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In the Name of God بسم الله

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This topic has come up quite a few times. Here is a good summary of the different positions: 

As for why someone might believe that prophets (some or all) are superior to Imams, then I guess there could be several reasons, including hadiths like this:

“I asked abu Ja‘far, recipient of divine supreme covenant, about the messenger, the prophet and al-Muhaddath (one to whom Divine guidance is reported). The Imam, recipient of divine supreme covenant, said, ‘A messenger is one to whom Jibril (Gabriel) comes openly. He sees him (the angel) and speaks to him. Such person is a messenger. A prophet is one who sees in his dream something like the dream of Abraham (peace be upon him). (Of such dreams) is the dream of the Messenger of Allah, recipient of divine supreme covenant, about reasons and signs of prophecy before the coming of revelation. (He would experience such dreams) until Jibril came from Allah to inform him that he was to be a messenger. In the case of Prophet Muhammad, recipient of divine supreme covenant, when prophecy was established in him then Jibril brought him the message that he was to be a messenger. Jibril would come and speak to him openly. Certain prophets, in whom prophecy had been established, saw in their dreams, the spirit who would come to them, speak and report to them but they would not see the spirit when awake. “Al-Muhaddath is one to whom matters of Divine guidance are reported and he hears the reporting but does not see (the angel) openly or in his dream.’”

But then, there are obviously arguments in the other direction as well. Either way, I don't see why it should really concern us much. They are all of an extremely high status, and it is up to Allah as to who is higher. It doesn't really make any difference to us.

 

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1) I believe  "families" in the chosen sense, don't only show them being close with regards to their mission, but that spiritually they are very close in rank. That is I believe the family of Nuh were closest in rank to Nuh, the family of Ibrahim to Ibrahim, and the family of Mohammad to Mohammad.

2) I believe the most praiseworthy possible path is a possibility, in that, an existent can respond to God's call with utmost resolve and praise, and receive all help with full power. I believe given that is the best favour and most loved thing in God's eyes, he would create infinite souls to create infinite such souls out of those souls. I believe such souls were tested before coming to this world and creating the worlds, and each were created in form of lights and the words of God and his lights were perfected before creating the physical world in these beings.

3) To be "family" of such most praiseworthy path, you have to be on that path in my view, because a little neglect from that and little swerve from that, then there would be a huge difference in rank in God's eyes to one who doesn't deviate at all.

4) The wage of the message is to love the near kin of Mohammad, if they weren't one and the same light as him, then way towards God would be love of the Qurba + love of the Nabi, but this shows their love embraces that of Mohammad. 

5) Ayat Tatheer I believe is stating, God desires to keep nothing away from the souls of the Ahlulbayt except the uncleanness. That is they unite all states of the universe as far as the blessed near to God aspect goes, while they are free from any of the uncleanness, that is the near to darkness aspect of things. This also is saying all blessings upon the Prophets, he desires to bless upon them. And all blessings upon Mohammad, he desires to bless upon them, which shows they are of highest rank and most beloved in God's eyes.

6) The final covenant of humanity is through Imam Mahdi and he will perfect the world through him. There is more reasoning to show he is superior to all past, present and future, then there is for the last Nabi. However, there is more wisdom in having the best of the best possible beings in the station of Final Nabi and final Imam as well as the successors between them.

7) The name "Mohammad" doesn't simply mean praiseworthy, but means praiseworthy to the extent the person lacks no praise to the extent they are the most praiseworthy possibility. That is why Isa said "his name is Ahmad". 3 of the Imams were named "Mohammad", which shows they to are of this station of "Ahmad".

8) I believe God out of his wisdom knows to love Mohammad is to love God, but this love should be pure, so he made his family a test with regards to sincerity towards God. To want other Mohammads to exist is not like wanting other gods beside God to exist. The latter belittles God's greatness while the former is being happy for God's grace as well as being happy such exalted praiseworthy beings exist. That this station of the utmost praiseworthy possible path with no fault is possible, and he made Ali the hugest test with regards to that. He made Ali the more "better" in tongue and speech like he did with Harun to Musa, and made him the door to the city of knowledge during the time of the Nabi. Those who loved Ali were truly following and loving the God and his Prophet. Those who didn't neglected the path. That is why 25:57 flows with respect to the station of Harun to Musa, it's how the family of Mohammad were a trial even during life time of the Nabi. 
 

