from the Ahlulbayt (as) to be a necessity

These narrations are absolutely correct! The Shi’a believe in the justice of Allah (swt) and also acknowledges His (swt) mercy as well. We believe that our Imams are Allah (swt) ‘s ‘Hujjah’ [proofs] on earth, they represent Him (swt), His religion and the inhabitants of earth and itself cannot survive without a Hujjah’s presence on earth who is a form of Allah(swt)’s mercy to a sinful humankind. Ignorants such as Manzoor Numani may suggest that this is a concept exclusively held by the Shi’a but the reality is the very belief is present in Holy Quran and has been understood along the same lines by the Sunni Ulema, but since Nasibi like that of Sipah-e-Sahbah ( have failed to read the Quran without removing the spectacles of Shia-hatred they dedicate their energies on mocking this concept of Hujjah. We read the following hadith in Sahih al Bukhari volume 4, page 437, hadith number 658 about Imam al Mahdi (as):

The Prophet (s) said: “What would be your situation if the Son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends upon you and your Imam is among you?

The greatest Hadith master of Ahl’ul Sunnah Imam Ibn Hajar Asqalani in the commentary of this tradition states:

الأرض لا تخلو عن قائم لله بحجة

“The earth is never devoid of him who stands for Allah with a proof (Hujjah)”
Fatah ul Bari Shrah Sahih al Bukhari, Vol 6 page 494 Hadith, No. 3265

Quite similar wordings are also recorded from Maula Ali (as) in the famous Sunni work al-Iqd al-Farid, Volume 1 page 265.

One of the pioneer Imams of Maulana Manzoor Numani’s own school Shah Ismail Shaheed also made it clear that Prophets and Imams are Hujjah so that the people have no excuse that guidance was not sent to them on the Day of Judgement:

“The Imam is the representative of the Prophet, the system that is run by Allah (swt) for mankind through the Prophets is the same Imams, it is through them that the mission of Prophets are completed, so that the people are provided with the opportunity to redeem themselves, otherwise Allah (swt) would have no grounds for punishing sinners.

…We never punish until we have sent a messenger. (Surah Bani Israil)

And the duty to provide ultimate proof (Hujjah) also applies to the Imams.

Set forth to them, by way of a parable, the (story of) the Companions of the City. Behold!, there came messengers to it (Surah Yasin).

In the town of Antakia, Prophet Isa (as) sent his disciples to all the corners, but the residents rejected them and were liable for punishment. In regards to this we are told:

And We sent not down against his People, after him, any hosts from heaven, nor was it needful for Us so to do.
It was no more than a single mighty Blast, and behold! they were (like ashes) quenched and silent
(Surah Yasin).

The Imam is Hujuthullah

Verily take it to your hearts that when an Imam openly declares his Imamate all sinners should know that proof of Allah (Hujuthullah) has arrived, and that Allah (swt) has fulfilled his promise, failure to adhere to it shall lead to the wrath of Allah (swt), and sins and wrongdoing against the Imams shall take lead one to doom.”
Mansab-e-Imamate, pages 106-107

Had the Nasibi mullahs told their adherents about the necessity of Allah’s Hujjah on earth found in their books we would not have seen this ignorant supposed scholar mocking at such a belief. As cited by Shah Ismael Shaheed, Allah (swt) tells his messenger (s) in his glorious book:

“It is not for Allah to punish them while you are among them.” (Quran 8:33)

The Holy Prophet (s) was Allah (swt)’s Hujjah on earth during his period and it is due to his (s) presence on earth that Allah (swt) did not send any punishment for the sinners living around the Holy Prophet (s), his physical presence ensured that the world would not be destroyed. After him (s), those that inherited his mission, as his legitimate khalifas were likewise Hujjah’s on the earth. In this regards we have this tradiiton in Sahih Muslim, Book 020, Number 4483:

The Islamic religion will continue until the Hour has been established, or you have been ruled over by twelve Caliphs, all of them being from the Quraish.

This tradition has fixed the period of Islam’s supremacy till the day of Qiyamat and also fixed the number of Imams for this Ummah as twelve. In this Hadeeth it is clear that the lifespan of the Deen has a direct correlation with the lifespan of the twelve khalifas. No destruction will come of the earth as long as one of them remains on it. We know that the Sunni Khilafah ended in 1923, yet Islam remains intact, the Day of Judgement has not arrived. This means that the true khalifas of the Prophet (s) must have a presence on the earth; their existence following the death of the Prophet (s) has ensured that the world has not come to an end. The twelve khalifas, just like the Prophet (s) are the Proofs of Allah (swt) to the people of their time.

