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ar-Risalat al-Ula fii 'l-Ghayba

الرسالة الاولى في الغيبة

الشيخ المفيد محمد بن محمد بن النعمان

First Treatise on the Ghayba

Shaykh al-Mufid Muhammad b. Muhammad b. an-Nu`man



بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الحمد لله وصلاته على عباده الذين اصطفى


By the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.  Praise be to Allah, and may His benedictions be upon His servants who He has chosen.


وبعد :سأل سائل فقال : اخبروني عما روي عن النبي صلى الله عليه واله انه قال : " من مات وهو لايعرف إمام زمانه مات ميتة جاهلية ، هل هو ثابت صحيح ام هو معتل سقيم ؟ 


Now then, a questioner asked a question, so he said: Inform us about what is narrated from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله that he said “Whoever dies and has not recognized the Imam of his time, has died the death of Jahiliyya (ignorance, pre-Islamic pagan period).”  Is it established and sound or is it invalid and unsound?


الجواب - وبالل التوفيق والثقة - :قيل له : بل هو خبر صحيح يشهد له اجماع اهل الاثار ويقوي معناه صريح القران ، حيث يقول جل اسمه ( يوم ندعو كل أناس بإمامهم فمن إوتي كتابه بيمينه فأولئك يقرأون كتابهم ولا يظلمون فتيلا )  وقوله تعالى ( فكيف إذا جئنا من كل امة بشهيد وجئنا بك على هؤلاء شهيدا ) واي كثيرة من القران .


The answer – and success and reliance are with Allah:  It is said to him:  Rather, it is a sound report for which the consensus of the people of the traditions bears witness to, and whose meaning the declaration of the Quran strengthens when He جل اسمه  says “On the day when We shall call all men with their Imam, and whoever is given his book in his right hand -- those shall read their book, and they shall not be wronged a (single) date-thread.”  And His تعالى saying “How then shall it be, when We bring forward from every nation a witness, and bring you to witness against those?”  And many ayat from the Quran.


فإن قال : فأذا كان الخبر صحيحا كيف يصح قولكم في غيبة امام هذا الزمان وتغيبه واستتاره على الكل الوصول إليه وعدم علمهم بمكانه ؟


So if he says:  So if the report is sound, how is your doctrine correct during the occultation (ghayba) of the Imam of this time when he has been made absent and access to him is hidden from everybody, and with the absence of their knowledge of his location?


قيل له : لامضادة بين المعرفة بالامام وبين جميع ما ذكرت من احواله ، لان العلم بوجوده في العالم لا يفتقر إلى العلم بمشاهدته لمعرفتنا ما لا يصح ادراكه بشئ من الحواس ، فضلا عمن يجوز ادراكه واحاطة العلم بما لا مكان له ، فضلا عمن يخفى مكانه والظفر بمعرفة المعدوم والماضي والمنتظر ، فضلا عن المستخفي المستتر


It is said to him: There is no contradiction between the recognition of the Imam and all of what you have mentioned of his states, for the knowledge of his existence in the world does not require knowledge of witnessing him (as is the case with) our recognition of that which is not correct (to say that) it is perceptible to something from our senses, moreover of what it is permissible to perceive and for knowledge to encompass that which does not have a place.  Moreover, (the knowledge) of (that) whose place is obscured and the success (i.e. the ability to) of the recognition of the nonexistent, the past, and the awaited (the future).  Moreover, (the knowledge) of the obscured and the hidden.


وقد بشر الله تعالى الانبياء المتقدمين بنبينا محمد صلى الله عليه وآله قبل وجوده في العالم .فقال سبحانه ( وإذ اخذ الله ميثاق النبيين لما اتيتكم من كتاب وحكمة ثم جائكم رسول مصدق لما معكم لتؤمنن به ولتنصرنه ) يعني رسول الله صلى الله عليه والله ( قال ءأقررتم وأخذتم على ذلكم إصري ) يعني عهدي ( قالوا اقررنا قال فاشهدوا وأنا معكم من الشاهدين )


And Allah, تعالى, has given tidings of the prophets preceding our Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وآله prior to his existence in the world.  So He سبحانه said “And when Allah took compact with the Prophets: 'That I have given you of the Book and Wisdom; then there shall come to you a Messenger confirming what is with you -- you shall believe in him and you shall help him”  meaning the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله “He said ‘Do you agree?  And do you take My load on you on that condition?'” meaning My covenant “They said, 'We do agree.' He said, 'Bear witness so, and I shall be with you among the witnesses.'”  


