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Imamat vs. Prophethood

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  • Imamat vs. Prophethood

    The Shia believe that the rank of Imamat (the position of a divinely-
    appointed leader) is higher than that of prophethood and messengership.
    Note that here we are comparing the rank of positions and not the rank of
    persons. As such, two divinely appointed Imams which both have the highest
    possible position from Allah, may have different ranks. For instance, out
    of the twelve Imams of Ahlul-Bayt, Imam Ali (AS) is the most virtuous. Also
    Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF) is more virtuous than Imam Ali (AS) thought they
    were both appointed by Allah as leaders.
    In other words, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF) is has the highest rank among
    mankind, and is the most virtuous creature of God and the most honored
    before Allah. The above belief does not undermine his position since
    Prophet Muhammad was an Imam during his time as well!
    However, comparing the * duty * of prophet and Imam is like comparing
    apples and oranges or is like comparing the duty of a physician and an
    engineer. Imamat and prophethood are totally different functions though
    they may gather in one person such as Prophet Muhammad or Prophet Abraham,
    peace be upon them.
    Evidence from Quran
    People who are familiar with Quran to some extent, know that this belief is
    not a weird-thing. In fact, Quran testifies that the position of Imamat is
    higher than the position of prophethood and messengership. Allah, to whom
    belong Might and Majesty, said:
    "And when Abraham was tested by his Lord with certain commands and he
    fulfilled them. Then He said: Lo! I appoint you an Imam for mankind."
    (Quran 2:124).
    As we can see, Prophet Abraham was further tested by Allah during his
    prophethood, and when he successfully passed the tests (which were the test
    on his life, leaving his wife, sacrificing his son), he was granted the
    position of Imamat. This shows position of Imamat is higher in degree
    than prophethood which has been given to him later after acquiring more
    qualifications. Degrees are always granted in ascending order. We have not
    seen any person who got his Ph.D. degree first, and then gets his
    highschool diploma. At least in the administration of God there is no such
    mess!
    The first degree of Abraham, may the blessing of Allah be upon him, was
    becoming a servant of Allah ('Abd), then he became Prophet (Nabi), then he
    became Messenger (Rasul), then he became a Confident (Khalil), and then he
    finally became Imam.
    BTW, the above verse of Quran (2:124) proves that Allah assigns Imam,
    and the designation of Imam is not the business of people.
    Below is the Sunni commentary of Yusuf Ali on the above verse (2:124):
    Kalimat, literally "words", here used in the mystic sense of God's
    Will or Decree or Purpose. This verse may be taken to be the sum
    of the verses following. In everything Abraham fulfilled God's
    wish: he purified God's house; he built the sacred refuge of the
    Kaba; he submitted his will to God's (referring to sacrifice of his
    son)
    He was promised the leadership of the world; he pleaded
    for his progeny, and his prayer was granted, with the limitation
    that if his progeny was false to God, God's promise did not reach
    the people who proved themselves false.
    As we see, Quran clearly justifies the Shi'ite point of view in this
    matter. But again, since Prophet Abraham, Prophet Muhammad, and few others
    were also Imams, such belief (i.e., Imamat higher than prophethood) does
    not undermine their position.
    Imam means a person who is appointed by God as a leader and as a guide (see
    Quran 21:73 and 32:24) to whom obedience is due, and whom people should
    follow. Messengers are Warners and Imams are Guides (13:7). Imams are the
    Stars of Guidance (6:97).
    Muhammad (PBUH&HF) was a Prophet, a Messenger, and an Imam. By His death
    the door of prophethood and messengership was closed for ever. But the door
    of Imamat (leadership) remained open because he had successors (Caliphs;
    deputies). Successor means a person who succeeds the position of the
    previous one. It is the obvious that successors of Prophet Muhammad did not
    share anything about his position of prophethood and messengership. What
    remained for them was Imamat (leadership). And the number of these Imams
    are twelve as the Prophet himself testified. Also note that Quran clearly
    says that Imam and Caliph is assigned by God and this designation has
    nothing to do with people. For more evidence in the assignment of Imam by
    Allah, see the following verses of Quran: 38:20 (about David), 2:124 (about
    Abraham), 2:30 (about Adam), and 7:142, 20:29-36, 25:35 (about Aaron).
    A Wahhabi contributor implied that the Shia are non-Muslims because they
    believe the above thing (Imamat higher than Messengership) while he did not
    present any single evidence from Quran and authentic Hadith against it. But
    I have presented a proof from Quran, and as such, better better be their
    own judge as to whether you are a Muslims or not.
    As for Angels, Muslims agree that the level of the prophets are higher than
    that of angels. Quran states that all angels prostrated Adam. This is
    enough to prove that the rank of the prophets is higher than that of
    angels. And based on the previous conclusion that the position of Imamat is
    higher than that of prophethood, the position of Imamat will be higher than
    the rank of angels as well.
