In these series of articles we focus on verses that are intended to say something about Imam Mahdi who is the Last Savior.
God in surah Aal ‘Imraan, verse 200 addresses the believers and commands, “O, you who believe! Preserve your patience and be garrisoned; and strengthen your mutual relations [against the army of the enemy of Islam] and [Above all] fear from the disobedience of Allahs commands, so that you receive salvation.” «يَأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ اصْبرُِواْ وَ صَابِرُواْ وَ رَابِطُواْ وَ اتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ»
There is a narration explaining this verse:
يَعْقُوبَ السَّرَّاجِ قَالَ قُلْتُ لِأَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع تَخْلُو الْأَرْضُ مِنْ عَالِمٍ مِنْكُمْ حَيٍّ ظَاهِرٍ تَفْزَعُ إِلَيْهِ النَّاسُ فِي حَلَالِهِمْ وَ حَرَامِهِمْ فَقَالَ يَا أَبَا يُوسُفَ لَا إِنَّ ذَلِكَ لَبَيِّنٌ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى فَقَالَ يا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اصْبِرُوا وَ صابِرُوا عَدُوَّكُمْ مِمَّنْ يُخَالِفُكُمْ وَ رابِطُوا إِمَامَكُمْ وَ اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ فِيمَا يَأْمُرُكُمْ وَ فَرَضَ عَلَيْكُمْ
Yaqoub bin al-Sarraaj says, “I asked Imam Saadiq (the Shia sixth Imam), ‘Is it possible that no one of you (the Imams) be alive and accessible in the world then, people have no one to refer to in order to ask for what to do and what not to do?’ The Imam replied, ‘O Aba Yousof (the nickname of the narrator)! It won happen and this is referred to clearly in the Quran where God says, ‘O, you who believe! Preserve your patience and be garrisoned; against those enemies who oppose you and strengthen your mutual relations with your Imams and fear from the disobedience of Allahs commands, and from those things that He made obligatory upon you’”.
Here we have to add that to have access to the Imam requires that he should be alive. Therefore, since the verse is includes all people in all time, it means that for all people there should be a living Imam that people should make themselves connected to him.
This verse with the mentioned narration contains some considerable points:
1- The importance of the mentioned commands in the verse at hand: God in this verse which is the last verse of surah Aal ‘Imraan and supposedly should contain the gist of the whole surah addresses the believers and ordain them that they should practice four obligations. That the verse addresses the believers and not the Moslems carries a point. A believer is higher than a Moslems as God says in another verse,
قالَتِ الْأَعْرابُ آمَنَّا قُلْ لَمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَ لكِنْ قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنا وَ لَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإيمانُ في قُلُوبِكُمْ
“The desert dweller Arabs said to the Prophet: "We Believe." Say (O, Messenger!), "You have not yet believed, and instead you should only say, "We are Submitted to Islam and are moslems\; since belief has not yet entered into your hearts, ”
“This verse tells that firstly one becomes Moslems by bearing testimony to the oneness of God and the prophethood of Muhammad and then gradually will become a believer. As a result when God gives those commands to the believers it shows that those commands are strong. This is why we the Shia believe that those who do not believe in Imams are just Moslems like Sunnis and are not believers.
2- The meaning of the Arabic word raabitou: This word includes all sort of preparation against enemies. This is why this word is mostly translated in the mentioned verse as guarding the borders meaning that God commands the believers to protect the borders against enemies. Also this is the reason than in some narrations, this word is explained as to be careful about daily prayers. The reason behind it is that by this way, one does not let Satan or his carnal desires to enter his heart to attack him.
Another meaning of the world that is rarely referred to is to establish connection with someone. Based on this second meaning, the mentioned narration by Imam Saadiq has a clear meaning that people should connect themselves to their Imams. But based on the first meaning we have to explain the narration in this way that people should be careful about their Imams as they are careful about their borders and prayers that by this way the believes will maintain their preparation against physical and spiritual adversaries.
3- To be with the Imam is not separated from patience, resistance and piety: All of the four mentions injunctions in the verse at hand should be practice along with each other; otherwise it would not be that much sufficient and effective. Patience should be along with resistance against inward and outward enemies. Both of the should be in accordance to the guidelines of the Imam and above all, they should be mixed with piety meaning that everything should be done for the sake of God.
 Bihaar al-Anwaar, v. 23, p. 51, hadith 105.
 The Quran, 40 : 14.
 The Quran, 40 : 14.