Is the world with all its content the property of the Shiite imams?


Is it correct that Shiites believe that the world and all its content is the property of the Shiite Imams?



Dear respected questioner, we sincerely appreciate your correspondence with the center of studiesand refuting doubts (Qom Islamic seminary).


As he is the creator, God the exalted is the true owner; No one granted him the ownership and all creatures are placed in the realm of his. Since there is no owner at all but him, God the almighty addresses the false gods of the polytheists and states that these gods possess absolutely nothing and therefore have no place as gods and deities 1.


In the case of man, God the exalted has granted ownership to him and entrusted him with it as stated in the glorious Quran:

 "And spend (in charity) of that which He has made you successors" [the holy Quran, 57:7]


However, this ownership is completely subject to the divine ownership and indeed whatever the creature has, in fact belongs to God. Man's ownership compared with God's is similar to child's ownership which does not negate the ownership of father and is considered as a part of the father's property 2.

In other words, God is the true owner of properties he has bestowed on the creatures 3 and all the owners are in fact owned by God the exalted 4 Just as believe in the fact that we are the performers of our actions, we also believe in Tawhid Afa’ali (unity of acts)


According to the Hadith books, God has transferred the ownership of the world to Imams and since they are his successors and means of his grace (Mediums through which human beings can receive god’s bounty) , God made them the owners and their ownership neither negate the divine ownership nor contradict the Quranic verses which attributed the ownership exclusively to God for their ownership is not independent from God's; Similarly, Their authority (wilayat)  like their ownership is subject to the divine authority and therefore, God the exalted has considered the obedience to them alongside the obedience to himself as stated in the holy Quran:

"Obey God and obey the messenger and those in authority among you" [the holy Quran, 4:59]

It is thus narrated that the world and whatever is in it, belong to God, his messenger and us (Ahlulbayt) 5.


Another part of the answer concerns the following Quranic verse:

"Surely the earth belongs to Allah; He gives it as a heritage to whom he wills of his servants" [the holy Quran, 7:128]

 Evidently, this verse firstly expresses God's ownership and then states that he grants his properties to whom he wills; therefore, this verse considers the ownership of the creatures subject to God's.

Moreover, there are some traditions concerning the interpretation of the above-mentioned versewhich have introduced the Imams as those who have been granted the ownership of earth by Allah the exalted meaning obviously that the verse attests to both God's and Imams' ownership; Ammar Sabati has quoted that Imam Sadiq (peace be upon him) after reciting this verse said: what belongs to God, belongs to his prophet and what belongs to his prophet, belongs to the Imam who comes after him 6.


    1. The holy Quran 5:76, 16:73, 29:17, 34:22.
    2. The set of works, Martyr Mutahhari, vol 1, p. 70.
    3. Tuhaf al-Uqool, p. 37.
    4.  Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 4, p. 309.
    5.  Al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 408.
    6. Tafsir Noor al-Thaqalayn, vol. 2, p. 56.



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