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In the Name of God بسم الله

The Scope Of Imam's (a) Wilayat

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Thought would be an interesting share, since so many people here seem to disbelieve in the scope of authority of the Imam (a) which has been granted by Allah, and which I thought was the distinguishing feature of shia muslims...

Wilãyat and Its Scope

1. What is Wilãyat?

"Wilãyat," derived from wilã', means power, authority or a right of certain kind. In Shí'a theology, "wilãyat" is the authority invested in the Prophet and the Ahlul Bayt as representatives of Almighty Allãh on this earth.

According to the late Murtaza Mutahhari, wilãyat has four dimensions:

The right of love and devotion (wilã'-e muhabbat): This right places the Muslims under the obligation of loving the Ahlul Bayt.

The authority in spiritual guidance (wilã'-e imãmat): This reflects the power and authority of the Ahlul Bayt in guiding their followers in spiritual matters.

The authority in socio-political guidance (wilã'-e zi'ãmat):This dimension of wilãyat reflects the right that the Ahlul Bayt have to lead the Muslims in social and political aspects of life.

The authority of the universal nature (wilã'-e tasarruf):This dimension reflects universal power over the entire universe that the Prophet and Ahlul Bayt have been vested with by the grace of Almighty Allãh.[91]

Using this division of wilãyat's dimensions, I would like to point out the areas of agreement and disagreement among the various Muslim groups.

The First Dimension: The Right of Love

All Muslims unanimously accept the first dimension of wilãyat of Ahlul Bayt. Loving the Ahlul Bayt is one of the "dharûriyyãt ad-dín, the essential parts of the Islamic faith." The inclusion ofsalawãt[92] in the daily ritual prayers is a sufficient proof of this. See the famous anti-Shí'a books like as-Sawã'iqu 'l-Muhriqa of Ibn Hajar al-Makki and Tuhfa-e Ithnã-'Ashariyya of Shah 'Abdul 'Aziz Dehlawi, and you will realize that the Sunni polemicists labour painfully to explain that they are against the Shí'a people but not against the Shí'a Imams for they know that loving the Ahlul Bayt is an essential part of Islamic faith.

Love for the Ahlul Bayt is enshrined in verse 42:23 that we have already discussed in the last chapter. Here I shall just quote one more hadíth from the Sunni sources. Imam 'Ali said, "By Allãh the One who has spilt the grain and created the soul, verily the Prophet (a.s.) has promised that none shall love me but the believer and none shall hate me but the hypocrite."[93] Actually Jãbir bin 'Abdullãh al-Ansãri and Abu Sa'íd al-Khudari, the two famous companions of the Prophet, used to say: "We did not identify the hypocrites but by their hatred for 'Ali."[94]

It is a common view of Shí'a scholars that whoever rejects one of the dharûriyyãt ad-dín, then he is no longer considered a member of the Islamic faith.[95] It is also based on this principle that the Khawãrij and the Nawãsib (i.e., those who express hatred or enimosity towards the Ahlul Bayt) are considered as non-Muslims by Shí'a jurists.[96]

The Second Dimension: The Spiritual Guidance

The second dimension of the wilãyat is a commonly held belief of the Shí'as as well as majority of the Sunnis who belong to Sufi orders. Nothing reflects this more than the interpretation given by Maulawi Salãmat 'Ali, a Sunni scholar of India, to the hadíth of Ghadir. He writes in at-Tabsira, "The Ahlu 's-Sunnah do not doubt the Imamate of Amíru 'l-Mu'minín ['Ali]; and that is indeed the essence of faith. It is, however, necessary that the import of the ahãdíth of Ghadír be the spiritual Imamate and not [the political] khilãfat. This is the meaning derived from the statements of the Ahlu 's-Sunnah and the scholars of Sufism, and, consequently, the allegiance of all the [sufi] orders reach Amíru 'l-Mu'minín 'Ali bin Abi Tãlib and through him they are connected to the Messenger."[97]

Other than the Naqshbandi order, all Sufis trace the chain of their spiritual masters back to the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt, ending with Imam 'Ali bin Abi Tãlib as the spiritual authority par excellence after the Prophet.[98] The Naqsbandi order traces its spiritual leadership back to Imam Ja'far as-Sãdiq and then follows the line through his mother to Muhammad bin Abi Bakr and then to Abu Bakr. This diversion from Imam as-Sãdiq to Abu Bakr is, however, not valid because Muhammad bin Abi Bakr was raised from a very young age by Imam 'Ali bin Abi Tãlib who married Muhammad's mother, Asmã' bint Umays, after Abu Bakr's death. The only spiritual master that Muhammad bin Abi Bakr knew was Imam 'Ali bin Abi Tãlib (a.s.).

The Third & Fourth Dimensions: Socio-Political & Universal Authority

The third and fourth dimensions of wilãyat are unique Shí'í beliefs, and they are considered as part of the "dharûriyyãt al-madhhab, the essential parts of Shí'a sect." It is the common view of our scholars that anyone who rejects one of thedharûriyyãt al-madhhab, is not considered a member of the Shí'a sect.

