In the book “Kitaab uz-Zeenah” the author Saiyedna Abu Haatim ar-Raazi (aq) gives the etymological meaning of the word Qur'an and says that, It is derived from the verb ‘Qa-ra-na' which means ‘to join' and it is so named because it is joined with ‘Itrat' (Ahl ul-Bayt (as)). In the book “al-Majaalis ul-Mustansiriyah” by Saiyedna Badr ul-Jamaali (aq) the same concept is more intensely and openly expressed. It says, ‘The Qur'an is the divine book and its Qareen (companion) is Ameer ul- Mumineen Maulaana Ali (as) because he, in his days was the qareen of the Qur'an and the Qur'an was his. The Qur'an is so named because of its association with the ‘Itrat-e-Rasool. Then Qur'an is the qareen of every Imaam in his times because Qur'an cannot speak of what it contains. Allaah allied it with one who would speak through it and unfold its hidden messages ( asraar, haqaa'iq, ghawaamiz ). This represents one of the well established beliefs of the Isma'ilis that the Qur'an in the form of the book is Saamit (silent) and Maulaana Ali (as) was, during his life time, as the Wasi of Rasoolullaah (saws) and the Naatiq (eloquent or talking) of Qur'an. And after him every Imaam assumes that position in his lifetime. Naatiq is the term used in the Isma'ili terminology to each of the six distinguished Ambiyaa known as Maulaana Aadam (as), Maulaana Nooh (as), Maulaana Ibraheem (as), Maulaana Moosa (as), Maulaana ‘Isaa (as) and Rasoolullaah (saws). The seventh Naatiq is the last Imaam Qaa'im ul-Qayaamah from Aal-e-Mohammad (saws) who will declare the Day of Judgement. Ulul ‘Azm is the term used for the Ambiyaa namely Maulaana Nooh (as), Maulaana Ibraheem (as), Maulaana Moosa (as), Maulaana ‘Isaa (as) and Rasoolullaah (saws), who are also called as Naasekh ush-Shari'ah as they abrogated the previous Shari'at with the new code of Shari'at without diverging from the basics of Islaam.'
Naatiq is the concept which essentially points to the Imaam being as infallible and undisputable authority and guide of the humanity and consequently having the right to the Taweel and Tafseer of the Qur'an. The Qur'an contains implications other than those who are extant with the general masses who deduce from it according to their vigor and understanding without referring to the accounts from Ahl ul-Bayt (as). The Qur'an itself declares that it has a Taweel and none knows it except Allaah and those who are blessed with the righteous knowledge – the Ahl ul-Bayt (as). Rasoolullaah (saws) has said that, “I am the prodigy of Tanzeel (revelation) and Maulaana Ali (as) is the prodigy of Taweel (esotericism). Taweel is the knowledge of the ghayb- hereafter and what in the end lead towards it that is not evident and open. Conclusively, the Taweel of the Qur'an and its understanding is reserved for the A'immat-e-Taahereen (as).
Allaah has revealed His ‘Ilm-e-Ladunni (heavenly and deific knowledge which is revealed by Allaah to His Ambiyaa ) to Rasoolullaah (saws) and His Hujjat . It would have been injustice on His part if He would not have revealed His divine knowledge completely on His Hujjat, who is His representative on the earth . An example that bears testimony to these words is that, during his last days, Rasoolullaah (saws) taught 1000 Baab (door – types of knowledge) to Maulaana Ali (as) which was Ta'leem. Out of each Baab another 1000 Baab unfolded for Maulaana Ali (as) which was Ta'eed (divine commendation). It has been decreed upon by Allaah on His Ambiyaa (as) to unveil and divulge this knowledge to the people according to their intellect in their consecutive times. It has been accounted from Imaam Ja'far us-Saadiq (as) that,
“Maa jaraa le awwalena fahowa jaarrun le aakherena wat-tamaao waahedun, wa'in kaanal kaseefo mukhtalefan wal maqaamato kal insaane takoono lahu seyaabun yoghaiyero be-lebaasoha wa howa zaalekal insaano be-‘aynehi wa innamat-taghaiyaro bis-seyaab.”
