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Abu Tufayl

Extent Of Imams Of Ahlulbayt

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There many things I have read where it says the Imams of Ahlulbayt are completely and 100% free from any internal and external error - they cannot do wrong but even more that they cannot even think wrong.

What is the basis of such belief if it is true? Is this not attributing Allah (swt)'s perfection to his creation?

Another one is the belief that Imams are completely all knowing - past present and future. Again, what is the basis of such belief and is this not Allah's power alone.

I think...there is an ayat that says Only Allah knows of the unseen and etc?

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There many things I have read where it says the Imams of Ahlulbayt are completely and 100% free from any internal and external error - they cannot do wrong but even more that they cannot even think wrong.

There are different opinions on this issue.

See: http://www.shiachat.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=234944952

Another one is the belief that Imams are completely all knowing - past present and future. Again, what is the basis of such belief and is this not Allah's power alone.

I think...there is an ayat that says Only Allah knows of the unseen and etc?

Only Allah(swt) is all-knowing. Quranic verse proves that Prophet Muhammad(s) was not aware of all hypocrites during his time. (see surah Tauba: 101)

Prophets(a) and Imams(a) knows only what Allah(swt) desires them to know.

w/s

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There many things I have read where it says the Imams of Ahlulbayt are completely and 100% free from any internal and external error - they cannot do wrong but even more that they cannot even think wrong.

What is the basis of such belief if it is true? Is this not attributing Allah (swt)'s perfection to his creation?

Allah has promised that al-rijs (ALL IMPURITIES) are clear from his chosen Ahlul'bayt (a.s.) in 33:33. There are many places in the Qur'an where you can prove that the Imams of Ahlul'bayt (a.s.) have the same authority over the creation as Rasoolullah and Allah in terms of the special Wilayah that Allah gives to his chosen servants (5:55).

Another one is the belief that Imams are completely all knowing - past present and future. Again, what is the basis of such belief and is this not Allah's power alone.

I think...there is an ayat that says Only Allah knows of the unseen and etc?

Allah grants this knowledge to whom he wills. Allah is the all-independent. The creation is dependent upon the creator.

- Mansab

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(salam) All great points. One thing to add: There was a story where a man asked Imam Sadiq (as) if he was free from sin. The Imam took him to a butcher shop and took him to the back where all the rotten meat was kept. It was swarming with insect, bad odor, and discoloration. Then the Imam asked him "would you eat that?" The man replied no. Then the Imam said, "This is what a sin looks like to us." ...meaning that Allah has not placed a physical barrier between Ahlul Bayt (as) and sins, but he has given them the knowledge, wisdom, divine guidance, faith, and conviction so that they wouldn't commit a sin.

The question then becomes: Would that man even think of eating that rotten meat? The answer is no. So... would Ahlul Bayt (as) even thinkof committing a sin? I don't think so.

Regarding knowledge of the unseen, as has been mentioned many times, we don't have explicit proof that they did. However, Allah guides whom he wills.

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(salam)

To be very frank, there exists difference of opinions amongst Shia scholars due to different interpretations of the Qur'anic verses and ahadeeth. The definition of the word infallible means that someone who can not err. I have an issue with using this word because it is well known that the Prophets (pbuh) and Imams (as) could sin but they had the will power to not do so. What we usually mean by using the word in English refers to protection. The spiritual grace of Allah enabling a person to abstain from sins by his own free will. The power of infallibility or sinlessness does not make a person incapable of committing sins; rather, he refrains from sins and mistakes by his own power and will."

The Qur'an says:

[53:2] Your companion does not err, nor does he go astray;

[53:3] Nor does he speak out of desire.