 

 

 

 

Edited by StrugglingForTheLight

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55 minutes ago, StrugglingForTheLight said:

1) I believe  "families" in the chosen sense, don't only show them being close with regards to their mission, but that spiritually they are very close in rank. That is I believe the family of Nuh were closest in rank to Nuh, the family of Ibrahim to Ibrahim, and the family of Mohammad to Mohammad.

2) I believe the most praiseworthy possible path is a possibility, in that, an existent can respond to God's call with utmost resolve and praise, and receive all help with full power. I believe given that is the best favour and most loved thing in God's eyes, he would create infinite souls to create infinite such souls out of those souls. I believe such souls were tested before coming to this world and creating the worlds, and each were created in form of lights and the words of God and his lights were perfected before creating the physical world in these beings.

3) To be "family" of such most praiseworthy path, you have to be on that path in my view, because a little neglect from that and little swerve from that, then there would be a huge difference in rank in God's eyes to one who doesn't deviate at all.

4) The wage of the message is to love the near kin of Mohammad, if they weren't one and the same light as him, then way towards God would be love of the Qurba + love of the Nabi, but this shows their love embraces that of Mohammad. 

5) Ayat Tatheer I believe is stating, God desires to keep nothing away from the souls of the Ahlulbayt except the uncleanness. That is they unite all states of the universe as far as the blessed near to God aspect goes, while they are free from any of the uncleanness, that is the near to darkness aspect of things. This also is saying all blessings upon the Prophets, he desires to bless upon them. And all blessings upon Mohammad, he desires to bless upon them, which shows they are of highest rank and most beloved in God's eyes.

6) The final covenant of humanity is through Imam Mahdi and he will perfect the world through him. There is more reasoning to show he is superior to all past, present and future, then there is for the last Nabi. However, there is more wisdom in having the best of the best possible beings in the station of Final Nabi and final Imam as well as the successors between them.

7) The name "Mohammad" doesn't simply mean praiseworthy, but means praiseworthy to the extent the person lacks no praise to the extent they are the most praiseworthy possibility. That is why Isa said "his name is Ahmad". 3 of the Imams were named "Mohammad", which shows they to are of this station of "Ahmad".

8) I believe God out of his wisdom knows to love Mohammad is to love God, but this love should be pure, so he made his family a test with regards to sincerity towards God. To want other Mohammads to exist is not like wanting other gods beside God to exist. The latter belittles God's greatness while the former is being happy for God's grace as well as being happy such exalted praiseworthy beings exist. That this station of the utmost praiseworthy possible path with no fault is possible, and he made Ali the hugest test with regards to that. He made Ali the more "better" in tongue and speech like he did with Harun to Musa, and made him the door to the city of knowledge during the time of the Nabi. Those who loved Ali were truly following and loving the God and his Prophet. Those who didn't neglected the path. That is why 25:57 flows with respect to the station of Harun to Musa, it's how the family of Mohammad were a trial even during life time of the Nabi. 
 

 

 

 

 

are you still fluctuating between belief and disbelief? come on dude!!! get on the bandwagon of belief, JUST believe!!! just try to believe without ANY arguments

dont be like the children of Israel and the present and past nation of Jews where they kept insisting to God to give them proof, they always wanted to see everything or they would not believe, and when they seen it , they still disbelieved

try faith, pure and unequivocal faith, just pure faith without mind , give it a go for a month, and you wont be disappointed , just resists all forms of thinking because some of those voices you have identified as your own are actually the devils 

then you will see how God comes to you when you become sincere , and there will be no more doubts 

just take that leap of faith 

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Those who make the journey, know by virtue of the journey and the destination that could not be arrived at save through the truth of God's Name, that they upon the truth.