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It is important to note that whenever the Shí'as use the term "Imãmate" or "Imãm", it encompasses all the four dimensions ofwilãyat. It excludes neither the spiritual and universal authority nor the social and political leadership.[99] In this sense, the Shí'í term "Imãmate" or "Imãm" is more comprehensive than the Sunni term "khilãfat" or "khalifa". In books dealing with the Shí'a-Sunni debate of the leadership after the Prophet, the focus is more on the socio-political leadership but not in the sense of denying the spiritual and universal authority of the Imam. So while reading or discussing the issue of succession of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), one should not lose the universal import of the status of an Imam from the Shí'a point of view.

2. The Universal Wilãyat

It seems necessary to explain the fourth dimension of the wilãyatin more detail for the benefit of the readers.

The fourth dimension is the universal authority that the Prophet and the Ahlul Bayt have been vested with by the Almighty Allãh. It is an authority that makes it possible for the wali to exercise his power over everything that exists. In the words of Ayatullah al-Khumayni, "It is a vicegerency pertaining to the whole of creation, by virtue of which all the atoms in the universe humble themselves before the holder of authority."[100]

This authority of the chosen servants of Allãh is totally dependent on His discretion and power. It should not be seen in the horizonal form but in the vertical form vis-à-vis the power of Almighty Allãh. As long as we maintain the vertical hierarchy of the power, we have safeguarded the tawhíd (unity and oneness) of Allãh.

For example, all Muslims believe that it is Allãh who gives life and death to the people. The Qur'ãn itself says,

"Allãh takes the souls at the time of their death."(39:42)

But at the same time, the Qur'ãn also attributes death to the angels by saying,

"Say: It is the angel of death (who is given charge of you) who shall cause you to die." (32:11)

If you place the imports of these two verses side-by-side (i.e., horizontal form), then you are guilty of shirk, polytheism; but if you place them in the vertical form (with the power of the angels beneath and dependent upon the power of Allãh), then you have safeguarded the tawhid.

Similarly, if we place the power and authority of the Prophets and the Imams in the vertical form (with the conviction that their power is beneath and dependent upon the power of Allãh), then we have safeguarded the tawhíd as well as the status of the chosen servants of Allãh.

The Qur'ãn gives various examples of the persons who had been given the authority on the universe.

1. Describing the powers that Allãh, subhãnahu wa ta'ãla, had given to Prophet 'Isa bin Maryam (a.s.), the Qur'ãn quotes him as follows:

"I make out of the clay the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a [real, living, flying] bird with Allãh's permission;

I heal the blind and the leprous;

and I bring the dead back to life with Allãh's permission;

and I inform you of what you are eating and what you store in your houses..." (3:48)

2. Describing the powers given to Prophet Sulaymãn, the Qur'ãn says:

"Then We made the wind subservient to him; it blew by his command gently to wherever he desired.

And (We also made subservient to him) the jinn: each (of them as) builder and diver, and others fettered in chains.

This is Our gift, therefore give freely or withhold, without reckoning. Most surely he had a nearness to Us and an excellent resort." (38:36-40) also (21:81-82)

3. Describing the power of Ãsif bin Barkhiya, the vizier of Prophet Sulaymãn, the Qur'ãn describes the scene of the moments before the Queen of Sheba and her entourage came to visit him:

"He (Sulaymãn) said, 'O Chiefs! which one of you can bring to me her (i.e., Queen of Sheba's) throne before they come to me in submission.'

One audacious among the jinn said, 'I will bring it to you before you rise from your place; and most surely I am strong and trustworthy for it.'

(But) one who had the knowledge of some of the Book said, 'I will bring it to you in the twinkling of an eye.' Then when he saw it (i.e., the throne) settled beside him, he said, 'This is the grace of my Lord that He may try me whether I am grateful or ungrateful...'" (27:38-40)

In these three examples from the Qur'ãn, we see that Almighty Allãh had blessed some of his chosen servants with the power to breathe life to a shape of an animal, to bring the dead back to life, to cure the blind and the leprous, to subjugate the jinn for their work, to bring an item from far away in the twinkling of an eye, etc. These examples are sufficient to show that such powers can be given and have been given by Allãh to those whom He likes. It is this power that is referred to in Shí'a theology as "al-wilãyah at-takwíniyya - the power over the universe or the universal authority."

Allãh has given various ranks to the prophets and messengers (2:253 ; (17:55) , and all Muslims are unanimous in believing that the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad al-Mustafa, is higher in rank than all the prophets and messengers.[101] All prophets and messengers had come to prepare their societies for the acceptance of the final and universal Messenger of God, Muhammad (s.a.w.). If prophets like Sulaymãn, Dãwud, 'Isa, and Musa, and also Sulaymãn's vizier, Ãsif, were blessed with powers over the nature, then it follows by necessity that Prophet Muhammad must have been blessed with greater power over the universe. Two examples have been clearly mentioned in the Qur'ãn. The ability of the Prophet of Islam to travel into space and beyond with his human body ( 17:1 ; 53:5-18 ), and the parting of the moon by pointing towards it with his finger ( 54:1).[102]

Imam 'Ali and the other Imams of Ahlul Bayt are believed by the Shí'as to be higher in rank than all prophets and messengers except the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.).[103] It follows as a necessity that they also have the powers that the Prophet had been blessed with by Almighty Allãh.

