عَنْ سَمَاعَةَ قَالَ قَالَ اَبُو عَبْدِ اللهِؑ اِنَّ لِلهِ عِلْمَيْنِ عِلْماً اَظْهَرَ عَلَيْهِ مَلَائِكَتَهُ وَ اَنْبِيَاءَهُ وَ رُسُلَهُ فَمَا اَظْهَرَ عَلَيْهِ مَلَائِكَتَهُ وَ رُسُلَهُ وَ اَنْبِيَاءَهُ فَقَدْ عَلِمْنَاهُ وَ عِلْماً اسْتَاْثَرَ بِهِ فَاِذَا بَدَا لِلهِ فِي شَيْءٍ مِنْهُ اَعْلَمَنَاهُ ذٰلِكَ وَ عُرِضَ عَلَى الْاَئِمَّةِ الَّذِينَ كَانُوا مِنْ قَبْلِنَا
Sama’ah reports that Imam Abu Abdillah (al-Sadeq a.s.) said,
“Surely, for Allah there are two (types of) knowledge: a knowledge which He has manifested for His angels, His Prophets and His Messengers. So, whatever He has manifested for His angels, His Messengers and His Prophets, then indeed we know it. And (another kind of) knowledge is that which He has confined to Himself. Whenever there is a change for Allah in anything from it (i.e. this knowledge), He makes it known to us and it (i.e. this preserved knowledge) was presented to the Imams (peace be upon them), those who preceded us.”
1) This narration is indeed an amazing one vis-à-vis the divine knowledge of the Imams (peace be upon them). If one merely reflects on the contents of this tradition, he will be stupefied that an Imam (peace be upon him) knows everything what all the angels, the Prophets and the Messengers (peace be on them all) knew.
2) The angels, the Prophets and the Messengers (peace be on them) only knew what Allah the Almighty has made known to them. He has not given them the preserved knowledge. But the Imams (peace be upon them) have been given access even to this preserved knowledge by Allah the Omniscient.
1. Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 26, p. 93, H. 23
2. Basaaer al-Darajaat, p. 394, Chapter 9, H. 6