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In the Name of God بسم الله

Is it true that Imams have a higher status than

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One very influential scholar from the iran says:

Mulla Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi (died 1111 AH), the most prominent and influential Shi‘i scholar of the Safawid empire. He writes in his monumental Bihar al-Anwar vol. 26 p. 83:

"On the whole, after admission of the fact that the Imams are not prophets, we are bound to acknowledge the fact that they are superior to all Prophets and Awsiya (legatees) except our Prophet (salutations and peace upon him and his family). To our knowledge there is no reason not to describe the Imams as Prophets except consideration to the status of the Final Prophet. Our intellect too, cannot perceive of a distinction between Nubuwwah (prophethood) and Imamah."

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(bismillah)

From Sheikh Nasir Makarim (ha):

Q: Are pure Imams (a.s.) superior to divine prophets (a.s.), except the Holy Prophet (s.a.), in cognition of God?

A: It is better not to compare infallibles and Awliya Allah with each other. All of them are superiors and divine lights.

http://english.makarem.ir/estefta/

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Different context.

I think this is a very risky subject. The Imams did not

A. Receive revelation.

B. Did not bring sharia nor could they change halal to haram and vice versa.

C. Were not in most cases in authority

(bismillah) (salam)

No prophet of God was able to change haram to halal and vice versa without Allah's (swt) will. Only Allah could change it and they would announce it.

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(bismillah) (salam)

No prophet of God was able to change haram to halal and vice versa without Allah's (swt) will. Only Allah could change it and they would announce it.

Yes, exactly. They brought new laws or were given commands to change them by Allah swt. This only happened through prophets.

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I can understand the intellectual curiosity over this question, but I don't understand why some people get so worked-up about it. Does it make any real difference to most people's faith whether Prophets are higher than Imams, or vice-versa? (I can think of one type of people this might make a huge difference to, but I'm not talking about them.)

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One very influential scholar from the iran says:

Mulla Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi (died 1111 AH), the most prominent and influential Shi‘i scholar of the Safawid empire. He writes in his monumental Bihar al-Anwar vol. 26 p. 83:

"On the whole, after admission of the fact that the Imams are not prophets, we are bound to acknowledge the fact that they are superior to all Prophets and Awsiya (legatees) except our Prophet (salutations and peace upon him and his family). To our knowledge there is no reason not to describe the Imams as Prophets except consideration to the status of the Final Prophet. Our intellect too, cannot perceive of a distinction between Nubuwwah (prophethood) and Imamah."

Bold: Clear kufr.

Might as well call Ali a Prophet then, if there is no distinction between both.

Sick.

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Bold: Clear kufr.

Might as well call Ali a Prophet then, if there is no distinction between both.

Sick.

Who died and left you in charge of deciding who is and isn't a Muslim?

In terms of authority, there is no difference between the Prophet (pbuh) and the Aimmah (as). This is the meaning of the statement: The first of us is Muhammad (pbuh) and the last is Muhammad (pbuh), and in between us are Muhammad (pbuh), and we are all Muhammad (pbuh).

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Looks like the Qur'an supports the idea with the story of Ibrahim. But, correct me if I'm wrong, we don't have a story in Quran which an Imam & a Prophet existed as the same time, right? (though there are stories like this in the Tanakh, such as Samuel & Saul). So, practically, it would not pose a problem whatsoever.

A little side note though, if all of deceased humansw (including the Prophets) were resurrected except Prophet Muhammad, all of us still have to obey the present Imam (i.e. Imam Mahdi). The proof lies in the narration of Prophet Isa (who is one of the Ulul Azmi) will pray behind Imam Mahdi

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ÞÇá ÇãíÑ Çáãæãäíä Úáí Úáíå ÇáÓáÇã

Úáã ÇáÇäÈíÇÁ Ýí Úáãåã æ ÓÑõø ÇáÇæÕíÇÁ Ýí ÓÑöøåã æ ÚÒõø ÇáÇæáíÇÁö Ýí ÚÒöøåã ßÇáÞØÑۃö Ýí ÇáÈÍÑ æÇáÐøÑøۃö Ýí ÇáÞÕÑ

Imam Ali (as) farmate hai:

"Tamam Ambiya ka ilm Ahlebait(as) ke ilm, Tamam Ausiya ke asrar Ahlebait(as) ke asrar aur tamam Auliya ka Iqtedar-e-Huqumat Ahlebait(as) ke muqabale me aise hai jaise samandar me paani ka katra aur wasee and areez sehra me ret ka zarra ho."

