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S vs S Videos
Origin of Shiism
Exposing Shia's Beliefs
Shia's Imams
Sermon of the Gulf
Fallacy of Shiism
Alawi Sect
Khomeini Views
Khomeini - British Agent
Shia converts to Islam
Ahmad Al-Katib
Ali Isa Mallah
Shia Videos: Arabic
Shia view of Sunnis
Quran's Distortion
Shia & Hadith
Refutation of Shiism
Shiism & Hatred
Ghadir Khumm
Rulings on Shiites
Answering Shiism
Who Killed Al-Hussain
Women in Shiism
Shia's Rituals
Shia vs Companions
Succession of Rulership
Shia: Prophet's Wives
Shia & Monotheism
Nahj ul Balagha




How do Shia & Sunni Muslims differ in their view of the Imamate & who can be considered an Imam?

Note: We respect Shia's Imams as individuals. Shia's main reference books are full of lies in the form of fabricated narrations falsely attributed to their Imams or to Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.). Shia's Imams did not advocate the  blasphemous beliefs of the Shia.



Allah sent Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) as the last and final Prophet on the earth. No new prophet is prophesied to come after Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), either in Quran and in Hadith. The chain of "Wahi" revelation sent by Allah through Angel Gabriel (a.s) to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) ended upon the death of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) in 11th year Hijri. However, Prophet Mohammad mentions that Jesus Christ will return to Earth and will rule the World as a Muslim, but will not bring a new holy scripture or revelation. Furthermore, Prophet Mohammad also mentions that a Muslim leader, called Al-Mahdi, will appear around the end of time before Jesus' return.

The Shia believe in Imams, consisting of Ali (cousin of Prophet Mohammad & husband of Prophet Mohammad's daughter Fatima) and a select number of his descendants. The number and identity of these Imams varies from one Shia sect to another, some of them believe in only 7 Imams while others believe in 12 Imams. The largest Shia sect (known as the Twelvers) believe in 12 Imams who are: (1) Ali, (2) Al-Hasan, (3) Al-Hussain, (4) Zain Al-Abideen, (5) Muhammad Al-Baqar, (6) Jaffar Sadiq, (7) Moosa Kazim, (8) Ali Al-Ridah, (9) Al-Taqi, (10) Al-Naqi, (11) Hassan Askari, and (12) Al-Mahdi.

The Shia believe that the final Imam, called Al-Mahdi, disappeared hundreds of years ago and went into occultation state, but he will re-appear around the end of the world, before the Day of Judgment. Shia's Al-Mahdi is very different in his characteristics from Al-Mahdi that prophet Mohammad mentions that he will appear to lead the Muslims at the end of time. Shia's Al-Mahdi based on what the Shia's reference books mention seems to  be more like a Prince of Vengeance who will take revenge against the Sunnis, he will bring back to life, crucify and torture, Abu Bakr & Omar (Prophet Mohammad's closest companions) and Aisha (Prophet Mohammad's wife).

Shia's Imam Mahdi is a fictitious, imaginary character. He never existed as a child. He does not exist now, contrary to what they believe. Therefore, there will never be any person appearing in the future who will fulfil all the characteristics and signs of Shia's Imam Mahdi. Some Shia may follow the Anti-Christ, thinking he is Shia's Imam Mahdi because there are many similarities between them (click here for an in-depth analysis of this point).

The Shia believe that the Imams have a divine mission, to rule the Muslims after Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), and represent God on Earth. They claim that knowledge of the unseen belongs solely to their Imams, and it is not for the Prophet to inform us about the unseen.

Some Shia have gone so far as to claim divinity for those Imams.


Importance of the Imamate for the Shia

Al-Imamah is the most important pillar of Shia's religion. Shia scholar al-Muzaffar explains:

"We believe that al-Imamah is one of the fundamentals of the religion, by which faith is incomplete without it." (Aqaa'id al-Imamiyyah: Muhammad Rida al-Muzaffar, chapter 3: al-Imamah, p.89)


The famous Shia Scholar, Ibn Babawaih al-Qummi, nicknamed al-Sadooq (the truthful), wrote:

"Our belief is that whoever denies the Imamah of Amirul-Mu'mineen Ali bin Abi Talib and the Imams after him is equal to the denial the Prophethood of all the Prophets. We further believe that whoever recognizes (the Imamah of) Amirul-Mu'mineen but denies one of the Imams, is like one who admits and recognizes all the Prophets but denies the Prophethood of Muhammad [pbuh]. (Al-I'tiqadaat: Ibn Babawaih al-Qummi, p. 103, from: 'Aqeedat al-Imamah, Dr. Ali As-Saloos, p. 28 )


