It is most commonly used as the title of a worship leader of a mosque and Muslim community among Sunni Muslims. In this context, imams may lead Islamic worship services, serve as community leaders, and provide religious guidance. In Yemen, the title was formerly given to the king of the country.
For Shi'a Muslims, the imam has a more central meaning and role in Islam through the concept of imamah; the term is only applicable to those members of Ahl al-Bayt, the house of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, designated as infallibles.
The Sunni branch of Islam does not have imams in the same sense as the Shi'a, an important distinction often overlooked by those outside of the Islamic religion. In everyday terms, the imam for Sunni Muslims is the one who leads Islamic formal (Fard) prayers, even in locations besides the mosque, whenever prayers are done in a group of two or more with one person leading (imam) and the others following by copying his ritual actions of worship. Friday sermon is most often given by an appointed imam. All mosques have an imam to lead the (congregational) prayers, even though it may sometimes just be a member from the gathered congregation rather than an officially appointed salaried person. The position of women as imams is controversial. The person that should be chosen, according to Hadith, is one who has most knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah (prophetic tradition) and is of good character.
The term is also used for a recognized religious scholar or authority in Islam, often for the founding scholars of the four Sunni madhhabs, or schools of jurisprudence (fiqh). It may also refer to the Muslim scholars who created the analytical sciences related to Hadith or it may refer to the heads of Muhammad's family in their generational times.
The Position of Imams In Turkey
Imams are appointed by the state to work at mosques and they are required to be graduates of an İmam Hatip high school or have a university degree in Theology. This is an official position regulated by the Presidency of Religious Affairs in Turkey and only males are appointed to this position while female officials under the same state organisation work as preachers and Qur'an course tutors, religious services experts. These officials are supposed to belong to the Hanafi school of the Sunni sect.
A central figure in an Islamic movement is also called as an Imam like the Imam Nabhawi in Syria and Ahmad Raza Khan in India and Pakistan is also called as the Imam for Sunni Muslims.
In the Shi'a context, an imam is not only presented as the man of God par excellence, but as participating fully in the names, attributes, and acts that theology usually reserves for God alone. Imams have a meaning more central to belief, referring to leaders of the community. Twelver and Ismaili Shi'a believe that these imams are chosen by God to be perfect examples for the faithful and to lead all humanity in all aspects of life. They also believe that all the imams chosen are free from committing any sin, impeccability which is called ismah. These leaders must be followed since they are appointed by God.
Here follows a list of the Twelvers imams:
|Importance||Birthplace (present day country)||Place of death and burial|
|1||Ali ibn Abu Talib
علي بن أبي طالب
Abu al-Hassan or Abu al-Husayn
أبو الحسین or أبو الحسن
(Commander of the Faithful)
|The first imam and successor of Muhammad in Shia Islam; however, the Sunnis acknowledge him as the fourth Caliph as well. He holds a high position in almost all Sufi Muslim orders (Turuq); the members of these orders trace their lineage to Muhammad through him.||Mecca, Saudi Arabia||Assassinated by Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljam, a Kharijite in Kufa, who slashed him with a poisoned sword. Buried at the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, Iraq.|
|2||Hassan ibn Ali
الحسن بن علي
|He was the eldest surviving grandson of Muhammad through Muhammad's daughter, Fatimah Zahra. Hasan succeeded his father as the caliph in Kufa, and on the basis of peace treaty with Muawiya I, he relinquished control of Iraq following a reign of seven months.||Medina, Saudi Arabia||Poisoned by his wife in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Buried in Jannat al-Baqi.|
|3||Husayn ibn Ali
الحسین بن علي
|He was a grandson of Muhammad. 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.||Medina, Saudi Arabia||Killed on Day of Ashura (10 Muharram) and beheaded at the Battle of Karbala. Buried at the Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala, Iraq.|
