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In the Name of God بسم الله
Haydar Husayn

Were The Classical Scholars Muqassirs?

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Why is it that one must choose between the Imams being simply pious, purified fuqaha from Aal Muhammad (saw) whose only knowledge is inherited textually and orally, or believe that they were demigods who were never ill, from whom nothing was hidden, and for whom the earth opened up to swallow their excreta? Is it possible that the truth lies somewhere in between those two extremes?

There appear to be "authentic" ahadeeth to suggest that the Imams' knowledge was passed down orally and in writing. There are also the muhaddath akhbaar, wherein the Imams refer to an angelic inspiration of 'ilm. Now, there are those here who suggest that these two sources of knowledge are mutually exclusive, but why exactly should that be so? Is it not possible that the traditional method (oral/naqli) was the primary source of the Imams' knowledge but, when Allah (swt) considered it necessary, they were recipients of "inspired" knowledge as well?

I remember reading a hadeeth many years ago attributed to one of the Sadiqayn (as) ( al-Baqir (as) , IIRC) wherein he referred to this second type of 'ilm and he mentioned that at times it ("inspirational" knowledge, for the use of a better a term) was veiled from them (ie the Imams), and at other times the veil was lifted. I have to dig some books out of my library and see if I can find the report in question because, to be fair, I have no recollection of the sanad and whether it would be remotely considered as authentic.

Certainly, there are akhbaar that suggest at what some these days refer to as "clairvoyance". I use term hesitatingly as it brings with it connotations of parlour tricks and charlatans :conversing with the dead in order to extract money from their living relatives, but in this case it is semantically correct. You only have to read al-Mufeed's chapter on our 12th Imam, in al-Irshaad . It is replete with ahadeeth wherein the Imam corresponds by writing with his Shi'ah and appears to possess knowledge of things or events that no one but the follower with whom he is corresponding would know. At times, even the correspondent has no idea of a fact or event until the Imam informs him of it. Are these reports authentic? al-Mufeed certainly thought so, or he wouldn't have included them. If they are authentic, what was the source of the Imam's knowledge - was it nassi ?

I believe there is enough ambiguity and apparent conflict in the reportage for people to project their own biases into what they read and formulate conclusions based on what they are readily inclined to believe in. Some seem to desperately want to see the Ahl al-Bayt (as) as demiurges who control the universe (bi ithnillah, of course ;) ), whilst others see them as ordinary humans whose only knowledge was that communicated to them by their purified ancestors .

At the end of the day, Macisaac, you're opposing multiple ahadeeth, including saheeh ahadeeth (by Brother Islamic Salvation, some reports to add to your collection: reports say that the Imams or their wakeels or safeers knew where the khums was miraculously, and that sometimes this is how a person knew if he should hand over his khums money. Also, see the examples I gave to brother Macisaac in my previous post. (wasalam)

Sorry, I didn't see your post but what you mention is what I was referring to in al-Irshaad's baab on the 12th Imam. There's a quite a few a reports on this very matter and, as you mention, they almost all deal with khums.

If that were true, it only lends credence to the assertion that their companions didn't believe them to be the quasi-omniscient beings later tradition would assert them to be.

I think that's neither here nor there. Surely if ever a man appeared who was so manifestly a Hujjatullah, it was Muhammad (saw), yet the majority of his tribe rejected him and some of his own "companions" disagreed openly with him regarding some of his decisions. 'Eesaa (as) revivified the dead and healed the incurably sick, surely signs from theRabbi 'l 'Aalameen (swt) , yet he was rejected as a charlatan by most of his people and of course, there are those reports that suggest he was betrayed by his closest disciple.

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Putting this in this thread since it doesn't seem enough to warrant another one at this point, though it not all of it quite fits this one. I mention it here to show another very early perspective on Imami beliefs which is somewhat alternative to what you might be used to.

Last couple of days been researching the Banu Nawbakht, who were a prominent family of early Imami scholars particularly known for their contribution and ideas in kalam. Members of the family included al-Hasan b. Musa an-Nawbakhti, author of Firaq ash-Shi`a, and Abu 'l-Qasim Husayn b. Ruh an-Nawbakhti, the third safir of the Imam (ajfs). They were based in Baghdad from what I can tell, though this is earlier than the period of Baghdadis such as al-Mufid and so on.

It seems they were more rational-leaning theologians with some affinity for Mu`tazilism, though they did not subscribe wholly to it of course (they were after all Imamis).

In Shaykh Mufid's Awa'il al-Maqalat, he mentions the Banu Nawbakht where they had different views (though he spoke of them with the respectful May Allah have mercy on them). I've compiled these, and here's a summary of what I found. Some I did not include because I did not understand quite what the position was, as well as a couple having to do with physics (so not really about `aqa'id). Here's the summary:

It is necessary that Allah appoint the wullat of the Imams (as) as He appointed the Imams themselves, i.e. via divine nass.

