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 was wrong to do second Istikhara after you have done the first one. Istikhara is one time only for one matter and there is no meaning to second Istikhara unless the matter has changed and became another matter.
'You are advised to act upon the first Istikhara.
There are two ways to look at this. "Hadith al-Kisa'" can be used for a group of narrations, mostly short narrations, describing the general event in which the Prophet (S) covered Ahl al-Bayt (A) with a cloak and identified them. It is generally agreed that this event took place.
"Hadith al-Kisa'" is also used specifically for the longer narration of this event which is attributed to Fatimah al-Zahra (A) and which is often recited at gatherings today.
I assume your question is about the second one (that is, the longer narration of this attributed to Fatimah al-Zahra (A)).
It is reasonable to say that there are some questions surrounding its chain of narration. However, this does not automatically mean that is fabricated, unless there is evidence or an argument that it was fabricated. There is a big middle ground between "strongly authenticated chain of narration" and "fabricated", and, when dealing with texts that are over a thousand years old, many fall into this middle ground.
(I don't think the "sequence of events" argument is strong enough to declare it as fabricated, since no one today was alive back then to say exactly what the sequence of events was, but everyone is different.)
I would suggest that it is good to appreciate the general meaning of this narration, but not necessarily to hone in on every single word and use every word as absolute proof for the nature of reality, as some people sometimes do sometimes.
For instance, sometimes some people feel disappointed when they are having a personal problem and recite this text in a gathering, but their personal problem is not solved. This is because the text says that whoever recites it will have their problems solved. It is better simply to take that as an expression of hope that Allah might solve their problem, and that, perhaps, by reciting the text sincerely, it might bring them closer to Allah and inspire divine assistance or intercession. (Rather than taking it as a literal guarantee.)
At the same time, today, it has become a sort of customary "requirement" to recite this narration in certain gatherings, and this is also not correct. (If Allah has not required us to do something, who are we to require others to do it, such that we might attack or condemn them if they don't?) It is fine to recite it, or fine to skip it.
Unfortunately we are living in a time where there is a lot of intolerance, some people need things to be absolutely right or wrong, either absolutely correct or fabricated, you either have to recite it all the time or never recite it at all. The reality is, it isn't really possible to apply that standard to much of our textual heritage (apart from the Qur'an) since we are dealing with texts that are over a thousand years old. What can be said is that the text exists, it has become part of the Shi'i custom and perhaps there is a reason for that. There is spiritual merit in reciting it and pondering over it, in any case it should be treated with respect. However if someone chooses to focus on other texts, that is also fine. Either way, they should not be attacked for their decision.
At the end of the day, actions are judged by intentions, and if someone is approaching Allah sincerely in a devotional manner through using a text attributed to Fatimah al-Zahra (A), I am sure that Allah would appreciate that and respond in kind.
Hadith al-Kisaa' is one the most authentic hadiths in both Sunni and Shia books. It is a Mutawatir متواتر Hadith.
The meaning of hadith al-Kisaa' is agreed upon by all the scholars of the science of hadith in both Sunni and Shia schools of thought.
This stage of confirmed authenticity is called tawatur ma'nawi تواتر معنوي which means it has been narrated by most authentic narrators in the same meanings of it.
Umm Salama, the wife of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), Aisha, Abu Sa'id al-Khudri and many other well known narrators have narrated the incident of the kisa being put by the Prophet (SAWA) on Ali (as), Fatima (as), Hassan (as) and Hussain (as) with him and his dua to Allah (swt) saying "Allahuma haa'ula'i Ahlubayti" which means "Oh Allah, these are my Ahlul Bayt (progeny)".
Hadith al-Kisaa', which is recited in many gatherings of the momineen, is also narrated fromJabir ibn Abdallah Al-Ansari from Lady Fatima (AS) by authentic Shia ulama like Sheikh Abdullah al-Bahrani in his well known book al-'Awalim.
The narration is continuous by authentic narrators until al-Sheikh al-Kulayni who narrated it by continuous change of authentic narrators till Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari. The hadith has been narrated by:
· Shahid al-Shushtari who is well known in India as al-Shahid Salis (Thaalith) in his book Ihqaq al-Haq (vol 2, page 554)
· Al-Turaihi in his book al-Muntakhab
· Sheikh al-Daylami in his book al-Ghurar wal-Durar
· Zain al-Dimishqi al-Hanafi who is a Sunni scholar
A person who tells you that hadith al-Kisaa' does not have a good source of narrators has misunderstood the situation of this Hadith or maybe has less knowledge about Hadith al-Kisaa'.
There are people who create doubt about anything even about Allah (swt) and the Qur'an or the Prophet (SAWA) but we don't care for anyone who creates doubt when they do not have any authentic evidence.
Great ulama have narrated hadith al-Kisaa' and its meaning has been narrated by main Shia and Sunni books of hadith.
Hadith al-Kisaa' in its meaning is the incident of the kisa when the Prophet (pbuh) kept the kisa on Ali (as), Fatima (as), Hassan (as) and Hussain (as), and Jibrail also coming and taking part with them is also narrated by:
· Sheikh al-Tusi in his book al-Amani
· Tafsir al-'Ayyashi
· Tafsir Furat al-Kufi
· Tafsir al-Qummi by Ali ibn Ibrahim
· The book of Sulaym ibn Qays
· Kitab al-Khisal by Sheikh al-Saduq
We need to be careful of those who claim anything against our faith, claiming they have some doubts. Let their doubts remain with them, for them and on them, but they have no right to create doubt among the believers regarding a hadith which is one of the most authentic hadiths.
In Sunni books the hadith al-Kisaa is narrated in its meaning in:
· Sahih Muslim (vol 4, page 1501, hadith no. 2424)
· Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal (vol 6, page 292)
· Sunan al-Tirmidhi (hadith no. 3796)
· Al-Mustadrak alaa al-Sahihain by al-Hakim al-Nishapuri (vol 3, page 133)
· Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah (vol 6, page 373, hadith nos. 32093, 32094)
· Asbab al-Nuzul by al-Wahidi (page 295)
· Al-Suyuti in al-Durr Al-Manthur (vol 5, page 198)
· Ibn Taymiyyah, the well known enemy of the Ahlul Bayt (as), admitted the authenticity of hadith al-Kisaa' in his book Minhaj al-Sunnah (vol 3 page 4)
You mentioned in your question that the person who told you that hadith al-Kisaa' has no strong source seems to be a scholar. I am sorry to say that he might seem to be a scholar among people who are not scholars but a person who speaks this about hadith al-Kisaa' according to the authentic scholars needs to go and study the authentic sources of Hadith al-Kisaa. He needs to study and research more to know that hadith al-Kisaa' is one of the most authentic hadiths.
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.