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وَلاَ تَكُونُواْ كَٱلَّذِينَ تَفَرَّقُواْ وَٱخْتَلَفُواْ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَآءَهُمُ ٱلْبَيِّنَاتُ وَأُوْلَـٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
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-Âl ‘Imrân ( آل عمران )

Kashani Tafsir

Do not be, configured [merely] in accordance with your natures, not following any imam, nor being in agreement, of one voice as [when] you follow a [spiritual] leader who unites you upon the same path (?arīqa); like those who became divided, pursuing capricious opinions and innovations, and disputed after there came to them, the definitive proofs of reason and the [divine] law, [proofs] which require a uniting of orientations and an agreement in voice. People have differing natures and innate dispositions, divided opinions, dissimilar habits and conducts, deriving from their constitutions and their caprices. From these there result divergent comprehensions and hostile character traits. When they do not have an exemplar or an imam under whose guardianship their convictions, conduct and opinions can be unifie, and through whose love and obedience their voices, habits and desires are brought into harmony with one another, they become neglected, divided, prey for Satan, much like a stray sheep is [an easy target] for a wolf. That is why the Commander of the Believers, peace be upon him, said: 'People must have an imam, whether he be pious or impious. The Prophet never sent two or more men on some mission except that he commanded that one be [imam] over the other and commanded the other to obey the former and to follow him [in all decisions], so that their affairs are unified and organised. Otherwise, confusion and chaos would ensue. The affairs of religion and of this world would be in disarray and the means to livelihood and to the [life at the] final return would be disrupted". The Messenger of God said, "Whoever separates himself from the community (jamāʿa), even by an inch, shall never the heart of Paradise". He also said, "God is with those who stay together. Do you not see that if human society is not regulated by the leadership of the heart and the obedience of the intellect, how its organisation is disrupted and begins to fall into corruption and schism, both which entail the loss of this world and the Hereafter". When God's [following] words were sent down, And that this is My straight path, so follow it; and do not follow other ways, lest it separate you away from His way [Q. 6:153], the Messenger of God drew a line and said, "this is the path of right-guidance", then drew lines to the right and to the left of it and said, "these are [other] paths, and upon each path sits a devil calling [man] to that [path]".