Only the Shiahs believe in the institution of Imaamah. Literally "imaam" means a leader. In Shiah belief an Imaam is the person appointed by God and introduced by the Prophet and then by each preceding Imaam by explicit designation (nass) to lead the Muslim community, interpret and protect the religion and the law (shariah), and guide the community in all affairs.

An Imaam is first and foremost the Representative of God and the successor of the Prophet. He must be sinless and possess divine knowledge of both the exoteric and the esoteric meaning of the verses of the Quraan.

There are many Shiah sects e.g. the Zaidis, the Ismailis etc. The principal sect is the Twelvers (Ithnasharis).

(NOTE: In these Notes, unless specifically stated otherwise, references to the Shiahs and Shiah beliefs, should be construed as references to the Shiah Ithnasheriyya school of thought.)

The Twelvers believe that the Prophet was succeeded by twelve Imaams. These are:

1. Ali ibne Abu TalibDied 40 A.H./659 A.D
He was the Prophet`s son-in-law, having married his daughter Fatimah.
2. Hassan ibne Ali Died 50 A.H./669 A.D.
3. Hussain ibne Ali Died 61 A.H./680 A.D.
4. Ali ibne Hussain Died 95 A.H./712 A.D.
5. Muhammad ibne Ali Died 114 A.H./732 A.D.
6. Ja'far ibne Muhammad Died 148 A.H./765 A.D.
7. Musa ibne Ja'far Died 183 A.H./799 A.D.
8. Ali ibne Musa Died 203 A.H./817 A.D.
9. Muhammad ibne Ali Died 220 A.H./835 A.D.
10. Ali ibne Muhammad Died 254 A.H./868 A.D.
11. Hassan ibne Ali Died 260 A.H./872 A.D.
12. Muhammad ibne Hassan Born 256 A.H./868 A.D.

On the death of his father in 260 A.H. the twelfth Imam went into occultation (Gaybah), appearing only to a few leading Shiahs. Until 329 A.H./939 A.D. he performed the functions of the Imaam through representatives appointed by himself. He then went into major occultation which will continue until the day God grants him permission to manifest himself.

The Sunni View 
The Sunnis use the term Imaam synonymously with the term khalifah. A khalifah may be elected, or nominated by his predecessor, or selected by a committee, or may acquire power through military force. A khalifah need not be sinless. It is lawful for a person of inferior qualities to be made a khalifah while persons of superior qualities are present.

Development Of Jurisprudence And Theology

A. The Shiah School 
During their life time the Imaams remained the chief exponents of the shariah, the Islamic law. Many of the Imaams, when the political atmosphere permitted, held theological classes and also taught other sciences.

Since the major occultation of the twelfth Imaam the Shias have, as commanded not only by him but also most of the preceding Imaams, sought guidance from mujtahids and followed the institution of taqleed.

Taqleed literally means to follow or to imitate someone. In Islamic jurisprudence it means to follow a mujtahid in matters pertaining to law. (XXI:7 and IX:124)

Taqleed applies only to matters of shariah. There is no taqleed in matters of beliefs (the articles of faith). A Muslim must seek to attain conviction of their truth through reflection and rational examination.

A mujtahid must be a person learned in all the Islamic sciences. At any given time there would normally be a number of persons qualified as mujtahids and it is not uncommon to have two members of the same family in taqleed of two different mujtahids.

Any muslim can address any question of law to any mujtahid, whether or not he is in the taqleed of that mujtahid and the mujtahid would issue a fatwaa giving his opinion on that subject. This would invariably be by way of a statement of the law which in the opinion of the mujtahid is the correct legal position. The fatwaa would be binding on all the persons in the taqleed of that mujtahid.

A mujtahid is so called because he does ijtehaad which term means to strive for deriving the laws of the shariah from its sources which are:

  1. the Quraan;

  2. the sunnah which mean the traditions (ahadees) and the practice of the Prophet and the Imaams;

  3. reasoning (aql);

  4. consensus of the mujtahids (ijmaa).

B. The Sunni School 
The ruling khalifah invariably assumed the mantle of the chief exponent of the shariah.

For nearly a hundred years following the death of the Prophet the State retained absolute control over authentication, collection and publication of the sayings (ahadees) of the Prophet. A few unscrupulous khalifahs did not hesitate to use this power to legitimise their misdeeds by arranging to have apocryphal ahadees produced.

