Baztab News

The Twelve Imams

12 Aug 2018 National Radio TV of Afghanistan

The Twelve Imams are the spiritual and political successors to the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Twelver or Athnā‘ashariyyahbranch of Shia Islam, including that of the Alawite and the Alevi sects.[1]

According to the theology of Twelvers, the Twelve Imams are exemplary human individuals who not only rule over the community with justice, but also are able to keep and interpret sharia and the esoteric meaning of the Quran. Muhammad and Imams’ words and deeds are a guide and model for the community to follow; as a result, they must be free from error and sin (known as ismah, or infallibility) and must be chosen by divine decree, or nass, through the Prophet.[2][3]

Calligraphic representation of the Twelve Imams along with that of the Prophet Muhammad.

The belief of Imamah[edit]

It is believed in Twelver Shia Islam that ‘aql, divine wisdom, is the source of the souls of the Prophets and Imams and gives them esoteric knowledge called Hikmah and that their sufferings are a means of divine grace to their devotees.[4][5] Although the Imam is not the recipient of a divine revelation, he has a close relationship with God, through which God guides him, and the Imam in turn guides the people. The Imams are also guided by secret texts in their possession, such as al-Jafr and al-Jamia. Imamate, or belief, in the divine guide is a fundamental belief in the Twelver Shia doctrine and is based on the concept that God would not leave humanity without access to divine guidance.[6]

According to Twelvers, there is at all times an Imam of the era who is the divinely appointed authority on all matters of faith and law in the Muslim community. Ali was the first of the Twelve Imams, and, in the Twelvers and Sufis’ view, the rightful successor to Muhammad, followed by male descendants of Muhammad through his daughter Fatimah. Each Imam was the son of the previous Imam, with the exception of Husayn ibn Ali, who was the brother of Hasan ibn Ali. The twelfth and final Imam is Muhammad al-Mahdi, who is believed by the Twelvers to be currently alive, and hidden in the Major Occultation until he returns to bring justice to the world.[6] It is believed by Twelver Shia and Alevi Muslims that the Twelve Imams have been foretold in the Hadith of the Twelve Successors. All of the Imams met unnatural deaths, with the exception of the last Imam, who according to Twelver and Alevi belief, is living in occultation.

The Twelve Imams also have a leading role within some Sufi orders and are seen as the spiritual heads of Islam, because most of the Silsila (spiritual chain) of Sufi orders lead back to one of the Twelve Imams.

List of Imams[edit]

Number

Modern (Calligraphic) Depiction

Name

(Full/Kunya)

Title

(Arabic/Turkish)[7]

Date of

Birth

Death

(CE/AH)[8]

Age when assumed Imamate

Age at death

Length of Imamate

Importance

Place of birth

Reason & place of death

and place of burial[9]

1

الإمام علي بن أبي طالب عليه السلام

Ali ibn Abi Talib

أبو الحسن

Amir al-Mu’minin

(Commander of the Faithful)[10]

al-Mūrtazā

(The Beloved)

Birinci Ali[11]

600–661[10]

23 (before Hijra)–40[12]

33 (became Khalif at 56)

61

28

Cousin and son in law of Mohammed. Considered by Shia Islam as the rightful Successor of Muhammad. The Sunnis acknowledge him as the fourth Caliph. He holds a high position in almost all SufiMuslim orders (Turuq); the members of these orders trace their lineage to Muhammad through him.[10]

Mecca[10]

Assassinated by Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljam, a Kharijite, in Kufa, who slashed him with a poisoned sword while he was praying.[10][13]

Buried at the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, Iraq.

2

Hasan ibn Ali

الإمام الحسن بن علي عليه السلام

Abu Muhammad

أبو محمد

al-Mūjtabā

(The Chosen)

İkinci Ali[11]

625–670[14]

3–50[15]

39

47

8

He was the eldest surviving grandson of Muhammadthrough Muhammad’s daughter, Fatimah az-Zahra. Hasan succeeded his father as the caliph in Kufa, and on the basis of a peace treaty with Muawiya I, he relinquished control of Iraqfollowing a reign of seven months.[14]

Medina[14]

Poisoned by his wife in Medina, Saudi Arabiaon the orders of the Caliph Muawiya, according to Twelver Shiite belief.[16]

Buried in Jannat al-Baqi, Medina, Saudi Arabia.

3

Husayn ibn Ali

الإمام الحسین بن علي عليه السلام

Abu Abdillah

أبو عبدالله

Sayyid ash-Shuhada

(Master of the Martyrs)

Üçüncü Ali[11]

626–680[17]

4–61[18]

46

57

11

He was a grandson of Muhammad and brother of Hasan ibn Ali. Husayn opposed the validity of Caliph Yazid I. As a result, he and his family were later killed in the Battle of Karbala by Yazid’s forces. After this incident, the commemoration of Husayn ibn Ali has become a central ritual in Shia identity.[17]

Medina[17]

Killed and beheaded at the Battle of Karbala.

Buried at the Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala, Iraq.[17]

4

Ali ibn Husayn

الإمام علي بن الحسین السجاد عليه السلام

Abu Muhammad

أبو محمد

al-Sajjad, Zayn al-‘Abidin

(One who constantly Prostrates, Ornament of the Worshippers)[19]

Dördüncü Ali[11]

658/9[19] – 712[20]

38[19]–95[20]

23

57

34

Author of prayers in Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya, which is known as “The Psalm of the Household of the Prophet.”[20]

Medina[19]

According to most Shia scholars, he was poisoned on the order of Caliph al-Walid I in Medina, Saudi Arabia.[20]

Buried in Jannat al-Baqi, Medina, Saudi Arabia.