The Imams must have cognizance of all sciences and common languages.

The Imams did not perform miracles.

The sufara of the Imam did not perform miracles.

The Imams did not hear the voices of angels.

The Imams do not hear supplications addressed to them after their death.

The Quran has been added to and subtracted from (i.e. tahrif)

Many of those who are obedient to Allah will be rewarded in this life but not the next

Many of the kuffar are cognizant of Allah and obedient to Him in their actions and so may be rewarded in this life for it.

A person may be a believer at one time in their life and then be an unbeliever later, and vice versa.

It is permitted to apply the designation of iman to a fasiq

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interesting, in awail al maqalat, I had posted an excerpt on this very thread that mufeed said he believes that they hear from their graves and he stated that there were riwayat about this (though the exact riwayat werent provided in that section).

Of course Mufeed (ra) is not obliged to take the opinions of the Nawbahkti's but it seems aqeedah positions has switched sides even before our time.

Edited by La fata illa Ali

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محمد، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن ابن محبوب، عن جميل بن صالح، عن زياد بن سوقة، عن الحكم بن عتيبة قال: دخلت على علي بن الحسين (عليهما السلام) يوما فقال: يا حكم هل تدري الآية التي كان علي بن أبي طالب (عليه السلام) يعرف قاتله بها ويعرف بها الامور العظام التي كان يحدث بها الناس؟ قال الحكم: فقلت في نفسي: قد وقعت على علم من علم علي بن الحسين، أعلم بذلك تلك الامور العظام، قال: فقلت: لا والله لا أعلم، قال: ثم قلت: الآية تخبرني بها يا ابن رسول الله؟ قال: هو والله قول الله عز ذكره: " وما أرسلنا من قبلك من رسول ولا نبي (ولا محدث) " وكان علي بن أبي طالب (عليه السلام) محدثا فقال له رجل يقال له: عبدالله بن زيد، كان أخا علي لامه، سبحان الله محدثا؟! كأنه ينكر ذلك، فأقبل علينا أبوجعفر (عليه السلام) فقال: أما والله إن ابن امك بعد قد كان يعرف ذلك، قال: فلما قال ذلك سكت الرجل، فقال: هي التي هلك فيها أبوالخطاب فلم يدر ما تأويل المحدث والنبي.

[Muhammad b. Yaqub] from Muhammad [b. Yahya] from Ahmad b. Muhammad from Ibn Mahbub from Jamil b. Salih from Ziyad b. Suwqah from al-Hakam b. Utayba who said:

I entered upon Ali b. al-Husayn عليهما السلام once,

so He said to me:

O Hakam, do you know the Ayah (verse in the Qur'an) through which Ali b. Abi Talib عليه السلام knew his killer by it (in advance), and (also) knew by it those great matters which He used to inform the people about?

Hakam said: I thought to myself:

I have stumbled (today) upon a knowledge from the knowledge of Ali b. al-Husayn, and I too will know by it those great matters,

he (Hakam) said: so I said to Him: No by Allah, I do not know it (i.e. the Ayah),

he (Hakam) said: then I said to Him: the Ayah - will you inform me about it - son of the messenger of Allah?

He said: It is by Allah - the words of Allah sanctified is his remembrance - 'And we have not sent before you a messenger nor a prophet (nor a Muhadath) ... ' and Ali b. Abi Talib عليه السلام was a Muhadath,

so a man said to him, and his name was Abdallah bin Zayd, and he was Ali's brother through his mother (sharing the

same mother): glorified be Allah - a Muhadath!? as though he detested (and disagreed with that),

so Abu Ja'far (Muhammad b. Ali) عليه السلام came up to us and said:

by Allah, the son of your mother (i.e. Ali b. al-Husyan) after them, has the same knowledge too.

(Hakam) said: so when He (Abu Ja'far) had said that - the man kept silent,

so He said: that is what destroyed Abu al-Khattab, for he did not know the difference between a Muhadath and a Nabi.

All The Rijal in the Tariq are Thiqah except for al-Hakam b. Utayba who is an interesting figure, for he is described as a Zaydi Batri and a Mu'tazalite by us, with no Tawthiq, and is considered Thiqah, Imam, and A'lim Kabir by the Sunnites, having narrated in the six books (with the only caution that he preferred Ali over Abu Bakr),

Refer to Siyar A'lam an-Nubala, wherein adh-Dhahabi also mentions that he narrated from Ali b. al-Husayn.

And we have narrations in Rijal al-Kishi that despite all this, he was infront of al-Baqir like a helpless bird, and the famous words of the Imam about him, 'tell al-Hakam to go east or west, he will not find ...'

As for Ibn al-Khattab we all know the famous Khatabiyyah sect and their Ghali beliefs.