    Evidence from Sunni Collections of Traditions
    The Shia further believe that the twelve Imams of the House of Prophet
    Muhammad have the rank higher than that of ALL the messengers (be Imam or
    not) except Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF). In other words, the Status of the
    successors of the Seal of the Prophets is higher than that of the
    successors of all the previous prophets. (Note that the sucessors of the
    previous Prophets were themselves prophets). Need Sunni reference? Here are
    some:
    - Imam Ali (AS) having the highest virtues of the early great Messengers:
    The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: "He who wants to see
    Noah (AS) in his determination, Adam (AS) in his knowledge,
    Abraham (AS) in his clemency, Moses (AS) in his intelligence
    and Jesus (AS) in his religious devotion should look at Ali
    Ibn Abi Talib (AS)."
    Sunni references:
    - Sahih al-Bayhaqi
    - Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, as quoted in
    - Sharh Ibn Abi al-Hadid, v2, p449
    - Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhruddin al-Razi, under the commentary of the
    Verse of Impreciation (Mubilah), v2 p288. He wrote this tradition
    has been accpeted as all genuine.
    - Ibn Batah has recorded it as a tradition related by Ibn Abbas as is
    stated in the book "Fat'h al-Mulk al-Ali bi Sihah Hadith-e-Bab-e-
    Madinat al-Ilm", p34, by Ahmed Ibn Muhammad Ibn Siddiq al-Hasani al-
    Maghribi.
    - Among those who have admitted that Imam Ali (AS) is the store house
    of the secrets of all the Prophets is the Chief of Gnostics, Muhi al-
    Din al-Arabi, from whom al-Arif al-Sha'arni has copied it in his al-
    Yuwaqit wa al-Jawahir (p172, topic 32).
    - The Light (Noor) of the Prophet (PBUH&HF) and Ali (AS) preceded the
    creation of Adam (AS):
    Salman al-Farsi (RA) narrated that:
    I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) saying: "I myself, and
    Ali were one light in the hands of Allah fourteen thousand years
    (14,000) before He created Adam (AS). When Allah created Adam
    (AS) He divided that light into two parts, one part is me and one
    part Ali."
    Sunni References:
    - Mizan Al-Ei'tidal, by al-Dhahabi, v1, p235
    - Fada'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p663, Tradition #1130
    - al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by al-Muhib al-Tabari, v2, p164, v3, p154
    - History of Ibn Asakir
    Remark: "hand of Allah" means His power. The phrase "within the hands
    of Allah" means in His presence, domain, realm, kingdom.
    This clearly shows that the rank of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF) and
    Imam Ali (AS) are better than any human being ever created by Allah.
    - No one crosses the Path except by a passport from Ali (AS):
    Anas Ibn Malik narrated:
    "When Abu Bakr neared death,..., Abu Bakr said that he heard the
    Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) saying: That there is an obstacle on
    the Path which no one crosses unless with a passport (permission)
    from Ali Ibn Abi Talib (AS). And I heard the Messenger of Allah
    (PBUH&HF) saying: "I am the seal of the prophets and you, Ali,
    the seal of the Awliyaa."
    Sunni references:
    - Tarikh, by al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi, v10, p356
    - al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 9, subheading 2, p195
    Imam Ali (AS) narrated:
    The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: When Allah gathers the
    first-ones and the last-ones on the Day of Judgment, and the Path
    has been erected on the bridge of Hell, no one can cross it
    unless he had along proof of allegiance (Wilaya) to Ali Ibn Abi
    Talib."
    Sunni reference: al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, v2,
    p172
    - Ali (AS) is the divider of People to Paradise and Hell:
    "The prophet (PBUH&HF) said to Ali (AS): You are the divider of
    Paradise and Hell on the Day of Judgment, you say to Hell: This
    one for me and that one for you."
    Sunni reference: al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 9,
    subheading 2, p195
    "Ali (AS) said: I am the alloter/divider of Hell."
    Sunni references:
    - Kanzul Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v6, p402
    - Radd al-Shams, by Shathan Al-Fudhaily
    "The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) has said: Ali is the divider of
    Hell."
    Sunni reference: Kunooz Al-Haqa'iq, by Abdul Raouf al-Manawi, p92
    And here is a poem from al-Shafi'i (one of the four Sunni Imams):
    "Ali will judge mankind and allot them either paradise or hell.
    He was the leader of men and Jinns, the true Testator of the Holy
    Prophet. If the followers of Ali are 'Rafidhi' verily I am one of
    that sect. Ali at the time of breaking of the symbols in the
    Ka'ba put his feet on that shoulder where God had put his hand on
    the 'Night of Mi'raj' and verily Ali was that into whose eyes
    shone the light of God."
    Do I need to comment?! Now look at what your master Umar said on the
    virtue of Imam Ali (AS):
    Umar Ibn al-Khattab said: "If all the seven planets, and the all
    the seven heavens are put in one scale of balance and the faith
    of Ali in the other, Ali's pan will turn the scales."
    Sunni References:
    - al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari
    - Izalat al-Khifa Maqsad
    - Ali (AS) the best of people after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF):
    "...Jabir said: The messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: Ali is the
    best of humanity (after me), so whoever has doubt is a Kafir."
