Characteristics of a True Imam (peace be upon him)

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عَنْ سُلَيْمَانَ بْنِ مِهْرَانَ عَنْ اَبِي عَبْدِ اللهِؑ قَالَ عَشْرُ خِصَالٍ مِنْ صِفَاتِ الْاِمَامِ الْعِصْمَةُ وَ النُّصُوصُ وَ اَنْ يَكُونَ اَعْلَمَ النَّاسِ وَ اَتْقَاهُمْ لِلهِ وَ اَعْلَمَهُمْ بِكِتَابِ اللهِ وَ اَنْ يَكُونَ صَاحِبَ الْوَصِيَّةِ الظَّاهِرَةِ وَ يَكُونَ لَهُ الْمُعْجِزُ وَ الدَّلِيلُ وَ تَنَامُ عَيْنُهُ وَ لَا يَنَامُ قَلْبُهُ وَ لَا يَكُونُ لَهُ فَيْ‏ءٌ وَ يَرَى مِنْ خَلْفِهِ كَمَا يَرَى مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ

Sulaiman Ibn Mehraan al-A’mash (r.a.) reports that Imam Abu Abdillah (al-Sadeq a.s.) said, “There are ten characteristics from the attributes of an Imam.

  1. Infallibility,
  2. Documentary evidence (نصوص) from the previous divine emissary,
  3. He should be the most knowledgeable of the people,
  4. Most fearful of Allah among the people,
  5. Most knowledgeable of the Book of Allah,
  6. He should possess the apparent will,
  7. He should possess miracles and proofs,
  8. While his eyes sleep, his heart does not sleep,
  9. Left overs of war are not for him, and
  10. He sees what is behind him like he sees what is in front of him.”


  1. Infallibility of an Imam is absolute and includes protection from sins, forgetfulness, etc. and from his birth till death. 
  2. Documentary evidence is indicative of Imam and not an internal trait like infallibility. An orange will be orange whether you accept it or not or you call it with any other name. 
  3. Will has to be apparent. If it is secretive, it will not serve any purpose.


1.    Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 25, p. 140, H. 13

2.    al-Khesaal, vol. 2, p. 428, H. 5

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