The Fourteen Infallible

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See also: Twelve Imams

The Fourteen Infallible (Arabic: معصومونMa‘sūmūn) in Twelver Shia Islam include Mohammad, the Prophet of Islam, his daughter Fatima Zahra and The Twelve Imams all of whom are considered to be infallible, i.e. "divinely bestowed [with] freedom from error and sin".[1] This quality of infallibility is called Ismah.[1][2] Ismah literally means protection, and in Shia Theology, it refers to a special grace or lutf of God to a person that enables him/her to protect himself/herself against sins by his/her own free will. Such a person is called ma'sum.[3] Shia believe that all fourteen are superior to the rest of creation, even the major prophets.[4]

Concept of Ismah[edit]

Main article: Ismah

According to Shia, members of society should have the right understanding of the world and mankind (as taught by Islam) to identify and fulfill their obligations towards them. On the other hand, Islamic rulings should be implemented by a religious government so that man would worship only God and enjoy real justice and freedom on both personal and social level. All of these requirements are accomplished only under the guidance and rule of a person who is inerrant and protected by God against faults.[5]

Based on its distinct view of Muhammad's succession, Shia argues that the rightful successor to the Holy Prophet, in addition to ruling over the community in justice must correctly interpret the divine law which requires freedom from error and sin,[6][7] so that their followers will not fall into error.[8] This human need for a divinely guided infallible authority was the basis for the doctrine of Imamate.[9] Infallibility and divine protection against error for Imams are also necessary for God's religion to remain intact.[10] On the sociopolitical level, only an infallible Imam whose actions are free from error may also successfully arbitrate in conflicts between people and permanently resolve them.[7]

According to Hamid Algar, this ascription is encountered as early as the first half of the second century of Islamic calendar. The Shia scholars of the fourth and the fifth centuries of Islamic calendar defined the infallibility of the Prophet Moḥammad and the Twelve Imams in increasingly stringent form, until the doctrine came to exclude the commission on their part of any sin or inadvertence, either before or after their assumption of office. As for Fatimah, it has been derived from her being a link between Prophethood and Imamah, the two institutions characterized by infallibility, as well as by her association with the imams and their attributes in numerous Hadiths.[1]

Family tree[edit]

‘Alī Zaynul ‘Ābidīn
Muhammad al-Bāqir
Ja‘far as-Sādiq
Mūsā al-Kādhim
‘Alī ar-Ridhā
Muhammad al-Jawad
‘Alī al-Hadi
Hasan al-‘Askarī
Muhammad al-Mahdī

List of The Infallible[edit]

No. Modern (Calligraphic) Depiction Name
Date of
Birth - Death
Place of birth
Importance Reason & place of death
and place of burial [c]
1 تخطيط إسم محمد.png Muhammad ibn Abdullah [d] [11]

Abu al-qasim [e] [11]

Rasul Allah[f][11]

(the Messenger of God)

The Seal of All Prophets[g][12]

Habib [h][13]

( The Beloved)

570–632[11] / 53 (before Hijra)[14]–10[15]
Saudi Arabia[11]
Quran,the Word of God revealed to him,is his miracle[11] fell ill and died in Medina.,[11] Saudi Arabia.
2 Fatimah Calligraphy.png Fatimah[16]

Umm Abiha[i] [17]

(A Mother for Her Father)

Sayyidatu n-Nisā'il-‘alamīn [j] [18]

(The Holiest of all women in this world and in Paradise)

al-Zahra [k][16][19]

(The Shining One)

Al-Siddiqah [l][20]

(The Honest)

Al-Mubarakah [m] [21]

(The Blessed One)

At-Taherah [n][22]

(The Virtuous)

Al-Batoul [o][23]

(The Pure One)

605 or 615 –

632 or 633 [16][24][25][26][27]

/ 17 or 7 [16](before Hijra)

–10 or 11 [28]
Saudi Arabia[24][25]
Prophet called her " a part of me", The Mother of Shia Imams[28] Injured when defending Ali against the first Khalifa which caused to her death .[29] though the exact location of her grave is unknown.[30]
3 Alī.png Ali ibn Abu Talib [p] [28]

Abu al-Hasan [q] [31]

Amir al-Mu'minin[r][32]
(The Commander of the Faithful)

Birinci Ali[33]
600–661[32] / 23(before Hijra)–40[34]
Saudi Arabia[32]
The First [35] Imam [28][36] and the rightful Successor of Muhammad [37] of all Shia however, the Sunnis acknowledge him as the fourth Caliph as well.[28] He holds a high position in almost all Sufi Muslim orders (Turuq); the members of these orders trace their lineage to Muhammad through him.[32] Assassinated by Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljam, a Kharijite in Kufa, who slashed him with a poisoned sword while he was praying.[32][38]
Buried in Najaf,[28] Iraq.
4 Hassan ibn Ali.jpg Hasan ibn Ali [s] [28]

