Shi’ism is Kufr: Imams Superior to Prophets

02/06/2010 06:23

 

Shi’ism is Kufr: Imams Superior to Prophets

 

The Shia Ulema believe that the position of Infallible Imam (i.e. Imamah) is higher than the position of Messenger or Prophet (i.e. Risalah and Nabuwwah). Al-Islam.org, the popular Shia website, declares that“the office of Imamate is a higher and more exalted office than prophethood.” (Lesson Number 17,http://al-islam.org/leadership/)

 

Thus, the Shia Ulema believe that their twelve Infallible Imams are superior to all of the Prophets, except Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم). They argue that Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) is superior to the twelve Imams not because he was a Prophet, but rather “since Prophet Muhammad was an Imam during his time as well.” (Shia Encyclopedia, “Imamat vs. Prophethood,” Part 1, http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6b/8.html)

The Shia belief can be stated in equation form:

Prophet Muhammad > 12 Imams > All of the other Prophets

Imamah > Prophethood

There should be absolutely no confusion on this issue; this view is the dominant view of the Shia Ulema.

Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Fazel Lankarani, one of the Head Ayatollahs in the Shia Seminary in Qum, issued the following statements on his official website:

Imam Ali (Alayhi Salam) is higher in rank than other prophets, because of his Imamate, but he is not higher in rank than the Prophet Muhammad (saws), because Muhammad (saws) was both Prophet and Imam.

Source: http://www.lankarani.org/English/faq/110q.html

This view is categorically stated in the Shia Encyclopedia:

The Shia further believe that the twelve Imams of the House of Prophet Muhammad have the rank higher than that of ALL the messengers (be Imam or not) except Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Source: Shia Encyclopedia, “Imamat vs. Prophethood,” Part 1, http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6b/8.html

In the book “Peshawar Nights”, the Shia scholar, Sultanu’l-Wa’izin Shirazi, says: “Since the holy prophet was superior to all other prophets Ali was also superior to them.” (Peshawar Nights, http://www.al-islam.org/peshawar/7.1.html)

The same view is held by the Shia Tafseer, also available on the Al-Islam.org website: “It means that a prophet is not necessarily an Imaam and Imaamat is an office of decidedly higher order…” (S.V. Mir Ali/Ayatollah Mahdi Puya Commentary of Verse 2:124, http://www.al-islam.org/quran/)

In all of the authoratative books of the Shia, the recurring view is that the Imams are superior to the Prophets except Prophet Muhammad: “Imam ‘Ali and the other Imaams of Ahlul Bayt are believed by the Shi’as to be higher in rank than all prophets and messengers except the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.)” (Shiism: Imaamate and Wilayah, p.96)

Ayatollah Khomeini declared: “And an essential tenet of our Shi’ite sect is that the Imams have a position which is reached neither by the angels nor by any commisioned messenger of God.” (Hukumat-i-Islami, p.52-53)

Of the four main Shia books of Hadith, Al-Kafi is considered the most reliable and authoratative. In it, we find the following Shia Hadith: “The Imams possess all the knowledge granted to the angels, prophets, and messengers.” (Al-Kulaini, Al-Kafi, p.255) Another narration in Al-Kafi says: “Signs of the prophets are possessed by the Imams.” (Al-Kafi, p.231)

Allamah Baqir Al-Majlisi says about the Imams: “Their preference [is] over the prophets and all the people.” (Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol 26, Chapter 6) He further stated: “…our Imams are higher [and] better than the rest of the prophets…they are more knowledgeable than the prophets…this is the main opinion of the Imami (Shia), and is only rejected by one who is ignorant about the traditions.” (Bihar Al-Anwar, Volume 26, p.297)

In the propaganda book titled “Peshawar Nights”, the Shia scholar Shirazi mentions the following about Ibrahim:

Allah intended to make his rank more exalted. Since prophethood and the title of Khalil (friend) did not apparently rank a higher rank, the office of Imamate was the only office of a higher order to which even a Prophet of Allah could be entrusted…That Ali attained the rank of prophethood can be proven by the reference to the Hadith of Manzila (Tradition Regarding Ranks)

