In The Name of Allah, The Compassionate The Merciful

May His Peace and Blessing Be Upon the Most Dignified of Messengers, Muhammad and His Purified Progeny


Dear believing brothers and sisters in every placein the following paragraphs, we will research a very important and doctrinal topic, which is one of the fundamentals of true belief and faith that should be present in the hearts and minds of every believer of Allah (SWT), such that his Iman ( , faith) is completed and his Aqeeda (, belief) is thoroughly accomplished. This topic is about the Tahara and Ismah of the Prophets, Messengers, Awsiyaa' ( , executors of will), and Imams, who are specifically appointed by the order of Allah (SWT). They are all part of ONE chain that does not separate or deviate from each other. They complete each other in their jobs and mission, even if their individual role and place differs from one another. There has been a lot of heated discussion surrounding this topic. Therefore, it is incumbent on us to research and carefully study it in an objective, reasonable, and inclusive manner. This should be done under the light and guidance of what has been revealed by Allah (SWT) in His Wise Book, and through the words of His Seal of Prophets (SA) and the authentic narrations that exist, both early and late. Sound judgment should be made with an open and thoughtful mind, and Allah (SWT) is our Helper. We ask and pray for His Guidance and Knowledge, for He is the Hearing and All-Knowing.

Research Question # 1:

Let us start our research by posing this question:

 What is Tahara? And what is Ismah?

Tahara ((, by its linguistic definition, means cleaning something and the removal of anything that may pollute that object (e.g. dirt, spots, odor, germs) with things that are unwanted or harmful to the civilized person. As for the religious meaning of Tahara, it means the purification and cleansing of the bodies, objects, spirit, and heart from the things that Allah (SWT) ordered that they be purified from and with the way that He (SWT) ordered and specified for us.

The process of Tahara (purification) can be carried out by you to yourself, or to others, just like people can carry it on for you. There exists a strong correlation between the efficiency of purification and the proficiency of that person carries that process out, who is known as the Mutahir ((. The more knowledgeable, experienced, and competent that individual is in achieving purification and cleansing, the more efficient and complete the results of purification will be. So, if the proficiency of the Mutahir is approximately 60%, we can also expect that the efficiency of the process of Tat-heer will also be approximately 60%.

We have in front of us three things: Mutahir, Mutahar ((, and the process of Tat-heer ((. Mutahir is the person or thing that attempts to purify, while Mutahar is the person or thing that is sought to be cleansed and purified. Tat-heer is the process by which the purification takes place. For instance, if you sent your clothes to be washed at the Laundromat, your clothes are the Mutahar, the Laundromat is the Mutahir, and the method/procedure that the Laundromat undertakes to wash the clothes is the process of Tat-heer (purification). Logically, the cleanness of your clothes will depend on the proficiency and competence of the Mutahir.

As for the religious meaning of Tahara, you can also carry it out on yourself, or someone else could carry it out on you, and the same logic applies to the rules of relationships, as mentioned earlier.

Religious Tat-heer is of two types: 1) Physical cleansing and purification of materialistic things which you can see and feel, such as clothes or bodies. 2) Spiritual cleansing and purification of moral things that you cannot see or touch, such as your heart, spirit, or mind. It is logical of course, that the 2nd type of purification is more abstract and difficult to accomplish since you will be attempting to purify something that is not seen or felt. This process of Tat-heer is not specific, and the experience and proficiency of he who carries it out could be limited too. This is because proficiency and experience of the Mutahir depends on the proficiency and experience of the original teacher. So, if the original teacher lacks the expertise and experience, the purifier (Mutahir) will also lack it. And if the proficiency and knowledge of the teacher is little, it will also be found minimal in the student who is learning from his teacher. This type of Tat-heer that is not felt or seen, could also be carried out by yourself, as you can try to purify and cleanse your heart, spirit, mind, d soul through worship and remembrance of Allah (SWT) (ex: prayer, du'a, fasting, Samara, Hajj, good deeds, reading, etc.). Others can also carry out this process on you, like the sheikhs, U'lama, teachers, religious institutions, and seminaries.

As for the meaning of Ismah ((, it simply means protection and safeguard. Ya'sim means the act of protecting, while Asim (( is the person or thing that protects. Ma'soom is the person or thing that is sought to be protected by the Asim, whose occurrence and efficiency of Ismah is 100% guaranteed. Now, if the person seeks protection, but the efficiency/approval for protection is not guaranteed by the Asim, he is not anymore called Ma'soom (). Rather, he is called Mu'tasim () since he is not sure if the Asim will approve or is capable of protecting him or not. Furthermore, if the person actively and relentlessly seeks the protection and exerts lots of effort to attain it, which is also not guaranteed, he is called Musta'sim ((. So, not every Mu'tasim is a Musta'sim, and not every Musta'sim or a Mu'tasim is Ma'soom. This is because the Ma'soom is the only one whose process of protection was successfully completed by the Asim with 100% efficiency.

If we analyze the use of the word Ismah (and its derivatives) by Allah (SWT) in the Quran, we will find the following:

1) Ayat El-Balagh: Wallahu ya'semuka min al-naas (And Allah will protect you from the people, ) [5:67]. In this verse, Allah (SWT) is the Asim. Since He is the Asim, there is no doubt at all in the efficiency of His protection, which is 100% guaranteed. Rasulullah (SA), here, would therefore, be considered Ma'soom, since the process of purification was approved and completed by the Almighty.

2) Qalla sa-awy illa jabalen ya'semuni min al-ma' (He said: I will betake myself for refuge to a mountain that shall protect me from the water, ) [11:43]. The Asim in this verse is the mountain, while the son of Prophet Nuh (AS) is Mu'tasim, since the ability of the mountain to protect him is doubted upon, and in fact proved to be a failure as indicated by the verse, ...And a wave intervened between them, so he was from among those who drowned, [11:43].

