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The 12 Imams

Shia Beleifs In the Shite sect of Islam known as the Ithna-ashariyyah or Twelvers, the articles of faith or fundamentals of Islam differ from those of the Ahle Sunnat or Sunnis. These are also known as Usool -ad-Deen or Roots of Religion. They are 1. Tawheed or the Oneness of God 2. 'Adl or the belief that God is Just and He will reward or punish any person according to his deeds. 3. Nubuwwat or belief in the Messengers. 4. Imamat or belief in the divinely appointed leadership or Imams 5. Qiyaamat or belief in the Day of Judgment. Amongst the above, we shall study Imamat or belief in the Twelve Imams.

Belief in Imamate Belief in Imamat, the divinely appointed leadership after the death of the Holy Prophet is an integral part of Shite faith Only Ali & the Prophets descendents can be Imams Their role is to protect and guide mankind with the revealed Truth, the Holy Qur'an and the true practices of the Holy Prophet himself They play an integral part in the protection of all the Messengers and their divine Messages Allah appointed them through the Holy Prophet himself to protect mankind from misrepresenting and misinterpreting the Truth Imams have direct knowledge from God, and their verdict is the verdict of God

Qualities of the Imams (1of2) Only the 12 Imams are the spiritual and political successors to the Prophet Each of them is an infallible human individual Only he is able to keep and interpret the Divine Law and its real meaning The Prophet and Imams' words and deeds are a guide and model for the community to follow They are free from error and sin Chosen by divine decree, or nass, through the Prophet It is believed by Twelver Shi'a Muslims that the Twelve Imams were foretold in the Hadith of the Twelve Successors: "The (Islamic) religion will continue until the Hour (day of resurrection), having twelve Caliphs for you, all of them will be from Quraysh."

Qualities of the Imams (2of2) The Imams were given divine wisdom (aql) and knowledge (hikmah) They suffered for the sake of religion and their sufferings were a means of divine grace to their devotees He had a close relationship with God, through which God guides him, and the Imam in turn guides the people. There is always an Imam of the Age, who is the divinely appointed authority on all matters of faith and law in the Muslim community

List of the 12 Imams1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Al ibn Abu Talib Hassan ibn Al Husayn ibn Al Al ibn al-Hussein Muammad ibn Al Ja'far ibn Muammad 7. Musa ibn Ja'far 8. Al ibn Musa 9. Muammad ibn Al 10. Al ibn Muammad 11. Hassan ibn Al 12. Muammad ibn alHassan


Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (23 pre-Hijri to 40 AH)1. 2. 3. He was the first Imam Also called Amir al-mu'min or Commander of the faithful His father Abu Talib was the uncle, guardian and lifelong supporter of the Holy Prophet. 4. When six years old he was placed directly under the guardianship and custody of the Holy Prophet who brought him up like his own son. 5. Imam Ali was the first person to publicly declare his faith in the Divine Message. 6. Imam Ali became the supporter and deputy of the Prophet and was by his side during the hard times in Makkah 7. Slept in his bed on the night of Hijra 8. At Madina when the Prophet selected Ali as his brother 9. The Prophet gave Fatimah, his beloved daughter to Ali as his wife. 10. Ali participated bravely in the battles was the Prophet, except the battle of Tabuk when he was ordered to stay in Madina in place of the Prophet. 11. Ali was thirty-three years old when the Prophet died


Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (23 pre-Hijri to 40 AH)12. He spent the next twenty five years as an advisor to the first three caliphs and in educating people in Islamic knowledge. 13. He became the fourth Caliph in 35 A.H 14. His caliphate of lasted for nearly five years 15. Caliphate was ridden with civil strife 16. Battle of the Camel & Siffin 17. Khawarij 18. Died as a martyr during the night of the 21st of Ramadan 19. Buried in Najaf, Iraq. 20. Perfection human like all Imams 21. Learned both in science and wisdom 22. Most eloquent 23. Highly courageous.

Imam Hassan ibn Ali (3-50 AH)He was the second Imam and is also called al-Mujtaba Sons of Amir al-mu'minin Ali and Hadrat Fatimah "Hassan and Hussain are my children." After the death of his father, through Divine Command and according to the will of his father, Imam Hassan became Imam Caliph for 6 months Yielded the caliphate to Mu'awiyah to end to the civil strife and bloodshed Devoted the rest of his life to teaching and training scholars in the Islamic faith Extreme hardship and persecution by his political rivals. wife poisoned him and he was martyred (Allegedly motivated by Mu'awiyah) Human perfection Perfect example of his noble grandfather Many traditions of the Holy Prophet and Ali he would gain be Imam after his father


Imam Hussain bin Ali (4-61 AH) Sayyid al-Shuhada' or "the lord among martyrs" Second child of Ali and Fatimah became Imam through Divine Command and his brother's will after the martyrdom of his brother Imam Hassan Imam Hussain was Imam for a period of ten years Lived under the most difficult outward conditions of suppression and persecution. This was due to enmity with Mu'awiyah Yazid, ordered the governor of Madinah either to force a pledge of allegiance from Imam Hussain or send his head to Damascus.