Source: Peshawar Nights, http://www.al-islam.org/peshawar/4.2.html

This same view is held by Allamah Majlisi, who even admits that the Shia “might as well” call their Imams to be Prophets:

On the whole, after admission of the fact that the Imams are not prophets, we are bound to acknowledge the fact that they are superior to all Prophets and Awsiya (legatees) except our Prophet (salutations and peace upon him and his family). To our knowledge there is no reason not to describe the Imams as Prophets except consideration to the status of the Final Prophet. Our intellect too, cannot perceive a distinction between Nabuwwah (prophethood) and Imamah.

Source: Bihar Al-Anwar, Volume 26, p.82

Syed Ali Milani, another leading Shia personality, wrote an entire book entitled“The Preference of the Imams over the Prophets (A.S.)” This book is available on the following Shia website: www.shiaweb.org

We could provide more references to prove our point, but we shall stop here for brevity sake. The bottom line is clear: the Shia believe that their Imams are superior to Prophets.

Shi’ism is Kufr

We have often heard the attractive rhetoric that Muslims should unite (i.e. Sunni-Shia unity) and that the differences between Sunni and Shia are minor. Some say that the differences are only on minor things such as the way we pray. Others say the differences are merely political and historical, not religious or spiritual. This could not be farther from the truth! The difference between Sunni Islam and Shi’ism is monumental; the Shia believe in false prophets after Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) and thus there should no confusion that Shi’ism is Kufr. The difference between Sunni Islam and Shi’ism is on a core fundamental issue, one which shapes the entire faith itself.

The Shia will argue that they do not believe in Prophets after Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), and that their Imams are not Prophets. But, as is the case with the Shia, they swallow the second part of this statement, namely that their Imams are not Prophets but rather they are superior to Prophets. It would be Kufr enough to believe that there are people equal to Prophets after the Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), but it is an even greater Kufr to say that there are people who are superior to the Prophets. To give an appropriate analogy: it would be Kufr to say that there is a god equal to Allah, but it would be even greater Kufr to say that there is a god greater than Allah.

The faith of Shi’ism is Kufr just like Ahmadis, Submittors, Nation of Islam, Bahais, and Aga Khanis are Kaffir.

Finality of Prophethood

A central belief of Islam is that Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) is the final Prophet. Anyone who believes in a Prophet after Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) is considered a Kaffir.

Allah Almighty says in the Quran:

“Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but the Messenger of Allah and the Last of Prophets. And Allah has knowledge of everything.” (Quran 33:40)

As soon as Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) died, there arose many Dajjals (false prophets) in the land of Arabia. The followers of these Dajjals formed deviant and heretical sects. The Sahabah waged war against these false prophets, their followers, and all other apostates; thus began the Wars of Riddah (Apostacy) in which the heretics were defeated and the finality of the Prophethood defended.

Unfortunately, every generation and land has witnessed its fair share of false prophets. Today, many divergent cults and heretical sects still exist. And yet, no matter how divergent their beliefs are to each other, there is one commonality to them all: they do not believe in the finality of prophethood, or somehow they get around this concept by playing word games. One such example is the Qadiani sect that believes in the messengership of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadian. Another deviant sect is the Rashad Calipha sect (i.e. the Submittors) who believe that Rashad Calipha is a messenger after Muhammad. The Nation of Islam (NOI) believes that Elijah is a God-appointed leader, and the Bahais believe that Bahaiullah is a God-appointed individual after Muhammad.

