yawma nad‘ū kulla unāsin bi-imāmihim
The day when We will call every people with their Imam (Leader).
(Sūrulat Isrā, no.17, Āyat 71)
Leadership is an integral part of the life of the human being. Effective leadership brings people together on a common path and leads them towards their desired goal. A good leader transforms the potential of people into reality. Guidance, inspiration, support, concern . . . are all qualities of a good leader.
The verse above reminds us of an important fact about the leaders we choose. On the Day of Judgement we will be together with the leaders we choose. Those who chose virtuous and righteous leaders will be placed in their group, and those who choose corrupt leaders will be raised with them. Leadership that is followed in this world will be reflected clearly in the Hereafter and will be visible for all to see. This verse is a warning – be careful about the leader you entrust yourself to. Do not program your life on earth based on leadership that you have not carefully analyzed.
As part of the Grace of the Almighty towards the human being He sent divinely guided leaders to lead them towards Him in the best manner possible. He chose them for their strength and character (Q 32:24), purified them (Q 33:33), and inspired them with knowledge of the Book (Q 13:43). These leaders awaken the God given fitrah of the human being and strengthen it, protect from deviance and pollution of God’s teachings, and provide support on the journey.
If we choose such leaders as our guides in this world we will be raised with them in the Hereafter. The verse says we will be called with them. On the Day of Judgement people will not just stand as individuals, but as groups to whom they belonged to while on earth, and with leaders whom they chose to follow.
The verse has been explained by the Imams. Imam al-Sādiq (a) says: Are you not grateful to Allah? When it will be the Day of Judgement He will call each people with their leader. We will be called with the Messenger of Allah and you will be called with us. Then where do you think you will be taken? To Heaven, by the Lord of the Ka‘bah. Imam repeated this three times. (Tafsīr Majma‘ul Bayan). A Hadith of Imam al-Ridhā (a) about this verse says: Each group will be called by the Imam of their time, and the Book of their Lord and the Sunnah (Traditions) of their Prophet. (Tafsīr Majma‘ul Bayan)
Let his verse remind you of the blessings of Imamate and Wilayah that are an integral part of the Shia faith. We have been given the leaders and have been informed of their impeccable qualities and their efforts to guide the Ummah. We must adhere to them and be with them in this world so that we can also be with them in the next.
Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh;
Agha Muhsin Qarā’atī, Tafsīr-e Nūr;