The Fourteen Infallibles

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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]

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.[4] Based on its distinct view of Muhammad's succession, Shia argues that the righteous 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, [5][6] so that their followers will not fall into error.[7] This human need for a divinely guided infallible authority was the basis for the doctrine of Imamate.[8] Infallibility and divine protection against error for Imams are also necessary for God's religion to remain intact.[9] 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.[6]

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]

Number Modern (Calligraphic) Depiction Name
Date of
Importance Place of birth Reason & place of death
and place of burial[12]
1 تخطيط إسم محمد.png Muhammad ibn Abdullah[13]
محمد بن عبدالله
Abu al-qasim [13]
أبو القاسم
Rasul Allah
(the Messenger of God)[13]
The Seal of All Prophets[14] (The Beloved) [15]
53 (before Hijra)[16]–10[17]
Quran,the Word of God revealed to him,is his miracle[13] Mecca,
Saudi Arabia[13]
fell ill and died in Medina.,[13] Saudi Arabia.
2 Fatimah Calligraphy.png Fatimah[18]

(the shining one,the Radiant: because when she was born, the whole sky became illuminated) [18][19]
The leader of all women in this world and in Paradise.(Arabic: سيدة نساء العالمينSayyidatu n-Nisā'i l-‘alamīn)[20]
605 or 615 – 632 or 633 /5(before Hijra)[18][21][22][23][24]
17 or 7 [18](before Hijra)–10 or 11 [25]
Prophet called her " a part of me", The most holy of muslim women [25] Mecca,
Saudi Arabia[21][22]
Injured when defending Ali against the first Khalifa which caused to her death in her very young age.[26] though the exact location of her grave is unknown.[27]
3 Alī.png Ali ibn Abu Talib [25]
علي بن أبي طالب
Abu al-Hasan
أبو الحسن
Amir al-Mu'minin
(Commander of the Faithful)[28]

Birinci Ali[29]
23(before Hijra)–40[30]
The First [31] Imam [25][32] and the rightful Successor of Muhammad [33] of all Shia however, the Sunnis acknowledge him as the fourth Caliph as well.[25] He holds a high position in almost all Sufi Muslim orders (Turuq); the members of these orders trace their lineage to Muhammad through him.[28] Mecca,
Saudi Arabia[28]
Assassinated by Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljam, a Kharijite in Kufa, who slashed him with a poisoned sword while he was praying.[28][34]
Buried in Najaf,[25] Iraq.
4 Hassan ibn Ali.jpg Hasan ibn Ali[25]
حسن بن علي
Abu Muhammad
أبو محمد
al-Mūjtabā [35]

(The Chosen)

İkinci Ali[29]
3–50 [25][37]
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.[36] Medina,
Saudi Arabia[36]
Poisoned by his wife in Medina, Saudi Arabia on the orders of the Caliph Muawiya, according to Twelver Shiite belief.[38]
Buried in Jannat al-Baqi, Medina,[25] Saudi Arabia.[36]
5 Hhussain ibn ali.jpg Husayn ibn Ali[25]
حسین بن علي
Abu Abdillah
أبو عبدالله
Sayyid ash-Shuhada[39]

(Master of the Martyrs)

Üçüncü Ali[29]
626–680 [40]
4–61 [25][41]
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.[25] After this incident, the commemoration of Husayn ibn Ali has become a central ritual in Shia identity.[42] Medina,
Saudi Arabia[42]
Killed and beheaded at the Battle of Karbala.[42]
Buried at the Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala,[25][40] Iraq.[42]
6 Imam sajjad.jpg Ali ibn Husayn[43]
علي بن الحسین
Abu Muhammad[44]
أبو محمد
al-Sajjad,[43] Zayn al-'Abidin [43]

(One who constantly Prostrates, Ornament of the Worshippers) [45]

Dördüncü Ali[29]
658/9[45] – 712[46]
38 [43][45]–95 [43][46]
Author of prayers in Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya,[43] which is known as "The Psalm of the Household of the Prophet."[46] Medina,
Saudi Arabia[45]
According to most Shia scholars, he was poisoned on the order of Caliph al-Walid I in Medina, Saudi Arabia.[46]
Buried in Jannat al-Baqi, Medina, Saudi Arabia [43]
7 Baqir ibn sajjad.jpg Muhammad ibn Ali [43]
محمد بن علي
Abu Ja'far [47]
أبو جعفر
Baqir al-Ulum

(The Revealer of Knowledge) [48]

