This is the third part of the Introduction from the book titled 250 Year Old Human by Ayatullah Khamenei.
Introduction [Part 3]
From the moment of the demise of the Prophet (s.a.w) till the year 260AH the Aa’ima (as) were seeking the establishment of divine governance in an Islamic society, this is the main point. However, we cannot say that they wanted the establishment of the Islamic government in their own lives, meaning (we cannot say) each Imam wanted to establish an Islamic government within their own time period; (the objective was for the) future long term, medium term and in some cases short term. For example during the time of Imam Mujtaba (as), from our viewpoint, the struggle for the establishment of an Islamic government was for the near future. Imam Mujtaba (as), when replying to Mosayyab ibn Najaba and others, on their question of why he had become silent said “And I know not; perhaps it is a trial for you and enjoyment for a time.” In the time of Imam Sajad (as) according to me, (the objective) was for a mid distant future and I will present evidence and matter about this after. In the time of Imam Baqir (as) the bigger likelihood is leaning towards (the fulfillment of the objective) for the near future. After the martyrdom of the 8th Imam, with high probability (the fulfillment of the objective) seems to be for the distant future. For which period was (the want for the fulfillment of the establishment of the Islamic government)? Well for different times however (the desire for it) was always present. This is what we mean by political struggle.
All the actions of the Aa’ima (as), apart from those that were for perfecting (or bettering) the self of a person and its proximity to Allah (which is between them and their lord), meaning (actions relating to) lessons, narrations, knowledge, theology, reasoning with scholarly opposition and political opposition, exile and supporting one group or another group are all from this script (of political struggle). It is for this that they wanted to establish an Islamic government, this is the point.
In reality, did the Aa’ima (as) have a political life or not? Was the life of the Aa’ima (as) just that they had a few students, a few disciples and a few lovers who they would keep around them and then explain to them the rulings for prayers, rulings for charity, rulings for pilgrimage, Islamic ethics, understanding and principles of religion, mysticism and just these things and nothing more? Or no, apart from those things that have been mentioned and those things that are in that spirit, there is another framework which exists in the lives of the Aa’ima (as), and that is the political life of the Aa’ima (as); this is a very important matter which needs to be elucidated. However, in this little time, it is not the place for presentation of reasonings and explanations. I will state the overview of this matter and those who would like to do more research can go and follow up on this further, from this context they can have a look at the traditions again, look up the books of history and at that time it will be known to them what the reality of the life of Musa ibn Ja’far (as) and the rest of the Aa’ima is, that till this day remains cloudy, unsaid and unknown. In the proximity of Imamat and the Ahl al-Bayt it had been realized that the objective of the Prophet had not been met. Meaning ‘…and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom…’ was not complete. They saw that the formation of an Islamic system, the formation of an Islamic world the way the Prophet (pbuh) had envisioned, after the passing of just the first period, had been completely forgotten; the place of Prophet hood and Divine Leadership had been taken over by sultanates; the Kasras, Qaisers, Qoldors, Alexanders and other names of oppressors and tyrants of history came into power wearing the cloths of being representatives of the Caliphate, namely from the line of the Umayyads and the Abbasids. The Quran was being interpreted whichever way the owner of ruler ship and power desired. The intellect of people had stalled under the effects of the traitors of their world; whose ends were greed and their love was the material gains of being the masters of government and territories. It is after (when the Aa’ima) saw this that a complete project came into existence in their life.