At this point, I will only refer to one verse from the holy Qur'ãn on this issue. During the early days in Mecca, when the idol worshippers were rejecting the claim of the Prophet, Allãh revealed a verse to console him by saying:

"And those who disbelieve say, 'You are not a messenger.' Say, 'Allãh is sufficient as a witness (between me and you) and the one who has knowledge of the Book.'" (13:43)

Prophet Muhammad is being consoled that it doesn't matter if the idolaters do not believe in your claim; it is sufficent that Allãh and 'the one who has knowledge of the Book' are witnesses to the truth of your claim. Whom is Allãh referring to as a witness to the truth of the Prophet's claim? Who is this person 'who has knowledge of the Book'? According to Shí'í reports, supported by Sunni sources, it refers to 'Ali bin Abí Tãlib.[104] There was definitely no one among the companions of the Prophet who could claim that he had more knowledge about Islam than 'Ali bin Abí Tãlib.

How does the description "having knowledge of the Book" prove the universal authority for 'Ali? If you recall, Ãsif Barkhiya, Sulaymãn's vizier, had so much power over nature that he could bring the throne of the Queen of Sheba before the "twinkling of an eye". Ãsif has been described as someone who had "'ilmunmin al-kitãb - knowledge of a portion of the Book," not "the knowledge of the entire Book." In comparison to this, Imam 'Ali has been described by Allãh as someone who had "'ilmu 'l-kitãb- knowledge of the Book," not just a portion of the Book. Therefore, it is not difficult to conclude that the power of Imam 'Ali over nature must be many degrees greater than that of Ãsif Barkhiya who brought the throne from far away before the "twinkling of an eye".

Again, as an important reminder, I must state that this belief is to be held in the vertical form vis-à-vis the power of Almighty Allãh, and only in that format can we preserve the concept of tawhíd in which Allãh is the Absolute Power and source of all power. It is to remind us of the total dependency of the chosen ones upon Allãh's will and power that He commands the Prophet to say, "I do not control any benefit or harm for myself except as Allãh pleases." (7:188) This is not a denial of having power; it is affirmation of the belief that whatever power he has is according to the wish and pleasure of Almighty Allãh.

3. Wilãyat: Spiritual vs Political

The learned scholar's article in the Bio-Ethics Encyclopaedia (in which he wrote that the Prophet Muhammad "had left no explicit instruction regarding succession to his religious-political authority") generated heated discussion among the community. The responses that the learned scholar wrote to the community and the comments he subsequently made in the majlises of Muharram 1419 at Toronto, portray the confusion about the concept of wilãyat.

(a) "Spiritual Only, Not Political"

First the learned scholar claimed that the wilãyat of the Prophet and the Imams was only spiritual and not political. He said:

"By the way, the Prophet (s.a.w.) was never recognized as the political leader. No, that is not correct at all. He was recognized as Rasululah, the envoy of God, the Messenger of Allãh (s.t.). There was no politics, there was no political language attached to it. It isn't that what the moderns are telling us; the way Iran is telling us time and again that the Prophet was a political leader. No. He was recognized fundamentally and essentially as a prophet of God.[105]

"Task of prophethood was to lead the society to perfection. And that perfection could not be done individually - it had to be done as members of the community, the ummah. Ummah means a community under the Prophet as prophet, not a political leader.

"Now we know why 'man kuntu mawlahu fa hadha 'Aliyun mawlahu' meant something very very important. The Prophet (s.a.w.) could have said, 'man kuntu khalifa fa hadha khalifa'. He could have said, 'man kuntu hakiman fa hadha hakiman.' He is not using any of the terminology that we would use in the normal political sense of carrying on the authority of the political leader...

"Look at the word chosen by Allãh (s.t.) for guidance. After all the Prophet is 'ma yantiqu 'anil hawaa in huwa illa wahyun yuhaa.' He is given instructions. 'Mawla': what does the word 'mawla' mean? Allãh (s.t.) says in the Qur'ãn 'wal kafirun laysa lahum mawla.' The disbeliever has no mawla. They don't have a mawla - they don't have a protector, they don't have a patron, they don't have somebody who cares for them. This is the meaning ofmawla..."[106]

The learned scholar says that nubuwwat did not include political leadership, and that the word mawla used by the Prophet in Ghadir did not mean khalifa (political successor) or hãkim(ruler). In other words, he is excluding the third dimension of wilãyat from the term "mawla" and restricting it to the second dimension (i.e., spiritual guidance). In his attempt to convince his audience, he makes up hypothetical and grammatically incorrect Arabic sentences which make no sense. For example, the sentence "man kuntu [lahu] khalifa fa hadha [lahu] khalifa - for whomsoever I am his successor, this is his successor." Was the Prophet "khalifa-successor" of any one from the audience? Of course, not; and that is why he did not use the term "khalifa" in the hadíth of Ghadir.

As discussed in one of the previous chapters, to understand the meaning of "mawla" as used by the Prophet for Imam 'Ali, one does not have to go far. Just ponder upon the question he asked the Muslims before presenting 'Ali as their "mawla": he asked them, "Do I not have more authority over you then you have over yourselves? A lastu awla bi kum min anfusi kum?"[107] When they replied by saying, "Certainly, O Messenger of Allãh," then he said, "Man kuntu mawlahu fa hadha 'Aliyun mawlahu - Of whomsoever I am the master, this 'Ali is his master." Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is surely talking about a master who has more authority (awla) over the people than they have over themselves, and that includes authority in political matters also. And, therefore, there was no need for the Prophet to say, 'Man kuntu ['alayhi] hãkiman, fa hadha ['alayhi] hãkiman.'

