Scholars are people who devote themselves to study, particularly to an area in which they have developed expertise. A scholar may also be an academic, a person who works as a teacher or researcher at a university or other higher education institution. An academic usually holds an advanced degree.
It is not forbidden
The drawings claimed to be similar to the image of Imam Ali (AS) and Imam Husain (AS) are linked with some cultures in places where Muslims live. Muslims in Eastern Europe, Turkey and Iran accept these drawings because of the common culture in those places accepts drawings of divine personalities, while Muslims is the Indian sub-continent, Indonesia, Malaysia and Far East do not have such culture. Many Shia scholars in these countries do not allow such drawings. Our leading Ulama in the Hawza say that these drawings are not more than the imagination of the persons who draw it. No one is allowed to claim that such drawings are the real image of the Infallible.
It is because there are hadith specifically prohibiting chess.
Ayatollah Khamene'i allows chess if it is not being used for gambling, but in general the traditional view is that it is not allowed.
God knows best.
Quran has challenged all those who claimed what this person is claiming, to bring like Quran. ( Say: If the human beings and the Jinn join together to bring like this Quran, they will never bring like Quran even if all of them support each other.( Sura 17, Verse88).
If Quran is not the original word of God, then it should be possible for the enemies of Quran to produce like Quran. When they failed to do that, it means that Quran is the word of God.
After failing to bring like Quran which is from 114 chapters , Quran challenged the enemies to bring just ten chapters like Quran.( Or they say: He (Prophet Muhammad) fabricated it (Quran). Say: Then you bring ten fabricated chapters like its chapters, and seek help from whom you want apart from Allah, if you are truthful. (Sura 11, verse 13).
They again failed to face this challenge, which proved that Quran is not from any human source but from God.
Quran challenged them again to bring just one chapter like Quran.
(And if you are in doubt about what we revealed (Quran) on Our servant (Muhammad), then bring one chapter like Quran's chapters, and call all your partners and supporters besides Allah if you are truthful). (Sura 2, verse 23)
All these challenges were since over 1400 years, against all the enemies of Quran, but not a single response has come from them. This fact itself stands as a living evidence that Quran is The True Word of God and all claims of the enemies are false.
We put this fact in front of all enemies of Islam and ask them to produce even one chapter like Quran if their claims are right.
Last note for the person who claims to be a Christian yet accuses Quran, to deal with enemies of Jesus and his mother Mary who accuse Mary with false allegations with out any evidence. They are in fact doing wrong and misleading themselves and others. He is in fact doing the same by accusing Quran, The True and Original word of God.
We also invite him to read what the great scientists stated about Quranic verses including scientific facts which were impossible to be known before 1400 years but mentioned in Quran. Many books were written in this subject. Just search for: scientific miracles in Quran. You read and think between you and God and decide whether you really want to follow the Truth?
In the name of Allah
Such Hadith is not narrated in major Shia sources.
However, there is a similar Hadith in the more recent Shia books (like Bihar al-Anwar), narrated (without a chain) from the Prophet -peace be upon him and his Ahlul Bayt- that conveys a different meaning:
عُلَمَاءُ أُمَّتِي كَأَنْبِيَاءِ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ
The Scholars of My Ummah are like the prophets of Bani-Israel.
This hadith does not state superiority, but similarity. There are different interpretations as to the meaning of this analogy and to whom the prophet is referring when he says "Scholars".
Some experts believe that "scholars" is only referring to the Infallible Imams, and the hadith means that the Imams are Hujjah (Proofs of Allah) to the people, just as those prophets were Hujjah to the people of their time.
Other experts expand the meaning to non-infallible scholars and belive the hadith is stating that just as those prophets were guardians of their people's faith and beliefs, Islamic scholars will guard and preserve the religiosity and beliefs of the Muslim community.
The abovementioned Hadith is narrated in:
Bihar al-Anwar - v2, p22
Mustadrak ul-Wasail - v17, p320
Thank you for your question. Although you may be satisfied with authentic reports (perhaps not all at the level of tawatur) to construct your framework of belief, it is more common to start from an intellectual starting point. Aqaed is generally taught through a number of intellectual proofs for the existence of God, followed by an intellectual discussion on His Attributes in the light of the scriptural sources and then proofs for Prophethood, Imamate and Resurrection. At the same time, religious experience plays an important role in reaching certainty in what one believes. In short, a combination of the scriptural sources, the intellect and religious experience that contribute to the framework of belief. This is why taqlid is not required when it comes to belief.
May you always be successful
There are many different hadith that are considered hadith qudsi (that is, telling us directly what God says, but not as part of the Qur'anic revelation).
Some of these hadith are shared between Sunnis and Shi'is, and some are specifically Sunni, and some are specifically Shi'i.
As mentioned in the previous answer, each one can be evaluated individually with respect to its authenticity.
Hadeeth Qudsi is narrated in Sunni and Shia books. Our Ulama study the content and the chain of narrators before giving their opinion about the authenticity of it.
We have books on Hadeeth Qudsi compiled by Shia Ulama as well as Sunni Ulama.
No, it is not sufficient to ask one trustworthy person about which Marja to follow. He must be a high caliber 'Aalim (scholar), yet his witness alone is not sufficient because witness should come from two high caliber 'Aalims.
Yes, it is authentic and narrated in many authentic books. Allama Majlisi narrated it in Biharul Anwaar, volume 99, page 247. Dua Tawassul was narrated by Mohammad Bin Babawayh from Infallible Imams.
There are always persons who create doubts because of their own misunderstandings or way of thinking, but their doubts are for them only, because our leading scholars who have much more knowledge like Allama Majlisi and leading Maraaji' are the scholars to be followed.
Ideally, and traditionally, religious work should be done first and foremost as a service to Allah. It doesn't not mean that one cannot be paid for it, but just that money shouldn't be the main goal. If someone's main goal is money, there are other professions which are more lucrative.
Religious work - like art or sports or other endeavors which require a lot of dedication - has the highest quality when it is done out of sincerity and love for what one is doing. When it is done primarily for financial gain, it loses something. Also, when it is done with money as the priority, the speaker or reciter loses their freedom to speak the truth as they see it and can begin to feel compelled to please the people rather than please the Truth.
There have been some notable scholars throughout history who took no money for their efforts.
However, on the flip side, it is good for communities to assist those who serve them financially. When a community hears a speech or majlis, they only see the hour or two of the program. However, the person delivering it may have had to take time off of paid work to prepare or travel, invest time and money in training and books and developing speaking skills, etc, etc. For instance, if someone takes 2 weeks off of work to travel to give majalis, they are losing a lot of their basic income.
Some people also rely on lectures and majalis for their income, especially because sometimes people who work full-time in the religious community are not in a good financial situation. Often it is the people who are the most reliant on receiving hediyas that are shy to ask for high amounts or specific amounts. So it is good to be thoughtful of that and to be generous within the range of what is possible.
As far as the permissibility, it is permissible just like any lecturer who is allowed to demand his fees but it is advisable for those who serve religion to avoid high charging. Most of our scholars teach people with out any charges. Yet it is not Haraam to charge but reasonably.