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Letter Exchange 14: Imamat in Detail

The following Queries were mailed to us by a fellow visitor, student and seeker of truth. Below is an article-version of the email exchange.

  1. Can you explain the concept of Imamat in short? What is Imamat in Islam?
  2. You say that everything has a purpose. What is the purpose of imamat? If it is so important as a part of one's faith as a Muslim, why is this concept not clearly in the Quran? Why do you have to interpret it in order to support your point.
  3. You claim  “prophets who are imams, there personal desires become part of deen and that is why we have to adhere to them as well, very strictly. Agreed. If hz Sheeth (as) asks for a glass of water, would we decline to give him (as). we cant dare to do that, no? Although he was not an Imam and fulfilling his personal desire is not our duty because that is limited to an Imam only. Frankly I don't see any connection between such personal desires of prophets as water and food etc with deen. I think that even if Hz Sheeth (as) would have wanted something to be made part of deen and it was religiously rational too, his (As) wish would have been granted. Prayers of prophets are never rejected.
  4. I read the article about imamat at your website and I don't find your explanation regarding it plausible i.e. some prophets being imam and others not. It's weird. Imamat did not exist at all before Ibrahim (as) and it was bestowed upon Him and his progeny. Agreed but imam simply means a leader. you agree with it yourself. keeping this in mind it can be very easily concluded that he (as) was made a leader of all mankind. It was his religion that is eventually going to rule the world. It is said at so many places in Quran that it's only ibrahim’s (as) religion that is true. For this reason even Rasool Allah was told to follow his (as) religion.
  5. Shias use the hadith of the 12 princes from Quraysh, from Sunni books, to support their concept of Imamat. The Tradition says that these 12 men will rule the Islamic world. I do not see any Shia Imam becoming a king or a caliph except hz Ali (AS). To govern the affairs of the people, one needs to rule politically.
  6. You say that what ever the Prophet (SAW) says is a revelation revealed to him and you quote a Quranic verse for it also. Contrary to that, according to your explanation of the office of Imamat, you claim that the Prophet (SAW) has his own desire, different from the revelation but are also a part of religion. Is it not contradictory?  And does that mean that the hadith supporting the Ahlulbayt are not a revelation but Prophet's (SAW) own desire?
  7. According to your explanation of Imamat, in your article at SDOL, it means that any prophet who came from the lineage of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) would be an Imam also.
  8. I agree that the first three Imams of the Shias are purified and Mubahila proves it too. The same cannot be said about the Imams who came later. Their masoomiyat is not proven.
  9. Shias claim that the Imam is the guide. Where is the guide today?


As stated in the article about Imamat, Imamat literally means to lead.

(Remember) the day when We will call every people with their Imam; then whoever is given his book in his right hand, these shall read their book; and they shall not be dealt with a with unjustly.
Quran [17:71]

Leaving out the commentators who interpret the Arabic word Imam as the book of records, every person will be raised in the hereafter with their Imam.

Everyone has to have an Imam.

And We gave him Ishaq and Yaqoub, a son's son, and We made (them) all good. And We made them Imams who guided (people) by Our command, and We revealed to them the doing of good and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of the alms, and Us (alone) did they serve;
Quran [21:72-73]

There were/are Imams, chosen by Allah, who guide the people to safety.

And We made them Imams who call to the fire, and on the day of resurrection they shall not be assisted.
Quran [28:41]

Then there are Imams, like firaun, who will lead the people to destruction. However, before reading on further, one thing should be clarified.

The word Imam literally means a leader. You have an Imam of the masjid! The concept of Imamat in Islam or Shiaism is that the Imam has the authority to lead the people out of his own purified free will, and his choices become a part of one's religious obligations. This is the Imam who is chosen by Allah, to guide the people to his way.

I may not follow the Imam who Allah has chosen as the Imam. I may follow the ways of firaun. This way, firaun will be my role model, or an Imam with respect to me. Similarly, if in my life, i follow my father as a role model, i adopt his beliefs and do as he tells me to, my father will be an Imam with respect to me, because i treat him as my role model.

People who do evil, and follow the way of the wretched, take Iblees as their Imam. In the end, we all will be raised with who we considered our Imams, and they will be raised with those who they considered to be their Imams.

Any one can be an Imam with respect to you. However, Imamat as a doctrine is limited to those who are Chosen by Allah, to lead the people, to guide them, to be treated as role models. These are the people whose free will is purified, whose actions and personal choices become a part of religion. An Imam will not make the haram, halal, because he is just! However, if the Imam prohibits the consumption of a certain food at some point after the demise of Rasool (SAW) (let's assume), then this food will be haram of the same magnitude as if Rasool (SAW) himself have forbade it. However, this forbiddance would not negate any order of Rasool (SAW) or the Quran or any other previous Imam. This is the concept of Imamat.

During the time of Rasool (SAW), no battles between Muslims took place. During his (SAW) time, the Muslims would have a right over the war booty. At the time of Mawla Ali (AS), battles between Muslims took place and Mawla Ali (AS) forbade the war booty as the opponents were Muslims also. This decision of Mawla Ali (AS), is apparently not derived from the Quran or Rasool's life, but is out of his personal will, knowledge. As Ali (AS) is the Imam and our role model, we take his words as the words of Prophet (SAW) himself.

There is a true God, Allah. They, whose God is the real God, will be saved. Those who have false Gods are ruined. Those whose prophets are the chosen prophets of Allah, will be saved, rest will be ruined. Similarly, those whose Imams are the chosen ones will be saved. Those who consider other people as their Imam are ruined.

Because you will tend to follow your Imam or role model. All Prophets were role models for their own people, and thus, technically their Imam. All prophets cannot be termed as Imams because Imamat from Allah brings an Authority with it, and that is to act on your free will and it will have the authority of a religious obligation. Prophets were bound by revelation. Prophets are Imams with respect to people, but only those prophets were Imams inside the concept of Imamat, who were chosen as Imams by Allah himself.

