The Origins of the Knowledge of Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.)
The Holy Qur'an
Al-Harith ibn al-Mughayrah quoting al-Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.) as saying: Undoubtedly I am aware of what are in heavens, in the earth, paradise, and hell, as well as of what has been actualized and what is going to be actualized. The Imam(A.S.), then, paused for a while and, finding out that this statement sounded a bit too heavy to the audience, continued: I have found all this from the Book of Allah, the Almighty, for Allah says: "In it there is the explanation of all things".
Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.): I am the son of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.). I am aware of the Book of Allah; the Book in which lies the [account of] outset of creation and whatever to be created up to the Resurrection Day, as well as the information about the heavens, and the earth, paradise and hell, and that of the past and future. I know these matters as clearly as seeing my palm. Allah says: "In it there is the explanation of all things".
Teachings of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.)
Imam al-Ali (A.S.): Whenever I inquired something from the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) he would let me know the answer and if I kept silent, he would start talking.
Imam al-Ali (A.S.): In responses to one of his companions who had asked him," O Amir al-Mu'minin! You have been bestowed the knowledge of the unseen", laughed and said to the man who was from the Kalb tribe: O Kalbi man! What I said is not the knowledge of the unseen but is a teaching and can be learned from the Master of Science and knowledge, and the knowledge of the unseen is restricted to the time of the Judgement Day and what the Exalted Allah has enumerated in his words: "Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah (alone). It is He who sends down rain, and He who knows what is in the wombs. Nor does anyone know what it is that he will earn on the morrow; nor does anyone know in what land he is to die"(31:34). So the Exalted Allah knows what is in the wombs is a boy or a girl, is ugly or comely, is generous or miser, is wretched or fortunate, and He knows who is the firewood of the Hell and who abides in paradise with the Prophets. These are, therefore, enumerated as the knowledge of the Unseen which nobody possesses except Allah. Besides these issues, however, there is knowledge that Allah has taught to His Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) and he has taught it to me and has prayed that my chest keep it and my ribs surround it.
Imam al-Baqir (A.S.): We are a household whose knowledge is from Allah's Knowledge; and we have adopted from His Wisdom and heard a speaker of truth; so if you follow us you will be rightly guided.
Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.): Ali ibn Abi Talib's(A.S.) knowledge is from that of the Messenger of Allah(S.A.W.). Thus, what we know is what he has taught us.
Harith ibn al-Mughayrah asked al-Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.): Let us know about the knowledge of your learned ones. The Imam (A.S.) replied: It is inherited from the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) and Ali (A.S.). I said: We believe that it is inspired to your hearts and whispered in your ears. The Imam (A.S.) replied: That is true too.
The Principles of knowledge
Al-Imam Ali (A.S.): With us are the keys to knowledge, the doors of wisdom, the clarity of the events, and the sound judgment.
Imam al-Baqir(A.S.): If we passed judgements according to our whims and desires, we would undoubtedly be annihilated. We pass judgements based on traditions left over by the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) and according to scholarly principles which are with us and any noble inherits another noble; and we save them as the community of people save their gold silver.
The Prophets' Books
Abu Basir quotes al-Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.) as asking him: O Aba Muhammad! Allah, the Almighty has bestowed upon Muhammad (S.A.W.) every piece of information and knowledge granted to his predecessors. The Imam (A.S.) added: Allah has bestowed upon Muhammad (S.A.W.) whatever He had bestowed on the prophets; and also with us are the Scriptures which Allah introduces as: "The scriptures of Ibrahim and Musa". I said: May I be sacrificed to you, then I asked him: The same Tablets? He replied: yes.
Imam al-Sadiq(A.S.) "The Scriptures (Mushaf) of Ibrahim and of Musa reached the Messenger of Allah(S.A.W.) and the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) trusted them with Ali(A.S.), and Ali(A.S.) trusted them with al-Hasan(A.S.), and al-Hasan(A.S.) with his brother al-Husayn(A.S.), and al-Husayn(A.S.) with Ali ibn al-Husayn(A.S.) Ali ibn al-Husayn(A.S.) with Muhammad ibn Ali(A.S.), and my father trusted them with me; they were with me until I trusted with my son who is still a child, and at present they are with him.
The Mushaf (Book) of Imam Ali (A.S.)
Umm Salama said: The Messenger of Allah(S.A.W.) seated Ali(A.S.) in his house and ordered a sheep's skin to be brought in, then he wrote all over it down to its trotters.
Umm Salama said: The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) ordered a skin to be brought in while Ali ib Abi Talib(A.S.) was present there and the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) would dictate and Ali(A.S.) would write until the skin's belly, back and trotters were all covered with written words.