The learned scholar continues his talk:

"The Prophet (s.a.w.) when he introduces Imam 'Ali's authority in the community, what does he say? 'Man kuntu mawlahu fa hadha 'Aliyun mawlahu.' What he means is that 'whoever regards me as a perfect example to be followed to the ultimate goal of salvation, 'Ali is the man who should be followed.' The question was of obedience.Mawla, one who should be obeyed, one who should not be disregarded. In that sense, Allãh is Mawla. Allãh is theMawla of deen, that path on which you cannot afford to disobey Allãh (s.w.t.)..."[108]

Is this following and obedience restricted to spiritual matters and does it not include social-political issues?

http://www.al-islam.org/wilayat/7.htm

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(bismillah)

(salam)

Thank you for such a beautiful topic, it is wonderful to read. Also though I wanted to add a few words I pray will be helpful to some, I pray you do not mind.

Allah (azza wa jaala) in HIS infinite Majesty has given to all men free will. All of us have this gift and forces nothing of belief upon us. This is reflected in the religion of Allah, as both common sense dictates and our Holy Books have related to us. Once we come to the belief of Allah, as related to us through the Prophet of Islam (salaallhu alayhe wa aale wa salaam) and the 12 Aimmah (alayhe salaam) we find a very personal and spiritual journey toward our understanding. There are some beliefs (included in the furu and usool) that dictate whether or not you are believer in the Jafaari school of thought, otherwise known as followers of the 12 Aimmah (alayhe salaam) or ithna asheri imamiyyah but not one aspect of aqeeda is dictated by anyone, in perfect reflection of free will.

We are not terrorists and this is not a religion of fear, but one of such infinite beauty that your heart can be crushed in the light of such beauty. The love of the Holy Prophet (saw) and the Aimmah (as) is a faith which leads us to the knowledge of Allah, They (as) are the Gate and the City of knowledge which leads us to the straight path. At the time of creation we took an oath, some of us will go back on our oath and not be faithful, and some of us will be faithful until the end to the oath we took. 110_Covenant of Allah.pdf InshaAllah we all are successful. The journey of knowledge and understanding of our Lord is personal, and it grows and changes throughout time, as we ourselves grow and change, as our knowledge grows and changes.

As such, what I believe today may change next year, and the same goes for anyone reading these words. When it comes to aqeeda we are all at different places because we are all at different stages in our growth and understanding. A person at one stage is not going to understand someone’s beliefs that may be at a different stage in their growth and development. As such we keep issues of aqeedah between ourselves and our Lord, or ourselves and our teachers who help us to understand beliefs through ahadith and Quran. It is wise to reflect carefully when learning, to know that some beliefs are not as simple as learning salaat.

We don’t deepen our knowledge in aqeeda on the internet; this medium is only for simple things. When it comes to aqeeda we reflect carefully upon Quran and ahadith, we reflect carefully on the explanations of those scholars who have understanding, they are Aalim, they are Ulema. We pray concerning things, going to Allah with our ignorance and asking for the light of understanding. We reflect much. We don’t need publicize our beliefs, as it is a personal journey. We should not care what Asad or Jameela (random people) thinks of us, or what Asad’s opinion might be of our faith, Asad will not be there on the day of judgment as our intercessor and Asad is not going to be in his understanding at the exact same place you are. We should never judge other people, everything is personal. My faith is my own, yours is your own, Alhamdolillah we are all shia of Ahl al Bayt (as) inshaAllah, and this gives us many things we are able to discuss and gives us a sense that we are not alone in this world, Allah has given us one to another as supports, not as judges.

I pray everyone success in growing in the knowledge of Allah through the Ahl al Bayt (as) inshaAllah ameen

Edited by thenamelessone
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Jazakallah for the wonderful reply :) Indeed it was a pleasure to be reminded of the Covenant which we hold dearer than our own souls :) It was a very refreshing read! And that is so true - every day, every moment one's beliefs develop further and we discover deeper realities as we reflect further on the Quran and AhlulBayt... indeed the Prophet (s) left us two precious things to hold together for one is lost without the other.

Indeed one's journey back towards the Lord is a personal one, but it is pleasant to have a word with fellow wayfarers such as yourself. Al ajalal ajala ya mawlaaya ya saaheb azzamaan

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Salaam,

the 'Universal Wilayat' in this concept presents a strict mufawwida perspective and is only 'universal' for the once Jafri state as semi-ghulat, The Doctrine of the Imamate (al-islam.org link) (CTRL+F and read from ''There is another important point ...") highlights more about this.

See also H. Modarressi's 'Crisis and consolidation in the formative period of Shi'ite Islam' (amazon link). I too bear witness to Imam Alis imama/walaya, but only thought contemplation can one find the true scope and range of walaya, instead of literally speaking of the imams as the shadow of God,

With Salaams,

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Salaam,

the 'Universal Wilayat' in this concept presents a strict mufawwida perspective and is only 'universal' for the once Jafri state as semi-ghulat, The Doctrine of the Imamate (al-islam.org link) (CTRL+F and read from ''There is another important point ...") highlights more about this.