There surely is a path that leads to God, there surely is a Guide that leads upon that journey, there surely is a revelation clarifying God and his Name and the path of those who he favored with purpose, the path that can only be known through reflection.

Whatever religion that is, that is the religion of submission to God, that is the religion of love of the best friends of God.

I pray we all use reasoning to come to know God, his religion, and the path that leads towards Him.  Without reasoning, we will continue to differ. Without reasoning, we will not agree. Without arguments, there is no discussion. Without discussion, how do you wish to guide others?

 

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5 hours ago, Qasim_Husayn said:

Are there any 12er shias who believe that the prophets are superior to the imams, if so can they please provide evidence on why they believe so ?

Brother superior in what sense?

- Authority?
- Knowledge?
- Guidance?
- Achievements?
- Divine inspiration?
- Level of patience?
- Level of compassion?
- Accredited afflictions?
- Physical Strength?
- Wealth?
- Health?
- Number of miracles?
- (Etcetera)

Where does the list end?

We can't even determine the rank/merit of our own being, let alone determining who is superior amongst Prophets and Imams. Countless times I've seen these topics surface without any palpable evidence of what may appear to be outlandish interpretations of the Quran and Hadith. If the Quran does not make explicit reference nor the Imams informed of the divergence of supremacy, then why do we feel the need to oversee what is greater or lesser per status.

Qasim_Husayn, I suggest you add a condition - 'only respond with verifiable proof from reliable sources', otherwise I fear this topic could invite a hypothetically induced realm of could be's and if's.

 

 

Edited by saas

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1 hour ago, StrugglingForTheLight said:

Those who make the journey, know by virtue of the journey and the destination that could not be arrived at save through the truth of God's Name, that they upon the truth.

There surely is a path that leads to God, there surely is a Guide that leads upon that journey, there surely is a revelation clarifying God and his Name and the path of those who he favored with purpose, the path that can only be known through reflection.

Whatever religion that is, that is the religion of submission to God, that is the religion of love of the best friends of God.

I pray we all use reasoning to come to know God, his religion, and the path that leads towards Him.  Without reasoning, we will continue to differ. Without reasoning, we will not agree. Without arguments, there is no discussion. Without discussion, how do you wish to guide others?

 

what journey are you referring to? 

you can either be on the boat of Ahlul Bayt or you can sink in front of them to behind them 

you have gone into extremes, you keep on looking for some philosophical argument to carry you through until somebody comes along or your own doubts rise or the devils tricks you and you are lost again gone back to step one 

you are going nowhere, a couple of years ago you were still asking the same questions, only now your complications have become just that even more complicated self defeating arguments 

you cant know God with the mind, because that is not how God made it for us to know him 

seriously dont you read the Quran and ponder? how many verses int eh Quran and especially in the first few chapters talk about the Jews and their asking for the "ultimate proof" and their "show me God"

your so obsessed with this nonsense that you dont realize that there is km's above km's in front of you, you havent even made 1 step!! unless it was backwards 

You cant know God through he mind, leave the mind for this worlds nonsense, but you can only seek God through faith , by blind faith, thats how it starts 

"We bring man out of darkness into light.." you have to start walking int he dark or you will never leave the darkness into light

The proofs of God come once you have shown that you can believe in God sincerely without any proofs 

You have to show pure faith to Him and He will accept your ticket to start your journey 

Your going nowhere like this, your going into extremes , if your not already there 

Edited by mightymask

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Does Shaykh al Fayyadh have arguments to support his claim, or has he just asserted that opinion ?

Furthermore, does he interpret Surah 2:124 to mean that Ibrahim(AS) became an imam after ulul azm, or could that immamate be interpreted in another manner ?

Are there marja3 who say all prophets are superior to the imams ?

Is there something Ibrahim (as) could do as an imam which he couldn't beforehand ?

