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.
Islam came to a world full of slavery as part and parcel of the whole social and economical systems which was practiced for thousand of years. Islam started the procedure to gradually melt slavery system. The result of the Islamic anti slavery rules, slavery decreased among Muslims till it became very rare among Muslim communities till today while slavery was practiced in Europe and Americas one thousand years after that and till the 19 th century.
'Islamic rules were the best practical rules which dealt with the slavery and diminish it if few centuries.
You need first to know the meaning of the term (Imam). Imam means a divine leader. The divine leader for human beings can be the Prophet of his time, or a successor of a Prophet. Prophet Ibrahim was appointed by Allah as divine leader (Imam). (2:124). This appointment came long after he was appointed as a Prophet then a messenger.
Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) is greater than Prophet Ibrahim and he Ws appointed as the divine leader for all human beings. His twelve successors are the Imams after him. Imam does need to be a Prophet but divine leader.
The authentic Prophetic Hadeeth states that Allah (SWT) Has Granted Ali (AS) all the tributes and virtues which He Granted the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) except the prophethood. Ali (AS) was gifted everything the Prophet (SAWA) was gifted but Ali (AS) is not a prophet because Muhammad (SAWA) is the last and final prophet and no phrophet after him.
‘The Prophet gets the message from Allah (SWT) to convey it to people. Imam preserves the religion and the message of the Prophet and protects the religion from deviation and teach people the real Islam. Imam continues and preserves and protects the religion.
‘Imam Ali (AS) was taught by the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) every matter in Islam, that is why, no one can know the real Islam after the Prophet but only by taking the knowledge from Imam Ali (AS). The famous authentic Hadeeth from the Prophet say: I am the city of the knowledge and Ali is it’s gate.( Mustadrak Al-Haakim; Hadeeth number 4693 and 4612 and 4613 and 4614).
In the modern era, some Muslims have become very sensitive to the question of shirk by considering any number of physical objects to be shirk. This includes sacred objects, shrines, etc.
(This idea primarily comes from Wahhabism and Salafism, but some other Muslims have taken it on board too.)
Similarly, Wahhabism and Salafism reject most forms of intercession as shirk, whereas many Muslims before that accepted the idea of intercession.
The Qur'an itself does not state that the notion of sacred objects is shirk. Rather, shirk is when you directly worship beings other than Allah.
So, keeping an alam, in and of itself, is not shirk.
Possibly, some views are cultural. Since alams are most common historically in Iran and the Indian Subcontinent, it has been more common for Shia in other regions, where alams were not common, to criticize the practice. (That is, it was seen as being culturally different and hence suspicious - man is an enemy of what he does not know.)
On the flip side, some Muslims in the Subcontinent have felt cautious about the cultural influence of Hinduism, and so for this reason try to avoid physical objects in devotional practices. (We tend to be most cautious about the things we are closest to, which might be seen as a competitor.) Although I think this is less common.
The Qur'an speaks of some people other than prophets who receive inspiration or messages from God; for instance, the mother of Moses, who is told to put Moses in the river; or when the angel Jibra'il appeared to the Virgin Mary.
So in and of itself, receiving a message from God does not classify a person as a prophet in a traditional theological sense.
Sometimes, there is an expectation that prophets, by definition, are those who are supposed to take the message and then instruct others to act on it in a new way (such as to encourage people to board Noah's ark), or may present a revealed scripture; for instance, the Qur'an.
According to Twelver Shi'i hadith, the Imams had access to knowledge transmitted through God through various means, and this enabled them to serve as representatives of the Prophet's teachings, to better explain them according to the times, and to demonstrate their authority after the time of the Prophet (S) to those who doubted them.
However, they never claimed to be prophets and throughout Twelver Shi'i hadith, there is an emphasis that the Prophet Muhammad (S) is the final prophet. Rather, their role was to explicate the teachings of the Prophet (S) in the best and most accurate manner. They also did not provide a new scripture to the people. So they are not classified as prophets.
There are many verses in Quran about Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) despite the fact that asking about evidence from Quran only with out the Prophet is not the proper way which we should take because it can mean under estimating the authority of the Prophet and even the Quranic order to take whatever the Messenger says. (Sura Al-Hashr, Verse 7). These are some Quranic verses about Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) e.g.
1. Sura Al-Anbiyaa', verse 105.
2. Sura Al-Qasas, verse 5.
3. Sura Al-Noor, verse 55.
4. Sura Al-Tawbah, verse 33.
5. Sura Al-Saff, verse 9.
6. Sura Al-Israr', verse 81.
7. Sura Al-Anfaal, verse 7 and 8.
and many other Verse.
It is highly recommended for both men and women to recite Adhan and Iqamah, especially if they are praying on their own, and not in jama'ah.
Of course, the difference is that a female should recite in a low voice in the presence of a non-mahram. As for performing jama'ah prayers, of course a female can do loud Adhan and a female can lead jama'ah prayers if they are all women.
And Allah knows best
Yes you are correct, all power originates from Allah swt and no human being or creature can do anything without the power that Allah swt has given them.
About the imams (as), we say that they have a very high status with Allah swt; therefore if they make dua for someone, then there is more of a chance of our requests being accepted through them.
