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In the Name of God بسم الله

Imams Being Higher Than Previous Prophets?

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The main idea is from the Qur'an "And when his Lord tried Abraham with certain words, he fulfilled them. He said: 'Surely I will make you an Imam of men.' Abraham said: 'And of my offspring?' 'My covenant does not include the unjust,' He said." (2:124) This verse proves that the rank of the Imamate is superior to that of prophethood, since the position of the Prophet Abraham was raised from prophethood to the Imamate.

Also, The Messenger of Allah (s) 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)."

But: Imam ar-Ridha: "Imamate is the status of the Prophets, the legacy of the successors; Imamate is the caliphate of God Almighty and of His Messenger (S.A.W.)." :unsure: according to http://www.al-islam.org/al-rida/2-3.htm#source182. No source for the hadith so could be wrong.

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(salam) Ibrahim (as) asked Allah to show him how He raises the dead. Allah asked him "Are you not certain?" Ibrahim responded by saying that he wanted his heart to be more certain.

Compared to Imam Ali (as) who said, "If the veil (of the unseen) was removed, my faith would not increase." Meaning, even if he saw the unseen, his has the utmost level of certainty and faith.

Also, Ibrahim (as) struggled but succeeded in attempting to sacrifice his son in accordance to the command of Allah. Imam Hussain (as) sacrificed his entire family and eventually himself. And trust me, if it was possible to do more, he would have, however giving one's life is the ultimate sacrifice.

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As for the status of Imams. Firstly we must address the issue of what is an Imam from an Islamic point of view? We see it as follows: A 1)Prophet comes to warn people

2)A Messenger comes with a complete system and a message from the All mighty

3)An Imam leads and rules over the people using that system

Let's take the example of Prophet Ibrahim (as) who was a great prophet who reached all three stations:

[2:124] And when his Lord tried Ibrahim with certain words, he fulfilled them. He said: Surely I will make you an Imam of men. Ibrahim said: And of my offspring? My covenant does not include the unjust, said He.

If you contemplate on the above verse, it is really quite inspiring. Allah has made a covenant with Ibrahim (as) that from his offspring there will be Imams. Note the the last Prophet (SAWW) and the Imams are descendants of Ibrahim (as).

The main thing about the above verse is that Ibrahim was made an Imam at the end of his age thus we as Shia believe the station of Imam is above that of Prophethood.

Because we believe the Imams are divinely guided and are Imams of the final and most perfect religion, we believe the 14 infallibles are the most beloved of the creation to Allah.

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As for the status of Imams. Firstly we must address the issue of what is an Imam from an Islamic point of view? We see it as follows: A 1)Prophet comes to warn people

2)A Messenger comes with a complete system and a message from the All mighty

3)An Imam leads and rules over the people using that system

Let's take the example of Prophet Ibrahim (as) who was a great prophet who reached all three stations:

[2:124] And when his Lord tried Ibrahim with certain words, he fulfilled them. He said: Surely I will make you an Imam of men. Ibrahim said: And of my offspring? My covenant does not include the unjust, said He.

If you contemplate on the above verse, it is really quite inspiring. Allah has made a covenant with Ibrahim (as) that from his offspring there will be Imams. Note the the last Prophet (SAWW) and the Imams are descendants of Ibrahim (as).

The main thing about the above verse is that Ibrahim was made an Imam at the end of his age thus we as Shia believe the station of Imam is above that of Prophethood.

Because we believe the Imams are divinely guided and are Imams of the final and most perfect religion, we believe the 14 infallibles are the most beloved of the creation to Allah.

Well said... Also, I think the element of time & human progression should be included in this topic. The Imams of Ahlul Bayt (as) were ordained to protect the most complete religion of Islam, which was the final goal of all previous messages. For example, although there were medical doctors who may have held prestigious posts 100 years ago and were considered the highest medical experts of their time, a medical school student today may have more knowledge than they did simply because time and human progression has reached the level it has. Because of this element, today's medical school student would have more knowledge and expertise than the established doctor 100 years ago, even though he may not be given a prestigious position.

Edited by Fadlallah79
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Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani: "Keeping this belief that our Imams are superior than the previous prophets is not a necessity of Shi'ite religion." (i.e. if one does not keep this belief, even then he is Shia)

However, there are a number of proofs given by Ayatollah Muhammad Hussain Najafi in his book "Isbat ul Imamat" that our Imams were superior to all the previous prophets, but not Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) off course. Thus, I keep this belief on the basis of these reasons.

The author has, however, mentioned that groups of Shia ulema maintained two other beliefs as well:

1. Some believed that our Imams were not superior to the previous prophets

2. Yet another group of ulema believed that our Imams were superior to previous prophets, except the Ulul-Azm Prophets (Noah (as), Ibrahim (as), Moosa (as), Isa (as))

Edited by kalbehaider
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Can I please have the sources for the belief that the 12 shia imams are higher in status than all prophets except Muhammed (pbuh)?

I don't know about the arguments and proof for and against this issue but as the poster above had indicated, Shia have two opinions on this matter. One of the marajae' rejecting the idea of Imams being higher in status than Prophets is Ayatullah Sa'eed-al-Hakim in Iraq.

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One of the marajae' rejecting the idea of Imams being higher in status than Prophets is Ayatullah Sa'eed-al-Hakim in Iraq.