|4||Ali ibn al-Hussein
علي بن الحسین
|al-Sajjad, Zain al-Abedin
|658-9 – 712
|Author of prayers in Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya, which is known as "The Psalm of the Household of the Prophet."||Medina, Saudi Arabia||According to most Shia scholars, he was poisoned on the order of Caliph al-Walid I in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Buried in Jannat al-Baqi.|
|5||Muhammad ibn Ali
محمد بن علي
(splitting open knowledge)
|Sunni and Shia sources both describe him as one of the early and most eminent legal scholars, teaching many students during his tenure.||Medina, Saudi Arabia||According to some Shia scholars, he was poisoned by Ibrahim ibn Walid ibn 'Abdallah in Medina, Saudi Arabia on the order of Caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik. Buried in Jannat al-Baqi.|
|6||Ja'far ibn Muhammad
جعفر بن محمد
|Established the Ja'fari jurisprudence and developed the Theology of Shia. 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 Jābir ibn Hayyān in science and alchemy.||Medina, Saudi Arabia||According to Shia sources, he was poisoned in Medina, Saudi Arabia on the order of Caliph Al-Mansur. Buried in Jannat al-Baqi.|
|7||Musa ibn Ja'far
موسی بن جعفر
Abu al-Hassan I
أبو الحسن الأول
|Leader of the Shia community during the schism of Ismaili and other branches after the death of the former imam, Jafar al-Sadiq. He established the network of agents who collected khums in the Shia community of the Middle East and the Greater Khorasan.||Medina, Saudi Arabia||Imprisoned and poisoned in Baghdad, Iraq on the order of Caliph Harun al-Rashid. Buried in the Kazimayn shrine in Baghdad.|
|8||Ali ibn Musa
علي بن موسی
|Made crown-prince by Caliph Al-Ma'mun, and famous for his discussions with both Muslim and non-Muslim religious scholars.||Medina, Saudi Arabia||According to Shia sources, he was poisoned in Mashad, Iran on the order of Caliph Al-Ma'mun. Buried in the Imam Reza shrine in Mashad.|
|9||Muhammad ibn Ali
محمد بن علي
|Famous for his generosity and piety in the face of persecution by the Abbasid caliphate.||Medina, Saudi Arabia||Poisoned by his wife, Al-Ma'mun's daughter, in Baghdad, Iraq on the order of Caliph Al-Mu'tasim. Buried in the Kazmain shrine in Baghdad.|
|10||Ali ibn Muhammad
علي بن محمد
Abu al-Hassan III
أبو الحسن الثالث
|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.||Surayya, a village near Medina, Saudi Arabia||According to Shia sources, he was poisoned in Samarra, Iraq on the order of Caliph Al-Mu'tazz. Buried in the Al Askari Mosque in Samarra.|
|11||Hassan ibn Ali
الحسن بن علي
|For most of his life, the Abbasid Caliph, Al-Mu'tamid, placed restrictions on him after the death of his father. Repression of the Shi'ite population was particularly high at the time due to their large size and growing power.||Medina, Saudi Arabia||According to Shia, he was poisoned on the order of Caliph Al-Mu'tamid in Samarra, Iraq. Buried in Al Askari Mosque in Samarra.|
|12||Muhammad ibn al-Hassan
محمد بن الحسن
|al-Mahdi, Hidden Imam, al-Hujjah
|According to Twelver doctrine, he is the current imam and the promised Mahdi, a messianic figure who will return with Jesus. He will reestablish the rightful governance of Islam and replete the earth with justice and peace.||Samarra, Iraq||According to Shia doctrine, he has been living in the Occultation since 872, and will continue as long as God wills it.|
Fatimah, also Fatimah al-Zahraa, daughter of Muhammed (615–632), is also considered infallible but not an Imam. The Shi'a believe that the last Imam, the 12th Imam Mahdi will one day emerge on Qiyamah.
At times, imams have held both secular and religious authority. This was the case in Oman among the Kharijite or Ibadi sects. At times, the imams were elected. At other times the position was inherited, as with the Yaruba dynasty from 1624 and 1742. See List of rulers of Oman, the Rustamid dynasty: 776–909, Nabhani dynasty: 1154–1624, the Yaruba dynasty: 1624–1742, the Al Said: 1744–present for further information. The Imamate of Futa Jallon (1727-1896) was a Fulani state in West Africa where secular power alternated between two lines of hereditary Imams, or almami. In the Zaidi Shiite sect, imams were secular as well as spiritual leaders who held power in Yemen for more than a thousand years. In 897, a Zaidi ruler, al-Hadi ila'l-Haqq Yahya, founded a line of such imams, a theocratic form of government which survived until the second half of the 20th century. (See details under Zaidiyyah, History of Yemen, Imams of Yemen.)
