Why do we need the guidance of prophets?

There are two reasons why we need the guidance of the prophets from God:

1. The need from the point of view of teaching

If we ride upon a fantastic and fairy tale-like horse which is built of rays of light and in every second we travel 300,000 kilometers in the shoreless space, doubtlessly we will need to have thousands of life-times of Noah just to see a small part of this extensive universe. It is clear that this universe, with its greatness, was not created uselessly and as we learned in our study of God, the creation of this world has no benefit to God’s state, because He is a Being Who is totally and absolutely free from any need, Who is eternal and He has no deficiency which He could want to meet by the creation of the world and humanity.

Thus, we can conclude that His goal was to give Mercy to others and to help creatures reach perfection, just like the fact that the sun shines upon us without it having any need of us. This light and heat of the sun is only to our advantage and benefit because what do we do for the sun?

On the other hand, is our intelligence and knowledge sufficient for us to move along towards the way of perfection and the reaching towards becoming a perfect human being?
What amount of the secrets of the world do we know?
What is the truth of life?
When was this world created? No one knows the answer to these questions.
How long will it remain? Again, no one knows the answer to this.
Every scholar of humanity has an opinion from the social and economic point of view. For instance, one group recommends capitalism and another group, socialism or communism and another group, neither accepts this group nor that, and considers both to be harmful.

In other issues of life, as well, there are differences of opinions among the scholars. A human being falls into a state of wonder as to which one of all of these to accept. It is here that, in all fairness, we must admit that in order to reach the main goal of creation, that is, perfection and nourishment of the human being in all areas, we need a series of teachings which are correct and empty of any error; ones which rely upon the realities of life, teachings which can help us, upon this long road, to reach the main goal.

This can only be done through God’s knowledge, that is, divine revelation through the prophets. Because of this, God Who created us to take this journey, must place the knowledge at our disposal.

2. The need for leadership in the social and moral areas

We know that within our being, in addition to knowledge and wisdom, other motives called ‘instincts’ also exist, the instinct of self-love, the instinct of anger and harshness, the instinct of lust and multiple other instincts. Without doubt, if we do not control our instincts, and they dominate over us, even our knowledge and intellect will be imprisoned, and the human being, like the oppressors of history, will be changed into wolves which are far more dangerous than the wolf of the wilderness.

We need a teacher to learn ethics. We need a model so that we can learn from him according to the principle whereby one narrates something and others follow. A perfect and disciplined human being, from every point of view, is required to take our hand upon this way, which is full of twists and turns, and prevent the rebellion of our instincts, to have virtuous principles and his deeds and words sit upon our hearts and very beings, nurture courage, bravery, friendship with other human beings, brotherhood, forgiveness, loyalty, correctness, trustworthiness and purity within our spirits.

What person, other than a pure and immaculate prophet, could be chosen to be such a teacher and guide?

For this very reason, it is not possible that God not show His Mercy to us and prevent us from the existence of such leaders and teachers.

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Ref: Fifty Lessons of Principles of Belief for Youths; Ayt. Makarem Shirazi; Translated by: Bahador Shirazian; Published by: Ahlul Bayt World Assembly

Are there laws in heaven? If so, what kind?

The point must be noted that information on issues regarding the hereafter, the conditions of Heaven and Hell, can only be obtained through revelation and the words of the infallible religious leaders.

The answer to the above question has not been clearly given in religious sources, but it can be stated (from the points that will be mentioned) that there are no special rulings in Heaven, and if there are they are different from religious rulings. The reason behind this is that the philosophy behind the rules that Allah legislated and forced man to follow is the growth and perfection of man which is obtained through following these rules. The levels of paradise that are given to man are obtained through righteous deeds performed in this world before death or through righteous children or other believers who give the rewards of righteous deeds to his soul. In more precise words; Heaven and Hell are the realities of actions that were performed in the world. This has been mentioned in many traditions which state:

Today is the day of action where there is no accountability and tomorrow is the day of accountability where there is no action.” 1

So, in the hereafter there is no action which would cause a need for accountability and have a ‘reality’ which would appear in another place.