In this day and age we see grave sins being committed all over the world on a far greater scale than during the era of Holy Prophet (s). The media constantly portrays images of oppression, killings, adultery, cruelty, lies, fraud, theft etc. When we are surrounded by a world of oppression, debauchery, perversion and misery what prevents Allah (swt)’s extreme wrath falling on the people? It is due to the presence of Allah (swt)’s Hujjah on earth, his final representative, without the presence of whom the earth would collapse. Sunni scholar Ibn Hajar Makki al Haythami under the explanation of the above cited verse echoes the same in his popular anti-Shia book:

“The Holy Prophet (s) has told the signs about his Ahlulbayt in these meanings, because just like Holy Prophet (s), they are amnesty for the inhabitants of earth as well. There are several hadiths on this topic, from amongst them we would like to cite a few.
…Ahmed in another hadith from Holy Prophet (s) recorded: “If the stars go away (i.e., become non-existent), the inhabitants of the heavens will be destroyed, and if my Ahlul-Bayt goes away (i.e., all die), the inhabitants of the earth will be destroyed”.
In another tradition which Hakim has termed Sahih on the conditions of Shaykhain says: ‘the stars help prevent the inhabitants of the earth from being drowned, and my Ahlul-Bayt is the protector of my community against disputes. Therefore, whichever groups among the Arabs opposes my Ahlul-Bayt, shall be split up by dissensions and will become (a party of) Satan.’”

Sawaiq al Muhriqah, page 513 & 514

What better explanation can be there other than given by the Holy Prophet (s) himself about the necessity of the presence of Imam on earth who is Allah (swt)’s Hujjah! This is why the demise of the twelfth Imam will bring the end of the world, and this is one of the reasons that he should be alive. In another place, Ibn Hajar Makki writes:

“The Ahl’ul Bayt, whom the Holy Prophet has designated as an amnesty are the learned men among his family, since guidance can be attained only through them. They are like the stars through whom we are guided in the right direction. If the stars are taken away (or hidden) we would come face to face with the signs of the Almighty as promised (i.e., the Day of Resurrection). This will happen when the Mahdi will come…”
Sawaiq al Muhriqah, page 514 & 515

On page 510 we also read:

“The traditions which describe the necessity of adherence to the Ahl’ul Bayt until the Day of Judgment also imply that the existence of the righteous members of the family of the Prophet will NOT terminate until the Day of Judgment. Because the Book of Allah tells the same and in this respect they (Ahlulbayt) are amnesty for the inhabitants of earth”
Sawaiq al Muhriqah, page 510

Worthy of note is this Hadith in Mishkat al Masabih:

“I heard the Apostle of Allah say ‘Islam shall not cease to be glorious up to twelve Caliphs, every one of them being from the Quraish”. (And in a narration) “The affairs of men will not cease to decline so long as twelve men will rule over them, every one of them coming from Quraish. And in a narration: The religion will continue to be established till the hour comes as there are twelve Caliphs over them, everyone of them coming from the Quraish”
Mishkat al Masabih, Volume 4 page 576 Hadith 5

In some traditions, the Holy Prophet (s) has also used the word ‘Imam’ instead of ‘caliph’. For example we read in Musnad Ibn Abi Royani, Volume 3 page 283 No. 746 that Abi Barza Al-Asalami narrated that Holy Prophet (s) said:

الأئمة من قريش

“Imams are from Quraish”

We read in Musnad Abi Y’ala, Volume 6 page 321:

حدثنا الحسن بن إسماعيل أبوسعيد بالبصرة حدثنا ابراهيم بن سعد عن أبيه عن أنس رضي الله عنه قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم الأئمة من قريش إذا حكموا فعدلوا وإذا عاهدوا فوفوا وإذا استرحموا رحموا

Anas may Allah be pleased with him said: ‘Allah’s messenger (pbuh) said: ‘The Imams are from Quraish, if they ruled they would set justice, if they promised they would fulfill it, if they were asked for pardon they would be merciful”

More Sunni references:

1. Musnad Ahmad, Volume 4 page 421
2. Sunnan al-Kubra, by Bayhaqi, Volume 8 page 143
3. Al-Mu’ajam al-Kabir, Volume 1 page 252
4. Sunnan Kubra, by Nisai, Volume 3 page 467
5. Musanaf ibn Abi Shayba, Volume 6 page 402
6. Musnad Tayalesi, page 284
7. Al-Sunnah, by Khalal, Volume 1 page 96
8. Hulyat al-Awlya, by Abu Naeem al-Asbahani, v5, p7