Ruhollah Khomeini is officially referred to as Imam in Iran. Several Iranian places and institutions are named "Imam Khomeini", including a city, an international airport, a hospital, and a university.
Abū Ḥanīfa al-Nuʿmān b. Thābit b. Zūṭā b. Marzubān (Arabic: أبو حنيفة نعمان بن ثابت بن زوطا بن مرزبان; c. 699 – 767 CE), known as Abū Ḥanīfa for short, or reverently as Imam Abū Ḥanīfa by Sunni Muslims, was an 8th-century Sunni Muslim theologian and jurist of Persian origin, who became the eponymous founder of the Hanafi school of Sunni jurisprudence, which has remained the most widely practiced law school in the Sunni tradition. He is often alluded to by the reverential epithets al-Imām al-aʿẓam ("The Great Imam") and Sirāj al-aʾimma ("The Lamp of the Imams") in Sunni Islam.Born to a Muslim family in Kufa, Abu Hanifa is known to have travelled to the Hejaz region of Arabia in his youth, where he studied under the most renowned teachers in Mecca and Medina at the time. As his career as a theologian and jurist progressed, Abu Hanifa became known for favoring the use of reason in his legal rulings (faqīh dhū raʾy) and even in his theology. Abu Hanifa's theological school is what would later develop into the Maturidi school of Sunni theology.
He is also considered a renowned Islamic scholar and personality by Sunni Muslims.Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi
Ahmed Raza Khan (Arabic: أحمد رضا خان, Persian: احمد رضا خان, Urdu: احمد رضا خان , Hindi: अहमद रज़ा खान), commonly known as Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi, Ahmed Rida Khan in Arabic, or simply as "Ala-Hazrat" (14 June 1856 CE or 10 Shawwal 1272 AH – 28 October 1921 CE or 25 Safar 1340 AH), was an Islamic scholar, jurist, theologian, ascetic, Sufi, Urdu poet, and reformer in British India, and the founder of the Barelvi movement. Raza Khan wrote on numerous topics, including law, religion, philosophy and the sciences.Al-Shafi‘i
Abū ʿAbdullāh Muhammad ibn Idrīs al-Shāfiʿī (Arabic: أبـو عـبـد الله مـحـمـد ابـن إدريـس الـشـافـعيّ)
(767–820 CE, 150–204 AH) was an Arab Muslim theologian, writer, and scholar, who was the first contributor of the principles of Islamic jurisprudence (Uṣūl al-fiqh). Often referred to as 'Shaykh al-Islām', al-Shāfi‘ī was one of the four great Imams, whose legacy on juridical matters and teaching eventually led to the Shafi'i school of fiqh (or Madh'hab). He was the most prominent student of Imam Malik ibn Anas and he also served as the Governor of Najar. Born in Gaza, he also lived in Mecca, Medina, Yemen, Egypt and Baghdad.Ali
Ali ibn Abi Talib (Arabic: عَلِي ابْن أَبِي طَالِب, romanized: ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib; 13 September 601 – 29 January 661) was the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, the last prophet of Islam. He ruled as the fourth caliph from 656 to 661, but is regarded as the rightful immediate successor to Muhammad as an Imam by Shia Muslims and ruled from 632 to 661 AD as the First Imam.
