Imamah

The term imamate or imamah (Arabic: إمامة‎, imāmah) means "leadership" and refers to the office of an imam or a state ruled by an imam.

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 3 days ago

The 12 Imams are not exactly like the Prophet Muhammad in that each of them were separate individuals and had his own life, experiences, personality, features, etc. (That is, they did not share the same soul.)

However, they all shared the same teachings of the Prophet (S). This is the job of the Imams (A) is to correctly explain the teachings of the Prophet (S). According to dominant Twelver Shi'i belief, knowledge of the correct Prophetic teachings is a divine gift transferred to one Imam after the death of the previous Imam; therefore, they do not make mistakes in the teachings or disagree about what the Prophet (S) taught. 

Also, the Prophet and 12 Imams are all considered sinless. They all obviously also shared a strong commitment to Islam.

Maybe this is one reason that they tend to appear the same - it is our flaws and faults that oftentimes distinguish us the most from each other!

The rational reason for this is that Allah appointed them to preserve and expand upon the message as was necessary. If you think about it, most Muslims came to Islam in the latter part of the Prophet's life. Many of them really didn't have enough time to learn much about the religion at all, especially because the Muslims were busy fending off attackers and dealing with a lot of practical things. And after the Prophet, not all the Companions agreed on everything. So it makes sense that if Allah is going to appoint a prophet with the final message that Allah would be sure that message is protected; this is done through the imamate. 

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 4 days ago

There is very clear evidence in Quran to follow The Twelve Imams after the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA). Allah (SWT) says: Obey whatever the Prophet tells you, and avoid whatever he orders you to avoid. (Sura 59, Verse 7). This order includes everything. That is why we don't find in Quran the mention of number of Rak'ats of our obligatory prayers (two for morning, 4 for Dhuhr, 4 for ASR, 3 four Maghrib and 4 for Esha) , but we took it from the Prophet (SAWA).

The Prophet (SAWA) has clearly stated that his successors will be twelve in Authentic Hadeeths narrated in Sunni and Shia books.

Wassalam.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 2 weeks ago

The Imamah is the legitimate succession of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA). No prophet left his Ummah with out informing them clearly about his legitimate successors who should lead people on the right path and prevent deviation. Quran has mentioned the Imamah in many verses e.g.

(And We made them Imams who call people by Our Order) (Sura 21, verse 73).

(And We made from them Imams who call by Our order) ( Sura 32, verse 24).

Allah (SWT) ordered all Muslims to obey Allah, the messenger and the divine leaders ( the Infallible Imams) (Sura 4, verse 59).

Many books were compiled by prominent scholars in Quranic verses related to Ahlul Bayt (AS) e.g. 

Sunni Muslims have no evidence in Quran or authentic Hadeeths to justify the leaders whom they follow from Saqeefa, Bani Umayyad, Bani Abbas and till now.

The names of the Infallible Imams are not mentioned in Quran for a great wisdom known by Allah (SWT) as Allah (SWT) did not openly mentioned many other important matters like the number of Rak'ats of Obligatory Salah. He knows the reason behind that. He ordered in Quran all Muslims to obey the Prophet (SAWA) and the Prophet informed the Muslims about the number of Rak'ats of every obligatory Salah, and informed the names of the Infallible Imams as well.

Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (AS) was asked: Why the names of the Infallible Imams were not mentioned in Quran? He reportedly replied: Ask those who put this question: Where did Allah mention in Quran the numbers of Rak'ats of Salah?

The Prophet (SAWA) only informed about the numbers of Rak'ats and the names of Infallible Imams.

Wassalam.

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Vinay Khetia, Shaikh Vinay Khetia has studied at various traditional Islamic seminaries in London, Iraq and Syria. He has an undergraduate degree in Religious and Near Eastern Studies from the University of... Answered 2 weeks ago

Bismihillah

Salaamun Alaykum,

The 12 successors hadith is common between Sunnis and Shiis.Even then the Twelver Shia are the only ones who uniquely have 12 Imams all of them being from Quraysh. This in itself is an important indication.

There are other explicit traditions in the Shii collections in which the Prophet names the 12 Imams. This can be found in Kamal al-Din of Sh. al-Saduq as one such example.

regards

Sh.Vinay

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Rebecca Masterton, Dr Rebecca Masterton graduated with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature; an MA in Comparative East Asian and African Literature and a PhD in Islamic literature of West Africa. She has been... Answer updated 2 weeks ago

The speech of Imam al-Ridha (as) in Usul al-Kafi Vol. 1 helps to outline how Imama is established by the Qur'an.