أحمد بن محمد ومحمد بن يحيى، عن محمد بن الحسن، عن يعقوب بن يزيد، عن محمد بن إسماعيل قال: سمعت أبا الحسن (عليه السلام) يقول: الائمة علماء صادقون مفهمون محدثون

[Muhammad b. Yaqub] from Ahmad AND Muhammad b. Yahya from Muhammad b. al-Hasan from Yaqub b. Yazid from Muhammad b. Ismail who said: I heard Abal Hasan عليه السلام saying: the Aimmah are Ulama (Knowledge bearers), Sadiqun (Truthful) and Muhadathun.

--> Muhammad b. al-Hasan is as-Saffar, Muhammad b. Ismail is Bazi', Abal Hasan is ar-Ridha, so all the Rijal are Imamiyun Thiqat, and Hadith is Sahih,

Note that the Ahmad from whom al-Kulayni narrates here - is not Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa or Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Khalid, since he only narrates from them by a single Wasita.

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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محمد، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن ابن محبوب، عن جميل بن صالح، عن زياد بن سوقة، عن الحكم بن عتيبة قال: دخلت على علي بن الحسين (عليهما السلام) يوما فقال: يا حكم هل تدري الآية التي كان علي بن أبي طالب (عليه السلام) يعرف قاتله بها ويعرف بها الامور العظام التي كان يحدث بها الناس؟ قال الحكم: فقلت في نفسي: قد وقعت على علم من علم علي بن الحسين، أعلم بذلك تلك الامور العظام، قال: فقلت: لا والله لا أعلم، قال: ثم قلت: الآية تخبرني بها يا ابن رسول الله؟ قال: هو والله قول الله عز ذكره: " وما أرسلنا من قبلك من رسول ولا نبي (ولا محدث) " وكان علي بن أبي طالب (عليه السلام) محدثا فقال له رجل يقال له: عبدالله بن زيد، كان أخا علي لامه، سبحان الله محدثا؟! كأنه ينكر ذلك، فأقبل علينا أبوجعفر (عليه السلام) فقال: أما والله إن ابن امك بعد قد كان يعرف ذلك، قال: فلما قال ذلك سكت الرجل، فقال: هي التي هلك فيها أبوالخطاب فلم يدر ما تأويل المحدث والنبي.

[Muhammad b. Yaqub] from Muhammad [b. Yahya] from Ahmad b. Muhammad from Ibn Mahbub from Jamil b. Salih from Ziyad b. Suwqah from al-Hakam b. Utayba who said:

I entered upon Ali b. al-Husayn عليهما السلام once,

so He said to me:

O Hakam, do you know the Ayah (verse in the Qur'an) through which Ali b. Abi Talib عليه السلام knew his killer by it (in advance), and (also) knew by it those great matters which He used to inform the people about?

Hakam said: I thought to myself:

I have stumbled (today) upon a knowledge from the knowledge of Ali b. al-Husayn, and I too will know by it those great matters,

he (Hakam) said: so I said to Him: No by Allah, I do not know it (i.e. the Ayah),

he (Hakam) said: then I said to Him: the Ayah - will you inform me about it - son of the messenger of Allah?

He said: It is by Allah - the words of Allah sanctified is his remembrance - 'And we have not sent before you a messenger nor a prophet (nor a Muhadath) ... ' and Ali b. Abi Talib عليه السلام was a Muhadath,

so a man said to him, and his name was Abdallah bin Zayd, and he was Ali's brother through his mother (sharing the

same mother): glorified be Allah - a Muhadath!? as though he detested (and disagreed with that),

so Abu Ja'far (Muhammad b. Ali) عليه السلام came up to us and said:

by Allah, the son of your mother (i.e. Ali b. al-Husyan) after them, has the same knowledge too.

(Hakam) said: so when He (Abu Ja'far) had said that - the man kept silent,

so He said: that is what destroyed Abu al-Khattab, for he did not know the difference between a Muhadath and a Nabi.

All The Rijal in the Tariq are Thiqah except for al-Hakam b. Utayba who is an interesting figure, for he is described as a Zaydi Batri and a Mu'tazalite by us, with no Tawthiq, and is considered Thiqah, Imam, and A'lim Kabir by the Sunnites, having narrated in the six books (with the only caution that he preferred Ali over Abu Bakr),

Refer to Siyar A'lam an-Nubala, wherein adh-Dhahabi also mentions that he narrated from Ali b. al-Husayn.

And we have narrations in Rijal al-Kishi that despite all this, he was infront of al-Baqir like a helpless bird, and the famous words of the Imam about him, 'tell al-Hakam to go east or west, he will not find ...'

As for Ibn al-Khattab we all know the famous Khatabiyyah sect and their Ghali beliefs.