‘What is continued in us (‘Ilm and Noor ) is from our forefathers and it will be passed over to our progeny completely in oneness (Imaamat) which will remain unchanged and unaltered. Only their edifice of body and outer appearance will change.'
It has been accounted from Salmaan ul-Farsi (ra) that once upon a time, on seeing Rasoolullaah (saws) he prostrated. When people saw him prostrating, they told, ‘O Aba Abdallaah Salmaan ul-Farsi (ra), why did you prostate on seeing Rasoolullaah (saws)? He is a human like us and you should not prostrate to anyone except Allaah. On hearing the arguments of people, Salmaan ul-Farsi (ra) replied, ‘I prostrated to the Noor which is evident on the forehead of Rasoolullaah (saws) and that Noor is the Noor of Imaamat. Ahl ul-Bayt (as) has said that,
“Khuzzano ‘ilm ullaah, wa waaresu ‘ilm un-nubuwwat.”
‘We are the treasure of the ‘Ilm of Allaah and the ‘Ilm of Nubuwat .'
Rasoolullaah (saws) has said that, “It is injustice done to the knowledge if it is disclosed to the people who does not deserve it and it is injustice done to the people if the knowledge is not disclosed to them who really deserve it.” Allaah Ta'aala says in the Qur'an that, “There is no dry or wet thing which has not been encompassed in the Qur'an.” The divine knowledge of Allaah has been revealed completely to his Hujjat (representative) – Ambiyaa (as) or A'immat-e-Taahereen (as). This pious and pure knowledge then got carried over and passed off from father to son in the progeny of Rasoolullaah (saws).
It is clear therefore that every Nabi (as) or Wasi (as) or Imaam (as) plays an unparalleled and pivotal role in promulgating and disseminating the religion of Allaah according to the need in their time. Thus it is baseless to question about a thing that Imaam (as) said in his time which was never said in the time of Rasoolullaah (saws) or any previous A'immat-e-Taahereen (as). Doubting the credibility and reliability of the words of Imaam (as) accounts for an unforgivable sin as it is disobedience of the order of Allaah that,
“Atee'ullaaha wa atee'ur Rasoola wa ulil amre minkum.”
‘Obey Me and obey Rasoolullaah (saws) and your Ulul amr.'
Verily, those who are ascended to the status of Ulul amr are no one but A'immat-e-Taahereen (as) who are the progeny of Rasoolullaah (saws). It was the time of paganism and ignorance when Rasoolullaah (saws) was glorified with the blessing of Nubuwat (prophet hood). Undoubtedly it was necessary for Rasoolullaah (saws) to teach the people regarding the basic principles of Islaam. After the death of Rasoolullaah (saws), the large mass of people refuted the echelon of Maulaana Ali (as) which lead to turmoil and chaos in the community. These cursed people caused much harm to the very base and foundation of Islaam. During this time Maulaa Ali (as) remained confined to his place and preserved the real meaning and message of Islaam among his selected members as he was constantly under threat from the mass of detractors – the Sunnis .
This true knowledge was carried over unaltered and unmodified from father to son in the progeny of Rasoolullaah (saws) – the A'immat-e-Taahereen(as) who were under constant threat – religiously and physically from the enemies. Under the guidance of Imaam, the Du'aat wrote numerous books to counter and defy the disbeliefs of hypocrites. During the time of A'immat-e-Mastooreen (as) the Abbasids (the succession of Caliphs after the downfall of Umayyads in Damascus) (la) were having their stronghold in Baghdad. They hired historians and scholars and offered huge remunerations to them for distorting and forging the Ahaadees and gave a philosophical hue to the principles of Islaam. This Bid'at (innovation) spread widely and gave birth to doubts and qualm among believers. To protect the integrity of the essence of Islaam and disprove the disbeliefs of Abbasids, Imaam Ahmad il-Mastoor (as) wrote 53 epistles popularly known as Rasaa'il Ikhwaan us-Safaa the pages of which were displayed publicly in the mosques to make people aware about the real interpretation of the Shari'at. The differentiation between the Shari'at and philosophy was explained in great depths by quoting the Aayat (verses) of the Qur'an. The abstruse and esoteric understanding of the Qur'an and Shari'at which was hidden hither to was unfolded by our A'immat-e-Taahereen (as). Regrettably to their misfortune and adversity, the Abbasids could not understand these Isma'ili and Fatemi beliefs which undoubtedly is the heritage of Rasoolullaah (saws). They were caught in the quagmire as they could not survive the depths and the vastness of knowledge of A'immat-e-Taahereen (as). They were rendered helpless and ended up in the pusillanimous and cowardly act of blaming. They baselessly stated that the Isma'ili concepts were being imported from the works of Greek philosophers – Aristotle and Plato, and labeled them as the Neoplatonic theories.
