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Paper Information

Journal:   ISLAMIC PHILOSOPHY & THEOLOGY (ISLAMIC STUDIES (KALAM))   SPRING-SUMMER 2010 , Volume 42 , Number 84/2; Page(s) 173 To 207.
 
Paper: 

SUPERIORITY OF IMAM FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF THEOLOGICAL DENOMINATIONS

 
 
Author(s):  NAJAFZADEH ALIREZA*
 
* 
 
Abstract: 

One of the Imam’s features, which has been controversial among the Muslim theologians is his superiority over other people of the community (umma). From their viewpoint, superiority is brought up in two aspects: first, superiority as surplus of nobility and reward with God; and the second, superiority in attributes, which is a condition for apparent Imamate. Imamiyya theologians unanimously view the superiority in both aspects as among the prerequisites for Imamate. This issue was first set forth by the Shias so as by relying on the superiority of their Imams they would prove the rightfulness of their Imamate. As for the people who were appointed as government officials, such as governors, military commanders, and judges, although superiority is not an absolute condition, they are to be superior over the subjects in what they are in charge of; and in no way the precedence of the inferior (mafdul) over the superior (fadil) is permissible. But, the Sunni theologians have had no unanimous and consistent viewpoint. Some have theoretically supported the necessity of a superior Imam and have regarded the order of the caliphs in its historical reality in the order of their superiority. However, most of the Mutazilites and Asharites have not necessarily deemed advisable the superior Imamate and have, under the pretext of protecting the umma’s interests, opined for the permissibility of inferior Imam despite the presence of the superior one. Each group has resorted to some evidence from the Book, Sunna, consensus (ijma), and intellect to prove their own claim. Given that the acceptance of each one of these two bases would have a profound impact on outlining the politico-governmental structure of Islam, this article seeks to explain and critically review their viewpoints in this respect.

 
Keyword(s): SUPERIORITY OF IMAM, SUPERIOR IMAMATE, IMAMIYYA, ASHARITES, MUTAZILITES
 
References: 
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