After the Banu Abbas came into power in 132 A.H. (750 A.D.), the formation of the Sunni community was formalised.

Although there are many sects and sub-sects in the sunni school of thought, the four main sects are-

  1. The Hanafis, founded by Imaam Abu Hanifa an-Nu'maan ibne Thabit (died 150 A.H./769 A.D.). He is a scholar greatly respected not only by his followers but also the other sunnis.

  2. The Malikis, founded by Imaam Abu Abdullah Malik ibne Anas (died 179 A.H./797 A.D).

  3. The Shafeis, founded by Imaam Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibne Idris al- Shafei (died 204 A.H/819 A.D.)

  4. The Hanbalis, founded by Imaam Ahmed ibne Muhammad ibne Hanbal (died 241 A.H./855 A.D.)

Although there are many irreconcilable differences in the four Sunni schools, in the main, however, they agree on the fundamental bases of their doctrines and laws. Each claims to have derived them from the following four sources:

  1. The Quraan;
  2. The Sunnah of the Holy Prophet and at times the Sunnah of the first four khalifahs;

  3. The Ijmaa (consensus among the companions of the Prophet or of the religious leaders or among the followers);

  4. The Qiyas (deduction of legal prescriptions from the Quraan and the sunnah through rational analogy).

The extent of the acceptance of the theological and legal doctrines of any of the above four sunni schools depended largely on the inclination of the ruler of the time. For example, although Abu Hanifa himself did not gain great popularity with the khalifah, his successor Abu Yusuf became a powerful figure in the court and held office of the Chief Kadhi.

The khalifah, however, always continued to remain the final arbiter in the exposition of the law and the jurists were relegated to an advisory role.

Since the abolition of the institution of khilafah following the fall of the Ottoman Empire the sunni schools have not developed as fast as they need to so as to keep pace with the social, economic, political and scientific development. Some Sunni sects have recognized the need for ijtehaad, a few appear to concentrate on ijmaa as the main instrument for reform.

In addition to their differences in jurisprudence, the Sunnis and the Shiahs hold divergent theological views on various aspects of the articles of beliefs e.g. human freedom of action and the Justice of God (both discussed above), whether God has a corporeal form. Some sunni sects believe in anthropomorphism.

The Shiahs and the Sunnis, however, agree on the following fundamental beliefs:

  1. That Allah is One and has no partners;
  2. That Muhammad is the last Prophet of God;
  3. That there will be Resurrection and Judgement.

Acts of Worship 
The Arabic term used for Acts of worship is Ibaadah. This does not mean worship. It means service. To serve God in the manner in which He has commanded his creatures to serve Him is Ibaadah. The term would include all acts of piety as well as the mandatory acts of worship.

IMAMAT-LeadershipClick here for Mp3   |PLAYLIST

The Almighty Allah ended Prophethood on Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.w) but He did not like to deprive the people from true guidance. Due to His kindness and mercy the Almighty Allah appointed Twelve Successors of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w) who are infallible in words and deeds and who are purified of every impurity. It is obligatory for every believer to have faith in each of them one after another and success of the hereafter is obtained through following them. They are the true protectors and interpreters of the religion of Islam. Click here for details.

65 (Imamat 1)  Imamat-o-Khilafat
66 (Imamat 2)  Imamat Allah Ki Janib Se
67 (Imamat 3)  Imamat Shia Aur Ahl-e-Sunnat Ki Nigah Me
68 (Imamat 4)  Sharayit-e-Imamat
69 (Imamat 5)  Aayat-e-Tatheer
70 (Imamat 6)  Aayat-e-Wilayat
71 (Imamat 7)  Aayat-e-Tableegh-o-Ikmaal
72 (Imamat 8)  Aayat-e-Mubahila
73 (Imamat 9)  Aayat-e-Mawaddat
74 (Imamat 10)  Aayat-e-Ool-ul-Amr
75 (Imamat 11)  Aayat-e-Khair-ul-Bariya
76 (Imamat 12)  Aayat-e-Lekull Le Qaumin Haadin
77 (Imamat 13)  Aayat-e-Tauba Hazrat Adam-o-Salwaat
78 (Imamat 14)  Fazail-e-Imam Ali (AS) Kutub-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat Me
79 (Imamat 15)  Hadees-e-Ghadeer
80 (Imamat 16)  Ahadees Baraiy Imamat
81 (Imamat 17)  Hadees-e-Wilayat
82 (Imamat 18)  Ahadees Baraiy Imamat


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