There are many times in which we long for the opportunity to set time aside and ponder, an act we hardly have time to approach in this day and age. Thinking gives us a broader view, and usually when we find a view toward something, we follow it. Delving further into the matter helps us to become knowledgeable about it, and if we become satisfied we become a believer.
Has it ever occurred to you to ask what extent the beliefs and views you hold are valid? Can you really rely on them? What should you do if you become doubtful? And in general how can you become certain about your beliefs?
One of the ways we Muslims can become sure about the validity of our beliefs and their congruity with revelation, Quran, and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and those of his progeny is to double check them with trusted and knowledgeable religious scholars. The issue of gaining reassurance in this matter has been a topic of discussion since the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and his progeny. People of those times were able to receive direct feedback and answers from the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT) and or from religious scholars of the time. (1)
The following is an example of how this matter took place:
Sayyid Abd al-Azim Hasani (2), a companion of Imam Hadi (PBUH), narrates:
‘I entered upon my Imam, Imam Hadi (PBUH). When his gaze fell upon me he said, “Praise be upon you for indeed you are our true companion.”
I said, “O grandson of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) I want to utter my beliefs for you to make sure they are correct to hold on to until the day I meet my Lord.”
The Imam accepted my request, and I began talking about my belief in Allah (SWT) and His oneness. I then expressed my belief in the Prophet of Islam (PBUH&HP) and in his successors Amir al-Mu’minin Ali (PBUH) and his Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT), of which I named them one by one until I reached Imam Hadi (PBUH). I referred to him as my Imam and leader.
At this point the Imam said: “After me my son Hassan will be the Imam and successor. Are you aware of how the people will be during my son’s successor?” Upon the question the Imam gave a short explanation about the occultation of the twelfth Imam.
I then said, “I confess that one who befriends you is Allah’s friend, and your enemy is Allah’s enemy. I confess in the Day of Judgment and in the obligatory acts after Wilayat (Mastership), which are Salat (daily prayers), Zakat (Alms), fasting, Hajj, Jihad (holy battle), enjoining good, and forbidding evil. (3)
Once I was through expressing my beliefs, the Imam confirmed my beliefs and commanded me to stay faithful to them. The Imam then prayed that I remain steadfast in my religion.’
The question for us however still remains on whether we too have the opportunity to confirm our beliefs?
As a matter of fact in this day and age the need to confirm our beliefs in a similar fashion is more than ever. Just as the supplication of Ale Yasin teaches us this matter, if we want to protect our beliefs from the many different alterations and commentaries, we must refer to religious scholars who study religion based on the Quran and the Sayings of the Prophet and his Progeny (PBUH&HP).(4)
(Selection taken from Ayatullah Safi Golpayegani’s “Commentary on the Hadith of Expressing Beliefs”, with minor changes)
We congratulate you dear friend on the 15th of Dhi al-Hijjah, the birth anniversary of the tenth Hujjat of Allah, Imam Ali ibn Muhammad al-Hadi (PBUH).
1. The issue of confirming your faith is so important that it has been mentioned in several of the supplications given to us by the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT). For example the supplication of Ale Yasin located in Mafatih al-Jinan is a supplication by Imam Mahdi (May Allah Hasten his Reappearance).
2. He is of the grandchildren of Imam Hassan Mujtaba (PBUH) who is now buried in the city of Ray near Tehran.
3. These are the branches of religion