أحمد بن محمد ومحمد بن يحيى، عن محمد بن الحسن، عن يعقوب بن يزيد، عن محمد بن إسماعيل قال: سمعت أبا الحسن (عليه السلام) يقول: الائمة علماء صادقون مفهمون محدثون

[Muhammad b. Yaqub] from Ahmad AND Muhammad b. Yahya from Muhammad b. al-Hasan from Yaqub b. Yazid from Muhammad b. Ismail who said: I heard Abal Hasan عليه السلام saying: the Aimmah are Ulama (Knowledge bearers), Sadiqun (Truthful) and Muhadathun.

--> Muhammad b. al-Hasan is as-Saffar, Muhammad b. Ismail is Bazi', Abal Hasan is ar-Ridha, so all the Rijal are Imamiyun Thiqat, and Hadith is Sahih,

Note that the Ahmad from whom al-Kulayni narrates here - is not Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa or Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Khalid, since he only narrates from them by a single Wasita.

These don't necessarily help your case. For one, Abu 'l-Khattab is being cursed because he didn't clearly distinguish between a muhaddath and a nabi, while the way later Shi`as are talking about the Imams (receiving revelation, etc) there doesn't seem hardly to be a different save in terminology. The fact of Abu 'l-Khattab failing to make this distinction shows that one, such a distinction must be pretty sharp and clear, and two, it's critical that it be made lest one fall into heresy.

Now regarding the meaning of muhaddath, Shaykh Saduq has a chapter on this in his Ma`ani al-Akhbar. In it, he has included only one hadith:

(باب) * (معنى المحدث) * 1 - أبي - رحمه الله - قال: حدثنا سعد بن عبد الله، عن يعقوب بن يزيد، عن عباس ابن هلال، قال: سمعت أبا الحسن الرضا عليه السلام يقول: إني احب أن يكون المؤمن محدثا (1) قال: قلت: وأي شئ يكون المحدث ؟ قال: المفهم.

Chapter on the meaning of the muhaddath

My father – may Allah have mercy on him – narrated to me. He said: Sa`d b.`Abdullah narrated to us from Ya`qub b. Yazid from `Abbas b. Hilal. He said: I heard Abu ‘l-Hasan ar-Rida (as) saying: Truly I love that the believer be a muhaddath. He said: I said: And which thing is the muhaddath? He said: The mufahham (one made to understand).

Notice here the Imam is saying how he would love for every mu’min to be a muhaddath, implying its not a quality exclusive to the Imams and it’s highly doubtful the Imam meant he would love for every believer to be hearing the voices of angels or receiving quasi-prophetic revelations.

Then there’s this hadith in al-Kashshi that is similar:

محمد بن سعد الكشي بن مزيد و أبو جعفر محمد بن أبي عوف البخاري، قالا حدثنا أبو علي محمد بن أحمد بن حماد المروزي المحمودي، رفعه، قال : قال الصادق (عليه السلام) اعرفوا منازل شيعتنا بقدر ما يحسنون من رواياتهم عنا، فإنا لا نعد الفقيه منهم فقيها حتى يكون محدثا.

فقيل له أ و يكون المؤمن محدثا قال يكون مفهما و المفهم محدث.

2 – Muhammad b. Sa`d al-Kashshi b. Mazid and Abu Ja`far Muhammad b. Abi `Awf al-Bukhari said: Abu `Ali Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Hammad al-Maruszi al-Mahmudi narrated to us going up to him. He said: as-Sadiq عليه السلام said: Recognize the ranks of our Shi`a by the amount of what they excel in their narrations from us, for verily we do not count the faqih from them to be a faqih until he is a muhaddath.

So it was said to him: And is the believer a muhaddath? He said: He is a mufahham and the mufahham is a muhaddath.

So here, every faqih is a muhaddath, recognized in his ranks by how much he narrates. In fact, every (true?) believer is a mufahham/muhaddath.

Keeping these in mind (the critical importance of sharply distinguishing between a nabi and muhaddath, the fact that every believer is (or can be) a muhaddath, and the meaning given being one who is made to understand and relation of this to being a faqih narrating ahadith) then saying the Imams were muhaddatheen doesn’t at all have to mean they were recepients of ilham, wahi, hearing angels, or what have you, but could easily (and perhaps better) go in line with this other view (such as that represented by the Banu Nawbakht) we have been discussing.

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(salam)

(bismillah)

So if someone of Allama Mamqani's so-so calibre writes

al-Mamaqani being "so-so calibre", are you serious?! al-Mamaqani's Tanqeeh al-Maqaal is the most in depth Shee`ah Rijaal book we have. al-Mamaqani's son has done the tahqeeq of his father's book and it has recently been published into 40+ volumes! If anyone who would know the different views of rijaal and `aqaa'id matters, it would be him.

Also, al-Majlisi's father (Muhammad Taqi al-Majlisi) has said the same thing in his Rawdah al-Muttaqeen.