Are you sure about that last part? I saw this on his website:

Ó 9 : åá Ãä ÇáÇãÇã Úáì (Úáíå ÇáÓáÇã) ÃÝÖá ãä ÌãíÚ ÇáÇäÈíÇÁ æÇáÑÓá ãÇ ÚÏÇ äÈíäÇ ãÍãÏ (Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÇáå) ÍÊì ãä ÇæáæÇ ÇáÚÒã æßíÝ Ðáß Åä ÕÍ Ðáß¿

Ì : ÊÖãäÊ ÇáÇÍÇÏíË ÇáßËíÑÉ Ãä ÇáäÈí (Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÇáå) æÃåá ÈíÊå ÃÝÖá ÎáÞ Çááå ÊÚÇáì æáÇ íÓÚäÇ ÇáÊÚÑÖ áåÐå ÇáäÕæÕ áßËÑÊåÇ.

http://istefta.alhakeem.com/ajwebeh/amaeh/02.htm

Rough translation:

Q - Is Imam `Ali (as) superior (afdhal) to all of the Messengers other than our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), even the Ulu 'l-`Azm. And how is this if it is correct?

A - The many hadiths have (implied, comprehended, comprised?) that the Prophet (pbuh) and his Ahl al-Bayt are the best (afdhal) creation of Allah Ta`ala, and we are not able to oppose these texts due to their great number.

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well then please bring forth this 'plenty' of evidence.

this is a doctrine I am struggling to accept, so I need as much proof as possible

Muhammad has narrated from Ahmad from Ali ibn Nu‘man, in a marfu’ manner (rafa'ahu) from abu Ja‘far (a.s.) who has said the following. "They try to absorb the little moisture but ignore the huge river." Someone asked him, "What is (this) huge river?" The Imams (a.s.)said, "It is the Messenger of Allah (s.a.) and the Knowledge that Allah gave to him. Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, combined in Muhammad (s.a.) the Sunnah (traditions) of the all the prophets from Adam onwards to Muhammad (s.a.)." Someone asked him, "What are those sunnah (traditions)?" The Imams (a.s.) said, "They are all the knowledge of the prophets (s.a.). The Messenger of Allah transferred all of them to Amir al-Mu’minin Ali (a.s.)." The man then said, "O son of the Messenger of Allah, is Amir al-Mu’minin Ali (a.s.) more knowledgeable or some of the prophets?" Abu Ja‘far (a.s.) replied, "Listen, everyone to what he just said. Allah opens the ears of whoever He wants. I said to him that Allah combined for Muhammad (s.a.) the knowledge of the prophets and he combined all of it with Amir al-Mu’minin Ali (a.s.). He now asks me, "Was he (Ali (a.s.) more knowledgeable or some of the prophets?"

Try opening ur heart and ears.

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Are you sure about that last part? I saw this on his website:

Ó 9 : åá Ãä ÇáÇãÇã Úáì (Úáíå ÇáÓáÇã) ÃÝÖá ãä ÌãíÚ ÇáÇäÈíÇÁ æÇáÑÓá ãÇ ÚÏÇ äÈíäÇ ãÍãÏ (Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÇáå) ÍÊì ãä ÇæáæÇ ÇáÚÒã æßíÝ Ðáß Åä ÕÍ Ðáß¿

Ì : ÊÖãäÊ ÇáÇÍÇÏíË ÇáßËíÑÉ Ãä ÇáäÈí (Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÇáå) æÃåá ÈíÊå ÃÝÖá ÎáÞ Çááå ÊÚÇáì æáÇ íÓÚäÇ ÇáÊÚÑÖ áåÐå ÇáäÕæÕ áßËÑÊåÇ.

http://istefta.alhakeem.com/ajwebeh/amaeh/02.htm

Rough translation:

Q - Is Imam `Ali (as) superior (afdhal) to all of the Messengers other than our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), even the Ulu 'l-`Azm. And how is this if it is correct?

A - The many hadiths have (implied, comprehended, comprised?) that the Prophet (pbuh) and his Ahl al-Bayt are the best (afdhal) creation of Allah Ta`ala, and we are not able to oppose these texts due to their great number.

I have an old book on jurisprudence (I can't recall its print date) in which Ayatullah Sa'eed al Hakim is quoted to have said what I stated in my post. The text was in Urdu. I don't know whether he has changed his view on the matter later on or there's something else to it.

Thanks for your message.

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Salam

also look at:

Hadith Al Kisaa - where Allah says that the heavens and the earth were created out of his Love for the 5 under the cloak.

Hadith Al Menzila - where Imam Ali (as) is to the Prophet (SAWW) as Harun was to Moses (as).

Let's not forget that Imam Ali (as) and the Prophet (SAWW) are the same, the only thing which differentiates them is Prophethood i.e. their knowledge is the same, their qualities are the same. If you look at the Ayah of Mubahila, Imam Ali (as) is even called the self of the Prophet (SAWW). So in actual fact we can say that Imam Ali (as) mirrors everything the Prophet (SAWW) has except for the revelation. Please pay attention to this and the hadith which says: "I am the city of knowledge and Ali (as) is its gate". We shias are lucky as we have access to the Prophets character through Ali (as). The unlucky sunnis go back to people like Omar and Abu Bakr which teachs them the exact opposite of the nature of the Prophet, thus they have hadiths which damage the image of the Prophet and higher the status of the first two.

There are several ayahs which point to the Prophets (as) praying to Allah that they are put with the Ahlulbayt (as), which shows their true status. Particularly Ibrahim (as) and Yusuf (as).

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The Imams (a.s.) are subordinate to their respective Prophets (a.s.), and are therefore reflections of them.

Since the Imams of Ahlul'bayt (a.s.) are reflections of Muhammad Rasoolullah (a.s.), it therefore means they are on his level of excellence, and his level of sublime spirituality.

- Mansab

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