This Imamat is promised to the progeny of Ibrahim (AS), as the Quran declares. The shias extend this Imamat to the Ahlulbayt (AS).

These are they to whom We gave the book and the wisdom and the prophecy; therefore if these disbelieve in it We have already entrusted with it a people who are not disbelievers in it. These are they whom Allah guided, therefore follow their guidance. Say: I do not ask you for any reward for it; it is nothing but a reminder to the nations.
Quran [6:89-90]

(They are those whom We gave the Book, Al-Hukm, and prophethood.) We bestowed these bounties on them, as a mercy for the servants, and out of our kindness for creation. (But if they disbelieve therein...) in the prophethood, or the three things; the Book, the Hukm and the prophethood, (They...) refers to the people of Makkah, according to Ibn `Abbas, Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, As-Suddi, and others. (then, indeed We have entrusted it to a people who are not disbelievers therein.) This Ayah means, if the Quraysh and the rest of the people of the earth - Arabs and non-Arabs, illiterate and the People of the Scripture - disbelieve in these bounties, then We have entrusted them to another people, the Muhajirun and Ansar, and those who follow their lead until the Day of Resurrection, (who are not disbelievers therein.) They will not deny any of these favors, not even one letter. Rather, they will believe in them totally, even the parts that are not so clear to some of them. We ask Allah to make us among them by His favor, generosity and kindness. Addressing His servant and Messenger, Muhammad , Allah said; (They are...) the Prophets mentioned here, along with their righteous fathers, offspring and bretheren,(those whom Allah had guided.) meaning, they alone are the people of guidance, (So follow their guidance.) Imitate them. This command to the Messenger certainly applies to his Ummah, according to what he legislates and commands them. While mentioning this Ayah, Al-Bukhari recorded that Mujahid asked Ibn `Abbas, "Is there an instance where prostration is warranted in ﴿Surah﴾ Sad'' Ibn `Abbas said, "Yes.'' He then recited,(...And We bestowed upon him Ishaq and Ya`qub...) until,(...So follow their guidance.) He commented, "He (our Prophet, Muhammad ) was among them.'' In another narration, Mujahid added that Ibn `Abbas said, "Your Prophet was among those whose guidance we were commanded to follow.''
Tafsir Ibne Kathir, Tafseer of Surah 6, Verse 90

Allah gave the book, wisdom and prophethood to some chosen people. Hardcore Wahabi, Ibne Kathir has interpreted the people who are entrusted with the book, wisdom and prophethood as the muhajirs and the ansars. If you read the Quran totally, the history and use your aql, then you will know that who has Allah entrusted with the book and the wisdom. They are none other than the Ahlulbayt. These are they who Allah has guided, we should follow their guidance. If you see someone other than the Ahlulbayt who have been entrusted by Allah to keep the book and the wisdom, then show them to me too.

Notice that Ibne Abbas claims that those who need to be imitated, Rasool (SAW) is a part of that group. Can this group contain people who could sin, who were not Muslims before accepting the message of Muhammad (SAW)? When you think with an open mind, you will come to this group, which Quran also boasts about in 5:55.

Quran tells us clearly to imitate (or treat as Imams) those who have been given the wisdom and the book. Who are these Imams which Quran tells us to follow?

Everything happens for a purpose. This is why I ask you, that if prophethood is a part of deen, and not Imamat, then after Muhammad (SAW), there is no need for anything else is there? Why did his children, his Ahlulbayt have infallibility or ismat in them? Prophets being infallible is understandable. Why were his Ahlulbayt purified?

What purpose were the Ahlulbayt given masoomiyat for? What was the duty of the Ahlulbayt that they were purified from all rijs, were the truthful ones, were to be loved unconditionally, and were left by Rasool (SAW), according to the famous hadith?

Also, when did imamat finish, where did it finish and what proof or knowledge of it do you have. If you mix it with imamat and say it finishes with Muhammad (SAW), then you have ignored the basic and obvious difference between Nabuwat and imamat, which Quran has spoken very clearly of.

The Quran is not quiet about that office. Maybe because of the issue of guidance from Allah, people mix that office with the office of prophethood and ignore it totally.

Allah sent in this world, for us, two things. Quran, and Rasool (SAW). Was it fair that when rasool (SAW) left this world, he would leave us with one thing only? This is why he also left us with two things, Quran and Ahlulbayt.

…. I narrate to you, and which I do not narrate do not compel me to do that. He then said: One day Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) stood up to deliver sermon at a watering place known as Khumm situated between Mecca and Medina. He praised Allah, extolled Him and delivered the sermon and. exhorted (us) and said: Now to our purpose. O people, I am a human being. I am about to receive a messenger (the angel of death) from my Lord and I, in response to Allah's call, (would bid good-bye to you), but I am leaving among you two weighty things: the one being the Book of Allah in which there is right guidance and light, so hold fast to the Book of Allah and adhere to it. He exhorted (us) (to hold fast) to the Book of Allah and then said: The second are the members of my household I remind you (of your duties) to the members of my family. ..
Sahih Muslim Book 031, Number 5920

Why are the Ahlulbayt a weighty thing? Why are they at par with the Quran? What is our duty to the Ahlulbayt which this hadith does not speak about?

To me, this purpose was Imamat. To you?

As far as Imamat missing from the Quran, you have quoted the verse;

It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets; and giveth wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor-due. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the Allah-fearing.
Quran [2:177]

"To be included among the righteous this is all we have to do”, you claim. You are asking me where Imamat exists?

Allah had made his revelations so clear, that he has told us that Imamat will exist in the children of Ibrahim (AS). Even after that, if you ask me where does Imamat exist, then i Have nothing more to say.

You quoted 2:177 and said that this is all we have to do in order to be righteous. You will agree that Islam's purpose is to make us righteous? If so, and if this verse is sufficient and only enough for us to make us righteous, then I must say that the Quran is uselessly long. The Quran should consist of this verse only so people can clearly follow it. There is no purpose of the other 6665 verses.

