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In the Name of God بسم الله
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Kismet

Irfan

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Salaam Salsal,

First of all, it would be helpful if you first get your facts right before you post; 'Allamah Tabatabai was Ayt. Knomeini's teacher!? :wacko: Ayt. Khoei was 'Allamah Tabatabai's teacher!? :wacko: Khutbatal Bayan is authentic!?

Second of all, what makes you believe that Suhrawardi, Haydar Amuli, Sheikh Tusi etc, are real 'arifs?

Thirdly, regarding the esoteric sayings of the Holy Prophet and the Aimmah, then those sayings whose apparent meanings contradict that of the Quran's must be rejected as per the famous hadith. Whether or not such narrations were actually narrated by the Prophet or the Imams, we mustn't take much from them with regards to our beliefs etc. Common sense dictates that one should take the protected Word of Allah over anything else, especially that which may have been subject to alteration.

As you must know Mr. Tabatabai and Agha Khomeini were contemporaries of one another. That also holds true of Khoui. I was in Qum and Najaf in the same time so I saw what you did not.

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smile.gif what did you see?

Publicly they Tabatabai and Khomeini seemed to be from a different line of thought in comparison to Khoui and his pupil Sistani; however, behind the scenes in private it is all a different story. Like the saying goes how sometimes things are not what they appear to be.

I will give one example of where I was and what I saw. It was in the year of 1964 in Turkey whem I was one of the members in Agha Khomeinis entourage (durring his exile there). Agha Khomeini was informed of an Arif from the Bektashi order who is well known for his high station in Irfan; consequently, Agha Khomeini requested to be in this Arifs presence. He was perrmited and once he arrived there he was told to knock on the door three times and then wait to enter. Next, he was invited to come in and sit down. The Pir (Elder) ordered Agha Khomeini to put the Pirs shoe on his head for a symbol of humbleness, in which Khomeini did as comanded. The Pir then explains to Khomeini that he will make a huge impact in the world; however, it will not all be so positive. For example, the Pir said that Khomeinis followers will worship him as if he was an idol and the people won't remember anything about the true attributes of the Holy Ahle-Bait; instead, the people who will follow Khomeini will only be concerned with the outer (Zahir) portion of religion which is the Shariat and they will have no interest in Marifat or Irfan which is the Batin (inner) of the Deen. After Khomeini heard this he became pale and asked the Pir how he is able to see so much in the future; in which, the Pir replied back," The person who lacks perception, even one thousand explanations will not be enough for him (or her)." I am not in the position to speak any futher about this encounter between Agha Khomeini and the Bektashi Pir; and, none of you in this forum have the clearance to know the rest of what took place that night. It is sufficiant for everyone to just know that there are a lot of things going on behind the curtains that you do not know about.

http://www.superluminal.com/cookbook/images/lion_large.gif

Ya Ali Madad

Edited by Salsal

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How are we supposed to trust you on this story when you stated other things in your previous post which were obviously not true?? (And you haven't even addressed yet) :unsure:

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This is for the real and true Shias of IRFAN, and not for those who are Usoolis:

Since the Walayah is superior to the prophecy of which it is the source, it follows that the person of the wali—that is to say the Imam—takes precedence over that of the Prophet; and the Imamate always has and always will take precedence over the prophetic mission. The exaltation of the Imam as the Perfect Man (Insan-e Kamil) to the supreme rank and, as a corollary to this, the decisive and definitive supremacy of the ta'wil—of, that is to say, esoteric (Batin)Islam over exoteric (Zahir) Islam, of the religion of the Resurrection (Qiyamat) over the religion of the Law (Shariat). This concept of the Imam is integral to the entire philosophy of mankind. Because the human Form is 'the image of the divine Form', it is par excellence invested with the theophanic function. It thereby assumes the function of cosmic salvation, because the return to the World beyond—the world of spiritual entities—is the transition to a state of existence in which everything takes the form of human reality, since it is the human being alone who possesses speech, the logos. Thus, it is through the instrumentality of Man that things rediscover the way back to the Origin. But this perfect human Form—this theophany disclosed in pre-eternity—is that of the Imam. To say that the Imam is the Man of God, Perfect Man, is to acknowledge him as the supreme instrument of soteriology. Likewise, soteriology is in itself conditioned by the tahqiq, the realization of the true meaning of all exoteric (zahir) forms, just as this realization is conditioned by the ta'wil, the function of the Imam. Once more, what this Imamology envisages essentially is not the empirical figure of any particular Imam, but the reality and the essence of an eternal Imam, of whom each Imam individually is the earthly exemplification. This is the eternal Imam to whom reference is made in the Quranic expression mawlana, 'our lord', or whom it is said that he always existed, exists and will exist. All the various versions of his Coming are relative to men's perception. In the divine pleroma {'alam-iKhuda) these mutations have no place. An immediate consequence of this is that knowledge of the Imam, of the Perfect Man (Insan-e Kamil), is the only knowledge of God possible to man, since the Imam is the initial theophany. In the phrase quoted above, as in all similar phrases, the speaker is the eternal Imam. 'Prophets pass and change. We are eternal Men.' 'I knew God before Heaven and Earth were created.' 'The light cast by the lamp is not the lamp itself; but if this light did not exist, how would one know what the lamp is, or even whether or not there is a lamp and where it is?' 'The Men of God are not God himself; nevertheless, they are inseparable from God.' Because the Imamate is the primordial theophany, the revelation of the divine Abyss and the guide towards this Revelation, the Imam is the supreme hujjah (proof), the guarantor who answers for the unknowable divinity. This is stated in the great sermon preached by the Imam Hasan 'a/a dhikrihi al-salam, on the 8th August 1164 CE, when he proclaimed the Great Resurrection at Alamut:'Mawlana (our lord) is the Resurrector (qa'im al-qiyama); he is the lord of beings; he is the lord who is the absolute act of being [al-wujud al-mutlaq); he excludes all existential determination, for he transcends them all; he opens up the threshold of his Mercy, and through the light of his Knowledge he causes all beings to see, hear and speak for all eternity'. Only the eternal Imam, as a theophany, makes possible an ontology: since he is the revealed one, he is being as such. He is the absolute Person, the eternal divine Face (chahrah-'i Khuda in Persian), the supreme divine Attribute and supreme Name of God. In his earthly form he is the epiphany of the supreme Word (mazhar-i kalimah-'i a 'la), the Bringer of Truth in every age (muhiqq-i vaqt), the manifestation of Eternal Man who manifests the Face of God. A second consequence is that for man, knowledge of self presupposes knowledge of the Imam. On the basis of the statement of the fourth Imam that 'Knowledge of God is knowledge of the Imam', our texts repeat: 'He who dies without having known his Imam, dies the death of the oblivious'. The reason for this may be sought in the specific interpretation given to the maxim repeated by all Islamic spirituals: 'He who knows himself knows his Lord, that is to say, he knows his Imam.' this is the knowledge that was promised by the first Imam: 'Be faithful to me, and I will make you as similar to myself as Salman.' It emerges from these texts that knowledge of God, of the Imam and of the self are aspects of one and the same fundamental, liberating knowledge, of the same gnosis. This is the reason why the Persian texts of the tradition of Alamut emphasize the four possible ways of knowing the Imam. 