Knowing the Imam is an encyclopaedic work consisting of 18 volumes, which covers almost all aspects of the Imamate in Twelver Shi ism, from the historical to the theological, and the philosophical to the mystical. It began life as a series of lessons before being transcribed. In volume 1, the author discusses the importance of knowing the concept of the Imamate, and the teachings and lives of the twelve Imams and their role in human life. He demonstrates how failure to acquaint oneself with the Imams distorts one s potential and leads to error and bondage in the putrefaction of materialism and desire. The present volume covers various issues that include the need for the existence of an infallible Imam, what infallibility truly means, the ontological precedence (wil yah takw niyyah) of the Imamate, and various conditions and matters pertaining to the Imamate and Imam Ali s superiority. It then moves on to an exegesis of the Quranic verse concerning those among you who are in authority.
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