Abu Muhammad [t] [31]

al-Mūjtabā [u][39]
(The Chosen)

İkinci Ali[33]
625–670[40] / 3–50 [28][41]
Saudi Arabia[40]
He was the eldest surviving grandson of Muhammad through Muhammad's daughter, Fatimah az-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.[40] Poisoned by his wife in Medina, Saudi Arabia on the orders of the Caliph Muawiya, according to Twelver Shiite belief.[42]
Buried in Jannat al-Baqi, Medina,[28] Saudi Arabia.[40]
5 Hhussain ibn ali.jpg Husayn ibn Ali [v] [28]

Abu Abdillah [w] [43]

Sayyid ash-Shuhada [x][44]
(Master of the Martyrs)

Üçüncü Ali[33]
626–680 [45] / 4–61 [28][46]
Saudi Arabia[47]
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.[28] After this incident, the commemoration of Husayn ibn Ali has become a central ritual in Shia identity.[47] Killed and beheaded at the Battle of Karbala.[47]
Buried at the Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala,[28][45] Iraq.[47]
6 Imam sajjad.jpg Ali ibn Husayn [y] [48]

Abu Muhammad [z] [43][49]

al-Sajjad [aa][48]

Zayn al-'Abidin [ab] [48][50]
(One who constantly Prostrates the Ornament of the Worshippers)

Dördüncü Ali[33]
658/9[50] – 712[51] / 38 [48][50]–95 [48][51]
Saudi Arabia[50]
Author of prayers in Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya,[48] which is known as "The Psalm of the Household of the Prophet."[51] According to most Shia scholars, he was poisoned on the order of Caliph al-Walid I in Medina, Saudi Arabia.[51]
Buried in Jannat al-Baqi, Medina, Saudi Arabia [48]
7 Baqir ibn sajjad.jpg Muhammad ibn Ali [ac] [48]

Abu Ja'far [ad] [43][52]

Baqir al-Ulum [ae] [53]
(The Revealer of Knowledge)

Beşinci Ali[33]
677–732[53] / 57–114 [48][53]
Saudi Arabia[53]
Sunni and Shia sources both describe him as one of the early and most eminent legal scholars, teaching many students during his tenure.[48][53][54] 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.[51]
Buried in Jannat al-Baqi, Medina,[48] Saudi Arabia.
8 Jaffer-e-Sadiq.jpg Ja'far ibn Muhammad [af] [48]

Abu Abdillah [ag][43][48]

as-Sadiq [ah][55]
(The Honest)

Altıncı Ali[33]
702–765 [48][55] / 83–148 [48][55]
Saudi Arabia[55]
Established the Ja'fari jurisprudence and developed the theology of Twelvers.[48] He instructed many scholars in different fields, including Abu Hanifah[48] and Malik ibn Anas in fiqh, Wasil ibn Ata and Hisham ibn Hakam in Islamic theology, and Geber in science and alchemy.[55] According to Shia sources, he was poisoned in Medina, Saudi Arabia on the order of Caliph Al-Mansur.[55]
Buried in Jannat al-Baqi, Medina, Saudi Arabia.[48]
9 Al-Kazim.jpg Musa ibn Ja'far[ai][48]

Abu al-Hasan I [aj] [43][56]

al-Kazim [ak][57]

(The Calm One)

Yedinci Ali[33]
744–799 [48][57] / 128–183 [48][57]
Saudi Arabia[57]
Leader of the Shia community during the schism of Ismaili and other branches after the death of the former Imam, Jafar al-Sadiq.[58] 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.[59] Imprisoned and poisoned in Baghdad, Iraq on the order of Caliph Harun al-Rashid, according to Shiite belief.[60]
Buried in the Kazimayn shrine in Baghdad, Iraq.[48][57]
10 Al redah.jpg Ali ibn Musa[al][48]

Abu al-Hasan II [am] [43]

ar-Rida [an][61]
(The Pleasing One)

Sekizinci Ali[33]
765–817 [48][61] / 148–203 [48][61]
Saudi Arabia[61]
Made crown-prince by Caliph Al-Ma'mun,[62] and famous for his discussions with both Muslim and non-Muslim religious scholars.[61] According to Shia sources, he was poisoned in Mashad, Iran on the order of Caliph Al-Ma'mun.[62]
Buried in the Imam Reza shrine in Mashad, Iran.[61][62]
11 Imam Taqi.jpg Muhammad ibn Ali[ao][62]

Abu Ja'far [ap] [43]

al-Taqi [aq] [62]

(The God-Fearing)

al-Jawad [ar][63]
(The Generous)