Al-Mufeed, a leading scholar among Twelver Shi'ites, and who was the teacher of Abu Ja'far At-Tusi who became a top Shia Scholar, wrote as quoted by Al-Majlisi:

"The consensus of all Twelver Shia is that whoever denies the Imamah of any Imam, and denies the allegiance imposed by Allah Ta'ala for him (the Imam), then he's a Kafir deviant, deserving eternal Hell." (Bihaar al-Anwaar: Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi, vol.23, p.390, from Aqeedat al-Imamah: Dr. Ali As-Saloos, p.29)


Muhammad bin Ali narrated from his uncle Muhammad bin Abil-Qasim, from Muhammad bin Ali al-Kufi, from Muhammad bin Sinaan, from Ziyad bin al-Munthir, from Sa'eed bin Jubair, from Ibn Abbas said: The Messenger [pbuh] said:
"He who disputes with Ali bin Abi Talib [as] after me is a Kafir and he who joins someone against him is a Polytheist. He who loves him is a believer, and he who hates him is a hypocrite. He who follows him is a follower, and who fights him is an apostate, and who rejects him will perish. Ali is the Light of Allah in His earth and His proof on His servants. Ali is the sword of Allah against His enemies, and the inheritor of the knowledge of His Prophets. Ali is the Upper Word of Allah, and the word of his enemies is the lower. Ali is the Master of the Appointees (Awsiya), and the Appointee of the Master of Prophets. Ali is the Prince of Believers (Amir-ul-Mu'mineen), leader of "al-Ghurr al-Muhajjalin" and the Imam of all Muslims, Allah does not accept the faith except of those who accept his (Ali's) Wilayah and declare allegiance to him." (Al-Amaali: Ibn Babawaih Al-Qummi, 3rd Council, p.19, Narration 6)


Lies & Deception

The Shia have tendency to lie and attribute false statements and narration to their Imams. The following are 2 examples of fabricated narrations:

Muhammad bin Yahya, narrated from Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Issa, from Muhammad bin Sinaan, from Muawiyah bin Wahab said:
"We departed to Makka and in our company was a righteous old man who does not know about this matter (Shi'ism) and performs the full prayer during travel, and with him was his nephew, who was a Muslim. The old man got sick, so I said to his nephew:  If you present this matter (of Shi'ism) to your uncle, perhaps Allah may save him. Everybody said: Leave the old man alone, he seems alright. His nephew did not wait long to say: Uncle, the people became apostates after the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] save very few men, and Ali bin Abi Talib [as] was entitled to the same allegiance that the Messenger [pbuh] enjoyed, and after the Messenger of Allah, truth and allegiance was due to him. (The Narrator) Said: The old man took a deep breath and said: I am on this path, and died. So, (later on) we went to (Imam) Abu Abdullah [as], Ali bin As-Sariy related this story to Abu Abdullah [as], thus he (Imam Abu Abdullah) said: He is a man from the people of Paradise. Ali bin As-Sariy said: But he did not know a thing about this (Shi'ism) save that hour ! (The Imam) Said: What (else) you want from him? By Allah, he entered the Paradise." (Al-Kafi (fil Usool): Al-Kulainy, Book of Faith & Disbelief, Chapter: Things That Allah Gave to Adam [as] At The Time of Repentance, vol.2, p.440, narration 4)


A Shia narrator, Ali ibn Ibrahim, has narrated the following statement whom he attributes falsely to one of Shia's Imams, Imam al-Rida (a.s.):

"Thereafter, (thanking Allah) Muhammad (s.a.) was the trustee of Allah for His creatures. When he was taken away from this world we, Ahl al-Bayt inherited him, thus, we are the trustees of Allah over His earth. With us is the knowledge of the sufferings, the death, the genealogy of the Arabs and the birth of Islam. We know the man when we see him in the truth of faith or hypocrisy. Our followers (Shi‘a) are listed (with us) by their names and the names of their fathers. Allah has established a covenant with them and with us. They land wherever we would do so and enter wherever we would enter. There is no one who follows Islam except us (and our followers). We are the noble saviors and the descendents of the prophets and of the children of the successors of the prophets. We the ones to whom the book of Allah, the Most Holy, the Most High, has come exclusively. We, of all people, have the first priority (closeness) to the book of Allah. We, of all people, have the first priority (closeness) to the Messenger of Allah. For us, Allah formed His religion."


