Q. We don’t consider the Imams (as) to be independent; we consider them to be dependent on Allah (swt), so how is it shirk to supplicate to the Imams (as)?
This argument of dependent and independent is one of the favorite arguments of those who call upon other than Allah (swt), but sadly as convincing as it may sound on the surface, this argument does not hold water when critically analyzed.
Firstly, like we have already said in the discussion under verse 2 (Click here to read), if we really consider the Imams (as) to be totally dependent on Allah (swt), i.e the Imam (as) can only come and help us, or give us sustenance, if Allah (swt) allows them, and if Allah (swt) does not allow them, then they cannot help us, then it’s useless to call upon the Imams (as) because Allah (swt) is the ultimate decision maker. It would be like praying to the angel of death not to take our soul, which is very illogical, because the angel of death does not have decision making power; he is totally dependent on Allah (swt). Therefore on the first level it’s useless to call upon the Imams (as) even if we consider them to be totally dependent on Allah (swt) in helping us (which we have no proof for).
It is such a simple logic that we should try to convince the decision maker rather than the (one we consider to be the) means. In the worldly matters we would never make such an illogical mistake since then we would incur material losses, but since religion is just a pack of rituals for us and not reality, we don’t mind being illogical.
It’s impossible for people to call upon anyone other than Allah (swt), unless they believe that the entity they are calling upon has some independent power to make decision and help us, therefore how ever much these people defend themselves by saying that we consider the Imams (as) to be dependent, it’s not true, and they are only lying to themselves as the Quran says “And the Day We will gather them all together; then We will say to those who associated others with Allah,
“Where are your ‘partners’ that you used to claim [with Him]?”
Then there will be no [excuse upon] examination except they will say, “By Allah, our Lord, we were not those who associated.”
Look! How they lie against themselves! But the (lie) which they invented will disappear from them.” (6:21-24)
Secondly, considering them dependent on Allah (swt) (especially when it’s not true) doesn’t make it any less of shirk, as we have already discussed under verse 3 (5:116) (Click here to read), Christians call upon Mary considering her to be totally dependent on Allah (swt), yet in the eyes of Allah (swt) it is shirk.
Similarly, Christians do not believe that Jesus attained the station of being God’s son independently, rather God took him as a son, yet the Quran calls this kufr and shirk.
Interestingly, even the polytheists of Mecca did not consider their idols to be independent rather they considered them to be their intercessors with Allah (swt) as can be seen in Surah Yunus verse 18,
And they worship other than Allah that which neither harms them nor benefits them, and they say, “These are our intercessors with Allah ” Say, “Do you inform Allah of something He does not know in the heavens or on the earth?” Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him
Thirdly, we have no authentic proof that Allah (swt) has given the Imams (as) the duty to help us, or give sustenance etc.