Sunni scholar Hussain Salim Asad in the footnote of Musnad Abu Y’ala said: ‘The chain is Sahih’. Shaykh Shu’aib al-Arnaout in the footnote of Musnad Ahmad said: ‘Sahih’. Imam Nasiruddin Albaani in his book Erwa al-Ghalil, Volume 2 page 298 also declared it ‘Sahih’

If we bring these three traditions together we see that

  • A representative of God always remains on the earth
  • The earth will end if no Ahl’ul bayt (as) are their to guide the Ummah
  • The Day of Judgement will come with the passing of 12 Khalifas/Imams

Alhamdolillah (s) we deem the Ahl’ul bayt (as) the representatives of Allah (swt) on the earth, they guide the people and the earth would end if they were not on it. They are the 12 Khalifas referred to by the Prophet (s). The earth will remain as long as these 12 Khalifas are on it. The Day of Judgement will not come until the 12 Khalifas have passed through the Ummah. The twelve Imams of Rasulullah (s) were the Imams of their time, and the earth exists as long as they exist, it will end, in other words sink into oblivion when the last Imam passes away. As per the belief of Ahl’ul Sunnah in this regard, the world should have ended by now as their 12 caliphs (including Yazid) have all died, then why are we still alive?

Reply Two: Sunni belief in Awliyah mirrors the Shia belief on Imamate

One of the legendry scholars of the Deoband school, the revered caliph of Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, Maulana Maseehullah Khan popularly known as ‘Maseeh al Ummat’ quotes the following words in the preface of his book ‘Shariat and Tasawwuf’:

A SINCERE Wali of Allah is the Representative (Khalifah) of Allah Ta’ala on earth. He is the rooh (soul) of creation. All creation exists on his presence. Everything supplicates for the grace emanating from his spiritual effulgence. His heart and I brain are the repositories of Divine Knowledge and Grace. Allah Ta’ala has decreed him (the Wali) as His special servant and has grated him the closest of proximity. Allah Ta’ala has expanded his breast for the understanding of the meaning of His Kalaam (The Qur’aan Shareef).
Allah Ta’ala has granted him the Knowledge of the Qur’aan and has revealed to him the inner meanings and realities of the verses so that he may guide mankind and cure its spiritual maladies. He (the Wali) has been appointed by Allah Ta’ala to execute the obligation of Amr Bil Ma’roof (Commanding virtue) and Nahu anil Munkar (prohibiting evil). He (the Wali) cleanses the hearts from impurities and the intelligence from deception thus elevating people onto Siraatul Mustaqeem. Such a person is the true Khalifah of Allah Ta’ala on earth.
He is the ultimate purpose for the creation of the universe. He is the follower of the example of Nabi (saws). He is the guard of Tauheed. He is the basis for the salvation of mankind.
I emphasise that you make incumbent upon you the association with such a person and benefit from his spiritual grace.
(Hadhrat Qutb Rabbaani, Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilaani R.A.)”

Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi also confirmed the necessity of the existence of true believers; the Awliyah Allah for the survival of the universe:

“[90] …When there will not remain the Awliyah, Qayamah will take place. Awliyah Allah are the pillars of the universe….
Explanation: Because absence of Awliyah means that the Mumins (believers) will not exist and the occurrence of Qayamah on the nonexistence of Mumins is written in Hadiths”

Imdaad ul Mushtaq, page 78 (Book corner, Main Bazar, Jehlum. Pakistan)

Imam of Ahle Sunnah Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani while writing about achieving the position of Wilayah stated:

“You will become a philosopher’s stone and therefore almost imperceptible, so distinguished that you have no match, so special that you have no peer, so unique that you are one of a kind, singular and unpaired, a total mystery and an absolute secret.
You will then be the heir of every Prophet (nabi) and Champion of Truth (siddiq) and Messenger (rasul) Saintship (al-wilaya) will culminate in you, and toward you the Abdal will all incline. Through you the anxieties will be dispelled. Through you the rains will bring water and the crops will grow. Through you troubles and afflictions will be averted from people of distinction and common folk, inhabitants of the dangerous frontiers, rulers and subjects, leaders and society at large.’”

