1. Are the Imams of the Ahlulbayt (as) born as Imams or are they conferred Imamat. I mean to say, do they know that they will be the next Imam? Or do they also have to wait for their current Imam to let them know.

2. With reference to the above, since the Imams (as) have Divine knowledge: are they born with it or is it revealed to them once they are conferred the status of Imam by the current Imam (as)

3. Same with the Prophets, especially Rasul Allah (saww). We read that the Quran was revealed to him once he (saww) Was 40 years old. Did he know from earlier that he was the Last Prophet? What does our belief tell us?

4. Further to point 3, I believe that I have read that piety and prayer were established in the house of Rasul Allah (saww) – which consisted of Bibi Khadija (as) and Imam Ali (as) much before his (saww) preaching mission began. Is this correct? If so, was he (saww) and the others (as) praying the same salat and reciting the Quran before the formal revelation at 40 years? This is a confusing point for me. I hope you can clear all these for me.

1- Yes they are born Imams and they knew they’d be the next Imam.

2- They are born with divine knowledge, but it keeps increasing on a continuous basis. So when they are older they have more knowledge.

3- Yes he knew.

4- Yes they would pray but not like the official prayer that later would be revealed. They would pray by prostrating, bowing and remembering Allah. There is no hadith that states they recited parts of the Qur’an before its official revelation.