For example we can commit sins which block our Duas from being accepted, where as the imams (as) are of a status we cannot comprehend, and their duas are always answered. Just like if one in this life knows someone who is known to be pious. Yes, they can ask Allah swt themselves and make dua, but another way to get to Allah is by asking other believers to make dua for them as the supplications of the very pious people are more powerful. No one but a Jahil would claim this to be shirk.
This doesn’t negate the fact that a person should regularly and directly call on Allah swt especially through the Duas that the prophet and imams (as) taught us as they know how to best speak to Allah swt. Going through Ahlul Bayt (as) for one’s needs to be accepted is perfectly acceptable as long as one does so with the right aqeeda. One should know that rizq is only from Allah swt and the imams (as) do not give rizq but ask Allah swt for it. In this sense, they are the door of one’s needs.
It is also attributed to Imam Sadiq (as) that he said the following about 40:60 of the Quran:
1 heard Abu Abdullah (as) and he said:
‘Allah' does not Leave us to ourselves and had He Left us to ourselves, we would be like the ordinary people, and we are those Allah Mighty and Majestic Said: "Supplicate to Me, I will Answer you. [40:60)
Source: Basair al-Darajat
So while the verse is general and encourages one to make dua to Allah swt, it shows here how it is applied in the specific sense of the imams (as) being those whose supplications are answered, and there is no contradiction between the both explanations of the verse.
Therefore if one visits any of the shrines of the prophet or imams (as), they may ask them to make dua to Allah swt for them. This is not shirk as nawasib try to claim and they have no evidence to prove so.
For the sake of the argument let us say that we thought that the prophet and imams (as) could hear people at their shrines but in reality they couldn’t; would someone who spoke or asked them for something have committed shirk? No not at all. In the the worst case a person who spoke or asked them something would of just done a pointless action and not shirk (if we assumed the prophet and imams couldn't hear).
This isn’t case though as the prophet and imams (as) hear the words of the believers at their shrines and know about those who visit them.
May Allah grant you success
Imamah (Divine leadership) is a position granted by Allah to the best of His creatures to lead all human beings to the Way of Allah. Allah tested Ibrahim through many tests and when Ibrahim (AS) completed all the tests successfully, Allah told him: I Am making you an Imam for all people. This Imamah was granted to Ibrahim after he was already a prophet and a messenger. The Imamah of Ahlul Bayt (AS) is the continuity of the divine leadership of the greatest and best and final Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) although none of the 12 Imams was a prophet because there is no prophet after Muhammad (SAWA). The status of the 12 successors of the greatest Prophet Muhammad is from his status and their Imamah is binding all humans as the Imamah of Ibrahim was on all humans. The twelve Infallible Imams are not prophets but their divine leadership is must on all humans.
Last of the Prophets ia the proper word for the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) not last of messengers because all the messengers were Prophets as well, and no Prophet will be sent after Muhammad (SAWA). If he was called last of the messengers, that will leave a chance to liars to claim prophet hood after him. Every messenger is a Prophet but not every Prophet is a messenger, that is why, no Prophet means no Prophet or messenger will come after Muhammad (SAWA).
He was the leader of all the human beings including the Prophets and messengers.Imamate after him is for his successors who are not Prophets as he said: No Prophet after me.
It is untrue. It is one of the many false accusations against us fabricated by our enemies.
We believe that followers of any Muslim sect being Sunni (Hanafi, Shafi'ee, Maliki, Hanbali, Barelwi, Deobandi or Zaidi or Abaadhi or Ash'ari or Salafi or Wahabi etc are Muslims like us.
Even those who claim that we Shia are Kafirs are misguided Muslims and we never consider them as Kafirs.
According to Twelver Shi'i narrations, the knowledge of the Imams is received through divine sources. It is available throughout their lives but culminates to a new level after the departure of the previous Imam (or, in the case of Imam Ali, the Prophet). They have access to anything they need or want to know. This knowledge is available to them at any time; however, at certain times, certain specific information is presented to them (such as the deeds of their followers).
It is considered to be a step lower than the type of wahy given to the messengers. For instance, some narrations say that the Imams can hear the angel Jibra'il but not see him. Similarly, the Imams provide guidance, but not a revealed scripture like the Qur'an which is a Book in the word of Allah.
The mechanics of how this knowledge is acquired in mentioned in some narrations, although these narrations tend to be somewhat obscure and may or may not be accurate. In any case, it is said that the Imams have access to something resembling a column of light or a lamp between themselves and Allah through which they can attain knowledge of anything or to see any place. In other places, it is simply said that the Imams were created with certain types of knowledge, such as knowledge of the explanation of the Qur'an and other fundamentals regarding the nature of this world and the worlds before and afterwards. There are also some texts the Imams possessed such as Mushaf Fatima and Kitab Ali, although it is not said that they required these texts to know what was in them.
Insofar as knowledge is potentially infinite, all of these things could be accepted altogether without contradiction .
In any case, this is a large and complex subject, so to learn more about it, one could read hadith collections such as Basa'ir al-Darajat and al-Kafi.