Infallibility of the Imams

The Shia consider the Imams to be completely infallible, do not make even the slightest error. Hence following these Imams, according to Shia's creed, is obligatory on all true Shia Muslims until the Day of Judgment. In fact, reverence for these Imams is so great amongst the Shia that the Imams are believed to be on a level above even the Prophets or the highest ranking angels; A level wherein even the particles of the universe are subservient to them.

Khomeini asserts in his book, Al-Hukumah Al-Islamiyyah:

"Certainly the Imam has a dignified station, a lofty rank, a creational caliphate, and a sovereignty and mastery over all the atoms of creation. It is definitely a basic belief in our school of thought, that our Imams occupy a rank unattainable by either an angel or a major Prophet. And, according to our narrations of Hadith, before the creation of the universe, the greatest Prophet SAWS, and the Imams - peace be upon them - were in the form of light which Allah made orbit His throne and gave them rank and proximity known only to Him. As was narrated in the hadith on Miraaj, Angel Gabriel said, 'If I were to have come an inch closer, I would have been burnt up.' - that is, by the intensity of the Imam's light. It has also been narrated by them (the Imams) - may peace be on them - that, 'We have certain states in relation to Allah not allowed to an angel or a great Prophet.' A similar status is accorded to Fatima Al-Zahra (Prophet Mohammad's daughter) - may peace be on her..."

In the same book, Khomeini also states regarding the Imams:

"...because we cannot imagine the Imams being forgetful or negligent, and we believe that they perceive all things which could benefit Muslims..." and "The Imam's teachings are like the Qur'an...they must be implemented and followed."

This last statement finds its support in a chapter of Al-Kafi entitled: "Surely people have no Truth except what came from the Imams and everything which did not come from them (the Imams) is false."

The Shia believe that the Imams have absolute and infinite knowledge. This contradicts what Allah says in the Quran; "Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah (alone). It is He who sends down rain, and it is he that knows what is in the wombs. Nor does anyone know what it is that he will earn tomorrow, nor does anyone know in what land he is to die. Verily with Allah is full knowledge and He is acquainted (with all things)" (Quran 31:34)


Characteristics of the Imams

Below are some of the lies that the Shia tell about their 12 Imams, as some of you might have already known that the Shia's beliefs differ significantly in many aspects from Islam:

1. "All the Imams are infallible just like the prophets. The Shia derive their religion from their immaculate (infallible) Imams" (Usool al Kafi, p. 22) Well this is a clear statement of kufr from the Shia, as you can see they admit that they derive their religion from their Imams, well this means that if a Shia Imam declares something as forbidden that in the Qur'an is permissible, the Shia would follow their Imams... by this statement the Shia have taken themselves outside Islam.

2. "By listening to the voice of a person, the Imams can tell if the person was destined to go to hell or to heaven; they would thus answer his questions accordingly" (Usool al Kafi, p.185) As you can see the Shia make their Imams out to be some God-like being, can't they see that this is Shirk (worshipping other than Allah, or associating partners with him).

3. "The Imams possess all the knowledge granted to angels, prophets and messengers" (Al-Kulaini, Al-Kaafi, p.255.) Well here is more shirk from the Shia... How can an Imam, who is just a human, know the Unseen??? Only Allah knows the Unseen, and think about this. The Imams were not even alive at the time of all of the prophets so here is a major contradiction in the Shia faith!

4. "The Imams know when they will die, and they do not die except by their own choice" (Ibid, p: 258) Now, this is a clear statement of blasphemy. Only Allah knows when a man will die! And these Shia say that their Imams have control over the timing of their death. This is major blasphemy and "shirk" (polytheism) for any one to believe in all the things that the Shia say about their Imams!

5. "The Imams have knowledge of whatever occurred in the past and whatever will happen in the future, and nothing is concealed from them" (Ibid, p. 260.) Only Allah knows the future for any person to say that these Imams know the Unseen is committing "Shirk" (polytheism) and takes himself outside Islam.

6. "The Imams have knowledge of all the revealed books, regardless of the languages in which they were revealed" (Ibid, p. 227) As you can see these Shia have elevated their Imams to a God-like level, and the Shia say that there is nothing wrong with this!!!

