Islam, a recognized leader or a religious teacher
Shi'ite leader; Islamic holy man; Prayer leader; Mosque
leader; Priest of the Mideast; Mosque priest; Muslim religious
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an Arabic word meaning "Leader".
The ruler of a
country might be called the Imam, for example. The term, however,
has important connotations in the Islamic tradition.
Sayyid Ruhollah al-Musavi al-Khomeini
common everyday use of the word is for a person leading Muslim
congregational prayers. In this meaning Imam is not required to
be a cleric.
term is also used for a recognized religious leader or teacher in
Islam, often for the founding scholars of the four Sunni
madhhabs, or schools of religious jurisprudence (fiqh).
For example, Imam
Or the Imams of the sciences related to Hadith such as Imam
Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam Abu Dawood. Or the heads of the
Prophet's decendants in their times such as Imam Jafar Sadiq.
the Shia context, Imam
also has a meaning
more central to belief.
Shia interpretation is that the Quran clearly says that only God
can appoint an Imam
and no one else has
the power to designate one. The incident of Ghadeer-e-Khum is
referenced as when Muhammad declared Ali as the leader of the
community after him.
to the Twelve-Imam Shiite dogma, imam is a divine status, greater
than the status of a Prophet. According to this ideology this
title is reserved for only twelve early leaders of Islam—Ali,
Hasan, Husayn, and nine of Husayn's descendants.
is a listing of the rightful sucessors of Muhammad, as recognized
by ("Twelver") Shias. Each Imam was the son of the
previous Imam, except for Husayn who was the brother of Hasan.
ibn Abu Talib (600 - 661)
ibn Ali (625 - 669)
ibn Ali (626 - 680)
ibn Husayn (658 - 713), also known as Zainul
al Baqir (676 - 743)
as Sadiq (703 - 765)
al Kazim (745 - 799)
ar Rida (765 - 818)
at Taqi (810 - 835)
al Hadi (827 - 868)
al Askari (846 - 874)
al Mahdi (868 - ?))
Ismailis trace a different line of Imams, branching at one of
Husayn's descendants, Ismail bin Jafar.
Zayidis trace a different line, branching at Husayn's grandson,
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