These sects claim to follow the Quran and yet they defy its very words in which Allah Almighty so clearly defines Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) as the last of the Prophets. How do they justify this contradiction? They resort to a method used by the Jews: playing word games with the Word of Allah. Rashad Calipha’s sect, for example, says that Verse 33:40 only declares an end to Prophethood but not to Messengership; he thus declares that he is a Messenger and not a Prophet. In this way, the Submittors give lip service to the idea of finality of prophethood, but in reality, they exalt their leader above that of the Prophets. Similar justifications and word games are utilized by the Qadianis, who refer to their leader as a “Messiah” or “Mahdi” instead of Prophet. The Aga Khanis believe that their leader, the Aga Khan, is a God-appointed person after Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), and they thus exalt Prince Kareem.

In the end, all of these sects are using word games to extend the prophethood and destroy the finality of Islam. They give all the same powers, prestiges, and honors to their leaders as Prophets but they will deny that this person is a Prophet after Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), and will use other words such as “Mahdi”, “Messiah”, “Aga Khan”, or even “Messenger.” However, both Sunni and Shia Ulema declare these sects to be deviant Kuffaar for the reason that they deny the finality of prophethood. Indeed, a rose would still be a rose even if it were to be called by another name. Simply changing the name of an entity does not change the nature of that entity.

The Shia sect has also extended the institution of prophethood by playing word games. They follow the “Aimmatul Masomeen” (Infallible Imams) who are considered equal to Prophets. In fact, they are superior to Prophets as we have seen above. For all practical intents and purposes, Imams are the same thing as Prophets, as indicated by the statements of the Shia leader, Allamah Majlisi:

On the whole, after admission of the fact that the Imams are not prophets, we are bound to acknowledge the fact that they are superior to all Prophets and Awsiya (legatees) except our Prophet (salutations and peace upon him and his family). To our knowledge there is no reason not to describe the Imams as Prophets except consideration to the status of the Final Prophet. Our intellect too, cannot perceive a distinction between Nabuwwah (prophethood) and Imamah.

Source: Bihar Al-Anwar, Volume 26, p.82

It is simply a formality that the Shia do not refer to their Imams as Prophets. Otherwise, the Imams are equal to and even superior to the Prophets. They have all the same powers, prestiges, and signs as Prophets; the Shia Hadith book, Al-Kafi, states: “Signs of the prophets are possessed by the Imams.” (Al-Kafi, p.231)

The finality of Prophethood is thus abolished in the Shia sect, and instead there is a continual extension of it in the form of Imamah. The popular Shia website, Al-Islam.org, declared: “The Shi’ah believe that the Imamate constitutes an extension of prophethood in its spiritual dimension.” (Lesson Number 24:http://al-islam.org/leadership/ )

As can be seen clearly by the unbiased observor, all of these deviant sects extend Prophethood in one way or the other, and thus believe in Dajjals. The truth of the matter is that Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) is the absolute seal of the Prophets. There is no other position equal to or higher than the status of the prophets and messengers; such a thing as having a position higher than prophetood would obviate the need to declare the finality of prophethood.

Allah declares in the Quran:

“Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but the Messenger of Allah and the Last of Prophets. And Allah has knowledge of everything.” (Quran 33:40)

What is the point of declaring Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) as the Last of the Prophets if there are people superior to Prophets that will come later? Why didn’t Allah say “Muhammad is the Last of the Prophets but he is also an Imam, and there will be Imams who are superior to Prophets that will come after Muhammad.” Surely, that would have cleared up the confusion.

The Shia believe that there can be no Imam after Imam Mehdi; he is the twelvth Imam and the absolute last. Anyone who claimed to be an Infallible Imam today would be declared a Kaffir by the Shia Ulema. In fact, the (Twelver) Shia call the Aga Khanis to be deviant because they believe in Imams after the twelvth. Just like Muslims believe that anyone is a Kaffir who believes in a Prophet after Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), so too do the Shia believe that anyone who believes in an Infallible Imam after Imam Mehdi is a Kaafir.

Now let us suppose that a Shia follower suddenly started his own sect, let us call it Mullah-ism. Followers of this hypothetical sect believe in another position other than Imam known as “Mullah”. According to followers of Mullah-ism, Mullahs came after the 12th Imam when he went into occultation, and these Mullahs are higher in rank than the Imams. Imagine the reaction of the Shia to a person who says that there can be a Mullah greater in rank to their Infallible Imams! How quickly would the Shia Ulema be to condemn these followers of Mullah-ism.

