Sources of Imam's Knowledge

Document Type : Original Article



According to Shi’is, Shi’i Imams enjoy religious authority; and, Shi’is
believe that, after the Holy Prophet (PBUH), religious and scientific
authority is exclusively that of Imams.
Because of the role played by Imam after the Holy Prophet (PBUH)
which is the same as an allـinclusive guidance, according to the Shi’i
school, Imam is in a relation to the grand Divine sources and enjoys
knowledge of such sources and his knowledge is higher than ordinary
knowledge being communicated through hidden and heavenly
channels. The Holy Quran and hadiths suggest that Imam’s knowledge
is connected to Godـthe Glorified.
There are many sources for Imam’s knowledge among which the most
important ones are the Holy Quran, the Holy Spirit, Jami’ah, Mushaf
of Fatimah (PBUH), texts and books of the prophets, column of light,
thousand windows to knowledge (alf bab)1, narration, the Grand Name.
According to verses and hadiths, knowledge of commandments as well
as halal (lawful) and haram (unlawful) has been communicated to the
Imams (pbut) by the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Thus, the role played by
Imam concerning these sciences is an explanatory and interpretive one;
and Imam is a guide by whom disputes may be removed and sciences
communicated by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) may be presented and
In addition to granting perfection and realizing continuation of the
prophethood of the last prophet, Imam plays the role of a special guide
or Imamate proper. Hadiths concerning connection between Imam and
angels and other channels for Imam’s knowledge have been explained
in this way. Channels such as intuition, and presentation of acts to
Imam as well as daily reports provided for Imam, which are emphasized
by verses and hadiths, are among referents of this guidance and the
role played by Imam in it.