Thursday, 18 July 2013

Shia view: Prophet Mohammed & Imams’ Unseen Knowledge

Topic 24:

Shia’s concept on knowledge of unseen ‘Ilme Ghaib’ should be first understood before any prejudice. Shia Islam considers Prophet Mohammed and 12 Imams (Aimmah) as absolute authorities of God on Earth. Prophet Mohammed is the last prophet and messenger of God, with him the series of 124000 prophets came to an end. No prophet or messenger was to come after him; it thus implies that the Law (Holy Qur’an) which was revealed upon him was also the last canon of God to humans.

Holy Qur’an was to remain the canon of Islam up to the last day; it would thus be also interpreted in different times. There could be correct or misleading interpretations. Who can deny misleading interpretations of Jihad the so called holy war which are root causes of terrorism? It is thus obvious that there must be an interpreting source which provides correct interpretation of Holy Qur’an, this is what exactly the concept of Imamat in Shia Islam is all about. 12 Imams (Aimmah) are source of correct interpretation of Holy Qur’an, their teachings are true message of Holy Qur’an. 12 Imams don’t receive revelation rather are official absolute deputies of Prophet Mohammed up to the resurrection.

Being interpreter of Holy Qur’an requires one to be free from error, else the whole religion and its aspect comes under doubt, since no one knows where the error exactly is, thus the concept of infallibility (Ismat) is not a prestige issue rather is requirement of true religion, this is why God has kept saved all His prophets, finally Prophet Mohammed and later 12 Imams (Aimmah) who are guides free from errors, sins and mistakes.

Knowledge is required for interpretation of Holy Qur’an, thus it is obvious that if Qur’an is all comprehending its interpreters should also possess all knowledge, else interpretation becomes prone to errors and mistakes. In that case religion becomes corrupt and whole motive of God to send down revelations becomes absurd, since Holy Qur’an is last revelation and no new revelation is to come to bring diverted religion back to its core. Thus knowledge of unseen by Prophet Mohammed and 12 Imams is also more of a necessity for religion rather that prestige issue.

An example would be a perfect surgeon (all knowing) doing a surgery can’t be said he’s doing right, since he may be manipulating the disease and faking a surgery to make money. Other way round is a layman surgeon (with complete sincerity) treating patient knows accurately that surgery is only option but can’t undertake accurate surgery. In both cases the other thing is missing, thus, complete knowledge and sincerity both are important.

When their knowledge of unseen and infallibility are talked about no one is considering them gods, this is a biased opinion; possibly bought up among minds of many Muslims by self claimed interpreters (Mufassir) of Qur’an on orders of political dynasties of old and current time to suit their motives. These are examples of sources of wrong interpretations of Qur’an and root cause of terrorism as well.

Prophet Mohammed had declared there will be only 12 deputies of him, who would continue up to the last day and Islam would remain perfect under them. His followers for love of money, power and worldly benefits shifted to other sources and result is 73 sects of Islam, this again was prophesized by Prophet Mohammed, who also declared only one sect will remain guided, obviously under genuine guide (True Imam, all knowing and infallible).

Shia are accused of attributing knowledge of unseen to Prophet Mohammed and 12 Imams, the accusations bring up various verses of Holy Qur’an which talks about absolute knowledge of God alone, and on such basis called Shia as heretics. This bias is what rather wrong interpretation is all about. Shia are projected as misled on basis of several hadith from Shia books as well. Like, in several hadith 1st Shia Imam Ali Murtada and later Imams claim to have bought knowledge from God Himself, while in other hadith Imam Ali talks about him receiving knowledge from Prophet Mohammed in a manner in which a bird feeds its chick in nest. These are bought to show contradictions within Shia Islam.

There are three branches of knowledge. First is knowledge of all sciences and all languages. Any branch of knowledge from astronomy, biology, mathematics, electronics, geology, history, management, gynaecology, criminology, logic, genealogy, knowledge of all previous revealed books like Tenakh, Psalms, Gospel, various scrolls, other religious scriptures, to any branch of knowledge is included in it. This branch also include complete knowledge of all languages, their grammar, vocabulary, accents, dialects, all knowledge includes all primitive, archaic, modern and future languages till the last day. This knowledge is God gift to Prophet Mohammed and 12 Imams. They are not taught into this, they possess it from their births. This knowledge is limited although vast but limited.