    Sunni references:
    - Kinooz Al-Haqa'iq, by Abdul Raouf al-Manawi, p92
    - Tarikh, by al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi, v7, p421
    Here is another one:
    ...Zar quoting Abdullah, quoting Ali (AS), that the Prophet
    (PBUH&HF) said: "Whoever does not say that Ali is the best in my
    people, is a Kafir."
    Sunni references:
    - Tarikh, by al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi, v3, p19
    - Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v9, p419
    also Barida narrated:
    The messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said to Fatimah (AS) that: "I
    gave you in marriage to the best in my Ummah, the most
    knowledgeable in them, the best in patience in them, and the
    first Muslim among them."
    Sunni reference: Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v6, p398
    Now, let us now look at a future episode on the appearance of Imam Mahdi
    (AS) (the last Imam of the House of the Prophet(PBUH&HF)). Sunnis have
    narrated in their authentic books that when Imam Mahdi (AS) comes, Prophet
    Jesus (AS) will descent and will pray behind him. This clearly shows that
    the rank of Imam Mahdi (AS) is higher than that of Prophet Jesus who was
    one of the five greatest messengers of Allah. It is narrated in Sahih
    Muslim that:
    Jabir Ibn Abdillah al-Ansari (RA) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah
    saying: "A group of my Ummah will fight for the truth until near the
    day of judgment when Jesus, the son of Marry, will descend, and the
    leader of them will ask him to lead the prayer, but Jesus declines,
    saying: "No, Verily, among you Allah has made leaders for others and
    He has bestowed his bounty upon them."
    Sunni reference:
    - Sahih Muslim, Arabic, part 2, p193
    - Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v3, pp 45,384
    - Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, p251
    - Nuzool Isa Ibn Maryam Akhir al-Zaman, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p57
    - Musnad, by Abu Ya'ala which provides another version of the tradition
    with more clear words on the authority of Jabir that the Messenger of
    Allah said: "A group among my Ummah will continue to fight for the truth
    until Jesus, the son of Marry, will descend, and the Imam of them will
    ask him to lead the prayer, but Jesus replies: "You have more right to it
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    and verily Allah has hnonored some of you over others in this Ummah."
    Ibn Abu Shaybah, another Sunni traditionist, and the mentor of al-Bukhari
    and Muslim, has reported several traditions about Imam al-Mahdi (AS). He
    has also reported that the Imam of the Muslims who will lead Prophet Jesus
    in prayer is Imam al-Mahdi himself.
    Jalaluddin al-Suyuti mentioned that: "I have heard some of the deniers of
    (truth) deny what has been conveyed about Jesus that when he descends will
    pray the Fajr prayer behind al-Mahdi. They say, Jesus has higher status
    than to pray behind a non-Prophet. This is a bizarre opinion since the
    issue of prayer of Jesus behind al-Mahdi has been proven strongly via
    numerous authentic traditions from the Messenger of Allah, who is the most
    truthful." And then al-Suyuti goes on narrating some of the traditions in
    this regard. (See Nuzool Isa Ibn Maryam Akhir al-Zaman, by Jalaluddin al-
    Suyuti, p56).
    Also al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani mentioned that:
    "The Mahdi is of this Ummah, and that Jesus (PBUH&HF) will come down
    and pray behind him."
    Sunni reference: Fat'h al-Bari, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v5, p362
    This is also mentioned by another scholar, Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, who
    wrote:
    "The Ahlul-Bayt are like the stars through whom we are guided in the
    right direction, and if the starts are taken away (or hidden) we would
    come face to face with the signs of the Almighty as promised (i.e.,
    the Day of Resurrection). This will happen when the Mahdi will come,
    as mentioned in the traditions, and the Prophet Jesus will say his
    prayers behind him, the Dajjal will be slain, and then the signs of
    the Almighty will appear one after another."
    Sunni reference: Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch 11, p91
    All these clearly show that the rank of Imam Mahdi (AS) is higher than that
    of Prophet Jesus (AS) who was one of the five greatest messengers of Allah.
    Are the Imams Inspired
    There is no doubt that when the verse:
    "Today I have perfected your religion and completed my bounty upon
    you, and I was satisfied that Islam be your religion." (Quran 5:3)
    the religion completed. Allah revealed Quran as well as the Shari'ah
    (Divine law) ONLY to the Prophet (PBUH&HF), and non of such things was
    revealed to Imam Ali (AS). If Imam Ali was inspired (ILHAM) it had nothing
    to do with religious commandments; it was rather about what happened and
    what will happen.
    There are many methods that Allah may inform His servants of something. One
    way is revelation (WAHY). The other way is inspiration (ILHAM). By
    inspiration, Allah induces the knowledge into the heart of His servant.
    This is unanimously held by the all the Islamic Schools.