Imam al-Baqir(A.S.) the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) said to Ali(A.S.): Write down what I dictate to you. Ali (A.S.) said: O Rasul Allah is you afraid I may forget something? The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) replied: I am not worried about you forgetting, I have prayed to the Omnipresence of Allah to strengthen your memory and keep you away from forgetfulness; write it, however, for your partners. Ali (A.S.) asked: Who are my partners O Rasul Allah!? He replied: Those of your sons who are Imams; it is for their blessings that it rains over my Ummah, and in the light of their presence the prayer of them [the Ummah] is answered; and Allah fends off calamities from the Ummah for their sake; and with the blessings of their presence, Mercy is showered from the heavens; and he is the first of them, pointing with his hand to al-Hasan ibn Ali(A.S.), then pointing to al-Husayn(A.S.) he continued: and his sons who are Imams.
Abu al-Jarud quoting al-Imam al-Baqir(A.S.) as saying: when al-Husayn ibn Ali (A.S.) was inflicted with what was supposed to inflict upon him, he called his eldest daughter, Fatima bint al-Husayn and gave her a sealed book and an open letter of testament, and Ali ibn al-Husayn(A.S.) was suffering from such a painful stomach ache that he was suspected to die. Fatima bint al-Husayn handed the Book to Ali ibn al-Husayn(A.S.). [Imam Baqir said:] O Ziyad! I swear by Allah that this book was transferred to us. I said: May I be sacrificed to you, what was brought up in this book? He said: I swear to Allah, whatever the offspring of Adam, since the time of the creation of Adam to the end of the world, require; I swear to Allah, in it are included the penalties, even the blood money for the slightest scratch.
Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.): With us is something with which we have no need of people and it is people who need us. With us is a book which the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) has dictated and Ali (A.S.) has written in his own hand writing. It is a book in which every lawful and unlawful is mentioned.
Muall ibn Khunays said: I was with al-Imam al-Sadiq(A.S.) when Muhammad ibn Abd Allah came in, greeted, and left. Al-Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.) felt pity for him and his tears flowed down. I humbly said: I see you do for him what you did not use to do before! He said: I feel pity for him because he is attributed to something which does not belong to him. In Ali (A.S.) book, his name is neither seen as the successor of this Ummah nor as its ruler.
Abu Basir quoting al-Imam al-Sadiq(A.S.) as saying: The Mushaf of Fatima(A.S.) is with us and how do they know what her Mushaf is.
I asked: What is the Mushaf of Fatima (A.S.)? He replied: It is a Mushaf in which exists three times as much as in the Qur'an. I swear to Allah, there is not a single letter of the Qur'an in it.
Hammad ibn Uthman: I heard al-Imam al-Sadiq(A.S.) Saying: the heretics(Zindiqs) will appear in the year 128(A.H.), which I found out by looking at the Mushaf of Fatima(A.S.). I asked: What is the Mushaf of Fatima (A.S.)? He replied: when the Almighty Allah took Muhammad's (S.A.W.) life, Fatima (A.S.) was so sorrowful of his demise that nobody except Allah was aware of it. Allah sent an angel to her to appease her and talk to her. Fatima (A.S.) related the event to Amir al-Mu'minin(A.S.) and he told her: Once you feel the contact and her his [the angel's] voice let me know. Fatima (A.S.) did so and told him what she heard. He would write down what he heard from Fatima (A.S.) to the extent that a Mushaf was compiled. Al-Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.) went on saying: In this Mushaf nothing of the lawful and the unlawful is mentioned, except the knowledge of the future incidents.
Imam al-Sadiq(A.S.): The knowledge of ibn Shubruma comparing Al-Jamia, which is dictated by the Messenger of Allah(S.A.W.) and written down by Ali(A.S.), is nought. Al-Jamia is a complete text by itself and it contains the knowledge of the lawful and the unlawful.
Notice: The characteristics pointed out in traditions on Al-Jamia such as, "the dictation by the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.)", "Ali's (A.S.) handwriting", are all in line with "the Kitab al-Imam Ali (A.S.)". Therefore, Al-Jamia is meant to be the very Kitab al-Imam Ali (A.S.); and Allah knows best.
Husayn ibn Abi al-Ala: I heard al-Imam al-Sadiq(A.S.) saying: the white numerology [numerical symbolism of the letters of the Arabic alphabet] is with me. What is it? I asked. He said: The Psalms of David, the Torah of Moses, the Bible of Jesus, the Suhuf of Abraham(A.S.), the lawful and the unlawful, and the Mushaf of Fatima(A.S.); I am not saying there is something of the Qur'an in it(but) there are things in it which make people need us and we do not need anyone; there are in it even (the punishment for) a lash, half a lash, and one fourth of a last as well as the blood money for the slightest scratch.