See also H. Modarressi's 'Crisis and consolidation in the formative period of Shi'ite Islam' (amazon link). I too bear witness to Imam Alis imama/walaya, but only thought contemplation can one find the true scope and range of walaya, instead of literally speaking of the imams as the shadow of God,

With Salaams,

shadow of God? :| LIGHT of God!! :\

I looked up your link and read about the people of Kufa spreading ghulat.. but I'm not talking about them or the practices such as self-flagellation that started there.. I'm talking about what we read in Ziyarat, duas, and the tafsir of the Quran as provided by the Imams (ams) - all these shed light upon the Ahl al Bayt (ams) and especially the Imam (a) of the time, whose ghaybat is another example of the 'supernatural' characteristic granted to him (a) by Allah.

And yes, truly it is only via contemplation that we can understand or attempt to understand the Imam's (a) lofty station. :)

wasalam!

Edited by *~Fatima~*
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This article is very heavy on 'rational arguments', and light on explict proof from narrations. Some of these arguments don't seem all that rational to me either.

Allãh has given various ranks to the prophets and messengers (2:253 ; (17:55) , and all Muslims are unanimous in believing that the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad al-Mustafa, is higher in rank than all the prophets and messengers.[101] All prophets and messengers had come to prepare their societies for the acceptance of the final and universal Messenger of God, Muhammad (s.a.w.). If prophets like Sulaymãn, Dãwud, 'Isa, and Musa, and also Sulaymãn's vizier, Ãsif, were blessed with powers over the nature, then it follows by necessity that Prophet Muhammad must have been blessed with greater power over the universe.

So if one Prophet is greater than another, it means he must be able to perform all the miracles the lesser Prophet could? Everyone accepts that Isa, Musa, Nuh, Ibrahim, peace by upon them all, where greater Prophets than Sulayman Úáíå ÇáÓáÇã, yet where is the evidence they had his ability to control the winds?

And even if we were to accept this argument, which doesn't at all follow by necessity according to any normal rules of logic, how does being able to perform a bunch of individual miracles translate as haivng complete control over all the atoms of the universe?

Imam 'Ali and the other Imams of Ahlul Bayt are believed by the Shí'as to be higher in rank than all prophets and messengers except the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.).[103] It follows as a necessity that they also have the powers that the Prophet had been blessed with by Almighty Allãh.

Faulty logic relying on an unproven assertion. You might as well say that since the Imams (as) are greater than all but the last of the Prophets (as) (allegedly), then any honour given to the Prophets but have been given to the Imams. That would include being visited by angels while awake, which we know didn't happen according to narrations, or even simply receiving divine revelation. Surely everyone would agree receiving divine revelation is a great honour, so why should a 'lesser' being have that over a higher one? And what about Musa (a) conversing with Allah, as mentioned in the Quran?

Again, as an important reminder, I must state that this belief is to be held in the vertical form vis-à-vis the power of Almighty Allãh, and only in that format can we preserve the concept of tawhíd in which Allãh is the Absolute Power and source of all power. It is to remind us of the total dependency of the chosen ones upon Allãh's will and power that He commands the Prophet to say, "I do not control any benefit or harm for myself except as Allãh pleases." (7:188) This is not a denial of having power; it is affirmation of the belief that whatever power he has is according to the wish and pleasure of Almighty Allãh.

Not really a point, but the choice of language here is interesting. It reminds me a bit of Trinitarians talking of 'preserving monotheism' with regards to the Trinity.

My view is that as soon as you get into the business of having to 'preserve tawheed' by a careful choice of language or intention, then you are probably straying into dangerous territory.

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This article is very heavy on 'rational arguments', and light on explict proof from narrations. Some of these arguments don't seem all that rational to me either.

So if one Prophet is greater than another, it means he must be able to perform all the miracles the lesser Prophet could? Everyone accepts that Isa, Musa, Nuh, Ibrahim, peace by upon them all, where greater Prophets than Sulayman عليه السلام, yet where is the evidence they had his ability to control the winds?

And even if we were to accept this argument, which doesn't at all follow by necessity according to any normal rules of logic, how does being able to perform a bunch of individual miracles translate as haivng complete control over all the atoms of the universe?

Faulty logic relying on an unproven assertion. You might as well say that since the Imams (as) are greater than all but the last of the Prophets (as) (allegedly), then any honour given to the Prophets but have been given to the Imams. That would include being visited by angels while awake, which we know didn't happen according to narrations, or even simply receiving divine revelation. Surely everyone would agree receiving divine revelation is a great honour, so why should a 'lesser' being have that over a higher one? And what about Musa (a) conversing with Allah, as mentioned in the Quran?

Not really a point, but the choice of language here is interesting. It reminds me a bit of Trinitarians talking of 'preserving monotheism' with regards to the Trinity.

My view is that as soon as you get into the business of having to 'preserve tawheed' by a careful choice of language or intention, then you are probably straying into dangerous territory.

Every Prophet was given the miracle that Allah deemed necessary in order for the people to accept religion. If Prophet Muhammad (s) is the greatest Prophet of all time, no doubt his miracle is the greatest - the Quran.

The Imams' station is not an assumption - it is one of the primary characteristics of Shia faith. Why are you making the revelation or visitation of the angel the criteria for determining superiority? And while we're at it, the Imams (ams) never claimed 'superiority' - they are the Inheritors of the Prophets.