In addition to this, religious rulings are normally legislated in places where the rights of others can be transgressed on, or at least the possibility is there. But, this is not the case in Heaven because:

1. There is no groundwork or basis for transgression or oppression; crime usually happens in places where there is a small amount of goods and services and where the demand is greater than the supply. There is so insufficiency in Heaven and according to the words of the Quran whatever the people of Heaven desire or see will be is given them. 2

2. Another reason for the need of law is when man can be influenced by Satan, carnal desires, or spiritual sicknesses, such as envy, to commit unsuitable actions and oppress oneself or others. These issues are not in Heaven either because those who reach Heaven are pure people who were able to control their carnal desires and spiritual sicknesses in the world. In addition to this, the Quran says:

All forms of ‘spiritual defects’ will be taken out of the hearts of those in Heaven; everyone will be brothers to one another.” 3

All words spoken in Heaven will be rejected except words of peace. 4

Therefore, it seems that there is no opportunity for transgression in Heaven and the possibility of fighting is out of the question, hence there is no need for the legislation of laws. Quranic verses can be used to show that the people of Heaven do not have evil inclinations and that they have reached the highest levels of humanity and perfection, in such a way that they do not like something unless it is really likeable 5 and they do not like anything unless Allah likes it. 6 In conclusion, there is no need for the legislation of laws.

Some commentators on the Quran have raised the following question regarding the verse:

Gold dishes and cups will be passed amongst those in Heaven and they will take pleasure in whatever they desire and whatever they see,” 7

that does the generality of this verse include things that were forbidden in this world as well? If a person in Heaven wants a forbidden item would it be given to him? They answered these questions in the following way: these questions are asked without paying attention to the point that forbidden food, for example, in reality, is food that is unsuitable for man’s spirit and a healthy spirit would not have an appetite for such a food. Sick spirits are those that go after unsuitable food, or even poison, from time to time. There are some sicknesses where one feels the urge to eat dirt, but when cured the false urge disappears. People in Heaven never have desires for such unclean items because their spirit is being taken in the direction of purity and overall goodness. 8

[1] Al-Kāfī, v.8, p.58
[2] Quran, 15: 47
[3] Quran, 15:47
[4] Quran, 56:26
[5] Al-Mīzān (Farsi edition), v.29, p.272
[6] Ibid, v.34, p.154
[7] Quran, 43:71
[8] Tafsīr Namūnah, v.21, p.116

Are the heavenly Hurs a blessing allocated only to men, or they are for women as well? Is there any consensus about this topic as a result of Quranic and hadithic proof?

One of the blessings that Allah (s.w.t) grants to people who do good deeds and have faith in Him is paradise and the blessings therein. For entering into heaven there isn’t any difference between men or women; and one of the rewards that Allah (s.w.t) gives to people in heaven is that of the Huris (Hurul ‘In) and this is something that has been mentioned in hadiths and the Quran.
According to the majority of Mufassireen (Commentators of the Quran), marriage doesn’t have the same meaning in heaven as it does here in this world. According to this tafsir, marriage to the Huris comes to mean being matched with them and receiving them as a gift from Allah (s.w.t) (not that an actual marriage contract is executed between them and they become their spouses like how marriages take place in this world).

One of the great blessings that Allah (s.w.t) has prepared for his pious and believing servants is heaven, and all the abundant and never-ending blessings that are contained therein. Of course the pleasure and contentedness of Allah (s.w.t) towards them is the greatest reward. The only thing that grants entrance to paradise is faith and good deeds in this current world. However much the faith and good deeds are greater, that person’s status and position in paradise will likewise be higher; in this regard there are no differences between men and women and every human being can reach such a position. Allah (s.w.t) has said:

Every human being, either from men or women, who does good deeds and also has faith will enter heaven and will be given freely from the bounties of heaven.” 1

Of course, expecting the future world to have the same rules and way of life of this world is totally incorrect and baseless. Sometimes in the verses of the Quran and in Hadith we hear of such concepts like the pleasure of eating and drinking and having beautiful and young wives or being next to streams and lush trees, but these are only for us to be able to somewhat comprehend the realities of the next world and we have to understand that they are not just duplicates of this worlds pleasures. 2

From the collection of Quranic verses and hadiths it is understood that whatever the people of heaven want will be given to them freely,3 and one of these mentioned blessings are the Huris of paradise.

Numerous hadiths and Quranic verses refer to heavenly mates as “Hurul ‘In” 4.
The word Hur is the plural of Howra’ which means a women whose whiteness of the eye is exceedingly white and the blackness of her eyes is exceedingly black or it can be taken to mean a women who has very dark eyes like the eyes of a deer, and ‘In is the plural of the word Ainaa’, which means large eyed (in a good-looking sense).The Quran has mentioned the Huris as the ‘Pearls of Paradise’ 5 and it seems that they are a creation that is separate and distinct from the women of this world.6

Allah (s.w.t) says about them:

We will give them in marriage to the Hurul ‘In”.7

Many verses 8 are found that describe the heavenly companions:

Beautiful angels in the form of youthful men and women at the peak of beauty and vigor.”