2:177 says that you should believe in the book as well as the Prophet. Has not your prophet , Muhammad (SAW), turned towards the Ahlulbayt (AS) and Ali (AS) from time to time? Has not your book, the Quran, spoken about the imamat of the children of Ibrahim (AS). Has not your prophet, Muhammad (SAW) gave Ali (AS) the authority over every believer at Gadeer?

Even after it, if you overlook it, then it is your thinking, your thought approach. Haqq is clear, in the Quran, that imamat exists in the lineage of Ibrahim (AS) and is definitely different to prophethood, as explained earlier/later.

The prophet had prayed that haqq should turn wherever Ali turns.

The Messenger of God said: O God, have Thy Mercy on Ali. O God, make the right and the truth with Ali in all situations
Sahih al-Tirmidhi, volume 5, page 297

If Islam is completed, prophethood is over and nothing else remains, then the Ahlulbayt and Ali (AS) hold no position, there is no need for haqq to turn with him, if there is no Imamat. There is no need for them to be the purified ones, if there is no imamat, is it?

The only difference amongst the shias and the Sunnis is the Ahlulbayt. The Ahlulbayt have taught imamat also.

Why is it so important to believe in imamat as firmly as prophethood? What is more important, Tauheed, or Nabuwat? Obviously, Tauheed, because in the Kalimah, you first testify about Allah, then you testify about Nabuwat. And nothing can be compared with Allah and thus his tauheed is the most important right?

Having said that, iblees or shaitan is not a mushrik. Infact he prayed to Allah for 60 thousand years and taught hundreds of thousands of angels before the creation of Adam. He knew Allah is one, worthy to be worshipped. Why did he become iblees? Because he rejected HIM, who Allah chose.

The matter was not to prostrate to Allah, the matter was to accept the authority of him, who Allah has chosen. Every religion worships one creator in some form. Christians, Jews, even hindus, worship one supreme creator.

The issue is to accept him, who Allah chooses over you. You do not compete with God because he is not a creation. You cannot be jealous of him, you cannot claim to be better than him in any way. But you can compete with man. In your envy and arrogance, you will not accept the authority of any man who you believe is inferior to you. If this is the chosen one, then surely rejecting him will lay way to your destruction.

If you reject those who Allah chooses, it is a rejection of the authority of Allah himself. If, Imamat is truly placed in the line age of Ibrahim (AS), and if Rasool (SAW) is truthful, who has made Ali the Mawla over every believer, then he who rejects the Imamat of Ali (AS) indirectly rejects the risalat of Rasool (SAW). Read Why Ali.

No Imam has declared any nonshia a nonmuslim. The Kalimah is technically sufficient to make one a Muslim. However, in order to be guided in totality and enjoy the perks which come along with it, belief in Imamat will remain a concrete Usool.

I think I could not clarify my point in the article about Imamat. I will start from scratch. Stay with me.

Prophet Sheeth (AS) is not an Imam. Rasool (SAW) is a prophet as well as an Imam. Nations of both the prophets are ordered to perform salaat lets suppose. If Sheeth (AS) prays salaat according to his own desire, he will be punished for it. What is happening in the background, the people do not know.

If Sheeth (AS) received a revelation, had a dream, or if he is saying something out of his own desire, it is not known to people. As a prophet, the people will have to follow Sheeth (AS). But if Sheeth (AS) wants to make something a part of religion, without permission, he will be punished by Allah. In order to teach the people salaat, Sheeth (AS) will have to wait for revelations so that he can tell the people what to do exactly as told by Allah, because he is only a prophet and thus is restricted by revelations.

Muhammad (SAW) is an imam also. The method of salaat, if revealed by Jibrail (AS), or if invented by Muhammad (SAW) himself, is not known to us. But being an imam, he can do either.

I hope this clarifies something.

They swear to you by Allah that they might please you and, Allah, as well as His Messenger, has a greater right that they should please Him, if they are believers. Do they not know that whoever acts in opposition to Allah and His Messenger, he shall surely have the fire of hell to abide in it? That is the grievous abasement.
Quran [9:62-63]

As a Muslim, it is our duty to please Allah, and please his messenger. We should neither oppose Allah, nor oppose his messenger. If some one who pleases you, pleases me also, then I will say to people to please you only,  because it will directly please me, or I will say, only please me, so that the people will please you because that is the only way to please me. But if I say, that the people will have to please you as well as me, then that means these are two different pleasures.

Muhammad (SAW) is a rasool of Allah, with respect to the wahi he receives. Muhammad (SAW) is an imam, with respect to his personal will and desire and choices.

You will have to please Allah, by following the wahi which Muhammad (SAW) receives. You will have to please Muhammad (SAW), with respect to the authority he has as being an imam, his desires, his choices.

If Muhammad (SAW) is not told by Allah, to lets say, give the blessings of paradise to salman Farsi (RA). But Muhammad (SAW) gives that blessing out of his personal wish, then Allah will make it a part of religion or make it Haqq.

If Muhammad (SAW) tells us to love Hussain (AS), then it will either be a revelation, or something out of his personal desire. Either way, this love will become a part of religion, either in relation with obedience to a prophet, or to an imam.

If Sheeth (AS) tells his nation to love his son, but Allah has not revealed it to Sheeth (AS), and Sheeth (AS) is not an Imam, then Allah will punish him. People will not be punished because they rely on the prophet and see his words as the words of Allah. So if any prophet tries to mix his wishes with the deen, he will be punished because he does not have that authority. As an Imam, he has that authority.

Being an imam will not change the duty of the people which they have for the prophet, it will enhance the authority of the prophet over his people.

Ibrahim (AS) was a prophet and a friend of Allah (khalil Allah) before made the imam. Was he not the leader of men or his people before imamat, as a prophet? Are not prophets, also leaders of their nation? There is not argument about the rank, the status, the faith and the up righteousness of Ibrahim (AS). It was his faith which was loved by Allah a lot. Why? Because there have been prophets before him also, but the aqeeda which Ibrahim (AS) possessed, was not matched by anyone before him.