3) Wa la-qad rawadtuhu an nafsih, fasta'sam (And certainly I sought his yielding himself to me, but he abstained, ) [12:32]. In this example, Yusuf (AS) is Musta'sim according to Al-Azeez's wife, since she saw Yusuf exert strong effort with great concern to attain the protection of His Lord. Due to her lack of belief in Yusuf's God (Asim), she doubted the ability of the Asim in protecting him. So, she referred to him as Musta'sim and this in and of itself is a testimony from her to his persistence in refusing what she asked, and his seeking the protection of his God from her.

4) Wa'tasimu be-hablullah jamee'an (And hold fast by the covenant of Allah all together, ) [3:103]. Here, Allah (SWT) orders us to ask and seek His protection, which is the rope of Allah. If we obey His order and seek that, we will be considered Mu'tasimeen with the rope of Allah, but NOT Ma'someen. This is not to doubt the ability of Allah (SWT) in protecting. Rather, it is because we don't know if Allah (SWT) will accept to protect us, which may be due to a deficiency or defect in us. Therefore, not every Mu'tasim with the rope of Allah is considered to be Ma'soom, except whom Allah (SWT) accepts and completes His protection. Otherwise, he is considered to be a Mu'tasim who seeks the compassion and acceptance of Allah (SWT) in granting him protection.

Let us now try to relate between the meaning of TAHARA and the meaning of ISMAH:

At this point, we can reach the conclusion that Tahara is the process of cleaning and purifying the thing itself, while Ismah is the protection of that purified thing from getting sullied or polluted again, and from loosing its state of purification (which was achieved after the process of Tat-heer). So, Ismah is the process of protecting the Mutahar from loosing its state of cleanness (that was carried out by the Mutahir). Hence, the Mutahir attempts to purify, while the Asim tries to maintain that state of purification and keep it constant. If it is not for the Asim, the purified thing would not stay pure and clean.

So, if we say that there is an object or thing that is always clean, it is logical then to believe in the presence of a Asim who maintains the state of cleanness for that object at all times. This object will therefore be considered to be Ma'soom, due to the presence of continuous and ongoing protection that is carried out by the competent and skillful Asim. So, TAHARA and ISMAH are two processes which complete one another and cannot be separated from each other, if we indeed want the purified state of something to continue and be constant. Again, the more competent and knowledgeable the Asim is, the more efficient will Ismah be, as in the case of the Mutahir and the process of Tahara. For example, a street cleaner or a custodian are considered to be a Mutahir (since they clean the street or office), while a policeman or security guard are referred to as Asim (one who try to prevent uncleanness from taking place and the loss of Tahara, which is achieved by the Mutahir). Every one carries out his job in order to accomplish constant and ongoing cleanness and purification. Based on that, Ismah cannot be present without prior existence of Tahara, and the opposite is not true.

2nd Research Question:

Now, we come to the second question in our research and that is:

When we speak about Tahara and Ismah for the Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya' (executors of will), and the Imams (AS), we ask ourselvesfrom what?

In other words, what will they be purified from, and what will they be protected from? Thus, the question here is composed of two parts:

a)      What will they be purified and cleansed from?

b) What will they be protected from?

In the end of our 1st research question, we identified the relationship of Tahara and Ismah, and we reached the conclusion that Ismah is the protection of something from being polluted again and from loosing its clean state after its purification. Based on that, we can logically deduce that Ismah will be from the same thing that Tat-heer (purification) is from. For example, if you sanitized something from the germs and microbes, you will also try to protect it from contamination with germs and so forth. Therefore, Ismah will be from the same thing that Tat-heer is from, and it will be subsequent to it. Based on this idea, the answer to question (a) will be the same as the answer to question (b). So, the question is really one: What will the Prophets, Messengers, and Imams (AS) be purified from?

In answering this question, the Imamiya scholars and Fuqaha' (jurists) have differed, and every group has its own opinion and support for it. It is to be noted that our U'lama are all respectable and honorable, and they don't speak except with what they think is closest to the truth, and they don't fear except Allah (SWT). Therefore, it is not appropriate for us, neither is it our goal to ridicule their ideas or opinions. Rather, we try to make an effort by thinking and using our God-given intellect, and this will not at all decrease their rewards and high degree/rank, even if we disagree in some opinions and thoughts.

We return to our question which we would like to answer in a logical and reasonable manner.Tahara for the Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya' and Imams is from what exactly? We should take a closer look at our daily routine in life and what goes on in it, in order to apply the human logic that will enable us to answer the question. So, for example, if you sought to clean the clothes that you will wear to meet an important personality or to attend a wedding or an inauguration, from what exactly will you clean that outfit? There is no doubt that you will clean and purify it from dirt, spots, wrinkles, odor, and things like that, so that it will be ready to do the job that you want it to do, in the best way possible.

Another example: If you wanted to clean a knife or a pair of scissors that will be used in a surgical operation on a human body, what will you clean that knife or scissors from? In this case, you will be sanitizing it from germs, microbes, and viruses. This will be your main concern, so that the wound of the patient does not get contaminated, and thereby the patient dying from this contaminated wound. Thus, after sanitization and purification, the knife or scissors will become suitable and eligible to perform its job, which needs a great amount of efficiency and care as possible. We can present lots of examples like these from our daily life, from which we can draw the conclusion that there is a definite and direct relationship between the job that will be carried out by the Mutahar and the things that it will be purified from. In other words, the process of Tat-heer is essentially for the purpose of making the Mutahar more fit and proficient in carrying out its job in the best form possible. This is logical, reasonable, and very clear as we use it many times in our daily life. We clean and purify an object from the things that may hinder its performance, and therefore, it will be more successful at doing its job.

Let us now apply this same logic to answer our proposed question in front of us, for we will find that the purification of our Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya', and Imams (AS), should be from the things that may prevent or hinder their performance of their God-given jobs. This purification should result in them being more proficient and capable of successfully fulfilling their jobs and responsibilities.

