The Imam besides giving instructions in Islamic law and guiding the people on the exoteric side of Islam, holds the responsibility of esoteric guidance also and has been given a special power and authority for the purpose.
In an esoteric way he leads to perfection those who have the required capacity and qualifications.
As this guidance is carried out on the basis of spiritual blessing and esoteric status, it is called ‘guidance by behest’.
To be the esoteric guide is such a superior status that the great Prophets reached it after they had been appointed a Prophet. Accordingly Prophet Ibrahim was raised by Allah to the status of esoteric guidance after he had been appointed a Prophet.
Surely I appoint you an Imam for mankind”. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2 124).
As the Imam reaches the status of Walayat (special authority) and guidance by behest, he can apply himself to the tasks which from the viewpoint of ordinary people appear to be astonishing and even impossible.
As the Holy Qur’an tells us, Asif bin Barkhia, a courtier of Prophet Sulayman could bring in the twinking of an eye the throne of the Queen of Saba to Sulayman before her own arrival, for he had a supernatural power and some knowledge of the hidden realities of this world.
The infallible Imams of Prophet Muhammad’s Family occupied a position far above that of Asif bin Barkhia.
This fact is proved by the authentic history and the documented narratives where we find many stories of the spiritual and esoteric Walayat of the Imams of the Shi’ah.
“Adapted from Master and Mastership”