Ali was born inside the sacred sanctuary of the Kaaba in Mecca, the holiest place in Islam, to Abu Talib and Fatimah bint Asad. He was the first male who accepted Islam, and, according to some authors, the first Muslim. Ali protected Muhammad from an early age and took part in almost all the battles fought by the nascent Muslim community. After migrating to Medina, he married Muhammad's daughter Fatimah. He was appointed caliph by Muhammad's companions in 656, after Caliph Uthman ibn Affan was assassinated. Ali's reign saw civil wars and in 661, he was attacked and assassinated by a Kharijite while praying in the Great Mosque of Kufa, being martyred two days later.Ali is important to both Shias and Sunnis, politically and spiritually. The numerous biographical sources about Ali are often biased according to sectarian lines, but they agree that he was a pious Muslim, devoted to the cause of Islam and a just ruler in accordance with the Qur'an and the Sunnah. While Sunnis consider Ali the fourth and final of the Rashidun (rightly guided) caliphs, Shia Muslims regard Ali as the first Imam after Muhammad due to their interpretation of the events at Ghadir Khumm. Shia Muslims also believe that Ali and the other Shia Imams (all of whom are from the Ahl al-Bayt, Muhammad's household) are the rightful successors to Muhammad. Ali has also received recognition from a variety of non-Muslim organizations, such as the United Nations and the World Organization for Human Rights, for his governance and social justice.Ali al-Ridha
'Alī ibn Mūsā ar-Riḍā (Arabic: علي ابن موسى الرّضا), also called Abu al-Hasan, Ali al-Reza (c. 29 December 765 – 23 August 818) or in Iran (Persia) as Imam Reza (Persian: امام رضا), was a descendant of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, and the eighth Shi'ite Imam, after his father Musa al-Kadhim, and before his son Muhammad al-Jawad. He was an Imam of knowledge according to the Zaydi (Fiver) Shia school and Sufis. He lived in a period when Abbasid caliphs were facing numerous difficulties, the most important of which was Shia revolts. The Caliph Al-Ma'mun sought out a remedy for this problem by appointing Al-Ridha as his successor, through whom he could be involved in worldly affairs. However, according to the Shia view, when Al-Ma'mun saw that the Imam gained even more popularity, he decided to correct his mistake by poisoning him. The Imam was buried at the Imam Reza shrine in a village in Khorasan, which afterwards gained the name Mashhad, meaning the place of martyrdom.Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin
Ali ibn Husayn (Arabic: علي بن الحسين), also known as Zayn al-Abidin (the adornment of the worshippers) and Imam al-Sajjad (The Prostrating Imam), was the fourth Shia Imam, after his father Husayn ibn Ali, his uncle Hasan ibn Ali, and his grandfather Ali ibn Abi Talib. Ali ibn Husayn survived the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE, after which he and other surviving family members and companions of Husayn were taken to Yazid I in Damascus. Eventually, he was allowed to return to Medina, where he led a secluded life with a few intimate companions. Imam Sajjad's life and statements were entirely devoted to asceticism and religious teachings, mostly in the form of invocations and supplications. His famous supplications are known as Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya.Hasan ibn Ali
Al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (Arabic: الحسن ابن علي ابن أبي طالب, romanized: Al-Ḥasan ibn Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib; 624–670 CE), commonly known as Hasan or Hassan, was the eldest son of Ali and Muhammad's daughter Fatimah, and was the older brother of Husayn. Muslims respect him as a grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. Among Shia Muslims, Hasan is revered as the second Imam. Hasan was elected for the caliphate after his father's death, but abdicated after six or seven months to Muawiyah I, the founder of the Umayyad dynasty to end the First Fitna. Al-Hasan was known for donating to the poor, his kindness to the poor and bondmen, and for his knowledge, tolerance and bravery. For the rest of his life, Hasan lived in Medina, until he died at the age of 45 and was buried in the Jannat al-Baqi cemetery in Medina. His wife, Ja'da bint al-Ash'at, is commonly accused of having poisoned him.Husayn ibn Ali
Al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī ibn Abi Talib (Arabic: ٱلْحُسَيْن ابْن عَلِي ابْن أَبِي طَالِب; 10 October 625 – 10 October 680; also transliterated as Husayn ibn Ali, Husain, Hussain and Hussein) was a grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and a son of Ali ibn Abi Talib (the first Shia Imam and the fourth Rashid caliph of Sunni Islam) and Muhammad's daughter Fatimah. He is an important figure in Islam as he was a member of the Bayt (Household) of Muhammad and the Ahl al-Kisā' (People of the Cloak), as well as the third Shia Imam.