[53:4] It is naught but revelation that is revealed,

[53:5] The Lord of Mighty Power has taught him,

Allamah Majlisi in his Bihar ul-Anwar says that the infallibility of the Prophets could be divided into: matter of their faith, matter of preaching, in matters of explaining the rules (of religion) and in their behaviour and characters. The infallibility in regards to their faith and behaviour can then be divided into their lives prior to their Prophethood and before their prophethood. Then they are divided into the fact that they could be protected from either major sins or minor sins. Then Tark-e-Awla as a concept; they could be errors that are intangible errors or tangible errors (something which should not happen). All of them may also have either happened intentionally or by mistake. There are therefore 8 possible opinions on the infallibility of the Prophets (pbuh). However scholars agree that in terms of preaching and explaining the rules of religion they did not err. In other situations differences occur because of the interpretation. Same concept will apply to the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (as), as some Shia scholars say they have a higher status than other Prophets (pbuh) except Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). But same would apply even if they do not hold that opinion because the Imams are divinely appointed at the end of the day.

From Syed Fadhlullah's website:

Looking at infallibility from another perspective like assuming that the Prophet or Imam commits unintentional mistakes in ordinary and regular matters of life such as showing distractedness during prayers; the judgment of reason does not say that it is impossible to err, to forget or to be distracted in this respect. As a matter of fact, we see that some Shiite jurists such as Al-Sheikh Al-Sadouk, his father or his master (May Allah be pleased with them) say that the first sign of exaggeration is to deny the Imams’ occasional distractedness or inattentiveness. Some of our scholars such as Al-Sayyid Al-Khou’i (May the mercy of Allah be upon him) say that Imams are not forbidden from making careless mistakes or omissions provided that they won’t be during the act of proclaiming the words of Allah, because they are not allowed to do so during such important stages.

As I said before, scholars agree on the fact that the Prophets (pbuh) and Imams (as) are infallible in regards to when they are preaching and explaing rules of the religion because as the Qur'an mentions it is a revelation revealed by Allah (swt). Same goes for the position of Imamat as the Qur'an mentions here: [21:72-73] And We gave him Ishaq and Yaqoub, a son's son, and We made (them) all good. And We made them Imams who guided (people) by Our command, and We revealed to them the doing of good and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of the alms, and Us (alone) did they serve; Syed Fadhlullah explains the issue of infallibility in regards to aqaid:

The doctrines that a true Muslim is bound to express his belief in and by denying one of them he is regarded as an unbeliever, in the conventional sense of unbelief mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an, are: The belief in the one and only God; The belief in the Prophet; the belief in God’s Messengers, the belief in God’s sacred Books and the belief in the Last Day. By expressing one’s belief in all these matters, a person is considered to be a Muslim; however, by denying one or all of them, he would certainly be an unbeliever.

As for other issues such as the Imamate, the Caliphate, the infallibility of the Prophet or the Imam, and so on and so forth­ these issues are not related to the question of being a true Muslim or an unbeliever because a person who believes in infallibility only in proclaiming the message of Allah could indeed be a Muslim. Thus, we see that our scholars who had spoken of the distraction and forgetfulness of the Prophet (p) during his prayers or in some other matters are, undoubtedly, reverential and knowledgeable Muslims in the full sense of the word.

But one last point, remember Hadith-e-Thaqalayn. The Prophet (pbuh) said follow the Qur'an and the Ahlul Bayt (as) after me. He gave them equal status and this should imply something. If the Qur'an is perfect then surely Ahlul Bayt (as) are perfect too and vice versa. I hope that explains the 'extent': In terms of preaching they do not err and everyone agrees, but in terms of other daily routing life etc. difference of opinion occurs. Some say that they do not make mistakes even in those and some scholars have explained their views on that and some have stated contrary views. At the end of the day it is not something that will make you a non-Shia or a better Shia, they are still pure figures as mentioned in 33:33 because Allah (swt) has desired to keep away the uncleanness from them.

And the Imams (as) know what ever Allah (swt) has allowed them to know.

Muhammad ibn Yahya al-‘Attar has narrated from Ahmad ibn abu Zahir from al-Hassan ibn Musa from Ali ibn Hassan from ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Kathir who has said that he heard Imam abu ‘Abdallah (a.s.) who has said the following: "We are the ones who has said the following possess Divine authority of the command of Allah, we are the treasury of the knowledge of Allah and the repository of the revelations of Allah." ~ Usool Kafi (H 486, Ch. 11, h 1)

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