Imam Ali (as) has said:

The knowledge of all the Ambiya, the secrets of all the Ausiya and the kingdom of all the Auliya as compared to the knowledge of Ahlebait(as), the secrets of Ahlebait(as) and the kingdom of Ahlebait(as) is like a drop in the ocean and like the grain of sand in a very large desert."

Ref: Al-Qatra, Urdu Translation: Manaqib-e-Ahlebait(as), Vol 3, Pg No. 13

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Allah (swt) gave knowledge to Mohammad (pbuh) and his Ahlulbayt (as) over all things, but limited knowledge to other Prophets. Also, the Holy Imams (as) are the descendants of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), and no other Prophet has that privilege.

The chain goes like this:

Prophet < Messenger < Imam.

A Prophet is someone who was visited by the Angel Gabriel (as) by the command of Allah (swt).

A Messenger is a Prophet who has a message for the people from Allah (swt).

An Imam (not the Imam who leads prayer, etc.) is a Religious Leader chosen by Allah (swt), and all must submit to his command.

The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) was a Prophet, Messenger, and Imam.

This is just my understanding of it.

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(bismillah)

Think about it.

Who has a higher status, the Prime Minister of Great Briton or the the President of the Republic of Surinam.

WS

(bismillah)

(salam)

excellent explaination bro orion

like i have said before the vice chancellor of a university or the principal of a school

(wasalam)

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Yes they are! and why should this come as a suprise?

In the book “Peshawar Nights”, the Shia scholar, Sultanu’l-Wa’izin Shirazi, says: “Since the holy prophet was superior to all other prophets Ali was also superior to them.” (Peshawar Nights, http://www.al-islam.org/peshawar/7.1.html)

or try http://www.al-islam.org/peshawar/index.html " SEVENTH SESSION"

Allah intended to make his rank more exalted. Since prophethood and the title of Khalil (friend) did not apparently rank a higher rank, the office of Imamate was the only office of a higher order to which even a Prophet of Allah could be entrusted…That Ali attained the rank of prophethood can be proven by the reference to the Hadith of Manzila (Tradition Regarding Ranks)

Source: Peshawar Nights, http://www.al-islam.org/peshawar/4.2.html or

http://www.al-islam.org/peshawar/index.html " FOURTH SESSION"

Chapter "The rank of Imamate is higher than that of general Prophethood"

The same view is held by the Shia Tafseer, also available on the Al-Islam.org website: “It means that a prophet is not necessarily an Imaam and Imaamat is an office of decidedly higher order…”

(S.V. Mir Ali/Ayatollah Mahdi Puya Commentary of Verse 2:124, http://www.al-islam.org/quran/)

Allamah Baqir Al-Majlisi says about the Imams: “Their preference [is] over the prophets and all the people.” (Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol 26, Chapter 6) He further stated: “…our Imams are higher [and] better than the rest of the prophets…they are more knowledgeable than the prophets…

(Bihar Al-Anwar, Volume 26, p.297)

On the whole, after admission of the fact that the Imams are not prophets, we are bound to acknowledge the fact that they are superior to all Prophets and Awsiya (legatees) except our Prophet (salutations and peace upon him and his family). To our knowledge there is no reason not to describe the Imams as Prophets except consideration to the status of the Final Prophet. Our intellect too, cannot perceive a distinction between Nabuwwah (prophethood) and Imamah.

Source: Bihar Al-Anwar, Volume 26, p.82

;)

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Out of interest, is there anyone here who would be disturbed if in fact Prophets were higher than Imams, or if they were equal?

I have never understood the need to discuss this over and over. Does it really matter to anyone who is higher? Since we haven't been told who is higher by any representative of Allah (swt), I think it's better not to engage in needless speculation because this is a decision for Allah (swt), not for us. What we should concentrate on is honouring all of the representatives of Allah (swt) as much as we can, and not to neglect any of them. It's sad when you see people who don't know, or have little interest in, the stories narrated in the Quran about Prophets, or don't know anything about the life of the Imams other than Ali (as) and Husayn (as).

The biggest crime of all is that our own holy Prophet (pbuh) is so neglected. There are many who barely know anything about his life, other than incidents strongly linked to the life of Imam Ali (as), or ones that expose the behaviour of certain companions. This is very noticeable when there are call-in shows dedicated to the life of the Prophet (pbuh) on Shia TV channels, and all the callers only want to talk about Imam Ali (as) and certain companions, as if those topics aren't covered enough the rest of the time. It's also interestingto do searches for different names on Shia Chat. The results are revealing, but not very surprising.

