In Quran, ‘Scholars’ imply the Imams and ‘people of understanding’ stands for their Shias
قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ إِنَّمَا يَتَذَكَّرُ أُوْلُوا الْأَلْبَابِ.
Say: Are those who know and those who do not know alike? Only the men of understanding are mindful. (Surah Zumar 39:9)
This verse directly says that knowledge leads to excellence and superiority and the one who is more learned is more capable and has more right than others to become the Imam and there is no doubt in it that from the Imams, each of them, in his own time, was the most knowledgeable, especially more than those who falsely claimed Imamate and Caliphate.
The Imams (a.s.) never went to others for gaining knowledge, but others have come to ask them for it and among all sects, no one disputes that Amirul Momineen (a.s.) was the most knowledgeable amongst all the companions.
Kulaini, Saffar, Ibne Shahr Aashob and others from different chains have narrated from Imam Baqir and Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that they said: ‘Those who know’ are we and ‘those who do not know’ are our enemies and our Shias are ‘the men of understanding’ who differentiate between us and our enemies and they know that we are rightful and more eligible for the caliphate than our enemies.
Saffar has narrated that people asked the explanation of this verse from Imam Sadiq (a.s.). He said: We are ‘those who know’ and our enemies are ‘those who do not know’ and our Shias are ‘the men of understanding’.
Kulaini has narrated authentically from Ammar Sabati, that he says: I asked Imam Sadiq (a.s.) about the verse of Allah:
وَإِذَا مَسَّ الْإِنْسَانَ ضُرٌّ دَعَا رَبَّهُ مُنِيبًا إِلَيْهِ.
And when distress afflicts a man he calls upon his Lord turning to Him frequently; (Surah Zumar 39:8)
The Hazrat said this verse was revealed for the first hypocrite who considered the Prophet (S) as a magician. When he used to fall ill, apparently he used to pray and use to say that I will return from saying that thing again, which he used to regarding the Prophet (S).
ثُمَّ إِذَا خَوَّلَهُ نِعْمَةً مِنْهُ نَسِيَ مَا كَانَ يَدْعُو إِلَيْهِ مِنْ قَبْلُ.
…then when He makes him possess a favor from Him, he forgets that for which he called upon Him before…(Surah Zumar 39:8)
Meaning, when he used to get rid of the illness and regain health he used to forget Allah and what he had prayed earlier. The Imam said that he forgot to repent from what he used to say about the Prophet (S) that he was a magician. That is why Allah said:
قُلْ تَمَتَّعْ بِكُفْرِكَ قَلِيلًا إِنَّكَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّارِ
Say: Enjoy yourself in your ungratefulness a little, surely you are of the inmates of the fire. (Surah Zumar 39:8)
The Imam said that ‘ungratefulness’ refers to that building which he had unjustly claimed and usurped the right of Amirul Momineen (a.s.). He was not the Caliph from Allah nor the Prophet (S) had appointed him. Then the Hazrat said that after this Allah turns His address to Ali (a.s.) informed the people about his condition and his excellence. Then He said:
أَمَّنْ هُوَ قَانِتٌ آنَاءَ اللَّيْلِ سَاجِدًا وَقَائِمًا يَحْذَرُ الْآخِرَةَ وَيَرْجُو رَحْمَةَ رَبِّهِ قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ.
What! He who is obedient during hours of the night, prostrating himself and standing, takes care of the hereafter and hopes for the mercy of his Lord! Say: Are those who know and those who do not know alike? (Surah Zumar 39:9)
It means are they equal; those who know that Muhammad (S) is the Prophet of Allah and those who say that he is magician and a liar? O Ammar this is the explanation of this verse.
Then the Almighty Allah says:
وَتِلْكَ الْأَمْثَالُ نَضْرِبُهَا لِلنَّاسِ وَمَا يَعْقِلُهَا إِلَّا الْعَالِمُونَ.
And (as for) these examples, We set them forth for men, and none understand them but the learned. (Surah Ankabut 29:43)
Ibne Mahyar has narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that he said in this verse the ‘learned’ refers to us. We know the Quran and we understand its examples.
Also the Almighty Allah says:
وَمَا أُوتِيتُمْ مِنْ الْعِلْمِ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا.
…and you are not given aught of knowledge but a little. (Surah Israa 17:85)
The commentators say that it means Allah has give you little knowledge.
Ayyashi has narrated from Imam Baqir (a.s.) that: You are given little knowledge by the Prophet (S) and the Holy Imam— It means others have not received any share of knowledge but on as much as was acquired from these blessed persons.
The Almighty Allah says:
بَلْ هُوَ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ فِي صُدُورِ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ.
Nay! these are clear communications in the breasts of those who are granted knowledge… (Surah Ankabut 29:49)
Kulaini, Ibne Mahyar and others have with many chains narrated from Imam Baqir and Sadiq (a.s.) that ‘those who are granted knowledge’ are we and the words of the Quran and their meaning are in our hearts. That is why Allah did not say that the Quran is between the two covers (binding), but He said it is in our hearts.
Also the Almighty Allah says:
إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ.
…those of His servants only who are possessed of knowledge fear Allah…(Surah Fatir 35:28)
Ibne Mahyar has narrated that it was revealed in the praise of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) who was a learned one, having the recognition his Lord, fear of Allah, he always remembering Allah, performed his duties, fought in the way of Allah, did not do anything except that which pleased Allah and His Prophet.