Oh and Saaas mentioned a valid point. If the imams are supposedly superiror please list in what way they are superior (i.e are they superior in knowledge,piety,authority, interpetation) ?

If we are to believe that Haydar Husayn's hadith is valid then that simply prove that prophets (SAW) have greater authortiy in revelation and possibly interpetation

Furthuremore, is Imam Mahdi's immate that he recieved at the age of 5 the same immate Ibrahim (as) recieved after all of his extensive trials.

 

Finally I was reading this verse:

http://quran.com/

And We certainly gave Moses the Scripture, so do not be in doubt over his meeting. And we made the Torah guidance for the Children of Israel.And We made from among them (Bani Israel) leaders (imams) guiding by Our command when they were patient and [when] they were certain of Our signs. (surah 34:23-24)

Does this mean that the sucessors of musa(AS) were given immamate. Does this mean that the sucessors of Musa(AS) were on par with Ibrahim (AS)

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Salam

I believe all Prophets eventually reached the station which they could receive the role of Imammate. However, there is only one Imam who each human will be called with while the same is not true of Messengers and Prophets. While Imamate requires a certain state that Prophethood and Messengerhood don't require, I don't think any of the Prophets didn't reach that stage required for it. It's just that one Imam is active. That is why the view all Imam type Prophets are superior to non-Imam Prophets to me doesn't hold. However this shows equally non-Prophet Imams are not necessarily of lower rank then Prophet Imams or non-Imam Prophets.

It was out of God's wisdom to the spiritual Guides (Imams) in bani-Israel so to raise bani-Israel as a potential light house to the nations where they were guided by the light of God in the Imams appointed by Him. However they turned away from the guidance. 

The potential was likewise there for this nation but they turned away from the guidance.

 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Qasim_Husayn said:

Does Shaykh al Fayyadh have arguments to support his claim, or has he just asserted that opinion ?

Furthermore, does he interpret Surah 2:124 to mean that Ibrahim(AS) became an imam after ulul azm, or could that immamate be interpreted in another manner ?

Are there marja3 who say all prophets are superior to the imams ?

Is there something Ibrahim (as) could do as an imam which he couldn't beforehand ?

Oh and Saaas mentioned a valid point. If the imams are supposedly superiror please list in what way they are superior (i.e are they superior in knowledge,piety,authority, interpetation) ?

If we are to believe that Haydar Husayn's hadith is valid then that simply prove that prophets (SAW) have greater authortiy in revelation and possibly interpetation

Furthuremore, is Imam Mahdi's immate that he recieved at the age of 5 the same immate Ibrahim (as) recieved after all of his extensive trials.

 

Finally I was reading this verse:

http://quran.com/

And We certainly gave Moses the Scripture, so do not be in doubt over his meeting. And we made the Torah guidance for the Children of Israel.And We made from among them (Bani Israel) leaders (imams) guiding by Our command when they were patient and [when] they were certain of Our signs. (surah 34:23-24)

Does this mean that the sucessors of musa(AS) were given immamate. Does this mean that the sucessors of Musa(AS) were on par with Ibrahim (AS)

Brother, I don't know if this is his real opinion, this is simply what I read or heard.

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A person who wanted to remain anonymus sent me this argument:

"And [mention, O Muhammad], when Abraham was tried by his Lord with commands and he fulfilled them. [ Allah ] said, "Indeed, I will make you a leader for the people." [Abraham] said, "And of my descendants?" [ Allah ] said, "My covenant does not include the wrongdoers."

And in surah 33 verse 7 we read

And when We exacted a covenant from the prophets, and from thee (O Muhammad) and from Noah and Abraham and Moses and Jesus son of Mary. We took from them a solemn covenant;

The covanant Allah was reffering to was the covenant of the ulul azm, muhammad,Isa,Musa,Ibrahim, and Nuh (SAW). Its just that the word imam was used instead of ulul azm but the imamate Ibrahim(as) recieved is reffering to the immate of the ulul azm"

-Anonymus

Could this argument be valid

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Prophet Muhammad [pbuhahp] is an Imam and a Prophet, Ameerul Momineen, Imam ul Muttaqeen Mawla Ali ibn Abi Talib[as] and the his progeny are The successors.