How is it that Tauheed is endangered when Tauheed is belief in Allah's Oneness, and the Imam's wilayat is a proof of this Tauheed???

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Every Prophet was given the miracle that Allah deemed necessary in order for the people to accept religion. If Prophet Muhammad (s) is the greatest Prophet of all time, no doubt his miracle is the greatest - the Quran.

Yes, but the article says that since the Prophet Muhammad (pubh) was the greatest, that implies he must be able to perform all the miracles of previous Prophets (as). Is this logical to you?

The Imams' station is not an assumption - it is one of the primary characteristics of Shia faith. Why are you making the revelation or visitation of the angel the criteria for determining superiority? And while we're at it, the Imams (ams) never claimed 'superiority' - they are the Inheritors of the Prophets.

Yes, they never claimed superiority, but people do, as in the article. And I'm not making it the criteria for superiority, I'm just giving an example of an argument that is about as valid as the one presented in the article.

How is it that Tauheed is endangered when Tauheed is belief in Allah's Oneness, and the Imam's wilayat is a proof of this Tauheed???

I'm not the one having to be careful about preserving it.

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Yes, but the article says that since the Prophet Muhammad (pubh) was the greatest, that implies he must be able to perform all the miracles of previous Prophets (as). Is this logical to you?

Yes it seems quite logical..

Yes, they never claimed superiority, but people do, as in the article. And I'm not making it the criteria for superiority, I'm just giving an example of an argument that is about as valid as the one presented in the article.

Well naturally, one would assume that the Guides, Protectors and Inheritors of the perfect deen - Islam - would hold a loftier rank than Prophets (except Prophet Muhammad (s) ). Hazrat Isa (a) will pray behind Imam Mahdi (a) for that very reason. But decorum forbids us from making comparisons that do not serve any purpose. Suffice is to say that each Prophet brought the message, only to be brought to completion and perfection by the best of the Prophets - and the Inheritors of that complete message are the Imams (ams).

I'm not the one having to be careful about preserving it.

Neither is the author :P

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Yes it seems quite logical..

How does that seem logical when you just said Prophets had all kinds of different miracles depending on what was deemed necessary for people to accept the religion?

Well naturally, one would assume that the Guides, Protectors and Inheritors of the perfect deen - Islam - would hold a loftier rank than Prophets (except Prophet Muhammad (s) ).

Why? You could just as well say you would have to assume that those trusted with delivering divinely revealed scriptures would have to hold a loftier rank than those who don't. It's all very subjective, depending on what criteria you want to look at.

Hazrat Isa (a) will pray behind Imam Mahdi (a) for that very reason.

There are other arguments that could be put forward for why this will happen.

But decorum forbids us from making comparisons that do not serve any purpose. Suffice is to say that each Prophet brought the message, only to be brought to completion and perfection by the best of the Prophets - and the Inheritors of that complete message are the Imams (ams).

What public decorum?

Imam 'Ali and the other Imams of Ahlul Bayt are believed by the Shí'as to be higher in rank than all prophets and messengers except the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.)

Neither is the author :P

This authority of the chosen servants of Allãh is totally dependent on His discretion and power. It should not be seen in the horizonal form but in the vertical form vis-à-vis the power of Almighty Allãh. As long as we maintain the vertical hierarchy of the power, we have safeguarded the tawhíd (unity and oneness) of Allãh.

Again, as an important reminder, I must state that this belief is to be held in the vertical form vis-à-vis the power of Almighty Allãh, and only in that format can we preserve the concept of tawhíd in which Allãh is the Absolute Power and source of all power. It is to remind us of the total dependency of the chosen ones upon Allãh's will and power that He commands the Prophet to say, "I do not control any benefit or harm for myself except as Allãh pleases." (7:188) This is not a denial of having power; it is affirmation of the belief that whatever power he has is according to the wish and pleasure of Almighty Allãh.
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Salaam,

If you look at it from a historical perspective, since the formative period of Shi'ism there have always existed a difference in opinion concerning the wilaya/imama that extend between two extremes on a continuum. In the one end you got the ghulat that believed in the highest degree of power bestowed upon the imams, for instants the imams was only secondary to God in decreasing power upon mankind, the universe and had complete knowledge about the unseen (ilm al-ghayb). Figurative you can speak of the imams as manifestations of the One True God, Gods Attributes in human form or the gods on earth. In the other end you got the ones that only looked upon the imams as primus inter pares ('ulama abrar atqiya') - the most distinguished scholar of the shari'a and nothing else. They only spoke of the imams as the people with most intellectual 'ilm and on that basic should be followed as a authority in Islam.

In the second Islamic century a new and more advance form for ghulat tendency evolved that had semi-ghulat ideas about the rang/station of the imam - better know as the mufawwida. It is true to state, that they accepted all ghulat tendencies except the ones that looked upon the imams as identical or manifestations of God. Rather they spoke of the imam (and his walaya) to extend to a unlimited boundary, because 'if the Imam did't know, God would grant him knowledge - even of the unseen'. The imams are the 'pole and axle of the world' and if the imam wasn't created 'the hole world would collapse'. Before the creation of creation 'humankind and all the prophets bow down and accept the imams as the greatest lights, except the prophet Adam and that is why God decreased him from the heaven' etc. The mufawwida interpretative of the walaya, was always to the full extent [exaggerate] of what one can say about 'ilm, isma', nass, nur Muhammad/Allah, hujja etc in the scope of the imams. As a result to these ghulat and semi-ghulat tendencies in the early Shi'i community, mainstream Shi'i developed a counter-perspective to these. By the ghulat they came to be known as the muqassira, 'shortcoming' or moderates. They only saw the 'ilm and nass of the imam as being the key essence of the walaya.