Beşinci Ali[29]
57–114 [43][48]
Sunni and Shia sources both describe him as one of the early and most eminent legal scholars, teaching many students during his tenure.[43][48][49] Medina,
Saudi Arabia[48]
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.[46]
Buried in Jannat al-Baqi, Medina,[43] Saudi Arabia.
8 Jaffer-e-Sadiq.jpg Ja'far ibn Muhammad[43]
جعفر بن محمد
Abu Abdillah [43]
أبو عبدالله

(The Honest)

Altıncı Ali[29]
702–765 [43][50]
83–148 [43][50]
Established the Ja'fari jurisprudence and developed the theology of Twelvers.[43] He instructed many scholars in different fields, including Abu Hanifah[43] and Malik ibn Anas in fiqh, Wasil ibn Ata and Hisham ibn Hakam in Islamic theology, and Geber in science and alchemy.[50] Medina,
Saudi Arabia[50]
According to Shia sources, he was poisoned in Medina, Saudi Arabia on the order of Caliph Al-Mansur.[50]
Buried in Jannat al-Baqi, Medina, Saudi Arabia.[43]
9 Al-Kazim.jpg Musa ibn Ja'far[43]
موسی بن جعفر
Abu al-Hasan I
أبو الحسن الاول[51]

(The Calm One)

Yedinci Ali[29]
744–799 [43][52]
128–183 [43][52]
Leader of the Shia community during the schism of Ismaili and other branches after the death of the former Imam, Jafar al-Sadiq.[53] 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.[54] Medina,
Saudi Arabia[52]
Imprisoned and poisoned in Baghdad, Iraq on the order of Caliph Harun al-Rashid, according to Shiite belief.[55]
Buried in the Kazimayn shrine in Baghdad, Iraq.[43][52]
10 Al redah.jpg Ali ibn Musa [43]
علي بن موسی
Abu al-Hasan II
أبو الحسن الثانی[51]
ar-Rida, Reza[56]

(The Pleasing One)

Sekizinci Ali[29]
765–817 [43][56]
148–203 [43][56]
Made crown-prince by Caliph Al-Ma'mun,[57] and famous for his discussions with both Muslim and non-Muslim religious scholars.[56] Medina,
Saudi Arabia[56]
According to Shia sources, he was poisoned in Mashad, Iran on the order of Caliph Al-Ma'mun.[57]
Buried in the Imam Reza shrine in Mashad, Iran.[56][57]
11 Imam Taqi.jpg Muhammad ibn Ali [57]
محمد بن علي
Abu Ja'far
أبو جعفر
al-Taqi,[57] al-Jawad[58]

(The God-Fearing, The Generous)

Dokuzuncu Ali[29]
809 [57] or 810 –835 [57][58]
Famous for his generosity and piety in the face of persecution by the Abbasid caliphate.[59] Medina,
Saudi Arabia[58]
Poisoned by his wife, Al-Ma'mun's daughter, in Baghdad, Iraq on the order of Caliph Al-Mu'tasim, according to Shiite sources.[60]
Buried in the Kazmain shrine in Baghdad, Iraq.[57][58]
12 Imam naqi.jpg Ali ibn Muhammad[57]
علي بن محمد
Abu al-Hasan III
أبو الحسن الثالث[61]

al-Hadi[62](The Guide)

Onuncu Ali[29]
al-Naqi(the Pure) [57] 827–868 [57][61]
He taught religious sciences until 243/857.[57]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.[61] Surayya, a village near Medina,
Saudi Arabia[61]
According to Shia sources, he was poisoned in Samarra, Iraq on the order of Caliph Al-Mu'tazz.[63]
Buried in the Al Askari Mosque in Samarra, Iraq.[57]
13 Alaskeri.jpg Hasan ibn Ali[57]
الحسن بن علي
Abu Muhammad[64]
أبو محمد
al-Askari [57][65]

(The Citizen of a Garrison Town)

Onbirinci Ali[29]
232–260 [57][65]
For most of his life, the Abbasid Caliph, Al-Mu'tamid, placed restrictions on him after the death of his father.[66] Repression of the Shiite population was particularly high at the time due to their large size and growing power.[67] Medina,
Saudi Arabia[65]
According to Shia, he was poisoned on the order of Caliph Al-Mu'tamid in Samarra,[66] Iraq.
Buried in Al Askari Mosque in Samarra, Iraq.[57][66][67]
14 Al mehdi.jpg Muhammad ibn al-Hasan[57]
محمد بن الحسن
Abu al-Qasim [39]
أبو القاسم
Mahdi(The Guided One),[57][68]
Hidden Imam[69],
al-Hujjah(The Proof)[70][39]or Hujjat Allah[71]

al-Qi'im [39] Baqiyyat Allah [39]