So, in order for us to know what they will be purified from, we must first identify and specify their jobs and responsibilities. We must know what its consequences and implications are so that we can logically deduce the answer, based on our expectations. Now, what exactly are the jobs and responsibilities of the Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya', and Imams?

First: Relaying and conveying the orders and commands of Allah (SWT) to us.

Second: Inciting and urging the people to follow and obey the orders of Allah (SWT) without disobeying Him and to carry out what the divine message instructs us to do.

Third: Obeying and carrying out the orders of Allah (SWT) with absolute care, in the individual and specific roles that is assigned to each one of them, in addition to their general responsibilities, without any addition or subtraction.

Fourth: That they become good examples and roles models for the people, in obeying the rules of Allah (SWT) and not disobeying Him under any circumstances (such that the people imitate and follow their example).

Fifth: That they rule justly between the people with what Allah (SWT) revealed and according to His orders and will. Also, to teach the people how to judge between others in that same way and manner.

Sixth: That they specify the guidelines and foundations in which the human society will be built on, including its relation with its surroundings and its interior (as Allah exactly instructed), and to carry that out to the best of their abilities.

Seventh: That they teach the people the wisdom, the lessons, and the laws, as Allah (SWT) instructed, with what Allah (SWT) instructed, and with what they received from Him.

After quickly and briefly displaying the jobs and responsibilities of the Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya', and Imams (AS) on the Earth, what do you think are the things that they should be cleansed and purified from, in order for them to perform their jobs in the best way possible? And if their responsibilities is of highest degree of importance and vitalityand certainly it is of great and critical importance since it deals with the fate of a person in his Hereafter and his life of this worldthen there is nothing more important and vital than that. Therefore, it is incumbent and necessary that their success in their responsibilities and roles is guaranteed to a percentage that might very well reach 100%. And for that to happen, they must be cleansed and purified from anything that might cause their failure or hinder their success. Furthermore, this purification must reach almost or equal to 100%.

Now, if the responsibilities and work that they will carry out is for the Great Creator, and is by the order and assignment from Him, it becomes logically necessary that He becomes the Mutahir in a direct way, due to the critical importance of the responsibilities and because it is for Him and from Him. And if Allah, the Almighty, the Knowledgeable, the Capable, and the Creator is Himself the Mutahir, then there is absolutely no doubt that the purification will be completed and accomplished with a degree of 100%. This purification will also be constant and continuous, as long as the Prophet stays a Prophet, the Messenger stays a Messenger, the Wasi stays a Wasi, and the Imam stays an Imam. And if this purification is constant and continuous, it then becomes necessary (as mentioned in the end of the 1st research question) that there exists a Asim who protects, maintains, and guarantees the persistence of that purification state, which thereby indicates the presence of Ismah (protection from loosing its Tahara). So long as the Mutahir is Allah (SWT), it becomes logically necessary that the Asim too, is Allah (SWT). Thus, He alone, with His ability, have purified and protected in order to maintain the state of Tahara and to guarantee its persistence. The Tahara and Ismah here, is guaranteed 100%, without any doubt, because the Mutahir and Asim is Allah (SWT). THEREFORE, THE PURIFIED INDIVIDUALS HAVE BECOME MA'SOMEEN, SINCE THE CERTAINTY OF THE SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF ISMAH HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED.

We now return to our rephrased question: What are the things that Allah (SWT) should purify and protect them from with 100% guarantee, such that there performance of their jobs can be ensured in the best way possible? Let us use our brains and concentrate, examine, and use wise judgment to answer this question.

If we take a closer look at the seven responsibilities mentioned earlier, we will find that the common ground or factor between all of them is: the order of Allah (SWT). Hence, the Tat-heer and Ismah should be from the thing(s) that may interfere, hinder, or obstruct the meaning of this word. And naturally, what interferes with a word is always its opposite and what hinders it is always what's against it. An order is an action that can be responded to with either obedience or disobedience. If the response to an order is obedience, then the action and order will have been accomplished. And if the response is disobedience, then the action will have been prevented and apposed. Whoever counters or contradicts the orders of Allah (SWT) is really opposing the order and therefore, disobeying it. If we realize and understand this, it will become easy for us to draw the conclusion that the most important thing that the Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya', and Imams must be purified from and protected from is: THE DISOBEDIENCE OF THE ORDERS AND INSTRUCTIONS OF ALLAH (SWT). This is exactly what Allah (SWT) mentioned in the Quran Al-Kareem, "La yasbeqoonaho bil qawl wa hom bi amrihi ya'maloon." (Nay! They are honored servants. They do not precede Him in speech and (only) according to His Commandment do they act, [21:26-27]. So, Allah's testimony for them for their inability to disobey Him, is equivalent to the meaning of purification from that, and indicates that He is the Mutahir. This also indicates the presence of Ismah, which makes Him the Asim too, as the tenses used in the verse are continuous present tense, and from Allah (SWT), this means eternity. So, Tat-heer and Ismah is essentially from the disobedience of Allah (SWT) in anything.

If their 1st responsibility is to pass on and convey the orders and commands of Allah (SWT), then it becomes logically necessary that they be purified and protected from lying, unfaithfulness, treason, and forgetfulness. Forgetfulness here is meant by forgetting the contents of the Message and its details, NOT the normal human forgetfulness that is embodied in Prophet Musa's statement to Al-Khidr (AS): "Qalla la to-akhedhni bema naseet" (Blame me not for what I forgot, [18:73]). This is an example of typical human forgetfulness, and is not significant to the topic of Ismah, using this verse and logical reasoning.

If their 2nd responsibility is to incite and urge the people to follow and obey the orders of Allah (SWT) and His Message, then it becomes logically necessary that they be purified and protected from bad and indecent behavior and anything that would contradict good manners, ethics, etiquette, and decent behavior. This is so that the people develop a liking towards them and so that they become accepted by them. Thus, they will be able to encourage and urge the people to obey Allah (SWT) and carry out His orders.

