Literally: A master. A lord. A prince.
As an Islamic term: An Islamic chief or leader. A descendant from Muhammad (asm) especially through Husayn (ra), the younger grandson of the prophet. Any descendant of Muhammad (asm) eminently distinguished for virtue and ‘ilm, who follows his way.
This name is also given to Ar-Rasûl Al-Akram ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm due to his being Imam, chief, and leader of mankind.
Yes, look to the ma’nawî collective personality of that proof: The face of the earth is a masjîd, Mecca a mihrab1 and Medina a minbar2 . Our Prophet ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm, who is the evident proof, is Imam to all the people of îmân, preacher to all mankind, chief of all the prophets, sayyid of all the awliyâ, the leader of the dhâkirs of a circle of the dhikr compounded from all the prophets and awliyâ. He is such a luminous tree, which all the prophets are its living roots and all the awliyâ are its fresh fruits that all the prophets, who rely on their miracles, and all the awliyâ, who rely on their karâmât, confirm and sign each of his claims. For he says and claimsلاَ اِلهَ اِلاَّ اللّٰهُ . All the left and right, that is to say, those luminous dhâkirs lined up in the past and the future, repeating the same word, through the consensus (ijmâ’), in a ma’nawî manner say: "صدقتَ و بالحق نطقت "3 Which wahm would dare to meddle in a claim corroborated by the countless signatures such as these?
The Nineteenth Word-1st Droplet
Did anyone ever appear in ‘âlam more worthy and more in possession of the above-mentioned qualities and duties than Muhammad the Arabian ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm? Has time ever shown us one most worthy and most conformable to the rank of messengerhood and the duty of tablîgh? No, by no means! Indeed he is the Sayyid of all Rasûls, the Imam of all Prophets, the leader of all asfiyâ, the closest to Allah of all those who have drawn nigh unto Him, the most perfect of all creatures, the sultân of all murshids.
Quite apart from the countless indications of his nubuwwah deriving from more than a thousand miracles, such as the splitting of the moon and the flowing of water from his fingers, that all the people of tahqîq unanimously confirm, the supreme miracle of the Glorious Qur'an -an ocean of haqiqah and a book miraculous in forty different respects- is itself enough to demonstrate his prophethood as clearly as the sun.
The Words ( 73 )
2 (The platform in the mosque from which an Imam addresses the congregation and delivers sermons (khutbah), and is located to the right of the mihrab.)