What are the ways for drawing Allah’s (swt) affection and love?

Allah’s (swt) affection for people doesn’t mean what is normally understood from this concept; because it entails deficiencies that Allah (swt) is pure of and theology has proven false.  What Allah’s (swt) affection for others truly means is that this affection stems from His love for Himself.  Allah loves His own actions and since His creations are the results of His actions, He loves them as well.
Different things that draw Allah’s (swt) affection have been mentioned in the Quran, namely: patience, taqwa, repentance, generosity, purity, and jihad and struggle. If one obtains these virtues, Allah (swt) will be affectionate towards him.

Allah’s (swt) affection for His servants

Love is an existential relationship in which one of its most important causes is the love of oneself that can be found in everyone.  Even Allah (swt) is aware of His own essence and attributes and loves Himself because of them, as He does His creations, because they are all His doings and actions that stem from His essence.
The affection Allah (swt) has for His servants isn’t the normal affection that people might think and are acquainted with because what such affection necessitates is for Allah (swt) to undergo some certain feelings and react to things, and Allah (swt) is too high and faultless to be such.  So what Allah’s (swt) love comes from, is His love for Himself, as we are His actions and doings. What is meant by Allah (swt) loving Himself is that He comprehends and understands goodness. It is Allah’s (swt) awareness to His own beauty that makes Him show affection, and since it is His essence that He is aware of and completely comprehends that makes Him beloved (so from one perspective He loves, and from another perspective He is beloved). Also, since His actions aren’t separate from His essence and are one with it, they are also loved by Him, meaning that He loves His actions, and since His creations are the results of His actions, He has affection for them as well. [1]
Therefore, all things in this world are loved by Allah (swt) the Almighty. What we are asking of here though, is His affection for man in its special meaning, as will be clarified as we go on with this article.
In order to find out how we can be subject to Allah’s (swt) affection and what the way is to reach this rank, it is necessary to first get familiar with those who Allah (swt) is affectionate towards, so that we can learn from them what they did to reach such a rank so that we can take the same steps as well.
The Quran speaks of individuals who Allah (swt) was affectionate towards, namely:

Allah is Affectionate to those who are Patient and steadfast [2]

Allah indeed loves the God wary [3]

Indeed Allah loves those who trust in Him [4]

Indeed Allah loves the penitent and He loves those who keep clean [5]

 Allah Is Affectionate to the good-doers [6]

Indeed Allah loves those who fight in His way [7]

Allah is Affectionate to those who judge according to justice [8]

These were some of those whom Allah (swt) loves.
What it means for Allah (swt) to love His servant is that He removes the veils that cover his heart so that he can see Allah (swt) with his heart’s eyes, enabling him to reach ranks of closeness to Him. This decision on Allah’s (swt) behalf is what is considered His love towards him.  In other words, Allah’s (swt) love for His servant is the cleansing of his heart from everything other than Him and from all obstacles that stand between him and Allah (swt). [9]
The urafa (those who have reached high levels of nearness to Allah (swt)) believe that Allah’s (swt) affection for his servants has two forms:
1- Initial affection out of favor and grace which Allah (swt) grants to some of His servants, empowering them to achieve obedience of their lord.
2- A secondary or deserved affection that is the fruit of obedience and obtaining praiseworthy attributes that Allah (swt) likes and this is accomplished through one of two ways:
a) Qurbul-Nawafil (Nearness through mustahabb acts)
b) Qurbul-Fara’idh (Nearness through wajib acts) [10]
Clearly, one of the signs of Allah’s (swt) love for a servant is that he/she succeeds in obeying the lord by performing wajib and refraining from haram acts.

Ways of obtaining Allah’s love

1- The first step in achieving such a matter is to purify the heart of the love of this world and all things attached to it in an effort to reach Allah (swt). Such can never be accomplished unless one pushes the love of everything other than Allah (swt) out of the heart; the reason being that man’s heart is like a container that doesn’t have the capacity of accepting anything unless it has been emptied of all other contents. At the same time, Allah (swt) hasn’t given anyone two hearts (so that one can encompass all worldly desires and the other contains the love of Allah (swt)).[11]  The prophet of Islam (pbuh) says:

The love of this life and world and the love of Allah (swt) cannot gather in one heart together [at the same time]).

Clearly, if Allah (swt) is loved by a person, Allah (swt) will also love him.

2- Patience and steadfastness during hardship, bitter times, tragedies, etc. is another way of getting nearer to Allah (swt) which the Quran and Ahlul-Bayt have emphasized on dramatically.  This is why the urafa have considered those who bear the virtue of patience to be loved by Allah (swt). [13]

3- Following and obeying the prophet (pbuh) because of the verse of:

(Say, if you love Allah (swt), follow me [the prophet] and Allah (swt) will love you too)

is also another way of reaching nearness.[15]

In clarification of the relationship between obeying the prophet (pbuh) and the nearness of Allah (swt), Ibn Arabi says:

“The reason why Allah (swt) considers the obedience of the prophet (pbuh) a means of drawing attention and love is that he is the reflection and manifestation of Allah (swt) in the “mirror” of this world.”[16]

Therefore, from Ibn Arabi’s point of view, no one can be loved by Allah (swt) unless he follows the prophet (pbuh), because the prophet (pbuh) is also in complete obedience of Allah (swt). So, the key in drawing Allah’s (swt) love both in the prophet (pbuh) and in his followers is obedience.  It is obedience that makes the difference. [17]

4- Jihad and fighting in the way of Allah (swt) is yet another way of drawing Allah’s (swt) love. Those who struggle and fight in the way of Allah (swt) are truly loved by Him and Allah (swt) gives them His very special attention; because they have sacrificed their most dearest things for His and Islam’s sake.  They are present in all battles between good and evil, whether it is in physical battles or cultural ones against the enemies of Islam.  They are like dams that stand in the way of Shaytan and anything that wants to harm Islam; they don’t allow Allah’s (swt) religion to be threatened, and as a result of all these efforts and sacrifice, Allah (swt) loves them.

5- Tawbah or repentance; meaning to be sorry and regretful regarding one’s sins and moving towards and taking refuge in Allah’s (swt) endless grace and mercy, also draws Allah’s (swt) affection. Repentance makes the servant of Allah (swt) draw closer to Him, opening the doors of mercy to him.  When one repents, he becomes Allah’s (swt) friend and loved one.
The author of Tafsir Rahnama says:

“One of the reasons why the love of Allah (swt) towards the righteous and those who repent has been pointed to is to encourage them to repent and be righteous. [18]

6- Those who donate and give charity: Giving charity is also a means of drawing Allah’s (swt) love. In reality, giving charity shows one’s gratitude regarding the divine blessings he/she has and is a form of obedience as well. [19]

7- Faith and good deeds are another way as well, because divine rewards and salvation are all contingent upon faith and good deeds. Therefore, faith that isn’t accompanied by good deeds will not entail divine love and salvation.

8- Generosity and kindness also have an effect on drawing Allah’s (swt) affection. [22]

9- Purity: After expressing some forms of worship, such as wudhu, tayammum and ghusl, Allah (swt) discloses the reasoning behind them, which is that He wants us to become pure:

Allah does not desire to put you to hardship, but He desires to purify you.  [23]

Therefore, all commands that Allah (swt) issues, regardless of what the subject of those commands are, are issued for the purpose of purifying our hearts and souls. [24]

Ayatullah Javadi Amoli says:

“When it is said that Allah (swt) loves those who trust in Him, or those who act justly with others and so on, what the truth of the matter is that He loves the trust itself and loves justice and righteousness, hence the love for those who possess these virtues. [25]

Of course there are always chances that one who trusts in Allah (swt) or possesses the virtue of patience also possesses bad attributes that Allah (swt) doesn’t like, nevertheless, his good attributes will remain loved by Allah (swt). Nevertheless, one can transcend such a degree (where Allah (swt) only loves his attributes instead of the person himself) and reach a level in which Allah (swt) loves the person himself instead of only his attributes, and that is by achieving all levels of perfection and not wanting anything but Allah (swt) himself. When such takes place, one’s essence is beloved to Allah (swt), and his attributes are loved subsequently. [26]
When this happens and Allah (swt) has affection for a person himself, not just for his attributes, the whole universe will have affection for that person, because the universe follows Allah (swt) in His will. This rank is one of the highest one can achieve. The significance of Allah’s (swt) affection for a person far surpasses the significance of one’s affection for Allah (swt). [27]
If Allah (swt) is affectionate towards somenone, his actions will be Allah’s (swt) actions, his words will be Allah’s (swt), etc. and traits of Allah (swt) will manifest in him.  In the famous hadith of “Qurbul-Nawafil”, the prophet of Islam (pbuh) says that Allah (swt) says:

Nothing brings one closer to me than performing what I have obliged him to do, and he continues to draw nearer to me through mustahabb acts until I love him; if he ever reaches a point where I truly love him, I will become his tongue that he speaks with out of my special grace, I will become his sight in which he sees with out of my special grace. 

it is on this basis that the speech of the believer who is loved by Allah (swt) becomes like it is the speech of Allah (swt) himself.[28]
Also, when Allah (swt) becomes affectionate towards someone, He falls in love with him, as a hadith by the prophet (pbuh) says:

When Allah (swt) becomes affectionate of someone, He makes that person fall in love with Him, in addition to Allah (swt) loving him as well.  Then Allah (swt) goes on to say: “O servant of mine!  You are in love with me, and I also love you, whether you like it or not!”

