The 14 fallibles

Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) 1st Infallible:

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the son of Abdullah and his mother was Aminah bint wahab. He was born in Mecca on the 17th of Rabih Al-awal in the Year of the Elephant. His titles were Al-mustafa, Al-nabi, Abul-Qasim, and Rassoul Allah. Prophet Muhammad had many children, but they all died in infancy and early childhood except his daughter Fatima. Prophet Muhammad is the founder of the great religion of Islam, meaning submitting oneself to Allah. The adherent of Islam is usually designated by the term “Muslim”. The faith is simple, practical, and useful for every day life. It commands to believe and do good, keep up prayer, and pay the poor rate. At the time, the Arabs of Arabia believed in idols and worshipped these idols for various reasons. The Aristocrats of Arabia also worked with these idols, since this was the flourishing business at the time. So, the controversial call of the Prophet Muhammad’s emergence was “There is no God but Allah(God)”, which sparked fights and hatred towards the Prophet. After ten years of hard work and preaching, in spite of all persecution, the religion produced over a 100 followers. Physical cruelties and social boycott made life unbearable in Mecca for the Muslims. Thus, the Holy Prophet of Islam advised some of his followers to seek refuge in the neighboring country of Ethiopia. However, after the death of Abu Talib (the uncle of the Prophet and father of Imam Ali) the Meccans were planning an assassination plot against the Prophet. Thus, he escaped to Madina were he was welcomed with chants and celebrations. He laid out the government of Islam in Madina and established himself in that city. However, he started to receive threats and hatred from neighboring tribes and cities, and thus, had to defend the religion of Islam is many wars. Contrary to popular belief, the Prophet Muhammad never initiated a war, in all the years he was in control. All the wars he fought were defensive not offensive, and the books of history prove so. The Prophet lived a life full of happiness and upset, yet he never stopped preaching the religion of Islam. However, during the Prophet’s hajj pilgrimage, he laid down the foundation of what will come next when the time comes for his departure from this world. On his way back from Mecca, he stopped in a place called Ghadir Khumm, where he gave a sermon reminding the muslims of their duties towards themselves and God. In this sermon, he appointed Imam Ali as his successor, who was his cousin and son in law at the time. This laid the foundation for the critical moments of history that followed the Prophets death. In the year 11 AH (this means after the Hijrah of the Prophet from Mecca to Madina; this is how the muslim calender is depicted in years) at the age of 63, the Prophet Muhammad took his last precious breath in his home, adjoining the mosque of Madina. He now has a shrine in Madina that millions of Muslims visit every year.

Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.)
2nd Infallible:

The first Imam of the Muslims was Imam Ali (a.s.), born on the 13th of Rajab, 30 years after the Year of the Elephant in Mecca, inside the Holy Kaabah. His father was Abu Talib and his mother was Fatimah Bint Asad. His nicknames were Abu Turab, Abul Hasan (Father of Hasan, his oldest son), and Abu Riyhanatayn (Father of the two flowers, Al-Hasan and Al-Hussain). His titles were Amir Al-Mu’minin (Prince of Believers), Sayyidul Muslimin (Leader of the Muslims), and Imamul Muttaqin. Imam Ali (a.s.) is the most prominent Imam to the Shia’s, since he is seen as the initiator of the Shia school of thought. Both Shia and Sunni literature state that Imam Ali (a.s.) was one of the biggest supporters of the Prophet from the early days of Islam; however, the Shia extend that support until after the Prophet’s demise, and view Imam Ali’s role continued as the rightly appointed Caliph of the Muslim World. Imam Ali spent all of his time with the Prophet Muhammad, from his early childhood until the last day the Prophet was alive on this earth. Imam Ali is well known for his courage and bravery in battles, in his kindness and charity towards the orphans and the needy, but also as a loving father and husband to his family. The Prophet Muahmmad (p.b.u.h.) has famously quoted: “The religion of Islam would not have sustained itself if it not were not for the sword of Ali and the wealth of Khadija”. Imam Ali (a.s.) was hit by Ibn Muljam Muradi while performing the Morning Prayer on 19th of Ramadan and was martyred on the 21st of Ramadan at the age of 63. His holy body was buried outside Kufah (now called Najaf).