If their 3rd responsibility is to obey and carry out Allah's orders in their individual and specific roles that has been assigned to each of them, without addition or subtraction, then it becomes logically necessary that they be purified from disobedience to Him in any way or form, no matter what they're assignedeven if it looks strange, deviant, or reject by the people of this world, and no matter how much they suffer because of it. It also becomes necessary that they be purified against laziness, boredom, naivety, recklessness, negligence, coward ness, stupidity, obliviousness, weakness, fragility, lack of wisdom, lack of insight, and lack of reflection.

If their 4rth responsibility is to be good examples and role models for the people in observing the rules of Allah (SWT), then it becomes logically necessary that they become purified and protected from foolishness, inferiority, begging, having ignoble roots and ancestry, bad and nefarious origin, severe poverty, physical defect, ugly appearance, chronic illness (except in obedience to the orders of Allah, just like what happened to Prophet Ayoob), ignorance, and anything that may belittle their reverence and sully their reputation.

If their 5th responsibility is to rule justly among the people with what Allah (SWT) revealed, then it becomes logically necessary that they be purified and protected from injustice and unfairness, the love of oneself, arrogance, hastened judgment, deviating from the orders of Allah (SWT), following their own desires and personal thoughts in making judgments, using personal opinion (except within the limits that Allah Himself has allowed for), kissing up to others, hypocrisy, ignorance, lack of knowledge, asking the opinion of those who are not Ma'soom, bribery, weakness of the heart, and the lack of experience and wisdom.

If their 6th responsibility is to establish and specify the guidelines and foundations in which the human society will be built on (by the orders of Allah) and to carry that out if they're capable of it, then it becomes logically necessary that they be purified and protected from the lack of presence of political and military skills that is needed, lack of eloquence in speech, lack of coordination and organization, lack of concentration, love of desires and ornaments of this world, lack of seriousness, lack of honesty, weakness in front of the people, love of appearing and appearance, conceitedness, self-admiration, arrogance, lack of smartness and knowledge and experience, lack of intelligence and cleverness and wisdom, carelessness, recklessness, lack of confrontation, lack of strength, and from betrayal actions and evil.

If their 7th responsibility is to teach the people the wisdom, lessons, and laws, then it becomes logically necessary that they be purified and protected from everything that has been previously mentioned, especially ignorance, foolishness, lack of patience, lack of clemency, lack of insight, hiding the truth, excessive care on the Dunya, forgetting the remembrance of Allah (SWT), lack of worship and worshipping, fruitless and endless debate, talk, and argument, lack of linguistic eloquence, exaggeration and magnification, de-emphasizing and elongation, ambiguity, unclearness, complication, and complexity.

However, the most important thing that remains firstly and lastly is the purification and protection against the disobedience of Allah (SWT) in what He orders them with. This is the judgment of the mind and the human logic in what they should be totally purified and always protected from, by Allah (SWT) who is both the Mutahir and Asim. This will be the case as long as they are appointed in their roles, such that their performance of their responsibilities is complete and successful. This is because the fate of mankind in its Life and Hereafter will depend on their performance and fulfillment of their job and responsibilities.

3rd Research Question:

We now reach our third question, which proposes itself to us:

What is the meaning of sin?

Sin is the lack of obeying and fulfilling the orders of Allah (SWT). There are two kinds:

There exists unintentional sin and disobedience that is due to ignorance, lack of ability in obeying because of weakness of the brain or self or body, like the disobedience of Prophet Adam (AS) before his prophethood, and also like many of the people.

There also exists intentional sin and disobedience that occurs with the presence of knowledge, and complete ability to obey, like the sin and disobedience of Iblees (Shaitan) and his followers from the human beings and Jinn.

Allah (SWT) may forgive the first type of sin and disobedience with His compassion and generosity, if the sinner regretted and repented from his sin, with a sincere intention. As for the second type of sins, its consequences are the expulsion of the sinner from the mercy and compassion of Allah (SWT), and the eternal punishment and damnation of that person.

The Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya', and Imams are purified and protected from committing both kinds of sins and disobediences. When Adam (AS) disobeyed Allah (SWT), this happened when he was still in Paradise, before he descended to Earth and before he became a Prophet. When he was appointed as Prophet, he became purified and protected, and thereby, we never saw from him any kind of disobedience after that.

Here, we need to clarify and stress an important thing, which many people fail to recognize and understand. Disobedience is the act of not obeying and executing the orders of Allah (SWT). And Tahara and Ismah of the Prophets is from this act of not obeying the orders of Allah (SWT) that are directed to them in anything. The meaning of disobedience here is not what the minds are used to when they think of a sin, because some behaviors are generally considered to be a sin. The most important thing that one has to keep in mind is that the meaning of disobedience is specifically not obeying and carrying out the orders of Allah (SWT). It is not what comes to your mind from specific actions that we are used to calling a sin. It is important to differentiate between those two situations, even if they coincide in most cases. For example, lying, killing, stealing, and wrongly accusing others, are all actions, which we consider to be a sin, and they indeed are. However, they are not considered to be a sin just because of the bad nature of the action in and of itself. Rather, they are considered to be sins because Allah (SWT) forbid and prohibited them. So, killing in and of itself is not a sin, but Allah's forbiddance of it is what makes it a sin, if committed. This is a very important concept that we need to understand and recognize, so that we don't get confused, and so that we can later understand the meaning of Tahara and Ismah, like Allah (SWT) willed.

So, if a person does not lie, in adherence or accordance to good behavior and commendable traits, this would not be considered obedience to Allah (SWT), and he would not be characterized as obedient to Allah's order in this case. He is certainly not equal to one who does not lie because of his adherence to Allah's prohibition to lying.

