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In the seventh ayah of Surat Al 'Imran, reference is made to "الراسخون فی علم" (those who are firmly rooted in knowledge):

هُوَ الَّذِيَ أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُّحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ في قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاء الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاء تَأْوِيلِهِ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلاَّ اللّهُ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلاَّ أُوْلُواْ الألْبَابِ

He it is who has revealed the book to you; some of its verses are decisive, they are the basis of the book, and others are allegorical; then as for those in whose hearts there is perversity they follow the part of it which is allegorical, seeking to mislead and seeking to give it (their own) interpretation. But none knows its interpretation except allah, and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge say: We believe in it, it is all from our lord; and none do mind except those having understanding. (Surat 'Ali 'Imran 7)

Who is this phrase referring to?

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For knowing who are the meaning of راسخون فی العم, we have to find out what is the interpretation of this verse. There are two strong opinions for this

  1. Some scholars say that the word "و" in والراسخون فی العلم is related to previous words in this verse and exactly related to الله. So like Allah, the RASIKHUN know all the meanings of the verses in the Qur'an.

  2. The second opinion says that this "و" belongs to the next verse and that the RASIKHUN do not know the meaning of all verses.

These two opinions are very popular in both Sunni and Shi'a interpretations. But most Shi'ite scholars believe in the first opinion because of a hadith from Imam Ali (A.S):

وَاعلَم اَنّ الرّاسخينَ في العِلمِ هُمُ الّذينَ أَغناهُم عَنِِ اقتِحامِ السُّدَدِ المَضـرُوبَةِ دونَ الغيوبِ الأِقرارُ بِجُملَةِ ما جَهِلُوا تَفسيرَهُ مِنَ الغَيبِ المَحجُوبِ فَمَدَحَ اللهُ تعالي اِعترِافَهُم بِالعَجزِ عَن تَناولِ ما لَمُ يحيطُوا بِهِ عِلماً و سَمَّي تَرکَهُمُ التََّعَمُقَّ فيما لَم يکَلّفهُمُ البَحثَ عنَ کُنهِهِ رُسُوخاً فَاقتصِر علي ذلِکَ ولا تُقَدِّر عَظَمَةَ اللهَ سُبحانَه علي قَدرِ عَقلِکَ فَتَکونَ من الهالِکينَ …

In addition, due to some hadith narrated directly from Imam Sadigh, Shi'ites believe that the prophet (pbuh) as well as the 12 Imams in his family are counted as RASIKHUN.

References:

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There is an explication of (الراسخون في العلم) in the book of ibno kathir (Tafsir Ibn Kathir): وقد قال ابن حاتم: حدثنا محمد بن عوف الحمصي، حدثنا نعيم بن حماد، حدثنا فياض الرقي، حدثنا عبيد الله بن زيد وكان أدرك أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أنسا وأبا أمامة أبا الدرداء، أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، سئل عن الراسخون في العلم، فقال : من برت يمينه، وصدق لسانه، واستقام قلبه، ومن عفّ بطنه وفرجه، فذلك من الراسخين في العلم. the prophet peace be upon him was asked about الراسخون فی العلم, he said: part of his right hand, and the sincerity of his tongue, and unbend his heart, and weak stomach and private parts,That of the established in science.

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Allah and Rasekhoon fil Ilm , both know the interpretations of verses of quaran; Prophet Muhammad PBUH is at the top among Rashekhoon fil Ilm; he knows the rationale of each verse of Quran better than others. Those who beleive that Rasekhoon fil Ilm do not know the meaning of verses of Quran and only Allah knows, then they lose the right to refer Hadith and Sunnah for better understanding of Quran.

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