Rafed English

Doctrine of the Attributes of the Imam and knowledge of the Imam

Adopted from the book : "The Faith of Shi'a Islam" by : Allamah Muhammad Ridha al-Muzaffar"

We believe that the Imam, like the prophet, must be the best among mankind, and that he must excell in all human qualities, such as bravery, generosity, chasteness, truthfulness, justice, prudence, reason, wisdom and morality. The reason for this is the same as that which we gave for the prophet's superiority. He derives his education, the Divine commandments and all his knowledge from the prophet or from the previous Imam. When a new question arises, he knows the answer from Divine Inspiration through the pure mind that Allah has given him. If he gives attention to some matter in order to know it, he will obtain a perfect understanding with no error, for the Imams do not derive their knowledge from methodological reasoning, or form the teachings of men of knowledge, although it is possible for their knowledge to be increased and strengthened. For the Prophet said:

O Lord, increase my knowledge!

It has been shown by psychological investigations that every man has, during his lifetime, one or two moments in which he is able to understand something by intuition. In fact, this is a kind of inspiration from Allah. This power has not been given to mankind equally, but in different degrees, according to their capacities. At such a time the human mind is capable of discovering certain facts without thinking or reasoning, and without guidance from someone else, Everyone acknowledges this condition from his own personal experience many times during his life.

Therefore it is possible that a human may attain to the highest degree of this state, one which both ancient and contemporary philosophers have described. We maintain that the powers of the Imams to receive inspiration have reached the highest degree of excellence, and we say that it is a Divinely-given power. By this means the Imam is able to understand information about anything, anywhere, and at any time, and he understands by means of this Divinely -given power at once, without recourse to methodological reasoning or guidance from a teacher. When he desires to know about some matter, it is reflected in his pure mind as if in a polished mirror. It is clear from the histories of their lives that, like the Prophet. the Imams were not trained or taught by anyone at all, not even in reading and writing, from their childhoods to the maturing of their minds. No author or teacher was seen to instruct one of them, but they were incomparable masters of knowledge, so that they were never asked about any problem without being able to answer it immediately, and they never said that they did not know. They never required time to consider a question before replying.

In comparison with this, it has never been said of any Islamic scholar, narrator or scientist, in his biography, that he did not study or was not educated by some other scholar, or that he never had any doubts about any problem, for human nature has always been thus.

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