قال جل اسمه ( النبي الا مي الذي يجدونه مكتوبا عندهم في التوراة والانجيل )  فكان نبينا عليه والله السلام مكتوبا مذكورا في كتب الله الاولى ، وقد اوجب على الامم الماضية معرفته والاقرار به وانتظاره ، وهو عليه السلام وديعة في صلب آبائه لم يخرج إلى الوجود ، ونحن اليوم عارفون بالقيامة والبعث والحساب وهو معدوم غير موجود ، وقد عرفنا آدم ونوحا وابراهيم وموسى وعيسى عليهم السلام ولم نشاهدهم ولا شاهدنا من اخبر عن مشاهدتهم ، ونعرف جبرئيل وميكائيل واسرافيل وملك ، الموت عليهم السلام ولست نعرف لهم شخصا ولا نعرف لهم مكانا ، فقد فرض الله علينا معرفتهم والاقرار بهم وان كنا لانجد إلى الوصول إليهم سبيلا ، ونعلم ان فرض ( المعرفة لشخص في نفسه من المصالح مما لا يتعلق لوجود مشاهدة ) المعروف ولا يعرف مستقره ولا الوصول إليه في مكانه ، وهذا بين لمن تدبره .


He جل اسمه said “the Ummi Prophet whom they find written down with them in the Tawrah and the Injil.”  So our Prophet عليه واله السلام was written (about and) mentioned in the first books of Allah.  And, it was made obligatory upon the past nations to recognize him, affirm him and await him, while he عليه السلام was lodged in the loins of his forefathers, not having yet come out to existence.  And today, we are recognize the rising, the resurrection, and the accounting, while they are absent, not yet existing.  And, we have recognized Adam, Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, and `Isa عليهم السلام yet we do not witness them nor have we  witnessed the one who informed us of them.  And we recognize Jibra’il, Mika’il, Israfil and the Angel of Death عليهم السلام though we have not known them in person nor do we know their location.  For, Allah has made their recognition and their affirmation obligatory upon us even though we have no way to access them.  And we know that the obligation of [the recognition of the person in themselves (by way of) advantages that do not pertain to the existence of witnessing] the recognized while his abode is not known and there is no access to his location.  And this is clear to whoever would ponder it.


فإن قال : فما ينفعنا من معرفته مع عدم الانتفاع به من الوجه الذي ذكرنا ؟


So if he says: So what does the recognition of him benefit us with the absence of the benefit by him in terms of the aspect of which you have mentioned?


قيل له : نفس معرفتنا بوجوده وامامته وعصمته وكماله نفع لنا في اكتساب الثواب ، وانتظارنا لظهوره عبادة نستدفع بها عظيم العقاب ، ونؤدي بها فرضا الزمناه ربنا المالك للرقاب ، كما كانت المعرفة بمن عددناه من الانبياء والملائكة من اجل النفع لنا في مصالحنا ، واكتسابنا المثوبة في اجلناة وان لم يصح المعرفة لهم على كل حال وكما أن معرفة الامم الماضية نبينا قبل وجوده مع انها كانت من اوكد فرائضهم لاجل منافعهم ، ومعرفة الباري جل اسمه أصل الفرائض كلها ، وهو اعظم من ان يدرك بشئ من الحواس .


It is said to him: Our recognition of his existence, his Imamate, his `isma, and his perfection is in itself a benefit to us in terms of the acquisition of blessings, and our awaiting of his appearance is an act of worship by which we ward off the mighty punishment.  By it we fulfill an obligation which our Lord, the master of the servants, has obliged upon us, as has been the recognition of those who we enumerated of the prophets and the angels due to the benefit for us on our behalf, and our acquisition of  reward in our (life) term, even though the recognition of them in every state is not possible.  Likewise, the recognition of the past nations of our Prophet prior to his existence, along with (the fact) that it had been of the most emphasized obligations for the sake of their benefits.  And the recognition of the Creator جل اسمه is the foundation of all obligations, and He is greater than that He should be perceived by something of the senses.


فإن قال : إذا كان الامام عندكم غائبا ، ومكانه مجهولا ، فكيف يصنع المسترشد ؟ وعلى ماذا يعتمد الممتحن فيما ينزل به من حادث لايعرف له حكما ؟ وإلى من يرجع المتنازعون ، لاسيما والامام انما نصب لما وصفناه ؟


So if he says: If the Imam according to you is occulted (gha’ib), and his location unknown, then how is the seeker to act?  And upon what is the examined (al-mumtahan, the tried) to rely upon with regards to what befalls of events for which a ruling is not known?  And to whom do disputers refer to, especially as the Imam has only been appointed for what we have described of him?