If the status of the Prophet Muhammad[pbuhahp] is higher compared to all his predecessors who were sent to pave the way of The Final Word, Final Version - Al Islam, Final Prophet and Imam. What ever they were able to do, the Last and the final Prophet and the Imam is their Master. A successor of the Final Prophet [pbuhahp] will be of that level.

 

Every one is called an educator, or a Teacher. We do not take away from that title, but a person teaching High School, can’t be compared to a College Professor, and both can’t be compared to a Phd Professor. A teaching assistant of the Phd Professor have more knowledge compared to other ful teachers at a lower level.

 

A commander is 1000 men army is called a commander, and a commander of Million man army is also a commander, Title is the same, the second in command to the Commander of Million man army, may have more men under him to command and job and scope larger compared to the Commander of a 1000 men army
 

I know we are repeatedly told by other Muslims and our Shia’s what's the point of all this,  this is our small contribution towards our last Imam[as]. To propagate the Truth,Clarify and defend the message to make the condition at the time of his [as] appearance more viable. In short, we need to make an effort to inform so many are informed of the truth.

Above is my Layman understanding. I am open for constructive responses, to educate myself from people with Knowledge.

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Does Surah 2:124 to mean that Ibrahim(AS) became an imam after ulul azm, or could that immamate be interpreted in another manner ?

Furthuremore, is Imam Mahdi's immate that he recieved at the age of 5 the same immate Ibrahim (as) recieved after all of his extensive trials.

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صَبِيًّا {29}

[Pickthal 19:29] Then she pointed to him. They said: How can we talk to one who is in the cradle, a young boy?

قَالَ إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ آتَانِيَ الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِي نَبِيًّا {30}

[Pickthal 19:30] He spake: Lo! I am the slave of Allah. He hath given me the Scripture and hath appointed me a Prophet,


 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Difference Between Nabi And Rasool

In Arabic there are no separate words for Messenger and Apostle. The distinction is between Nabi (Prophet) and Rasool (Messenger or Apostle).

1- Nabi (=Prophet)

2- Rasool (=Messenger=Apostle)

Note that the degree of prophethood is lower than the degree of messengership/apostleship.

By definition:

1. A Prophet (Nabi) is a person to whom the Divine Law (Shari’ah) descends; this divine law may be concerned with beliefs (`aqa-id) or with practical activities (Ibadat, like prayer). This Divine Law either deals with the Nabi’s OWN life or with that of his community; or both.

This is the fundamental definition of prophethood, though the prophet may also be informed of other things. The descent of the Divine Law (Shari’ah) may be direct, or through an intermediary like an angel.

2. A Human Messenger/Apostle (Rasool) is a Prophet who receives a Divine Law that concerns himself and people other than himself. So every (human) Rasool is Nabi, while the reverse is not true. Also every Nabi whom Qur’an has mentioned along with a community (Umma), is consequently a Rasool.

Thus when Qur’an states that Muhammad (S) is the last Prophet (33:40), then by the above definition, he is the last Messenger/Apostle also. Note that the word "Human”is important in the definition of Rasool because the Qur’an uses the term "Rasool”also for angels who issue a command at the will of Allah (SWT):

"Allah chooses Messengers from ANGELS and from men, for Allah is He Who hears and sees (all things). (Qur’an 22:75)"

"There came Our Messengers to Abraham with glad tidings. They said, "Peace!”he answered, "Peace!”and hastened to entertain them with a roasted calf. (Qur’an 11:69)"

"When Our Messengers came to Lut, he was grieved on their account and felt himself powerless (to protect) them. He said: This is a distressful day. (Qur’an 11:77)"

"(The Messengers) said: O Lut! we are Messengers from thy Lord!...(Qur’an 11:81)"

----Also see: 7:37, 15:57, 15:61, 19:19, 29:31, 29:33.

