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Sayyid Fadhallah Q and A

Q: Do the infallible Imams enjoy the Wilayat Takwiniya (universal or absolute authority)? Doe they have the knowledge of the unseen, if God, the Most Exalted wills so?

A: The term Wilayat Takwiniya means that Allah has given Prophet Muhammad (p.) and his household the mandate to run the universe or at least a part of it. The religious scholars are divided between those who believe in it and those who do not. And we tend to agree with those who do not, because if Allah does not interfere and has left the running of the universe to other distinguished creations (Angels, Prophets… etc) then they are independent is assuming their responsibilities and this is what the religious scholars have agreed to refuse. It is clear in this case that rejecting the mandate leads to rejecting the Wilayat Takwiniya. If this Wilayat means something else: That they (prophets and imams) were honoured by Allah in asking them to run the universe, although He is the real administrator and the only source of power. We say that since their role is to guide people to the right path, any other task does not conform with this role. It is also not necessary to enable them to perform this role. Miracles do not constitute a proof in this regard. The miracle is an exceptional action that Allah made certain Prophets perform to prove their case. But it is not a proof of the Wilayat Takwiniya, since it is not a constant attribute. In any case, what is relevant here is that Allah has ensured in His Holy Book that He is the only creator and the only one who runs this universe, and that He has no partners. If the angles were given a certain role in running certain affairs, they are not independent, rather, and according to the Quranic text, they follow His orders. Moreover it has not been proven that, with the exception of the angels, anybody else, especially, Prophets and Imams, have any role in running the universe. The traditions that say otherwise are either false because they contradict the Quran, or not authentic.

But there are others

Q: What is the ruling on those who say for example: “Ya Ali” whenever they want to lift heavy objects? Is this considered an act of polytheism because one seeks the help of the Holy persons or Ahlelbeit rather than seeking it from Allah?

A: The pious person ought to abide by the Islamic instructions of the Quran and Sunna. Thus, he has to ask only for Allah’s help in conformity with Surat Al-Fatiha: Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) we ask for help.

Q: Is it permissible to supplicate and pray to the Imams with the intention that they are the means to Allah? If the answer is no, what is your opinion regarding this matter and what do you think about this Aya: {and seek mean of nearness to Allah}?

A: The supplication must be only addressed to Allah (The most Exalted) and this is what traditions of the Imams (a.s) have said. The Ayah refers to the means that guide to Allah and the Imams (a.s) are the guides to Allah because they know Allah, His religion and His message. Therefore, this Ayah does not mean that we have to address the supplication to the Imams and not to Allah (The Most Exalted).

Q: If I can ask Allah (The Most Exalted) and Imam Ali (a.s.) for a need, who is worthier to be asked, Allah or Imam Ali (a.s.)? Or, can we say that there is no priority?

A: Allah is the only one Whom we should ask for our needs, where as, asking Imam Ali (a.s.) only for the needs while, believing that he is the one who answers them, is considered as ascribing him as (a.s.) a partner for Allah.

Q: Is it prohibited according to Islamic law to say “o Ali” (ya Ali)?

A: It is not prohibited to say (ya Ali), as long as the supplication is not addressed to anyone except to Allah and Ahl El-Beit (a.s) are but the intercessors. Although the Niyyah (the intention) is so, it is better that one should not address in his supplication anyone except Allah.

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