    But do you really think revelation (WAHY) is only for the prophets and the
    messengers? If yes, then you have contradicted Quran, for Quran confirms
    that Allah sent revelation (WAHY) to the mother of Moses. The mother of
    Moses was neither a prophet nor a messenger. Agreed? Allah revealed to
    her to leave her son in the river so that Pharaoh's soldier could take it
    to the Palace:
    And We REVEALED to the mother of Moses: Suckle (thy child) but when
    thou hast fears about him cast him into the river but fear not
    nor grieve: for We shall restore him to thee and We shall make
    him one of Our apostles. (Quran 28:7)
    Notice that Quran straightforwardly uses the word WAHY (revelation). Here,
    Yusuf Ali has translated the word WAHY into inspiration. But Quran uses
    WAHY (revelation), and not ILHAM (inspiration). WAHY and ILHAM are two
    different things.
    However one thing which is clear is that the revelations to those who were
    neither prophet nor messenger, did NOT have anything to do with Shari'ah
    (divine law). It did NOT have anything to do with religious practices etc.
    Rather, It was an order to what way to choose at the time of confusion
    and/or informing what has happened or what will happen.
    So we can conclude that even revelation has different types. Only the
    revelation to Prophets and messengers is related to Shari'ah (divine law)
    and new religious practices, while others do NOT receive this type of
    revelation.
    Remark: Quran also uses the word WAHY for non-human beings, but I am not
    concerned about that. I was focusing on different types of WAHY for human
    being only.
    About our Imams: There are twelve Imams (Guides) after Prophet Muhammad
    (PBUH&HF). Prophet mentioned that the number of his successors are twelve,
    and al-Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ahmad, ... recorded that.
    The first of them, Imam Ali, got his knowledge of religion and the Divine
    Laws from Prophet Muhammad DIRECTLY. Later Imams got it from the preceding
    Imams. There was NO revelation of Divine Law (concerning oneself or people)
    after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF). Allah may inform something to his
    appointed Imam, but the information is NOT any how related to Divine
    Law since the religion is complete. The information is only related to what
    happened and what will happen.
    Do Imams Meet Angels
    Also, according to Quran, talking to angels is NOT exclusive to prophets
    and messengers. Allah mentioned in Quran that Mary (the mother of Jesus)
    talked to angels, and angels talked to him. Look at Quran, to see the
    conversation of Mary and the angels:
    "Behold! the angels said "O Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a
    Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus the son of Mary held in
    honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those
    nearest to Allah. (Quran 3:45)"
    There is a whole conversation between Mary and the angel. See a couple of
    verses before and after the above verse. Mary (AS) was neither a prophet
    nor a messenger, yet she talked to angels. However the communication of
    Mary with angels had nothing to do with Shari'ah (Divine Law). It did not
    have anything to do with religious practices. Rather it was a news to what
    is about to happen, and instructions of what to do.
    In this connection, also see verses 11:69-73 where angels talked to the
    wife of Abraham and gave her the glad tiding that she is pregnant of
    prophet Isaac (AS).
    Even Sunnis claim that Imran Ibn al-Husayn al-Khuza'i (d. 52/672) who was
    one of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF), was VISITED by
    angels, greeted by angels, SHOOK HANDS with angels and saw them, only being
    left by them for a short period after which the angels returned to him till
    the end of his life.
    Sunni references:
    (1) Sahih Muslim, V4, pp 47-48
    (2) Also commentaries of Sahih Muslim by al-Nabawi, V8, P206, and by al-Abi
    and al-Sanusi, V3, P361.
    (3) Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, V4, PP 427-428
    (4) Sunan Darimi, V2, P305
    (5) al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, V3, P472
    (6) Tabaqat, by Ib Sa'd, V7, part 1, P6
    (7) al-Isti'ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, V3, P1208
    (8) Usdul Ghabah, by Ibn Athir, V4, P138
    (9) Jami'ul Usul, by Ibn Athir, V7, P551
    (10) al-Isabah, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, V3, PP 26-27
    (11) Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, V8, P126
    (12) Fathul al-Bari, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, V12, P261
    (13) Sharh al-Mawahib, by al-Qastalani, V7, P133
    There is no shadow of doubt that Imam Ali (AS) was "Muhaddath" which means
    "a person who has been spoken to". Not only him, but also, all the twelve
    Imams as well as Lady Fatimah (AS) were Muhaddath/Muhaddathah.
    Based on the authentic Sunni traditions, it is narrated by Abu Huraira and
    Aisha that:
    Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 4.675 (Arabic-English Version)
    Narrated Abu Huraira:
    The Prophet said, "Amongst the people preceding you there used to be
    'Muhaddathun' (i.e. persons who can guess things that come true later
    on, like those persons have been inspired by a divine power), and if
    there are any such persons amongst my followers, it is ..."
    Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 5.38 (Arabic-English Version)
    Narrated Abu Huraira:
    Allah's Apostle said, "Among the nations before you there used to be
    people who were inspired (though they were not prophets). And if there
    is any of such a persons amongst my followers, it is ..."
    Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "Among the nation of Bani
    Israel who lived before you, there were men who used to be inspired
    with guidance though they were not prophets, and if there is any of
    such persons amongst my followers, it is ..."
