Table of Contents

Chapter 2: Divine Knowledge

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ شَجَرَةِ النُّبُوَّةِ وَ مَوْضِعِ الرِّسَالَةِ وَ مُخْتَلَفِ الْمَلائِكَةِ وَ مَعْدِنِ الْعِلْمِ وَ أَهْلِ بَيْتِ الْوَحْيِ

This phrases points out one of the most important special characteristics of Ahlul Bayt;

The root and the origin of the Ahlul Bayt’s knowledge and that they are the scale for measuring the right and wrong and are the straight path away from the deviation.

Without doubt, we need knowledge and cognition for everything we do and it is attained in three ways:

Experiences

The information that comes through experiences makes up a great part of valuable human knowledge but it has boundaries. For example:

Some of the greatest incidents of the world are not repeatable and we cannot experience them.

Knowledge gained through experience is never flawless or perfect. It has happened many times that after years we reach a point where what we thought was fact turns out to be untrue. There are lots of medicine or chemicals that are tested and recognized as harmless but after years we diagnose their harmful effects. This is because we do not have domination on all the dimensions of an experience. Another example is of medicines that are on the shelves but because of the side effects they have to confiscated or banned.

So, to traverse the way of life we cannot depend completely on our experiences. It does not lead us to the secrets of this world and we cannot search the chambers of this life with this dim light.

Wisdom

As we read in Hadithe Qudsi the most valuable creation of Allah is wisdom.1

The foundation of our beliefs is wisdom and logical reasoning, but wisdom has few certain and general judgments. The human intellect cannot tell us how we must eat, how we must wear, whom we can have a relationship with, and what kind of economic and political system we must chose. In such uncertain rules and commands we cannot find a common answer because every philosopher and politician gives different solutions. Every philosopher disapproves of the previous one, and so we are unable to find a common ground to answer such questions relating to our life. We also need a foundation that can answer the common aspects of our life and meanwhile it must be adoptive to different special situations of each society. So, with the general rules of wisdom we cannot find our way in the maze of life.

Revelationary Teachings

God as the creator of world knows the best way a human being can live on Earth.

(الايعلم من خلق و هواللطيف الخبير. الملک 14)

(Does he not know the one He Himself has created? And He is the knower of the subtleties, the aware). So, everyone in all aspects and to know right from wrong and to recognize the straight path must embrace whatever God reveals for us.

The special characteristics of Ahlul Bayt that make them superior above all the other scholars and other ideological leaders is the source of their knowledge. They receive their knowledge from revelation. They are the destination of the Divine messages and also where the angels descend to.

Equivalent Knowledge With The Prophet Mohammad

According to some Ahadith the equivalency of the Ahlul Bait’s knowledge is portrayed as the following:

الکلینی بسنده عن حمران ابن اعین عَنِ ابیعَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ إِنَّ جَبْرَئِيلَ ع أَتَى رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ص بِرُمَّانَتَيْنِ

فَأَكَلَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص إِحْدَاهُمَا وَ كَسَرَ الْأُخْرَى بِنِصْفَيْنِ فَأَكَلَ نِصْفاً وَ أَطْعَمَ عَلِيّاً نِصْفاً ثُمَّ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص يَا أَخِي هَلْ تَدْرِي مَا هَاتَانِ الرُّمَّانَتَانِ قَالَ لَا قَالَ أَمَّا الْأُولَى فَالنُّبُوَّةُ لَيْسَ لَكَ فِيهَا نَصِيبٌ وَ أَمَّا الْأُخْرَى فَالْعِلْمُ أَنْتَ شَرِيكِي فِيهِ فَقُلْتُ أَصْلَحَكَ اللَّهُ كَيْفَ كَانَ يَكُونُ شَرِيكَهُ فِيهِ قَالَ لَمْ يُعَلِّمِ اللَّهُ مُحَمَّداً ص عِلْماً إِلَّا وَ أَمَرَهُ أَنْ يُعَلِّمَهُ عَلِيّاً ع22–

Kulayni narrates with the chain of narration from Hemran Ibn Aayun from Imam Sadiq, “Angel Gabriel brought two pomegranates for Prophet Muhammad. Prophet ate one of them and broke the other one in half. He ate one half and gave the other half to Ali. Then the Prophet told Ali, “Oh brother, do you know what these two pomegranates were?” Imam Ali answered, “No”. The Prophet continued, “The first one was Prophethood so you do not have any share of that but the other one was knowledge. You are my partner in this.”