Sayeda Fatimah Al-Zahraa
3rd Infallible:

Fatimah Al-Zahraa was the only living daughter of Prophet Muhamamd and Khadija bint Khuwaylid. She was born on the 20th of Jumamada Al-Thani in the 5th year after the declaration of the Prophethood (615 A.D.). Her nicknames were Umm-Al-Aimmah (Mother of the Imams), Al-Batoul, and Al-Zahraa. Fatima was the first wife of Imam Ali, and the mother of the following two Imams: Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain. She also had another two daughters with Imam Ali whose names are Zainab and Um-Kulthum. Fatima was known for her elegance, generosity, and wisdom, inheriting all of the incredible qualities from her mother and father. She was known to teach the Quran and live by them, as well as supporting the orphans and needy of the community with her property called Fadak. Fatima Al-Zahraa did not survive more than seventy-five days after the demise of her father. She breathed her last breath on the 14th Jumdi’1-ula in 11 AH. Before her demise, she said the following as herwilltoImam`Ali:
  1. O Ali, you will personally perform my funeral rites.
  2. Those who have displeased me should not be allowed to attend my funeral.
  3. My corpse should be carried to the graveyard at night. Fatimah died in the prime of her life at the age of eighteen, and was buried in Jannatu’l-Baqi’, Medina. Her grave is not known to the world, and is still kept hidden until this day.

Imam Al-Hasan Ibn Ali (a.s.)
4th Infallible:

Imam Hasan (a.s.) was born on the 15th of Ramadan in the third year after Hijrah in Madina. His father was Imam ali ibn abi Talib and his mother was Fatima Al-Zahraa, the Prophet Muhammad’s daughter. His nicknames are Abu Muhammad and his titles were Al-Taqi, Al-Tayyib, Sayyid, and Al-Wali. Imam Hassan lived seven years alongside the Prophet Muhammad and cherished every moment he had with his grandfather. However, after the demise of his grandfather and father, Imam Hassan was appointed the Caliphate from his father at the age of 37, which only lasted 6 months and 3 days. The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) stated about Haesan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.), “My two sons will be Imams, whether they rise for occupying Imamate position or not. Imam Al-Hassan (a.s.) was known to be very generous and give all of what he had in charity, an attribute he inherited from his father, Imam Ali (a.s.). It is narrated that Imam Hassan (a.s.) granted his whole wealth twice in his lifetime in Allah’s path. He also divided his property with the poor three times, granting half his wealth to the poor altogether, including his own shoes. Imam Al-Hassan was martyred on 28th of Safar in the year 50 A.H. and his gravesite is in Janatul Baqi cemetery in Medina. It is recorded that Mu’awiyah sent one hundred thousand dirhams for Judah, Imam Hassan’s (a.s.) wife, to poison the Imam (a.s.). Muawiyah had promised Judah to marry her with his son, Yazid, and she poisoned Imam Hasan (a.s.) in order to do so. However, it is interesting to note that after she killed Imam Hassan (a.s.), Muawiyah refused to marry her off to his son because “she could not be trusted.”

Imam Hussain ibn Ali (a.s.)
5th Infallible:

Imam Hussain (a.s.) was born on the third of Sha’ban in the fourth year A.H. in Medina. His father was Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and his mother was Fatimah (s.a.), Prophet Muhammad’s (a.s.) daughter. His nickname was Abu ‘Abdullah and his most famous titles were Tayyib, Sayyid, Wafi, and Mubarak. Imam Hussain is one of the most well-known Imams in Shia Islam due to his stance against the evil caliph of his time, Yazid son of Muawiyah. Yazid ordered the Imam to pay allegiance to him, and when the Imam and his family refused to do so, Yazid demanded the persecution of the Imam Hussain. Thus, the Imam left Mecca to find sanctuary in a few other cities, yet they all did not grant him peace and stability. He and his family ended up making their way to Karbala, Iraq where Yazid’s army created a brigade around Hussain and his family, blocking them from leaving. They were also blocked from all access to water and food, and eventually killed by the army of Yazid. The Battle of Karbala is one that is commemorated yearly across the globe with many lessons derived from such a historical stance. The famous Mahatma Ghandi is quoted to have said: “I learned from Hussain how to achieve victory while being oppressed”. Furthermore, in the year 61 A.H. at the age of 57, Imam Hussain is murdered in Karbala and currently buried there, alongside the family members and companions who sacrificed their lives for justice.