Allah (SWT) orders us to be truthful and not lie in most cases. However, in certain and specific situations, He permits and allows us to lie, and maybe even order us to do so. For example, lying on the enemies of Allah (SWT) and the enemies of the Muslims at the time of war, is permissible, in order to not reveal the secrets of the Muslim army to them. You are allowed to mislead them, and the appearance of this action is lying. However, its reality is obedience to Allah (SWT) and what's important here is the obedience of Allah (SWT). For instance, a person may lie in order to bring two angry and conflicting believers together, and this lie is justified and encouraged, as Allah (SWT) says in the Quran, "Wa asleho dhata baynekom." (And adjust matters of difference among you,

[8:1]). So, the action in its outer appearance seems to be a lie and a sin, but it is really permissible since Allah (SWT) permitted it for us in this situation. And in its outer appearance, Taqiyya (dissimulation) could be interpreted as lying, but Allah (SWT) has ordered us to observe it in special cases, in order to protect ourselves, our money, property, and family. Allah (SWT) and Rasulullah (SWT) have excused Ammar ibn Yasser (RA), when he was forced by the nonbelievers to curse the Prophet (SA). Ammar thought that he was doomed by committing that act. So, Allah (SWT) revealed the following verse, "Illa wa qalboho motma-enon bil iman."(Except him who is forced thereto and whose heart is at rest with faith, [16:106]). So, in these special situations, the order of Allah (SWT) is separated from the typical connotations of the act. In these cases, we are to stick and abide to the orders of Allah (SWT), even if we commit that sin-like act. This is because the only important thing that matters is the obedience of Allah's orders, not what our minds and traditions accept or not. This way, we will be able to interpret many of the events/incidents that occurred, without conflicting with the meaning of Ismah.

For example, Allah (SWT) ordered Prophet Ibraheem (AS) to deceive his people by claiming to be sick, in order for him to have an opportunity to demolish their idols after their departure. Here, the appearance of his act seems to be a lie and therefore, a sin. However, its reality is in abidance and obedience to the order of Allah (SWT) to him, which is the most important thing.

Prophet Yusuf (AS) falsely accused his brothers of stealing the drinking cup of the king, and this, in the eyes of any person, is considered to be a sin. However, Allah (SWT) ordered him to do so and He said in the Quran, "Wakadhaleka kedna li Yusuf" (Thus We did plan for Yusuf, [12:76]. Yusuf (AS) is purified and protected from disobeying Allah (SWT), even if his acts seems wrong in front of the common eye. Once again, what matters most is the absolute obedience to the orders of Allah (SWT), no matter what.

So, there is a big difference between the orders of Allah (SWT), and the typical connotations of actions, even though they may coincide in most cases. We must realize that the orders of Allah (SWT) is the most important, not the act in and of itself. And the examples are many. Eating is permitted. However, during the days in the month of Ramadan, it is forbidden. Killing a human life is forbidden, however, Allah (SWT) orders us to use the Law of Equality in certain cases and He permitted us to kill His enemies. Sexual relationship with the opposite gender is forbidden except with marriage or with the slaves whom your right hand possessesand so on and so forth. We see actions that are permitted in some cases and forbidden in others. And in certain times, they're allowed, and in other, they're prohibited. The line to be drawn here and the determiner, is the obedience of Allah's orders, because that is our goal and that is what's desired. This is what Allah (SWT) always tests us with, even if His order contradicts the desires and traditions of the people. And those are from among the important choices that a believer has to make.

For example, Ameer Al-Momineen (AS) did not stand take arms in asking for his divine right of Caliphate from those who confiscated it from him. This was in accordance to the orders of Allah (SWT) and Rasulullah (SWT), even if the people and history blame him for that, for he is purified and protected from ever disobeying Allah (SWT).

Imam Al-Hasan (AS) agrees to make a peace treaty with Mu'awiya, in accordance to the orders of Allah (SWT) and Rasulullah (SWT), even if the people and history blame him, for he does not care because he is purified and protected from ever disobeying Allah (SWT).

Imam Al-Husain (AS) rises up to face Yazeed (LA), and takes his family with him (while he knows that his sons, companions, and himself will be killed), in accordance to the order of Allah (SWT). He also knows that his women will fall as captives under the hand of the enemy, without a doubt. However, he is purified and protected from disobeying Allah's orders, no matter how much the people or history blame or criticize him.

Imam Al-Sajjad (AS) stays at home and engages in worship, while Banu Ummaya widely spreads corruption in the land. And he doesn't leave his house, in accordance to the orders of Allah (SWT), even if the people and history blame him. This is because he is purified and protected from disobeying Allah (SWT), not even for a blink of an eyeeven if obeying Allah's order will seem strange, unusual, or contradicting to the mind and traditions.

Al-Khidr (AS) slaughtered a young boy and scuttled the ship. In its outer appearance, these actions are considered to be sins, such that Prophet Musa (AS) could not bear it. However, Al-Khidr carries out the orders of Allah (SWT), whether or not the people like it, and whether or not it coincides with their logic, habits, and opinions. As the verse in the Quran says, "Wa ma fa'altoho 'an amry..." (And I did them not of my own accord, [18:82]). These are all lessons for us so that we can realize that's what's important is obeying the orders of Allah (SWT), not appearance or connotations of the actions.

Taloot goes out with a small and limited number of a weak army, to face a huge giant-like army of tyrants. Regardless of that difference, the orders of Allah (SWT) come to him (which he obeys) that leads to the decrease in the quantity of the army. Here, the appearance of the situation contradicts the human logic in both military and political smartness. However, Taloot simply carries out the orders of Allah (SWT), even if it led to the decrease of the number of his army or their defeat, because that is what's important and that is the reason for the creation and its presence. As Allah (SWT) says in the Quran, "Wa ma khalaqto al ens wal jenn illa liya'bodoon" (And I created not the Jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me, [51:56]).

The main and true essence of worshipping is the absolute and complete obedience in what you like and what you don't likein what the people like and what they don't like. What matters is the obedience of Allah's orders and commands, wherever you are and however you are. The Tahara and Ismah of the Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya', and Imams is from the disobediences of Allah (SWT), regardless of the appearance or connotation of the actions and words, and of the opinions and desires of the people. So, the orders of Allah (SWT) are on top of everything, before everything, and apply to everything. After all, did the angels become angels except with their absolute obedience to Allah (SWT)? And did the creations and kingdoms get created, except by the order of Allah (SWT)? And could any good come, except from obeying the orders of Allah (SWT)?

