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Hidden Imam

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Hidden Imam

    Twelver Shii doctrine holds that the twelfth imam (in this usage meaning a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad through his cousin Ali and his daughter Fatimah ) did not die but went into a spiritual form of existence known as occultation, and will return at the end of time as a messianic Mahdi to restore justice and equity on earth. The twentieth-century interpretation of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran holds that, in the meantime, the position of ruler of state should be filled by the most learned faqih (jurist) as the imam's representative, a position Khomeini held until his death. Musa al-Sadr of Lebanon is also identified with the Hidden Imam since he mysteriously disappeared on a trip to Libya while serving as leader of Lebanon's Shii community.

    See also Shii Islam

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