The purpose of the Imamate (leadership)

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The purpose of the Imamate (leadership)
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The Imamate (divine leadership) is the belief that there are certain chosen persons that are appointed by God as successors to prophet Muhammad (S) to interpret the religion and Shari'a of Islam and to lead the community in spiritual, religious, social, political, and all other important matters.

An Imam must be appointed by God because, if people chose their spiritual leader and guide to Islam and its teachings, as they themselves are spiritually imperfect and not immune from any error, they might err in their selection and consequently the religion will be misinterpreted.
The Imam must be infallible because if there were error, flaw or sin in him, again mankind would be in danger of being misguided.


in Shi'a terminology an Imam is the person appointed by God and introduced by the prophet[1] and then by each preceding Imam by explicit designation to lead the Muslim community and obedience to, and love of him is incumbent on all Muslims.

The purpose of the Imamate


With the advent of prophet Muhammad (S) and the explicit declaration by the Qur'an that he was the last messenger of God, prophethood reached its culmination; there cannot be any prophet after him. But still the task of guiding mankind, the duties of correctly interpreting the Qur'an and the prophet's teachings, and of leading the community, remains.
Divine grace never leaves any dire need of man unanswered and ensures that each created species is guided to his perfection. The institution of prophethood was established for this reason. It is also a necessary corollary of Gods mercy and grace that there should be guides for mankind after the prophet.
As God chose special parsons to reveal his message and gave them special powers and attributes, infallibility and miracles, so also the persons who are entrusted with the task of interpreting the prophet's message and leading the nation should be appointed by God and not elected by people. They should also be infallible, otherwise if the leaders misinterpret the revelation and are not perfect models, how can people trust them and be guided towards perfection? For these functions the Imams were chosen by God.
An Imam must be appointed by God because, if people chose their spiritual leader and guide to Islam and its teachings, as they themselves are spiritually imperfect and not immune from any error, they might err in their selection and consequently the religion will be misinterpreted.
The Imam must be infallible because if there were error, flaw or sin in him, again mankind would be in danger of being misguided.
The Imam must possess special knowledge from God, because otherwise there would be no one after the prophet who possessed esoteric knowledge of Islam and reality.
And finally, the Imam must be the most perfect of his time in all respects, because it is against the justice and wisdom of God to appoint someone inferior to guide and lead the Islamic community.

As God chose special parsons to reveal his message and gave them special powers and attributes, infallibility and miracles, so also the persons who are entrusted with the task of interpreting the prophet's message and leading the nation should be appointed by God and not elected by people


Thus we believe that the Imams are the divinely appointed successors of prophet Muhammad (S). There cannot be any period without an Imam (though he is in occultation for some reasons at the present time). The Imams are infallible endowed with special knowledge and the most perfect human beings after prophet Muhammad (S). [2]
 

1) refer to, http://www.welayatnet.com/en/news/91302
2) a manual of Islamic beliefs and practice, p.15.

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Daily Hadith
مَن شَرُفَت هِمَّتُهُ عَظُمَت قِيمَتُهُ.
He whose ambition is lofty his value is heightened.