A Summary of the Speech of His Excellency, Hujjatul Islam, Sayyid Murtadha al-Kashmiri, Representative of His Eminence, the Grand Religious Authority, Sayyid Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani (may God protect him), at the Announcing the Founding of the Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya (I.M.A.M.):
In the Name of God,
the Beneficent, the Merciful
“And We wish to bestow upon those who have been oppressed in the land,
and make them leaders, and make them the inheritors”
[Quran: al-Qasas: 5]
May the Peace, Mercy, and Blessings of God be upon you. Moreover, may God brighten your days with the blessed occasion celebrating commitment and allegiance to the Imam of this Age, the twelfth Holy Imam, (Imam) al-Hassan’s son, (Imam al-Mahdi,) the Awaited One. He is the Imam whose active Imamate began on the ninth of Rabee’ ul-Awwal, 260 AH, following the martyrdom of his father – Imam al-Hassan al-Askari, peace be upon him.
Divine Wisdom willed for the pregnancy of the Imam’s mother to be concealed. Similarly, so was the Imam’s birth and childhood. (The secretive nature surrounding the Imam’s life was) such that his father – Imam al-Askari – did not tell anyone about him except for a few close companions. In addition, Imam (al-Mahdi) did not come out in public except when it was necessary. For instance, he appeared publicly, making his way through the rows of people who were preparing for ceremonial prayer before his late father’s blessed body. The Imam led the ceremonial prayer and then disappeared for the Minor Occultation period. His disappearance was to protect him from the tyrants and (preserve him) for the time in which God wills for his reappearance to fill the Earth with equity and justice.
The Minor Occultation lasted for about 69 or 74 years. During this period, the Imam used to appear before some believers and he used to communicate by writing to others. The Imam also had specifically designated ambassadors throughout this period. (Serving) consecutively, these ambassadors were: Uthman son of Saeed, Muhammad son of Uthman son of Saeed, Hussein son of Rawh, and Ali son of Muhammad al-Samari.
These individuals were the primary, apparent, link between the Imam (peace be upon him) and the general public. They used to deliver questions and concerns from the believers to the Imam and answers back from the Imam. Just before the passing of the fourth ambassador, the Imam issued a statement with his signature declaring the end of the period of specifically designated ambassadors and the beginning of the Major Occultation – a period which would not include specifically designated representatives. Rather (for this period), the Imam (peace be upon him) ordered the believers – in a well-known message – to refer to, “The one amongst the (expert) scholars (of Islamic sciences) who safeguards himself, preserves his faith, disobeys his (worldly) desires, (and) obeys the command of his Lord; that is the person who the general public may emulate.” The Imam also described those scholars by saying that they are, “my proof (as witnesses) upon you and I am the proof of God.”
With this began a new phase in the history of those following Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them), characterized by referring back to the expert scholars. Hence, the Grand Religious Authority was established during the Major Occultation. Throughout history, several scholars (radiated knowledge), beginning with Shaykh ibn Babawayh al-Qummi, nicknamed al-Sadooq (the honest one); Shaykh Muhammad ibn Nu’man, who was nicknamed al-Mufeed (the beneficial one) by Imam al-Mahdi; then the two Sayyids, al-Radhi and al-Murtadha; to (scholars like) Shaykh at-Tusi, Shaykh al-Ansari, Sayyid al-Ardabeeli, Shaykh Naeeni, Shaykh Kashef al-Ghataa, and Sayyid al-Hakeem; and to this very day in which His Eminence, the Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani (may God protect him) has risen to become the Grand Religious Authority, following the passing of the Grand Religious Authority of the Shia school of thought, Sayyid Abul Qasim al-Khoei, as well as many Grand scholars who passed away soon after him.
(We are) moving forward on the basis of the responsibilities of the Grand Religious Authority, its care for the community through counsel, advice, and its direction toward guidance and holding fast to faith and the teachings of the Master of Messengers (Prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family). (We act based upon) the directives of His Eminence, the Grand Religious Authority, Sayyid Sistani (may God protect him), in regards to checking up on the conditions of the believers across the globe, from the East to the West. Based on the serious need and the frequent requests by believers, we have found it necessary to establish and create a central point of connection (liaison office) to follow up on the religious affairs of the believers, directly and up close, in North America.
