The Reasoning of Imam Al-Mahdi in his Letters: A Means of Theological Argument
Ibtesam Abul Karim
Translated by: Mujtaba Al-Helu

In a world filled with chaos and ideological deviations, the followers of Ahlulbait (P.B.U.T.) are in need of what keeps their belief stable and deeply rooted in their mind. The method of reasoning used by Ahlulbait (P.B.U.T.) was a method to guard their followers from deviation.
The letters written by Imam Al-Mahdi was an effecting way to prove his Imamate. Though Imam Al-Askary has announced the birth of his son to the Shias, Imam Al-Mahdi again needed to confirm his existence and Imamate, especially after so many false claimers designated themselves as the heir of Imam Al-Askary after his martyrdom, chiefly among which was Jafar the brother of Imam Al-Askary. Jafar, though he falsely designated himself as an Imam, his failure was a reason to stabilize the Imamate of Imam Al-Mahdi through a letter to the common people. The letter included certain instructions to the Shias to easily recognize the real Imam designated by God.
This research will shed light on the method of the reasoning adopted by Imam Al-Mahdi to refute the false claims at the time of Occultations. That methodology, as a matter of fact, accords the current ones used in arguments and debates; in other words it was ahead of its time in this aspect. Pertaining to this, the current study adopts the theory of ‘hierarchical reasoning’ for the analysis of that methodology.
The Imam, moreover, employed both logical and Quranic reasoning in his arguments. For example, the Imam proved that the mistakes in the letter of Jafar defies his infallibility and Imamate, for the Imam is immune to mistakes. The Imam adopted the hierarchical reasoning method in presenting the weakest to the strongest proofs in his argument with Jafar. On the other hand, we observe in the Imam’s argument with Al-Shalmagani, another false claimer, that he did not presented so many proofs and evidences because Al-Shalmagani’s claim was devoid of any rationality or reasoning.
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