The question is, that would any authority which Ibrahim (AS) had, be taken away from him if he was not given imamat? Or will Imamat to Ibrahim (AS) bring more authority to him?

Prophethood or imamat cannot be the same thing. You are a teacher at a school. After being a teacher, is it logical that your administration makes you a teacher, again? You are obviously a teacher already! They can make u a part of administration which will make u earn more salary and give u more authority.

If ibrahim (AS) was first a prophet, then khalil allah, then made imam, this proves that imamat is different than prophethood, and the office of imamat is superior to that of prophethood. If you are an assistant professor in your university, for your good work, your administration will give u one step higher, lets say a professor! If they make you a peon for your good work, does it make sense?

Imamat given to ibrahim (AS) after prophethood is a proof enough that it is an office, higher to prophethood and this is also one of the reasons why Ibrahim (AS) prayed for imamat, not prophethood, to stay in his offspring.

In your understanding, you have ignored this difference and taken the imamat same as prophethood.

There were many many prophets, sent to many many places at many many times, which we cannot even think of. No one was left without a message at any time.

And every nation had a messenger; so when their messenger came, the matter was decided between them with justice and they shall not be dealt with unjustly.
Quran [10:47]

Every nation had a messenger. The traditions give us a number of 124000 prophets, most of who we do not even know the names of. There were nations outside Arabia, Asia.. in the Americas as well, in china, in Indonesia and there must have been prophets who were sent there. We only know about the prophets who belong to the children of Ibrahim (AS) but there were definitely prophets who were outside the lineage of his children.

It is only a guess, out of lack of knowledge that all of the prophets later on sent were from the off springs of Ibrahim (AS). It is a fact, in context with knowledge, that imamat, not prophethood, was restricted to the children of Ibrahim (AS).

As Sunnis and wahabis fail to understand the concept and the meaning of imamat, they took it the same as prophethood, which is obviously and logically not possible at all. There must be a difference, what difference it is, I will try to clarify it later.

You claim that the Imamat given to Ibrahim (AS) did not give him the authority to lead the people out of his personal purified desire, but it was to expand the responsibility of Ibrahim (AS) as a prophet, to all men and not only to his own nation.

Prophets before Rasool (SAW) were sent to specific nations! It does not mean that the authority of that prophet is limited over that specific nation. Lut (AS) and Ibrahim (AS) were cousins and coexisted in the same time. If Lut (AS) visited Ibrahim (AS), will any follower of Ibrahim (AS), disobey lut (AS)? Definitely not!

How can you prove this theory of yours? Ibrahim (AS) was sent to his nation! His message was for his nation. When he was made the imam of the men, he still conveyed his message to his nation, or as according to you, he visited every part of the world and started to convey his message to them? I do not see that ever happened.

No one doubts the merit and the status of Ibrahim (AS). And it is not a competition between the role and the status of rasool (SAW) and Ibrahim (AS). Ibrahim (AS) is our leader. Do you personally, see Adam (AS) as our leader too, or you just consider him a prophet but you do not care about his message?

Every prophet obviously brought Islam, but in different packages. Human mind has developed. People today are smarter than they were a hundred years ago. Kids ten years later will study in their metric what we studied in our bachelors. You are taught 1+1 = 2 in grade 1. in grade 5, you are not taught 1+1 = 2, you are taught more complex mathematical things, but the basics remain the same.

Prophets to different nations, with different mentalities were sent with Islam, but not in its totality! Some were taught only 1+1 = 2, some were taught multiplication, some were taught complex functions, and some were taught integration etc.

Rasool (SAW) brought Islam in its totality, every other prophet brought Islam in bits and pieces, in its fundamentals! No message of any prophet ever contradicted with another Prophet.

So, you see Ibrahim (AS) as your leader and role model.

Then We revealed to you (Muhammad): Follow the faith of Ibrahim, the upright one, and he was not of the polytheists.
Quran [16:123]

Because he was the imam of mankind right, that is why he was the only prophet who you see as your leader, as you claim! Nuh (AS) came before Ibrahim (AS) and thus was not an Imam.

And most surely Ibrahim followed his (Nuh’s) way.
Quran [37:83]

Ibrahim (AS) was a follower of Nuh. Does not that make Nuh (AS) your leader as well? But Quran does not make Nuh the leader of mankind, only Ibrahim (AS) is, then you should not see Nuh (AS) as your leader as he was only the leader of his nation. Ibrahim (AS) is the leader of mankind, but he is the follower of Nuh (AS) and that makes Nuh also the leader of all men, but Quran has not promised Nuh (AS) that status. I hope you are getting my point.

The theory, of restricting the prophethood of a prophet to his nation, and mixing it with the imamat of mankind is fragile. The above example sheds why so.

The hadith you speak about is:

 Narrated By Jabir bin Samura: I heard the Prophet saying, "There will be TWELVE Muslim rulers (who will rule all the Islamic world)." He then said a sentence which I did not hear. My father said, "All of them (those rulers) will be from Quraish."
Sahih Bukhari , Volume , Book 89. Judgments (Ahkaam) Hadith 329.

Ahadith similar to that narrated above can also be found in
Book 20. On Government. Hadith 4477 to 4482. (Sahih Muslim)
Book 31. The Promised Deliverer. Hadith 4266-7. (Abu Dawud)

12 caliphs, all from Quraysh? Why only 12, why not more or less? The number of imams being 12 is only a coincidence I think. And for those who believe, a coincidence is a sign. Why should all of them be from Quraysh? Who is a Qurayshi today, who is a syed today, no one knows for sure. 12 rulers will mean the imams, who will rule the Islamic world, because that is the only way they can rule. Why do i say so?

Why the 12 rulers the hadith speaks about, does not refer to the choice of the people (or political leadership)? Because, man has free will.

If prophet (SAW) prayed that every Muslim loved and followed his Ahlulbayt, his prayer would have been accepted. But that would have meant that Allah will have to force the people to love them and this would kill mans free will. Because man has free will and has to be tested, he is told to love the Ahlulbayt. If he doesn’t, it is out of his free will. If it was the prayer of prophet (SAW), then man would have been forced by Allah to love the Ahlulbayt and that would kill mans free will.