Imam Ali ibn Hussain (a.s.)
6th Infallible:

Imam Ali is the son of Imam Hussain (a.s.). His mother is Sharabanu, daughter of Yazdeger III, the King of Persia. He was born in Medina on the 15th of Jumadi-Ula, 36 A.H. His titles were Abu-Muhammad, Al-Sajjad, and most famously, Zayne Al-Abideen. Imam Ali ibn Hussain was known after his death for his charity which was unassuming and hidden. After his passing away, the people said that hidden charity ended with the departure of this Holy Imam. Like his grandfather Ali ibn Abi Talib, Imam Ali ibn Hussain used to carry bags of flour and bread for the poor and needy families in Medina, and he maintained hundred of poor families in the city. He was also very well-known for the insightful prayers and supplications that he left behind for his people, as well as his book “The Treatise of Rights”. Imam Ali ibn Hussain was present at the Battle of Karbala but was not able to fight alongside his father due to a great illness that befell him at the time. He remembered and wept for his father every time he saw food and water, since Imam Hussain is famously known to have died hungry and thirsty. On the 25th of Muharram 95 AH when he was in Medina, Al-Walid ibn Abdil-Malik (the current ruler at the time), murdered the Imam Hussain ibn Ali by poison when he was 58 years old. The funeral prayers for this Holy Imam were conducted by his son, the Fifth Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir and his body was laid to rest in the cemetery of Jannatul Baqi’ in Medina.

Imam Muhammad ibn Ali,
7th Infallible:

Imam Muhammad is the son of Imam Ali ibn Hussain, his mother being Fatimah bint Al-Hassan ibn Ali. Thus, he is the only Imam who is directly connected to Fatima Al-Zahraa from his paternal and maternal side. His most popular title is Al-Baqir for he disclosed secrets of knowledge, wisdom, and principles of spiritual and religious guidance. The title “Al-Baqir” literally means the expander of knowledge, and it is truly a title fit for its beholder. The Holy Imam was one of the few Imams able to collect the teachings and reforms of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and his Ahlul-Bayte into books. His pupils compiled his books on different branches of science and arts under his instruction and guidance. Imam Muhammad al-Baqir continued his preaching peacefully till 114 A.H. On the 7th Dhul-hijjah when he was 57 years old, Hisham ibn `Abdil-Malik, the ruler, got him murdered through poison. The funeral prayers for this Holy Imam were conducted by his son Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq, the Six Imam, and his body was laid to rest in Jannatul-Baqi’ in Medina.

conducted by his son Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq, the Six Imam, and his body was laid to rest in Jannatul-Baqi’ in Medina.

Imam Jaafar Ibn Muhammad
8th Infallible:

Imam Jaafar is the son of Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir and Umm Farwah. He was born on the 17th of Rabi Al-awal 83 A.H. in the holy city of Madina. His famous titles were Al-Sadiq, Al-Fadl, and Al-Tahir. Imam Jaafar was brought up by his grandfather, Imam Ali ibn Hussain (4th Imam) for a period of 12 years and then remained in the patronage of his father Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir for 19 years. The period of his Imamate coincided with the most revolutionary and eventful era of Islamic history, which saw the downfall of the Umayyad Empire and the rise of the Abbasid caliphate. It was due to the political strife between two groups, (the Umayyads and `Abbasids) for power which left the Imam undisturbed to carry out his devotional duties and spread the teachings of the Holy Prophet. His disciples compiled hundreds of books on various branches of science and arts. Other than fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), hadith (tradition), tafsir (exegesis of the Holy Qur’an), the Holy Imam also imparted mathematics and chemistry to some of his disciples. Jabir ibn Hayyan at-Tusi, a famous scholar of mathematics, was one of the Imam’s disciples who benefited from the Imam’s knowledge and guidance and was able to write 400 books on different subjects. However, on 25th Shawwal 148 AH, the governor of Medina (by the order of Al-Mansur), killed the Imam through poison. The funeral prayer was conducted by his son Imam Musa Al-Kazim, the Seventh Imam, and his body was laid to rest in the cemetery of Jannatul-Baqi’.