However, a Nabi is only a human being -- no angel can be called a Nabi. So every (human) Rasool is a Nabi, while every human Nabi is not necessarily a Rasool.

The number of Messengers (Rusul) is less than the number of Prophets (Nabiyoon); and every Rasool received a book, while some Nabees received abook. In addition, since he has to convince his people to accept a new religion with new practices, a Rasool’s work is much harder than that of a Nabi.

This is on top of the fact that people’s needs, minds, and abilities have changed; and accepting a new religion is not an easy task. This is while a Nabi’s new religious instructions are for himself (unless he is a Rasool). Surely a Nabi invites people toward Allah (SWT); however, he does not set any new practices for the people. So, in essence, if a Nabi is NOT a Rasool, the people that he invites to Allah (SWT) would be ordered to follow the custom and practices of a previous Rasool.

Among Rasools, however, there are five individuals who are higher than the others. As you might know, the only difference between those five and other rasools is that they are assigned universally (for the whole mankind at their time), while the rest of rasools were locally (just for one city or area). My recollection is that the word ‘Alameen and/or Jamee’an has been used in Qur’an for Prophet Jesus (as) supporting this idea.

Once a Bahai claimed that Rasools (who came before Bab!) were only those five who had book. But the rest were Nabi. This is not correct since Qur’an states that Dawood had Zaboor and yet he is not counted among those five great Messengers. So he is Rasool because he brought a book for people…..”

 

Imamat versus Prophethood Part 1, 2 and Finality of the Prophethood.

http://www.al-islam.org/shiite-encyclopedia-ahlul-bayt-dilp-team/imamat-versus-prophethood-part-1

 

http://www.al-islam.org/shiite-encyclopedia-ahlul-bayt-dilp-team/imamat-versus-prophethood-part-2

 

http://www.al-islam.org/shiite-encyclopedia-ahlul-bayt-dilp-team/finality-prophethood



 

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On December 23, 2015 at 1:45 PM, Haydar Husayn said:

...don't see why it should really concern us much. They are all of an extremely high status, and it is up to Allah as to who is higher. It doesn't really make any difference to us.

This needs to be expanded on, why shouldn't it concern us? Surely most of our scholars(early and contemporary) believed that it was a critical matter that deserves some weight and attention, including those who were unable decide on who is superior and eventually made Tawaquf on the entire issue(eg. Tusi), where they exhausted all possible means and resources that were available to them before reaching their conclusions on it. Moreover, like other issues related to 'Aqeedah(especially controversial ones that our scholars differ on), I believe that it should concern the average Mu'min and not be a matter to be deliberately ignored without having some research being conducted on it beforehand. Prophets, messengers and angels collectively all hold a high status in front of Allah 'Azawajal, but no one can validly claim that we shouldn't differentiate between them in terms of superiority and leave such matter to Allah to judge on who is higher especially when considering that the Quran and Sunnah together rebuke such claim, by affirming that messengers are more superior to prophets and both prophets and messengers are superior to the angels. I believe it's no different when it comes to the comparison of superiority between the Prophets and Imams since there arguably is proof from the Quran and Sunnah that affirm the superiority of one to the other (eg. Imams being superior to all prophets and messengers), depending on how each side interpret the specific Ayat and Ahadith relevant to this issue.

 

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2 hours ago, Al-Hassan said:

This needs to be expanded on, why shouldn't it concern us? Surely most of our scholars(early and contemporary) believed that it was a critical matter that deserves some weight and attention, including those who were unable decide on who is superior and eventually made Tawaquf on the entire issue(eg. Tusi), where they exhausted all possible means and resources that were available to them before reaching their conclusions on it. Moreover, like other issues related to 'Aqeedah(especially controversial ones that our scholars differ on), I believe that it should concern the average Mu'min and not be a matter to be deliberately ignored without having some research being conducted on it beforehand. Prophets, messengers and angels collectively all hold a high status in front of Allah 'Azawajal, but no one can validly claim that we shouldn't differentiate between them in terms of superiority and leave such matter to Allah to judge on who is higher especially when considering that the Quran and Sunnah together rebuke such claim, by affirming that messengers are more superior to prophets and both prophets and messengers are superior to the angels. I believe it's no different when it comes to the comparison of superiority between the Prophets and Imams since there arguably is proof from the Quran and Sunnah that affirm the superiority of one to the other (eg. Imams being superior to all prophets and messengers), depending on how each side interpret the specific Ayat and Ahadith relevant to this issue.