و الذي يظهر منه كما سيجي‏ء أنه يقول كل من لم يقل بسهو النبي فإنه المفوضة و كل من يقول بزيادة العبادات من النبي فإنه من المفوضة، فإن كان هؤلاء، فهم كل الشيعة غير الصدوق و شيخه

And apparantly those who were mention from it such as he says that anyone who does not believe in the sahw of the Prophet, then he is a Mufawwidah, and anyone who believes in adding to the `ibaadah of the Prophet, then he is a Mufawwidah, and if these are such, then every Shee`ah other than al-Sadooq and his Shaykh (are Mufawwidah)

Source:

al-Majlisi I, al-Rawdah al-Muttaqeen, vol. 2, pg. 246

(salam)

Edited by Nader Zaveri

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(bismillah)

These don't necessarily help your case. For one, Abu 'l-Khattab is being cursed because he didn't clearly distinguish between a muhaddath and a nabi, while the way later Shi`as are talking about the Imams (receiving revelation, etc) there doesn't seem hardly to be a different save in terminology. The fact of Abu 'l-Khattab failing to make this distinction shows that one, such a distinction must be pretty sharp and clear, and two, it's critical that it be made lest one fall into heresy.

Mmm...I disagree. This doesn't in any way hint that their distinction is sharp and very clear. The other ahadith that actually narrate the Imam [as] explaining what a muhaddith is specifically for the Imam is more authoritative (hearing whispers of the angles etc).

Now regarding the meaning of muhaddath, Shaykh Saduq has a chapter on this in his Ma`ani al-Akhbar. In it, he has included only one hadith:

(باب) * (معنى المحدث) * 1 - أبي - رحمه الله - قال: حدثنا سعد بن عبد الله، عن يعقوب بن يزيد، عن عباس ابن هلال، قال: سمعت أبا الحسن الرضا عليه السلام يقول: إني احب أن يكون المؤمن محدثا (1) قال: قلت: وأي شئ يكون المحدث ؟ قال: المفهم.

Chapter on the meaning of the muhaddath

My father – may Allah have mercy on him – narrated to me. He said: Sa`d b.`Abdullah narrated to us from Ya`qub b. Yazid from `Abbas b. Hilal. He said: I heard Abu ‘l-Hasan ar-Rida (as) saying: Truly I love that the believer be a muhaddath. He said: I said: And which thing is the muhaddath? He said: The mufahham (one made to understand).

Notice here the Imam is saying how he would love for every mu’min to be a muhaddath, implying its not a quality exclusive to the Imams and it’s highly doubtful the Imam meant he would love for every believer to be hearing the voices of angels or receiving quasi-prophetic revelations.

Then there’s this hadith in al-Kashshi that is similar:

محمد بن سعد الكشي بن مزيد و أبو جعفر محمد بن أبي عوف البخاري، قالا حدثنا أبو علي محمد بن أحمد بن حماد المروزي المحمودي، رفعه، قال : قال الصادق (عليه السلام) اعرفوا منازل شيعتنا بقدر ما يحسنون من رواياتهم عنا، فإنا لا نعد الفقيه منهم فقيها حتى يكون محدثا.

فقيل له أ و يكون المؤمن محدثا قال يكون مفهما و المفهم محدث.

2 – Muhammad b. Sa`d al-Kashshi b. Mazid and Abu Ja`far Muhammad b. Abi `Awf al-Bukhari said: Abu `Ali Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Hammad al-Maruszi al-Mahmudi narrated to us going up to him. He said: as-Sadiq عليه السلام said: Recognize the ranks of our Shi`a by the amount of what they excel in their narrations from us, for verily we do not count the faqih from them to be a faqih until he is a muhaddath.

So it was said to him: And is the believer a muhaddath? He said: He is a mufahham and the mufahham is a muhaddath.

So here, every faqih is a muhaddath, recognized in his ranks by how much he narrates. In fact, every (true?) believer is a mufahham/muhaddath.

محدث here could be with a kasra, Muhaddith and it greatly hints that seeing as the other narration you've brought forward talk about narrating their [as] ahadith.

في امان الله

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(bismillah)

Mmm...I disagree. This doesn't in any way hint that their distinction is sharp and very clear. The other ahadith that actually narrate the Imam [as] explaining what a muhaddith is specifically for the Imam is more authoritative (hearing whispers of the angles etc).

The fact Abu 'l-Khattab is cursed for not making the distinction seems evidence enough of its importance.

محدث here could be with a kasra, Muhaddith and it greatly hints that seeing as the other narration you've brought forward talk about narrating their [as] ahadith.

في امان الله

That's what I originally thought with the one in Kashshi, but I believe I was mistaken. The footnote to the one in Ma`ani says it's with a fatha, and mufahham is a term often paired to muhaddath, so for both of them muhaddath is the most apparent word to put there.

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The fact Abu 'l-Khattab is cursed for not making the distinction seems evidence enough of its importance.