To sum it all up, there are various ways of reaching a point in which Allah (swt) becomes affectionate towards one, which can all be summarized in doing what Allah (swt) has obliged and refraining from what he has prohibited.

[1] Mohammad Reza Kashefi, A’ine Mehrvarzi, pp. 99-102; Ibn Sina, Resaleye Eshq, pp. 4-6.
[2] Ale-Imran:146.
{وَاللهُ يُحِبُّ الصَّابِرِينَ}
[3] Ale-Imran:76.
{فَإِنَّ اللهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ}
[4] Ale-Imran:159.
{إِنَّ اللهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ}
[5] Baqarah:222.
{إِنَّ اللهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَّابِينَ وَيُحِبُّ الْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ}
[6] Baqarah:195.
{إِنَّ اللهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ}
[7] Saff:4.
{إِنَّ اللهَ يُحِبُّ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِهِ}
[8] Ma’idah:42.
{إِنَّ اللهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ}
[9] Seyyid Abdullah Shubbar, Kitabul-Akhlaq (translation), pp. 412-413.
[10] Fatemeh Tabatabai, Sukhane Eshq, p. 171.
[11] Seyyid Abdullah Shubbar, Kitabul-Akhlaq (translation), 414.
[12] Mohammad Rey Shahri, Mizanul-Hikmah, vol. 2, p. 228.
حب الدنيا و حب الله لا يجتمعان في قلب واحد
[13] Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi, Futuhat Makkiyyah, vol. 2, p. 337.
[14] Ale-Imran:31.
قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللهُ
[15] Al-Mizan (translation), vol. 5, p. 633.
[16] Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi, Futuhat Makkiyyah, vol. 2, p. 336.
[17] Fatemeh Tabatabai, Sukhane Eshq, p. 171.
[18] Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Tafsir Rahnama, vol. 7, p. 486.
[19] Ibid, vol. 2, p. 274.
[20] Ale-Imran:57.
[21] Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Tafsir Rahnama, vol. 2, p. 463.
[22] Baqarah:195.
[23] Ma’idah:6.
مَا يُرِيدُ اللهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَكِن يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهَّرَكُمْ
[24] Abdullah Javadi Amoli, Hekmate Ebadat, pp. 86-87.
[25] Abdullah Javadi Amoli, Fetrat dar Quran, vol. 12, p. 254.
[26] Ibid, p. 256.
[27] Ibid, p. 254.
[28] Fatemeh Tabatabai, Sokhane Eshq, p. 278.
[29] Ibid, p. 34.
اذا احب الله عبداً عشقه و عشق عليه، فيقول عبدي انت عاشقي و محبي و انا عاشق لک و محب لک، ان اردت او لم ترد

Is, according to Islam, religion separate from politics?

First of all we had better clarify the meaning of “politics” so that its relationship with religion may become clear. There are two interpretations for the word “politics”:

1. Sometimes, politics is interpreted as “trickery, ruse, and the use of every possible means to reach a particular objective”. In other words, the end justifies the means.
In fact, this interpretation of politics, apart from its being inconsistent with the real sense of the word, does not mean but deceit and treachery and this meaning is not compatible with religion.

2. The second interpretation of “politics” is the management of social life affairs by applying the principles of Islam in various aspects.

Politics which means management of the affairs of the Muslims according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah is an integral part of religion. We shall elaborate here on the idea of the concordance of religion and politics and the need for establishing government:

The most vivid evidence which substantiates this idea is the conduct of the Holy Prophet (s.a) during the period of his mission which was full of ups and downs. On studying the words and practices of the Messenger of Allah (s.a), we become fully aware that from the outset of his mission, he was in pursuit of establishing a strong government founded on faith in God and capable of implementing the agenda and programs of Islam.

At this juncture, it is worth citing some of the instances of the Prophet’s efforts to achieve this aim:

The Prophet (s.a) as the founder of Islamic government:

1. When the Messenger of Allah (s.a) was ordered to publicize his divine mission, he started to organize the nucleus of resistance and guidance and mobilize Muslims. Along this line, he used to meet groups of pilgrims coming from far and near to visit the Ka‘bah, inviting them to Islam. Meanwhile, he held a meeting with two groups of the people from Medina at a place called “‘Aqabah” and they pledged to invite him to their city and give him support. 1 So, this was the first step toward establishing an Islamic government.

2. After his emigration (hijrah) to Medina, the Messenger of Allah (s.a) started to found and organize a powerful and dignified army corps-an army that fought 82 battles during the period of the Prophet’s mission and managed, through glorious victories, to remove the hurdles and set up the Islamic government.

3. After the establishment of the Islamic government in Medina, the Prophet (s.a) made contacts with the powerful political and social centers of his time by dispatching ambassadors, sending historic letters, and forging economic, political and military links with many leaders.
The biography of the Prophet (s.a) contains a detailed account of his letters to Khosroe, the Emperor of Persia; Caesar, the Emperor of Byzantine; Muqauqis, the King of Egypt; Negus, the King of Abyssinia; and other rulers at that time. 2

4. In a bid to elevate the objectives of Islam and maximize the cohesion of the bases of the Islamic government, the Messenger of Allah (s.a) appointed rulers and chiefs for many tribes and cities. Below is an example of his decisions in this respect:

The Holy Prophet (s.a) dispatched Rafā‘ah ibn Zayd as his representative to the tribe of Khwaysh and wrote the following letter:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ
هذا كتاب من محمّد رسول الله لرفاعة بن زيدٍ إنّى بعثته إلى قومه عامّةً و من دخل فيهم يدعوهم إلى الله و إلى رسوله فمن أقبل منهم ففي حزب الله و حزب رسوله و من أدبر فله أمانُ شهرين
In the Name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful
This letter is from Muḥammad, the Messenger of Allah, to Rafā‘ah ibn Zayd. I have dispatched him to his tribe and those related to them to invite them toward God and His Messenger. Whoever accepts his invitation will be among the Party of Allah and the Party of His Messenger and whoever turns away from him will have a two-month security respite. 3

These practices and decisions of the Prophet (s.a) confirm that from the beginning of his mission, he had been in pursuit of setting up a strong government through which to administer the universal laws of Islam in all facets of life.

Do such actions like forging pacts with active groups and tribes, organizing a strong army, dispatching ambassadors to different countries, warning kings and rulers and communicating with them, sending governors and rulers to cities and districts far and near, and the like have any other name than “politics” in the sense of managing and administering different aspects of society?

In addition to the conduct of the Prophet (s.a), the manner of the Four Caliphs, and in particular the way followed by the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s) during his caliphate and rule in his treatment of the Shī‘ah and the Sunnī is a testimony to the concordance of religion and politics.

The scholars of both Islamic groups offer extensive proofs from the Book (Qur’an) and Sunnah to support the idea of the need for the establishment of government and management of the affairs of society. Here are some examples:

In his book, Al-Aḥkām as-Sulṭāniyyah, Abū’l-Ḥasan al-Māwardī says:

الإمامة موضوعة لخلافة النّبوّة في حراسة الدّين و سياسة الدّنيا، عقدها لمن يقوم بها في الأمّة واجبٌ بالإجماع
Imamah has been laid to succeed the prophethood (nubuwwah) and to safeguard the religion and manage the affairs of this world, and pledging loyalty to the one who undertakes it is obligatory according to the consensus of the ummah. 4

This Muslim scholar, who is one of the renowned ‘ulamā’ of the Ahl al-Sunnah, presents both rational and religious proofs to support this idea. The following is his rational proof:

لمافي طباع العقلاء، من التّسليم لزعيم يمنعهم من التّظالم، ويفصل بينهم في التّنازع و التّخاصم،و لولا الولاة لكانوا فوضى مهملين و همجًا مضاعين
It is the nature of wise peple to follow a leader so that he may prevent them from oppressing one another and settle their problems at the time of dispute. And if it were not for the rulers, the people would have live in chaos like lose savages. 5

His religious proof is as follows:

:ولكن جاء الشّرع بتفويض الأمور إلى وليّه في الدّين، قال الله عزّوجلّ
{يَأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءامَنُوا أطِيعُوا اللهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ}
ففرض علينا طاعة أولي الامر فينا و هم الأئمّة المتامرون علينا
But religious law is intended to entrust the affairs to a religious authority. God, the Honorable and Glorious, says: ‘O you who have faith! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those vested with authority among you.’(Qur’an, 4:59) Thus, God has made it incumbent upon us to obey those who are vested with authority and such people are our leaders and rulers. 6

Shaykh al-Ṣadūq narrates on the authority of Faḍl ibn Shādhān something attributed to Imam al-Reḍa (a.s). This sublime narration includes the Imam’s words regarding the necessity of establishing a government. Below is an excerpt from his speech:

انّالانجد فرقةً من الفرق و لا ملّة من الملل بقوا و عاشوا إلا بقيّم و رئيس لما لابدّ لهم منه من أمر الدّين و الدّنيا فلم يجز في حكمة الحكيم أن يترك الخلق لما يعلم أنّه لابدّ لهم منه ولا قوام لهم إلا به فيقاتلون به عدوّهم و يقسمون به فيئهم و يقيمون بِهِ و جمعتهم جماعتهم و يمنع ظالمهم من مظلومهم
We do not find any group or community that has been able to survive without a ruler and leader because they need a ruler for managing both religious and worldly affairs. Thus, it is far beyond the wisdom of the Wise Lord to leave the people without a leader when He knows that they do need him and that they cannot exist without a ruler under whose supervision, they fight their enemies, divide the booties and spoils of war, perform their Friday and other congregational prayers, and who prevents the oppressors from oppressing the others. 7

If we want to expound on the traditions and analyze the various speeches of Muslim jurists (fuqahā) from a juristic perspective we cannot do it in this short treatise, and we need a separate volume for this purpose.