Prior to his death, the Umayyad ruler Muawiya appointed his son Yazid as his successor in a clear violation of the Hasan-Muawiya treaty. When Muawiya died in 680 CE, Yazid demanded that Husain pledge allegiance to him. Husain refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid, even though it meant sacrificing his life. As a consequence, he left Medina, his hometown, to take refuge in Mecca in AH 60. There, the people of Kufah sent letters to him, asking his help and pledging their allegiance to him. So he traveled towards Kufah; however, at a place near it known as Karbala, his caravan was intercepted by Yazid's army. He was killed and beheaded in the Battle of Karbala on 10 October 680 (the 10th of Muharram in 61 AH) by Yazid, along with most of his family and companions, including Husayn's six month old son, Ali al-Asghar, with the women and children taken as prisoners. Anger at Husayn's death was turned into a rallying cry that helped undermine the Umayyad caliphate's legitimacy, and ultimately its overthrow by the Abbasid Revolution.Husayn is highly regarded by Shia Muslims for refusing to pledge allegiance to Yazid, the Umayyad caliph, because he considered the rule of the Umayyads unjust. The annual memorial for him and his children, family and companions occurs during Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, and the day he was martyred is known as Ashura (the tenth day of Muharram, a day of mourning for Shi'i Muslims). Husayn's actions at Karbala fueled later Shia movements,
and the martyrdom of Husayn was decisive in shaping Islamic and Shia history. The timing of the Imam's life and martyrdom were crucial as they were in one of the most challenging periods of the seventh century. During this time, Umayyad oppression was rampant, and the stand of Husain and his followers took became a symbol of resistance inspiring future uprisings against oppressors and injustice. Throughout history, many notable personalities, such as Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, have cited Husain's stand against oppression as an example for their own fights against injustice.Imamah (Shia)
In Shia Islam, the imamah (Arabic: إمامة) is the doctrine that the figures known as imams are rightfully the central figures of the ummah; the entire Shi'ite system of doctrine focuses on the imamah. Shi'ites believe that the Imams are the true Caliphs or rightful successors of Muhammad, and further that Imams are possessed of divine knowledge and authority (Ismah) as well as being part of the Ahl al-Bayt, the family of Muhammad. These Imams have the role of providing commentary and interpretation of the Quran as well as guidance.
According to Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, the Imam is a means through which humans receive divine grace, because "He brings men closer to obedience (of Allah) and keeps them away from disobedience." As fulfilling the human being is his wish, it is logical that God appoints Imams to subject man to his wishes. So his existence and his deeds display two forms of grace of God toward man.Isma'ilism
Ismāʿīlism (Arabic: الإسماعيلية al-Ismāʿīliyya; Persian: اسماعیلیان; Sindhi: اسماعيلي; Esmāʿīliyān) is a branch of Shia Islam. The Ismāʿīlī () get their name from their acceptance of Imam Isma'il ibn Jafar as the appointed spiritual successor (Imām) to Ja'far al-Sadiq, wherein they differ from the Twelvers who accept Musa al-Kadhim, younger brother of Isma'il, as the true Imām.Ismailism rose at one point to become the largest branch of Shī‘ism, climaxing as a political power with the Fatimid Caliphate in the tenth through twelfth centuries. Ismailis believe in the oneness of God, as well as the closing of divine revelation with Muhammad, whom they see as "the final Prophet and Messenger of God to all humanity". The Ismāʿīlī and the Twelvers both accept the same initial Imams.