    Also:
    The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: "Verily among the nations
    before your time there have been Muhaddathoon (those who have been
    spoken to), and if there is one among my people it is ..." Also the
    Messenger of Allah said: "Verily among the Children of Israel before
    your time there have been men who have been spoken to (rijalun
    yukallamoon) who were NOT prophets and if there is one among my people
    it is ..."
    Sunni reference:
    - Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic version, v4, p211, v5, p15, and also its
    commentaries:
    - Fat'h al-Bari, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v7, p324, v8, pp 49-51
    - Umdatul Qari, by al-Ayni, v16, pp 55,198-199
    - Irshad al-Sari, by Qastalani, v6, p103
    - Sahih Muslim, Arabic version, part 7, p115, and its commentaries:
    - Sharh Nawawi (sahih Muslim), part 15, p166
    - Sharh al-Abi, part 6, pp 203-205
    - Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, p622, and its commentaries:
    - Aridah al-Ahwadhi, by Ibn al-Arabi, v13, pp 149-150
    - Tuhfah al-Ahwadhi, by al-Mubarak Furi, v10, pp 182-183
    - Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v6, p55
    NOTE: I have deleted the name of the companion of the Prophet mentioned in
    the above traditions since his being Muhaddath is not confirmed by the
    Shia. Concerning the opinion of the Shia see al-Ghadir, by al-Amini, v5, pp
    42-54, v8, pp 90-91.
    It is mentioned in the above Sunni commentaries that the meaning of
    Muhaddath here is a person who is divinely inspired, who meets the angels
    and is spoken to by them, and who is informed of the news of Ghayb (not to
    be confused with the knowledge of Ghayb which belongs to Allah only) which
    is the information about the present time and the future, and that the
    companions who are mentioned in those traditions had these attributes!!!
    The conclusion is that the existence of Muhaddathoon (those who are spoken
    to) is a matter attested by ALL Muslims and that it is not something
    contrary to the fundamentals of Islam. The above Sunni documents also give
    evidence to the fact that Muhaddathoon are NOT prophets and they did NOT
    bring Shari'ah (divine law) from Allah to people.
    Here are the defenitions of messenger, prophet, and Imam:
    1. A Prophet (Nabi) is a person to whom the Divine Law (Shari'ah) descends;
    this divine law may be concerned with beliefs (`aqa-id) or with
    practical activities (Ibadat, like prayer). This Divine Law either
    deals with the Nabi's OWN life or with that of his community; or both.
    This is the fundamental definition of prophethood, though the prophet
    may also be informed of other things. The descent of the Divine Law
    (Shari'ah) may be direct, or through an intermediary like an angel.
    2. A Human Messenger/Apostle (Rasool) is a Prophet who receives a Divine
    Law that concerns himself AND people other than himself.
    3. Imam means a person who is appointed by God as a leader and as a guide
    (see Quran 21:73 and 32:24) to whom obedience is due, and whom people
    should follow. Messengers are Warners and Imams are Guides (13:7). Imams
    are the Stars of Guidance (6:97).
    It is also interesting to remark about the time when the verse of the
    completeness of religion was revealed. It should be quite surprising that
    many Sunni scholars of Tafsir have confirmed that the verse:
    "Today I have completed your religion and my bounty upon you, and I
    was satisfied that Islam be your religion." (Quran 5:3)
    Was revealed in Ghadir Khum when the Messenger of Allah declared his
    successor. Some of Sunni references which mentioned the revelation of the
    above verse of Quran in Ghadir Khum after the speech of the Prophet:
    (1) al-Durr al-Manthur, by al-Hafiz Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, v3, p19
    (2) Tarikh, by Khatib al-Baghdadi, v8, pp 290,596 from Abu Hurayra
    (3) Manaqaib, by Ibn Maghazali, p19
    (4) History of Damascus, Ibn Asakir, v2, p75
    (5) al-Itqan, by al-Suyuti, v1, p13
    (6) Manaqib, by Khawarazmi al-Hanfi, p80
    (7) al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah, by Ibn Kathir, v3, p213
    (8) Yanabi' al-Mawaddah, by al-Qudoozi al-Hanafi, p115
    (9) Nuzul al-Quran, by al-Hafiz Abu Nu'aym narrated on the authority
    Abu Sa'id Khudri.
    ... and more.
    The above verse clearly indicates that Islam without announcing the
    leadership of Imam Ali was not complete, and perfection of religion was
    due to announcement of the Prophet's immediate successor.

  • #2
    Imamat vs. Prophethood (Part II)
    Difference between Nabi and Rasool
    In Arabic there are no separate words for Messenger and Apostle. The
    distinction is between Nabi (Prophet) and Rasool (Messenger or Apostle).
    1- Nabi (=Prophet)
    2- Rasool (=Messenger=Apostle)
    Note that the degree of prophethood is lower than the degree of
    messengership/apostleship.
    By definition:
    1. A Prophet (Nabi) is a person to whom the Divine Law (Shari'ah) descends;
    this divine law may be concerned with beliefs (`aqa-id) or with
    practical activities (Ibadat, like prayer). This Divine Law either
    deals with the Nabi's OWN life or with that of his community; or both.