By creating a station or position higher than that of Imam, the followers of Mullah-ism have obviated the very reason the Shia declare Imamah to have ended with the twelvth Imam. Suddenly, Mullahs become higher than Imams, thereby making it inconsequential that the station of Imamah came to an end. Of course, this example of “Mullah-ism” is only hypothetical, but it fits perfectly with the relationship of Shi’ism to (Sunni) Islam. By creating a rank and station higher than that of Prophet, the Shia have obviated the very reason that we declare a seal on Prophethood. What is the point of saying that there will be no more Prophets if there are people who supercede Prophets?

Shia Rebuttal

The Ahlus Sunnah accuses the Shia of believing in false Prophets/Messengers; indeed, the Shia simply call them by a different name (i.e. “Imam”). The Shia deny this claim and say that there is a difference between Imams and Prophets/Messengers. The typical Shia counter-response to this is:

“Nabuwwah/Risalah (Prophethood/Messengership) and Imamah are two different stations. Messengers recieve revelation. The Imams do not recieve revelation. They are only divinely inspired (ilham). So Imamah is not the same as Risalah.”

What the above fails to mention is that although Imamah may not be the same as Risalah (Messengership), it is definitely the same as Nabuwwah (Prophethood). The Shia Ulema have said that the difference between Messengers and Prophets is that the former recieves revelation whereas the latter is divinely inspired (ilham). This is rooted in the Shia belief. According to Al-Kafi, the Shia book of Hadith:

“What is a Messenger, a Prophet and one who is told? He said: A Messenger is one to whom the angel appears and speaks. A Prophet is one who sees in his dream [ilham]. Possibly the Prophethood and Messengership is combined in a single person.” (Source: Usool Al-Kafi, Book 4, 442-4)

In another narration in Al-Kafi:

“A Prophet is one who sees the angel while asleep, and hears him but does not see the angel awake [ilham]. A Messenger is one who hears the voice while awake and sees, while asleep, and also with his eyes sees the angel when awake.” (Source: Usool Al-Kafi, Book 4, 439-1)

The Shia are in agreement that there is a difference between the word “Nabi” (Prophet) and “Rasool” (Messenger). And the Shia believe that only those who are Messengers recieve revelation whereas those who are Prophets only will recieve divine inspiration (ilham).

So whereas the Shia might find some room to claim that their Imams are not the same as Messengers (for the reason that they do not recieve revelation), but they still do not prove that Imams are different than Prophets. Both Prophets and Imams recieve their words through divine inspiration (ilham) only. There is thus no difference between Prophets and Imams, and the names are basically interchangeable.

Alinaam.org

The website alinaam.org explains why the Shia sect is Kufr:

Alinaam.org says
It is essential that Muslim sympathisers of the Shias divest themselves of the notion that Shi’ism is part of Islam – that it is just as one of the other four Madhabs which constitute the Ahlus Sunnah. Shi’ism is not Islam nor is it a sect of Islam. The ostentatious religious calls of an Islamic hue emanating from Khomeini and his clergy do not make Shi’ism any closer to Islam than the religious and ‘Islamic’ calls and slogans of religions such as Qadianism.

 

Like Qadianism, Shi’ism too believes in the extension and perpetuation of Nubuwwat (Prophethood) after Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). Although both religions (Qadianis and Shi’ism) overtly assert a belief in the finality of the Nubuwwat of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), they covertly believe by way of fallacious interpretation in the continuation of Nubuwwat.

Shi’i religious literature abundantly clarifies the fact that Shias believe in the continuation of Nubuwwat after Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). The only cover presented by Shi’ism for this Kufr belief is a name, viz., Imaam. Instead of calling the one they believe to be a Prophet or Nabi or Rasool, they describe him as an Imaam, and instead of saying Nubuwwat they say Imaamat. But, in terms of Shi’i religion there is absolutely no difference between a Nabi or a Shi’i Imaam. In fact, Shi’ism propagates the superiority of an Imaam over a Nabi.