Hemran said “How can Ali can be the Prophet’s partner in knowledge?” The Imam said “God did not give any knowledge to Muhammad unless God ordered the Prophet to teach Ali”.

Why Equivalency?

It is clear that when the leadership and guidance of the Ummat in all aspects of this world and the Hereafter, the interpretation of the Quran and the Prophetic Traditions and the implementation of the religion’s rules is on the shoulders of the Imams after the Prophet, naturally the necessary knowledge of these responsibilities must also be in their hands. This fact is further explained in a Hadith by Imam Sadiq.

جَمَاعَةَ بْنِ سَعْدٍ الْخَثْعَمِيِّ أَنَّهُ قَالَ كَانَ الْمُفَضَّلُ عِنْدَ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع فَقَالَ لَهُ الْمُفَضَّلُ جُعِلْتُ فِدَاكَ يَفْرِضُ اللَّهُ طَاعَةَ عَبْدٍ عَلَى الْعِبَادِ وَ يَحْجُبُ عَنْهُ خَبَرَ السَّمَاءِ قَالَ لَا اللَّهُ أَكْرَمُ وَ أَرْحَمُ وَ أَرْأَفُ بِعِبَادِهِ مِنْ أَنْ يَفْرِضَ طَاعَةَ عَبْدٍ عَلَى الْعِبَادِ ثُمَّ يَحْجُبَ عَنْهُ خَبَرَ السَّمَاءِ صَبَاحاً و َ مَسَاءً23

Jamaate Ibn Sade Al-Akhthami said: Mufaddhal was in the presence of Imam Sadiq and he told Imam Sadiq, “May I be your sacrifice. Is it possible that God orders His servants to obey someone but hides the knowledge of the skies from him? Imam Sadiq replied, “No, Allah is more merciful and kind than to obligate on his servants to obey someone and not to give him the knowledge of the skies”.

Of course this equivalence does not mean equivalence in the position of Excellency. The position of the Prophet is higher and greater but because of the same responsibility of guiding the Ummah, the Imams too have the same knowledge.

الکلینی بسنده عن الحارث بن المغیره عن أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ سَمِعْتُهُ يَقُولُ: رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص و نَحْنُ فِي الْأَمْرِ وَ الْفَهْمِ وَ الْحَلَالِ وَ الْحَرَامِ نَجْرِي مَجْرًى وَاحِداً فَأَمَّا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص وَ عَلِيٌّ ع فَلَهُمَا فَضْلُهُمَا24

Kulayni narrates from Hareth Ibn Moghayreh with a chain of narrations that Imam Sadiq said, “The Prophet and we (Ahlul Bayt) in the understanding of Halal and Haram are the same and we are on the same track. But the Prophet and the Commander of the faithful have a special Excellency.”

Depth Of Knowledge

We cannot understand the quality of their knowledge and only someone in the same position can explain it. So, for our understanding of the greatness and depth of their knowledge, we have to refer to the following Ahadith:

ِ الکلینی بسنده عن الْمُفَضَّلِ بْنِ عُمَرَ قَالَ قَالَ أَبُو عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع إِنَّ سُلَيْمَانَ وَرِثَ‏ دَاوُدَ وَ إِنَّ مُحَمَّداً وَرِثَ سُلَيْمَانَ وَ إِنَّا وَرِثْنَا مُحَمَّداً وَ إِنَّ عِنْدَنَا عِلْمَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَ الْإِنْجِيلِ وَ الزَّبُورِ وَ تِبْيَانَ مَا فِي الْأَلْوَاحِ قَالَ قُلْتُ إِنَّ هَذَا لَهُوَ الْعِلْمُ قَالَ لَيْسَ هَذَا هُوَ الْعِلْمَ إِنَّ الْعِلْمَ الَّذِي يَحْدُثُ يَوْماً بَعْدَ يَوْمٍ وَ سَاعَةً بَعْدَ سَاعَةٍ 25

