Kitāb al-Ghayba > Philosophy and wisdom of Occultation
Hadith #19

قلنا: مما يقطع على أنه سبب لغيبة الإمام هو خوفه على نفسه بالقتل بإخافة الظالمين إياه ومنعهم إياه من التصرف فيما جعل إليه التدبير والتصرف فيه. فإذا حيل بينه وبين مراده سقط فرض القيام بالإمامة. وإذا خاف على نفسه وجبت غيبته ولزم استتاره كما استتر النبي صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم تارة في الشعب وأخرى في الغار،ولا وجه لذلك إلا الخوف من المضار الواصلة إليه. وليس لأحد أن يقول إن النبي صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم ما استتر عن قومه إلا بعد أدائه إليهم ما وجب عليه أداؤه ولم يتعلق بهم إليه حاجة وقولكم في الإمام بخلاف ذلك، وأيضا فإن استتار النبي صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم ما طال ولا تمادى،واستتار الإمام قد مضت عليه الدهور وانقرضت عليه العصور.

We would reply: What one can be certain of to be the reason of the occultation of the Imam is his fear for his life by murder through the threats of the oppressors to him and their disallowance of him to administer the affairs he is responsible to direct and administer. As he fears for his life; it becomes necessary that he goes into occultation and hiding, just like the Messenger (s), who once hid in the mountains and another time in the cave and he had no reason, but the threat of harm against him. It cannot be suggested that the Prophet (s) went into hiding from his people after he had delivered what he was required to deliver and they did not have any need of him anymore – whereas the discourse with respect to the Imam is contrary – and furthermore, the hiding of the Prophet was not prolonged, whereas ages have passed since the beginning of the occultation of the Imam.