Lesson 12: Twelve Caring Imams (Imamah – Part 1)

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



The "Usool ad-Deen" course has been put together by volunteer experts and teachers in the Mohammad (PBUH) Scientific and Cultural Foundation Center for Kids and Teens (Khaane Koodak va Nojavan in Farsi). This course is appropriate for children between the ages of 8 to 12. It aims to make students familiar with the basics of Shia Islam, including beliefs and doctrine...


Lesson 12: Twelve Caring Imams
(Imamah – Part 1)

Written by: Zahra Moradi

Translated by: Ali Mansouri

Edited by: Marzie Salehi


Note to Instructor: 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 called Ahmed (PBUH). In every era, each prophet would speak of the goodness and virtues of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and ask his people to promise to love him and listen to him if they lived during his lifetime.

Finally, the last prophet, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) came to a people who neither knew God, nor knew how to behave with each other or treat strangers. They did not appreciate cleanness and sanitation even for their eating habits. Those people had completely lost the right path of life and did not even demonstrate mercy towards their own children. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) reminded them of the monotheistic teachings of previous prophets such as Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus (AS). He completed the revelation of faith, friendship, and justice, and introduced the way of living for all eras. 

But what happened after the Prophet? Did the kind God who sent 124,000 prophets since the time of Prophet Adam (AS) so that the people 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 the people alone without guidance after the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Instead, He has picked twelve individuals who have been His best, the most kindhearted, the wisest, and most lovable servants as Imams (meaning true leaders) and successors to the Prophet. Similar to prophets, the Imams must have some specific characteristics:

-    First: They must be appointed directly by Allah.

-    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, told people of the twelve Imams who will demonstrate the right path to people after him. He explained that the Imams have been appointed by God for guardianship of the people so humanity would not deviate from the right path. Thus, whoever acts badly towards them and does not listen to their advice is like someone that stands against the goodness and God. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) gave information about each Imam to the people, such as their names and order, to help people identify the Imams.


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-Ridha (AS)

-    Ninth: Imam Muhammad, at-Taqi (AS)

-    Tenth: Imam Ali, al-Naqi/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 Ridha (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, 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 just as our caring

Prophet advised his followers to do. 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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