Jan 16, 2017 17:15 UTC

Throughout the 1200 years after the Major Occultation of the 12th Infallible Imam of the Prophet of Islam’s Infallible Household, Imam Mahdi (May God hasten his reappearance), thousands of Shia theologians and Ulema have emerged, who have continued to enlighten and guide mankind.

In this series we intend to get familiar with these Ulema, and their activities and works, while elaborating on the impacts that these leading Ulema have left on the advancement of divine goals. Furthermore, we will become familiar with their characteristic traits and mystical aspects.

Islamic culture attaches significant and paramount importance to Ulema. The Last and Greatest Messenger of God, Prophet Mohammad (Blessings of God upon him and his progeny), named Ulema as the successors of prophets, who enlighten mankind. After the advent of Islam, no other prophet was appointed by God. This is because mankind had reached a phase of growth and development, which enabled him to receive the most comprehensive plan for man’s eternal prosperity by the Last and Greatest Messenger of God, and to protect this divine and comprehensive plan as a valuable legacy.

The Prophet of Islam, who was servitude of God, lived in the mortal world for a while, like other human beings, and then headed toward Hereafter. However, Islamic teachings should stay alive until the last day of existence of mankind on the planet. Meanwhile, the enlightening presence of the Twelve Infallible Imams of Prophet Mohammad’s Household, more than two centuries after the advent of Islam saved the divine religion of Islam in the face of potential discord and derailment.

The 12th Infallible Successor to Prophet Mohammad, Imam Mahdi (May God hasten his reappearance), in accordance to God’s will, began his occultation  for the sustainability of mankind and the world of creation under his unique refuge, and for protection of his beloved life from the hostilities of enemies. In accordance to Islamic narrations, the reason behind the occultation of Imam Mahdi is a divine secret, which will be revealed after his reappearance. However, some of the understandable reasons behind his occultation have been cited in Islamic narrations for the public, such as the intention to test people; disclosure of the inability of non-divine ruling systems in attainment of the prosperity of mankind; education of human beings; protection of the Imam as a means to save the universe; and preparation of the world for establishment of the global, just, and divine ruling system. In the meantime, throughout the Occultation of Imam Mahdi (May God hasten his reappearance), the hardworking and devout Ulema are duty-bound to promote the divine religion of Islam; to detail divine teachings; and to guide people.

Holy Quran considers those who possess knowledge as the witnesses of monotheism.

The 18th ayah of Surat Al-I’Imran notes: “Allah bears witness that there is no god except him – and so do the angels and those who possess knowledge – maintainer of justice, there is no god but Him.”
In this ayah, those who possess knowledge, believe in monotheism, and maintain faith in God, have been placed after God and angels.
Furthermore, several ayahs of Holy Quran and Islamic narrations have put emphasis on recognition and compliance with Ulema.
There are reasons for the especial status that the sacred religion of Islam has taken into consideration for Ulema. A divine religion, which based on God’s will, has brought about the last and most comprehensive instructions for the prosperity of mankind, needs vigilant and devout Ulema to meet the fresh needs of mankind, amid the swift changes in the human world. In Holy Quran, God has introduced the general rules and unchangeable principles for the eternal prosperity of mankind, so that human beings would be able to discover the rulings on minor issues in different domains with the use of divine revelations and wisdom, and with due consideration of the circumstances in their era. This discovery necessitates full knowledge of religious sources, strong faith in God, and prudence, whose achievement in tied to an appropriate upbringing and relentless efforts. Such an accomplishment is not made by every human being. Ulema are determined and faithful individuals, who render their lifelong achievements to mankind for the survival of the divine religion. This series introduces prominent Shia Ulema.