This is a link to it, plus some other extracts from other volumes:

https://onlineshiastudies.com/imamateinquran/

The appointment of a successor was entirely in keeping with 'Allah's Sunna':

There are several verses in the Holy Qur’an that mention the Sunnah, or the Way of Allah, as follows:‘That was the Sunnah of Allah in the case of those who lived before and there will never be any change in the Sunnah of Allah.’ (Surah al-Ahzab, 33:62); ‘{Such was Our) Sunnah in the case of those whom We sent before you {to mankind), and you will never find change in Our Sunnah.’ (Surah BaniIsrail, 17:77); ‘Had the disbelievers fought against you, they would take to flight and would have found no guardian or helper. This is the Sunnah of Allah which existed before you, and you will never find any change in Allah's system’ (Surah al-Fath, 48:23); ‘[Due to] arrogance in the land and plotting of evil; but the evil plot does not encompass except its own people. Then do they await except the way of the former peoples? But you will never find in the Sunnah of Allah any change, and you will never find in the way of Allah any alteration.’ (35:43); ‘Their faith could not avail against Our punishment. Such is Allah's prevailing Sunnah (law) among His servants in the past. Thus the disbelievers are ruined.’ (Surah Mumin, 40:85).

As Dr Ibrahim Ayati explains in regard to these verses, ‘Whenever the word Sunnah has been used in the Holy Qur'an it has been used in this very literal meaning i.e. the manner in which Allah has treated the past nations. And whenever Allah says that His Sunnah is unalterable it means that there is a path for attaining to dignity and honor and He does not change it, and there is also a path and ground which leads to adversity and helplessness and that, too, is unalterable.’

The path for attaining dignity and honour is that revealed by the prophets and supported and explained by the Imams of the prophets.  This Sunnah, the sending of prophets accompanied by their supporters and successors, can be seen going all the way back to Adam [whose supporter and successor would have been Habil/Abel]. If we take a look at the prophetic lineage, we can see this.
Scholars provide an approximate outline of this lineage: ‘Adam [and his wasiy] Seth/Abel/Hibat Allah; then Noah and [his wasiy] Shem; Solomon and [his wasiy] Asaf ibn Barakhiya; Ibrahim and his succeeding awsiya Isma’il and Ishaq; Moses and his awsiya Harun and Joshua; Isa and his awsiya Simon; John and the apostles; Prophet Muhammad and his awsiya Imam 'Ali (as) and the other eleven Imams.’ (Amir-Moezzi, Shi‘ i Spirituality, p. 289).

At no time in prophetic history has a prophet not clearly stipulated his successor, and the appointment of a successor is an unchanging part of the prophetic sunnah and the Sunnah of Allah (swt).

Seth means "placed; appointed". In Judaism, Christianity and Islam, he was the third son of Adam and Eve and brother of Cain and Abel. According to Genesis 4:25, Seth was born after Abel's murder, and Eve believed God had appointed him as a replacement for Abel.]

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Rebecca Masterton, Dr Rebecca Masterton graduated with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature; an MA in Comparative East Asian and African Literature and a PhD in Islamic literature of West Africa. She has been... Answered 2 weeks ago

Some Muslims argue that only Allah knows the unseen, and that to claim that a human being, such as the Prophet and Imams (as) knows the unseen is shirk (associating partners with God).  However, this accusation arises from a misunderstanding of what constitutes as ‘knowledge of the unseen’ (‘ilm al-ghayb).  Here in Nahj al-Balāgha, Imam ‘Alī (as) defines it, by beginning with a prediction of the coming of the Mongol invasion of the Muslim world:

‘I can see a people whose faces are like shields covered with rough-scraped skins. They dress themselves in silken and woollen clothes and hold dear excellent horses.  Their killing and bloodshed shall take place freely til the wounded shall walk over the dead and the number of runners-away shall be less than those taken prisoner.’ One of his companions said to him, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minīn, you have been given knowledge of hidden things.’  Whereupon Amir al-Mu’minīn laughed and said to the man who belonged to the tribe of Bani Kalb: ‘O brother of Kalb!  This is not knowledge of hidden things (‘ilm al-ghayb).  These matters have been acquired from him (namely the Prophet) who knew them.  As regards knowledge of hidden things, that means knowledge of the Day of Judgment, and matters touched upon by Allah in the verse, ‘Verily, Allah is He with Whom is knowledge of the Hour’ (31:34).  Therefore, Allah alone knows what is there in the wombs, whether male or female, ugly or handsome, generous or miserly, mischievous or pious, and who will be fuel for Hell and who will be in the company of the Prophets in Paradise. This is the knowledge of hidden things, which is not known by anybody except Allah.  All else is that whose knowledge Allah passed on to his Prophet and he passed it on to me, and prayed for me that my chest may retain it and my ribs may hold it.’ (Sermon 127, p. 304)

•    This is confirmed by the verse in the Qur’an: ‘(He alone is) the Knower of the Unseen, neither does he reveal His secrets unto any (one else) save unto one of the Messengers that He chooses.’ (72:26-27)
 

Elsewhere in al-Kafi, the Imams clarify that only Allah (swt) knows the unseen, but when He wishes for them to know something, then He makes it known to them. Once it is made known, it is no longer classified as 'knowledge of the unseen ('ilm al-ghayb).'

