Only the Imams (a.s.) can explain the Holy Quran

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Jaaber Ibn Abdillah al-Ansari, the celebrated companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), narrates from Imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad al-Baqer (a.s.), “None can claim that he has compiled the Quran in its entirety, its apparent as well as its concealed, except the successors (a.s.).[1]”

Obviously, successors in the above tradition refer to Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and the eleven infallible Imams (a.s.) who followed him.

Imam Jafar al-Sadeq (a.s.) says, “Surely from the knowledge that has been given to us is the exegesis of the Quran and its laws, the knowledge of the time and its occurrences. When Allah desires goodness for a nation, He causes them to hear. Had He caused to hear who does not hear, he would have turned away as if he has not heard anything.

Thereafter, Imam (a.s.) paused for a while, and then said, “Had we found a vessel and a closet (to listen to our knowledge), we would have certainly said. And Allah is the One from who help is sought.[2]”

In another tradition, Imam Jafar al-Sadeq (a.s.) informs, “Surely for the Quran there is an interpretation. From it is what has come and from it is what has not yet come. When its interpretation occurs in the time of any Imam from the Imams (a.s.), the Imam of the time is cognizant about it.[3]”

The hypocrites’ jibe at Ali (a.s.)

Asbagh Ibn Nubaatah, a close confidante of Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) reports, “When Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) came to Kufah, he led the prayers for forty mornings and in each of them, he (a.s.) recited the Chapter A’laa (as the second chapter). They hypocrites said, ‘By Allah! The son of Abu Talib does not know to recite the Quran. Had he known the Quran well, he would have recited another chapter too.’

When Ali (a.s.) heard about this taunt, he retorted,

Woe unto them! Surely, I know its abrogating from its abrogated, its clear from its ambiguous, its separating from its separated and its alphabets from its meanings. By Allah! No alphabet was revealed upon Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) but that I knew about whom it was revealed, on which day and on what subject.  

Woe unto them! Don’t they recite, ‘Most surely this is in the earlier scriptures, the scriptures of Ibrahim and Musa[4]By Allah! (These scriptures) are with me; I have inherited them from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), who handed over to  me the scriptures of Ibrahim and Musa (a.s.).

Woe unto them! By Allah! I am the one about whom the verse ‘…and that the retaining ear might retain it[5]was revealed. When we were with the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), he would inform us about revelation, I was the only one who would retain it. When we would come out from his (s.a.w.a.) gathering, they would ask, ‘What was he saying some time back’?[6]”


All Imams (a.s.) are aware of the details of revelation

When a person from Kufah asked Imam Jafar al-Sadeq (a.s.) about something (and levelled some allegations against him a.s.), he (a.s.) retorted, “Had I met you in Madinah, I would have certainly shown you the marks of Jibraeel (a.s.) in our houses and his descent upon our ancestor (s.a.w.a.) with revelation, Quran and knowledge. So, the people quenched their thirst of knowledge from us and acquired guidance and we became deviated?!! This is impossible![7]




[1]Basaaer al-Darajaat, p. 213, H. 1

[2]Basaaer al-Darajaat, p. 214, H. 1


[3]Basaaer al-Darajaat, p. 215, H. 5


[4]Surah A’laa (87): Verse 19

[5]Surah Haaqqah (69): Verse 12

[6]Tafseer al-Ayyaashi, vol. 1, p. 14, H. 1; Yanaabee’ al-Mawaddah, p. 120

[7]Tafseer al-Ayyaashi, vol. 1, p. 16, H. 10

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