    This is the fundamental definition of prophethood, though the prophet
    may also be informed of other things. The descent of the Divine Law
    (Shari'ah) may be direct, or through an intermediary like an angel.
    2. A Human Messenger/Apostle (Rasool) is a Prophet who receives a Divine
    Law that concerns himself and people other than himself.
    So every (human) Rasool is Nabi, while the reverse is not true. Also every
    Nabi whom Quran has mentioned along with a community (Umma), is
    consequently a Rasool.
    Thus when Quran states that Mohammad (PBUH&HF) is the last Prophet (33:40),
    then by the above definition, he is the last Messenger/Apostle also.
    Note that the word "Human" is important in the definition of Rasool because
    the Quran uses the term "Rasool" also for angels who issue a command at the
    will of Allah (SWT):
    "Allah chooses Messengers from ANGELS and from men, for Allah is He
    Who hears and sees (all things). [22:75]"
    "There came Our Messengers to Abraham with glad tidings. They said,
    "Peace!" he answered, "Peace!" and hastened to entertain them with a
    roasted calf. [11:69]"
    "When Our Messengers came to Lut, he was grieved on their account and
    felt himself powerless (to protect) them. He said: This is a
    distressful day. [11:77]"
    "(The Messengers) said: O Lut! we are Messengers from thy
    Lord!...[11:81]"
    ----Also see: 7:37, 15:57, 15:61, 19:19, 29:31, 29:33.
    However, a Nabi is only a human being -- no angel can be called a Nabi. So
    every (human) Rasool is a Nabi, while every human Nabi is not necessarily a
    Rasool.
    The number of Messengers (Rusul) is LESS than the number of Prophets
    (Nabiyoon); and EVERY Rasool received a book, while SOME Nabees received a
    book. In addition, since he has to convince his people to accept a NEW
    religion with new practices, a Rasool's work is much harder than that of a
    Nabi. This is on top of the fact that people's needs, minds, and abilities
    have changed; and accepting a new religion is not an easy task. This is
    while a Nabi's NEW religious instructions are for himself (unless he
    is a Rasool). Surely a Nabi invites people toward Allah (SWT); however, he
    does not set any new practices for the people. So, in essence, if a
    Nabi is NOT a Rasool, the people that he invites to Allah (SWT) would be
    ordered to follow the custom and practices of a previous Rasool.
    Among Rasools, however, there are five individuals who are higher than the
    others. As you might know, the only difference between those five and other
    rasools is that they are assigned universally (for the whole mankind at
    their time), while the rest of rasools were locally (just for one city or
    area). My recollection is that the word 'Alameen and/or Jamee'an has been
    used in Quran for Prophet Jesus (AS) supporting this idea.
    Once a Bahai claimed that Rasools (who came before Bab

    were only those
    five who had book. But the rest were Nabi. This is not correct since Quran
    states that Dawood had Zaboor and yet he is not counted among those five
    great Messengers. So he is Rasool because he brought a book for people.
    Imam/Muhaddath
    Imam means a person who is appointed by God as a leader and as a guide (see
    Quran 21:73 and 32:24) to whom obedience is due, and whom people should
    follow. Messengers are Warners and Imams are Guides (13:7). Imams are the
    Stars of Guidance (6:97).
    Imam does not receive divine revelation about Sharia (divine law). He does
    not receive any commands concerning new religous paractices, and so on.
    However, he may be informed of the events about the past and future.
    Another difference between Rasool and Nabi and Muhaddath (i.e., Imam)
    is on how they communicate with the angels, and is given in Usul Kafi,
    kitabul Hujjah usder verse 22:52:
    Rasool sees and hears the angel in awakness and sleep. Nabi hears the angel
    and sees him while asleep, but does not see him while awake though hears
    the speech. Imam (muhaddith) is the one who hears the angel in awakness
    while does not see him in awakness or sleep.
    In the previous part we quoted from Quran that Mary (AS) had communication
    with angels. If according to Sahih al-Bukhari, Fatimah (AS) was the best of
    ladies in this world and in hereafter, then why can't she communicate with
    the angels?
    Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 4.819
    Narrated 'Aisha:
    The Messenger of Allah said to Fatimah (who was crying at her father's
    deathbed): "Are you not satisfied that you are the chief of all the
    ladies of Paradise or the chief of all the believing women?"
    Furthermore, Ibn Abbas (RA) narrated:
    The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: Four women are the mistress of
    the worlds: Mary, Asiya (the wife of Pharaoh), Khadija, and Fatimah.
    And the most excellent one among them in the world is Fatimah."
    Sunni references: Ibn Asakir, as quoted in Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor
    For those who love Sahih al-Bukhari, I will quote this book once more which
    confirms that Lady Fatimah (AS) had, indeed, communication with Gabriel:
    Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 5.739
    Narrated Anas:
    When the ailment of the Prophet (PBUH) got aggravated, he became
    unconscious whereupon Fatima said, "Oh, how distressed my father is!"