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answer updated 3 weeks ago

1. The Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) has mentioned that his successors will be twelve, all of them from Quraish (Bukhari, Hadeeth 6682) and from Bani Hashim (al-Qondoozi, in Yanabee' al-Mawaddah, Vol.2, Hadeeth 908).

2. The Prophet (SAWA) informed about the names of the twelve Imams starting with Imam Ali (AS), them Imam Hasan, then Imam Husain, then Imam Ali Zainul Abideen, then Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir, then Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (AS), then Imam Musa Al-Kadhim, then Imam Ali Al-Redha, then Imam Muhammad Al-Jawad, then Imam Ali Al-Hadi, then Imam Hasan Al-Askari, then Imam Al-Mahdi (Peace and blessings upon all of them).

3. Every Infallible Imam has informed his sincere followers about the next Imam after him. These statements are studied and been confirmed by all our most prominent scholars.

4. It is impossible for any one to claim that he is the Imam if he is not the real Imam, as the Shia in every age have seen from the Imam of their time the maximum knowledge and maximum piousness and miraculous phenomena  which prove that he is one of the the twelve successor of the Prophet (SAWA).

5. There is a very good book in this regard called Ethbaat al-Hudaat إثبات الهداة complied by Al-Hurr Al-Aamily in five volumes, containing authentic Hadeeths about the Imamate of the twelve Imams (AS).

Wassalam.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 1 month ago

The Hadeeth from Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (AS) says: Allah has made Ebrahim a servant (Abd) before making him a prophet (Nabi)), and made him a prophet before making him a messenger (Rasool), and made him a messenger before making him His Khaleel and made him His Khaleel before making him an Imam. (Al-Kafi 1/175).

This means that the responsibility of Ebrahim was increasing from Abd (servant) to Nabi (prophet), then to Rasool (messenger) then to Imam. That is why Ebrahim asked Allah whether his progeny will have the same status of Imamate? Allah replied him: My appointment does not reach to the sinners.

The prophet (Nabi) receives the revelation from Allah. The Rasool (messenger) is responsible to convey the message of Allah to people. The Imam has the responsibility to implement the orders of Allah in every aspect and every dimension of life. Ebrahim was appointed by Allah as Imam for all people to guide them all to implement the orders of Allah in life. Not all the prophets were Imams but only the greatest of them.

The Twelve Infallible Imams are not prophets but successors of the greatest prophet and greatest messenger Muhammad (SAWA). They are the divine guides who responsible to implement the orders of Allah in every matter.

Wassalam.

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 2 months ago

Allah says in the Qur'an that the only thing that will not be forgiven is that partners be associated with Allah, and that Allah forgives whatever else Allah wills.

Allah also says in the Qur'an that whoever believes and works righteous deeds, including Jews, Christians, and Sabeans, will have a good afterlife.

With that in mind, how can someone exclude some people from heaven just because they are not Shi'i (or Shi'i Ithna Ashari)? 

Only Allah has the authority and power to send people to heaven or hell. 

Nowadays, also, people often follow religions or sects due to inherited understandings and doctrines. A Sunni who loves certain individuals (who do not have the same status among Shi'is) does so because they have heard very good things about them, or because they believe the Prophet (S) loves them, not because they are trying to fight against the Imams or support wrong.

It is a different situation for someone who actually was alive during the time of Imam 'Ali (A) and saw him and rejected him or physically fought against him. Anyway most Sunnis, and most or all Sufis, respect Imam 'Ali and other Imams, they just have a different understanding of their role. 

However, following the teachings of Ahl al-Bayt (A) through the Imams can help develop one's ethics, actions, and spirituality in such a way that can, insha'allah, help with going to heaven. Also one can hope for the intercession of the Imams (A) if one has a close relationship to them and is dedicated to them, and this is also an invaluable gift. 

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 2 months ago

The fact of the infallibility of Ameerul Mo'mineen and other 11 Imams was known to the believers during the lives of the Infallible, and nothing emerged later in hindsight.

Wassalam.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 4 months ago

Yes, it is recommended to pray Maghrib Prayer before breaking fast (Iftar) as Prayers is more important than breaking the fast, but it is not obligatory to do so. It is just recommended if there is no one waiting for you for Iftar and you do not feel weak if you pray before Iftar.

Wassalam.

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 5 months ago

This verse is speaking of whomever one follows in a general sense, whether or not that person is physically near them or they even meet them. So a person's Imam could be the Prophet (S), Imam Mahdi (A), a scholar, or a spiritual leader; or it could be someone else entirely, like a philosopher, author, or political leader. Whoever guides your way of thinking, way of life, and identity, and whomever you obey and associate yourself with and prioritize is your Imam.