'One may possess knowledge of his person in its physical form—a knowledge of which even animals are capable. One may possess knowledge of his official name and of his earthly genealogy—a knowledge to which even his enemies have access. There is the knowledge which recognizes his Imamate—a knowledge shared by all the members of the da'wah. Finally, there is the knowledge of his Essence according to the eternal reality of his attributes—a knowledge, that is, which presupposes a transcendence of all other modes of knowing. Such knowledge dazzles the soul, and is the privilege of the hujjah.' Likewise, there is a quadruple line of descent relative to the Imam, as follows: according to the flesh; in the spiritual sense; according both to the flesh and in the spiritual sense; and, lastly, according to the flesh, the spiritual sense and the eternal reality of his essence. The Imam's purely spiritual descendant (farzand-i ma'nawi) is the hujjah—a status which has its archetype in Salman the Persian, and which, according to the promise of the Imam, is exemplified in every faithful initiate. With the promotion of the hujjah to the highest rank, the entire traditional hierarchy is modified. It is Imamology and the philosophy of resurrection. One can speak here of a radical shift. It is always the case that the hierarchy of the hudud denotes their respective degree of proximity to the Imam. But now the meaning of this hierarchy tends to become more interior, and 'the limits' indicate rather the degrees of 'conformity with the Imam' that correspond to stages in the progress of one's inner consciousness. The ta'wil makes the hierocosmos {the esoteric hierarchical brotherhood) symbolize with the microcosm. The consequence of this is a fall in the rank assigned to the natiq, the prophet who proclaims a Law, and a different appreciation of the cycle of prophecy. Both these are corollaries of the elevation of the rank of hujjah. The predominance of the syzygy Prophet-Imam is replaced by that of the Imam and his hujjah. In later Twelver Shiite theosophy, the mission of the prophet of Islam marked the full noonday hour {the equilibrium between zahir and batin). Shortly after began the decline towards evening, the return into the night of esotericism, the cycle of the pure walayah. In early Twelver Shiite theosophy, the entry of the haqiqah—the pure spiritual religion—into the night of esotericism began not with Muhammad, Seal of prophets, but with the very first prophet, Adam, who initiated our present cycle of occultation—that is to say, it began with the beginnings of present humanity. Early Twelver Shiaism pessimism confronts this radical disaster with its entire philosophy of Resurrection (Qiyamat), with its revolt, even, against the shari'ah. The six great periods of 'legislative prophecy' are always seen as the hexaemeron, the 'six days' of the creation of the religious cosmos or hierocosmos, each 'day' being counted as a 'millennium'. But in point of fact, the six 'days' are the night of divine religion the night of the Imam, because during these six days the literal Law or shari'ah of the legislative prophets is the veil hiding the reality (Haqq), hiding the sun of the Imam. Just as the sun is replaced by the moon in illuminating the night, the Imam is replaced by him who is his hujjah, his proof or guarantor (his 'Salman'). Knowledge of the Imam in his true Essence will only become manifest on the seventh day, that is, on the day after the still-continuing hexaemeron. Only the seventh day will truly partake of the nature of day, that on which the sun shines forth {the yawm al-qiyamah or day of the Resurrection). Within the context of this vision of things, the drop in rank of the prophet-legislator needs no explanation. Whereas in laterTwelver Imamism, as in Fatimid Ismailism, he ranked first (being the earthly homologue of the First Intelligence), in the early Twelver Imamism he ranks third. It seems, indeed, that in this the Imamology of early Twelver Imamism merely reproduces an order of precedence that existed in pre-Mujtahid Usoolism, one represented by the order of succession of the three symbolic letters 'ayn {'Ali, the Imam), sin (Salman, Gabriel, the hujjah), and mim (Muhammad, the Prophet). The Prophet, in fact, in his capacity as a natiq—the annunciator of a shari'ah—has the rank and function of a da'i who 'convokes' men towards the Imam who is the secret meaning of the shari'ah he annunciates. This is why each prophet, at the beginning of his vocation as da'i, has gone to meet the hujjah of the Imam of his time, who stands in the same relation to him as Khidr-Elijah, Moses' prophet-initiator, stood to Moses. (In the Early Twelver Shiite exegesis of the history of the prophets, Paradise for Adam, the ark for Noah, the Burning Bush for Moses, Mary for Jesus, and Salman for Muhammad are all interpreted as figurations of the meeting with the hujjah.) Every initiate in his turn follows the example of the prophet- da'i and advances towards the same encounter, towards spiritual union with the hujjah: they become gnostics ('arif) who share in the same gnosis. This is the meaning of the Imam's promise to his disciple when he tells him that he will make him as similar to himself as Salman. The Imam stands in the same relation to his hujjah as the creative Esto to the first Intelligence. Such is the privileged situation of the hujjah, of all those whose archetype is Salman: those of whom it is said that from the very beginning the spiritual essence [ma'na) of each of their persons is the same as the Imam's (whence comes the fourth of the modes of knowledge and filiation described above). 