noun, often capitalized
\ i-ˈmäm How to pronounce imam (audio) , ē-, -ˈmam How to pronounce imam (audio) \

Definition of imam

1 : the prayer leader of a mosque
2 : a Muslim leader of the line of Ali held by Shiites to be the divinely appointed, sinless, infallible successors of Muhammad
3 : any of various rulers that claim descent from Muhammad and exercise spiritual and temporal leadership over a Muslim region

Examples of imam in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Ahmad Shqeirat, who formerly served as the imam of Islamic Community Center of Tempe, wrote a paper about environmental ethics in Islam. Zayna Syed, The Arizona Republic, 26 Dec. 2021 Walid, who was serving as an imam, and other religious leaders, started a round-the-clock security watch for Masjid Wali Muhammed, a historic mosque in Detroit., 9 Sep. 2021 The warden denied Ray’s request to have his imam by his side on January 23, 2019. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 10 Nov. 2021 In 2019, for instance, the court allowed by a 5-to-4 vote the execution of an Alabama inmate, Domineque Ray, a Muslim whose request that his imam be present had been denied. Adam Liptak, New York Times, 9 Nov. 2021 Abbas still serves as an imam at a mosque outside Tiberias, where his Friday sermons regularly attract some two hundred worshippers. Ruth Margalit, The New Yorker, 25 Oct. 2021 Thumairy was a representative of the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Islamic Affairs and also served as an imam at the King Fahad Mosque. San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Sep. 2021 Shuaib Din was serving as imam at the Khadeeja Islamic Center in West Valley City when planes hit the twin towers and the Pentagon. The Salt Lake Tribune, 10 Sep. 2021 Ray sought to have an imam of his own faith present instead. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 10 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'imam.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of imam

1613, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for imam

Arabic imām

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Last Updated

10 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Imam.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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English Language Learners Definition of imam

: a Muslim religious leader

More from Merriam-Webster on imam

Britannica English: Translation of imam for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about imam


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