This article discusses the concept of Imamat in the Qur’an. In a general sense, the Imamat refers to divinely-appointed leadership in religious matters in a hereditary line of descent from the family of the Prophet. The word imam in Arabic is derived from the Arabic root ammama, which means “to come before”, from which the words umm (mother) and ummah (community) are derived. The meaning of the word imam is “leader”, “guide”, “example”, “model”, or “path” and appears 12 times in the Qur’an. The general meaning of imam is “leader” or “guide” in the sense of the one who comes before the people and leads them. Sometimes the word imam can mean “book” if the said book performs the function of guidance or leadership.
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