In the Name of God; the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
We – the Shia Muslims- always consider Imam Ali (a.s) our Imam and claim that we are his followers. Thus, we are celebrating his birth this evening.
The question is, is there any criteria to be met by which we can hope that we are following Imam Ali (a.s) and that he is our Imam, or is it just enough to say we are born Shia and love him, irrespective of any similarities between our lifestyle and that of his? There is a sheikh who leads the congregational prayer in a certain mosque that I never go to. Can I claim that he is my imam of Jama`at although I never stay behind him in praying?!
This lecture aims at introducing some of the main characteristics of Imam Ali (a.s). As we will see after the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.w) he enjoyed the highest of those virtues and hence is he indeed the Imam and the unique leading figure of those personalities. He is on the high peak of the Right Path and is the Imam and leader only of those who are on the same path even on a very low level. Only those who look at the lifestyle of Imam Ali (a.s) and attempt at getting closer to him in practice can really and truly claim that they regard him as their Imam.
Before introducing the characteristics of Imam Ali (a.s) I shall share with you the meaning of ‘Imam` and why do the Shia follow Imam Ali (a.s).