According to the opinion of most commentators (mufassirs), marriage does not have the same worldly connotation when speaking about this subject. So here the real aim is the giving of a gift from Allah (s.w.t) of these Huris and matching them with the believers.9

We should pay attention to the point that Hur and ’In apply to both the masculine and the feminine; thus covering both male and female heavenly mates; female ones for male believers and male ones for the female believers. 10

Another interesting point is that for the purpose of serving those in heaven, there are Ghilmans who have been explained to be very beautiful heavenly servants; it is said that when people see these Ghilman they think they are looking at a carved jewel 11 or a round natural pearl.12 The verses that speak of them apparently say that they have been created for the sole purpose of serving those in heaven.

What can be concluded from all the above is that: All of the blessings of Allah (s.w.t) in heaven are for all pious and faithful men and women living there, the Huris as beautiful companions and the Ghilman as handsome servants being no exception.

[1] Ghafir:40.
[2] Husein Eskandari, Ayehaye Zendegi, vol. 5, p. 302.
[3] Fussilat:31.
[4] Dukhan:54; Tur:22; Waqi’ah:22 and 23.
[5] و حور عين؛ کامثال اللؤلؤ المکنون
(And there will be maidens with large Black eyes [to be their wives], They are like pearls preserved In shells) Waqi’ah:23-24.
[6] Translation of Al-Mizan, vol. 18, p. 228.
[7] Dokhan:54.
[8] Saffat:47; AlRahman:58, 70 and 72; Insan:19; Tur:24.
[9] Biharul-Anwar, vol. 8, p. 99; Translation of Al-Mizan, vol. 18, p. 228.
[10] Didare Yar (Ma’ad dar Kalame Vahy9), Ibid.
[11] يطوف عليهم ولدان، مخلدون اذا رأيتهم حسبتهم لولوءً منثوراً
Insan:19.
[12] يطوف عليهم غلمان لهم کانهم لولوء مکنون
Tur:24.

Why was only justice selected from among all attributes of God to became one of the five pillars of religion?

In response to this important question, several points should be noted:
1. Among God’s Qualities, justice is so important that many other Qualities return to it because justice in the general, extensive sense means ‘putting everything in its place’.

Here, then, Hakim, Razzaq, Rahman and Rahim, and similar Qualities, are all dependent upon it.
2. Resurrection — just as we have mentioned — is related to Divine Justice as well as the mission of the Prophet and the responsibility of the Imams.
3. At the beginning of Islam, a difference of Opinion arose over the issue of the justice of the Creator:

A group of the Sunni Muslims, who were called the Ash’arites, completely denied God’s justice. They said that justice and oppression make no sense in relation to God. He is the Ruler of the entire created universe. It belongs to Him and whatever He does is just.
They did not even believe in the intellect’s good and evil. They said, “Our intellect alone cannot distinguish between good and bad, even the goodness of doing good or the evil of oppression…” and many such similar errors.
Another group of the Sunnis, who were called the Mu’tazilites, and all of the Shi’ites, believe in the principle of justice in relation to the Creator and they believe that God never commits oppression.

In order to separate out those two groups from one another, they called the second group, the Adliyah, in which justice (adl), as a principle, was the sign of the school and the first group were called ‘qhayr adliyah’ (other than justice). Shi’ites were among the ‘Adliyah.
The Shi’ites, in order to distinguish their school from that of the other Adliyah, placed imamate as one of the principles as well. Thus, wherever there is a discussion of ‘justice’ and ‘imamate’, this is in reference to the Shi’ite Imami school.

4. As the fundamentals of religion are continuous rays of the principles of religion and as the ray of justice of the Creator is extremely effective in human society, and the most important base for human society is formed by ‘social justice’, the selection or choice of the principle of justice as one of the principles of religion is a means to establish justice in human society and to struggle against any kind of oppression.

Just as the unity of Essence, Qualities of the Creator, the unity of worship of Him, the light and unity of His Oneness, a solidification of human society and the unity of Qualities are strengthened, the leadership of the prophets and imams is also inspired by the issue of ‘real leadership’ in human society. Thus, this principle of justice of the Creator, who rules over the entire world, is the sign of the necessity for justice in all areas of human society.

The great created universe is based upon Divine Justice. Human society will also not remain without it.1

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1) Fifty Lessons on Principles of Belief for Youths, written by Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi,

Does the belief in intercession have any roots in Islam?

One of the beliefs of the Twelver Shiites is the belief in intercession. They maintain that a sinner under certain conditions may be granted forgiveness by God through intercession.
The Wahhabis have raised questions against the Shiites regarding this belief. They say that having such belief leads man to not fear God and be inclined to commit sins relying on intercession. But the truth is that not only intercession does not make one inclined to commit sins but also it prevents him from it.
For intercession to take place there are several conditions. One of them is that there should be a harmony between the intercessor and the one on behalf of whom is being interceded. As long as the si