عَنْ اَبِي عَبْدِ اللهِؑ قَالَ خَرَجَ الْحُسَيْنُ بْنُ عَلِيٍّؑ عَلٰى اَصْحَابِهِ فَقَالَ اَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اِنَّ اللَّهَ جَلَّ ذِكْرُهُ مَا خَلَقَ الْعِبَادَ اِلَّا لِيَعْرِفُوهُ فَاِذَا عَرَفُوهُ عَبَدُوهُ فَاِذَا عَبَدُوهُ اسْتَغْنَوْا بِعِبَادَتِهِ عَنْ عِبَادَةِ مَا سِوَاهُ فَقَالَ لَهُ رَجُلٌ يَا ابْنَ رَسُولِ اللهِ بِاَبِي اَنْتَ وَ أُمِّي فَمَا مَعْرِفَةُ اللهِ قَالَ مَعْرِفَةُ اَهْلِ كُلِّ زَمَانٍ اِمَامَهُمُ الَّذِي يَجِبُ عَلَيْهِمْ طَاعَتُهُ
Imam Sadeq (peace be upon him) informs,
“Imam Husain Ibn Ali (peace be upon him) came out to his companions, ‘O People! Surely Allah – Majestic is His remembrance – did not create the servants but that they recognize Him. When they recognize Him, they will worship Him. When they will worship Him, they will become needless of the worship of other than Him.’ A man asked him, ‘O son of Allah’s Messenger! May my parents be held your ransom! What is the recognition of Allah?’ He (peace be upon him) replied, ‘The recognition by the people of every era of their Imam, whose obedience is obligatory upon them’.”
Once, a person has the true recognition of Allah, he will not worship anyone else. When you recognize the Imams from the fourteen infallible guides (peace be upon him), the Imam (peace be upon him) will teach you Allah’s recognition. Divine recognition is impossible without Imams’ teachings. Refer to the teachings and poems of the philosophers and the mystics, see how they have introduced Allah to the people. Compare these with the teachings of the infallible Imams (peace be upon them). You will immediately realize the difference between the two. Hence, we see the sentences in the traditions, عَنْ بُرَيْدٍ الْعِجْلِيِّ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ اَبَا جَعْفَرٍؑ يَقُولُ بِنَا عُبِدَ اللهُ وَ بِنَا عُرِفَ اللهُ وَ بِنَا وُحِّدَ اللهُ تَبَارَكَ وَ تَعَالَى Imam Baqer (peace be upon him) says, “Through us, Allah is worshipped and through us Allah – Blessed and High be He – is declared as One.” (Al-Kaafi, vol. 1, p. 145, H. 10).
The philosophers and mystics have themselves not recognized Allah, then how can they impart true recognition to the people? Hence, it is said in Arabic,فاقد الشيء لا يعطي “One who is devoid of a thing cannot grant it to others.”
1. Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 23, p. 83, H. 22
2. Elal al-Sharaae’, vol. 1, p. 9, H. 1, Chapter 9