In our previous discussion, we began looking at the traditions of the Ahlulbayt specifically to see how they would deal with people who did not accept their Imāmate or their succession to the Prophet. We saw how Sāhib al-Bihār referred to such individuals as disbelievers and polytheists who will reside in Hell for eternity after which we looked at a tradition from Imam Sādiq who referred to this type of reasoning as that of the Khawārij.
Now someone might ask, well you haven’t really clarified where these people will find salvation in the end. These people will find salvation in the next world. Not only will they find salvation from the Hellfire but they shall also be amongst the people of Paradise. This is the fundamental statement (which needs to be understood well) that Paradise is not exclusive for those who believe in the Imāmate, but rather those who do not accept Imāmate will also enter Paradise however with the conditions which we shall explain shortly. And that is that there shouldn’t be any evidence for the Imāmate completed upon him (which he has rejected). This is similar to the one who refuses to pray after the obligation of prayer has been made clear to him, in such a case the person will be held accountable. However on the contrary, if the obligation of prayer has not been made clear for a person and the person, therefore, doesn’t pray not only will he not be punished but he will also enter into Paradise.
From here we will look at a second tradition from the Ahlulbayt, this time from Tafsīr al-Qummī. This book is considered to be reliable and once again to re-iterate when I say a book is reliable I am not referring to the individual chain of this tradition but rather the book itself. Listen closely to this tradition from Imām Bāqir which can be found at the end of Surah Mu’minῡn:
ما حال الموحدين المقرين بنبوة محمد صلى الله عليه وآله من المسلمين المذنبين الذين يموتون وليس لهم إمام ولا يعرفون ولايتكم؟
What is the situation of those Muslims who accept Monotheism and the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet yet they die without knowing their Imām or knowing their wilāyah? 
According to other traditions we have, a person who dies without knowing the Imām of their time dies a death like those who died during the time of ignorance. What is being referred to here by “not recognising their Imam” is not the recognition of an Imām or political leader in the general sense, but that they failed to recognise the specific wilāyah of the Imāms from the Ahlulbayt, irrespective of whether they lived during the times of the Imāms or they lived during the occultation of the Twelfth. What’s their situation?
فقال: اما هؤلاء فإنهم في حفرهم لا يخرجون منها
Imām Bāqir said: “As for those, they shall remain within a pit which they shall not leave…” 
I don’t want to get into the discussion as to what pit this is, is it material, is it immaterial, is it in this world, is it in the next etc. That is a separate and irrelevant discussion for us at the moment and one which would be discussed in theology (ilm al-kalām).
فمن كان له عمل صالح
So whosoever from amongst them has righteous action 
How strange?! Is it possible for a Muslim who doesn’t believe in wilāyah of the Ahlulbayt to have righteous actions? Yes! Imam Bāqir says it is possible, meaning they pray, they give charity, they go for Hajj etc.
فمن كان له عمل صالح ولم يظهر منه عداوة فإنه يخد له خدا إلى الحنة
and they did not show enmity (to us), (God) shall open for him a passage to Heaven…
Did you hear what the condition was? That they do not show hatred to the Ahlulbayt not that they have accepted wilāyah. As the Imām clearly says they will go to Paradise even though they haven’t accepted the Imāmate of the Ahlulbayt.
فيدخل عليه الروح في حفرته إلى يوم القيامة حتى يلقى الله فيحاسبه بحسناته وسيئاته فاما إلى الجنة واما إلى النار فهؤلاء الموقوفون لامر الله
A breeze (from Paradise) will enter the pit until the day of Judgement where they shall meet with Allah and be taken account for their good deeds and their bad deeds. Either they shall go to Heaven (depending on their actions) or to Hell. For they are people upon which the command of God has been suspended. 
Here this tradition from Imam Bāqir found in the book Tafsīr al-Qummī clearly illustrates this reality leaving no room for any doubt. Firstly the tradition is speaking about someone who has not recognised his Imām, he has not recognised the wilāyah of the Ahlulbayt. What is normally said about such people? That they will die the death of a person during the era of ignorance. However what did we see Imām Bāqir say? That this person will be amongst the people of Heaven with one condition, that he did not recognise the Imām and manifest hatred for him. A person who recognised that they were indeed Imāms, that love was made obligatory upon them yet showed hatred towards them will no doubt enter Hell. However that being said the admittance into Heaven is not dependant on the belief of their Imāmate or wilāyah.
Once again I would advise those who are listening to make sure they have listened to the whole series completely and not to listen to bits here and there so that what I am saying doesn’t get taken out of context. In our next discussion, we will look at the third tradition from the Ahlulbayt on this issue.
1 – Alī bin Ibrāhim al-Qummī, Tafsīr al-Qummī, v. 2, p. 260
2 – ibid
3 – ibid
4 – ibid
5 – ibid
Sadiq Meghjee is a frequent contributor to Iqra Online and has been studying in the seminary of Qom for 6 years. Prior to entering the seminary he pursued an accounting qualification and worked in London. His field of interest is intellectual history.