'To be promoted to the rank of hujjah' is to exemplify in one's own person the case of Salman, to attain to the 'Salman of your being'—the 'Salman of the microcosm', as it is called in the ancient treatise Umm al-Kitab, which we cited above. With regard to the secret of such an attainment, the following few lines may perhaps yield the supreme message of Ismaili philosophy: 'The Imam has said: I am with my friends wherever they seek me, on the mountain, in the plain and in the desert. The man to whom I have revealed my Essence, that is to say the mystical knowledge of myself, has no further need of my physical proximity. And this is the Great Resurrection.' The texts of the early Twelver tradition of our Masooms show us both the way in which Imamology fructifies in mystical experience, and how it presupposes such an experience. The conjunction of Twelver Imamism and Sufism, which took place after the time of the Mongol invasion, refers us to the as yet unsolved problem of origins. If we agree with the Shiite spirituals that Sunni Sufism is something which, by endowing the Prophet alone with the attributes of the Imam and thereby making the walayah into an Imamology without an Imam, parted company with Shiism at a given moment,then the early Twelver Imamia does no more than restore the old order of things. Hence its importance for all Shiite Sufism after this period, as well as for the entire cultural field whose language was Persian. We have just seen how the replacement of the pair Nabi-Imam by the pair Imam-hujjah reflects the process of mystical interiorization. In a commentary on Mahmud al-Shabistari's 'Rosary of Mystery' by an anonymous Irfani writer, the unio mystica of the Imam and the hujjah is mediated in the magnificent symbol of the olive tree growing at the top of Mount Sinai (Quran 95:1-2). There are two mountains, the mountain of intelligence and the mountain of love. In his meditation on the secret of the earthly human Form, in which is concealed the love of the 'hidden Treasure which longed to be known', the mystical pilgrim discovers that his own person, like that of Moses, is the Sinai at the summit (or the heart) of which is revealed the theophanic Form of the eternal Imam. Upon this summit, or within this sanctuary, the 'Soul of the soul' is revealed to the soul as the mystical olive tree which stands on the invisible heights of the Sinai of love. The pilgrim must climb the Sinai of love, which is higher than the mountain of Intelligence; for although the intellect is the guide leading to the secret of the theophany, it is also the guide who ultimately steps aside, like Virgil in the presence of Beatrice. As we have seen, in performing this inner pilgrimage the disciple does no more than repeat the initial step of each prophet in search of the Imam. To reach the summit of the Sinai of his soul is, for the mystic, to realize the state of Salman the Pure, of the hujjah: it is to attain to the Soul of the soul (jan-i jan). This Soul is the Imam, the olive tree growing on the top of the Sinai of love; and the soul of the mystic is this very love, since the Sinai is the Sinai of his being. Thus, what the soul discovers at the summit, or the heart, of her being is the Imam as the eternal beloved. The syzygy of the Imam and his hujjah becomes the inner dialogue between the Beloved and the Lover. The Soul of his soul is her to whom he is able to say thou, it is his 'I' in the second person. As it was for Moses on Sinai, in the presence of the Soul of his soul, the 'Moses of his being', his 'I' in the first person, is obliterated. In contemplating herself in the Soul of the soul, the soul becomes the object of contemplation of the Soul of the soul, and this latter, in its place and time, utters the words: Ego sum Deus. In this manner the famous pronouncement of al-Hallaj (ana al-haqq), repeated over the centuries by the Sufis, acquires a truly Shiite flavour. Imamology frees it from the trap of transcendental monism, which created so many problems for reflexive thought. 3. Ultimately, the mystical experience of the Sufis encompasses a metaphysic which baffles both the dialectic of philosophers pure and simple, and that of the theologians of the kalam. It will be clear, from what has been said here, that there is yet another form of metaphysics in Islam, without which it may be impossible to explain the beginnings and the development of Sufism. This other form is essentially the Shiite gnosis which goes back to the Imams themselves.