Onikinci Ali[29]
255 or 256 [57] –unknown[72]
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.[73] Samarra, Iraq[72] According to Shia doctrine, he has been living in the Occultation since 872, and will continue as long as God wills it.[72]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Algar 1990
  2. ^ Dabashi 2006
  3. ^ Akhtar Rizvi 1987, p. 14
  4. ^ Tabatabaei 1977, p. 37
  5. ^ Tabatabaei 1975, p. 11
  6. ^ a b Nasr, Dabashi & Nasr 1989, p. 102
  7. ^ Tabatabaei 1975, p. 156
  8. ^ Nasr, Dabashi & Nasr 1989, p. 98
  9. ^ Tabatabaei 1977, p. 160
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ The abbreviation CE refers to the Common Era solar calendar, while AH refers to the Islamic Hijri lunar calendar.
  12. ^ Except Twelfth Imam
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Nasr 2006
  14. ^ Ibn al-ʻArabī 1980, p. 38
  15. ^ Ayoub, p. 181
  16. ^ Tabatabaei 1975, pp. 131
  17. ^ Tabatabaei 1975, pp. 134
  18. ^ a b c d Chittick 1980, p. 136
  19. ^ Calmard 1999
  20. ^ Ordoni & Qazwini 1992, p. 117
  21. ^ a b Dungersi 1994, p. 4
  22. ^ a b Qurashī 2006, pp. 37–41
  23. ^ Ordoni & Qazwini 1992, pp. 42–45
  24. ^ Amin 1968–73, p. 103
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Chittick 1980, p. 137
  26. ^ Lammens 2012
  27. ^ Qurashī 2006, p. 248
  28. ^ a b c d e Nasr 2007
  29. ^ 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. 
  30. ^ Tabatabaea 1979, pp. 190–192
  31. ^ Poonawala 1985
  32. ^ Amir-Moezzi 2005
  33. ^ Mashita 2002, p. 69
  34. ^ Tabatabae 1979, p. 192
  35. ^ Corbin 1993, p. 50
  36. ^ a b c d Madelung 2003
  37. ^ Tabatabae 1979, pp. 194–195
  38. ^ Tabatabae 1979, p. 195
  39. ^ a b c d e Amir-Moezzi 1994, p. 174
  40. ^ a b Tabatabaei 1975, pp. 198–199
  41. ^ Tabatabae 1979, pp. 196–199
  42. ^ a b c d Madelung 2004
  43. ^ 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
  44. ^ al-Qarashi a, p. 17
  45. ^ a b c d Madelung 1985
  46. ^ a b c d e Tabatabae 1979, p. 202
  47. ^ al-Qarashi b
  48. ^ a b c d e Madelung 1988
  49. ^ Tabatabae 1979, p. 203
  50. ^ a b c d e f Tabatabae 1979, pp. 203–204
  51. ^ a b Madelung 1985c
  52. ^ a b c d e Tabatabae 1979, p. 205
  53. ^ Tabatabae 1979, p. 78
  54. ^ Sachedina 1988, pp. 53–54
  55. ^ Amir-Moezzi 2011, p. 207
  56. ^ a b c d e f Tabatabae 1979, pp. 205–207
  57. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Chittick 1980, p. 139
  58. ^ a b c d e Tabatabae 1979, p. 207
  59. ^ Qurashi 2005
  60. ^ Al-Tabataba'i 1977, p. 207
  61. ^ a b c d e Madelung 1985a
  62. ^ Dungersi, p. 2
  63. ^ Tabatabae 1979, pp. 208–209
  64. ^ Qurashi 2005, p. 18
  65. ^ a b c d Halm 1987
  66. ^ a b c Dungersi, p. 28
  67. ^ a b Tabatabae 1979, pp. 209–210
  68. ^ Amir-Moezzi 2007
  69. ^ Amir-Moezzi 1994, p. 115
  70. ^ Nasr 2013, p. 161
  71. ^ Amir-Moezzi 1994, p. 45
  72. ^ a b c d Tabatabae 1979, pp. 210–211
  73. ^ Tabatabae 1979, pp. 211–214



External links[edit]