قيل له : هذا السؤال مستأنف لا نسبة له بما تقدم ، ولا وصلة بينه وبينه ، وقد مضى السؤال الاول في معنى الخبر وفرض المعرفة وجوابه على انتظام ، ونحن نجيب عن هذا المستأنف بموجز لا يخل بمعنى التمام منقول وبالله التوفيق : انما الامام نصب لاشياء كثيرة :

احدها : الفصل بين المختلفين .

الثاني : بيان الحكم للمسترشدين .


It is said to him: This question is a new issue with no relation to what has preceded, and there is no connection between it and that.  The first question has passed regarding the meaning of the report, and the obligation of the recognition (of the Imam), and its answer is set in order.

We will answer this new issue briefly without exhausting its complete, transmitted meaning – and success is with Allah:  The Imam has only been appointed for many things:

The first of them:  Deciding between the disagreeing.

The second:  Elucidation of the ruling for the seekers.


ولم ينصب لهذين دون غيرهما من مصالح الدنيا والدين ، غير انه انما يجب عليه القيام فيما نصب له مع التمكن من ذلك والاختيار ، وليس يجب عليه شيئ لا يستطيعه ، ولا يلزمه فعل الايثار مع الاضطرار ، ولم يؤت الامام في التقية من قبل الله عزوجل ولا من جهة نفسه واوليائه المؤمنين ، وانما اتي ذاك من قبل الظالمين الذين اباحوا دمه ودفعوا نسبه ، وأنكروا حقه ، وحملوا الجمهور على عداوته ومناصبة القائلين بأمامته .


And he has not been appointed to those two without other than them from the benefits of this world and the religion, other than that it is only obligatory upon him to rise up for what he has been appointed for when there is possibility of that and choice, and nothing is obligatory upon him that he cannot do.  With constraint, the act of altruism is not obliged upon him.  The Imam does not do so in taqiyya before Allah عزوجل nor from the direction of his own self or his loyalists from the believers.  He only comes to that due to the oppressors who permit (the shedding of) his blood, rebut his ancestry, deny his right, and carry the community to his enmity and the hatred against the believers in his Imamate.


وكانت البلية فيما يضيع من الاحكام ، ويتعطل من الحدول ، ويفوت من الصلاح ، متعلقة بالظالمين ، وإمام الانام برئ منها وجميع المؤمنين .


And the misfortune of what is lost of the rulings, the suspension of the punishments (al-hudud), and the passing away of righteousness, is related to the oppressors. The Imam of mankind is innocent of that, as are all of the believers.


فاما الممتحن بحادث يحتاج إلى علم الحكم فيه فقد وجب عليه إن يرجع في ذلك إلى العلماء من شيعة الامام وليعلم ذلك من جهتهم بما استودعوه من أئمة الهدى المتقدمين ، وان عدم ذلك والعياذ بالله ولم يكن فيه حكم منصوص على حال فيعلم انه على حكم العقل ، لانه لو اراد الله ان يتعبد فيه بحكم سمعي لفعل ذلك ، ولو فعله لسهل السبيل إليه .


So as to the one who is tried with an event having need of the knowledge of the ruling in it, then it is obligatory to make reference to the scholars from the Shi`a of the Imam so that he may know that  from their direction of what they have been entrusted with from the preceding Imams of guidance.  And if that is absent – and refuge is with Allah – and there has not been a stipulated ruling upon (any) state, then it is known that it is upon the ruling of intellect (`aql), for had Allah intended that He be served in it by a sam`i ruling (i.e. a ruling known through the transmitted sources) then He would have done that, and had He done it, the path to it would have been made easy.


وكذلك القول في المتنازعين ، يجب عليهم رد ما اختلفوا فيه إلى الكتاب والسنة عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه والله من جهة خلفائه الراشدين من عترته الطاهرين ، ويستعينوا في معرفة ذلك بعلماء الشيعة وفقهائهم ، وان كان - والعياذ بالله - لم يوجد فيما اختلفوا فيه نص على حكم سمعي فليعلم ان ذلك مما كان في العقول ومفهوم احكام العقول ، مثل : أن من غصب انسانا شيئا فعليه رده بعينه ان كانت عينه قائمة ، فإن لم تكن عينه قائمة كان عليه تعويضه منه بمثله ، فان لم يوجد له مثل كان ان يرضي خصمه بما تزول معه ظلامته ، فإن لم يستطع ذلك أو لم يفعله مختارا كان في ذمته إلى يوم القيامة . وان كان جان جنى على غيره جناية لا يمكن تلافيها كانت في ذمته ، وكان المجني عليه ممتحنا بالصبر . إلى ان ينصفه الله تعالى يوم الحساب . فان كان الحادث مما لا يعلم بالسمع اباحته من خطره ، فانه على الاباحة الا ان يقوم دليل سمعي على خطره . وهذا الذي وصفناه انما جاز للمكلف الاعتماد عليه والرجوع إليه عند الضرورة بفقد الامام المرشد ، ولو كان الامام ظاهرا ما وسعه غير الرد إليه ، والعمل على قوله ، وهذا كقول خصومنا كافة : ان على الناس في نوازلهم بعد النبي صلى الله عليه واله ان يجتهدوا فيها عند فقدهم النص عليها ، ولايجوز لهم الاجتهاد واستعمال الرأي بحضرة النبي صلى الله عليه وآله .