Of course it was of vital importance, but that doesn't mean the distinction is not subtle. Abu 'l Khattab and many other ghulaat and malaahida were misguided, but they were not, by and large, stupid. Have you considered that if the distinction was as truly clear-cut as you suggest, then the Imams would not have had the recurring problem of ghuluww and ilhaad amongst some of their followers? Not everyone can become "one who is made to comprehend" (mufahham).

Also, consider that the same term may be used for both the Imams and their followers, though with a different connotation. We have akhbaar wherein the Imams say that they are the 'ulamaa and their Shi'ah are the students, for example. Are you suggesting, therefore, that only an Imam may be referred to as an 'aalim?.

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The fact Abu 'l-Khattab is cursed for not making the distinction seems evidence enough of its importance.

That's what I originally thought with the one in Kashshi, but I believe I was mistaken. The footnote to the one in Ma`ani says it's with a fatha, and mufahham is a term often paired to muhaddath, so for both of them muhaddath is the most apparent word to put there.

And can't we understand it to mean this

28

، ﻦﻋ قدﺎﺼﻟا – And from Tahir b. `Isa al-Warraq al-Kashshi from Ja`far b. Ahmad b. Ayyub as-Samarqandi from `Ali b. Muhammad b. Shuja` from Ahmad b. Hammad al-Marwazi from as-Sadiq

he said

Salman was a muhaddath (one narrated to).

said: He was a muhaddath from his Imam, not from his Lord, for no one but the Hujja narrates from Allah.

http://www.*******.org/hadiths/judgement/chapter-11

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Brother, in your second Hadith, it is as you say, Muhadith (narrator), and that is how everyone has understood it, since it speaks about the narrating of narrations.

As for you first hadith, we have no Tawthiq of Abbas b. Hilal, so it is Dhaif Sanadan, apart from that, as Abdul Qaim has said above, the same term can be used for both Imams and companions, but it has very different meaning when used for Imams, as has been proven by other Mu'tabar Riwayat, how can we ignore them.

Yes a believer might get 'inspired' in a certain way by Allah, I agree, that was what had happened to Maryam bint Imran, the mother of Moses, Dhul Qarnayn, and as shown before there are Hadith that speak that the likeness of the Aimmah is at that level, do you discount them?, but that does not apply to us.

Yes the Hadith talks about Abu al-Khattab not differentiating between a Nabi and a Muhadath, but that is the latter part of the Hadith, the initial part of it shows what the level of inspiration to Imam Ali as a Muhadath was, i.e. knowing who his killer was, knowing of the great matters that he informed the people of (Manaya and Balaya), if it is perdition not to differentiate between Nabi and Muhadath, it is also destruction to deny them as Muhadaths.

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Brother, in your second Hadith, it is as you say, Muhadith (narrator), and that is how everyone has understood it, since it speaks about the narrating of narrations.

As I said though, muhaddath and mufahham are commonly paired words. It would be strange for a hadith to randomly associate them when the common pattern (as witnessed in the other hadith) is to pair them. And why would it say that the believer is a muhaddith when not every believer is a hadith narrator in that sense? Rather couldn't it mean that the believer is receiving his understanding and knowledge via following the teachings of the Hujja, as the Hujja is a muhaddath in that he has received his knowledge transmitted down to him from the Messenger (sawa) who in turn received it via revelation as he, unlike them, was a prophet?

As for you first hadith, we have no Tawthiq of Abbas b. Hilal, so it is Dhaif Sanadan, apart from that, as Abdul Qaim has said above, the same term can be used for both Imams and companions, but it has very different meaning when used for Imams, as has been proven by other Mu'tabar Riwayat, how can we ignore them.

I can see how a term would be applied with a different degree of intensity, e.g. the Imams and believers can both be saadiqun, but the former will be perfectly so, but to say it means something entirely different seems a stretch. For example, would a regular, non-Imam, believer ever be called a Ma`sum? In the second hadith you cited I see it like that as well, that is the Imams are the perfect `ulama, perfect sadiqun, and perfect muhaddathun, but that doesn't exclude non-Imams also being as such though to a lesser degree than them. While if we go with your interpretation, you would have to say the first two attributes (`ulama and sadiqun) are like what I say, but then the Imam is using a third term (muhaddath) that is totally different in meaning from how it would be for other believers.

In regards to the sanad then I find it a very secondary matter here (the other transmitters I believe are thiqa correct?, plus there is no jarh from what I see about `Abbas b. Hilal), and the point as well that Shaykh Saduq chose to include this (and only this) hadith for explaining what the term muhaddath meant. That in itself is significant I find.