Fathul Ghayb, Sermon 4
Fathul Ghayb, Sermon 4, pages 18-19 (Published in New Delhi)

This proves that believing in the presence of Hujutallah [khalifathullah/Imam] for the survival of the earth and its inhabitants is not a belief exclusive to the Shia, the true teachings of the Ahl’ul Sunnah also adhere to this belief. All one needs to do is compare the aforesaid traits of the Awliyah from Sunni sources with the Shia belief in Imams or Imamate to find that there is hardly any difference.

Reply Three: Sunni belief in Abdaal is similar to Shia belief that the Imams are Hujutallah

The Shia belief in Imams being Hujutallah is one of the core beliefs of the school. It is quite ironic to see that Nawasib never check their own sources and just jump to attack the Shi’a on account of their hatred for us. The Nawasib have spent centuries attacking these three beliefs of the Shia:

  • The necessity of the existence of a just Imam for the survival of earth and its inhabitants.
  • The Imams being directly appointed by Allah (swt) and not by a group of people
  • The Imams having a communication channel with their Lord (swt).

Unfortunately what these Nawasib forget is the fact that albeit a different name, exactly the same belief is held by the school which they claim to follow and yet in their pursuit of anti Shi’a propaganda, these filthy creatures have made the common Sunnies forget about these beliefs. The reality is that the Ahl’ul Sunnah adhere to the above three beliefs, but with the name of ‘Abdaal’. Many notable Sunni scholars have recorded traditions to this effect. For example Hafidh al-Haythami records from authentic sources:

Ubadah bin Samet narrated that Holy Prophet (s) said: ‘In my Ummah there are 30 who are abdaal, each of them is like Hadrat Ebrahim, Allah appoints another when one of them dies’.
Majmuz Zawaid, Volume 10 Hadith 16672

Ubadah bin Samet narrated the prophet said: “In my Ummah there are 30 who are abdaal, it is because of them that the world remains established, and because of them you are bestowed rain and it is because of them that you are helped”.
Qutadah said: “I hope Al-Hassan is one of them.”

Majmuz Zawaid, Volume 10 Hadith 16673

Narrated Anas the prophet said: the earth never be empy of 40 men, each of whom is like Hadrat Ebrahim, because of them you are bestowed rain and it is because of them that you are helped, Allah appoints another when one of them dies.
Saeed said: I heard Qutadah says ” We never doubt that Al-Hassan is one of them”

Majmuz Zawaid, Volume 10 Hadith 16674

Allamah Jalaluddin Suyuti records such traditions from various sources in different ways. Some of them are:

Al-Tabarani narrated in Al-Awsat with ‘hasan’ chain that Anas narrated that the Holy prophet said: ‘The earth never be empty of forty men each of whom is like Hadrat Ebrahim, because of them you are bestowed rain and it is because of them that you are helped, Allah appoints another when one of them dies.’

Ahmad wrote in Al-Zuhd and Al-Khalal in ‘Karamat Al-Awlya’ with Sahih chain of narration that Ibn Abbas said: ‘The earth never become empty after Nuh time of seven persons, Allah send away (disasters) of the people because of them’

Ibn Jarir wrote that Shaher bin Hushab said: ‘The earth would not stay longer without the existence of fourteen person, because of them Allah send away (disasters) from the people and send down blessings, except in Ebrahim’s time because he was alone”.

Al-Khalal wrote in Karamat Al-Awlya, that Zadan said: ‘The earth can never be empty after Nuh of twelve men or more, because of them Allah send away (disaster) of the people”
Tafseer Dur al Manthur, Volume 1 pages 567-569; Surah Baqrah

Allamah Jalauddin Suyuti in his other book ‘Nazmul Mutanaathir minal hadith al-mutaawatir’ under the topic ‘Wajud al Abdaal’ termed the reports about Abdaals as Sahih and Mutawatir while Imam Sakahwi echoed the same in his book ‘Maqasad al-Hasanah’.

Imam Ghazzali even recorded an episode which tells us the powers an Abdaal can have:

“A friend of God said: The sun does not set unless an Abdaal makes tawaaf of the Kaaba and it does not set in unless a friend of God makes its tawaf”.
Ihya Ulum id Din, Volume 1 page 235-236

The Deobandi English translator of a book “Ikhmaal Ash-Shiyam” has stated:

Abdaal are a class of Auliya whose identities remain concealed. They possess miraculous powers and execute a variety of tasks under Divine Command in various places of the world.
Ikhmaal Ash-Shiyam, (English translation) page 59

