The divine duty of every human being is to save his fellow creatures from perversion and wretchedness. And as certified by Imam Askari (a.s.), anyone who dies while not having recognized the Imam of his time has died in ignorance.1
Thus, those who have recognized their Imam and have faith in him have another duty of introducing Imam (a.t.f.s.) to others. Sulaiman-ibn-Khalid says:
I informed Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that my family members are people who accept my talks. I asked: Should I invite them to this affair? Imam (a.s.) replied: ‘Yes, for Allah, Exalted be He, mentions in His Book:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ عَلَيْهَا مَلَائِكَةٌ غِلَاظٌ شِدَادٌ لَا يَعْصُونَ اللَّهَ لَا يَعْصُونَ اللَّهَ مَا أَمَرَهُمْ وَيَفْعَلُونَ مَا يُؤْمَرُونَ
“O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel are men and stones” (Surah Tahrim, 66:6)
The scholars serving the Ahl al-bayt (a.s.) too have a heavy mission to bear on this path, as they are responsible for leading the people during the period of occultation.
The divine scholar and jurist Ayatullah Mirza Mahdi Esfahani (1365 A.H.) a great lover of Imam az-Zaman (a.t.f.s.) in his letter to his student, Ayatullah Shaikh Muhammad Baqir Maleki Miyanji (1419 A.H.)2 Pinpoints that the first duty of scholars is to open the door of the house of Ahl al-Bayt (a.s.) before the Shias. He recommends them to talk about the Imamate and perfection of Imam of the age (a.t.f.s.) so that the people remain immune from the evil. In one part of this letter, he writes:
‘O brother, I advise you; and once again I advise you to invite the people towards the Imam (a.s.) of the time, their refuge and shelter and direct their hearts and tongue towards him.’3
- 1. Kamaluddin; 2/409 and Kifayatul-Athar/292
- 2. A scholar and researcher of our time in the theological school in Qum. His honourable teacher Ayatullah Mirza Mehdi Esfahani bestowed him with the title of jurist. Among his published works, the most important ones are “Menahij al-Bayan Fi Tafsir al-Quran”, “Tauhid al-Imamiyah” and “Badayeh al-Kalam Fi Tafsir Ayaat-ul-Ahkam”. I thank his son, Mr Ali Maleki, a learned and prolific personality who has kept at my disposal a copy of the aforesaid letter.
- 3. Al-Kafi; 2/211