Yes the Hadith talks about Abu al-Khattab not differentiating between a Nabi and a Muhadath, but that is the latter part of the Hadith, the initial part of it shows what the level of inspiration to Imam Ali as a Muhadath was, i.e. knowing who his killer was, knowing of the great matters that he informed the people of (Manaya and Balaya), if it is perdition not to differentiate between Nabi and Muhadath, it is also destruction to deny them as Muhadaths.

But going by this other understanding the first part of the hadith is clear as well. That is that Amir al-Mu'mineen (as) and the other Imams would have the knowledge they did since they inherited it from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله, but without having to read into it that they somehow received new revelations telling them such things. That's really the crux of the issue here. It's not a question that the Imams were of a special category in regards to what they knew, but more a question whether they would get essentially new revelations that were not from what they inherited from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله. If you affirm the latter, I really can't see what the difference is between them and prophets, and that clearly is leading to dangerous ground in regards to one's orthodoxy.

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(salam)

In my mind the method of communication between Allah and humans is less relevant to the differentiation between messengers, prophets and imams. We know from the Qur'an that Maryam (as) received the angel directly. We know from the hadiths that Dhul Qarnayn (as) was not a prophet and yet advised by Allah, and we know that al-Khidr (as) was probably not a prophet and yet had access to secrets that even an ulil `azm Messenger (Moses) could not attain. It is possible that the wahi the mother of Musa (as) received was a verbal revelation. The Qur'an mentions the siddiqqeen alongside the prophets, martyrs, and righteous, and the Sunnis struggled with the meaning of this, and how a siddiq differed from a salih. Our tafasir indicate that the siddiqqeen were Ahl al-Bayt, and we see in the Qur'an that this same word is applied to Maryam and Idris. So, without even entering in the scope of Imamate, we can already establish that non-prophets and perhaps received inspiration from Allah.

To me the difference between messengers, prophets, and imams is less to do with communication and more to do with scope. The Ulil `Azm were a hujja upon the whole world, and the bore a Law for the whole world that abrogated the Law before it. The prophets are subservient to Ulil `Azm (just as Lut was subservient to Ibrahim) and deferred to them; as Ibrahim was called an Imam for all mankind. A prophet belonged to a specific community and a specific timeperiod, and was under the Law of his time, but was able to add to it as well if Allah commanded. For example, Lut brought the fiqh regarding sodomy, as that was an issue not dealt with before Lut. Other prophets brought other laws and commands. An Imam is specifically someone after Muhammad (pbuh), someone whose scale is like the Ulil `Azm messenger - having authority over the world - but not bringing a new Law, and not bringing any addendum to the Law. The Imam's authority is not for a specific timeperiod either. He receives his knowledge naturally (through forefathers and learning) and supernaturally (through inauguration into Imamate, preserving pure knowledge, and communication with angels).

I think there's simply too much nass out there to deny that the Imams received any communication. There are even ahadith which imply that `Ali (as) heard some of the Prophet's (pbuh) revelations. Beyond this there are many traditions about the Imams receiving knowledge at the death of their predecessor, etc. While to deny the supernatural transmission of knowledge does not take someone out of the Imamiyya, and many have argued this, I think the natural position is to accept it. Likewise, those who do accept cannot be held accountable because of the many chapters and many hadiths which argue this.

Edited by Qa'im

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I can see how a term would be applied with a different degree of intensity, e.g. the Imams and believers can both be saadiqun, but the former will be perfectly so, but to say it means something entirely different seems a stretch. For example, would a regular, non-Imam, believer ever be called a Ma`sum? In the second hadith you cited I see it like that as well, that is the Imams are the perfect `ulama, perfect sadiqun, and perfect muhaddathun, but that doesn't exclude non-Imams also being as such though to a lesser degree than them. While if we go with your interpretation, you would have to say the first two attributes (`ulama and sadiqun) are like what I say, but then the Imam is using a third term (muhaddath) that is totally different in meaning from how it would be for other believers.

In regards to the sanad then I find it a very secondary matter here (the other transmitters I believe are thiqa correct?, plus there is no jarh from what I see about `Abbas b. Hilal), and the point as well that Shaykh Saduq chose to include this (and only this) hadith for explaining what the term muhaddath meant. That in itself is significant I find.

I have to say that this solution is quite compelling since it preserves the humanity of the Imams (as) and stays true to the definition of isma, i.e. if isma is actually, the action of the actor and not that of Allah (s), then those who learn from the Imams (as)--muhaddathun in this regard--could be mahfuz by that, a sort of functional isma, not so much a divinely granted one (although you could argue that it is Allah (s) who chooses to protect the one who follows the Imams (as) by giving such a person iman).

Edited by al-Irshad

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How would you interpret this then?