A comprehensive study of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) makes it clear that many religious laws cannot be implemented without the establishment of a government.
Islam calls on us to take part in jihād and defense, plead for justice against tyrants, protect the oppressed, implement ḥudūd and ta‘zīrāt, enjoin good and forbid evil in a broad sense, form a codified financial system, and safeguard the unity of the Muslim society. It is obvious that the mentioned objectives cannot be achieved without the establishment of a potent system and cohesive government because if we want to protect the sacred religion and defend the jurisdiction of Islam, we need an organized army, and the organization of such a strong army, in turn, requires the establishment of a powerful government that applies the Islamic precepts. In the same vein, implementing ḥudūd 9 and ta‘zīrāt 10 with the aim of performing the obligations, preventing crimes, regaining the rights for the oppressed from the oppressors and the other aforementioned objectives will not be accessible without a systematized and potent system and organization. Without such a system or organization, executing them will lead to chaos and tumult.

Although according to Islam the proofs of the need of establishing a government are far more than what we have stated, it is clear from the mentioned proofs that religion and politics are inseparable and establishing an Islamic government on the basis of the values of the luminous Islamic law is indispensable and all of the Muslims of the world are responsible for achieving this goal.

[1] Sīrah Ibn Hishām (Egypt, 2nd Edition), vol. 1, “Discussion on the First ‘Aqabah,” p. 431.
[2] See, for example, Muḥammad Ḥamīd Allāh, Al-Wathā’iq as-Siyāsiyyah and ‘Alī Aḥmadī, Makātib ar-Rasūl.
[3] Makātib ar-Rasūl, vol. 1, p. 144.
[4] Abū’l-Ḥasan al-Māwardī, Al-Aḥkām as-Sulṭāniyyah (Egypt), “Bāb al-Awwal,” p. 5.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Sūrah an-Nisā’ 4:59.
[7] Abū’l-Ḥasan al-Māwardī, Al-Aḥkām as-Sulṭāniyyah (Egypt), “Bāb al-Awwal,” p. 5.
[8] Ilal ash-Sharā’i‘, vol. 9, bāb 182, p. 253.
[9] Hudūd is the plural form of hadd which literally means a limit between two things. [Trans].
[10] Ta‘zīrāt is the plural form of ta‘zīr which literally means to reproach and to blame. While technically describing hadd and ta‘zīr, Muhaqqiq al-H!illī said to the effect: Whenever the punishment for a crime is specified by the sacred law, it is called hadd; for example, punishments for stealing, murder, etc. Whenever the punishment for a crime is not specified by the sacred law, it is called ta‘zīr and its limit is entirely determined by the judge and competent jurist. See Shahid ath-Thānī, Sharh al-Lum‘ah, “Kitāb al-Ḥudūd wa’t-Ta‘zīrāt”; Muhaqqiq al-Hillī, Kitāb al-H!udūd wa’t-Ta‘zīrāt. [Trans].

Is religion compatible with politics?

A religion that has come in order to explain the path to felicity from now until the end of time cannot remain indifferent to a matter that all societies need, that is, government. In other words, the rules and regulations of Islam are such that they depend on a government and without which Islam cannot remain alive.

Imam ‘Ali b. Musa al-Rida (a.s) has said the following in one of his statements regarding the necessity of an Islamic government:

We have not found any nation that has survived without a leader. This is because the regulation and management of their religious and worldly needs depends upon a responsible leader. It is far from the wisdom of Allah to leave His servants without a leader while He well knows that they need a ruler who would give the society structure and stability. A leader that would lead the people in war against the enemies, distribute the wealth amongst them, lead the Friday prayers, and protect the oppressed against the tyrants.” 1

From another point of view the rules and regulations of Islam are such that they depend on a government and without which, Islam cannot remain alive. Because of this Imam ‘Ali b. Musa al-Rida (a.s) has referred to the Friday and congregational prayers being conducted by the leader. In another statement he says:

If Allah had not placed a reliable and trustworthy leader amongst the people, the religion of Allah would surely have finished, the laws of Allah would have changed, innovations would have arisen in religion, irreligious people would have changed the faith of Allah and added and subtracted things from it, and doubts would have arisen about Islam amongst the Muslims.”

For this very reason it was well known amongst the Muslims, and even amongst the non-Muslims, that Islam has a specific system of government and that the government of the Noble Prophet (a.s) in Medina was a clear example of such a system.

In the year 1343 ah, ‘Ali ‘Abd al-Razzaq, in his book Islam and the Principles of Government, denied the Prophetic government and claimed that the Prophet Muhammad (a.s) was simply a prophet sent by Allah (awj) to the scholars of the world and that he in no way took steps towards the formation of a government. He did this at a time when Kamal Ataturk rejected the government of the Ottomans and laid the foundations of his secular government.

At the same time in Egypt, the followers of the caliphate chose Sultan Fuad as the leader of the Muslims and placed him in the seat of power. The fact that these events occurred concurrently shows that ‘Abd al-Razzaq was influenced by the secular thoughts of the West and wrote these matters by taking inspiration from the writings of secular philosophers and political scientists. ‘Abd al-Razzaq claimed two things:

1. What the Noble Prophet (a.s) established in Medina was not a government.

2. What was set up in Medina was not religious.

In order to prove the first point he places emphasis on the fact that what the Noble Prophet (a.s) created in Medina did not have any of the qualities of a government.

In order to prove the second point he says that the degree and stature of Prophethood spurns politics and government.

In order to answer the first point we must pay attention to the fact that the consequence of holding that a specific form of government should be the standard by which we judge if something is a government or not would be that none of the nations of the past have ever had any governments. Therefore a more general definition of government must be given so that it can be true for various forms of government. Such a definition can be put in the following way: Government is a collection of organized powers that has as its duty the management of the affairs of society.

In this definition, government is comprised of various governmental structures like the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government. According to this definition of government  then, that which the Noble Prophet (a.s) created in Medina was a government in the real sense of the word since he created an organized power structure that had as its responsibility the management of the affairs of society. From the time of the Prophet until now, many books have been written regarding the management system of his government.

Now when we pay attention to the following points, the religious nature of the Prophet’s government will become clear:

1. The rules and regulations of Islam are such that without a government, they cannot be implemented; for example rulings pertaining to the executive, judicial, or monetary systems of Islam.

2. We have proofs to show that the rule and running of the affairs of society are the prerogative of the Noble Prophet (a.s).

3. If Prophethood were really at odds with government then why would the Noble Prophet (a.s) take steps towards the creation of a government? Why would he waste his time and energy in this regard? If it were asked that does this “misappropriation” of effort not show irresponsibility, it would be answered that the Noble Prophet (a.s) started this work for the propagation of religion and in order to fulfil his apostleship. This answer shows the interrelationship of religion and politics from one point of view. Of course it does not answer the question as to why he himself took the establishment of religion into his own hands, while he could easily have placed the responsibility in the hands of some other reliable friend like Imam ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s).
In any case, we can really only understand and criticize what ‘Abd al-Razzaq wrote over 70 years ago-something existing in its various forms in the Muslim world today-when we examine the context and culture in which this thought took shape, viz. the West. In order to understand the philosophy and culture of the West, we must have a look-though cursory-at the history of Christian thought that forms the cultural matrix of the Western world.