Dokuzuncu Ali[33]
809 [62] or 810 –835 [62][63] / 195–220[63]
Saudi Arabia[63]
Famous for his generosity and piety in the face of persecution by the Abbasid caliphate.[64] Poisoned by his wife, Al-Ma'mun's daughter, in Baghdad, Iraq on the order of Caliph Al-Mu'tasim, according to Shiite sources.[65]
Buried in the Kazmain shrine in Baghdad, Iraq.[62][63]
12 Imam naqi.jpg Ali ibn Muhammad[as][62]

Abu al-Hasan III [at] [43]

al-Hadi [au] [67]

(The Guide)

al-Naqi [av] [62]

(The Pure)

Onuncu Ali[33]
827–868 [62][66] / 212–254[66]
Surayya, a village near Medina,
Saudi Arabia[66]
He taught religious sciences until 243/857.[62] 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.[66] According to Shia sources, he was poisoned in Samarra, Iraq on the order of Caliph Al-Mu'tazz.[68]
Buried in the Al Askari Mosque in Samarra, Iraq.[62]
13 Alaskeri.jpg Hasan ibn Ali[aw][62]

Abu Muhammad [ax] [69][70]

al-Askari [ay][62][71]
(The Citizen of a Garrison Town)

Onbirinci Ali[33]
846–874[71] / 232–260 [62][71]
Saudi Arabia[71]
For most of his life, the Abbasid Caliph, Al-Mu'tamid, placed restrictions on him after the death of his father.[72] Repression of the Shiite population was particularly high at the time due to their large size and growing power.[73] According to Shia, he was poisoned on the order of Caliph Al-Mu'tamid in Samarra,[72] Iraq.
Buried in Al Askari Mosque in Samarra, Iraq.[62][72][73]
14 Al mehdi.jpg Muhammad ibn al-Hasan[az][62]

Abu al-Qasim [ba][44]

Mahdi [bb][62][74]

(The Guided One or The Guide),

Hidden Imam [bc][75]

al-Hujjah [bd][44][76]

(The Proof)

sahib al-Zaman [be][69] (The Lord of Our Times)

Sahibu'l-Amr [bf][69]

(The one vested with Divine authority)

al-Qa'im [bg][44]

(The one who will rise and fill the universe with the Justice)

Baqiyyat Allah [bh][44]

(God's Remainder)

Onikinci Ali[33]
868–unknown[77] / 255 or 256 [62] –unknown[77]
Samarra, Iraq[78]
According to Twelver Shiite doctrine, 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 replete the earth with justice and peace.[79] According to Shia doctrine, he has been living in the Occultation since 872, and will continue as long as God wills it.[77]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Imam's Arabic titles are used by the majority of Twelver Shia who use Arabic as a liturgical language, including the Usooli, Akhbari, Shaykhi, and to a lesser extent Alawi. Turkish titles are generally used by Alevi, a fringe Twelver group, who make up around 10% of the world Shia population. The titles for each Imam literally translate as "First Ali", "Second Ali", and so forth. Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. Gale Group. 2004. ISBN 978-0-02-865769-1. .
  2. ^ The abbreviation CE refers to the Common Era solar calendar, while AH refers to the Islamic Hijri lunar calendar
  3. ^ Except Twelfth Imam
  4. ^ محمد بن عبدالله
  5. ^ أبو القاسم
  6. ^ رسول الله
  7. ^ خاتم الاوصیاء
  8. ^ حبیب
  9. ^ ام ابیها
  10. ^ سيدة نساء العالمين
  11. ^ الزهرا
  12. ^ الصّدیقة
  13. ^ المبارکة
  14. ^ الطاهرة
  15. ^ البتول
  16. ^ علي بن أبي طالب
  17. ^ أبو الحسن
  18. ^ امیرالمؤمنین
  19. ^ حسن بن علي
  20. ^ أبو محمد
  21. ^ المجتبی
  22. ^ حسین بن علي
  23. ^ أبو عبدالله
  24. ^ سیّد الشهداء
  25. ^ علي بن الحسین
  26. ^ أبو محمد
  27. ^ السجّاد
  28. ^ زین العابدین
  29. ^ محمد بن علي
  30. ^ أبو جعفر
  31. ^ باقرالعلوم
  32. ^ جعفر بن محمد
  33. ^ أبو عبدالله
  34. ^ الصادق
  35. ^ موسی بن جعفر
  36. ^ أبو الحسن الاول
  37. ^ الکاظم
  38. ^ علي بن موسی
  39. ^ أبو الحسن الثانی
  40. ^ الرضا
  41. ^ محمد بن علي
  42. ^ أبو جعفر
  43. ^ التقی
  44. ^ الجواد
  45. ^ علي بن محمد
  46. ^ أبو الحسن الثالث
  47. ^ الهادی
  48. ^ النقی
  49. ^ الحسن بن علي
  50. ^ أبو محمد
  51. ^ العسگری
  52. ^ محمد بن الحسن
  53. ^ أبو القاسم
  54. ^ المهدی
  55. ^ الامام الغائب
  56. ^ الحجة
  57. ^ صاحب الزمان
  58. ^ صاحب الامر
  59. ^ القائم
  60. ^ بقیةالله