محمد بن يحيى، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن ابن أبي نصر، عن ثعلبة، عن زرارة قال: سمعت أبا جعفر (عليه السلام) يقول: لولا أنا نزداد لانفدنا، قال: قلت: تزدادون شيئا لا يعلمه رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآله)؟ قال: أما إنه إذا كان ذلك

عرض على رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآله) ثم على الائمة ثم انتهى الامر إلينا

Muhammad bin Yahya from Ahmad bin Muhammad from Ibn Abi Umayr from Tha'labah (bin Maymun) from Zurarah (bin A'yan) who said:

I heard Aba Ja'far saying: if it were not that we are increased (i.e. in knowledge) (i.e. by receiving new communication) we would have ran out (i.e. of answers) (exhausted our reserve),

he (Zurarah) said: I said: are you increased in something which the messenger of Allah did not know?

He said: if such a situation arises, it is given (presented) to the messenger of Allah first, then the (preceding) Aimmah (i.e. are made aware of it), then the matter reaches to us.

[Hadith Sahih, Rijaluhu Imamiyun Thiqaat]

There can be no other meaning for this Hadith, and also the Mu'tabar Ahadith previously shown which talk about the Imams hearing the voices of angels.

The only answer to support your understanding would be to reject all such Ahadith out-right,

The only justification - maintaing difference between the Prophet and Muhadathun.

But is has allready been pointed out that there were ordinary man communicated to - who were not prophets, but as we call them 'Muhadathun'.

It has already been pointed out that women (old and young) were talked to, bees and mountains are revealed to, in short God can talk to whomever he wants (theoretically) without giving them the duty of prophethood, so there is no reason to fear distincting between Nabi and Muhadath in terms of commuication.

Furthermore, I looked into Sahih al-Bukhari and these are some of the Ahadith related to the topic which prove our meaning of Muhadath, of course we decalare them fabrications and lies upon the prophet.

But our meaning of the word Muhadath is proven in them, that is people who are communicated to, and ofcourse the Sunnis are bound to accept the concept since it is argument against them from their own source.

حدثنا : عبد العزيز بن عبد الله ، حدثنا : إبراهيم بن سعد ، عن أبيه ، عن أبي سلمة ، عن أبي هريرة (ر) ، عن النبي (ص) قال : إنه قد كان فيما مضى قبلكم من الأمم محدثون وإنه إن كان في أمتي هذه منهم فإنه عمر بن الخطاب

Narrated to us Abdul-Aziz bin Abdallah, narrated to us Ibrahim bin Sad from his father from Abi Salama from Abi Hurayra from the prophet, that He said: Indeed there was in what was before you among communities (nations) 'Muhadathun', and if there were to be someone like them in this Ummah then it would be Umar b. al-Khattab.

حدثنا : يحيى بن قزعة ، حدثنا : إبراهيم بن سعد ، عن أبيه ، عن أبي سلمة ، عن أبي هريرة (ر) قال : قال رسول الله (ص) : لقد كان فيما قبلكم من الأمم ناس محدثون فإن يك في أمتي أحد فإنه عمر زاد زكرياء بن أبي زائدة ، عن سعد ، عن أبي سلمة ، عن أبي هريرة قال : قال النبي (ص) لقد كان فيمن كان قبلكم من بني إسرائيل رجال يكلمون من غير أن يكونوا أنبياء فإن يكن من أمتي منهم أحد فعمر

Narrated to us Yahya bin Quz'ah, narrated to us Ibrahim bin Sad from his father from Abi Salama from Abi Hurayra who said: the messenger of Allah said: Indeed there was in what came before you of the communities (nations) people who were Muhadathun, and if there was to be in my Ummah someone (who was a Muhadath) it would be Umar,

added to the narration Zakariyyah bin Abi Zaidah from Sad from Abi Salama fom Abi Hurayra who said: the prophet said: Indeed there was in the people who came before you from Bani Israil - men who were talked to (communicated to) without being prophets, so if there was to be someone in my Ummah who was to be from them then it would be Umar.

So the concept of the Muhadath is proven even in Sunnism, of course they are wont to accept our Imams from the Ahulbayt as such.

Brother, there is not a single Mu'tabar Hadith that proves your interpretation, if it was common for people to have thought of the Imams as Muhadathun in the sense that is popular now - as the Ahadith indicate, and if this was not a correct belief, then why do we not have Ahadith of the Aimmah clearly stating that all they have from knowledge is inheritance of a book from the Prophet written by Ali (the Sahifa), and that they categorically receive no commuincation whatsoever from Allah.

If this was their only source, what protected them from erring?, and how were they any different from common scholars of the A'mmah, infact this is exactly what the Sunnis believe, that our Imams had the only distinction of being related to the prophet, with their knowledge dependent only on inheritance, father to son transfer, and intelligence - personal dedication and affinity to the Deen, the only difference between them and you would be that you believe the Imam would not make a mistake in his Ijtihad, why cannot he make a mistake in Ijtihad if his only source is books and knowledge he struggled for and was handed down? You would say Ismah, God protects them from that, but He doesn't commnuicate anything to them?

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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