The 12 rulers from Quraysh can only happen if the people choose them. If these 12 are the chosen ones of Allah, man's free will continue to oppose them, as majority is always of evil, and in democracy thus, evil will prevail (which it had in Islamic history).

Say: The bad and the good are not equal, though the abundance of the bad may please you; so be careful of (your duty to) Allah, O men of understanding, that you may be successful.
Quran [5:100]

Prophet Muhammad would be a prophet if no one believes in him. He cannot be a political ruler until the people choose him. If Allah wanted 12 of his prophets to be political rulers also, then democracy might not be an option because for that, man's free will needs to surrender itself to the choice of Allah and as evil is in abundance as Quran said, God's men would not be chosen as leaders by men. However, prophets have been given kingdom, like Daud (AS) and Sulaiman (AS), and in monarchy, democracy doesn't mean anything. So either these 12 rulers will be the kings (politically), or imams who do not depend on the will of the people. If they are kings, against the will of the people, then Qayamat has nothing to do with it.

The coming of Qayamat after the 12 strengthens the believe that it is imamat which will end, because Allah does not leave this earth without his hujjat or sign. When only one man existed, he will be Allah's hujjat, Adam (AS). If only one man remains, he will be Allah's hujjat, Mahdi (AS)!

The hadith doesn't speak about the affair of the people in political terms. It talks about Qayamat. Your affair started when you were born. Your rizq, your education etc is your affair. Your affair in this world will continue until either you die, or qayamat comes. The hadith says that the affair of men will continue, until the 12 caliphs from Quraysh have passed by.

 "The affairs of the people will continue to be conducted as long as they are governed by 12 men, he than added from Quraysh."
Sahih Muslim, Hadith number 4478

As soon as these 12 Caliphs pass by, the affairs of men will not be conducted any more, or hints towards the end of Time.

My wife can rule my heart. My mother governs the house. So the word itself doesn't necessarily mean political power.

But they rejected him, so We delivered him and those with him in the ark, and We made them rulers and drowned those who rejected Our communications; see then what was the end of the (people) warned.
Quran [10:73]

The Arabic word khalaif is used for the translation “ruler” in the above verse. These rulers are not political rulers as they are not chosen by the people. As they were the only survivors after the flood, they would inherit the land. It was just to prove that a ruler will not necessarily be a political ruler, or chosen by the people.

I have to prove shia things to you, from Sunni sources only! Isn’t it funny, that although I believe that sunnism is a deviation from the truth, I have only referred to Quran and Sunni references for every of our discussions? There are tons of narrations by the imams of the Ahlulbayt and the rasool (SAW) himself which promote the cause of Imamat, but they will have a Shia label on them.

You argued on the word "rule" and wanted it to be political leadership, not spiritual!

Or do they envy the people for what Allah has given them of His grace? But indeed We have given to Ibrahim's children the Book and the wisdom, and We have given them a grand kingdom.
Quran [4:54]

Show me the kingdom given to the children of Ibrahim (AS). Besides Daud (AS) and Sulaiman (AS), no known prophet is said to have a kingdom. The children of Ibrahim (AS) have a grand kingdom! Which kingdom is it? A materialistic one, or the spiritual kingdom?

The 12 caliphs who will rule the Islamic world, why only 12, why not more than 12, or less? Why is it a coincidence that all the imams after rasool (SAW), are 12 in number, all from the Quraysh, all from the children of Ibrahim (AS), all rule the world of Islam for us? Because they are our leaders in the world of Islam, that is why we follow them. This leadership is given by Allah and does not need the consent of the people!

The verse you talk about is;

I swear by the star when it goes down. Your companion does not err, nor does he (Muhammad) go astray; Nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed, The Lord of Mighty Power has taught him, The Lord of Strength; so he attained completion;
Quran [53:1-6]

The verse clearly states that what ever Rasool (SAW) says is a revelation and not out of his desire. However, it is clear that being a mortal, Rasool (SAW) would say some things out of his own desire and needs also, for example, asking a glass of water from someone, when thirsty. Rasool (SAW) was not an angel, he was much superior than that.

However, what ever revelations Rasool (SAW) received, as a prophet of Allah, there was no doubt in them that those were the words of Allah himself. There have been stories in Sunni history, the satanic verses to be precise, where it is claimed that Rasool (SAW) revealed some verses from the Satan and not Jibrail (AS). The above verses was to negate any such concepts of blasphemy. The above Ayah does not take away the authority of Rasool (SAW) as an Imam also, which will be discussed in detail later on.

O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and do not make your deeds of no effect.
Quran [47:33]

How will you obey Allah? Have you seen Allah or do you talk to Allah yourself? If you obey Allah by obeying Rasool (SAW), then why does the Quran tell you clearly to follow two different entities in order to be saved, Allah as well as Muhammad (SAW)?

If i am a president of Pakistan and i live in president house. I never come out and no one has any sorts of contact with me, except the Prime minister. If the PM gives my message to the nation, and in that message, he tells the nation to obey the President as well as the Prime minister, then the nation is obviously obeying the president by obeying the PM. What was the purpose to clearly tell the nation to obey the PM also, if both were the same things?

Allah tells us to obey Allah, and obey the prophet. These are two different obediences of same importance. What is a revelation, and what is the desire of Muhammad (SAW), he knows better. Our duty is to obey both. If only obedience of Allah was required, then obeying Muhammad (SAW) was not our religious duty and thus Muhammad (SAW) would not say something out of his own desire, because if he did, Allah would have punished him.

We obey Allah, by following Muhammad (SAW) as the Prophet of Allah, who delivers us the revelations as he reveals to us. We obey Muhammad (SAW), by following him as an Imam, by obeying his orders whether they are revelations or something out of his own desire.

