Recognizing the successor of Allah (SWT) on earth and seeking help from him in the ups and downs of life is one of the most essential foundations of Shiism in theory and practice. As such, throughout the history, Shiites have always been concerned as to the way and signs for recognizing their Imams amongst people. So how could we get to know our Imam? This is the very same question that Aba Basir (a distinguished companion of the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT)) asked from Imam Musa ibn Ja’far (PBUH), and the Imam replied to him by mentioning 4 of the most important ones from amongst all the signs.
Aba Basir has narrated that:
“Once I asked Imam Musa ibn Ja’far (PBUH),” May I sacrifice my life for you! How could an Imam be recognized?” He replied,” By several signs, the first of which is that there should be a statement or reference made by his father (the previous Imam) regarding his Imamate, which acts as a proof or certification; and (second) that he answers when he is asked, and if he is not asked, he initiates speaking; and (third) he informs about the future; and (fourth) he could talk to people with their own languages.
Then, he said,” O Aba Muhammad! I will show you one of those signs before you get up”.
Aba Basir says,” Shortly after that, a man from Khorasan entered and started talking to the Imam (PBUH) in Arabic; however, Imam Musa ibn Ja’far (PBUH) replied to him in Persian. The man said,” I swear to God that I did not talk to you in Persian because I thought you did not know Persian very well”.
Imam Musa ibn Ja’far (PBUH) replied to him,” Glory be to Allah! If I were not able to respond to you perfectly, why would I be qualified for being an Imam?” He then continued,” O Aba Muhammad! Verily Imam (is the one) who knows the language of all people (of earth), all the birds, and all the animals very well” (1).
My Imam is the one who is appointed by Allah (SWT) and is introduced to me by Allah’s (SWT) successors. My Imam is the one who knows the answer to all questions and is even aware of my unasked questions. Wherever I might be from, or whatever language I speak, my Imam hears the voice of my heart and is aware of it. So why should I not follow him and find the way of my life through his light of guidance?
The Roshd Website offers condolences to all Muslims, especially you dear friend, upon 25th of Rajab, the anniversary of the martyrdom of the symbol of patience and endurance, the 7th argument of Allah (SWT), Imam Musa ibn Ja’far (PBUH).
1- Al-Irshad fi Marifat Hujaj Allah ala al-Ibad, by Shaykh Mufid, vol. 2, p. 224