After the death of Muhammad ibn Isma'il in the 8th century CE, the teachings of Ismailism further transformed into the belief system as it is known today, with an explicit concentration on the deeper, esoteric meaning (batin) of the Islamic religion. With the eventual development of Twelverism into the more literalistic (zahir) oriented Akhbari and later Usuli schools of thought, Shi'i Islam developed into two separate directions: the metaphorical Ismaili group focusing on the mystical path and nature of God, with the "Imām of the Time" representing the manifestation of esoteric truth and intelligible reality, with the more literalistic Twelver group focusing on divine law (sharia) and the deeds and sayings (sunnah) of Muhammad and the Twelve Imams who were guides and a light to God.Ismaili thought is heavily influenced by neoplatonism.Though there are several paths (tariqat) within Ismailism, the term in today's vernacular generally refers to the Nizaris, who recognize Aga Khan IV as the 49th hereditary Imam and are the largest Ismaili group. In recent centuries Ismāʿīlīs have largely been a Pakistani and Indian community, but Ismailis are also found in Bangladesh, Malaysia, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Iraq, East Africa, Angola, Lebanon, and South Africa, and have in recent years emigrated to Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Trinidad and Tobago. There are also a significant number of Ismāʿīlīs in Central Asia.Ja'far al-Sadiq
Jaʿfar ibn Muḥammad (Arabic: جعفر بن محمد الصادق; 700 or 702–765 C.E.), commonly known as Jafar al-Sadiq or simply as-Sadiq (The Truthful), was the sixth Shia Imam, a Major scholar and a major figure in the Hanafi and Maliki schools of Sunni jurisprudence. He was a descendant of Ali on the side of his father, Muhammad al-Baqir, and of Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr on the maternal side of his family, Umm Farwah bint al-Qasim. Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr was raised by Ali, but was not his son. Ali used to say: "Muhammad Ibn Abu Bakr is my son but from Abu Bakr's lineage". Al-Sadiq is the 6th imam and recognized by all Shia sects as an Imam, and is revered in traditional Sunni Islam as a transmitter of Hadith, prominent jurist, and mystic to sufis. Despite his wide-ranging attributions in a number religious disciplines, no works penned by Ja'far himself remain extant.Al-Sadiq was born in either 700 or 702 CE. He inherited the position of imam from his father in his mid-thirties. As imam, al-Sadiq stayed out of the political conflicts that embroiled the region, evading the many requests for support that he received from rebels. He was the victim of some harassment by the Abbasid caliphs, and was eventually, according to most Shia Muslims, poisoned at the orders of the Caliph al-Mansur.
In addition to his connection with Sunni schools of Sunni jurisprudence, he was a significant figure in the formulation of Shia doctrine. The traditions recorded from al-Sadiq are said to be more numerous than all hadiths recorded from all other Shia imams combined. As the founder of "Ja'fari jurisprudence", al-Sadiq also elaborated the doctrine of Nass (divinely inspired designation of each imam by the previous imam), and Ismah (the infallibility of the imams), as well as that of Taqiyyah.The question of succession after al-Sadiq's death was the cause of division among Shias who considered his eldest son, Isma'il (who had died before his father) to be the next imam, and those who believed his third son Musa al-Kadhim was the imam. The first group became known as the Ismailis and the second, larger, group was named Ja'fari or the Twelvers.Mahdi
The Mahdi (Arabic: ٱلْـمَـهْـدِي, ISO 233: al-mahdī, meaning "the guided one") is an eschatological redeemer of Islam who, according to some Islamic traditions, will appear and rule for five, seven, nine or nineteen years (according to differing interpretations) before the Day of Judgment (yawm al-qiyamah, also known as "the Day of Resurrection") and rid the world of evil.There is no direct reference to the Mahdi in the Quran, only in the hadith (the reports and traditions of Muhammad's teachings collected after his death). In most traditions, the Mahdi will arrive with 'Isa (Jesus) to defeat Al-Masih ad-Dajjal ("the false Messiah", or Antichrist). Although the concept of a Mahdi is not an essential doctrine in Sunni Islam, it is popular among both Sunni and Shia Muslims. Both agree that he will rule over Muslims and establish justice; however, they differ extensively on his attributes and status.
Throughout history, various individuals have claimed to be the Mahdi. These have included Muhammad Jaunpuri, founder of the Mahdavia sect; the Báb (Siyyid Ali Muhammad), founder of Bábism; Muhammad Ahmad, who established the Mahdist State in Sudan in the late 19th century; Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya movement; and Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi.
