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  Wallaaho be-kulle Shayin 'Aleem: Verily Allaah has Knowledge of every thing

It is the duty of every one who has given a pledge of loyalty to the Imaam that he should fulfill the terms of his pledge and always keep them in view. He should never act contrary to the orders of the Imaam. In carrying out his orders he should never exceed the limits nor fall short of them. He should not budge an inch from the right course. He should not put his own interpretation on what he hears from the Imaam. He should say nothing on his own account. He should stall his imagination to influence his mind in these matters when he is fully aware that Imaam is the Supreme Authority.

It is said that once Imaam Ja'far us-Saadiq (as) said to some of his followers, “You should be our silent propagandists.” When the people asked him how they should carry on the propaganda by keeping silence? He said in reply, “Carry it on by your good deeds.” He gave a long sermon on this topic and said in the end, “When people find you doing the right things they will know that it is we who have guided you in this matter. Thus they will run to us and you will prove to be the medium of their coming to us.”

It follows that it is the bounded duty of every one who is the follower of the Imaam to do good things and keep away from the evil. He should be devoted to Allaah and he should discharge the duties that have been enjoined on him. He should commit no sins and should do nothing which leads to Allaah's wrath.

It is for these reasons that the Imaam orders us to be silent and have implicit faith in them. None, but the one who is selected by them and is permitted by them to carry on the discussions is allowed to pursue this course. One of the Imaam said to on of his Da'i, “If you find your opponent a better debater than yourself then take the help of the inner knowledge, stop him saying that you are not prepared to initiate him into the depths of the inner meaning. Do not prolong the discussion to give your opponent a free hand. It will create a bad result and make your opponent firmer in his stand. Keep him in suspense, if you are afraid of continuing the discussion. On the other hand if you know at the very beginning that your opponent is a better debater, do not discuss with him and stop him by saying that you believe in inner things. For, very often, discussion with those who are on the wrong path leaves the impression on the audience that your opponents are right. This is exactly what happened when Sorcerers challenged Moses by bringing their ropes and the sticks and making them look like snakes. Moses got frightened of the wrong impression they had created on the mind of the audience, although in the long run truth prevailed and the falsehood was eradicated.”

It is out of these considerations that we have been ordered by the Imaam to be silent and secretive. Imaam Ja'far us-Saadiq (as) is reported to have said to some of his followers who offered their services for his support, “We asked you to do something easier than this but you did not do it.” They said, “What is that? O the grandson of the Prophet. He said, “We asked you to keep silence. If you had kept silence we would have been pleased with you but you did not do so.”

We must bear in mind that in doing the work of the Imaam, we have to follow some specific rules that are prescribed for us. We have to do things by degrees and we have to proceed with caution step by step. If we do not stop at the first step and jump to the higher step and try to reach the destination earlier than we are required to reach it we shall be ruined. It will be like feeding a new born baby to death with the food not meant for him.

In short, these are the things which have prevented the Imaam from making their inner knowledge accessible to none but those whom they have found fit and trusted. Had they allowed everyone to have a free access to it, people would have ruined one another like a new born baby who is killed by excess and untimely feeding or like an embryo who tries to come out before it is fully developed.

Hence, the Imaam have purposely kept this knowledge secret in order to test their followers. Had they given full publicity to it and informed everyone of what it is, none would have opposed them. But Allaah wants to test His devotees by asking them to have faith in the ‘ghayb'. The Qur'an says, “This book is undoubtedly a guide to the Allaah-fearing people who have faith in the ‘ghayb' i.e. the hidden thing.” These are the people who according to the Qur'an have been guaranteed success. If Allaah had desired He could have forced all man to be devoted to Him. He could have easily asked some angel to shout from above and call people to devotion. It would not in that case have been necessary for Him to send one of His apostles to guide people.

Had he done so none would have been superior to one another and there would have been no room for execution. In that case there would have been no reward and no punishment. All the people would have been of one type and knowledge and accomplishments and such other gifts of Allaah would have been evenly distributed amongst them. Allaah knows best what he does and His ‘Awliyaa' who are the masters of the divine secrets know best what they do. There is no Allaah but He and there is no partner to Him.

  Tandoor and Haroon al-Makki:

Imaam Ja’far us Saadiq (as), our 5th Faatemi Imaam, had many foes who were hell-bent on killing him.  They always remained in search of an opportunity to harm him.  Once in the court of Imaam Ja’far us Saadiq, there came a person named Sahal bin Hasan al-Khuraasaani, who was having a pure faith in Imaam and was a Shi’a.  He respected Imaam with great devotion.  He asked Imaam Ja’far us Saadiq that, “You are the true Imaam of the time, so why are you hiding your identity from the people and why are you not revealing yourself as the true Imaam of Aal-e-Mohammad (sa) among your followers?” And he further said that, there are nearly 1 lakh followers of yours who will protect you and will go to battle field on your orders and fight against your enemies.  When this conversation was going on Imaam called his maid-servant named Hanafiyah and told her to light the Tandoor-a big clay oven used for baking. Now the Tandoor had become red hot like a fire-ball.  To test Sahal bin Hasan, Imaam instructed him to go and sit in that Tandoor. To which Sahal bin Hasan said that, “O Imaam! I am always in your service and I follow all your orders, so I think there is no need of this test as it seems very difficult.  Order something else I am ready to do it just now.”

During this conversation another person named Haroon al-Makki who was more faithful than Sahal bin Hasan, entered in the majlis of Imaam with two shoes hanging in his fingers with its laces and offered salaam to Imaam.  When Imaam noticed Haroon he ordered him to sit for a while and then said that I want you to sit in that Tandoor.  Without any hesitation or giving another thought, Haroon went and fearlessly sat in the Tandoor.  Those present there were scared about the fate of Haroon.

When this happened, Imaam did not pay attention towards the Tandoor and resumed the conversation with Sahal bin Hasan, and asked him about his city Khuraasaan in Persia where he was staying. Imaam Ja’far us Saadiq knew every information and  detail of Khuraasaan where Hasan was staying.  After listening minute details from Imaam, Hasan was surprised that in spite of him staying there, he didn’t know much about that place even though he was born and brought up there. When the conversation ended,  Imaam said that, "Let’s see what Haroon is doing in the Tandoor?"

When they visited him he was sitting calmly and quietly without any pain in that hot Tandoor. Imaam instructed Haroon to come out and narrate his experience in the Tandoor.  Haroon said that, “I felt as if I was not sitting in the Tandoor but in a gentle and beautiful garden of Jannat where fragrant colourful fresh flowers have blossomed and I was feeling very peaceful as many many angels were in my service and every moment they were offering to me different ne’maat of Jannat.” Imaam said that, “This happened because he had deep faith in me and great trust in Allaah Ta’aala.  My grandfather Maulaana ‘Ali Ameer ul Mumineen came to his rescue and saved him from any harm due to fire.”

Imaam added that, “If in your Khuraasaan 1000 righteous people like Haroon al-Makki take birth and they pledged to remain in my faith then I will reveal myself as the true Imaam.”  Imaam lastly quoted that, “If a bird gives birth to its young ones and on the second day itself it tries to fly with its weak and underdeveloped wings, it will fall down and children will play with it assuming it to be a toy.  This way children will prey on it and it will become a victim of untimely death.  So I don’t want to be like that baby bird which falls down never to return to its nest, because I know that how my enemies are playing dirty games and enacting false plots to harm and victimise me. So I want to do Imaamat only among my loved ones and my true well wishers and guide them to be on the right path of Haqq through the rough times of these tyrant people.”

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