The Qualities of the Imam (A.S.)
Source: Ain-al-Hayat, By: Allama Muhammad Baqir Majlisi
Since the commoners depend on the norms of the Faith and the Society, it is essential that the Imam (as) must be fully versed with the Knowledge of the laws and jurisprudence. He should have full knowledge of the Mohkam (Firm), the Mutashabeh (Ambiguous), the Mujmi (Abstract), the Mufassil (Detailed), the Nasiq (Current) and the Mansooq (Void) verses of the Holy Qur’an. He has to be an erudite scholar of the Traditions of the Holy Prophet (S) and well versed in all branches of knowledge and learning. The Imam (as) has to possess exemplary bravery that he is capable of confronting the enemies of the Faith. The Imam (as) should be superior in learning to all his followers because it is undesirable that the students have knowledge superior to the mentor and the ignorant better informed than the scholar. Allah, therefore, says in the Holy Qur’an: “Whatever you wish to know, ask of the possessors of Knowledge.” (16:43)
This is the reason why Allah made Adam (as) superior to the Angels in knowledge and asked them to prostrate before him. About knowledge Allah poses a question in the Holy Qur’an: “Are the learned and the ignorant equal?” (39:9)
It is also imperative that the Imam has to be the guide, the mentor, superior and perfect in knowledge to show the Right Path to the mamoom (the follower). The Imam is the Vicegerent of the Prophet and his successor. Therefore the task of the Imam, as that of the Prophet, is to Guide his Umma (the Flock). If the Imam is imperfect in Knowledge, then the predicament of the flock can well be imagined!
Imam Ar-Ridha’ (as) says that there are certain characteristics by which an Imam is recognized:
• He should be the wisest of his time.
• He should be most pious.
• He should be most suave and forbearing.
• There should be none equal in bravery and generosity to him.
• He must be the most committed to the Prayer of Allah.
• He is born naturally circumcised.
• He is born totally clean.
• He has the faculty to see in his back without turning his eyes backwards.
• His shadow is not cast on the ground.
• At birth, he puts his hands on the ground and recites the Witness: La ilaha il Allah Mohammadur Rasool Allah.
• He doesn’t get night-dreams (Ehtelam)
• Although his eyes sleep, the eyes of his heart are always awake.
• He gets informed of the future events through his dreams.
• The angels converse with him.
• The chain armor of the Prophet would fit him like a glove.
• None would have seen his feces.
• His body would radiate a fragrance better than that of musk.
• People would be willing to lay down their lives for him.
• He will be more affectionate towards the Mu’mins than their own parents.
• He will be most generous and kind.
• He always sets examples for his followers.
• Whatever he asks his followers not to do, he himself abstains to do.
• His prayer is so effective that if he wishes, stones would shatter to smithereens in a moment.
• All the arms of the Prophet would be in his possession.
• He will be the carrier of the Twin-Edged Sword, the Dhual Fiqar.
• He will possess a document on which the names of his friends and foes are recorded.
• He will be the exponent of Jafr al-Akbar and Jafr al-Asghar that have record of all the events past, present and future.
• He will have with him the Sahifa al-Fatima.
• He will possess Ilm al-Laddunni, that is, he will not need a mentor or tutor to teach him.
Kulaini narrates that Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (as) has enumerated the characteristics of the Imam: The Imam is pure from birth and is born naturally circumcised.
Immediately after birth, the Imam would put both his hands on the ground and loudly utter the Witness that there is no god, but Allah, and Muhammad (S) is his Prophet.
• The Imam will not have wet dreams.
• The eyes-of- the-heart of the Imam never go to sleep.
• The Imam never yawns.
• The Imam can see things at his back as well as the things in his front without requiring to turn his face backwards.
• The Prophet’s Armor of Chain fits the Imams exactly.
• The Imams converse with the Angels.