4rth Research Question:

We continue with the following question:

Why is it necessary that the Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya' and Imams be purified and protected?

The answer to this question is simple and clear, if we review the past three questions. Their Tat-heer and Ismah is logical and makes sense, in order for them to perform their roles and jobs in the most complete and perfect form as possible. This is needed due to the criticalness, vitality, and importance of their responsibilities, for all of humankind. How is it possible that a Messenger is appointed to convey a message which urges people to obey Allah (SWT), while he himself is capable of disobeying Allah (SWT)? This puts all of the message in great danger and is not logical at all. How will the Messenger present the very important and great message, while he himself is exposed to lying, unfaithfulness, forgetting parts of the message, foolishness, lack of wisdom and mind, weakness, physical defect, and the negative aspects of the creations, etc? This will cause his message to be surrounded by doubts and suspicions in its authenticity and validity. It will put a big question mark on the messenger himself, and will give the enemies of the Message an opportunity to attack it and question its divinity. This is because the thoughtful mind will ask itself: Was not God, the Creator, able to make His Messenger purified and protected from these negative aspects, before He appointed and assigned them with this grave responsibility? This question is logical to ask at that point, and may stand as a proof of a forged and invalid message, along with its messenger. For example, is it possible that a doctor sends a sick and crippled person to deliver a message to one of his patients or customers? Is it possible that a police department sends a limping, one-eyed criminal to claim that he is a police officer who carries a message to you from the Chief of Police? Is it possible that a Laundromat sends your clothes to you after being washed, with an ugly-looking person who has dirty clothes on? This can never happen in our normal life, and if it did, you will automatically doubt, suspect, and question the truthfulness of the message and the messenger.

Each one of us carefully chooses those who may represent him or carry his message, and if he could pick the best of people, he would've chosen him. For example, the workplaces and employers take extra care in selecting the candidate who will be representing them in every aspect. Take a look at any job application and the questions it contains, in which their purpose is to determine the extent of your purification, in order to fit the type of work that you will perform. Then they examine and review the applications and select the most purified qualified candidate to perform the job.

So, why don't we apply the same principle in this case too? Why do you give yourself the right to choose, select, and purify and protect those who might represent you or your company.yet, you don't give Allah (SWT) the right to choose, purify, and protect His Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya', and Imams? This is a very big mistake that is certainly not committed by one who has wisdom and one who uses his brain.

The Tahara and Ismah of the Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya', and Imams, is in and of itself, a logical proof on the authenticity and validity of the Message that they carry, just like the physical appearance (uniform, badge, etc.) and behavior of a representative of the police department, verifies to you the truthfulness and sincerity of his message.

After this, it is not possible for an ignorant person to question and ask: Why is it necessary for the Prophets, Messengers, Awliyaa', and Imams appointed by Allah (SWT) to be purified and protected from disobeying him? Therefore, it is a logical thing that is expected to happen by any normal and logical mind. And if it actually happened, it is not a surprise to us. And if the verses of the Quran and narrations mention and verify that, then it is not appropriate nor is it our right to say things like How is this? Except if we left our minds behind our backs and surrendered to what the foolish, silly, and ignorant minds say.

5th Research Question:

We now face another question which many people ask:

Does the Tat-heer and Ismah of the Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya', and Imams conflict with them being humans?

Here, we answer with another question: If someone from the human beings take or has something that no one else ever took or had except him, does that make him nonhuman?

Without a doubt, the Tahara and Ismah of the Prophets and Awliyaa' of Allah (SWT) are a gift and bounty from Him that is unique to them. He did not give it to anyone else, not before them, nor after them. So, from this aspect, they were distinguished, chosen, and given something that no other human was given. However, does this reality make them nonhuman?

If a man is given lots of money, which was not given to anyone else before him, does that make him nonhuman? If a man is given power that was not ever given to anyone else before him, does that make him nonhuman? When Neal Armstrong and his colleague were the first to place foot and land on the moon, did that make them not human beings anymore just because what happened to them did not ever happen to anyone else? Did anyone ever claim that?

We are human because of our physical nature, which is composed of flesh, blood, cells, nerves, and anatomical structure, and because we are able to speak, think, eat, drink, feel happy, and feel sadjust like the rest of humanity. This is only what makes us human. As for what Allah (SWT) may distinguish us with or make us unique and exceptional in, as compared to others, even if it makes us extraordinary and singular in it, that does not take us out of the boundaries of humanity, and will not make us inhuman.

For example, if you installed in your personal computer a program which protects it from electronic viruses, is it fitting for a person to claim that your computer is not a computer anymore, just because it became distinguished from the other computer devices that may not have that virus protection? We place this question in front of you, with a modern way of thinking, in order for it to become clear to you the extent of foolishness and absurdity of the person who says that.

Should Dolly, the sheep that was recently cloned, not be called a sheep anymore, just because it became unique and exceptional compared to the rest of the sheep? Should the egg in which the cholesterol was extracted and removed from, not be called an egg anymore, just because what happened to it never happened to any other egg.

We think that the matter is now clear and there is no need for more explanation than what has already been given. So, the Tat-heer and Ismah of the Prophets and Imams does not remove them from the boundaries of humanity. As Allah (SWT) says in the Quran, "Qol subhana rabi hal konto illa basharan rasoola?" (Say: Glorified (and Exalted) be my Lord. Am I anything but a man, sent as a Messenger, [17:93]). And did any of the Muslims ever ask, Is Prophet Isa ibn Mariam (AS) considered to be inhuman, just because he is unique in being born without a father? This is the nave and confused logic that the Christians use, to prove the divinity of Isa and that he is the son of God. May Allah (SWT) curse them and curse those who think like them!