In conclusion, the mediator who is a necessary condition of Shiite prophetology is technically known as hujjah (the proof, God's guarantee to men). Nevertheless, idea and function transcend the limits of any particular epoch: the presence of the hujjah needs to be continuous, even if it is an invisible presence to which the majority of men are oblivious. If, therefore, the term is applied to the Prophet, it is in turn applied even more emphatically to the Imams. (In the hierarchy of early Twelver Imamiya, the hujjah becomes in some sense a spiritual double of the Imam) The idea of the hujjah thus already presupposes the inseparability of prophetology from Imamology; and because it transcends time, it originates in a metaphysical reality, the vision of which takes us back to the gnostic theme of the celestial Anthropos.

This variant, for example, emanates from the Imam: "Salman is one of us, the members of the House (Salman minna, Ahl al-Bayt), a Sun of the divine Light, an integral part of ourselves. The heart of the True Believer is the Light of God; no one measures his measure, for the True Believer is forever living in the two universes." Or yet again: "Salman is part of myself, and I myself am part of Salman." In primitive Shiism, or more precisely in early Twelver Imamiya, this assumption of Salman is reflected in the speculations developed around the three symbolic letters 'AYN, SIN, MIM, typifying respectively the Imam, Salman the Adopted One (his Spiritual Child), and the Prophet. The "Book of the Glorious One" of Jabir ibn Hayyan starts from these highly abstruse speculations. The apotheosis of Salman show him as archetype of the True Believer, as the Adopted One, the Spiritual Child, exemplifying the bond between the True Believer and the Imam. Amir Al-Momineen states, "Consecrate to me thy devotion and thy knowledge, and thou wilt become, as Salman, like unto me." "To become as Salman" is to become oneself a Hujjat, the Imam's Proof and Adopted One, and thereby to become "like unto the Imam"; such is the ultimate metamorphosis to which the initiate will aspire. Thus Salman the Mazdean, then the Christian, the Exile in "Quest" of the True Prophet, then the Spiritual Child of the Imam who solemnly attests his "adoption," has become the "Threshold"; so will it be with all the "Salmans," with every soul that exemplifies his case; each one, as a very ancient text declares, becomes the "Salman of the microcosmos." Like Salman, Jabir can become (or rather, becomes) the Hujjat, the mirror in which is revealed (mazhar) the Imam. For this the Imam must be epiphanized to him, must become "manifest" (zahir) to him in a vision which is not that of the senses. But to have this vision is to assume in oneself the light of the Imam, it is to become oneself the mirror in which he reveals himself. Thus the circle is closed. For what thou seest is the part that the measure of thy being can assume, carry, conceive). Then too, the Imam becomes "through thee" what he is in relation to the Hiidden God: he is the mirror that reveals (mazhar) him, because God is for him and through him the Manifested One for and through Salman, in the measure in which Salman-Jabir, as he to whom the Imam manifests himself (zahir), is thereby the place and form of his Manifestation (mazhar): he is his "coming into this world". In other words, the hidden godhead stands in the same relation to the Imam as the Imam to Salman. And this is the epiphanic mediation of the eternal Imam. To achieve the capacity for this vision is the supreme metamorphosis: it is to become the pure mirror in which the epiphanies are accomplished. It is to be the "Salman of the microcosm," to be at the end of the "Quest for the Imam"