Now, these different theological perspectives or movements in the spectrum have over time developed to present-day. No Shi'i today accept the complete ghulat perspective, so one can speak of a narrowing in the extreme wing. Furthermore the perspectives are now incorporated into the marjiyya system, because the boarder public not only follows there marja' in jurisprudence (furu al-fiqh) but also his theological standings on different issues (including the scope/range of walaya). Indeed Fadl Allah is one of the best examples of modern-"extreme" muqassira and the Shirazi-family-marjas as most modern-"extreme" mufawwida. Both groups speak of the range/scope of walaya and proves is from the same books (al-kafi etc), even though they interprets it different.

And please don't pull up a hadith and 'prove your point of standing': indeed from the same formative book you are citing, there exists a counter perspective. Contemplation as I stated in the first post - this should lead to understanding of the true scope of walaya. And Allah knows best.

With Salaams,

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Salaam,

the 'Universal Wilayat' in this concept presents a strict mufawwida perspective and is only 'universal' for the once Jafri state as semi-ghulat, The Doctrine of the Imamate (al-islam.org link) (CTRL+F and read from ''There is another important point ...") highlights more about this.

See also H. Modarressi's 'Crisis and consolidation in the formative period of Shi'ite Islam' (amazon link). I too bear witness to Imam Alis imama/walaya, but only thought contemplation can one find the true scope and range of walaya, instead of literally speaking of the imams as the shadow of God,

With Salaams,

wa salaam

I think it is contemplation of the thought and heart, we cannot separate these two, as through our heart we are guided also. However, the true scope and range of walayah is beyond most of us. Can anyone among us say in any reality that we know the true scope and range of walayah? I daresay not.

Edited by thenamelessone
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I think it is contemplation of the thought and heart, we cannot separate these two, as through our heart we are guided also. However, the true scope and range of walayah is beyond most of us. Can anyone among us say in any reality that we know the true scope and range of walayah? I daresay not.

Salaam,

what you are talking about is believe; as well as understanding should be regarded as a continuum, so too should the scope of walaya. Said with different words, a child do not comprehend the full scope of walaya before understanding begins to develops with age.

I accept the fact that within the Shi'i community we profess difference of believe concerning walaya - but the thread "The Scope Of Imam's (a) Wilayat" was rather a definition of what the scope of walaya is, rather than a specific theological groups understanding of what they believe walaya to be.

With Salaams,

Edited by imami
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Salaam,

what you are talking about is believe; as well as understanding should be regarded as a continuum, so too should the scope of walaya. Said with different words, a child do not comprehend the full scope of walaya before understanding begins to develops with age.

I accept the fact that within the Shi'i community we profess difference of believe concerning walaya - but the thread "The Scope Of Imam's (a) Wilayat" was rather a definition of what the scope of walaya is, rather than a specific theological groups understanding of what they believe walaya to be.

With Salaams,

Wa Alykom as Salaam

I agree with that, but also this definition helps to open some measure of understanding in those who have never looked beyond "Men" (as) so, while it may be good for it to be pointed out this is one theological view, it is still a good tool to growth for some, as walayah is beyond that which a child realizes.

Ma'a Salaama

Edited by thenamelessone
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Wa Alykom as Salaam

I agree with that, but also this definition helps to open some measure of understanding in those who have never looked beyond "Men" (as) so, while it may be good for it to be pointed out this is one theological view, it is still a good tool to growth for some, as walayah is beyond that which a child realizes.

Ma'a Salaama

Salaam again,

maybe from your perspective, but others will find it as exaggeration of what the scope of walaya real is. Rather the Shi'i community should talk about walaya from a common denominator instead of the two extremes.

With Salaams,

Edited by imami
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Salaam again,

maybe from your perspective, but some other will find it as exaggeration of what the scope of walaya real is. Rather the Shi'i community should talk about walaya from a common denominator instead of the two extremes.

With Salaams,

Wa Alaykom Salaam

The extremes you mention are greater than what I believe you to be imagining, as for an issue such as walayah, since it is aqaid, it is part of a personal journey, how then can it be spoken of as a Shia community or one set aqaid? This is an impossibility you are imagining. It is against all manner of our religion for aqaid to be discussed as 'this set thing' is imami or not. Only jurisprudence and a few basics can be spoken of on that level. Walayah is anything but basic, it is a part of aqaid and cannot be dictated as any set belief.

Ma'a Salaama

Edited by thenamelessone
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Wa Alaykom Salaam

The extremes you mention are greater than what I believe you to be imagining, as for an issue such as walayah, since it is aqaid, it is part of a personal journey, how then can it be spoken of as a Shia community or one set aqaid? This is an impossibility you are imagining. It is against all manner of our religion for aqaid to be discussed as 'this set thing' is imami or not. Only jurisprudence and a few basics can be spoken of on that level. Walayah is anything but basic, it is a part of aqaid and cannot be dictated as any set belief.