Shi'ites have alternate views on which descendant of the Islamic Nabi (Prophet) Muhammad is the Mahdi. Twelvers, who form the majority of Shi'ites today, believe that Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan al-Askari is the current occulted Imam and Mahdi. Tayyibi Isma'ili Shi'ites, including the Dawoodi Bohrah, believe that At-Tayyib Abu'l-Qasim is the current occulted Imam and Mahdi.Muhammad al-Baqir
Muḥammad al-Baqir, full name Muhammad bin 'Ali bin al-Husayn bin Ali bin Abi Talib, also known as Abu Ja'far or simply al-Baqir (Arabic: محمد الباقر, romanized: al-Bāqir, lit. 'the one who opens knowledge') (677-733) was the fifth Shia Imam, succeeding his father Zayn al-Abidin and succeeded by his son Ja'far al-Sadiq. He was the first Imam descended from both grandsons of Muhammad: Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali. He is revered by Shiite Muslims for his religious leadership, and respected by Sunni Muslims for his knowledge and Islamic scholarship as a jurist in Medina.Muhammad al-Mahdi
Muḥammad ibn Al-Ḥasan al-Mahdī (Arabic: مُـحَـمَّـد ابْـن ٱلْـحَـسَـن ٱلْـمَـهْـدِي), also known as Imām Zamān (امام زمان), is believed by Shia Twelver Muslims to be the Mahdī, an eschatological redeemer of Islam and ultimate savior of humankind and the final Imām of the Twelve Imams who will emerge with Isa (Jesus Christ) in order to fulfill their mission of bringing peace and justice to the world. Twelver Shī‘ites believe that al-Mahdī was born in 869 (15 Sha‘bān 255 AH) and assumed Imamate at 5 years of age following the killing of his father Hasan al-Askari. In the early years of his Imamate, he is believed to have had contact with his followers only through The Four Deputies. After a 69-year period, known as Minor Occultation, a few days before the death of his fourth deputy Abul Hasan Ali ibn Muhammad al-Samarri in 941, he is believed to have sent his followers a letter. In that letter that was transmitted by al-Samarri he declared the beginning of Major Occultation during which Mahdi is not in contact with his followers.
Followers of Sunni Islam and other minority Shias mostly believe that the Mahdi has not yet been born, and therefore his exact identity is only known to Allah, other than the idea that he is to be from the descendants of Muhammad. Aside from the Mahdi's precise genealogy, Sunnis accept many of the same hadiths which Shias accept about the predictions regarding the Mahdi's emergence, his acts, and his universal Caliphate. Sunnis also have more hadiths about Mahdi which are not present in Shi'ite collections.Musa al-Kadhim
Mūsá ibn Ja‘far al-Kāzim (Arabic: موسى بن جعفر الكاظم), also called Abūl-Hasan, Abū Abd Allah, Abū Ibrāhīm, and al-Kāzim (the one who controls his anger), was the seventh Shiite Imam after his father Ja'far al-Sadiq. He is regarded by Sunnis as a renowned scholar, and was a contemporary of the Abbasid caliphs Al-Mansur, Al-Hadi, Al-Mahdi and Harun al-Rashid. He was imprisoned several times; finally dying in Baghdad in the Sindi ibn Shahak prison. Ali al-Ridha, the eighth Imām, and Fatemah Masume were among his children.Nizari
The Nizaris (Arabic: النزاريون al-Nizāriyyūn) are the largest segment of the Ismaili Shi'i Muslims, who are the second-largest branch of Shia Islam, second only to the largest, the Twelver. Nizari teachings emphasize human reasoning, or ijtihad—using educated, independent reasoning in solving legal questions; pluralism—the acceptance of racial, ethnic, cultural and inter-religious differences; and social justice. The Aga Khan, currently Aga Khan IV, is the spiritual leader and Imam of the Nizaris. The global seat of the Ismaili Imamate is in Lisbon, Portugal.Ruhollah Khomeini
Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini (Persian: سید روحالله موسوی خمینی [ruːhoɫˈɫɑːhe χomeiˈniː] (listen); 24 September 1902 – 3 June 1989), known in the Western world as Ayatollah Khomeini, was an Iranian politician and marja. He was the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution that saw the overthrow of the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and the end of 2,500 years of Persian monarchy. Following the revolution, Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader, a position created in the constitution of the Islamic Republic as the highest-ranking political and religious authority of the nation, which he held until his death. He was succeeded by Ali Khamenei on 4 June 1989.
Khomeini was born in 1902 in Khomeyn, in what is now Iran's Markazi Province. His father was murdered in 1903 when Khomeini was five months old. He began studying the Quran and the Persian language from a young age and was assisted in his religious studies by his relatives, including his mother's cousin and older brother.