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It's important to know the rank of the Imams, because we been ordered to love them.

Loving is always related to the object of love. The rank of the object of love is related to the love we owe, as such, it's important we know their rank.

For example, love of an animal will be different then love of human being, which is different then love of your own mother. Differet objects of love have different type of love attached to it. A wife has that of attraction as well as care, and the type of love in 42:23 is obviously then related to the object of love, and includes that of being attracted to them and wanting their states, but as well, that of honoring their rank.

As for the rank of Ahelbayt, Allah says in 33:33 he desires to keep nothing away from them save the uncleaness, and that he purifies them a thorough purification. This means all the blessings upon Prophets, God doesn't desire to keep that away from them. This means they are blessed with highest sublime qualities and states. It means they are the best of creation.

We should recognize them as best of creation and love of them as such. God specially chose them for his grace and mercy, and by his grace and mercy, he kept them away from slips and falls.

They were protected by God's loving grace, and we should honor them as such.

It's part of the wage we owe for the message, and as such it's important to recognize the high rank of Ahlebayt.

The elect families are families because they ascend with each other. We bless the Ahlebayt with blessings that cover them all.

All Ahebayts stations are to be recognized, and the best Ahelabyt is to be honored especially, and God specially selected them for his honor.

They are the best of his creation and we should love the family of Ahmad as such.

May God bless Mohammad and the family of Mohammad.

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It's important to know the rank of the Imams, because we been ordered to love them.

Loving is always related to the object of love. The rank of the object of love is related to the love we owe, as such, it's important we know their rank.

No, I don't think this is true. You love someone for what they have done, what you know about them,and how close you are to them, not for what their 'rank' is. Let's assume for a second that prophets were of higher rank, then you would still never be able to love them the way you love Imam Husayn (as). Simply because you don't know enough about their lives to make such an emotional connection.

Anyway, it's evident that certain Imams are loved more than others by the majority of Shias, and they are all supposed to be equal.

As for the rank of Ahelbayt, Allah says in 33:33 he desires to keep nothing away from them save the uncleaness, and that he purifies them a thorough purification. This means all the blessings upon Prophets, God doesn't desire to keep that away from them. This means they are blessed with highest sublime qualities and states. It means they are the best of creation.

We should recognize them as best of creation and love of them as such. God specially chose them for his grace and mercy, and by his grace and mercy, he kept them away from slips and falls.

As with most of these 'proofs', there are too many leaps of logic here. Just taken on its own there is no way you can start with 33:33 and end up with your conclusion.

They were protected by God's loving grace, and we should honor them as such.

It's part of the wage we owe for the message, and as such it's important to recognize the high rank of Ahlebayt.

The elect families are families because they ascend with each other. We bless the Ahlebayt with blessings that cover them all.

All Ahebayts stations are to be recognized, and the best Ahelabyt is to be honored especially, and God specially selected them for his honor.

They are the best of his creation and we should love the family of Ahmad as such.

May God bless Mohammad and the family of Mohammad.

Yes, of course we should love them, but that doesn't mean we have to spend our time trying to prove they were superior or inferior to prophets. If it was really as important as you think to know this, then the Imams (as) would have told us explicitly, but they didn't. All the proofs are based on bad logic and assumptions, so it's best to stop this pointless speculation.

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No, I don't think this is true. You love someone for what they have done, what you know about them,and how close you are to them, not for what their 'rank' is. Let's assume for a second that prophets were of higher rank, then you would still never be able to love them the way you love Imam Husayn (as). Simply because you don't know enough about their lives to make such an emotional connection.

Anyway, it's evident that certain Imams are loved more than others by the majority of Shias, and they are all supposed to be equal.

I think that proves it in itself.

You know more about the Imams (as) because it is their lives that we have been ordered to follow, while the prophets of previous eras had codes of practice which have been abrogated by the shari'ah of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).

Moreover, it is very clear that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is the greatest of all creation, the holy Ahlul Bayt (as) is second only to him.

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No, I don't think this is true. You love someone for what they have done, what you know about them,and how close you are to them, not for what their 'rank' is. Let's assume for a second that prophets were of higher rank, then you would still never be able to love them the way you love Imam Husayn (as). Simply because you don't know enough about their lives to make such an emotional connection.