His Excellency had a few thoughts which are highlighted in the following points:
The Supreme Jurist
- By the blessings, supplications and support of the Imam of our time Imam Al-Mahdi, Islam is prospering day after day with all thanks to Allah. The beacon of our Imam’s guidance grows stronger and brighter on the hands of his representatives, the supreme religious jurists, and their followers.
- His Eminence the Supreme Jurist, Al-Sayyid Al- Sistani, sends you his greetings and he prays for you at the dawn of everyday. For he cares about the faithful believers in the West and outside of the Middle East just as he cares for those in the Middle East.
Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya (I.M.A.M.):
- The organization was born out of the directions of the Supreme Jurist such that it can be a central point of contact between the religious authority and the centers, organizations, and the faithful believers in the U.S. and Canada.
- I.M.A.M. serves to support, care for and complete the other centers that have been founded and built using the religious rights with the permission from the representative of Imam Al-Mahdi.
- I.M.A.M. works to cooperate, collaborate and lend a helping hand to all those who serve.
- I.M.A.M. is concerned with all members of the community, at the head of whom are the youth, catering for their wishes and aspirations in accordance with the demands of the time. IMAM does this by developing them and helping to protect them in the face of challenges and deviations.
- The Organization adheres to the Islamic code and the laws of the land, in accordance to the instructions of His Eminence.
Advice from His Eminence The Supreme Jurist:
- His Eminence emphasizes the issue of good citizenship and integration with the condition that you maintain your religious identity and noble traditions.
- His Eminence emphasizes on peaceful coexistence and respecting the laws of the land in which you reside or to which one is a citizen of and his edict dictates that it is religiously impermissible to break the law of the land.
- His Eminence advises that our community members have open minds, hearts and doors to all, such that they may serve all of humanity. For all humanity are our responsibility and all of creation are dependents of Allah. As such his Eminence the Supreme Jurist does not discriminate between one human and another, whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish or others for Allah states in the holy Qur’an, “be good to them [cooperate with them, serve them, befriend them, make them content] and be just with them, for Allah loves those who are just.” [Chapter of Al-Mumtahanah, verse 8]. Imam Ali (p) is narrated to have said that “People are of two types: Either they are your brother in religion or your equal in humanity.”
The Objectives of the Organization:
- To serve the American community in general and advance the Shi’a in America through the directions and guidance from the Supreme Jurist.
- Not to propagate for a specific jurist, even the Supreme Jurist himself based on the instructions of His Eminence.
- To serve without asking for anything in exchange, for the goal is not to collect money, even though monetary support is the backbone of any work. All those that work here are working to serve the American community Shi’a and non-Shi’a . We take our Supreme Jurist as an exemplar of his grandfather Imam Ali, the Master of the Faithful, who lived a humble life.
Thanking the Donors and the Issue of Khums:
- We would like to thank all those that contributed and gave. We ask Allah The Almighty that He increases your prosperity, blessings and wealth.
- Giving the Khums is an obligation and there is no favor made by paying it. If anyone was to be considered to be doing a favor then that would be those who take the responsibility of lightening this burden upon the faithful believers, and those are the jurist and his authentic (certified) representatives. Therefore, we encourage general donations (more than Khums) so that it will be the unending charity.
- For the information of the community: the Khums money has been spent inside the local communities in the United States for years, we further emphasize that not one dollar has left the country, even with the great need that does exist. According to the directions of the Supreme Jurist, the faithful believers are allowed to use their Khums money locally (where they reside) if there is a need to do so, however, it must be in accordance with religious laws, and on projects that educate and raise the upcoming generation, with the condition that permission is taken from the Supreme Jurist himself, ensuring that all details of the projects and how the money will be spent are made available to him.
- All the financial records are available for review to all donors.