Al-Mufid on the question, whether an imam is better than a prophet

Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Al-Mufid writes:

قد قطع قوم من أهل الإمامة بفضل الأئمة عليهم السلام من آل محمد صلى الله عليه وأله على سائر من تقدم من الرسل والأنبياء سوى نبينا محمد صلى الله عليه وآله وأوجب فريق منهم لهم الفضل على جميع الأنبياء سوى أولي العزم منهم عليهم السلام وأبى القولين فريق منهم آخر وقطعوا بفضل الأنبياء كلهم على سائر الأئمة عليهم السلام و هذا باب ليس للعقول في إيجابه والمنع منه مجال ولا على أحد الأقوال فيه إجماع وقد جاءت آثار عن النبي صلى الله عليه وآله في أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام وذريته من الأئمة والأخبار عن الأئمة الصادقين أيضا من بعد، وفي القرآن مواضع تقوي العزم على ما قاله الفريق الأول في هذا المعنى وأنا ناظر فيه وبالله اعتصم من الضلال

,,One group of Imamites took the standpoint, that the Imams (a.) from the family of Muhammad (s.) are more excellent than the rest of the previous Messengers (a.) and Prophets (a.) except our Prophet Muhammad (s.) and one group of them considered the Imams (a.) as more excellent than all the Prophets (a.) except the Legislative Messengers (s. ) of them and another group of them rejected both views and took the standpoint, that all the prophets (s.) are better than the rest of the Imams (a.) and this is a subject that is intellectually not answerable and gives room for refraining from it and there is no consensus on any of the standpoints and there are traditions from the Prophet (s.) about the Commander of the Faithful (a.) and his descendants from the Imams (a.) and hereafter also reports from the truthful Imams (a.) and some passages in the Qur’an, which affirm the firm standpoint, which is held by the first group in this sense and I am pondering over it and seeking refuge with God from the misguidance.” [Awa’il-ul-Maqalat, page 79]


The four legislative prophets before Muhammad (s.) were Noah (a.), Abraham (a.), Moses (a.) and Jesus (a.), see Bihar-ul-Anwar, Volume 11, page 56, Hadith 55.

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