[1] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 6, pp. 60-61
فَإِنْ قَالَ فَلِمَ جَعَلَ أُولِي الْأَمْرِ وَ أَمَرَ بِطَاعَتِهِمْ قِيلَ لِعِلَلٍ كَثِيرَةٍ مِنْهَا أَنَّ الْخَلْقَ لَمَّا وَقَعُوا عَلَى حَدٍّ مَحْدُودٍ وَ أُمِرُوا أَنْ لاَ يَتَعَدَّوْا ذَلِكَ الْحَدَّ (تِلْكَ الْحُدُودَ) لِمَا فِيهِ مِنْ فَسَادِهِمْ لَمْ يَكُنْ يَثْبُتُ ذَلِكَ وَ لاَ يَقُومُ إِلاَّ بِأَنْ يَجْعَلَ عَلَيْهِمْ فِيهِ أَمِيناً يَمْنَعُهُمْ مِنَ التَّعَدِّي وَ الدُّخُولِ فِيمَا حُظِرَ عَلَيْهِمْ لِأَنَّهُ لَوْ لَمْ يَكُنْ ذَلِكَ كَذَلِكَ لَكَانَ أَحَدٌ لاَ يَتْرُكُ لَذَّتَهُ وَ مَنْفَعَتَهُ لِفَسَادِ غَيْرِهِ فَجَعَلَ عَلَيْهِمْ قَيِّماً يَمْنَعُهُمْ مِنَ الْفَسَادِ وَ يُقِيمُ فِيهِمُ الْحُدُودَ وَ الْأَحْكَامَ وَ مِنْهَا أَنَّا لاَ نَجِدُ فِرْقَةً مِنَ الْفِرَقِ وَ لاَ مِلَّةً مِنَ الْمِلَلِ بَقُوا وَ عَاشُوا إِلاَ بِقَيِّمٍ وَ رَئِيسٍ لِمَا لاَ بُدَّ لَهُمْ مِنْهُ فِي أَمْرِ الدِّينِ وَ الدُّنْيَا فَلَمْ يَجُزْ فِي حِكْمَةِ الْحَكِيمِ أَنْ يَتْرُكَ الْخَلْقَ مِمَّا يَعْلَمُ أَنَّهُ لاَ بُدَّ لَهُمْ مِنْهُ وَ لاَ قِوَامَ لَهُمْ إِلاَّ بِهِ فَيُقَاتِلُونَ بِهِ عَدُوَّهُمْ وَ يَقْسِمُونَ بِهِ فَيْئَهُمْ وَ يُقِيمُ لَهُمْ جُمُعَتَهُمْ وَ جَمَاعَتَهُمْ وَ يَمْنَعُ ظَالِمَهُمْ مِنْ مَظْلُومِهِمْ وَ مِنْهَا أَنَّهُ لَوْ لَمْ يَجْعَلْ لَهُمْ إِمَاماً قَيِّماً أَمِيناً حَافِظاً مُسْتَوْدَعاً لَدَرَسَتِ الْمِلَّةُ وَ ذَهَبَ الدِّينُ وَ غُيِّرَتِ السُّنَّةُ وَ الْأَحْكَامُ وَ لَزَادَ فِيهِ الْمُبْتَدِعُونَ وَ نَقَصَ مِنْهُ الْمُلْحِدُونَ وَ شَبَّهُوا ذَلِكَ عَلَى الْمُسْلِمِينَ لِأَنَّا قَدْ وَجَدْنَا الْخَلْقَ مَنْقُوصِينَ مُحْتَاجِينَ غَيْرَ كَامِلِينَ مَعَ اخْتِلاَفِهِمْ وَ اخْتِلاَفِ أَهْوَائِهِمْ وَ تَشَتُّتِ أَنْحَائِهِمْ فَلَوْ لَمْ يَجْعَلْ لَهُمْ قَيِّماً حَافِظاً لِمَا جَاءَ بِهِ الرَّسُولُ (ص) لَفَسَدُوا عَلَى نَحْوِ مَا بَيَّنَّا وَ غُيِّرَتِ الشَّرَائِعُ وَ السُّنَنُ وَ الْأَحْكَامُ وَ الْإِيمَانُ وَ كَانَ فِي ذَلِكَ فَسَادُ الْخَلْقِ أَجْمَعِين
Ref: Faith and Reason, A Compendium of Fifty Questions and Answers Related to Islamic Theology, Jurisprudence and Other Themes, Compiled by The Porch of Wisdom Cultural Institution, Translated by A Group of Muslim Scholars, Published by: The Islamic Education Board of theWorld Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities

What is the reasoning of secularists in separating religion from politics?

By responding to the arguments of people who claim that politics is separate from religion, it will be proven that this cannot be the case and that religion is part and parcel of politics. To those who say that the essence of politics and the essence of religion are at odds and for this reason they cannot be combined, the following can be said: Religious politics means the management of a society based upon the values and criterion of religion, in order that the society reaches wholeness and true balance; there does not exist any logical contradictions in the issue of religious politics.
In response to the argument that religious laws are matters that are “on occasion”, it must be stated that this is not only applicable to religion or the precepts of religion in the political arena, but it applies to every body of laws which is in existence (all of these are based on circumstances and the situation at hand).
Also, in response to the argument that religion is an unchangeable matter and the world and its politics are always changing, and therefore, an unchangeable body is unable to manage something which is always in a state of change, it is said that: religion and this world both possess changeable and non-changeable aspects, and each part of religion has to do with its corresponding part of worldly matters. In relation to those who say that Islamic jurisprudential management is inefficient or incompetent, it must be said that Islam takes into consideration all changing and non-changing aspects of individual and social life and guides people to a correct way of life with all of these aspects factored in. The existence of the jurisprudential method, which is the standard way of understanding religion, provides and ensures the correct understanding to this religion. In addition, it opens the possibility of answering new questions which come about.

Secularists, who deny that religion and politics have always been joined together (throughout history) and make the claim of its separation, have held on to certain arguments which can easily be refuted, and the inseparable nature of religion and politics can be proven. Below we will delve into certain arguments of the secularists and we will also provide the counter arguments as well:

1- The differences in the essential natures of religion and politics.
2- The ‘on occasion’ nature of religious precepts
3- Fixed religious values and norms and a changing world.
4- The lack of efficiency in jurisprudential management.

Below we will summarily explain these issues:

1 -The differences in the essential natures of religion and politics

A group from amongst the secularists, by emphasizing essentialism, 1 have mentioned: Everything has a nature and essence which is particular to itself, and the essence and nature of religion is intrinsically different than the essence of politics. Therefore, religious politics can be compared to a wooden piece of iron, which is an impossible and contradictory matter. In response to this statement, we say: the essence of politics is the management of the affairs of society, and the essence of religion is the guidance of human beings towards God (towards true felicity). Through this description, we can say that religious politics means the management of society based on the principles and values of religion, in order that man reaches true felicity. Therefore, there are no logical contradictions in the statement ‘religious politics’.

2- The interpretations of religion and newly arising circumstances

Some have said that religious interpretations have themselves arisen from circumstances and therefore it is not possible to find guidance in religion from other newly arising circumstances. This is while the management of a society is in need of such specific guidance in newly arising circumstances, and therefore religion is not able to be a guiding force for politics. 2
In order to explain this claim, we must first explain clearly what rulings based on circumstance mean. Religious precepts and rulings in every domain (just like in religion), can be divided into three sections:

1- Causative precepts and rulings: These are rulings which remain fixed and unchanged in all situations, times, and circumstances. Amongst such rulings is that of oppression; oppression is unlawful and a sin in all circumstances, situations, and times. Likewise, the concept of justice is obligatory and it cannot be changed under any circumstance.

2- Circumstantial (or situational) precepts and rulings: This is defined as religious rulings (which are fixed) when they meet the obstacle of specific situations. Overall, telling the truth is obligatory, but when it meets with an obstacle, it can no longer be obligatory. For example, if telling the truth (which is obligatory) causes the death of somebody, then it is no longer considered obligatory.

3- Rulings which are dependent on the prevailing situation: These are defined as rulings which are formed based on the specific situation at hand. For example, physical punishment without any reason is unlawful, but when it is used to prevent moral deviation, then it can become lawful.

At the same time it should be kept in mind that this matter is not particular to religion or religious precepts only. Every body of law behaves in this same way; the majority of circumstantial matters have laws which are circumstantial. We cannot enact general laws which define every single possible individual matter, which can be performed or not performed. It is simply not possible to imagine every single potential action, with all of its divergent possibilities and potentials.

The most important and prevalent of these matters is when the enactment of a ruling becomes a preventative for the enactment of another ruling. This matter is called ‘Tazahome Ahkam’ in jurisprudential lexicon and in jurisprudence a method exists for selecting one of these two rulings. Generally, the more important ruling predominates over the less important ruling, and it is thus selected. From another angle, there exist principles in Islamic laws which show what is more important than others. For example, human life is considered more important than wealth.
In short, a circumstantial nature is particular to the majority of laws and it does not pertain particularly to religion; what Islam has done is it has clarified the criterion of deciding the correct course of action for the particularities of life. Therefore, in this regard as well, there is nothing to prevent religion from being a guiding principle and part of politics. 3

3- Religion is a fixed affair and the world a changing one

The most important reason which Secularists bring against the involvement of religion in political matters is the fixed nature of religion and the changing nature of this world. 4 Their arguments can be expressed in the following words: Religion is a sacred affair and things of a sacred nature are fixed and unchangeable. This is while the world is always in a continuous state of change and flux; therefore religion cannot manage the affairs of this world and involve itself in politics. If we pay detailed attention to what was mentioned previously, it is manifestly clear that, two contradictory issues appear in this argument, and that the argument is a fallacious one.

The first fallacy is that it is assumed that in religion (in Islam) no changeable aspects exist; in our previous discussions, we mentioned how changeable aspects do exist in Islam. The fixed aspects of religion are based upon certain fixed human attributes and characteristics, while the changeable aspects are designed for those very same issues which are found to change with the passage of time, circumstance, and social conditions. In our following investigation, we will explain how universal elements and situational ones came about in Islam, along with how these two are related in different fields of man’s life; all of this under the title of “The Theory of Codified Thought”.

The second fallacy is that the proponents of this argument have claimed that this world is a changing world and that there are no fixed characteristics to be found within it. This is while the world has both fixed and changing attributes and characteristics; it is only through the combination of both of these aspects that the world is made whole. Through this description, it is made clear that the world possesses both fixed and alterable characteristics and every part of religion (Islam) takes into consideration both of these issues.

4- The lack of efficiency in the method of religious jurisprudence

Some individuals have considered religious jurisprudence to be an ancient and extinct method, and have considered the modern era to be one whereby the world can only be managed through modern scientific methods. The foundation of this manner of thought is in the belief that religious jurisprudence is at odds with science and vice versa. It is as if religion was founded upon superstition and ignorance, and it can never be made harmonious with the empirical scientific method.

