"Those who know the proper position of the Imams should fear them as much as they fear God and respect them as much as they respect God. For God has linked our obedience to them with our obedience to Him and has made them a medium between Him and the people. They have been appointed by Him to scrutinize our actions and certify them before Him. Their pleasure is the pleasure of God and their displeasure is the displeasure of God. We shall be rewarded or punished through them.
Imam Jafar, peace be on him, says "God is worshipped through us and is obeyed and disobeyed through us. He who obeys us, obeys God and he who disobeys us, disobeys God. God has emphatically declared that He will not take notice of the good deeds of anybody if they are not done through us, i.e., according to our instructions. We are the gate of God. We are His 'hujjats'. We are the guardians over His people and the guardians of His mysteries. We are the depositories of His knowledge."
It is the duty of every one of us to ingratiate himself with the Imams by his devotion to them and by doing things which are good in their eyes. We should do what they order us to do and should not do what they do not want us to do. We should act in a way that pleases them the most and yet we should fear them the most. Fear is one of the means of making us near and dear to God. He has promised those who fear Him, the 'jannat'. The Prophet is narrated to have said "He who does not fear men does not fear God. The word 'men', mentioned in the tradition refers to the Imams.
Imam Jafar, greeting be on him, says in this connection, "We are men referred to who are envied by the people because of the Imamat which God has conferred on us. Those who know our position fear us the most." God says (in the Holy Quran), "None fears God excepting the learned from amongst His servants." (Surah 35, Ayat 28). Again He says, "O men of learning fear Me." (Surah 2, Ayat 197). Those followers of the Imams who have attained to a high position with them are the persons who should fear the most. The angels who are near most to God fear Him the most and are more assiduous in their devotion to Him than mankind.
The one who has attained a high position before the Imam, should revere him the most and fear him the most. If he takes care to see that he does not do anything which would lower him in the estimation of the Imam, if he keeps away from indulging in things which are prohibited by God and if he pays his 'amanat' and fulfills his obligations to him and lives a life which is above suspicion; even then he should not feel secure in his position. He should continue to fear him and keep a strict watch over his conduct. For neglect is the root of sins. The angels who fear God more than all His creatures and are more devoted to Him than the rest, commit no sins. Yet they fear lest they should commit it