Anyway, it's evident that certain Imams are loved more than others by the majority of Shias, and they are all supposed to be equal.

As i said, the object of love makes the love differ. If it's someone you don't know the rank of, but has close relationship with you, then it has type of love that is not based on rank. However, with the holy Prophets, we honor them and love them mostly on their high rank and their close relationship with God which is their high rank.

Loving Allah is Worshipping him, because we love him for his Ultimately Highness and Greatness and Ultimate beautiful qualities like grace and love. Ahlebayt are a shadow of God's love, that whom loves them automatically loves God, because they are loved for mainly the same reasons God is loved including being high and beautiful, but it's a lower love, or at least should be.

Them being high is part of the love we owe them as such, Ali means high, and we should love their highness and height. If they are higher then others, we would love them for being higher then others.

As with most of these 'proofs', there are too many leaps of logic here. Just taken on its own there is no way you can start with 33:33 and end up with your conclusion.

There is no leap. It means God only desires to keep uncleanness away from them and nothing else. Had he desired to keep blessings upon Prophets away from them, he would have desired to keep more then uncleanness away. But he gave all that he blessed the Prophets and desires to bless them more, this is what it means. It does lead to the conclusion they are highest ranking servants, because God blesses the most his highest ranking servants.

Yes, of course we should love them, but that doesn't mean we have to spend our time trying to prove they were superior or inferior to prophets. If it was really as important as you think to know this, then the Imams (as) would have told us explicitly, but they didn't.

We have numerous hadiths that do show them to be better including in nahjul balagha. In saheefa Sajadiya we bless them with blessings thate unite blessings upon all Prophets. Surely this would not be just to bless them with such blessings had they not been superior to Prophets.

Also the way "family" was explained with specially meaning, showed they ascend with one another, and so Ahlebayts are to be regarded with that sort of unity, and we know the best creation is Ahmad, and so his family, will be the best family.

Can you care to explain how Allah explained mystic families? The way I understand it, it's based on their closeness, and then Allah chooses to make them all benefit from one another, so they all get blessed and heightened with each other as a result. They are with each other, and Allah prefers they not be alone in their ascending to him, but with each other, and benefiting from one another. This how he made teh families and made them together.

This is how Rasool explains "twelve Captains with him" (ie. the Prophet or Messenger) in misbahal shariah, that they are lights that are with each other.

Can you explain how you understand the meaning of "Ahelbayt" "Aul" "ahl" when it comes to the Prophets?

I love Ahelabyt with special love more then other Ahelbayts, because God made them superior. Just as I love Rasool with more love then other Messengers because he is more beloved to Allah, so then I love his family more with same reason.

As I said every object of love decides what love should be owed to it, and Ahlebayt high rank manifested by God makes them owed the most love next only to God.

O God bless Mohammad and the family of Mohammad.

Salawat is also proof of Wilayah and their high rank.

wa salam

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I think that proves it in itself.

You know more about the Imams (as) because it is their lives that we have been ordered to follow, while the prophets of previous eras had codes of practice which have been abrogated by the shari'ah of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).

Ok, but I don't see what this has to do with the rank of Prophets and Imams. Imams could just as well be models for me without being higher in rank than Prophets.

Moreover, it is very clear that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is the greatest of all creation, the holy Ahlul Bayt (as) is second only to him.

It's clear that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is the best of creation.For the rest, no doubt such things are clear to you, but they aren't to me. In fact if it was so clear, then there would be no discussion at all on the issue, but there is.

My point here isn't to start indulging in this speculation myself. I just think the whole discussion is pointless, and I don't see that it changes a single thing to our lives whoever is in fact higher in rank.

For those who are sure about this, what if you are wrong? Then you will have lowered someone's rank unecessarily. I think it is better to just stay out of it and avoid the risk of doing that.

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Ok, but I don't see what this has to do with the rank of Prophets and Imams. Imams could just as well be models for me without being higher in rank than Prophets.

Why would someone lower in rank be a model over someone who was higher in rank? That doesn't make any sense.

It's clear that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is the best of creation.For the rest, no doubt such things are clear to you, but they aren't to me. In fact if it was so clear, then there would be no discussion at all on the issue, but there is.

My point here isn't to start indulging in this speculation myself. I just think the whole discussion is pointless, and I don't see that it changes a single thing to our lives whoever is in fact higher in rank.