Imaamat is a continuation of Nubuwwat, there is no doubt. Their beliefs as propounded by their own authorities unequivocally assert total equality between Nubuwwat and Imaamat, in fact, Imaamat is even accepted to be superior to Nubuwwat by the Shi’i religion.

The Shi’i book, ‘The faith of Shia Islam’ states,

‘We believe that Imaamat is one of the fundamentals of Islam and that man’s faith can never be complete without belief in it. It is wrong to imitate our fathers, family or teachers in this matter, even if we respect both, for it is just as necessary rationally to consider Imaamat as it is to consider Tawheed and Nubuwwat.’

‘We believe that, just as it is necessary for Allah to send someone as a prophet, so it is also necessary for Him to appoint an Imaam.’

‘The Imaamat is therefore a continuation of a prophethood, and the reasoning which proves the former’s necessity is the same that which prove the latter’s. ‘We believe that, like the Prophet, an Imaam must be infallible, that is to say incapable of making errors or doing wrong, either inwardly or outwardly …’

‘Their (i.e. the Shi’i Imaams) position in regard to Islam is the same as the prophet’s, and the reasoning which necessitates their infallibility is the same as that which necessitates the Prophet’s infallibility, and there is no difference between them in matters.’

‘The Faith of Shia Islam’, states:

‘We believe that the Imaamat, like Prophethood, must be an appointment from Allah through His Messenger, or an appointed Imaam. From this point of view, the Imaamat is the same as the prophethood.’

No one should therefore labour under the misapprehension that Shi’ism believes in the Islamic concept of Finality of Nubuwwat. The Qadianis claim to believe in the Finality of Nubuwwat, but their devious interpretation of this concept opens the way for them to accept Mirza Ghulam as a Nabi. In the same way, the Shi’as believe in the continuation of Nubuwwah inspite of their claim to believe in the Finality of the Nubuwwah of Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). Each and every attribute, office, function and institution exclusive with Nubuwwah is asserted for the Imaams by the Shi’as. One who studies the religious literature of the Shi’as will not fail to understand that on only this one basis of Imaamat, the Shi’as are not Muslims.

Rejection of a Nabi is Kufr. One who does not believe in a Nabi is a Kaafir. This is the belief of Islam. But according to the Shi’ah religion, belief in Imaamat is Fardh just as Fardh as it is to believe in Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). According to Shi’ism, one who denies any of the Shi’i Imaams – one who does not accept any of the Shi’i Imaams – is a Kaafir. Propounding this view, the Shi’i authority, Kulaini, states in his ‘most trustworthy and celebrated work of Hadith’, Al-Kaafi:

“We (i.e. the Imaams) are those whose obedience Allah has made Fardh… Whoever denies us is a Kaafir.”

This belief in Shi’ism categorically indicates that the Shi’i religion regards its Imaams as Ambiyaa. All those who do not subscribe to the Shi’ah doctrine of Imaamat are branded as Kaafirs by the Shi’ah religion. This is an indisputable fact in terms of Shi’ah theological writings. It is entirely another matter for Khomeini and the present Shi’a clergy to ostensibly claim that they regard Sunnis as Muslims. Such devious statements are based on the Shi’ah doctrine of Taqiyyah (holy hypocrisy) and stem from pernicious political motives.

Conclusion

We have proven in this article that the Shia sect is Kufr. We have established this fact by providing references from well-known sources in which the Shia declare their Imams to be superior to Prophets. This belief voids a person’s Kalimah since it is implicit in the Kalimah that we mean to say that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) is not just a Prophet, but he is the last Prophet. The Shia believe in Imams who have the same position as Prophets, and the only difference is in the names and nothing else.

Article Written By: Ibn al-Hashimi, www.ahlelbayt.com

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