  1. ^ a b c Algar 1990
  2. ^ Dabashi 2006
  3. ^ Akhtar Rizvi 1987, p. 14
  4. ^ Algar 1990
  5. ^ Tabatabaei 1977, p. 37
  6. ^ Tabatabaei 1975, p. 11
  7. ^ a b Nasr, Dabashi & Nasr 1989, p. 102
  8. ^ Tabatabaei 1975, p. 156
  9. ^ Nasr, Dabashi & Nasr 1989, p. 98
  10. ^ Tabatabaei 1977, p. 160
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Nasr 2006
  12. ^ Ibn al-ʻArabī 1980, p. 38
  13. ^ Nasr 2013, p. 61
  14. ^ Tabatabaei 1975, pp. 131
  15. ^ Tabatabaei 1975, pp. 134
  16. ^ a b c d Chittick 1980, p. 136
  17. ^ Walbridge 2001, p. 103
  18. ^ Ordoni & Qazwini 1992, p. 117
  19. ^ Calmard 1999
  20. ^ Ordoni 2013, p. 56
  21. ^ Ordoni 2013, p. 59
  22. ^ Ordoni 2013, p. 70
  23. ^ Ordoni 2013, p. 94
  24. ^ a b Dungersi 1994, p. 4
  25. ^ a b Qurashī 2006, pp. 37–41
  26. ^ Ordoni & Qazwini 1992, pp. 42–45
  27. ^ Amin 1968–73, p. 103
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Chittick 1980, p. 137
  29. ^ Lammens 2012
  30. ^ Qurashī 2006, p. 248
  31. ^ a b Rizvi 1988, p. 48
  32. ^ a b c d e Nasr 2007
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. Gale Group. 2004. ISBN 978-0-02-865769-1. 
  34. ^ Tabatabae 1979, pp. 190–192
  35. ^ Poonawala 1985
  36. ^ Amir-Moezzi 2005
  37. ^ Mashita 2002, p. 69
  38. ^ Tabatabae 1979, p. 192
  39. ^ Corbin 1993, p. 50
  40. ^ a b c d Madelung 2003
  41. ^ Tabatabae 1979, pp. 194–195
  42. ^ Tabatabae 1979, p. 195
  43. ^ a b c d e f g h Rizvi 1988, p. 49
  44. ^ a b c d e Amir-Moezzi 1994, p. 174
  45. ^ a b Tabatabaei 1975, pp. 198–199
  46. ^ Tabatabae 1979, pp. 196–199
  47. ^ a b c d Madelung 2004
  48. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Chittick 1980, p. 138
  49. ^ Qurashi 2007, p. 17
  50. ^ a b c d Madelung 1985
  51. ^ a b c d e Tabatabae 1979, p. 202
  52. ^ Qurashi 1999
  53. ^ a b c d e Madelung 1988
  54. ^ Tabatabae 1979, p. 203
  55. ^ a b c d e f Tabatabae 1979, pp. 203–204
  56. ^ a b Madelung 1985c
  57. ^ a b c d e Tabatabae 1979, p. 205
  58. ^ Tabatabae 1979, p. 78
  59. ^ Sachedina 1988, pp. 53–54
  60. ^ Amir-Moezzi 2011, p. 207
  61. ^ a b c d e f Tabatabae 1979, pp. 205–207
  62. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Chittick 1980, p. 139
  63. ^ a b c d e Tabatabae 1979, p. 207
  64. ^ Qurashi 2005
  65. ^ Al-Tabataba'i 1977, p. 207
  66. ^ a b c d e Madelung 1985a
  67. ^ Dungersi, p. 2
  68. ^ Tabatabae 1979, pp. 208–209
  69. ^ a b c Rizvi 1988, p. 50
  70. ^ Qurashi 2005, p. 18
  71. ^ a b c d Halm 1987
  72. ^ a b c Dungersi, p. 28
  73. ^ a b Tabatabae 1979, pp. 209–210
  74. ^ Amir-Moezzi 2007
  75. ^ Amir-Moezzi 1994, p. 115
  76. ^ Nasr 2013, p. 161
  77. ^ a b c Tabatabae 1979, pp. 210–211
  78. ^ Tabatabaei 1975, p. 185
  79. ^ Tabatabae 1979, pp. 211–214



External links[edit]