Imam Hussain bin Ali (4-61 AH) For 4 months Imam Hussain stayed in Makkah in refuge Kufans invited him to come and lead them in revolt against Yazid Made a speech in Makkah saying he would be martyred and asked Muslims to help him in attaining the goal Then he set out with his family and some companions for Iraq He refused to pay allegiance and give his approval to a government of injustice and tyranny In Karbala, the Imam and his entourage were surrounded by the army of Yazid (30,000) He and almost all his clan were brutally massacred by them Laid down his life for the sake of Islam but refused to comprise on principles.

Imam Ali ibn Husayn (38-95 AH) Known as al-Zayn al-'Abedin only son of Imam Husayn to survive in Karbala because of severe illness Spend most the next several years in imprisonment Retired from public life completely & spent his time in worship Met only with those seeking knowledge from him Many scholarly works; e.g. Sahifa al-Sajjadiyah Poisoned by Hisham after thirty-five years of Imamate.

Imam Muhammad ibn Ali (57 114 AH) Title Baqir, meaning he who cuts and dissects He was just four years old at Karbala and thus escaped being murdered Became Imam after his Father He and his family were not that persecuted as other Imams Pursued scholarly activities freely. Large numbers of people would come to Imam Muhammad for spiritual and academic guidance. Martyred through poisoning by Hisham

Known as As-Sadiq, or the Truthful One Son of the fifth Imam and after the death of his father, became Imam by Divine Command and decree of those who came before him Favourable climate existed to propagate religious teachings He had a free hand for the propagation of the true teachings of Islam and the sciences of the Household of the Prophet. He instructed many scholars in different fields of the intellectual and transmitted sciences Produced four thousand scholars of hadith and other sciences The Imam was arrested several times by both Umayyads and Abbasids Finally released & spent the rest of his life in hiding in Madinah. He too was poisoned and martyred through the intrigue of the Abbasid Caliph Mansur.

Ja'far ibn Muhammad (83 148 AH)

Musa ibn Ja'far (128-183 AH) Known as Kazim Lived in very difficult times and in hiding Arrested while praying in the Mosque of the Prophet For years he was transferred from one prison to another Died in Baghdad in prison through poisoning Buried in Kazimayn.

Ali ibn Musa (148-203 AH) Title of al-Ridha Son of the seventh Imam. He was active in the scientific and scholarly debates Mamun offered him succession to the caliphate Accept the successorship with conditions. But then Mamun had second thoughts and had the Imam poisoned and martyred The Imam was buried in Mashhad.

Muhammad ibn Ali (196-220 AH) The Ninth Imam & called Taqi The son of the eighth Imam Born in Madinah Ma'mun gave him his daughter in marriage and kept him in Baghdad Spent some time in Baghdad and then Madinah He was poisoned by his wife, the daughter of Ma'mun (orders of Mutasim) Buried next to his grandfather, the seventh Imam, in Kazimayn

Ali ibn Muhammad Naqi (212-254 AH) The Tenth Imam & called Naqi and Hadi The son of the ninth Imam Stayed in Madinah teaching religious sciences Persecuted by Caliphs Poisoned and martyred by Mu'tazz the Abbasid caliph.

Hasan ibn Ali (232-260 AH) The son of the tenth Imam & called Al-Askari Restrictions placed upon him by the caliphate Lived in hiding and dissimulation (taqiyah) Did not have any social contact with people Spent a lot of time in prison Train many scholars and intellectuals in his lifetime. Poisoned and martyred through instigation of the Abbasid caliph Mu'tamid.

Muhammad ibn Hasan (256 AH-


He is the promised Mahdi & called Imam-i 'Asr (the Imam of the "Period") and Sahib al-Zaman (the Lord of the Age) The son of the eleventh Imam. He was born in Samarrah and until his fathers martyrdom, lived under his care and tutelage Kept hidden from public view After the martyrdom of his father he became Imam and by Divine Command went into occultation (ghaybat) Appointed deputies for his work & met them only when absolutely necessary In 329 AH, he went into Occultation which will continue as long as God wills it Shall eventually return as per the prophecy of the Prophet to lead his followers once