On the one hand, this query is related to monotheism; and from the other side, related to prophethood and Imamat. About the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and Imams (a.s.), the Shias believe that the power of Prophet and Imams are from Allah, and by His Will. They have learnt this monotheistic matter from the holy Qur’an. According to verse 49 from Suran Aale-Imran, prophet Christ says,“I heal the blind and the leprous, and bring the dead to life with Allah’s permission” . Thus, on the basis of the Qur’an, possession of such divine power and knowledge is not impossible if Allah Wishes to bestow to whomsoever He desires.
The holy Qur’an narrates that one around Hazrat Soloman had some knowledge of the Book (partly). Allah bestowed him with such power and knowledge that he brought before Hazrat Soloman, the throne of the queen of Saba from the country of Saba in the twinkling of an eye. In another similar incident, the Qur’an authenticates the power of one Jinn . The same applies to the holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the immaculate Imam (a.s.). It is not impossible, nor beyond Allah’s Power, to bestow such knowledge to whomsoever He wishes.
The precise and monotheistic point lies in the very concept and meaning of the phrase,“Allah’s permission” . We know that the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and Imams (a.s.) do not possess any“independent power and knowledge” by themselves. Whatever they possess is from Allah and by His permission. We should be clear on whether power and knowledge is possessed independently or not. Whether they are inherent in human beings or not. In such a case, numerous issues related to monotheism and Qur’an would become clear for us. As per the Qur’an and Shia belief, all power and knowledge are inherently and independently possessed by Allah only, and is bestowed to other creatures by His permission.
The honourable Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and immaculate Imams (a.s.) have traversed on this very path in all the dimensions of their life. They strived to explain to the people that every possession is by Allah’s permission in order that people do not deviate from serving Allah.
At one place, (the Prophet) says :
“Had I known the unseen, I would have had much of good and no evil would have touched me” . (Qur’an, 7:188)
On the other hand, it has come down that:
“Then he drew near, then he bowed, So he was the measure of two bows or closer still. And He revealed to His servant, what He revealed………….Certainly he saw of the greatest signs of His Lord” . (Qur’an, 53:8)
About the holy Prophet’s knowledge and power, you may refer to Bihar-ul-Anwar vol. 17. p. 130 onwards.
The answer to the question whether it is possible for Allah to give the whole knowledge (of the first and the last) to them is obviously positive. Otherwise, we have tied Allah’s hands. Based on this rational reasoning, Imams (a.s.) have argued and said,“Is not it possible for Allah to bestow abundant knowledge to an ant? Then, they continue and say, We are no less than an ant!” (Qur’an 16:68).
However, from the viewpoint of narrations from the holy Qur’an and hadith, the Almighty Allah, His Prophet, and Imams have narrated a lot about their respective knowledge. In the book of Kafi, Vol 1, we find a chapter concerning knowledge of the Prophet and Imams.
Thus, bestowing knowledge does not necessarily create a partner for Allah. His Knowledge is independent and inherent. While their knowledge is gifted and bestowed. Another vital point, worthy of mention, is that the key of their knowledge and power has been handed over to them by Allah. Whenever they wish, they apply the key and gain knowledge. However, the master key is with Allah, and by His permission. In a hadith, it has come down as follows:
“The knowledge of Imams is such that whenever they desire to know something, they know” .
In numerous other hadith, they say:
“We have knowledge of the past, present and future” .
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says,”I possess knowledge of the heavens and the earth just the way I see the palm of my hand”.
To sum up, Allah’s Knowledge is independent and inherent, and the knowledge of the Prophet and Imams is gifted by Allah. Rationally too, such gifted knowledge and power is not impossible and the holy Qur’an and hadith authenticate this matter. Besides, their knowledge is a key that is in their hands by Allah’s permission. Such talks never leads to partnership and similarity between Allah and His servants.