Shia Belief of ‘Infalliable’ Imams
The Imami Shia consider the Imams to be utterly infallible, incapable of even the slightest error. Hence following them, according to Shia doctrine is obligatory on all true Muslims until the Day of Judgment. In fact, reverence for these Imams is so great amongst the Shia that the Imams are believed to be on a level above even the Prophets or the highest ranking angels; A level wherein even the particles of the universe are subservient to them.
Khomeini asserts in his book, “Al-Hukumah Al-Islamiyyah”, “Certainly the Imam has a dignified station, a lofty rank, a creational caliphate, and a sovereignty and mastery over all the atoms of creation. It is definitely a basic belief in our school of thought, that our Imams occupy a station unattainable by either an angel or a major Prophet. And, according to our narrations of hadith, before the creation of the universe, the greatest Prophet ﷺ, and the Imams – peace be upon them – were in the form of light which Allah made orbit His throne and gave rank and proximity known only to Him. As was narrated in the hadith on miraaj, Angel Jibreel said, ‘If I were to have come an inch closer, I would have been burnt up.’ – that is, by the intensity of the Imam’s light. It has also been narrated by them, – may peace be on them – that, ‘We have certain states in relation to Allah not allowed to an angel or a great Prophet.’ A similar status is accorded to Fatimah az-Zahra – may peace be on her…”
and in the same book, Khomeini also states regarding the Imams: “…because we cannot imagine the Imams being forgetful or negligent, and we believe that they perceive all things which could benefit muslims…” and “The Imam’s teachings are like the Qur’an…they must be implemented and followed.” This last statement finds it’s support in a chapter of Al-Kafi entitled: “Surely people have no Truth except what came from the Imams and everything which did not come from them is false.”
The Imams are thought to have absolute and infinite knowledge, despite what Allah says in the Quran; “Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah (alone). It is He who sends down rain, and it is he that knows what is in the wombs. Nor does anyone know what it is that he will earn tomorrow, nor does anyone know in what land he is to die. Verily with Allah is full knowledge and He is acquainted (with all things)”(31:34)
This incredible belief that the Imams know the unseen can be amply attested by the following chapter headings in Al-Kafi fil-Usool.
1) Chapter: The Imams have knowledge of All that was given to the angels and the Prophets. (Al-Kafi p.255)
2) Chapter: The Imams know when they will die, and they only die by their choice. (Al-Kafi p.258)
3) Chapter: The Imams have knowledge of the past and future; and nothing is hidden from them. (Al-Kafi p.260)
Clearly, the book Al-Kafi fil Usool contains such extreme statements of kufr (disbelief) and shirk (polytheism) that it alone is sufficient to push anyone who believes in it into the Hellfire for eternity. Yet Ayatallah Khomeini states that the sum total of his religion is contained in it, saying: “Do you think it is enough for our religious life to have it’s laws summed up in Al-Kafi and then placed upon a shelf?” (Al-Hukumah Al-Islamiyyah p.72)