To give a very simple and weak example, if Muhammad (SAW) became thirsty, a revelation will not be revealed to him to tell you to give him water. He will ask for water out of his own personal need, and that asking will be your religious duty because he is an imam also and obeying Muhammad (SAW) is farz.

The revelations which are revealed to him, are exact and not tampered in anyway. And not all revelations are a part of Quran. Sunnis believe, that hadith e Qadsi are also a part of revelations.

And when the prophet secretly communicated a piece of information to one of his wives (Ayesha)-- but when she informed (others) of it, and Allah made him to know it, he made known part of it and avoided part; so when he (Muhammad) informed her (Ayesha) of it, she said: Who informed you of this? He said: The Knowing, the one Aware, informed me.
Quran [66:3]

Allah made Muhammad (SAW) know what aisha has done, as the Quran claims. What did Allah tell Muhammad (SAW) exactly, is a part of revelation, but not in the Quran. The Quran which we have today, are the revelations as Allah wanted them to be.

The hadith, maybe or may not be a part of revelation. True hadith will either be, a revelation revealed to him, or something which Muhammad (SAW) said or did through a vision or dream he had (which is also a revelation), intuition or ilhaam (which is also a revelation), or his personal desire, which is purified by Allah already and following his personal desire is as important as following Allah himself.

And We gave to him out of Our mercy his brother Haroun a prophet.
Quran [19:53]

Allah gave Musa (AS), his brother Haroon (AS) as a prophet and an aider. Allah chose haroon (AS) as a prophet with Musa (AS). And this choice maybe a result of the prayer of musa (AS).

And give to me an aider from my family: Haroun, my brother, Strengthen my back by him;
Quran [20:29-31]

If Rasool (SAW) made Ali a Mawla out of his own desire, Allah has put his stamp of approval on it. If Allah has made Ali (AS) a Mawla out of his wisdom, then rasool (SAW) has conveyed it. Either way, following both is a must. However in the case of Ali (AS), Quran tells Rasool (SAW) to deliver that something important on the day of Gadeer, so obedience to Ali (AS) is obedience to Muhammad (SAW) as a rasool as well as an Imam.

Who ever from amongst the progeny of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS), would be just to his own soul and to others (infallible), will be an Imam also.

And when his Lord tried Ibrahim with certain words, he fulfilled them. He said: Surely I will make you an Imam of men. Ibrahim said: And of my offspring? My covenant does not include the unjust, said He.
Quran [2:124]

Anyone, who is totally pure, infallible, and from the progeny of Ibrahim (AS), will be an Imam. Who are the pure ones, Quran speaks from the verse of Tatheer to the event of Mubahila.

Prophets are masoom, however their level of infallibility differs. Theoretically, prophets from the lineage of Ibrahim (AS) were Imams as well.

Imamat of mankind is promised from the offspring of Ibrahim (AS), those who are infallible, as you have agreed. You have quoted verses which guarantee the purification and justness of men like ishaq (AS), ismail (AS), yaqub (AS).

And We gave him Ishaq and Yaqoub, a son's son, and We made (them) all good. And We made them Imams who guided (people) by Our command, and We revealed to them the doing of good and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of the alms, and Us (alone) did they serve;
Quran [21:72-73]

No one is denying them. Children from the lineage of Ibrahim (AS) have been bestowed by prophethood as well as Imamat.

Allah has chosen men, prophets, imams. Prophets have ranks amongst themselves.

We have made some of these messengers to excel the others among them are they to whom Allah spoke, and some of them He exalted by (many degrees of) rank;
Quran [2:253]

No one is doubting the choice of Allah, their purity, their merit, their excellence. The discussion is about the difference and the superiority between the offices of prophethood and Imamat.

Guidance comes to those who are blessed by Allah. The masses knew that Fatima (AS) was purified and cannot lie, still her testimony about Fadak was rejected. The masses knew that Hussain (AS) is purified, still he was slaughtered.

So knowing about their purification or being ignorant of it does not help if Allah does not guide you to the house of Fatima (AS).

As said in the letter of infallibility, the purified were purified since day one, it was only announced later. This also means that if there are some more people who are purified, and an announcement has not been made, then it does not mean they are not purified.

If Mawla Ali (AS) , chooses me as the imam of the people, it means that a purified infallible imam has chosen me and it is the will of Allah. Thus I will only be chosen only if I am purified and just also.

The ayah of imamat of Ibrahim (AS) promises imamat to the just. Where does this chain end? Who are the just ones? The whole chain of the 12 is so continuous and unbroken and perfect, that what imam Hassan Askari (AS), the 11th imam, father of Mahdi (AS), has said, is exactly what his father, the 10th Imam said, and that goes up to rasool (SAW) directly through a chain of purified sons.

First thing first. As I quoted in many articles, Allah tells in the Quran that the duty of Muhammad (SAW) is only to deliver the message, it is Allah who will guide the people.

And We will either let you see part of what We threaten them with or cause you to die, for only the delivery of the message is (incumbent) on you, while calling (them) to account is Our (business).
Quran [13:40]

So no prophet, no imam can guide the people, they can only deliver the message, and safeguard it. Imams guiding the people mean, that if Allah gives you the guidance, he will make you recognize your imam and thus you will love that imam, follow that imam, and this will be your proof of being guided by Allah!

The duty of prophets was to deliver the message and call them to guidance. Yet we have prophets, who fought battles and wars, like Daud (AS), prophets who commanded the jinns, like Sulaiman (AS). Adam (AS) was a prophet and Allah's khalifa on earth, when he was the only man alive. Who did he guide and give his message to when there was no one else besides him?

So prophets, imams have duties given to them by Allah. Just like Isa (AS), a prophet of Allah, will come again. His status amongst us will remain that of a prophet and we will have to give him the respect of a prophet, but his duty will not be to convey the message of Allah, but to establish justice through battles, as what the traditions point out.