Due to this viewpoint, they say the following: ‘The organization, problem solving, and differentiation of jurisprudence belongs to a very basic society and it helps to solve that society’s simple problems and the small issues that people would have in that low level society… The implementation of law in the life of society, the marketplace, family, and government was not yet established, and the rule of jurisprudence and the king took the place of the rule of science; due to this, whenever a problem would arise, religious jurisprudence was required (indeed it was the only solution to be found). Religious jurisprudence was required to put a stop to marketplace speculators and hoarders, in order to root out their illegal marketplace practices and save society from their harmful actions and collective dangers. The scientific method was still yet undeveloped and unknown to the society. The known source of solving the society’s problems and managing it was the religious jurisprudential method. Can the industrial and economic revolution of today really be denied? The modern political system will not accept the halter of the religious jurisprudential method any longer! 5

This type of thought is the result of comparing Islam with Christianity from one angle, and not fully estimating the powers of religious jurisprudence from another angle. This type of thought is also the result of forgetting the contributions and harmony of Islam with various sciences; indeed the religion of Islam was and is instrumental in the creation and furtherance of many sciences and branches of knowledge.

Islamic jurisprudence, keeping in mind the existence of universal elements and situations which are either fixed or changing in terms of their relation to individual and societal life, can serve as a guide and reference. The existence of the jurisprudential method (Ijtihad) opens the way of ascertaining religious law and guidelines in both fixed and changing situations; it leaves the door open for answering newly arisen questions which come about naturally with the passage of time. From another angle, the enactment of religious jurisprudence and the utility of jurisprudents does not entail the rejection of science and other forms of knowledge and learning. In fact, whenever necessary, Islamic jurisprudence entails the utilization of necessary sciences and fields of knowledge. In matters which are constantly changing, this is considered necessary in the proper enactment of these religious rulings. 6

Therefore referring to religious jurisprudence is not a barrier to science and other branches of knowledge; in reality, religious jurisprudence is a guiding force for better fulfillment of human knowledge and science and in reaching human goals and ideals.7

[1] Essentialism
[2] See: Aadel Zaher, Al-Asaas al-Falsafiyyah li al-Ilmaaniyyah, p. 178, Ahmad Wa’ezi, Hukumate Dini, p. 70.
[3] Adopted from the book Velayate va Diyanat “Jastarhayi dar Andisheye Siyasiye Islam”, Ayatullah Mahdi Hadavi Tehrani, pp. 42-45.
[4] Ibid, the chapter on the “Stability of religion and mutability of the world”.
[5] Abdul Karim Soroush, Qesseye Arbaabe Ma’rifat, pp. 54-55.
[6] Mahdi Hadavi Tehrani, Mabaniye Kalamiye Ijtihad, pp. 403-404 and Mahdi Hadavi Tehrani, Velayate Faqih, pp. 61-64.
[7] Adopted from the book Velayate va Diyanat “Jastarhayi dar Andisheye Siyasiye Islam”, Ayatullah Mahdi Hadavi Tehrani, pp. 45-47.

Why should religion interfere in politics?

The theory of the separation of religion from politics is a viewpoint that supports marginalizing religion from different fields of human life. According to this viewpoint, man is able to discover the true rules to culture, politics, judgment, economy, commerce, manners, social relationships, etc., and legislate them with the help of science and knowledge, and does not need religion to intervene in his life.
Roots of the prevalence of this viewpoint during the Middle Ages can be traced back to the deficiency of distorted and altered Christianity, the ruling of despotism, the lack of freedom of expression because of the church and the contradiction between science and the teachings of the Bible.
In the Islamic world, the theory has been posed by three different groups: 1- Ruling oppressors that intended to change the caliphate into a type of monarchy 2- Foreign colonizers 3- The movement of corrupt thinkers.
As to refute the viewpoint of the separation of religion and politics, many solid and convincing arguments have been mentioned, two of which we will mention below: 1- Referring to Islamic teachings, texts and sources 2- The Sirah (lifestyle and acts) of the Holy Prophet and his household. Examining the mentioned material clearly shows that the separation of religion and politics does not apply to Islam, because a great portion of Islamic teachings and knowledge cover political and social issues.
Also, in order to understand how to argue in opposition to the advocates of this viewpoint, we will examine and refute one of the important reasons that supports their standpoint in the detailed answer.

In order to answer the abovementioned question we will explain the fundamentals of this theory and then we will explain the strong bond between Islam and politics:

The theory of the separation of religion from politics (Secularism) is a viewpoint that advocates and promotes marginalizing religion from the different fields of human life including politics, government, science, moral principles, etc. According to this theory, man is able to understand the true rules to culture, politics, judgment, economy, commerce, manners and social relationships and whatever has to do with ones emotional, mental and physical life with the help of knowledge and intellect, the same way man was successful in revealing the secrets of nature with the help of thought and science. Therefore, man is no longer in need of religion to intervene in his life. The Oxford dictionary defines the term Secularism as follows: “The belief that religion should not be involved in the organization of society, education, etc”. The origin of this theory can be found in the West.

During the Middle Ages and after that era, many factors came together and led to the prevalence of this viewpoint in the Western culture. On one hand was the altered Christianity that promoted vague and unreasonable teachings along with the tyranny and oppression and the lack of freedom of expression because of the church and on the other hand there was the contradiction between the teachings of the Bible and intellect and logic. All of this led to the expulsion of religion from all fields in which science could play a role.

In the Islamic world, the theory has been posed by three different groups: First: Ruling oppressors that intended to change the caliphate into a monarchy. For example, when Mu’awiyah rose to power in the year 40 AH, he traveled to Iraq and stated: “I was not fighting you over praying and fasting, but rather I did so to rule over you and (now) I have reached my goal.” 1 After him, the Islamic government began to lack its religious and sacred aspect and went on to change into a monarchy. Throughout history oppressing rulers have always proposed politics as a separate issue from religion and promoted the thought that the station of religious scholars is higher than that to interfere in politics. 2

The second group was the foreign colonizers. The greatest and most devastating opposition oppressors have encountered from Islamic countries were led by religious scholars and their teachings. Therefore, the theory of religion’s separation from politics was always the viewpoint oppressors would promote and advocate. 3

The third group was the movement of corrupted theorists that was initiated by those educated in the West who strived to apply the western theory of religion’s separation from politics to Islam, not knowing that firstly: Islam is different from Christianity, and secondly: What was known to be Christianity during the Middle Ages was not true Christianity. Thirdly: Not only Islamic scholars have never oppressed or pressured the society and have never been against knowledge and science, but also any era in which power has been in their hands has been recognized as a golden period of scientific growth, development and flourishing. Many solid and detailed arguments have been mentioned in opposition to the theory of the separation of religion from politics that cannot all be mentioned in this article, therefore, we will only employ two of the most prominent methods to oppose the advocates of this viewpoint which are: 1- Referring to the Islamic teachings, texts and sources 2- The Sirah (lifestyle and acts) of the Holy Prophet and his household. Knowing that a great amount of social and political rulings and tenets are mentioned in Islam, one can easily recognize the true aims of this religion. The late Imam Khomeini says in this regard:

Islam is a religion of politics and all issues related to it. This point is evident to anyone who has done the least examination of Islam’s governmental, political, social and economic rulings. Therefore, whoever assumes that religion is separate from politics has neither understood religion nor politics.” 4

With a very slight examination of Islamic rulings and Quranic verses it becomes clear that Islam is a comprehensive and exhaustive religion that factors in all aspects of human life (individual, social, worldly, heavenly, physical and spiritual aspects). The same way Islam has called people to worshiping one God and consists of moral instructions pertaining to individual self-building, it also has rulings and instructions in regard to governmental, political, economic, social, judicial, management, international relationships and legal issues. It also consists of judicial, legal, social relationships, economic, moral instructions and rulings. Obviously, carrying out and practicing these rulings and commands is not possible without governmental authority and power and a religious government, in its correct term, is a government that presides and rules over a society according to divine law and gets the grounds ready for the development of people’s potentials, helps them reach perfection and create an ideal society and opposes moral and social corruption.