—and it is to keep his personal secret inviolable.

After reading the above essay, and one still has doubts, then please read this below:

The fifth Imam, Muhammad al-Baqir, as every Imam after him, has declared, 'Our cause is difficult; it requires great effort; it can be espoused only by an Angel of the highest rank, a prophet who is sent (nabi mursal), or a faithful initiate (Shia, Momin) whose heart God has tested for its faith.' The sixth Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq, specified further: 'Our cause is a secret (sirr) within a secret, a secret of something which remains hidden, a secret which may only be disclosed by another secret; a secret upon a secret which is supported by a secret.' And again: 'Our cause is the truth and the truth of truth (haqq al-haqq); it is the exoteric aspect, and the esoteric aspect of the exoteric aspect, and the esoteric (batin) aspect of the esoteric aspect. It is the secret, and the secret of something which remains hidden, a secret which is supported by a secret.' The significance of these remarks was already observed in a poem written by the fourth Imam, 'Ali Zayn al-'Abidin (d. 95/714): 'I conceal the jewels of my Knowledge—For fear that some ignorant man, on seeing the truth, should crush us O Lord! if I were to reveal one pearl of my gnosis—They would say to me: are you then a worshipper of idols?—And there would be Muslims who would see justice in the shedding of my blood!—They find abominable the most beautiful thing they are offered.' One could make many citations of a similar import. They testify most admirably to the ethos of Shiism, to the awareness it possesses of being the esotericism of Islam; and it is impossible, historically speaking, to go back further than the teachings of the Imams in seeking for the sources of Islamic esotericism. It is on this account that Shiites, in the true sense, are those who accept the secrets of the Imams. Conversely, all those who have sought or who seek to confine the teaching of the Imams to the exoteric (zahir) aspect—to questions of law and of ritual—mutilate the essence of Shiism.

Ya Ali Madad!

Edited by Salsal

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Salam Salsal,

It seems that all you have done is state the virtues of the Holy Imams. Whilst it is true that the merits of the Imams are uncountable and their inner secret unreachable, the axis of faith tilts around Allah and what should be sought is His Nearness; which is the ultimate goal. Nearness to, and knowledge of the Imams is a prerequisite to truly attain a high rank before Allah, however, it is not the goal in itself.

Also, perhaps I have misunderstood, but your post conveys the idea that the Holy Imams are greater in rank than the Holy Prophet, just wanted to know your true opinion.

Edited by MFAHH

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Salam Salsal,

It seems that all you have done is state the virtues of the Holy Imams. Whilst it is true that the merits of the Imams are uncountable and their inner secret unreachable, the axis of faith tilts around Allah and what should be sought is His Nearness; which is the ultimate goal. Nearness to, and knowledge of the Imams is a prerequisite to truly attain a high rank before Allah, however, it is not the goal in itself.

Also, perhaps I have misunderstood, but your post conveys the idea that the Holy Imams are greater in rank than the Holy Prophet, just wanted to know your true opinion.

Dear Brother,

I have an understanding of this. The question is about Nubuwat and Wilayat. Nubuwat is related to the bringing of a sacred law (Shariat); as we know the Prophet of Islam is the Seal of Prophethood, meaning that there is no more new Prophets or new Shariats (Sacred Laws) moving forward from the date of June 8, 632. Phrophethood began with Hadrat Adam (peace be upon him) and it was sealed with our Prophet of Islam. Wilayat begins with our Beloved first Imam and the seal of Wilayat ends with our 12th Imam (May Allah hasten His arrival).

Now, we must ask, what is soo special about Wilayat. Wilayat is intimately related to Ta'wil.

First, here is a short explanation of Ta'wil for those of our young Shias who might not be too accustomed to the term:

External (zahir) religious Law (Shariat) or the literal form (tanzil) and spiritual exegesis (ta'wil) are the two poles. Etymologically, ta'wil means "to bring back or lead back to . . .," i.e., to bring the literal forms (zahir, shari'a) back to the plane of spiritual Truth (haqiqa). In other words, The ta'wil (etymologically speaking, this means to 'lead back' or to 'bring back' something to its origin, to its asl or archetype) is a science whose pivot is a spiritual direction and a divine inspiration. By this exegesis (ta'wil), our Beloved 12 Imams transforms the literal forms of the Koranic Revelation to its deep hidden meanings (ta'wil). The knowledge of such a book cannot be grasped by the norms of ordinary philosophy: the text must be 'taken back' (ta'wil) to the level on which its true meaning is manifest. Such a task is not within the competence of dialectic, of the kalam: one does not construct the true meaning out of syllogisms. Its discernment requires someone who is both a spiritual heir (wasi) and inspired, who is in possession of both the esoteric aspect (batin) and the exoteric aspect (zahir). He is God's hujjah, the Keeper of the Book, the Imam or Guide. One must therefore endeavour to assess what constitutes the essence of the Imam, in the person of the Twelve Imams.

Our 12 Imams being in possession of the ta'wil, is the source of that Life which resurrects the spiritually dead. Consequently, our 12 Imams are designated (through Wilayat) as the "spiritual mother" (madar-e nafsani) of the shia initiates. As the possessors of ta'wil, they (our 12 Imams) bring about their (the Shias) spiritual birth. The word ta'wil, together with the word tanzil, constitute a pair of terms and concepts which are complementary and contrasting. Properly speaking, tanzil designates positive religion, the letter of the Revelation dictated by the Angel to the Prophet. It means to cause this Revelation to descend from the higher world. Conversely, ta'wil means to cause to return, to lead back to the origin, and thus to return to the true and original meaning of a written text. 'It is to cause something to arrive at its origin. He who practises ta'wil, therefore, is someone who diverts what is proclaimed from its external appearance (its exoteric aspect or zahir), and makes it revert to its truth, its haqiqah' (cf. Kalam-i Pir). Ta'wil is the exegesis which transcends all known facts and redirects them to their origin. This is ta'wil as an inner spiritual exegesis, an exegesis which is symbolic, esoteric and so on. Underlying the idea of exegesis is the idea of the Guide (our 12 Imams); therefore, shari'ah is to haqiqah as zahir to batin, and tanzil to ta'wil. Our Urafa have declared, 'The hidden Imam will not appear before the time when people are able to understand, even from the very thongs of his sandals, the secrets of the tawhid'—that is to say, the esoteric meaning of the divine Unity. He is this secret: the awaited Imam, the Perfect Man, the Integral Man, 'for it is he who enables all things to speak, and, in becoming alive, each thing becomes a threshold of the spiritual world'. The Advent-to-come of the Imam presupposes, therefore, the metamorphosis of men's hearts.

Now that we have a good definition of Ta'wil we can move forward to the answer of your question of why the Imam ranks higher than the Prophet. It is because of the attribute of Wilayat which through Ta'wil initiates the shia seeker into the esoteric secrets of Islam. As you know, there are 70,000 veils between us and Allah, meaning there are 70,000 veils between Light (Nur) and darkness (Zolmat). Only the Imams through Wilayat can initiate and liberate us from ignorance. This is the significant difference between us (shias) and our brother sunnis. They like our Wahabi brothers have only the outer or exoteric (zahir) portion of islam; in contrast, we as Shias have the ability to reach the esoteric (batin) side of Islam and hence reach the ultimate truth (Al-Haqq, Haqiqat).

The sixth Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq (as), has stated: 'Our cause is a secret (sirr) within a secret, a secret of something which remains hidden, a secret which may only be disclosed by another secret; a secret upon a secret which is supported by a secret.'

Ya Ali Madad!

Edited by Noorani

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I agree with you on the distinction made between the realities of Nubuwat and Imamate, however, how could one believe that the Holy Prophet wasn't an Imam himself, well acquainted with the esoteric realities? Is it not true that the container must be greater than the contained? The Holy Prophet was the container of the Divine Book, so how could there be esoteric knowledge unknown to the Holy Prophet, yet known to the Imams?

If the Holy Prophet wasn't the Imam of his time, then who was? The fact that the Imam must excel over all others in virtue and excellence should also be taken into consideration when answering this question.

Edited by MFAHH

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