11 Imams have gone by in history. All of them struggled against the evil dynasties, and all of them only had a handful of faithful followers. Even after 11 imams and 124000 prophets, we still stand on the same place, with no faith, all evils which existed man in pre-Islamic period.
So not having an imam or a prophet today, apparently, we cannot have that as an excuse of not to be guided. Because people like us were not guided when prophets came to them and when imams lived with them. Imam Ali's own army men threatened to kill him if he didn’t stop the battle of Siffin.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was sent to mankind to convey the message of Allah.

And We have not sent you (Muhammad) but to all the men as a bearer of good news and as a warner, but most men do not know
Quran [34:28]

He was sent to all men. But factually speaking, he lived in Mecca and medina only. His message remained in Arabia only for a long time. People living in his (SAW) time, in Indonesia, china, Europe etc were not even aware of his message. The prophet (SAW) sent his messengers with letters to kings, but not all men received the message of Muhammad (SAW), during his lifetime. Then how can you and I claim that he was sent to all men? Even today, there are tribes in Africa and south America, who are cut off from civilization and technology, they do not know what Islam is.

Does this mean that Muhammad (SAW) was not a messenger for all men, but only for Arabia? Obviously not. Allah in his own ways, has and will, spread the message of Muhammad (SAW) to all men. And any man who hears the message, will have to follow it, because the message is for all men and not just Arabia.

The point was raised only to state that although Rasool (SAW) was a guide for every man and nation, he was physically absent from most places at most of the times, apparently. And i would link this with occultation of Imam Mahdi (AS).

The plan of Allah is full of wisdom, and I can only give you my understanding on that. Occultation of the last imam is a means to save his life from the tyrants. The imams are hujjat of Allah on earth. They are the signs of god on earth. Their duty is to fulfill their duty. If it is to guide the people, or to fight the people, time will tell.

Rasool (SAW) is a sufficient hidden source of guiding and helping us, even today i believe. Even today, we have to go to Rasool (SAW) for our forgiveness.

And We did not send any messenger but that he should be obeyed by Allah's permission; and had they, when they were unjust to themselves, come to you (O Muhammad) and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Messenger had (also) asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Oft-returning (to mercy), Merciful.
Quran [4:64]

But to establish justice on earth and to fulfill the prophecies, to execute the will of Allah on earth, a physical source is required, and that will be Imam Mahdi (AS).

Follow Up on Letter 14: Imamat in Detail


  1. I disagree. Why will Allah make someone a prophet who will teach people anything out of his own desire giving it a name of religion? That is doubting prophethood. Prophets were sent to guide people. Why will they be unjust. To be honest, i get ticked off when i read that the Shia Imams whose names are not mentioned in the Quran, are superior to the Prophets of Allah.
  2. You claim Infallibility is given for the purpose of Imamat, then why was infallibility given to mariam (AS)? I am sure she was not an Imam and neither has a place in the Shia Imamat.
  3. If Imamat was true and Haqq, why will the majority, the Sunnis, negate it?
  4. The sunni hadith of the 12 princes can be a shia propoganda.


You did not understand me, that is not doubting prophethood at all. As stated above, Allah has given different prophets different ranks, some prophet excelled others and so did their status and qualities. We have examples of prophets, who have disobeyed Allah, Adam (AS) and yunus (AS) being prime examples.

Our duty is to follow the prophet, what ever he tells us to do! The communication between a prophet and Allah we do not know, to obey the Allah, we need to obey the prophet what ever he tells us to do! That is why, whatever the prophet tells us to do, we do, whatever the imam tells us to do, we do!

If a prophet-only does something, Allah will seize him and not his people. This has happened with Adam (AS), this has happened with Yunus (AS).

It is like, a president and a prime minister. Your duty towards both remains the same. You listen to both, you respect both, you follow the orders of both! Their offices hold different powers in the background and you are not concerned with it!

Forget who is an imam and who is only a prophet. The office is that is what matter. Musharaf is not superior to you, but the office of Pakistan's presidency is. If you are given that, you will excel us.

Ibrahim (AS) was given imamat after he was a prophet which means that imamat was superior to prophethood and a rank which is attained after prophethood. What is the difference is still under consideration, but the issue of superiority is no question.

Shia imams are superior than prophets you said? There is no such a thing as shia imams. Imams are Allah’s. If what shias say is true, and imamat is infact existent in the Ahlulbayt, then these imams will be superior to prophets because the office they hold is higher than the office of prophethood.

I do not need to prove the Imamat of the Ahlulbayt to prove their superiority over prophets even. I wrote to you in an email earlier also. Is any prophet given the title of prince of youth of paradise? Imam Hassan (AS) and Hussain (AS) will be the leaders of paradise. Prophets are also in paradise, but they will not be the leaders.

The prophets of the past are ummatis of Muhammad (SAW).

Jabir bin Abdullah Ansaari narrates: One day Umar bin Khatab came before the Prophet of Allah and said: "O Prophet of Allah, when we hear the ahadith from the Jews we find them very pleasant. If you would approve of it, we are willing to write them down". The Prophet of Allah replied: "Are you astonished and lost like the Jews? Even though I have brought a luminous Shari'ah among you? If Hazrat Musa had been alive he would have been a follower of mine".  
Mishkaat Shareef volume 1 page 51

Infact, all prophets were given prophethood before coming into this world, because they accepted Muhammad (SAW) as their prophet.

And when Allah made a covenant through the prophets: Certainly what I have given you of Book and wisdom-- then an messenger comes to you verifying that which is with you, you must believe in him, and you must aid him. He said: Do you affirm and accept My compact in this (matter)? They said: We do affirm. He said: Then bear witness, and I (too) am of the bearers of witness with you.
Quran [3:81]

If Musa was from the Ummat of rasool (SAW), and Ali (AS) was the Mawla of everyone of the ummat, then Ali would also be the Mawla of prophets who were a part of this ummat.

Do not forget, that it is not the prayer of rasool (SAW), but the decision of Allah, in Mubahila, that Ali (AS) is the nafs of rasool (SAW). If the nafs of Muhammad (SAW) is the best and the superior most nafs amongst every other imam, prophet and creation, then remember, that Ali is the nafs of Muhammad, as Mubahila in Quran declares it. This superiority of the Ahlulbayt over prophets proves that they hold an office superior to prophethood.