When describing the true believers, the Quran says:

{الَّذينَ إِنْ مَکَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَقامُوا الصَّلاةَ وَ آتَوُا الزَّکاةَ وَ أَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَ نَهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنْکَرِ وَ لِلَّهِ عاقِبَةُ الْأُمُور}
Those who, if We granted them power in the land, maintain the prayer, give the Zakat, and bid what is right and forbid what is wrong. And with Allah rests the outcome of all matters.” 5

Moreover, the lifestyle and acts of the prophet show that religion is not separate from politics; because while establishing a government, the prophet also carried out the role of judging and implementing the law in it. Imam Ali also established a government based on justice and the execution of divine law. The short lived government of Imam Hassan, the bloody movement of Imam Hussein, and the next Imams considering different governments at that time as illegitimate ones, all indicate that establishing a government is an indisputable principle of Islam. There are many Quranic verses pertaining to this issue:

1- {لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنا رُسُلَنا بِالْبَيِّناتِ وَ أَنْزَلْنا مَعَهُمُ الْکِتابَ وَ الْميزانَ لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ وَ أَنْزَلْنَا الْحَديدَ فيهِ بَأْسٌ شَديدٌ وَ مَنافِعُ لِلنَّاس}
Certainly We sent Our apostles with manifest proofs, and We sent down with them the Book and the Balance, so that mankind may maintain justice; and We sent down iron, in which there is great might and uses for mankind…”. 6

2-  {يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنُوا کُونُوا قَوَّامينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَداءَ بِالْقِسْطِ…}
O you who have faith! Be maintainers, as witnesses for the sake of Allah, of justice…” 7

3- {وَ لَقَدْ بَعَثْنا في‏ کُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَسُولاً أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللهَ وَ اجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ}
Certainly We raised an apostle in every nation [to preach:]” Worship Allah, and keep away from the Rebels…”. 8

4- {وَ ما لَکُمْ لا تُقاتِلُونَ في‏ سَبيلِ اللهِ وَ الْمُسْتَضْعَفينَ مِنَ الرِّجالِ وَ النِّساءِ وَ الْوِلْدانِ الَّذينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنا أَخْرِجْنا مِنْ هذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُها وَ اجْعَلْ لَنا مِنْ لَدُنْکَ وَلِيًّا وَ اجْعَلْ لَنا مِنْ لَدُنْکَ نَصيراً}
Why should you not fight in the way of Allah and the abased men, women, and children, who say,” Our Lord, bring us out of this town whose people are wrongdoers, and appoint for us a guardian from You, and appoint for us a helper from You”?” 9

5-{يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنُوا أَطيعُوا اللهَ وَ أَطيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَ أُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْکُمْ…}
O you who have faith! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those vested with authority among you…” 10

There are also many other verses in which issues like the Book, Mizan (Scale), iron and its benefits, bearing witness to justice, abandoning Tāghut (Those who rebel against Allah’s authority), fighting in the path of Allah and the weak, saving the oppressed, migrating in the path of Allah, etc., are mentioned, and it is obvious that these are all social commands that have been asserted in the Holy Book of Allah. However, the explanation and interpretation of each of the mentioned verses and proving the necessity of establishing a government by the prophets and religious scholars, requires lengthy arguments and material that cannot be mentioned in this one article. Instead, we will only point out the most fundamental principles of those political ideologies that have spoken in regard to the establishment of government and the bond between religion and politics:

1- Proving dominant and thorough Wilayah (Authority) that covers all physical and spiritual, worldly and heavenly aspects of life for Allah, his prophet and the special friends/servants of Allah (Ma’idah, verse 55/Yusuf, verse 40/ Ma’edah, verse 42 and 43).

2- Proving Imamate and political-social leadership for the prophet, an Imam and those appointed by them. (Nisa’, verse 58 and 59/ Ma’idah, verse 67).

3- Proving the government and caliphate of some previous prophets like Prophet Dawud and Suleiman. (Sad, verse 20 and 26/Naml, verse 26 and 27/Nisa’, verse 54).

4- The Quran stipulates that judging between people and resolving people’s legal issues is the duty of Allah’s prophets. (Nisa’, verse 58 and 65/Ma’edah, verse 42/Anbiya’, verse 78/An’am, verse 89).

5- Calling to consultation and group activities (Shura’, verse 38/Ale Emran, verse 159).

6- Opposing corruption, oppression and spreading justice is one of the main duties of believers. (Baqarah, verse 279/Hud, verse 113/Nisa’, verse 58/Nahl, verse 90/Sad, verse 28/Hajj, verse 41).

7- Respecting human rights and honoring humans is one of the fundamental principles of holy religions. (Isra’, verse 70/Ale Emran, verse 19/Nisa’, verse 32).

8- Commanding Jihad and opposing the Taghut, the arrogant and the oppressors and also possessing defensive military resources. (Baqarah, verse 218/Tahrim, verse 9/Nisa’, verse 75/Anfal, verse 60/A’raf, verse 56).

9- Majesty is exclusively for Allah and the believers and the denial of all types of submission and subservience (Munafiqun, verse 8/Muhammad, verse 35/Hud, verse 113/Ale Emran, verse 146 and 149).

10- The stipulation of the mutual rights of people and rulers (Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 216, pp. 335 and 336).

11- Proving governmental authority for some just rulers like Talut and Dhu al-Gharnain (Baqarah, verse 246 and 247/Kahf, verse 83 and 98).

12- Allocating important and mass financial sources to the Waliyye Amr (ruler) of the Muslims and the Islamic government to be consumed in the best interest of the society (Usul al-Kafi, Chapters of Ṣilat al-Imam and al-Fey’ and al-Anfāl and Tafsīr al-Khums).

From what was mentioned above, it becomes clear that the separation of religion from politics does not apply to Islam and a great portion of Islamic teachings encompass political and social issues. As Imam Khomeini puts it, from among the 57 or 58 sections of Fiqh, only 7 or 8 of them are about exclusively spiritual issues and the rest are related to political, judicial and social issues.

Finally, in order to become familiar with the way to argue in opposition of the advocates of this theory, we will briefly refute one of their important arguments:

Ali Abdul Razagh which is one, the advocates of this theory argues, referring to some verses of the Quran like:

{قُلْ لَسْتُ عَلَيْکُمْ بِوَکيل}
Say, ‘It is not my business to watch over you.” 11

{إِنْ عَلَيْکَ إِلاَّ الْبَلاغ}
It is for thee only to deliver the Message.” 12

that the Quran has not assigned the prophet to any task that goes further than communicating and conveying the teachings of Islam. 13 Mehdi Bazargan has a similar understanding of the verses. 14

As an answer to this argument, one must say that such an understanding stems from an unscholarly observation of this holy book. These verses do not truly limit the prophet’s responsibilities to conveying Islam and warning people so that these verses would contradict any other task of the prophet. This claim is clearly proven by other verses that have placed the burden of judgment and governance on his shoulders. There are many verses that have directly mentioned these issues. Due to briefness of this article, we will only mention one verse:

{النَّبِيُّ أَوْلى‏ بِالْمُؤْمِنينَ مِنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ }
The Prophet has a higher claim on the believers than [they have on] their own selves.” 15

This verse has given a higher authority to the prophet in regard to the believers’ affairs than themselves. Surely, this higher authority is something more than his prophetic station. It is narrated that when interpreting this verse, Imam al-Baqir said:

This verse is revealed in regard to government and ruling.” 16

In some verses of the Quran, the prophet has been commanded to uphold and maintain justice within the society:

{لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنا رُسُلَنا بِالْبَيِّناتِ وَ أَنْزَلْنا مَعَهُمُ الْکِتابَ وَ الْميزانَ لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ وَ أَنْزَلْنَا الْحَديدَ فيهِ بَأْسٌ شَديدٌ وَ مَنافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ}
Certainly We sent Our apostles with manifest proofs, and We sent down with them the Book and the Balance, so that mankind may maintain justice; and We sent down iron, in which there is great might and uses for mankind”. 17

The question that remains is whether or not it is possible to uphold justice within the society while lacking governmental authority and power?
Also, in a verse of the Quran, Allah has explained the reason behind sending the prophets as follows:

{کانَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً واحِدَةً فَبَعَثَ اللهُ النَّبِيِّينَ مُبَشِّرينَ وَ مُنْذِرينَ وَ أَنْزَلَ مَعَهُمُ الْکِتابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيَحْکُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فيمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فيهِ }
Mankind were a single community; then Allah sent the prophets as bearers of good news and warners, and He sent down with them the Book with the truth, that it may judge between the people concerning that about which they differed.” 18

In this verse the issue of resolving conflicts and disputes between people has been mentioned as the purpose behind sending the prophets. If the conflicts and disputes and contentions are natural and inevitable things within a society, and resolving these conflicts is also necessary to cause order in the society and keep it away from chaos, the sole act of admonition, advising and promoting Islamic rulings would not be adequate to solve such social problems. Therefore, any prophet that came with a new message and law, not only conveyed his message and warned people of Allah, but also brought up the issue of governance. In the abovementioned verse Allah does not say that prophets resolve conflicts and disputes among people through simply warning them of Allah, giving them glad-tidings of heaven and conveying Islamic teachings, but rather through “حکم” (Judgment), because such a thing is not possible without judgment and governmental authority that guarantees the execution of the law. Therefore, any religion that has brought along guidelines and instructions for humanity surely consists of both social and personal rulings, and these rulings will only benefit man when they are carried out and practiced. At the same time, carrying out these rulings would necessarily require governmental authority and power that would guarantee their execution. Otherwise, either the rulings will not be carried out or if carried out by everyone, they will only lead to chaos and disorder. Rulings will only have any effect on the society when a powerful individual that is in connection with the Gheib (the invisible world) is responsible for teaching, maintaining and executing them.

Question: If political leadership and establishing a government is one of prophets’ duties, then why is it that some prophets did not have a government?

