عَنْ اَبِي عَبْدِ اللهِؑ قَالَ الَّذِي عِنْدَهُ عِلْمُ الْكِتابِ هُوَ اَمِيرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَؑ وَ سُئِلَ عَنِ الَّذِي عِنْدَهُ عِلْمٌ مِنَ الْكِتابِ اَعْلَمُ اَمِ الَّذِي عِنْدَهُ عِلْمُ الْكِتابِ فَقَالَ مَا كَانَ عِلْمُ الَّذِي عِنْدَهُ عِلْمٌ مِنَ الْكِتابِ عِنْدَ الَّذِي عِنْدَهُ عِلْمُ الْكِتابِ اِلَّا بِقَدْرِ مَا تَاْخُذُ الْبَعُوضَةُ بِجَنَاحِهَا مِنْ مَاءِ الْبَحْرِ وَ قَالَ اَمِيرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ صَلَوَاتُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ اَلَا اِنَّ الْعِلْمَ الَّذِي هَبَطَ بِهِ آدَمُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ اِلَى الْاَرْضِ وَ جَمِيعَ مَا فُضِّلَتْ بِهِ النَّبِيُّونَ اِلَى خَاتَمِ النَّبِيِّينَ فِي عِتْرَةِ خَاتَمِ النَّبِيِّينَ
Imam Sadeq (peace be upon him) says, “The one who had the (entire) knowledge of the Book” refers to Ameer al-Momineen (peace be upon him).” He (peace be upon him) was asked whether “the one who had with him the knowledge from the Book” was more knowledgeable or the one who had the (entire) knowledge of the Book. He (peace be upon him) replied, “The knowledge of the one who had knowledge from the Book when compared to the one who had the (entire) knowledge of the Book is naught but what a sparrow can take in its wings from the ocean’s water. Ameer al-Momineen (peace be upon him) said, ‘Surely, the knowledge which (Prophet) Adam (peace be upon him) brought from the sky to the earth and all the knowledge that was conferred upon the Prophets (peace be upon them) till the Seal of the Messengers (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) is available in the progeny of the Seal of the Prophets (peace be upon him and his holy progeny)’.”
1) The verse of Surah Naml refers to the miracle of the successor of Prophet Sulaiman (peace be upon him), Asif Ibn Barkhiya (peace be upon him), who brought the throne of the Queen of Yemen, Bilqis, to Jerusalem, in a flash, before anyone could even bat his eyelid.
2) This shows that real power is rooted in knowledge.
3) Asif Ibn Barkhiya (peace be upon him) was given by Allah the Almighty only a fraction of the knowledge of the Book but with it he could perform such amazing feats.
4) Ameer al-Momineen (peace be upon him) and his eleven infallible successors (peace be upon him) have the knowledge of the entire Book. It is beyond the intellect to comprehend the extent of the power that they (peace be upon him) enjoy over the universe – seen as well as the unseen. Hence, no other mortal can ever be compared to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) and his infallible progeny (peace be upon him) in any aspect. Can a sparrow be compared to an ocean? Hence, none should dare to take any of the titles of the Ahle Bait (peace be upon them). Take lesson, O people of wisdom!
5) The mention of a sparrow and the ocean is to show the impossibility of comparison. Otherwise, the knowledge of Asif Ibn Barkhiya (peace be upon him) was even lesser than that of the sparrow when compared to the ocean of the knowledge of the Ahle Bait (peace be upon them).
6) The last sentence of the aforementioned tradition truly confounds the intellect when it attempts to visualize this great aspect of their existence.
1. Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 26, p. 160, H. 6 and vol. 35, p. 429, H. 2
2. Tafseer al-Qummi, vol. 1 p. 367