Imam al-Reza (A.S.) -describing the signs of the Imam-: with him are the greater and the lesser Jafr- [two boxes made of skin] the skin of goat and the skin of ram in which exists all knowledge, even the blood money of the slightest scratch and [the punishment for] a lash, half a lash and one third of a lash as well as the Mushaf of Fatima (A.S.).
What is Jafr?
There re various opinions on what Jafr is, it is not necessary to deal with them here. However, what is summed up by different traditions on its meaning as one of the origins of the knowledge of the Holy Prophet's (S.A.W.) successors is that "Jafr" refers to two skin boxes in which were kept various books of the past Prophets and the books inherited from the Holy Prophet of Islam (S.A.W.), Imam Ali (A.S.) and from Hadrat Fatima (A.S.) to the Ahl al-Bayt, as well as the armour of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.). In other words, "Jafr" as well as "Al-Jafr al-Abyad" (the white Jafr), and al-Jafr al-Ahmar", (the red Jafr), al-Ahmar", (the red Jafr), refer to the Ahl al-Bayt's (A.S.) mobile library and museum which had been handed down among the Imams, and is at present with the Imam of the Age (May Allah Hasten His Reappearance).
Imam al-Reza (A.S.): Whenever Allah appoints a servant for the affairs of His servants, He opens up the formers chest for this task, leads to his heart the springs of wisdom, inspires knowledge to him to perfection, and he is no longer desperate in giving responses, nor is he confused in recognizing the right. He is infallible and confirmed (by Allah), and guided, and immunized from any flaw, slip, and failure. Allah has assigned him to these affairs so that he is the proof to His servants and evidence to His creation; "Such is the Bounty of Allah, which He bestows on whom He will: And Allah is Lord of the highest bounty"(62:7).
Harith ibn al-Mughara: I said to al-Sadiq (A.S.): What is the knowledge of your scholar like? Is it a sentence cast in his heart or revealed to him by inspiration? He replied: Is it an inspiration like the Inspiration to Moses' Mother.
Al-Mufaddal ibn Umar: I said to al-Imam Musa ibn Jafar (A.S.):
We are told that al-Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.) has said: Our knowledge is either based on the past or it is written or inspired to the heart or whispered in the ears. Then the Imam (A.S.) explained: As for the past, it is our revealed knowledge, and the written is that which comes up, the inspired is that which settles in the heart, and the whispered in the ears is that which is ordered by the angels.
They Know When ever they want
Ammar al-Sabati: I asked al-Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.) if the Imam possesses the knowledge of the unseen. He replied: No, but whenever he wants to find out about something, Allah makes him aware of it.
Imam al-Hadi (A.S.): Allah does not reveal His unseen to anyone except to the messenger that He chooses. What is with the Messenger is with the scholar too, and what the Messenger is aware of, his successors are aware of too, so that the earth would not be lacking a Hujjah, and there is a science with him which testifies his words and certifies his justice.
For the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.), Knowledge Contracts and Expands
Mu ammar ibn Khallad: An Iranian man asked al-Imam Musa al-Kazim(A.S.): Do you know of the Unseen? He replied: Al-Imam al-Baqir (A.S.) has said: Knowledge opens up to us and we become aware or it closes down and we don't become aware.
The Imam (A.S.) said: Allah trusts Divine secret to Jibra'il, and Jibra'il trusts it to Muhammad (S.A.W.) and he [Muhammad (S.A.W.)] trusts it to whomever Allah wishes.
The Knowledge of Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) Increases
Zurarah: I heard al-Imam al-Baqir (A.S.) saying: If our knowledge did not increase, it would be exhausted. I asked: Is something added to you that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) did not know?
He replied: If this happens (increase of knowledge) it is first presented to the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.), that through the Imams to us.
Sulayman al-Daylami: I said to al-Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.): I heard you frequently saying if your knowledge did not increase it would be exhausted in any moment. He then said: As for the knowledge about the lawful and the unlawful, Allah sends it down in its fullest form to His Prophet (S.A.W.); and in the lawful and the unlawful nothing is added to the Imam. I asked him: Then what does increase? He said: It is in other thing than the lawful and the unlawful. I asked: Is something added to you that is hidden to the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) and he does not know it? He answered: No, knowledge comes from Allah and handed over to the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) by Jibrail who says to him: O Muhammad (S.A.W.)! Allah gives you such commands and says: Take this to Ali (A.S.); He takes it to Ali(A.S.) and says to him: Give it to al-Hasan(A.S.) and so on, given to one after another until it reaches us [me], and it is unlikely that the Imam knows something the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) and the preceding Imam do not know.
Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) in the Holy Qur'an and Hadith
By: Ayatullah Muhammadi Rayshahri