    He said, "Your father will have no more distress after today." When he
    expired, she said, "O Father! Who has responded to the call of the
    Lord Who has invited him! O Father, whose dwelling place is the Garden
    of Paradise (i.e. al-Firdaus)! O Father! We convey this news (of your
    death) to Gabriel." When he was buried, Fatima said, "O Anas! Do you
    feel pleased to throw earth over Allah's Apostle?"
    Not only that, but also Sunnis reported that Imam Hasan Ibn Ali has said
    that Gabriel used to descend to Ahlul-Bayt. It is reported that Imam al-
    Hasan Ibn Ali (AS) said the following in a discourse which he delivered on
    the martyrdom of Imam Ali:
    "I am from the Ahlul-Bayt that Gabriel used to descend on us and
    ascend (back to heavens) from among us."
    Sunni reference: al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, "Chapter of understanding the
    virtues of companions," v3, p172
    Now, when Imam Hasan uses the word "us", it means that it was not just
    prophet who used to received Gabriel. Surely Gabriel did NOT reveal
    anything of Quran to Imam Hasan. But, the above Sunni tradition shows that,
    they could communicate with the Gabriel.
    Mushaf (book) of Fatimah (AS) was also of this type. Some booklets of
    hatred and lie published by anti-Shi'i groups allege that based on Usul
    Kafi, Shia believe there is a Quran called "Quran of Fatimah"! This is a
    false accusation. There is no tradition in Usul Kafi saying "Quran of
    Fatimah". There are however, very few traditions in one chapter of Usul
    Kafi which assert that Fatimah (AS) wrote a book (mushaf). The tradition
    states "The book of Fatimah". Surely Quran is a book (mushaf), but any book
    is NOT Quran. This allegation is as silly as saying "Quran of al-Bukhari"
    instead of "book of al-Bukhari"!
    Also those few traditions in al-Kafi clearly state that there is NO single
    verse of Quran in the Book of Fatimah. This shows that the book of Fatimah
    is TOTALLY different than Quran. Of course, it was three time bigger than
    Quran in length.
    In one tradition it said that Lady Fatimah (AS), after the Prophet
    (PBUH&HF) passed away, used to write what she was told that would happen to
    her descendants and stories about other rulers to come (up to the day of
    resurrection). It was the sayings of Gabriel about what will happen. As I
    mentioned and proved by Quran and Hadith, talking to angels is not
    exclussive to the prophets and messengers. Fatimah (AS) recorded (or asked
    Imam Ali to record) those information, which was kept in her family of
    Imams, and was called "The Book (Mushaf) of Fatimah". A tradition which
    follows this one clearly states that what is referred to by "The Book of
    Fatimah" is not a part of Quran and has NOTHING to do with Allah's
    commandments/halals/harams. It does NOT have anything to do with Shari'ah
    (divine law) and the religious practices. Let me give you some of those
    traditions:
    Abu Abdillah (AS) said: "... We have with us the Book of Fatimah, but
    I do not claim that anything of the Quran is in it." (Usul al-Kafi,
    Tradition #637)
    Abu Abdillah (AS) also said about the book of Fatimah: "There is
    nothing of what is permitted and what is forbidden (al-Halal and al-
    Haram) in this; but in it is the knowledge of what will happen." (Usul
    Kafi, Tradition #636)
    Abdul Malik Ibn Ayan said to Abu Abdillah (AS): "The Zaydiyyah and the
    Mu'tazilah have gathered around Muhammad Ibn Abdillah (Ibn al-Hasan,
    the second). Will have they any rule?" He (AS) said: "By Allah there
    are two books in my possession in which every prophet and every ruler
    who rules on this earth (from the beginning of the earth till the day
    of Judgment) has been named. No, by Allah, Muhammad Ibn Abdillah is
    not one of them." (Usul Kafi, Tradition #641)
    "Mushaf" refers to a collection of "Sahifa" which is singular for "page".
    The literal meaning of Mushaf is "The manu****************** bound between two boards".
    In those days they used to write on leather and other materials. They
    either rolled the writings -- what is known as scroll in English. Or they
    kept the separable sheets and bound them together, in what could be called
    as "Mushaf", a book in today's terms. The equivalent to the word book
    "Kitab" used to (and still is) refer to either a letter (e.g. of
    correspondence) or to an document that was written down or recorded. The
    Arabic word for wrote "Kataba" is a derivative of the same word.
    Although the Quran is commonly called a "Mushaf" today, perhaps referring
    to its "collection" after it was dispersed. Quran is a Mushaf (book), but
    any Mushaf (book) is not necessarily the Quran! There is no Quran of
    Fatimah! As the above and many other traditions suggest, The book of
    Fatimah has absolutely no connection with Quran. This concept is commonly
    pulled out of context and published by anti-Shi'i groups due to their
    hatred toward the Followers of the Members of the House of Prophet
    (PBUH&HF). I have seen it mentioned in a book printed by the government of
    Saudi Arabia.
    What is also very important to recognize and understand is that belief in
    Mushaf Fatimah is NOT a requirement of BELIEF to the Shia. It is just very
    few traditions which report such a thing. It is nothing crucial for us as
    the followers, nor any Shia (except Imam Mahdi) has access to it.