So why is it clear that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is the best of creation while the Imams are not? Just the aya of Mubahala proves that in essence the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and Imam Ali (as) are one, as well as numerous ahadith. I don't think it is pointless at all. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) is greater than Isa (as) or Musa (as), which is why I am a Muslim, and not a Christian or a Jew. Imam Ali (as) is next after the Holy Prophet (pbuh) which is why I am a Shia.

For those who are sure about this, what if you are wrong? Then you will have lowered someone's rank unecessarily. I think it is better to just stay out of it and avoid the risk of doing that.

The religion is based on certainities. Not ifs and maybes. Go out and read the books of kalaam that deal with the issue of Imamat, and they are unequivocal on the issue.

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Ok, but I don't see what this has to do with the rank of Prophets and Imams. Imams could just as well be models for me without being higher in rank than Prophets.

Why would someone lower in rank be a model over someone who was higher in rank? That doesn't make any sense.

It's clear that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is the best of creation.For the rest, no doubt such things are clear to you, but they aren't to me. In fact if it was so clear, then there would be no discussion at all on the issue, but there is.

My point here isn't to start indulging in this speculation myself. I just think the whole discussion is pointless, and I don't see that it changes a single thing to our lives whoever is in fact higher in rank.

So why is it clear that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is the best of creation while the Imams are not? Just the aya of Mubahala proves that in essence the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and Imam Ali (as) are one, as well as numerous ahadith. I don't think it is pointless at all. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) is greater than Isa (as) or Musa (as), which is why I am a Muslim, and not a Christian or a Jew. Imam Ali (as) is next after the Holy Prophet (pbuh) which is why I am a Shia.

For those who are sure about this, what if you are wrong? Then you will have lowered someone's rank unecessarily. I think it is better to just stay out of it and avoid the risk of doing that.

The religion is based on certainities. Not ifs and maybes. Go out and read the books of kalaam that deal with the issue of Imamat, and they are unequivocal on the issue.

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A Prophet only has a high status because hes a 'Prophet.'

And a Imam only has a high status because hes a 'Imam',

So here is the good question what makes a Prophet a Prophet and an Imam an Imam? Who determines what determines and is the determining factor tangible.

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Salam...

The responsibility and the coverage.... Rasul and Imams are for the entire human beings and jinns and not for specific groups or clans of the past. And this responsiblity and coverage extend until Qiamat. Imams are to correct all the Jews, Christians, Buddhists and other religions that exist now and from the past Prophets.

Layman

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Why would someone lower in rank be a model over someone who was higher in rank? That doesn't make any sense.

Any Prophet of Allah (swt) would have been more than enough of an example for us. Do you think that Isa (as) for example would have been insufficient as a model for us? I don't, but maybe someone here knows a person greater than Isa (as) who needed an even greater model for him.

So why is it clear that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is the best of creation while the Imams are not? Just the aya of Mubahala proves that in essence the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and Imam Ali (as) are

one, as well as numerous ahadith. I don't think it is pointless at all. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) is greater than Isa (as) or Musa (as), which is why I am a Muslim, and not a Christian or a Jew.

So for argument's sake, if Allah (swt) had said in the Qur'an that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was equal to Isa (as) and Musa (as), that would have made a difference to you being a Muslim? I don't understand this. The Prophet (pbuh) is the best of creation, but even if he hadn't been, his message would have been enough to make people Muslims now. His superior qualities were more needed back at the time the message was being delivered.

Imam Ali (as) is next after the Holy Prophet (pbuh) which is why I am a Shia.

Imam Ali (as) being by far the greatest of the companions should be sufficient to be Shia.

The religion is based on certainities. Not ifs and maybes. Go out and read the books of kalaam that deal with the issue of Imamat, and they are unequivocal on the issue.

This is not an issue in which certainty would make a single bit of difference to me, and the Imams never explcitly said they were superior to all the Prophets. Would it make a difference to you if the Imams were equal in rank to certain Prophets?

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Any Prophet of Allah (swt) would have been more than enough of an example for us. Do you think that Isa (as) for example would have been insufficient as a model for us? I don't, but maybe someone here knows a person greater than Isa (as) who needed an even greater model for him.

That's an easy one. Of course Isa (as) would have been an insufficient model for us because in the shari'ah of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), marriage is heavily emphasised, while he did not get married.