Answer: There are different possibilities in regard to this question:

First: Establishing a government may not be possible for a prophet in certain circumstances; like the prophet of Islam that was not able to employ governmental authority during the first years of his prophetic mission. Second: It’s possible that during certain eras some of the prophets were preaching under the authority of greater ones -who had the responsibility of leading the society- and therefore, they only had the duty of conveying religious teachings and could not establish a dependant government on their own, such as Prophet Lut who’s prophethood was under that of Prophet Ibrahim as the Quran says:

{فَآمَنَ لَهُ لُوطٌ …}
Thereupon Lot believed in him”.19

This does not contradict his prophethood, because the prophethood of individuals like prophet Lut are a manifestation of the general prophethood of the greater prophet that is responsible for the people of his region. The Quran clearly asserts that Prophet Ibrahim was assigned by Allah to lead and oversee the society:

{قالَ إِنِّي جاعِلُکَ لِلنَّاسِ إِماما…}
I am making you the Imam of mankind.” 20

Therefore, there is no prophethood unless it comes with governmental authority, whether the prophethood is dependant or a manifestation of another one, because in the abovementioned example, Prophet Lut led the social and political life of people in a certain region under the reign of prophet Ibrahim. This is why taking role in politics and leading the society has been partially attributed to the prophets in the Quran:

{وَ کَأَيِّنْ مِنْ نَبِيٍّ قاتَلَ مَعَهُ رِبِّيُّونَ کَثيرٌ…}
How many a prophet there has been with whom a multitude of godly men fought.” 21

If the Quran does not mention anything in regard to the governmental and political leadership of prophet Nuh and Isa and some other prophets, it does not mean they did not play such a role, but rather their case is an example of the verse:

{وَ رُسُلاً لَمْ نَقْصُصْهُمْ عَلَيْکَ وَ…}
apostles We have not recounted to you.” 22

meaning that the same way not all prophets that existed were mentioned in the Quran, not all the features of those named in the Quran are mentioned either. Therefore, it is necessary for prophets to establish a government and they have strived to do so when their situation and circumstances allowed them. In addition to the many Quranic verses, the prophet’s sirah (how he lived) in regard to establishing a government can be solid proof that such an understanding from the Quranic verses is not correct. 23

For more information you can refer to: Question 7883, Criticism of Secularism’s reasoning and also the following books:
1- Imam Khomeini and Islamic Government, No. 1, Theological fundamentals, Imam Khomeini and the Islamic Government Thought Seminar
2- Kazem Ghazizadeh, The Political-Jurisprudential Thoughts of Imam Khomeini
3- Imam Khomeini, Wilayate Faqih
4- Ayatollah Jawadi Amuli, Wilayate Faqih
5- Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, Tafsir Nemooneh, vol. 2
6- Muhammad Jawad Noruzi, The Political System of Islam
7- Nabiyyollah Ibrahimzadeh Amuli, Religious Governance
8- Ali Zu Elm, The Quranic Fundamentals of Wilayate Faqih
9- Abdullah Nasri, Man’s Expectations of Religion, p. 307
10- Hasan Ghadrdan Maleki, Secularism in Islam and Christianity
[1] Ibn Abi al-Hadid, Sharh Nahjul-Balagha, vol. 4, p. 160
[2] Sahifeye Nur, vol. 83, p. 217: regarding King Reza’s words about Ayatullah Kashani.
[3] Soroush, Muhammad, Din va Dolat dar Andisheye Eslami, pp. 120-126.
[4] Sahifeye Nur, vol. 1, p. 6.
[5] Hajj:41.
[6] Hadid:25.
[7] Ma’idah:8.
[8] Nahl:36.
[9] Nisa’:75.
[10] Nisa’:59.
[11] An’ām:66.
[12] Shura:48
[13] Ali Abdul Razzaq, Al-Islam wa Usul al-Hukm, p. 171.
[14] Kiyan Magazine, no. 28, p. 51.
[15] Ahzab:6.
[16] Majma’ al-Bahrain, vol. 1, p. 457, under the root of “ولي”.
[17] Hadid:25.
[18] Baqarah:213.
[19] Ankabut:26.
[20] Baqarah:124.
[21] Āl Imran:146.
[22] Nisa:164.
[23] Adopted from the article Religion and Politics

How can the belief in one God create brotherhood?

As children of one father have a feeling of brotherhood because all are the off-springs of one father, likewise, the creatures of One God are bound to have brotherly feelings towards each other because they are the creation of One Creator.

What is God’s purpose for man’s creation?

a) His ability to create called for Him to create.
b) The order of creation is one based on aim and wisdom.
c) The ultimate goal and aim of creating all things, is the emergence of man; the reason being that everything has been created for his purpose and he is the most noble of all creatures, as his creator is the most noble of all creators.
d) Since God (swt) is the Transcendent and All-Sufficient, being of no need to anything or anyone whatsoever, the purpose of creation, regardless of what it is, is surely only to the benefit of man himself.
e) The main purpose of creating man, is for him to reach the climax of perfection, true prosperity and salvation, and to find way to the realm of Malakut; all of which can only be accomplished through acquaintance, knowledge, servitude and worship that comes from awareness towards the Lord.

It has been proven that each and every one of Allah’s (swt) names and qualities, both the ones that are one with His essence (as a result of the “simplicity” of his existence), such as His knowledge, power, eternity, ownership and authority, and the ones that have to do with what He does (such as lordship, creatorship, mercy and will) which are also known as His “qualities of action”, are all qualities that He possesses through which He is continuously bestowing His grace and mercy. One of those qualities, which is the quality of creatorship, calls for Him to continuously create, for “Every day He is engaged in some work.” [1]
Another matter that must be paid attention to is that Allah (swt) is the All-Wise and none of His actions are pointless, therefore it can be concluded that the order of creation has no defects and is one with aims and goals; aims that are in line with high divine goals.
According to the Quran, the creator of all creatures didn’t create them in falseness and neither as a means of play and entertainment, but His creation was on the basis of truth and even the smallest particles in this world are following an important goal and none of them are idle and pointless.

Of course, it must be noted that the main and ultimate goal for all of creation, was the creation of man and to be frank, Allah (swt) created everything in order to create man, and that is the meaning of being the most noble of all creatures. The same goes with man’s creator; He is the most noble of all creators, because there is no one like Him in the entire universe. In a “qudsi” hadith it has been stated: “Oh son of Adam, I have created everything for you and created you for myself.” [2]

Having mentioned these few introductory points, we will begin the main discussion:
No matter what the purpose of creation is, one thing is for sure, and that is that it is solely to the benefit of man himself, not to the benefit of Allah (swt), for he is the All-Sufficient and Transcendent and it is man and all other creatures who are in true need of Him.

“O mankind! You are the ones who stand in need of Allah, and Allah He is the All-sufficient, the All-laudable” [3]

“And Moses said, “If you should disbelieve, you and whoever is on the earth entirely – indeed, Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy.” [4]

In his famous sermon of Hamam, Imam Ali (as) says:

“Allah the Immaculate was in no need of the obedience and servitude of His servants when creating them and was immune to their disobedience, because the sinning of sinners does Him no harm and the obedience of the obedient does Him no good or benefit [5] (and the true reason for why He has ordered everyone to obey Him and forbidden them from disobedience, is their own benefit).

Concerning the goal behind man’s creation, various statements can be found in the Quran, each pointing to one of the dimensions of this goal; verses such as:

“I did not create the jinn and the humans except that they may worship Me” [6],

“He, who created death and life that He may test you [to see] which of you is best in his/her actions” [7] (a test mixed with growth and training, resulting in man’s development and  perfection),


“Had your Lord wished, He would have made mankind one community; but they continue to differ, except those on whom your Lord has mercy and that is why He created them” [8].

As you can see, the common word that can be found in all of these statements and others is the growth, development and perfection of man. Therefore one can conclude that the main purpose and final goal for the creation of man, is for him to reach the peak of perfection and salvation and to obtain the highest human qualities, which all depend on his knowledge, servitude and worship of Allah (swt) mixed with his insight on Allah’s (swt) high rank and that it is He who is the only one who deserves to be worshipped, for “Ubudiyyah (the servitude/worship of Allah (swt)) is a valuable gem whose inside is rububiyyah (lordship).” [9], and whosoever possesses this rububiyyah, will have dominion over all things other than Allah (swt).

In a hadith by Imam Sadiq (as) we read that: “Imam Husein (as) approached his companions and said:

“Allah (swt) the immaculate didn’t create His servants except for them to know Him, when they know Him, they worship Him, and when they worship Him, they become free of worshipping anyone other than Him.” [10]

[1] Rahman:29.
[2] يابن آدم خلقت الاشياء لأجلک و خلقتک لأجلي
Al-Manhajul-Qawi, vol.5, p.516; Ilmul-Yaqin, vol.1, p.381.
[3] Fatir:15.
[4] Ibrahim:8.
[5] اما بعد، فإن الله سبحانه و تعالي خلق الخلق حين خلقهم غنياً عن طاعتهم، آمناً من معصيتهم، لأنه لاتضره معصية من عصاه ، و لاتنفعه طاعة من أطاعه
Nahjul-Balaghah, Sermon of Hamam.
[6] Dhariyat:56.
[7] Mulk:2.
[8] Hud:118-119.
[9] العبودية جوهرة کنهها الربوبية
Misbahul-Shari’ah fi Haqiqatil-Ubudiyyah.
[10] ان الله عزوجل ما خلق العباد الا ليعرفوه، فإذا عرفوه عبدوه، فإذا عبدوه استغنوا بعبادته عن عبادة من سواه
Ilalul-Sharaye’, quoted by Al-Mizan, vol.18, p.423.

What is the wisdom behind creation?

