Like all other phenomena, the emergence of spiritual life also requires the fulfilment of certain conditions. It is the outcome of man’s own behaviour and actions, but naturally his behaviour and action must be in conformity with the true Divine teachings. There exist complete concord and harmony between the commands of Allah, terminologically known as Shari’ah and the realities of the world of creation and the realm of existence. Since because of the inadequacy of our intellectual faculties we are unaware of the realities of the world and the advantages and disadvantages of all that happens, we do not know what is conducive to a spiritual life. But the Imam, like a wise and affectionate teacher, reveals these sublime realities to us and tells us what is to our advantage so that we may succeed in attaining a spiritual life.
The Islamic teachings and instructions consist of the realities which may not be ordinarily grasped by us. In order to infuse spiritual life into us and to ensure our everlasting happiness, Allah has made an arrangement to explain them through the Holy Prophet and his rightful and infallible successors.
Now if we obey the Divine commands, we shall attain salvation; otherwise we shall suffer a great loss. In this respect we are just like a child given under the tutelage of a tutor. The child receives his orders and does what he is required to do without any argument even if he does not understand the advantage of doing that. Anyhow, after completing his education, he will pass a happy life as a result of the moral virtues and good habits inculcated in him. But if he disobeyed the orders of his tutor, he would realize later how much loss he had incurred.
“Adapted from Master and Mastership”