5

Muhammad ibn Ali

الإمام محمد بن علي الباقر عليه السلام

Abu Ja’far

أبو جعفر

Baqir al-Ulum

(The Revealer of Knowledge)[21]

Beşinci Ali[11]

677–732[21]

57–114[21]

38

57

19

Sunni and Shia sources both describe him as one of the early and most eminent legal scholars, teaching many students during his tenure.[21][22]

Medina[21]

According to some Shia scholars, he was poisoned by Ibrahim ibn Walid ibn ‘Abdallah in Medina, Saudi Arabiaon the order of Caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik.[20]

Buried in Jannat al-Baqi, Medina, Saudi Arabia.

6

Ja’far ibn Muhammad

الإمام جعفر بن محمد الصادق عليه السلام

Abu Abdillah[23]

أبو عبدالله

as-Sadiq[24]

(The Honest)

Altıncı Ali[11]

702–765[24]

83–148[24]

31

65

34

Established the Ja’fari jurisprudence and developed the theology of Twelvers. He instructed many scholars in different fields, including Abu Hanifah and Malik ibn Anas in fiqh, Wasil ibn Ata and Hisham ibn Hakam in Islamic theology, and Geber in science and alchemy.[24]

Medina[24]

According to Shia sources, he was poisoned in Medina, Saudi Arabiaon the order of Caliph Al-Mansur.[24]

Buried in Jannat al-Baqi, Medina, Saudi Arabia.

7

Musa ibn Ja’far

الإمام موسی بن جعفر الكاظم عليه السلام

Abu al-Hasan I

أبو الحسن الاول[25]

al-Kazim[26]

(The Calm One)

Yedinci Ali[11]

744–799[26]

128–183[26]

20

55

35

Leader of the Shia community during the schism of Ismaili and other branches after the death of the former Imam, Jafar al-Sadiq.[27] He established the network of agents who collected khums in the Shia community of the Middle East and the Greater Khorasan. He holds a high position in Mahdavia; the members of these orders trace their lineage to Muhammad through him.[28]

Medina[26]

Imprisoned and poisoned in Baghdad, Iraq on the order of Caliph Harun al-Rashid, according to Shiite belief.

Buried in the Al-Kadhimiya Mosque in Baghdad, Iraq.[26]

8

Ali ibn Musa

الإمام علي بن موسی الرضا عليع السلام

Abu al-Hasan II

أبو الحسن الثانی[25]

ar-Rida, Reza[29]

(The Pleasing One)

Sekizinci Ali[11]

765–817[29]

148–203[29]

35

55

20

Made crown-prince by Caliph Al-Ma’mun, and famous for his discussions with both Muslim and non-Muslim religious scholars.[29]

Medina[29]

According to Shia sources, he was poisoned in Mashad, Iranon the order of Caliph Al-Ma’mun.

Buried in the Imam Reza shrine in Mashad, Iran.[29]

9

Muhammad ibn Ali

الإمام محمد بن علي الجواد عليه السلام

Abu Ja’far

أبو جعفر

al-Taqi, al-Jawad[30]

(The God-Fearing, The Generous)

Dokuzuncu Ali[11]

810–835[30]

195–220[30]

8

25

17

Famous for his generosity and piety in the face of persecution by the Abbasid caliphate.

Medina[30]

Poisoned by his wife, Al-Ma’mun’s daughter, in Baghdad, Iraq on the order of Caliph Al-Mu’tasim, according to Shiite sources.

Buried in the Al-Kadhimiya Mosque in Baghdad, Iraq.[30]

10

Ali ibn Muhammad

الإمام علي بن محمد الهادي عليه السلام

Abu al-Hasan III

أبو الحسن الثالث[31]

al-Hadi, al-Naqi[31]

(The Guide, The Pure One)

Onuncu Ali[11]

827–868[31]

212–254[31]

8

42

34

Strengthened the network of deputies in the Shia community. He sent them instructions, and received in turn financial contributions of the faithful from the khums and religious vows.[31]

Surayya, a village near Medina[31]

According to Shia sources, he was poisoned in Samarra, Iraqon the order of Caliph Al-Mu’tazz.[32]

Buried in the Al Askari Mosque in Samarra, Iraq.

11

Hasan ibn Ali

الإمام حسن بن علي العسكري عليه السلام

Abu Muhammad

أبو محمد

al-Askari[33]

(The Citizen of a Garrison Town)

Onbirinci Ali[11]

846–874[33]

232–260[33]

22

28

6

For most of his life, the Abbasid Caliph, Al-Mu’tamid, placed restrictions on him after the death of his father. Repression of the Shiite population was particularly high at the time due to their large size and growing power.[34]

Medina[33]

According to Shia, he was poisoned on the order of Caliph Al-Mu’tamid in Samarra, Iraq.

Buried in Al Askari Mosque in Samarra, Iraq.[35]

12

Muhammad ibn al-Hasan

الإمام محمد بن الحسن المهدي

Abu al-Qasim

أبو القاسم

Mahdi,[36]

Hidden Imam,[37]

al-Hujjah[38]

(The Guided One, The Proof)

Onikinci Ali[11]

868–alive[39]

255–alive[39]

5

unknown

unknown

According to Twelver Shiite doctrine, Sufis, and some Sunni Muslims, he is an actual historical personality and is the current Imam and the promised Mahdi, a messianic figure who will return with Christ. He will reestablish the rightful governance of Islam and provide the earth with justice and peace.[40]

Samarra, Iraq[39]

According to Twelver Shiite doctrine, Sufis, and some Sunni Muslims, he has been living in the Occultationsince 872, and will continue as long as God wills.[39]

Original Link: https://rta.org.af/eng/2018/08/12/the-twelve-imams/

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