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Who are the 12 Imams of the Shi'a ?

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    Who are the 12 Imams of the Shi'a ?

    Who are the 12 Imams of the Shi'a ?

    In this article I attempt to explain the status of the 12 Imams of the Shi'a Madhab.


    Many people are ignorant about the status of the 12 Imams of the Shi'a, also known as the Infallibles or the Masoom.

    The Shi'a believe that the 12 Imams are the best authority on Islam, and that they are the only authentic and reliable source for the Prophet PBUH's Sunnah because they are closest to the Prophet PBUH (they are his own family).

    After the Prophet PBUH, the 12 Imams are THE AUTHORITY on Islam. There is no other. They taught the rest.

    No-one else, including Imam Hanifa, Imam Shafi, Imam Maliki, Bukhari, Muslim, or Abu Huraira, even comes close to the credibility and competence of the 12 Imams. Those people were mere students of the Imams.

    The 12 Imams arose in a time when Islam was in the stage of infancy. It was at this critical stage that the enemies of Islam, the Ummayad/AbbasiCaliphs and the Jews, were plotting their best to eliminate it. Allah chose the family of Ibrahim (AS) to protect His religion.

    Allah (swt) appointed Imams in this noble Family of Ibrahim (AS) to keep Islam safe from the conspiracies of the Prophet-hating Ummayad and Abbasi Caliphs.

    The 12 Imams are as follows:

    1. Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS)
    2. Imam Hasan ibn Ali (AS)
    3. Imam Hussain ibn Ali (AS)
    4. Imam Zain ul Abideen ibn Hussain (AS)
    5. Imam Baqir ibn Zain ul Abideen (AS)
    6. Imam Jafar as Sadiq ibn Baqir (AS)
    7. Imam Musa Kazem ibn Jafar (AS)
    8. Imam Ali Reza ibn Musa Kazem (AS)
    9. Imam At-Taqi ibn Ali Reza (AS)
    10 Imam An-Naqi ibn At-Taqi (AS)
    11.Imam Hasan Askari ibn An-Naqi (AS)
    12.Imam Mahdi ibn Hasan Askari (AS)

    Note: the 6th Imam, Imam Jafar as Sadiq(AS), was the teacher and mentor of the Sunni Imam Hanifa and Imam Maliki, who later gave rise to the Sunni Madhabs.


    As you can see, the Imams were all father-son relations, except Imam Hassan(AS) and Imam Hussain (AS) who were brothers. The knowledge of Islam passed down in a straight line right from the Prophet PBUH and Hazrat Ali (AS) all the way down to the 12th Imam, Imam Mahdi.

    The Imams are Masoom (infallible). This means that Allah (swt) has made them Masoom incapable of committing sin, in order to preserve their personalities and make them capable of preserving the knowledge of Islam.

    This happened despite the best efforts of the Ummayad and Abbasi Caliphs to destroy all traces of the Imams, in order to destroy the real Islam and invent a false, distorted version of Islam, make fun of the Holy Prophet PBUH, and indulge in unIslamic activities.

    The Caliphs, in their mad rage against the Prophet PBUH's family, even tried to find the grave of Hazrat Ali(AS) and to destroy it, but the Imams kept its location in Najaf a secret until revealing it much later on.


    Allah (swt) kept the Imamate on earth to the 12th Imam.

    But the 12th Imam, the Imam Mahdi, was made to vanish from the earth.

    He will appear prior to the Day of Judgement. This is a belief that both Sunnis and Shi'as share.


    The Holy Prophet PBUH said in a well known Hadith which is agreed upon by both Sunni and Shi'a experts:

    "Verily, I am leaving behind two precious things (thaqalayn) among you: the Book of God and my kindred (`itrah), my household (Ahl al­Bayt), for indeed, the two will never separate until they come back to me by the Pond (of al­Kawthar on the Judgement's Day)."



    Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS), the first Imam, says in his book, the Najh al Balagha:


    "...We the people of the house (of the Prophet - Ahlul bayt) possess the doors of wisdom and light of governance. Beware that the paths of religion are one and its highways are straight. He who follows them achieves (the aim) and secures (the objective). And he who stood away from it went astray and incurred repentance." [Sermon 119]


    Imam Ali (AS) also says


    "We are the near ones, companions, treasure holders and doors (to the Sunnah). Houses are not entered save through their doors. Whoever enters them from other than the door is called a thief." [Sermon 153]



    I gave a very simple explanation of the concept of Imamate. I will follow it up in more detail later.




    [This message has been edited by alizadeh2000 (edited July 14, 2001).]

    #2
    Note: the 7th Imam, Imam Jafar as Sadiq, was the teacher and mentor of the Sunni Imam Hanifa and Imam Maliki, who later gave rise to the Sunni Madhabs.
    I think you mean the sixth one:
    6. Imam Jafar as Sadiq ibn Baqir (AS)

    Also, you said that Imam Mehdi (12 Imam) disappeared from earth, and will come back prior to Day of Judgment and is agreed by Sunni and Shia scholars.

    1st... do all Shia's have this beleif?
    2. I think Sunni beleif is that he will take birth prior to Day of Judgement (he didn't disappear).

    Is it mentioned in Quran or Sunnah that there will be only 12 Imams?

    Hadrat Ali (RA) had only 2 sons?
    All other Imams had one or 2 sons ONLY? Is it true or is it because only the mentioned one was elected/selected as Imam?