Imam Musa Ibn Jaafar,
9th Infallible:

Imam Musa is the son of Imam Jaafar Al-Sadiq and Hamidah Al-Barbariyyah. He was born in the city of Ibwa (in between Mecca and Madina) on the 7th of Safar 128 A.H. His famous title is Al-Kazim and Al-Abed Al-Salih. Generosity was synonymous with his name and no beggar ever returned from his door empty handed. The Imam spent 20 years under the patronage of his father. He was known to be fully verses with Divine Knowledge, and was enlightened by the guidance and education from his father, Imam Jaafar Al-Sadiq. Imam Musa al-Kazim lived under the most crucial times in the regimes of the Abbasid kings who were marked for their tyrannical and cruel administration. He witnessed the reigns of Al-Mansur Ad-Dawaniqi, Al-Mahdi and Harun Al-Rashid. At the age of 42, the Imam was imprisoned for the greatest portion of his life and was poisoned by Harun Al-Rashid 13 years later. He passed away on the 25th of Rajab 183 AH at the age of 55 in the city of Baghdad.

Imam Ali ibn Musa,
10th Infallible:

Imam Ali was the son of Imam Musa Al-Kathim and Umm Al-Banin Najmah. He was born in Medina on the 11th of Dhul-Hijjah in 148 AH. His titles were Al-Rida and Abul-Hassan. Imam Ali Al-Rida was brought up under the guidance of his father for 35 years. His insight in religious matters combined with the excellent training and education given by his father made him unique in his spiritual leadership. Imam Al-Rida had the great task before him of coming out with the correct interpretation of the Holy Qur’an; especially under the most unfavorable circumstances under the government of Harun Al-Rashid. Imam Al-Rida was a popular Imam, since many devoted followers showed great amounts of love, loyalty, and respect towards him. Al-Mamun (the Abbasid King preceding Harun Al-Rashid) was conscious of the fact that he would not survive for long if he did not express his loyalty to the great leader. Thus, he summoned (in a compelling way) Imam Ali Al-Rida to his royal court, pretended to give respect and consideration towards the Imam. He asked the Imam on multiple occasions to take over the Caliphate but the Imam refused, knowing that they wanted to control the Muslim Ummah through him. However, after a final summoning and offering of the Caliphate, Al-Mumun ordered the Imam accept his offer or else he will be executed, and so the Imam laid out the following grounds: “I will agree to what you want of me as far as succession is concerned on condition that I do not command, nor order, nor give legal decisions, nor judge, nor appoint, nor dismiss, nor change anything from how it is at present.” Surprisingly, Al-Mamun agreed to the said points. One of the most important points to discuss is how Imam Al-Rida used the so-called “caliphate” to worship, serve the people, and initiate the Majalis of Imam Hussain and his tragedy of Karbala. He laid out of the grounds of poetry, lamenting, and discussing the tragedy for all those to learn. With this, Al-Mamun grew worrisome of the growing popularity of the Imam and decided he wanted to get rid of him. After inviting him for dinner, Al-Mamun poisoned the Imam with grapes, and thus, he took his last breath on the 17th of Safar 203 AH. He was buried in Tus (Mashad) and his grand shrine speaks well for his great personality.

Imam Muhammad ibn Ali,
11th Infallible:

Imam Muhammad was the son of Imam Ali Al-Rida and Sabika. He was born on the 10th of Rajab in 195 AH. His titles were Al-Jawad, Al-Taqi and Abu Jaafar. Imam Muhammad al-Jawad was brought up by his Holy father Imam `Ali Al-Rida for four years. Under the forced circumstances of Imam Ali Al-Rida having to migrate from Medina to Khurasan (Iran), he left his son behind him. The Imam was fully aware of the treacherous character of the ruling king and was sure that he would not return to Madina. So before his departure, he declared his son Muhammad Al-Jawad as his successor. Furthermore, he imparted to him all of his Divine knowledge and spiritual genius. The span of the life of Imam Muhammad Al-Jawad was shorter than that of his predecessors as well as his successors. He became Imam at the age of eight, and was poisoned at the age of 25; yet his literary attainments were many and he commanded great respect and esteem. The most outstanding phases of his nature and character were to show hospitality and courtesy to all without discrimination. Furthermore, to help the needy and observe equality under all circumstances, to live a simple life; to help the orphans, the poor and the homeless; to impart learning to those interested in the acquisition of knowledge, and to guide the people to the right path. After the death of Al-Mamun, Al-Mutasim ascended the throne, getting the opportunity to persecute the Imam and to ventilate his hatred towards him. Upon the Imam’s arrival in Baghdad on 9th Muharram 220 AH, Al-Mutasim got him poisoned at the young age of 25. He died on 29th Dhi’l qi’dah 220 AH and was buried beside his grandfather, Imam Musa al-Kazim the Seventh Imam, in al-Kazimiyyah, in the suburb of Baghdad (Iraq).