Qutub are also the class of Awiyah like that of Abdaal and they too possess similar kinds of attribute. For example Shaykh Abdul Haq Muhadith Dehalwi in his esteemed work ‘Zubda tul Asaar’ rendered in the service of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani records:

“People asked Shaykh Aqeel [rh]: ‘Who is the Qutub of the time?’. He [rh] answered: ‘He is in Makkah but he is hidden from the sight of the people. But yes, the Awliyah of Allah do recognize him. The Qutb of our time shall soon appear from Baghdad. When he talks to the people, they will recognize him as the Qutb of the time on account of his Karamat. The Awliyah of Allah shall prostrate their necks at his feet. If I am alive at that time, I will [likewise] be at his feet. Allah (swt)’s creation shall attain benefits on account of his presence…”
Zubda tul Asaar, page 31 (Maktaba Nabwiyah Lahore)

Whenever there is a conversation on this topic, the very next question posed at the Shi’a from Nawasib is: ‘Where is the present day Hujutallah according to Shias?’. There is no need for us to repeat the answer since it is very much known. But when you ask them ‘According to your belief, where is the present day Abdaal for the sake of whom we are surviving?’ then they will come up with the reply ‘They are ones who have concealed identities’. Subhanallah! If you believe in the existence of Abdaals which you are unaware of then why mock the Shi’a who at least have details of the final Hujjah (May Allah hasten his reappearance)? We want to ask Nawasib ‘what right do you have to attack the Shi’a for believing that the Imams are Hujutallah when you believe in the presence of divinely appointed Abdaals for the existence of the earth and its dwellers?

Reply Four: The Hadith of the Holy Prophet (s) proves the presence of Imam for every time

The hadith of the Holy Prophet (s) about adhering to the Imam of the time being obligatory proves the permanent presence of an Imam on the earth. We are citing from the following authentic Sunni works:

  1. Musnad Ahmed bin Hanbal, Volume 4 page 94 Hadith 16271
  2. Kanz ul Ummal, Volume 1 page 103 hadith 463 & 464
  3. Musnad Abu Daud al-Tyalsi, Hadith 2013
  4. Sahih Ibn Habban, Hadith 4656
  5. Musnad Abi Yala, Hadith 7210
  6. Al-Mujam al Kabir al-Tabarani, Volume 10 page 360 hadith 10687
  7. Al-Mujam al-Awsat al-Tabarani, Volume 1 page 175 Hadith 227
  8. Al-Muhalla by Ibn Hazm, Kitab al Tauheed, Problem No. 87
  9. Sahih Muslim, Kitab al Amarah, Hadith 4892 & 4894
  10. Mu`jam al Fataway by Ibn Tamiyah,
  11. Tafseer Dur al Manthur, Surah Aal e Imran, verse 103
  12. Shrah al-Maqasid by Sa`aduddin Taftazani, Vol 2 page 275

We read in Musnad Ahmed:

Muawiyah narrated that the Holy Prophet said (as): ‘He who dies without an Imam, dies the death of Jahilya [the death of the days of ignorance]”

We read in Kanz ul Ummal:

“He who dies without baya`a (allegiance) dies the death of Jahilyah”
(narrated Ibn Umar)

‘He who dies without a Imam, dies the death of Jahilya”
(narrated Muawiyah)

Imam of Ahl’ul Sunnah Ibn Hazm records:

ولا يجوز أن يكون في الدنيا إلا إمام واحد فقط ‏,‏ ومن بات ليلة وليس في عنقه بيعة مات ميتة جاهلية

“Its not allowed to be in the world with more than one Imam, he who dies without baya’a dies the death of Jahilya”

Allamah Taftazani records:

“He who dies without recognizing the Imam of his time dies the death of Jahiliyah”

The hadiths on this topic have been narrated by some famed names in the Sunni madhab such as Abdullah bin Umar, Abdullah bin Abbas, Muawiyah bin Sufiyan, Abu Hurariah, Ma`ad bin Jabal and Abu Dardah.

In order to see the abominable view Holy Quran holds for ignorance (Jahilya), one can see the verses 48:26, 5:50, 3:154 while it commands us:

O you who believe! be careful of (your duty to) Allah with the care which is due to Him, and do not die unless you are Muslims. (3:102)

The hadith clearly proves the existence of the Imam on earth for each and every person whether he is a Sahabi or a Sahabiyah, Tabayee, scholar and whether it is in Sifeen or Jamal. It means that one must believe in the Imam of his time otherwise his/her death will be the like the death of the days of ignorance that is the death of Kufr. As long as man exists upon the earth, there will be a Imam for him to believe in and that person shall be the Hujjatullah.

