An Analysis of the Polytheistic Aspect of the Belief in Divine Qualities for the Infallible Imams according to the Qualities defined in the Quran as Polytheistic

Document Type : Original Article


University of Tehran


There is an ideological problem when one inappropriately refers to
the Quranic verses on polytheism in order to deny the extraordinary
qualities of the Infallible Shia Imams, as some do. The main basis
of such an argument is that it reduces the polytheism of earlyـIslam
polytheists and considers that the polytheists believed in a longitudinal
system and worshipped their goddess divinely as god.
This article will first examine the claim, as quoted in the book Crisis and
Consolidation in the formative Period of shı̒ʻite Islamto the effect that
the Quran and history recognize the belief of the earlyـIslam polytheists
in the unity of Divine Essence as the only creator and independent
power. It is concludedin this article that one can not consider that the
polytheists as monotheists regarding the unity of Divine Essence while
attributing their polytheism to the special powers within a maintained
longitudinal system as their beliefs deny the longitudinal system. It will
then be clarified that the way polytheists express intercession with and
proximity to God is in contrast with the Islamic and Quranic concepts
of intercession and proximity to Allah. Thus, the analogy between
polytheists and Muslims is a false analogy while there is no proof for
considering as polytheistic the special powers that are attributed to
the divine leaders. Moreover, the image drawn of polytheists and their
beliefs in the Quran is fully compatible with the theological concepts of
polytheism and with the fact that independence is a criterion in them.