    Some Side Comments
    A Wahhabi mentioned that the Shia believe:
    * The Imams know when they will die, and they do not die execpt with
    their choice.
    Well, this is also granted to the prophets. So consequently I don't see why
    Imam should not have it. Here are the two traditions in Sahih al-Bukhari
    which confirms such claim for Moses:
    Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 2.423 and 4.619
    Narrated Abu Huraira:
    The angel of death was sent to Moses and when he went to him, Moses
    slapped him severely, spoiling one of his eyes. The angel went back to
    his Lord, and said, "You sent me to a slave who does not want to die."
    Allah restored his eye and said, "Go back and tell him (i.e. Moses) to
    place his hand over the back of an ox, for he will be allowed to live
    for a number of years equal to the number of hairs coming under his
    hand." (So the angel came to him and told him the same). Then Moses
    asked, "O my Lord! What will be then?" He said, "Death will be then."
    He said, "Let it be now." He asked Allah that He bring him near the
    Sacred Land at a distance of a stone's throw. Allah's Apostle
    (PBUH) said, "Were I there I would show you the grave of Moses by
    the way near the red sand hill."
    Sahih Al Bukhari
    Arabic English
    Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan
    v2, p236 ( 2.423 reference )
    Chapter : Whoever desired to be buried in the Sacred Land .....
    Sahih Al Bukhari
    Arabic English
    Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan
    v4, p409 ( 4.619 reference )
    Chapter : The death Of Moses and his rememberance after his death.
    According to the above tradition in Sahih al-Bukhari, Moses alleged to
    resist against death, and then was told by Allah when he would die (the
    number of hairs). Again Moses asked God to change that decision to be now.
    The mockery tone of the above tradition by al-Bukhari is questionable for
    us, but since you call it authentic, then you should agree that prophets
    may know their death time. So why not Imam?
    Here I should mention that according to Islamic teaching, Allah
    didn't/doesn't relinquish His authority to prophets and Imams. The
    authority of prophets and Imams is not independent of God. This authority
    is GIVEN to them by Allah and is controlled by Allah too. If they disobey
    Allah, such authority will be taken away immediately. So if Moses or other
    prophets and Imams died in their choice, we should keep in mind that such
    sinless people do not desire anything that Allah does not desire. So their
    wish about the time of their death is exactly what Allah wished, since they
    are absolutely obedient toward Allah. Actually what I just said here is
    somehow contradicting the report of Abu Huraira given by al-Bukhari (saying
    that Moses resisted). But since you believe in al-Bukhari, then you
    actually go further than the claim written in al-Kafi. In other words, the
    above tradition of al-Bukhari suggests that a prophet can resist and change
    the order of God and even knock out the angel of death. (May Allah protect
    us from such evil words).
    * All of the Earth belongs to the Imams. (p.407)
    Allah, to whom belong Might and Majesty said:
    "The earth is Allah's. He gives it as a heritage to whom He will,
    and the good end is for the righteous servants." (Quran 7:128).
    May Allah guide those who have such beliefs to the True Islam.
    And make this net and its members a cause to that.
    May Allah help all of us to understand the above Quranic verses, and may
    Allah let us understand the traditions mentioned above which are from
    authentic Sunni books and let us not die in ignorance. AMEN
    Their is no denying that Ali was one of the most knowledgeable of the
    sahaba. Even if we do accept that Ali is the most knowledgeable, what
    then? Would that mean no one else had any knowledge?
    No. It means others had much less knowledge. This implies those who
    chose other inferior people in knowledge to lead the community for their
    own desires, are responsible for the Misfortune of all Muslims throughout
    the history. Shiats say that Imam must possess above all such qualities as
    knowledge, bravery, justice, wisdom, piety, love of God etc., in order to
    assure the prosperity of the Islamic community.
    Is Quran correct that Imamat is a degree higher than prophethood and
    messengership?
    There are different levels of imamat. The imamat of the Prophets
    is higher than any other imamat. Certainly, an imam of a masjid
    is by no means higher than a Prophet or Messenger.
    Certainly you did not answer my question. I was not talking about the
    degrees of Imamat. Please read the question again. As for Imam of Masjid,
    this shows you did not read the definition that I gave for the Imam in my
    original article. I said:
    Imam means a person who is appointed by God as a leader and as a guide
    to whom obedience is due, and whom people should follow.
    Does the above definition fit to Imam of Masjid?! Allah said that Prophet
    Muhammad is a warner, and for every community (generation) there exists a
    guide (Imam). (Quran 13:7). It is clear that there is no prophet after
    Prophet Muhammad. So those guides who are for every generation are not
    prophets.
    because even the best pious person can only be pious if he believes
    in all the Prophets, how then can he become better than one in whom he
    must believe in order to be considered pious?
    Prophet Mohammad believed in all prophets before him, but his position is
    higher than all of them. Agreed?



    http://www.al-shia.org/html/eng/page.php?id=1084

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