Reply Five: The Sunni Ulema have stated that the earth requires the existence of an Imam

What is the issue here? The Ahl’ul Sunnah believe that the Imam is needed to oversee / implement and provide guidance to the Ummah. Their scholars have stated that Imamate is needed to protect the Deen and ensure the stable running of an Islamic Society. If we take this Sunni perspective of Imamate (i.e. state leadership) out of the equation, what will be the net result? We will have a society without any leadership; the absence of state machinery will mean that there will be no mechanism to ensure that the Shari’ah is being adhered to. If the Shi’a believe that the earth will sink / shake without an Imam present, is this not similar to the Sunni position on Imamate, wherein the absence an Imam at helm of the State enforcing the rule of Law via Shari’ah, would lead to to society degenerating into a lawless / unislamic one? This Sunni line of thinking is reflected in the following books:

The esteemed Sunni thinker and philosopher Allamah Iqbal commented:

“the appointment of an Imam or Khalifa is absolutely indispensable”
The reconstruction of religious thought in Islam, p 138, (Sang-e-meel publications, Lahore)

Mufti Ghulam Rasool al-Hanafi (d. October 2010) said:

“There is absolute agreement that appointing an Imam is compulsory. In a Hadith, the Prophet (s) said ‘Whoever dies without an Imam, dies the death of jahilyya”
Subeh Sadiq, page 393 (published in London)

Ibn Khaldun said:

“It substitutes for the Lawgiver (Muhammad) in as much as it serves, like him, to preserve the religion and to exercise (political) leadership of the world. (The institution) is called “the caliphate” or “the imamate”. The person in charge of it is called “the caliph” or “the imam””.
Muqaddimah by Ibn Khaldun Volume 1 Chapter 3 Section 24 (English translation by Franz Rosenthal)

Ibn Taymiyyah echoes similar words:

“The Wilayah, the government of the affairs of men is one of the greatest obligations of religion (min a’zam wajibat al-Deen)”
1. Minhaj ul Sunnah, Volume 1 page 24
2. Al Siyasiya al Sharya, Volume 1 page 136

al-Qadi Adud ad-Dinal-Eji (d. 756 H) states in his book ‘Mawaqif’:

“It is matawatir that in Islam, following the death of the Holy Prophet (s), there was an ijma among Muslims that there can be no era without a Imam”
Sharh al-Mawaqif, Volume 8 page 377

al Eji also sought to explain why having an Imam is so important:

“…the imamah is instituted to ward off expected harm, and to ward off expected harm is binding on men, by consensus, if they have the ability to do so. In other words we know that the Law Giver (the Prophet) has given laws about practical matters, marriage, jihad, punishment of crimes and compensation, and about the public status on the symbols of Shar’ relating to Ids and Fridays, and the benefits of all this accrue to mankind in this world as well as in the hereafter. But this purpose cannot be realised without an Imam, appointed in place of the Lawgiver, to whom all may refer in case of dispute”.
al-Mawaqif, by al Eji with al Jurjani’s commentary, Volume 8 page 344

So if we bring together these viewpoints we see that in the eyes of the Ahl’ul Sunnah:

  • It is compulsory to have an Imam
  • The Imam is needed to oversee the Shari’ah and resolve disputes
  • The religion is dependent on having an Imam
  • The Imam is needed to protect the Deen

Now with this in mind, if we remove the Sunni notion of Imamate from the equation we will have:

  • No process for overseeing the Shariah
  • No mechanism for resolving religious disputes
  • No mechanism for protecting Deen

What this means is the people will be free to do whatever they choose since there will be no religious leader to guide and no mechanism for implementing the Shari’ah, ultimately society will become lawless and descend into anarchy. Is this anything different to our position that the earth will sink without an Imam? Did the Sahaba not have this same fear after all Allamah Rashid Raza Misree stated:

“Appointing the Imam, in other words passing on the people’s duties is not just compulsory according to logic as the Muttazalites stipulate but is also compulsory under the Shari’ah”

He then relies on the comments of Allamah Taftazani:

“The Sahaba deemed the appointment of the Imam to be superior to the burial rituals of the Holy Prophet”
Imamate Azmee page 19, published by Muhammad Saeed and sons Karachi

When appointing an Imam takes precedence to the funeral rites of the Prophet (s), so that Abu Bakr had to be appointed as Imam before the burial of the Prophet (s) then why the objection if we believe that the earth will sink without an Imam?


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