Kulayni with the chain of narrations narrates from Mufazal Ibn Amr from Imam Sadiq: “Solomon inherited from David and Prophet Muhammad inherited from Solomon and we inherit from Prophet Mohammad. Truly the knowledge of the Testament, the Bible and the Psalms and the explanation of whatever is in these books is with us.” Mufazal said, “This is the greatest knowledge!!!” Imam replied, “This is not. The true knowledge is the one that is inspired (to us from Allah) every second of every day.

الکلینی بسنده عَنْ جَابِرٍ عَنْ أَبِي جَعْفَرٍ ع قَالَ إِنَّ اسْمَ اللَّهِ الْأَعْظَمَ عَلَى ثَلَاثَةٍ وَ سَبْعِينَ حَرْفاً وَ إِنَّمَا كَانَ عِنْدَ آصَفَ مِنْهَا حَرْفٌ وَاحِدٌ فَتَكَلَّمَ بِهِ فَخُسِفَ بِالْأَرْضِ مَا بَيْنَهُ وَ بَيْنَ سَرِيرِ بِلْقِيسَ حَتَّى تَنَاوَلَ السَّرِيرَ بِيَدِهِ ثُمَّ عَادَتِ الْأَرْضُ كَمَا كَانَتْ أَسْرَعَ مِنْ طَرْفَةِ عَيْنٍ وَ نَحْنُ عِنْدَنَا مِنَ الِاسْمِ الْأَعْظَمِ اثْنَانِ وَ سَبْعُونَ حَرْفاً وَ حَرْفٌ وَاحِدٌ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى اسْتَأْثَرَ بِهِ فِي عِلْمِ الْغَيْبِ عِنْدَهُ وَ لَا حَوْلَ وَ لَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ الْعَلِيِّ الْعَظِيمِ 26

Kulayni with the chain of narration narrates from Jabir Ibn Abdullah who narrates from Imam Baqir who said: “The great name of Allah is seventy three letters and Asef (the minister of Solomon who brought the throne of the Queen of Saba in a blink of an eye) knew one letter of that. And with that one letter he travelled the earth and brought the throne to Solomon. However, we know seventy-two letters and Allah chose to keep one letter for Himself as it represents His special knowledge. There is no power and will except almighty God.”

Nofely also narrates a similar Hadith from Imam Askari.2

The Variety Of Knowledge

The vast knowledge of Ahlul Bayt sometimes points at different topics such as Quranic knowledge, jurisprudence and the knowledge of events and occasions. Look at these important Ahadith:

الکلینی بسنده عَنْ أَبِي بَصِيرٍ قَالَ دَخَلْتُ عَلَى أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع فَقُلْتُ لَهُ جُعِلْتُ فِدَاكَ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ عَنْ مَسْأَلَةٍ هَاهُنَا أَحَدٌ يَسْمَعُ كَلَامِي قَالَ فَرَفَعَ أَبُو عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع سِتْراً بَيْنَهُ وَ بَيْنَ بَيْتٍ آخَرَ فَاطَّلَعَ فِيهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ يَا أَبَا مُحَمَّدٍ سَلْ عَمَّا بَدَا لَكَ قَالَ قُلْتُ جُعِلْتُ فِدَاكَ إِنَّ شِيعَتَكَ يَتَحَدَّثُونَ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ص عَلَّمَ عَلِيّاً ع بَاباً يُفْتَحُ لَهُ مِنْهُ أَلْفُ بَابٍ قَالَ فَقَالَ يَا أَبَا مُحَمَّدٍ عَلَّمَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص عَلِيّاً ع أَلْفَ بَابٍ يُفْتَحُ مِنْ كُلِّ بَابٍ أَلْفُ بَابٍ قَالَ قُلْتُ هَذَا وَ اللَّهِ الْعِلْمُ قَالَ فَنَكَتَ سَاعَةً فِي الْأَرْضِ ثُمَّ قَالَ إِنَّهُ لَعِلْمٌ وَ مَا هُوَ بِذَاكَ قَالَ ثُمَّ قَالَ يَا أَبَا مُحَمَّدٍ وَ إِنَّ عِنْدَنَا الْجَامِعَةَ وَ مَا يُدْرِيهِمْ مَا الْجَامِعَةُ قَالَ قُلْتُ جُعِلْتُ فِدَاكَ وَ مَا الْجَامِعَةُ قَالَ صَحِيفَةٌ طُولُهَا سَبْعُونَ ذِرَاعاً بِذِرَاعِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ص وَ إِمْلَائِهِ مِنْ فَلْقِ فِيهِ وَ خَطِّ عَلِيٍّ بِيَمِينِهِ فِيهَا كُلُّ حَلَالٍ وَ حَرَامٍ وَ كُلُّ شَيْ‏ءٍ يَحْتَاجُ النَّاسُ إِلَيْهِ حَتَّى الْأَرْشُ فِي الْخَدْشِ وَ ضَرَبَ بِيَدِهِ إِلَيَّ فَقَالَ تَأْذَنُ لِي يَا أَبَا مُحَمَّدٍ قَالَ قُلْتُ جُعِلْتُ فِدَاكَ إِنَّمَا أَنَا لَكَ فَاصْنَعْ مَا شِئْتَ قَالَ فَغَمَزَنِي بِيَدِهِ وَ قَالَ حَتَّى أَرْشُ هَذَا كَأَنَّهُ مُغْضَبٌ قَالَ قُلْتُ هَذَا وَ اللَّهِ الْعِلْمُ قَالَ إِنَّهُ لَعِلْمٌ وَ لَيْسَ بِذَاكَ ثُمَّ سَكَتَ سَاعَةً ثُمَّ قَالَ وَ إِنَّ عِنْدَنَا الْجَفْرَ وَ مَا يُدْرِيهِمْ مَا الْجَفْرُ قَالَ قُلْتُ وَ مَا الْجَفْرُ قَالَ وِعَاءٌ مِنْ أَدَمٍ فِيهِ عِلْمُ النَّبِيِّينَ وَ الْوَصِيِّينَ وَ عِلْمُ الْعُلَمَاءِ الَّذِينَ مَضَوْا مِنْ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ قَالَ قُلْتُ إِنَّ هَذَا هُوَ الْعِلْمُ قَالَ إِنَّهُ لَعِلْمٌ وَ لَيْسَ بِذَاكَ ثُمَّ سَكَتَ سَاعَةً ثُمَّ قَالَ وَ إِنَّ عِنْدَنَا لَمُصْحَفَ فَاطِمَةَ ع وَ مَا يُدْرِيهِمْ مَا مُصْحَفُ فَاطِمَةَ ع قَالَ قُلْتُ وَ مَا مُصْحَفُ فَاطِمَةَ ع قَالَ مُصْحَفٌ فِيهِ مِثْلُ قرآنكُمْ هَذَا ثَلَاثَ مَرَّاتٍ وَ اللَّهِ مَا فِيهِ مِنْ قرآنكُمْ حَرْفٌ وَاحِدٌ قَالَ قُلْتُ هَذَا وَ اللَّهِ الْعِلْمُ قَالَ إِنَّهُ لَعِلْمٌ وَ مَا هُوَ بِذَاكَ‏