Neoplatonism, a term coined by the modern historians of philosophy, was founded by Shaikh al-Yunaani who re-worked Plato in an original manner. The Abbasids accused that the Isma'ili concepts of ‘Aql (intellect), Nafs (soul), Hayoola (source of matter), Surat (form), Aflaak (seven spheres of sky) were taken from the works of Yunaan. A'immat-e-Taahereen (as) vehemently refuted these claims and said that, Is it acceptable that our concepts are fictitious if it bears resemblance with the works of Plato and Yunaan? There are many instances where certain things of Islaam has congruence with that of Kufr (infidelity), does that mean that Islaam has borrowed its knowledge from Kufr ?
When a king of Najjash listened to the translation of Surah Maryam “Kaaf-haa-yaa-‘ayn-saad”, he told that this has been taken from Injeel (Bible). Does this imply that verses of the Qur'an have been copied from the Bible? We find many similarities in the concepts of different religions which do not mean that a particular religion has been pledged by the other.
Saiyedna Mo'aiyad Sheerazi (aq) in his compilation of lectures, a l-Majaalis ul-Mo'aiyadiyah contends that the Isma'ili theology and exegesis of Qur'an has been inherited in the A'immat-e-Taahereen (as) from Rasoolullaah (saws) and Ahl ul-Bayt (as). He has maintained that the Greek philosophy and Neoplatonism is not even a drop in front of the ocean of knowledge of our A'immat-e-Taahereen (as). Each and every concept and understanding of the Isma'ili tenets has been based on the Taweel of the Qur'anic verses. It is not at all a new invention of Isma'ili A'immat-e-Taahereen (as). He is cursed by Allaah (Laa'natullaahe ‘alayhe) who accuses our pious and pure succession of A'immat (as) of such an act. Did those philosophers knew Qur'an? Then how could they teach such a thing to us which have never been taught to them? Qur'an – its Tanzeel and Taweel, is our heritage and no one on the face of this earth can endure the depth and profundity of it except Hujjatullaah – A'immat-e-Taahereen (as).
“Che nisbat khaak raa ba ‘Aalam-e-Paak”
‘What is the relation between the dust (philosophers) and the Sacred Skies ( ‘Itrat-e-Rasool (as)) ?'
Elsewhere, our A'immat-e-Taahereen (as) has said that,
“Our Zaahir (evident) is the Imaamat but our Baatin (hidden) is what no one can grasp.”
The Greek and the Yunaani philosophies are confined to the concepts of intellect, soul, origin of matter and forms. In comparison, the Isma'ili Daqaa'iq, Haqaa'iq (facts) and philosophy with the Taweel of Qur'an is so infinite and unbounded the Greek and Yunaani philosophy will get lost and vanish in it. Rasoolullaah (saws) has said that, “I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its door”, which means that if you want to enter into the idyllic city of knowledge – the kingdom of the Allaah, you will have to pass through the door that is only after the acceptance of the rank of Maulaana Ali (as) and the succession of A'immat-e-Taahereen (as). One who does not follow this Siraat ul-Mustaqeem will never reach Allaah. Indeed, the group of people – the inhabitants of Hell, who have indicted and demoted the status of A'immat-e-Taahereen (as) and the Isma'ili Fatemi Aqaa'id (principles and beliefs) are the ones who have strayed away from the righteous and guided path of Allaah. As for them the Qur'an says, “Allaah has sealed their hearts and ears and there is a veil on their eyes, great is the penalty and punishment they will incur.” They are dead and diseased people as Allaah says, “Their hearts are diseased and their disease will increase…”