So for argument's sake, if Allah (swt) had said in the Qur'an that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was equal to Isa (as) and Musa (as), that would have made a difference to you being a Muslim? I don't understand this. The Prophet (pbuh) is the best of creation, but even if he hadn't been, his message would have been enough to make people Muslims now. His superior qualities were more needed back at the time the message was being delivered.

He wouldn't have been entrusted with the final message of Allah if he wasn't greater. If he isn't greater, then there would have been no need for him to have been sent. If he isn't the greatest, there's no meaning of the verses in the Qur'an which tell us that he will be a witness over every Prophet, and the ahadith which tell us that he led all the prophets in prayer in the heavens.

Imam Ali (as) being by far the greatest of the companions should be sufficient to be Shia.

Imam Ali (as) is not a companion, he is Ahlul Bayt (as). These are not my words, but the words of Ahmad bin Hanbal.

And as far as the Qur'an is concerned, he is the witness of the Prophet's prophethood (13:43) and the self of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) (3:61). No Prophet (pbuh) had such an honour, let alone any companion.

This is not an issue in which certainty would make a single bit of difference to me, and the Imams never explcitly said they were superior to all the Prophets. Would it make a difference to you if the Imams were equal in rank to certain Prophets?

It might not make a difference to you, but it is certainly an article of aqai'd as far as the likes of Allamah Hilli (ra) are concerned. It wouldn't make any difference to me at all, but all you have done is talked about if's and maybe's.

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That's an easy one. Of course Isa (as) would have been an insufficient model for us because in the shari'ah of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), marriage is heavily emphasised, while he did not get married.

You are taking what I said too literally, and I'm sure you know what I meant. Anyway, there are ahadith that state Isa (as) will marry when he returns.

He wouldn't have been entrusted with the final message of Allah if he wasn't greater. If he isn't greater, then there would have been no need for him to have been sent. If he isn't the greatest, there's no meaning of the verses in the Qur'an which tell us that he will be a witness over every Prophet, and the ahadith which tell us that he led all the prophets in prayer in the heavens.

Of course there would have been a need to be sent. The previous revelations had been corrupted, and the true religion needed to be restored. I'm not arguing that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the greatest of the Prophet, we have been told that explicitly. What I am saying is that shouldn't be the deciding factor as to whether you are a Muslim or not. It is a mercy of Allah (swt) that he sent us his greatest Prophet to deliver His message, but had he sent someone lesser we would still have been under the obligation to listen. Let us not lose focus of what this religion is about.

Imam Ali (as) is not a companion, he is Ahlul Bayt (as). These are not my words, but the words of Ahmad bin Hanbal.

Yes, I know he is Ahlul Bayt. Again, you are being pointlessly literal. As well as being Ahlul Bayt he is a also a companion. Or if you like, a follower of the Prophet (pbuh). It doesn't change my point.

And as far as the Qur'an is concerned, he is the witness of the Prophet's prophethood (13:43) and the self of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) (3:61). No Prophet (pbuh) had such an honour, let alone any companion.

You could just as well say that previous messengers had the honor of delivering the message of Allah, an honor that no Imam had. It doesn't mean anything. No other Prophet could have the honor you are talking about since they came before Muhammad (pbuh). It's pointless to say another person didn't have a certain honor when they didn't even have the chance to receive it.

It might not make a difference to you, but it is certainly an article of aqai'd as far as the likes of Allamah Hilli (ra) are concerned. It wouldn't make any difference to me at all, but all you have done is talked about if's and maybe's.

All I'm asking for is solid proof, which I haven't yet seen. Most of the proofs I have seen essentially start with the assumption that the Imams (as) are greater, and then try to find ways of showing that. this is why all kinds of arguments get used, regardless of whether they really make sense or not. I prefer to start with the facts, and see where that leads.

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IMHO, it depends.

One of the scenario to resolve this is to imagine that all the Prophets, Messengers, & Imams except Prophet Muhammad (saw) live on the same time & answering to the question of "whose time is it?"

- If they live on the time & place of Prophet Isa (as), I think that they will follow Prophet Isa (as) because it's not yet the time of Prophet Muhammad (saw) & it's the time of Prophet Isa's risalah

- If they live now, I think that they will follow Imam Mahdi (as) since it's the time of Prophet Muhammad (saw) & the ahlul bayt are his legitimate successors

Since Prophet Muhammad is the highest rank of all mankind, I think he's the exception on this rule.

Just my 2 cents :)

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