ثُمَّ سَكَتَ سَاعَةً ثُمَّ قَالَ إِنَّ عِنْدَنَا عِلْمَ مَا كَانَ وَ عِلْمَ مَا هُوَ كَائِنٌ إِلَى أَنْ تَقُومَ السَّاعَةُ قَالَ قُلْتُ جُعِلْتُ فِدَاكَ هَذَا وَ اللَّهِ هُوَ الْعِلْمُ قَالَ إِنَّهُ لَعِلْمٌ وَ لَيْسَ بِذَاكَ قَالَ قُلْتُ جُعِلْتُ فِدَاكَ فَأَيُّ شَيْ‏ءٍ الْعِلْمُ قَالَ مَا يَحْدُثُ بِاللَّيْلِ وَ النَّهَارِ الْأَمْرُ مِنْ بَعْدِ الْأَمْرِ وَ الشَّيْ‏ءُ بَعْدَ الشَّيْ‏ءِ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ28

Kulayni narrates with the chain of narration from Abu Basir. He said, I told Imam Sadiq: May Allah sacrifice me over you, I want to ask you something. Is there anyone in this room who would hear me? (He was blind and he wanted to ask about eavesdroppers) Imam Sadiq checked behind the curtain in the room and said, “Abu Basir! Ask what you want.” I asked, “May I be your sacrifice; your Shia say that the Prophet opened a door (of knowledge) to thousand doors. Imam said, “Prophet opened thousand doors (of knowledge) to thousand doors.” Abu Basir said, “This is knowledge!” The Imam stared at the earth for a moment and then he said, “It is knowledge but not the one.” Then he said, “O, Abu Basir, We have Jamee and who knows the Jamee!”

I asked, “What is Jamee?” he said, “It is a book (on a roll) and its length is equivalent to seventy arms of the Prophet’s arm and it includes what the Prophet had said which Ali Ibn Abu Talib had written down. This book includes all the Halal and Haram and all of people’s needs, including the mention of even the scathe of a small scratch.” Then he patted me and asked, “If you let me?” I answered, “May my life be sacrificed for you. You may do as you wish.” He then squeezed my hand and said, “Even the scathe of this has come in this book.” I said, “This is knowledge.” He said, “This is knowledge but not the one.” Then he was quiet for a moment and then said, “We have Jafr.”

I asked, “What is Jafr?” He answered, “It is a book on leather and in it there is the knowledge of Prophets and their ancestors and the scholars of Bani Esrael that have passed.” Then I said, “This is knowledge.” He said, “This is a great knowledge but not the one.” Then he was quiet for a moment after which he said, “We have Book of Fatima and they do not know what the book of Fatima is.” I asked, “What is the book of Fatima?” He answered, “It is a book three times bigger than the Quran but it does not have even one letter of the Quran”. I said, “This is knowledge” he said, “This is knowledge but not the one.” Then he became quiet for a while and then continued, “Knowledge of what ever has passed and whatever is going to come until the Day of Judgment is in our hand” I said, “This is knowledge.” Then he said, “This is knowledge but not the one”. I said, “May my life be sacrificed for you, but what is knowledge?” he said, “Whatever comes to us, day and night one after another, until the day of judgment”

We also have this fact reiterated in the Zeyarat of Jamee Kabireh where it says, “…right is with you and between you and from you and (what) comes to you” and also in the Zeyarat Alyasin, “…right is what you like and wrong is what you dislike”. In these phrases Imam Sajjad says,

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ شَجَرَةِ النُّبُوَّةِ وَ مَوْضِعِ الرِّسَالَةِ وَ مُخْتَلَفِ الْمَلائِكَةِ وَ مَعْدِنِ الْعِلْمِ وَ أَهْلِ بَيْتِ الْوَحْيِ

May Allah send your peace and passage to Mohammad and his households (for they are) the tree of prophet hood and (they are) the location of the message and the resort of the angels, and the mine of knowledge and the household of revelation.

  • 1. " "ما خلقت خلقا احب الي منک الکافی ج 1ص 10"there is nothing more beloved to me like you(wisdom)”
  • 2. الكافي ج : 1 ص : 231