Why this purposeless infallibility and superiority to the Ahlulbayt?

If your check of superiority is only the mentioning of the name in the Quran, then Firaun's name is in the Quran, Iblees is mentioned, Abu Lahab (the cursed) is mentioned! Does this make them superior?

Men have different life styles and women have different! There must have been an example for women, to follow someone!! As a mother, as a daughter, as a wife! You as a woman, cannot follow rasool (SAW) as these roles, because he did not have those roles. Then who would be your role model be? Obviously rasool (SAW) is the ultimate model and guide for everyone, but as a woman, your model would be who? Thus, you have Fatima (AS), a purified woman, who you would follow as a woman!

Why were Ali (AS) and his sons etc purified by Allah himself? If deen finishes after death of rasool (SAW) and that is the end of the story, what was Ali’s role in our faith and why? Isn’t his purification a proof that because he is infallible, after rasool, you have to follow him!? This is imamat!

Rasool (SAW) loved men like ammar yasir, salman farsi etc, they might purify themselves through their deeds, but the merit and the infallibility, the purity which Allah has given to the household of the prophet, and their inclusion in the durood, is something worth a ponder. To you, it seems purposeless.

Rasool (SAW) had the knowledge given to him by Allah. You ask him anything, everything and he would answer because Allah would reveal to him. How is then Ali, the gate of knowledge! How does Ali know, whatever the rasool (SAW) knows? Or just say that you do not agree to this Sunni hadith, and the various sermons Mawla Ali (AS) himself gave in which he told people to ask him anything before he leaves the world.

Let us not discuss an old letter again, about how disobedience to Rasool (SAW), by a majority would not make the majority right, and about how the Quran speaks about the abundance of the rejecters.

Sunnis have a concept of imamat too. They follow the caliphs, they believe they were sinless and could not sin, they take the caliphs as masoom and as role models. They think that succesorship of rasool (SAW) was so important that most of the companions didn’t attend the funeral of rasool (SAW) in order to choose an Imam. The concept of imamat exists in sunnis, some have accepted it, some have made their own concept.

The Holy Prophet (SAW) said;

"The person who dies and has not known the Imam of his time has died the same as one who died during the Age of Ignorance."
Musnad-i-Ahmad-ibn-Hanbal, Volume 2, Page 83; Volume 3, Page 446
Sahih-i-Muslim Volume 6, Page 21, Hadith Number: 1849.

It has been reported on the authority of Nafi, that 'Abdullah b. Umar paid a visit to Abdullah b. Muti' in the days (when atrocities were perpetrated on the People Of Medina) at Harra in the time of Yazid b. Mu'awiya. Ibn Muti' said: Place a pillow for Abu 'Abd al-Rahman (family name of 'Abdullah b. 'Umar). But the latter said: I have not come to sit with you. I have come to you to tell you a tradition I heard from the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). I heard him say: One who withdraws his band from obedience (to the Amir) will find no argument (in his defence) when he stands before Allah on the Day of Judgment, and one who dies without having bound himself by an oath of allegiance (to an Amir) will die the death of one belonging to the days of Jahillyya.
Sahih Muslim Book 020, Number 4562

If this is the politicial Amir, like yazeed (the cursed), then imam Hussain (AS) didn’t give him his oath and disobeyed his amir, did imam Hussain (AS) die the death of a jahil (god forbid)? If no, then which Amirs is this narration talking about? Who is this Amir whose disobedience will take you back to the times of ignorance? Is it not the concept of Imamat?

The only problem is that the caliphs, the dynasties of ummayads, Abbasids, fatamids have been hostile to the Ahlulbayt and in order to lead the people, they have used such hadith in order to prove their own legitimacy, thus the confusion of imam being a spiritual leader and/or political leader exist.

Sunnis believe Mahdi to be an Imam. Their beliefs about him might differ, but they believe he will be an Imam. Will he be the same imam, like the imams of the masjid, or will he be the imam, from the Ahlulbayt, from the selected lineage of rasool (SAW), whose obedience would be compulsory?  If Mahdi (AS) will be an imam to Sunnis even, then do you think doubting the imamat of any1 of the previous 11 will help their cause?

Will the Sunni Mahdi receive a message from an angel that he is the chosen Imam? Or will the Sunni Mahdi know naturally that he is an Imam, or through some dream? Or will the Sunnis vote and nominate for their own Imam Mahdi and follow him? Will The Sunnis follow Imam Mahdi (AS) unconditionally, or treat them like just another political leader who has come to power and has his own foreign policies? If the Sunnis consider Mahdi to be an Imam, then that means that Mahdi will be chosen by Allah and following him in every way would be a must. Will this Mahdi receive revelations as to what to do, or will he do things out of his knowledge and free will and personal actions. Pondering over it all will give a hint as to what really is the concept of Imamat, and who this Mahdi should really be.

There is smoke only where there is fire.

The Question is funny and sounds like a last minute excuse. None the less, a question is a question.

I don’t understand how shias could control the media, in an anti-shia environment! And do you know, Bukhari died in 870 AD. Imam Mahdi's birth in shia literature is in 255 hijri, or 875 AD. The number 12 was pre-decided, as in, during the collection of hadith time, or was the number added afterwards, under the hostile Abbasids and fatamids dynasties, which doesn’t sound logical to me!

Why? Aql doesn’t have anything against imamat. History speaks about imamat. Quran has spoken about imamat and has hints too! For the wise, a hint is sufficient. For everyone else, Quran itself is useless.

If there is no imamat, there is no need to purify the Ahlulbayt, give them wisdom, there is no need to love them or follow them or see them as role models. There is no need for Ali to be the gate of knowledge and for Allah to love those who love Hussain (AS).

What imam Hussain (AS) did or said at any stage of his life, would be exactly identical as to what rasool (SAW) himself would say or do , if he met with the same conditions. This is imamat to us, and that is why we follow the 12, after Muhammad (SAW), unconditionally.

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