Imam Ali ibn Muhammad,
12th Infallible:

Imam Ali was the son of Imam Muhammad Al-Jawad and Sumanah. He was born in the outskirts of Medina on the 2nd of Rajab in 212 AH. His titles were Al-Hadi, Al-Naqi, and Abul Hassan. The Holy Imam devoted himself to the sacred mission of preaching in Medina, thus earning the faith of the people as well as their allegiance. This reputation of the Imam evoked jealousy of Al-Mutawakkil against him. Being too occupied in State affairs, Al-Mutawakkil( the Abbasid Caliph of the time) did not get any time to harass the Imam and his followers for four years. The governor of Medina wrote to Al-Mutawakkil that Imam Ali Al-Hadi had been maneuvering a coup against the government and a multitude of Shias were pledged to his support. Although enraged by this news, Al-Mutawakkil still preferred the diplomacy of not arresting the Holy Imam. Under the garb of pretended respect and love, he planned to put him under life imprisonment after inviting him to his palace. Al-Mutaz (The King preceding Al-Mutawakil), understanding the uncontrollable and intense devotion of the people towards the Imam, eventually conspired the Imam’s assassination. He got him poisoned through an ambassador which resulted in the Imam’s death within a few hours. The murder occurred on 26th Jumada’th-thani 254 AH, and his funeral prayer was conducted by his son, Imam Hasan Al-Askari. The Imam was only 42 years old at the time of death. The period of his Imamate was 35 and was also buried in Samarra’, Iraq.

Imam Hassan ibn Ali,
13th Infallible:

Imam Hassan was the son of Ali Al-Hadi and Haditha. He was born in Madina on the 8th of Rabi Al-Thani in 232 AH. His titles were Al-Askari and Abu Muhammad. The Imam lived alongside his father for 22 years and took the Caliphate after his death. During this time, restrictions were placed on him, thus he spent the majority of his seven years as the Imam in hiding. He did not have social contact with even the most common Shia population of his time. Only the elite of the Shia were able to see him. Even so, he spent most of his time in prison. There was extreme repression at that time because the Shia population had reached a great level in both numbers and power. Everyone knew that the Shia believed in Imamate, and the identity of the Shia Imams was also known. Therefore, the caliphate kept the Imams under its closest supervision. It tried to remove and destroy them through many secret plans. Also, the caliphate had come to know that the elite among the Shia believed that the 11th Imam (according to traditions cited by him as well as his forefathers), would have a son who was the promised Mahdi (or Messiah). The coming of the Mahdi had been foretold in authenticated hadith of the Prophet in both Sunni and Shia sources. For this reason, the 11th Imam was kept under close watch by the caliphate, more so then any other Imam. The caliph of the time had decided to put an end to the Imamate in Shiaism through any possible means. The Imam died at the young age of 28, after being poisoned by the Abbasid ruler Al-Mutamid. He was buried in Samarra alongside his father.

Imam Muhammad ibn Al-Hassan,
14th Infallible:

Imam Muhammad is the son of Imam Hassan Al-Askari and Narjis. His titles are Al-Mahdi (The Messiah), Al-Hujjah (The proof of God), Al-Ghaib (The one not present physically) and Abu-Al-Qasim. He was born in Samarra’ in 255 AH and until 260 AH when his father was martyred, lived under his father’s care. He was hidden from public view and only a few of the elite among the Shi’ah were able to meet him. After the death of his father, he became Imam and by Divine Command went into Occultation (ghaybah). Thereafter, he appeared only to his deputies and even then only in exceptional circumstances. Imam Muhammad Al- Mahdi is the Imam still living amongst us today in Occultation. He will reappear in the end of times in order to bring peace and harmony in the world after it was been filled with evil and injustice. Imam Al-Mahdi was prophesized by the Holy Prophet himself as well as by all the 11 Imams that preceded him, outlining his great stance and noble character. It is most famously stated that Jesus Christ will actually return back to Earth to fight alongside Imam Al-Mahdi, and bridge the Christians and Muslims together. He is the savior that the Shia and Sunni sects believe will save the world.