Ma'a Salaama

Your statement is not sound.

Again i urge, as the thread also based it self upon, to use your contemplation and read instead of saying what befalls you on the tip of your tongues. I have already mention S. H. M. Jafri's 'The Origins and Early Development of Shi'a Islam' that is to be found online, Hossein Modarresi's 'Crisis and Consolidation in the formative period of Shi'ite Islam' (above amazon link). For the people that would like to know more about the more extreme 'universal walaya', read especially 'The Divine Guide in Early Shi'ism - The Source of Esotericism in Islam' by Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi and also his Part II: 'On the Nature of the Imam: Initiation and Dualism', chapter 'Some Remarks on the Divinity of the Imam', 'The Pre-Existence of the Imam' and 'Notes on Imami Walaya' in his book 'The Spirituality of Shi'i Islam'. Furthermore I have also been touching upon some of these issues (e.g. semi-ghulat, the early Shi'i community) in another thread, see Tahreef In Quran (shiachat link).

With Salaams,

Edited by imami
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Your statement is not sound.

Again i urge, as the thread also based it self upon, to use your contemplation and read instead of saying what befalls you on the tip of your tongues. I have already mention S. H. M. Jafri's 'The Origins and Early Development of Shi'a Islam' that is to be found online, Hossein Modarresi's 'Crisis and Consolidation in the formative period of Shi'ite Islam' (above amazon link). For the people that would like to know more about the more extreme 'universal walaya', read especially 'The Divine Guide in Early Shi'ism - The Source of Esotericism in Islam' by Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi and also his Part II: 'On the Nature of the Imam: Initiation and Dualism', chapter 'Some Remarks on the Divinity of the Imam', 'The Pre-Existence of the Imam' and 'Notes on Imami Walaya' in his book 'The Spirituality of Shi'i Islam'. Furthermore I have also been touching upon some of these issues (e.g. semi-ghulat, the early Shi'i community) in another thread, see Tahreef In Quran (shiachat link).

With Salaams,

Wa Alykom as Salaam

it is perhaps I am not then understanding what you have said, because it appeared you to wanted to take a definition of walayah and teach it as a set aqaid to the entire shia community, In The Divine Guide your going to see a much wider scope of walayah than the one presented here in this thread. And it appears you think the one presented in this thread is too wide a scope, or it is possible I simply cannot understand any of the points you appear to be attempting to make. Should such be the case I beg your forgiveness of my ignorances.

Edited by thenamelessone
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Wa Alykom as Salaam

it is perhaps I am not then understanding what you have said, because it appeared you to wanted to take a definition of walayah and teach it as a set aqaid to the entire shia community, In The Divine Guide your going to see a much wider scope of walayah than the one presented here in this thread. And it appears you think the one presented in this thread is too wide a scope, or it is possible I simply cannot understand any of the points you appear to be attempting to make. Should such be the case I beg your forgiveness of my ignorances.

Salaam thenamelessone,

may Allah enlighten your heart with knowledge that will extend fare beyond what I know for your careful chosen words.

I am in no position to define a spectrum of ideas of walaya just to be one single theological thought somewhere along the spectrum. What I am stating is that walaya have a 'somewhat' common denominator between the two extremes. In other words, the isma', 'ilm and nass defines the boundaries that all Shi'i can relate to. One can views these attributes of the imams as a blueprint for the understanding of the range/scope of the walaya. So, instead of teaching the community 'one' theological perspective of walaya, we should rather give them the basis foundation of walaya and the each individual use his contemplation to derive his own understanding of walaya. Too many young Shi'i, within the contemporary marjariyya-framework, just accept there marjas concept/understanding of walaya and defends it to the 'bitter end', even thought they never them self have understood what it real means. I urge people to contemplate - read a acquire knowledge and Allah will fill your heart with wisdom.

With Salaams,

Edited by imami
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Salaam thenamelessone,

may Allah enlighten your heart with knowledge that will extend fare beyond what I know for your careful chosen words.

I am in no position to define a spectrum of ideas of walaya just to be one single theological thought somewhere along the spectrum. What I am stating is that walaya have a 'somewhat' common denominator between the two extremes. In other words, the isma', 'ilm and nass defines the boundaries that all Shi'i can relate to. One can views these attributes of the imams as a blueprint for the understanding of the range/scope of the walaya. So, instead of teaching the community 'one' theological perspective of walaya, we should rather give them the basis foundation of walaya and the each individual use his contemplation to derive his own understanding of walaya. Too many young Shi'i, within the contemporary marjariyya-framework, just accept there marjas concept/understanding of walaya and defends it to the 'bitter end', even thought they never them self have understood what it real means. I urge people to contemplate - read a acquire knowledge and Allah will fill your heart with wisdom.

With Salaams,

Wa Alykom as Salaam

Yes I quite agree when you said " I urge people to contemplate - read a acquire knowledge and Allah will fill your heart with wisdom" this was what I was attempting to allude (albeit poorly I'm sure) in the very first post I made in this thread. But your idea of setting a somewhat common denominator and allowing people to gain further understanding and knowledge from that point is very excellent thinking. I am impressed by you. May Allah continue to increase your knowledge, blessing you in all possible ways that a shia of Ahl al Bayt (as) desires.

Ma'a Salaama

Edited by thenamelessone
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