    Can any other person be called as Imam??? On what basis?
    ------------------
    We oughta be Changez like, don't we?

    [This message has been edited by Changez_like (edited July 13, 2001).]

    Comment


      #3

      I would be grateful if you can read the following ayats in the Qur'aan, in Arabic, and then confirm the translation in English stating the actual word Shi'a used in the Qur'aan.

      6:159 and 30:31,32.

      Once you have responded with my request, we can then debate further.

      Comment


        #4
        He will appear prior to the Day of Judgement. This is a belief that both Sunnis and Shi'as share.


        Check up on this one: I dont think this is an absolute sunni belief. A percentage of the sunni population might believe in Mehdi, yet there are those who just believe in teh return of H. Isa.

        [This message has been edited by X_Communist (edited July 13, 2001).]

        Comment


          #5
          I do not have any problem with any of these, but when it comes to infallibility of Imam, I seem to disagree. Primarily, because of the following verse of the holy Qur'an, which states:

          [an-Nisa' 4:59] O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to Allah and the Apostle, if you believe in Allah and the last day; this is better and very good in the end.

          The use of the phrase "if you quarrel about anything" clear implies that leader is not necessarily infallible.

          Regards,
          Omer

          Comment


            #6
            sunan abu-dawud
            Book 36, Number 4266:
            Narrated Jabir ibn Samurah:

            The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: The religion will continue to be established till there are twelve caliphs over you, and the whole community will agree on each of them. I then heard from the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) some remarks which I could not understand. I asked my father: What is he saying: He said: all of them will belong to Quraysh

            ------------------
            "There as many ideas in the minds of men and women as there are stars in the sky, it is your job to hold on to one and make it come true"
            Anonymous

            [This message has been edited by Ahl_e_Sunnah (edited July 13, 2001).]

            Comment


              #7
              Can someone advise me as to why 9 of these imams had to die by poisoning . ( according to Al kafi)

              In my understanding I believe it could be due to any of the following or some of it.

              1) They were murdered
              2) They commit suicide
              3) They died according to Allah’s absolute will
              4) Their destiny was such
              5) It was a miracle


              Comment


                #8
                Thanks for pointing out the mistake. Imam Jafar as Sadiq (AS) was the 6th Imam, not the 7th.

                To your questions:
                1. Yes all Shi'as have this belief.
                2. Hazrat Ali (AS) and the other Imams had many sons, not just one or two. But only one of them becmae the Imam . The criteria i will explain shortly, plz be patient.


                Originally posted by Changez_like:
                I think you mean the sixth one:
                6. Imam Jafar as Sadiq ibn Baqir (AS)

                Also, you said that Imam Mehdi (12 Imam) disappeared from earth, and will come back prior to Day of Judgment and is agreed by Sunni and Shia scholars.

                1st... do all Shia's have this beleif?
                2. I think Sunni beleif is that he will take birth prior to Day of Judgement (he didn't disappear).

                Is it mentioned in Quran or Sunnah that there will be only 12 Imams?

                Hadrat Ali (RA) had only 2 sons?
                All other Imams had one or 2 sons ONLY? Is it true or is it because only the mentioned one was elected/selected as Imam?

                Can any other person be called as Imam??? On what basis?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Sholay again you are arguing with limited knowledge and rumors you have been hearing.

                  It is amazing how you people dream up such things.


                  There is a difference between the word "shiya" and the word Shi'ah (SHE-AH).

                  The word you have mentioned is "shiya" which means those who divide into sects.

                  Shi'ah on the other hand, means friend. The Shi'ah are the friends of Ali (AS).

                  The malicious haters of Islam invent such falsehoods and confusion in order to mislead the Ummah.

                  It is really pathetic that such dangerous notions/rumors are given such importance by the Sunnis.

                  Be sure to read the following verses in Arabic:

                  "And most surely Abraham was among the Shia of him (i.e., Noah)" (Quran 37:83)

                  "And he (Moses) went into the city at a time when people (of the city) were not watching, so he found therein two men fighting, one being of his Shia and the other being his enemy, and the one who was of his Shia cried out to him for help against the one who was of his enemy" (Quran 28:15)

                  The term Shi'ah was even used by the Prophet PBUH himself for the friends of Ali (AS).

                  Thus the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) used to say the phrase of "Shia of Ali". This phrase is not something invented later! Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF) said that the TRUE followers of imam Ali will go to Paradise, and this is a great felicity. Also Jabir Ibn Abdillah al-Ansari narrated that:

                  The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: "The Shia of Ali are the real victorious in the day of resurrection/rising"

                  Originally posted by sholay:

                  I would be grateful if you can read the following ayats in the Qur'aan, in Arabic, and then confirm the translation in English stating the actual word Shi'a used in the Qur'aan.

                  6:159 and 30:31,32.

                  Once you have responded with my request, we can then debate further.



                  [This message has been edited by alizadeh2000 (edited July 14, 2001).]

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Ibrahim,

                    All the Imams were Shaheed(exept the 12th but he will also be Shaheed)

                    1.They did not Commit suicide(grow up the were holy For allahs sake)
                    2.Everyone dies by allahs will(why should imam be different)!!
                    3.Everyone has thier destiny decreed by Allah and imams Destiny was as Maytars!!
                    4.None of died a miraculas death as they knew when they would Die and how!!

                    No one needs your Thoughts as they are as far from History.!!!

                    ------------------
                    When the Lion is Dead, Every Assthinks it can Kick it!!!!

                    Comment

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