6th Research Question:

The next question that proposes itself to us is:

Does the Tahara and Ismah of the Prophets and Imams make them divine individuals whom we cannot relate to, compared to the rest of the people? And does it prevent them from communicating and meeting with the rest of the human beings?

There are many types and ways of dealing and relating between the people, and it is not only one type, as it may be indicated from the question. For example, your way of relating with your parents will differ from the way you relate with your siblings. And the way that you may relate to your school and its Principal, will be different from the way that you relate to your friend or colleague. And the way that you conduct yourself with the President of your country will differ from the way that you do so with the boss in your work, or your servant. Furthermore, the way that you relate to with the Sheikh of your Masjid or your religious mentor will certainly be different from your relation with your neighbor or son! So, for every position, there is a way of dealing that is specific to it, and for every person, there is a certain type of relation and conduction of oneself with. The relationship here will differ with the kind of person you're dealing with.

The Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya', and Imams (AS) are special individuals who perform divine roles and jobs that are assigned to them by God. Hence, their respect is derived from the respect of Allah (SWT) and their position is derived from the position of Allah (SWT), regardless of whether they are purified and protected, or not. It is not at all expected that your relationship and way of dealing with them will ever be the same as that of your friend, teacher, neighbor, or colleague. This is because the way that you deal with them will have a special sacredness that is derived from Allah (SWT), who they represent. For example, do you treat and relate to the messenger of your friend to you, the same way that you do with the messenger of the President of your country to you, or the messenger of the police to you? Of course not! This is because your way of dealing with the messengers of both the President and police, without a doubt, will be affected by whom they represent. You will certainly deal with the messenger of the President with more respect and veneration, while you will deal with the messenger of the police with more fear, safeguarding, and carefulness. This is what the people dothey change and adjust their way of dealing with others and their type of communication, depending on the person in front of them and whom he/she represents.

So, from the very start, you will not relate and deal with the Prophets and Imams (AS) the same way that you do with the rest of the people, because the relationship here is very different, and whom they represent is the Great Lord and the King of Kings. It is rather desired that you keep your relationship with them in a unique and specific form, with specific boundaries, that differs from the rest of your relationships and communications. Do not at all expect that your relationship with them will be similar to your relationship with your brother or friend. This is unacceptable and illogical. As a matter of fact, this difference in relating is in and of itself, desired and recommended.

Did not Allah (SWT) say in the Quran in Surat Al-Hojaraat, "Wa la tajharoo lahu bil qawl ka jahr ba]dekom liba'd", (Do not speak aloud to him in talk, as you speak aloud to one another, [49:2]), which basically means that you should not deal with Rasulullah (SA) in the same way that you deal with others. Allah (SWT) willed that there exist a certain distance of respect and reverence between them and us. However, this distance will not prevent or hinder the Prophets from carrying out their jobs, for if Allah (SWT) knew that it would, He wouldn't have ordered us to keep that distance. This distance will also not hinder the revelation of the divine message and their instructions and guidance for us. Neither will it prevent them from teaching us, judging in us, and judging on us. It will never impede them from performing their roles, which is what is required and wanted. It is not from among their jobs to be our buddy or entertainer. Does not every king or leader of a country, or manger of workplace, leave a certain distance between him/her and the people or employees? And does that obstruct them from carrying out the responsibilities of their job? Is it the case that the President of the United States will not be able to perform his job and carry out his responsibilities, except if he opened the door of the White House for me so that I can go to him whenever I want, talk to him about whatever I want, to waste his time however I want, and to contact him through phone whenever I want? If he does and allows that, will that make him a good President? And if he doesn't, will he be considered incapable of performing his duties, just because I am not able to relater and deal with himand just because I cannot contact and communicate with him the same way that I do with my neighbor, friend, or son? This is nonsense and has even reached to the point of madness! Your relationship and communication with the Prophets and Imams (AS) should differ from others, not because they're purified or not, nor because they're protected or notbut rather, because they represent Allah (SWT), with all His divine sacredness, highness, and greatness. You yourself will respect and give great regard and veneration to the Sheikh of your Masjid or any Alim (scholar), and you will communicate with them in a way that you don't with others. Why?! It is because they represent and signify the religion and Allah (SWT), in your eyes. Then imagine how you should relate and communicate with the Prophets, Messengers, and Imams! It is to be noted that the presence of their Tahara and Ismah here, has nothing at all to do with this matter. For example, you give great respect and regard to the police messenger of the Chief of Police to you, because of what he represents and whom he represents to you. It will not matter to you at that point whether this policeman has a good record or whether he is efficient in his work or whether he is close to the Chief of Police or not, or whether his clothes are tidy or not. All this will not matter and will not cross your mind. You will leave a distance between you and him, because of what he represents and not for any other reason.

As for the argument that you will be able to maintain and keep a relationship with the companions of the Prophet (SA), while you will not be able to keep that same relationship with the Imams of Ahlul-Bayt (AS), and that is due to their Tahara and Ismahthis is absolutely true and is even desired and recommended. Again, the reason here is not because of their purification and protection in and of itself. Rather, it is because of their roles and what they represent. The companions of Rasulullah (SA) are not appointed by Allah (SWT), nor are they Awsiya' and Imams, nor do they have divine roles to carry out. Therefore, they are not Mutahareen and Ma'someen. Thus, there is a big difference between your relationship and communication with them, compared to that of the Imams and Awsiya' who are appointed by Allah (SWT).

Do keep in mind that there may exist reverence and high regard in my heart for the companions of Prophet Musa (AS). However, my reverence and high regard for Yosha' ibn Noon, the Wasi of Musa (AS), will be much greater, not because of his Tahara and Ismahbut rather, because of his role and position and what he represents. Therefore, my relationship and way of dealing with the companions of Musa (AS) will be easier than my relationship with Yosha' ibn Noon, and there is absolutely nothing wrong or shameful in that. It is rather intended that there exist a certain distance between you and the Imam of your time and the rest of the Imams, much bigger than the one of that you keep between you and the others. This is because of their great position, status, nature of their jobs, and their closeness with Allah (SWT). This is absolutely normal without any mistake in it, and we ourselves apply this in our everyday life without any problem.