So, such is the doctrine with regards to the disputers.  It is obligatory upon them to refer what they differ upon to the Book and the Sunna of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله from the direction of his rightly guided successors from his pure progeny, and that they seek help for the knowing of that by the scholars of the Shi`a and their jurists, and if it is so that – and refuge is with Allah – they cannot find a text upon a sam`i ruling in that which they differ then it must be known that it is of what is in the intellects and (that which is) understood (by) the rulings of the intellect, such as: someone who usurps a thing from a person must return the item itself to him, if (the thing) itself (still) exists.  And if (the thing) itself no longer exists, then it is upon him (the usurper) is to compensate for it by its like.  And if its like is not to be found for him, then it is up to his adversary to be pleased with what he (the usurper) produces (for him) with his injustice.  And if he is not able to do that or he intentionally does not do so, then it is in his debt until the Day of the Resurrection.  And if a criminal commits a crime against someone else for which it is not possible to redress, it is in his debt, and the one against whom the crime was committed is tested by patience, until Allah تعالى gives him justice on the Day of the Accounting.  So if the occurrence is of that whose permissibility from its peril is not known through sam`, then it is (judged to be) upon permissibility unless a sam`i evidence is established upon its peril.  This which we have described is only allowed for the responsible person (al-mukallaf) to rely upon and refer to with the exigency of the loss of the guiding Imam, and were the Imam apparent then nothing would be allowed (or: accommodate, suffice) for him but returning to him (the Imam), and acting upon his saying.  And this is as the doctrine of our opponent, all of it:  That it is upon mankind in their happenings after the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله to do ijtihad in it with their loss of a text upon it, and that it is not permissible for them do ijtihad or to act upon ra’y (opinion) with the presence of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله.


فإن قال : فإذا كانت عبادتكم تتم بما وصفتموه مع غيبة الامام فقد استغنيتم عن الامام .


And if he says:  So if your worship is as you have described of it with the occultation of the Imam, then you are free of need of the Imam.


قيل له : ليس الامر كما ظننت في ذلك ، لان الحاجة إلى الشئ قد تكون قائمة مع فقد ما يسدها ، ولو لا ذلك ما كان الفقير محتاجا إلى المال مع فقده ، ولا المريض محتاجا إلى الدواء وان بعد وجوده ، والجاهل محتاجا إلى العلم وان عدم الطريق إليه ، والمتحير محتاجا إلى الدليل وان يظفر به . ولو لزمنا ما ادعيتموه وتوهمتموه للزم جميع المسلمين ان يقولوا ان الناس كانوا في حال غيبة النبي صلى الله عليه والله للهجرة وفي الغار اغنياء عنه ، وكذلك كانت حالهم في وقت استتاره بشعب ابي طالب عليه السلام ، وكان قوم ( موسى عليه السلام اغنياء عنه في حال غيبته عنهم لميقات ربه ، وكذلك اصحاب ) يونس عليه السلام اغنياء عنه لما ذهب مغضبا والتقمه الحوت وهو مليم ، وهذا مما لا يذهب إليه مسلم ولا ملي . فيعلم بذلك بطلان ما ظنه الخصوم وتوهموه على الظنة والرجوم .  وبالله التوفيق .


It is said to him: The matter is not as you have supposed in that, for the need of something will continue to exist when there is loss that obstructs it.  Were it not so, then the poor person would not have need of wealth with its loss, the sick person would not have need of medicine after its existence, the ignorant would not have need of knowledge if access to it was absent, and the confused would not have need of evidence and to be successful with it (?).  Were we to stick to what you have claimed and imagined, then all Muslims would need to say that mankind, during the occultation of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله during the hijra (when he was) in the cave, were free of need from him, and likewise would be the case during the time of his concealment in the mountain pass of Abu Talib عليه السلام.  And the people [of Musa عليه السلام would have been free of need of him during the state of his occultation from them (when he went for) the meeting with his Lord.  And likewise the companions] of Yunus عليه السلام would have been free of need of him when he left in anger, when he encountered the whale and he was censured.  And this is something that no Muslim or religious (person) would believe in, so by that the nullification of what the adversary has supposed is known, and his imagining is based upon suspicion and guesswork.  And success is with Allah.