7. "No one compiled the Qur'an completely except the Imams, and they encompass all of its knowledge' (Ibid, p. 228) So since the Qur'an was not compiled by the Imams then does that mean that the Quran is fabricated??? These Shia want to even destroy Islam... look at what they say, they even insult the Qur'an!! And it is a well known fact that the Shia have their own Qur'an

8. "Signs of the prophets are possessed by the Imams" (Ibid, p. 231) The Shia have once again elevated their Imams to a very high level. The Imams they refer too are only human! So why do the Shia worship them.

9. "When the Imams' time comes, they will rule in accordance with the laws of prophet David and his dynasty. These Imams will not need to ask for presentation of evidence before passing their judgments" (Ibid,p. 397) The Shia even believe that their Imams can do what ever they want!! Here they say that their Imams can just pass judgment on anybody! And they say that their Imams will not rule according to the Qur'an, but will rule by the laws of David!! (All Muslims must rule by the Qur'an and Sunnah). This is a proof that the awaited Imam of the Shia is not the one that Muslims believe in, but he is indeed the Anti-Christ (Al-Dajjal). The one that all Jews are waiting for him to be their leader.

10. "There is not a single truth possessed by people, save that which originated with the Imams. Everything which did not originate from the Imams is false" (Ibid, p.277)


Let us examine what the Shia's main reference books say about their Imams:

1. Imam Ali is God. (Jila-ul-A'yoon, Vol. 2, p. 66, pub. in Pakistan)

2. There is no difference between Ali & Allah (meaning they are the same person/ entity). (Jila-ul-A'yoon, Vol. 2, p. 85)

3. Wherever the Quran mentions "Rab" (meaning Lord/God), according to this Shia book, that word should be substituted with Imam Ali's name. (Jila-ul-A'yoon, Vol. 2, p. 66)

4. Imam Ali & his descendants are omni-present (everywhere & anytime) and omni-scient (have unlimited knowledge) and these attributes are theirs alone, and therefore are not attributes of Allah. (Jila-ul-A'yoon, Vol. 2, p. 85)


5. Imam Ali & his descendent Imams know everything that:

    (a) happened in the past,

    (b) is happening now, and

    (c) will happen in the future.

    (Usool Kaafi, Vol 1, p260  & Vol. 2, p. 10)

6. It is a fundamental principle of faith that our (Shia) Imams have ranks higher than the ranks of angels & God's prophets. (Khomeini's book, Hukuma Islamiya, p. 52)

7.  The Imam possesses more attributes than a Prophet. (Usool Kaafi, Vol.1, p. 388)

8. All Imams are equal in rank and status to Prophet Muhammad (s.a. w). (Usool Kaafi, Vol. 1, p. 270)

9. Shia must follow the Imam when he is under the state of  Taqiya (lying about his true faith). (Usool Kaafi, Vol. 1, p. 40)

10. Imams receive divine revelations. (Usool Kaafi, Vol. 1, p. 176 & p. 329-330)

11. The Imams are the eyes of the God in his creatures and the final authority in the affairs of all human beings. (Usool Kaafi, Vol. 1, p. 145)

12. The Hujjat ( Ultimate proof ) of God can not be established without an Imam. (Usool Kaafi, Vol. 1, p. 177)

13. "The acceptance of Ali's Wilaya is as important as the acceptance of the prophethood of the prophets". (Usool Kaafi, Vol. 1, p. 197)

14. Every year, in the Night of Power (Lailat ul Qadr, which occurs in Ramadan), God sends commandments (revelations) to the Imams. (Usool Kaafi, Vol. 1,  p. 248)

15. An Angel provides divine revelations to the Imams in the Night of Power. (Shab-e-Qadar, p.569)

16. An Imam knows his hour of death and his death is under his control. (Usool Kaafi, Vol.1, p. 258)

17. To hide a secret and to weep for the sake of an Imam is considered as Jihad. (Usool Kaafi, Vol. No. 2, Page No. 226)

18. Imam Hussain said "By God, Muawiyah is better than the Shia: they have tried to killed me". (Al-Ehtijaj, Vol. 2, p. 290)

19. Imam Mahdi recited the Sura-e-Qadar before his birth. (Jila-ul-Ayoun, Vol. 2, p. 475)

20. When Imam Mahdi comes, he will be naked in daylight. The first disciple to take a pledge of allegiance to him will be prophet Mohammad. (Haqqul Yaqeen, Vol. 2, p. 337)

