Infinite Knowledge of the Imams (peace be upon them)

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يَعْقُوبَ بْنِ جَعْفَرٍ قَالَ كُنْتُ مَعَ اَبِي الْحَسَنِؑ بِمَكَّةَ فَقَالَ لَهُ رَجُلٌ اِنَّكَ لَتُفَسِّرُ مِنْ كِتَابِ اللّهِ مَا لَمْ تَسْمَعْ بِهِ فَقَالَ اَبُو الْحَسَنِ عَلَيْنَا نَزَلَ قَبْلَ النَّاسِ وَ لَنَا فُسِّرَ قَبْلَ اَنْ يُفَسَّرَ فِي النَّاسِ فَنَحْنُ نَعْرِفُ حَلَالَهُ وَ حَرَامَهُ وَ نَاسِخَهُ وَ مَنْسُوخَهُ وَ سَفَرِيَّهُ وَ حَضَرِيَّهُ وَ فِي اَيِّ لَيْلَةٍ نَزَلَتْ كَمْ مِنْ آيَةٍ وَ فِيمَنْ نَزَلَتْ وَ فِيمَا نَزَلَتْ فَنَحْنُ حُكَمَاءُ اللّهِ فِي اَرْضِهِ وَ شُهَدَاؤُهُ عَلٰى خَلْقِهِ وَ هُوَ قَوْلُ اللّهِ تَبَارَكَ وَ تَعَالَى سَتُكْتَبُ شَهادَتُهُمْ وَ يُسْئَلُونَ فَالشَّهَادَةُ لَنَا وَ الْمَسْاَلَةُ لِلْمَشْهُودِ عَلَيْهِ فَهَذَا عِلْمُ مَا قَدْ اَنْهَيْتُهُ اِلَيْكَ وَ اَدَّيْتُهُ اِلَيْكَ مَا لَزِمَنِي فَاِنْ قَبِلْتَ فَاشْكُرْ وَ اِنْ تَرَكْتَ فَ اِنَّ اللهَ عَلى‏ كُلِّ شَيْ‏ءٍ شَهِيدٌ

Yaqub Ibn Ja’far reports: I was with Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Kazem (peace be upon him) at Makkah when a man told him, “You interpret the Book of Allah what you have not heard.” Imam Abu al-Hasan (peace be upon him) replied,

“It was revealed upon us before the people. It was interpreted for us before its interpretation among the people. So, we know the verses concerning the permissible and prohibited, its abrogating and abrogated verses, those which were revealed during the stay in cities and those during the journeys, in which night how many verses were revealed, about whom it was revealed and about what it was revealed. We are Allah’s sages in His earth, His witnesses on His creatures and this is the word of Allah, ‘Soon their testimonies shall be written and they will be asked’. So the testimonies are for us and the questioning is against whom we testify. This is the knowledge that I am conveying to you and transferring to you whatever was binding on me. If you accept, then be thankful and if you abandon, then surely Allah is having power over all things.”


The man tries to imply that the knowledge of the Imam (peace be upon him) is like that of the ordinary people. Imam (peace be upon him) clarifies for him that this is not the case.

The mention of night is important because during the day the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) was with the people but during the night, he would be alone and only his Ahle Bait (peace be upon them) viz. the four pure ones (peace be upon him) were aware of the angel’s descent.

We are Allah’s sages means that our wisdom is from Allah and hence, perfect, complete and devoid of all deficiencies.


1.    Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 23, p. 196, H. 26

2.    Basaaer al-Darajaat, p. 198, H. 4, Chapter 8

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