 

I'm not saying that it's something uninteresting, and is worthy of impartial scholarly research (which I think has become difficult in this day and age). However, for the average person, there are far more important things to be worrying about, and let's face it, most people already start with the assumption that the Ahlulbayt [a] are the best of creation (not to mention controlling the universe, etc), and they aren't going to change their mind. Most people don't change their minds in cases where the evidence is pretty conclusive, and engage in all kinds of mental gymnastics to keep their beliefs intact. So there is really no chance of them even hypothetically changing their minds in this instance. I doubt most Shias would even be comfortable with the idea of prophets being superior to Sayyida Fatima [a] or `Abbas ibn `Ali, let alone the Imams [a].

So what's the point of the discussion here? I'm struggling to think of what positive outcome it could have. Especially as many of these discussions tend to have a vaguely disrespectful feel to them when it comes to how Prophets are talked about, and anyone who would be in favour of the minority position would be shouted down and insulted.

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17 hours ago, Haydar Husayn said:

I'm not saying that it's something uninteresting, and is worthy of impartial scholarly research (which I think has become difficult in this day and age). However, for the average person, there are far more important things to be worrying about, and let's face it, most people already start with the assumption that the Ahlulbayt [a] are the best of creation (not to mention controlling the universe, etc), and they aren't going to change their mind. Most people don't change their minds in cases where the evidence is pretty conclusive, and engage in all kinds of mental gymnastics to keep their beliefs intact. So there is really no chance of them even hypothetically changing their minds in this instance. I doubt most Shias would even be comfortable with the idea of prophets being superior to Sayyida Fatima [a] or `Abbas ibn `Ali, let alone the Imams [a].

So what's the point of the discussion here? I'm struggling to think of what positive outcome it could have. Especially as many of these discussions tend to have a vaguely disrespectful feel to them when it comes to how Prophets are talked about, and anyone who would be in favour of the minority position would be shouted down and insulted.

Generally speaking, there definitely are more important things that the average believer should give priority to first (and this depends on each person's ability and desire to learn, access to the sources ect), hence I don't deny that to some extent. Some Shi'as(mostly youth) don't even have the names of the Imams memorized, let alone know anything on their Seerah, so for them to swim into such complicated topic at first might not be a good idea. Nevertheless, perhaps though after some time when they gradually gain some intermediate knowledge on the Imams, it would be reasonable for them to decide on taking the next step into broadening their knowledge on their attributes, that is by familiarizing themselves on the limits of the superiority of the Imams compared to the rest of Allah's creation that Allah attributed to them, and at this stage in their learning they should not be discouraged to proceed on with it. Not to mention that speaking from an 'Aqa'idi standpoint, this issue in the end does fall under the Ma'rifah of the Imams(as per Ahadith), which itself is intertwined with Iman, just as the Ma'rifa of the angels and prophets are also intertwined with Iman(eg. knowing the characteristics that Allah gave them). Hence, if a person has the ability to research this issue (assuming they do so objectively) by exhausting every source that they can get access to, then they should not be absolutely discouraged to give attention to it. And generally speaking, I do believe a person can conduct an effective research on it. Otherwise, if people can independently research on other controversial topics within Shi'ism and reach a conclusion on them to the point where their conclusion might even oppose the standard opinion held by most people and scholars on it(eg. Rejecting Istighatha and calling upon the Ma'sumeen, since this has always been one of the "hot" topics discussed here), then I can't understand why they shouldn't do the same for this issue.

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