Lesson Twelve: Twelve Caring Imams An Introduction to Imamah – Part 1


In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

The Principles of Religion for Children

The “Principles of Religion” course has been collected and edited by volunteer experts and teachers in the Mohammad (PBUH) Scientific and Cultural Foundation Office for Kids and Teens (Khaane Koodak va Nojavan in Farsi). This course is appropriate for children between the ages of 8-12. The course aims to help students gain basic knowledge on Shia Islam, including beliefs and doctrine.

The course literature differs as the age group of students changes (e.g., eight years-old when compared to twelve years-old) allowing teaching attitudes and course structure to match with the students capacity for learning while the course objectives and learning outcomes remain the same.


 Lesson Twelve: Twelve Caring Imams

 An Introduction to Imamah – Part 1

Zahra Moradi, Zahra Entezar Kheyr, and Sara Entezar Kheyr

Translated by: Ali Mansouri

Edited by: Marzie Salehi


Instructive Note: We should love the Imams and do things that will make them happy.


In the two previous sessions we talked about Nubuwwah and explained that God- the Most Kind- has sent the Prophets to teach us the right path of living so that we can live well and happy in all eras. We also noted that the Prophets had another special mission which was introducing the last Prophet named Muhammad- also entitled as Ahmed (PBUH). After the Prophet of any era would speak of the goodness and virtues of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Also, they asked their people to promise to love Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and listen to him if they lived during his lifetime.

Finally, the last Prophet, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) came to the people who neither knew God, nor knew how to behave with each other or treat strangers. They did not appreciate cleanness and sanitary even for their eating habits. Those people had completely lost the right path of life when demonstrating no mercy on their own children. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) reminded and confirmed the monotheistic teaching preceded by preceding prophets such as Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. He completed revelation of faith, friendship and just and introduced the way of living for all eras.

But what about after the Prophet? Did the kind God who sent 124,000 Prophets since the time of Prophet Adam (AS) to the people so that they would never be without a Divine guide, leave the people alone without guidance after the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH(? What would the people have to do if they had questions about something or if, as usual, a group of people changed the words of God and the Prophet and caused the people to become lost again?

Our Kind and Compassionate God has not left people alone without a guidance after the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Instead, He has picked twelve individuals who have been His best, the most kindhearted, the wisest, and the most lovable servants as Imams (meaning true leaders) and successors to the Prophet. Likewise prophets, the Imams must have some specific characteristics:

-    First: They must be admitted directly by God.

-    Second: They must be infallible. This means they never commit a sin, mistake, or an error.

-    Third: They must be the most wise, knowledgeable, and the most ethical of the people.

-    Fourth: They must have the ability to perform miracles.

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), on multiple occasions during his lifetime, appraise people of the twelve Imams who take the responsivity after him to demonstrate the right path to people. He explained that Imams have been entitled by God for guardianship of people so human would not deviate from the right path. Thus, whoever acts badly towards them and does not listen to their advices, is like standing against the goodness and hence God. To help people identify Imams, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) provided some information about each Imam to the people such as their names in order.


Let me write the names of all twelve Imams on the board so that anyone who does not already know their names in order can learn them now:

-    First: Imam Ali, Amir al-Mu'minin (AS)

-    Second: Imam Hassan, al-Mujtaba (AS)

-    Third: Imam Hussain, Sayyid ash-Shuhada (AS)

-    Fourth: Imam Ali, Zeyn al-Abedin/Sajjad (AS)

-    Fifth: Imam Muhammad, al-Baqir (AS)

-    Sixth: Imam Ja’far, as-Sadiq (AS)

-    Seventh: Imam Musa, al-Kadhim (AS)

-    Eighth: Imam Ali, ar-Rida (AS)

-    Ninth: Imam Muhammad, al-Naqi (AS)

-    Tenth: Imam Ali, at-Taqi/al-Hadi (AS)

-    Eleventh: Imam Hassan, al-Askari (AS)

-    Twelfth: Imam Muhammad, al-Mahdi (AS)

Since many of the Imams have the same first name, like Ali or Muhammad, you can memorize them based on their titles. For example, we can call the eighth Imam: Imam Rida (AS).


My dear children, we can also call the twelve Imams the “A’immah”. This word, “A’immah”, is the plural of Imam in Arabic, meaning the Imams described above. As we stated earlier, all twelve Imams were the best, most caring, most kindhearted, the wisest and most knowledgeable of people. The Imams are more empathetic than any father and kinder than any mother. They love us and we need to follow them; i.e. as our caring Prophet advised his followers to do so. We should try to avoid bad behaviors and deeds that would make the Imams upset.

Ok, now let’s go through the names of the Imams one more time so that we can learn them well.

{This time the teacher uses the titles of the Imams so that it is easier for the children to memorize. For example, they will just write Imam Sajjad (AS)}


Main Source: Mohammad Foundation


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