For example, if your son came to you and told you, I am able to relate and communicate with my friends at school, but I am not able to relate and deal with the Principal of the school with the same easiness and same waybecause I feel that there exist a distance between the Principal and me that is greater than the one between my friend and me. How will you answer your son? The explanation that you will give to your son, which will remove his wonder and puzzlement, will indeed be the same one as what we will tell you, in order to erase your confusion, doubts, and wonder.

So, the Tahara and Ismah here has nothing to do with this matter. If for example, you met Imam Husain (AS) right now, will the way that you greet, relate, and deal with him, make any difference to you, as to whether he is Ma'soom or not? We leave this question for the reader to answer and make up his mind regarding this matter. Also, it is to be noted that the Christians worship and sanctify Prophet Isa (AS) and they claim that he is God Himself, which therefore makes him Ma'soom in their eyesrather, he is more than that because according to them, he is God. However, did that type of thinking prevent them from making and maintaining a relationship with Isa (AS), relating with him and integrating him in all aspects of their lives, whether big or small? This is just a questionso, why then do we claim that the concept of Tahara and Ismah will hinder with relating, communicating, and dealing?

7th Research Question:

Now, the question that some people propose is:

Why didn't the Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya', and Imams mention that they are Ma'someen?

The answer for this question is simple

First: The truth that is proven with logic and mind does not need to be assured and verified by a testimony, as long as there is nothing in the divine books specifically that contradicts it, and as long as it is a truth that is accepted by the mind and intellect. For example, the logic and brain says that Prophet Yunis (AS) used to fast for Allah (SWT). However, do we find any statement in the Quran or narrations that specifically states that? No, however, we also do not find any statement that denies or contradicts that. Therefore, it is a reality so long as the brain and logic accepts it.

Riding a car, for instance, is logically permissible, without any doubt. So long as there is no statement in the Quran or hadeeths that boldly and specifically states that riding a car is not permissible, the permissibility of riding a car becomes valid, without any confusion around it.

In that same logic, using our intellect, we have drawn the conclusion about the necessity of the presence and occurrence of Tahara and Ismah. If we did not find any statement supporting that in the Quran or hadeeths (and that is not true), there is also no quote or statement that contradicts it specifically by saying that the Prophets are NOT Ma'someen and NOT Mutahareen. Therefore, it is a reality that has no doubt or confusion around it, so long as the mind accepts and deduces it.

Second: Is it required or is it from the ethics that a normal person talks positively about himself and praises himself, and mentions his unique characteristics and his high position? This is not accepted and is rejected from any normal person. Then imagine if that behavior is exhibited by the peak of humanity and its highestthe Prophets, Messengers, and Imams (AS). Being that they are the people of humbleness and bashfulness, is it expected that they should stand between the people and say to them, We are Mutaharoon and Ma'someen? Furthermore, if it was not for the revelation of Ayat Al Tat-heer, do you think that Rasulullah (SA) or Ameer Al-Momineen (AS) would say to the people, Allah (SWT) has keep the "rejs" ( , sin) away from us and have purified us an absolute and complete purification? Absolutely not! Their ascetism, bashfulness, and modesty will have prevented them from saying that. That's why Allah (SWT) carried out that mission for them and on their behalf. So, how is it that we want or expect them to do that and tell us what is clear and bright as the sun, in front of our eyesa reality that we are able to see without them even acknowledging or insinuating it to us.

Third: Did not Allah (SWT) reveal Ayat Al Tat-heer, and all of its verbs are in the present tense, which indicates continuation and perpetuality [Yudh-hib ( , keep away) &

Wa Yutahir ( , purify)]. And if this continuation and perpetuality of purification was understood and became certain, Ismah would also have to be present, as we explained in the first research question. Therefore, without any doubt or debate, the verse of purification also indicates the presence of Ismah. And after the words of Allah (SWT), is there any need for more proofs or talk, as He is the Most Wise? We are satisfied with this explanation, and there is not need for us to present the numerous hadeeths narrated from Rasulullah (SA) and from the Imams (AS) that indirectly indicates and points to their purification and protection. History itself and their personal autobiographies are enough to stand as witnesses and proofs to that.

So, if Ahlul-Bayt (AS) were purified and protected, is there any doubt left in the purification and protection of the Prophets and Messengers? And did we read or take a look at the Message and Book of every Prophet and Messenger that previously came, such that we can confidently say that the Message and Books lack any clear statement or verse, which indicates Tat-heer and Ismah of every Prophet and Messenger? Do we not find many verses in the Quran that describe the Prophet and Messengers in such a way, that makes us understand and believe in their purification and protection by Allah (SWT)? Or else, what is the meaning of: Verily, he was true to what he promised [19:54], Verily, he was a man of truth, a Prophet [19:41], How excellent a slave! Verily, he was ever oft-returning in repentance [38:30,44], owners of strength (worshipping Us) and (also) of religious understanding [38:45], And most surely they are with Us of the chosen and best! [38:47], Verily, We did choose them by granting them (a good thing), the remembrance of the final abode [38:46], Nay! They are honored servants. They speak not until He has spoken, and they act on His Command [21:26-27].

Furthermore, take a closer look and analyze Surat Mariam, Surat Al-Anbiya', Surat Ibraheem, Surat Yusuf, Surat El-Safaat, Surat Saad, Surat Ghafir, Surat El-Araaf, Surat El-Shu'ara, and most of the Surahs in the Quranand the matter will be clearfor every wise, thoughtful, faithful person.

In conclusion, the Prophets, Messengers, Awsiya', and Imams (AS) are all ONE chain that does not separate, divide, or deviate. Allah (SWT) have chosen it, purified it, protected it, and all praise be to Allah (SWT) for His blessings and bounties!