21. Imam Mahdi will kill all the Sunni Scholars. (Haq-ul-Yaqeen, p. 527)

22. Imam Mahdi will bring new Sharia (divine law) and commandments. (Behar-ul-Anwaar, Vol. 10, p. 597)

23. Imam Mahdi will declare himself to be a prophet. (Behar-ul-Anwaar, Vol. 10, p. 550)

24. Imam Mahdi will take revenge against all the sins since Adam (a.s). (Basair-ud-Darajat, p. 83)

25. The Sun will rise from the West at the time of Imam Mahdi's appearance. (Chawdah Sitaray, p. 585)

26. Imam Mahdi will appear when only forty two believing Shia will be left on the face of the Earth. (Chawdah Sitaray, p. 571)

27. All angels will swear allegiance to Imam Mahdi. (Chawdah Sitaray, p. 594)

28. An Imam talks before being born. (Ahsan-ul-Muqaal, Vol. 1, p. 327)

29. The Imams are NOT born like ordinary human beings from their mothers' wombs. (Jila-ul-A'yoon, Vol 2, p.474)

30. An Imam is born from his mother's thigh (not from his mother's womb). (Ahsan-ul-Muqaal, Vol. 1, p. 325)

31. Yazeed Bin Muawiyah was the real uncle of Imam Ali Akbar bin Hussain (r.a). (Zabhan Azeem, p. 261)

32. Yazeed was the name of Imam Hussain's son. (Tareekh-ul-Ayema, p. 83)

33. There was no horse named Zuljinah in Karbala. (Zabhan Azeem, p. 223)

34. Imams possess authority to declare any thing lawful or unlawful. (Khilaqat-e-Norania, p. 155)

35. Imamate is a divine rank like Prophethood. An Imam is infallible and every creature in the universe is subject to his command and must obey him. (Tohfa Namaz-e-Jaffria, p. 28)

36. Imamate is equal to Prophethood. (Tohfa-tul-Awaam, p. 7)

37. All Prophets had to recognize and accept the Wilayat of Ali (meaning that Ali is Wali of Allah) before they were appointed as prophets. (Tareekh-e-Shia, p. 18)

38. Imam Ali ( R.A. ) was the creation of angel Jibreel (Gabriel). (Al-Majalis Al-Fakhra, p. 128)

39. Imam Ali did Miraaj (made a journey to Heaven during his lifetime) before Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w). (Dewan-e-Jil Ehzan, p. 38)

40. The rank of Ali's Wilayat is higher than prophethood. (Hazaar Tumhari Das Hamari, p. 52)


Is there an Imamah concept in Islam that Sunni Muslims accept? Who can be considered an Imam, from Sunni Muslims perspective?

Let us initially define the term Imamah:

In Arabic, an Imam is a leader whom others follow, such as one who leads the prayer, who heads a group or even the Caliph. Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.) is the Imam of all the Imams. Furthermore, the title Imam can be used for one who is an expert of a certain field. To illustrate, it is said that al-Bukhari is an Imam of Hadith, Malik, Abu Hanifah, al-Shafi'i, Ibn Hanbal are Imams in Islamic Jurisprudence, and so on.

Allah [s.w.t.] says in Quran 2:124 :

" Recall that Abraham was put to the test by his Lord, through certain commands, and he fulfilled them. (God) said, "I am appointing you an Imam (leader or role model) for the people." He said, "And also my descendants?" (God) said, "My covenant does not include the transgressors." "


Another example is Allah's [s.w.t.] saying in the Quran 21:73 :

"And We made them Imams (leaders) who guide by Our command, and We inspired in them the doing of good deeds, the observance of regular prayers, the giving of Zakat (required charity), and they were our devoted worshippers."


Quran 9:12 says:

"If they violate their oaths after pledging to keep their covenant, and attack your religion, you may fight the Imams (leaders) of disbelief- surely, they have no regard for their oaths - so that they may desist."


Quran 28:41 says:

"And We made them Imams who invite/lead (people) to HellFire, and, on the Day of Resurrection, they will have no help."


From the above definitions, we can understand the reason why the Khalifah (Caliph) is called an Imam too. Imam Abu Zahra explained:

"It was called Caliphate because whoever assumes it and becomes the Prince of the Faithful (Governor of the Muslims), is actually succeeding the Prophet [saw] in managing the affairs of the Muslims. It is also called al-Imamah, because the Khalifah (Caliph) used to be called Imam, and because his obedience is compulsory and the people follow him as they follow the one who leads the prayer." (Aqeedat al-Imamah: Ali Ahmad As-Saloos, PhD, p.9 )

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