The second knowledge is knowledge of all events of past, present and future, this again is God gift to Prophet Mohammed and 12 Imams, they are not taught even into this, this too they possess from their births. Prophet Mohammed and 12 Imams all had this knowledge from their birth, they are not taught into this, and no one teaches them into this knowledge. It was for this above knowledge that 1st Imam Ali and other Imams are reported to have said we have bought this knowledge from God. This knowledge is also limited although vast but still limited.

The third knowledge is ‘Maarifat Ilaahi’ that is familiarity with God, the more and more one knows about God, the closer one gets to Him, this knowledge is limitless, it has no limit. Since, God’s identity is beyond the comprehension of any creation, it can never be grasped completely since it has no limit. It is not that yesterday one had incomplete knowledge of identity of God so today one is able to get more knowledge on this, but since this knowledge is limitless; one continues to get more and more knowledge. Suppose if it is said one has complete knowledge of familiarity of God ‘Maarifat Ilaahi’, then God comes within limits which is impossible. It is exactly about this knowledge for which Prophet Mohammed is reported in Qur’an to have prayed: Rabbi Zidni Ilma (Oh Lord! Advance me in Knowledge).

1ST Imam Ali is reported to have said about his licking Prophet Mohammed’s tongue in childhood that Prophet Mohammed gave him knowledge in such a manner as bird feed its chick from beak to beak in its nest. Shia are accused if Imam Ali claimed he bought knowledge from God then what he learnt from Prophet Mohammed and vice versa? It was this knowledge ‘Maarifat Ilaahi’ familiarity with God that Imam Ali talked about he learnt from Prophet Mohammed the knowledge which has no limits. Two previous knowledge talked above was God gift to him and to later Imams.

A particular Sunni sect’s interpreters (Mufassir) of Qur’an translate ‘Rabbi Zidni Ilma’ as: Oh Lord! Give us great (complete) knowledge (all at once), here knowledge is just knowledge not specific definitions just the knowledge of Islam, they claim if they are praying for knowledge why not all at once? This is their folly in Shia opinion since this knowledge is ‘Maarifat Ilaahi’ familiarity with God and is limitless, and could never be complete, this is one more evidence to show how self claimed interpreters (Mufassir) misinterpret Qur’an and bring God under limits of their limited minds. Shia are free from such mentality.

Prophet Mohammed is reported to have said: ‘Inni Taraqam Fikum As Saqalaen Kitaab Ullahi Wa Itrati Ahli Bayti’ I am leaving two weighty things behind me among you, the book of God and my blood relatives. Book and its interpreters the 12 Imams both are required for true religion; Muslims have taken only Qur’an and interpret on their own whims and fancies the result is backward, barbaric and terrorist brand of Islam.

Back to: Prophet Mohammed In Shia Islam

Oh Allah! Peace and Salutation be upon Mohammed and House-hold of Mohammed.


  1. Just want to know, may be Allah has failed to mention the 12 Imams in the Quran, if they are so important? Even Prophet Muhammad didn't talk about it, while he was alive....? I enjoy the concept of my Shia ruling, and very much enjoy the Reading about Marriage and Talaq, which is following the teaching of Quran, but the 12 Imam are kind of over done, and it should be removed.

    1. I dont intend to debate on this blog. However, belief in all Prophets is equally important, how many Prophets do you believe in and how many do you find named in Quran? Of 124000 Prophets you find around 25 mentioned by name in Quran. So with your logic what do you conclude?

      Quran itself says many of its verses have hidden meaning this is where importance of interepretation comes in, Shia Islam believes since Quran is divine only a divinely appointed infallible person has right to interpret the Quran to reveal its secrets. Prophet Mohammed talked extensively about his vice-regency (12 Imams).

      Quran says you will find Prophet Mohammed declared in Old and New testaments of Bible, so what do you think as to why Jews and Christian dont believe in Prophet Mohammed?

      Quran lays importance on concept of Imamat so why should it be removed?

  2. As rightly said only the infallible can interpret quran. So ordinary folks should not debate or argue on it. So discussion on what should be removed or not is baseless. Rather allow the verses to reveal itself and guide you. Contemplate on verses in solitude and stop debating as it leads only to conflicts. Let everyone have their own opinion. Between I am a devoted Advaitha vedanta ( Hindu) follower :) And I like taking goodness from all paths and faiths.

    1. Dear Aham Brahmasmi,

      Its an honour for me to have a Hindu Advaita Vedanta follower here on my blog. The aim of this blog is solely to provide a brief picture of Shia Islam (Teachings of Infallibles), debate is not intended at all.

      BTW Aham Brahmasmi is an Advaita concept (I am Brahman), right?

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