Khomeini was a marja ("source of emulation") in Twelver Shia Islam, a Mujtahid or faqih (an expert in Sharia) and author of more than 40 books, but he is primarily known for his political activities. He spent more than 15 years in exile for his opposition to the last Shah. In his writings and preachings he expanded the theory of welayat-el faqih, the "Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist (clerical authority)", to include theocratic political rule by Islamic jurists. This principle (though not known to the wider public before the revolution), was appended to the new Iranian constitution after being put to a referendum. According to The New York Times, Khomeini called democracy the equivalent of prostitution. Whether Khomeini's ideas are compatible with democracy and whether he intended the Islamic Republic to be democratic is disputed. He was Time magazine's Man of the Year in 1979 for his international influence, and Khomeini has been described as the "virtual face of Shia Islam in Western popular culture". In 1982, he survived one military coup attempt. Khomeini was known for his support of the hostage takers during the Iran hostage crisis, his fatwa calling for the murder of British Indian novelist Salman Rushdie, and for referring to the United States as the "Great Satan" and Soviet Union as the "Lesser Satan." Khomeini has been criticized for these acts and for human rights violations of Iranians (including his ordering of execution of thousands of political prisoners, war criminals and prisoners of the Iran–Iraq War).He has also been lauded as a "charismatic leader of immense popularity", a "champion of Islamic revival" by Shia scholars, who attempted to establish good relations between Sunnis and Shias, and a major innovator in political theory and religious-oriented populist political strategy. Khomeini held the title of Grand Ayatollah and is officially known as Imam Khomeini inside Iran and by his supporters internationally. He is generally referred to as Ayatollah Khomeini by others. In Iran, his gold-domed tomb in Tehran's Behesht-e Zahrāʾ cemetery has become a shrine for his adherents, and he is legally considered "inviolable", with Iranians regularly punished for insulting him.Shia Islam
Shia Islam (; Arabic: شيعة Shīʿah, from Shīʿatu ʿAlī, "adherents of Ali") is one of the two main branches of Islam. It holds that the Islamic prophet Muhammad designated Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor and the Imam (leader) after him, most notably at the event of Ghadir Khumm, but was prevented from the caliphate as a result of the incident of Saqifah. This view primarily contrasts with that of Sunni Islam, whose adherents believe that Muhammad did not appoint a successor and consider Abu Bakr, who they claim was appointed caliph by a small group of Muslims at Saqifah, to be the first rightful caliph after the Prophet.Unlike the first three Rashidun caliphs, Ali was from the same clan as Muhammad, Banu Hashim as well as being the prophet's cousin and being the first male to become Muslim.Adherents of Shia Islam are called Shias of Ali, Shias or the Shi'a as a collective or Shi'i or Shi'ite individually. Shia Islam is the second largest branch of Islam: as of the late 2000s, Shia Muslims constituted 10–15% of all Muslims. Twelver Shia (Ithnā'ashariyyah) is the largest branch of Shia Islam, with 2012 estimates saying that 85% of Shias were Twelvers.
Shia Islam is based on the Quran and the message of Muhammad attested in hadith, and on hadith taught by their Imams. Shia consider Ali to have been divinely appointed as the successor to Muhammad, and as the first Imam. The Shia also extend this Imammah doctrine to Muhammad's family, the Ahl al-Bayt ("the people/family of the House"), and some individuals among his descendants, known as Imams, who they believe possess special spiritual and political authority over the community, infallibility and other divinely ordained traits. Although there are many Shia subsects, modern Shia Islam has been divided into three main groupings: Twelvers, Ismailis and Zaidis, with Twelver Shia being the largest and most influential group among Shia.Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport
Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport (Persian: فرودگاه بینالمللی امام خمینی) (IATA: IKA, ICAO: OIIE), is the primary international airport of Tehran, the capital city of Iran, located 30 kilometers southwest of Tehran, near the localities of Robat Karim and Eslamshahr and spread over an area of 13,500 hectares of land. Along with Mehrabad International Airport, Imam Khomeini Airport is one of the two international airports serving Tehran. All International flights in Tehran are currently served by this airport and all domestic flights are served by Mehrabad Airport. the airport has served about 9 million international passengers. It ranked 3rd in terms of total passenger traffic in Iran after Tehran Mehrabad Airport and Mashhad Airport. The airport is operated by the Iran Airports Company and is one of the home base of Iran's international airlines, Iran Air, Mahan Air and some other.