Imams (peace be upon them) know everyone without anyone’s introduction

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عَنْ ضُرَيْسٍ‏ الْكُنَاسِيِ‏ قَالَ: كُنَّا عِنْدَ اَبِي عَبْدِ اللهِؑ مَعَ جَمَاعَةٍ مِنْ اَصْحَابِنَا اِذْ دَخَلَ عَلَيْهِ رَجُلٌ‏ اَعْرِفُهُ‏ فَذَكَرَ رَجُلًا مِنْ اَصْحَابِنَا وَ لَمَزَهُ عِنْدَ اَبِي عَبْدِ اللهِؑ فَلَمْ يُجِبْهُ بِشَيْ‏ءٍ فَظَنَّ الرَّجُلُ اَنَّ اَبَا عَبْدِ اللهِؑ لَمْ يَسْمَعْ فَاَعَادَ عَلَيْهِ اَيْضاً فَلَمْ يَلْتَفِتْ اِلَيْهِ فَظَنَّ الرَّجُلُ اَنَّهُ لَمْ يَسْمَعْ فَاَعَادَ الثَّالِثَةَ فَرَدَّ اَبُو عَبْدِ اللهِؑ يَدَهُ اِلَى لِحْيَةِ الرَّجُلِ فَقَبَضَ عَلَيْهَا فَهَزَّهَا ثَلَاثاً حَتَّى ظَنَنْتُ اَنَّ لِحْيَتَهُ قَدْ صَارَتْ فِي يَدِهِ وَ قَالَ لَهُ اِنْ كُنْتُ لَا اَعْرِفُ الرَّجُلَ اِلَّا بِمَا اُبْلَغُ عَنْهُمْ فَبِئْسَ النَّسَبُ نَسَبِي ثُمَّ اَرْسَلَ لِحْيَتَهُ مِنْ يَدِهِ وَ نَفَخَ مَا بَقِيَ مِنَ الشَّعْرِ فِي كَفِّهِ.

Zurais al-Kunaasi reports, “We were with (Imam) Abu Abdillah (al-Sadeq a.s.) with a group of our companions when a person entered whom I know (but don’t want to name). He mentioned another person from our companions finding faults with him in front of Abu Abdillah (peace be upon him), who did not respond to him. He thought that Imam (peace be upon him) did not hear him and hence, repeated his criticism but Imam (peace be upon him) did not pay attention to him. Again, the person thought that Imam (peace be upon him) has not heard him and repeated his barb for the third time. At this point, Imam (peace be upon him) extended his hand to the beard of that man, seized it firmly, shook it thrice so much so that we thought that his beard had come in the hand of Imam (peace be upon him) and chided him, ‘If I don’t know a man except what is conveyed to me about him, then my genealogy is indeed a bad genealogy.’ Thereafter, Imam (peace be upon him) let go of his beard and blew away the hair in his hand.”


1)    Imams (peace be upon them) know the past and future of each and every individual.

2)    They (peace be upon him) are not in need of others’ introduction for the knowledge of people.

3)    This is another amazing aspect of the knowledge of the unseen.

4)    This narration also exemplifies the etiquette of interacting with the infallible Imams (peace be upon them). Firstly, Imam (peace be upon him) does not need our information unless he (peace be upon him) himself orders some duty for us. Secondly, if we have mentioned a point, we must not repeat it thinking that he has not heard it because Imam (peace be upon him) is not like us with limited faculties.


1.    Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 26, p. 129, H. 34

2.    Al-Ikhtesaas, p. 307

3.    Basaaer al-Darajaat, vol. 1, p. 361, H. 1

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