Allah is a transcendental entity and possesses all excellences. At the same time, creation is a means of grace and Allah is graceful. His unlimited grace calls for him to create whatever has the potential to be created. Therefore, Allah created because he was graceful, meaning that the reason behind creation lies in his grace and mercy. Moreover, knowing that Allah’s attributes of essence are in oneness with his entity, one can say that the reason behind creation is Allah himself.
Allah created man with two inner calls to good and bad, as well as two outside callers to good and bad, the prophets and Satan, resulting in the potential to reach the highest levels of perfection and also declining to the lowest levels of human value. If man, despite his carnal and satanic desires, takes the path of truth and perfection, then he will be greater than the angels, because they do not have carnal and satanic desires.  And if he chooses the path of evil, he will be worse than animals, because they do not have a spiritual aspect like humans do.
If Allah created man with all excellences he could possibly possess, this perfection had not been reached through his free will (making the creation of man in vain). Therefore, the purpose behind man’s creation is only met when he is created with the potential of perfection and when he reaches it through his free will. However, the fact that unbelievers and sinners do not fulfill the true purpose behind creation does not contradict Allah’s reason for creation, because Allah wanted them to have the chance to choose the right or wrong path and reach perfection if they chose to.  If Allah made it impossible for man to take the path of evil, then choosing the path of perfection and development would not be through free will either, (and this would contradict the wisdom behind creation).

In order to explain the answer, we must shed light on a few points:
A: The wisdom behind creation:

1- Due to the fact that Allah is Wajibul Wujud (Necessary being) and His existence is not dependant on anything else, he has no limits, is transcendental and possesses all perfection.

2- One of His excellences and virtues is his unlimited grace and mercy. The Almighty says in the Quran:

“And the bounty of your Lord is not confined” [1]

There are no limits to Allah’s grace, therefore when he does not grant something, it is because of the limitations of the receiver not the granter, and what is possible to be granted, will be granted.

3- All perfection stems from Wujud (existence) and all limitations and deficiencies stem from the lack of Wujud (existence). For example knowledge is a type of perfection and ignorance (which is a lack of knowledge) is a limitation and deficiency. Another example would be power, the opposite of disability, which is a type of perfection.  Therefore, Wujud (existence) is the source of all goodness and blessing, meaning that all limitations are a form of nonexistence and lack of Wujud (existence).

4- Taking the third point into consideration, one can conclude that Allah’s mercy and grace will only be fulfilled through creation. Therefore, the inevitable result of being graceful is to create.
In other words, if something has the potential to be created and Allah does not create it, this would mean preventing goodness because Wujud is the source of goodness, and therefore such an act would be considered stinginess, and stinginess cannot be attributed to Allah. In the light of all this, we conclude that if we were asked “what caused Allah to create?” we would reply: His grace caused him to create.

5- Allah’s attributes are in complete oneness with his entity. The attributes of human beings and other objects are not in oneness with their essence. For example, an apple has an essence and also has certain attributes such as being red or sweet. Being red or sweet has no unity with the essence of the apple. An apple can be sour and green, but its essence will still exist.
The oneness of Allah’s essence and his attributes is a very deep issue that can be studied in the science of theology. However, what is important to know is that being graceful, which is the “final cause” or “purpose” (Ellate Ghayi) of creation, is Allah’s entity and not something other than his essence. Therefore if we were asked: “Why did Allah create creatures?” We will answer: Because He is Allah. So the final cause is actually Allah himself. This is exactly what philosophers mean when they say: The final cause and “efficient cause” are the same when it comes to Allah’s acts. [2] Moreover, we might be able to find traces of this meaning in some Quranic verses [3] like:

All matters return to him. [4]

B: What was mentioned explained the creator’s wisdom behind the whole concept of creation, but to explain the wisdom behind the creation of a certain being like man requires the explanation of another point and that is the particular perfection Allah wanted to create through creating man.
Explanation: The inevitable result of Allah’s grace is for Him to create any excellence that has the potential to be created. Before the creation of man, He had already created beings like the angels that possessed all potential excellences from the beginning, meaning that they possessed all their perfection in actuality. Therefore, they would never reach a new form of perfection and their existential perfection could never develop to a higher level. Allah quotes the angles in the Quran saying:

“There is none among us but has a known place. Indeed it is we who are the ranged ones. Indeed it is we who are those who celebrate Allah’s glory.” [5]

Imam Ali stated:

“Then He created the openings between high skies and filled them with all classes of His angels. Some of them are in prostration and do not kneel up. Others in kneeling position and do not stand up.  Some of them are in array and do not leave their position.  Others are extolling Allah and do not get tired!” [6]

They worship Allah and do not get tired and this is a perfection Allah has granted them, and they cannot choose to disobey Allah.  Allah says in the Quran:

“They do not venture to speak ahead of Him, and they act by His command.” [7] And He also says: “Over that fire are [assigned] angels, severe and mighty, who do not disobey whatever Allah has commanded them, and carry out what they are commanded.” [8]

Due to His unlimited grace, Allah wanted to create a higher perfection in addition to the perfection that angels possessed, and that is the perfection of man reaching excellence through his free will; meaning that He created a creature that could decide and strive to possess all perfections through his free will. Therefore, He created man, a being that does not possess all of his potential excellences from the beginning, but has the power to reach all of them as well.  It is very clear that the perfection man reaches is of a higher level compared to the excellence angels have been granted. Imam Ali states:

“Allah created the angels from the ‘Mind’ and did not give them desire and created animals from desire and did not grant them intelligence, and he created man from mind and desire. Whoever that his mind prevails over his desire will be higher than the angles and whoever that his desire prevails over his mind will be lesser than animals”. [9]

Therefore all causes of creation are the grace of Allah. The inevitable result of Allah’s grace is for Him to create this possible excellence, an excellence higher than any other.

C: Why didn’t Allah create man perfect in the first place?
In light of what was said, one can conclude that the purpose of creation will only be fulfilled when man is created with the potential to reach perfection and does so through his free will. If he possessed that perfection from the beginning, such a thing would definitely not be considered a perfection he earned on his own and the purpose of his creation would not be fulfilled.

We must keep in mind that even reaching the smallest level of perfection is considered possessing excellence through free will and, therefore, fulfills the purpose of creation to that extent.

D: Sinners and Unbelievers:
Even if someone does not reach the lowest level of perfection and his life is full of disbelief and disobeying Allah, his acts still do not contradict the wisdom behind creation, because he too has actualized his potentials. Man has the potential to decline to the lowest levels of value, and Allah has created him in a way that he can choose the way of perfection and truth or the way of evil. Therefore, even an unbeliever has not acted against the takwini (having to do with creation) will of Allah. Obviously, Allah wants man to move towards perfection and does not wish him to go astray. In other words, in creating man Allah had two wills, the first was takwini and the second was tashri’i: his takwini will is for all humans to have the chance to actualize their potentials while his tashri’ri will is for humans to take the path of perfection and salvation.

Taking what was said into consideration, one can say that a believer has acted both according to Allah’s tashri’i and takwini will, but an unbeliever or sinner has only acted according to Allah’s takwini will and has not followed Allah’s tashri’i will.
Note: Considering the importance of this issue and the many narrative reasons, there is room for more research and questioning on your part.

[1] Isra’:20.
[2] See: Tabatabai, Muhammad Husein, Al-Mizan, vol. 8, p. 44; Misbah Yazdi, Muhammad Taqi, Ma’aarefe Quran, vol. 1, p. 154.
[3] Baqarah:210; Aal Imran:109; Anfal:44; Hajj:76; Fater:4; Hadid:5.
[4] Hud:123.
[5] Saffat:164 and 166.
[6] Nahjul-Balaghah, sermon 1.
[7] Anbiya’:27.
[8] Tahrim:6.
[9] Wasa’il al-Shia, vol. 11, p. 164.

I believe in God and pray to Him, but sometimes I don’t know how to picture him. This matter is bothering me.

Essentially, picturing God and moving towards embodying and picturing God is wrong, because God isn’t physical and cannot be pictured or imagined. God is a reality and at the same time, in all realities. He is One, but not like any other thing. He is present everywhere, and sees everything, but cannot be imagined or pictured.  Man can only see Him with the eyes of the heart, not by picturing Him.

Our narrations tell us that some would come to the imams and ask about how the knowledge of God is. They would reply: “This is wrong, don’t go after these things.” Therefore, we shouldn’t go after picturing God and this is not a straight path. One should strive to develop a strong and intimate relationship with Him and find Him in his heart. The times when we have a good spiritual feeling, or when our heart is broken, or our attention is drawn to Him, are all times of special connection to Him. We must know the value of these precious moments. Of course, Allah is always by our side and with us; it is us who forget Him.


I believe in God and pray to Him, but sometimes I don’t know how to picture him. This matter is bothering me.

Essentially, picturing God and moving towards embodying and picturing God is wrong, because God isn’t physical and cannot be pictured or imagined. God is a reality and at the same time, in all realities. He is One, but not like any other thing. He is present everywhere, and sees everything, but cannot be imagined or pictured.  Man can only see Him with the eyes of the heart, not by picturing Him.

Our narrations tell us that some would come to the imams and ask about how the knowledge of God is. They would reply: “This is wrong, don’t go after these things.” Therefore, we shouldn’t go after picturing God and this is not a straight path. One should strive to develop a strong and intimate relationship with Him and find Him in his heart. The times when we have a good spiritual feeling, or when our heart is broken, or our attention is drawn to Him, are all times of special connection to Him. We must know the value of these precious moments. Of course, Allah is always by our side and with us; it is us who forget Him.