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

Image When an imam and his assistant were gunned down on a Queens street two summers ago, investigators and members of the largely Bangladeshi Muslim community who followed the spiritual leaders were left grasping for answers. New York Times, "Imam’s Killer Is Sentenced, but Motive Remains a Mystery," 6 June 2018 Lawyers for Abdi, an imam and U.S. citizen, said the screening is more than an inconvenience. Washington Post, "Judge tosses lawsuit by Utah imam involving no-fly listing," 24 Apr. 2018 Alabama offered no concrete evidence of any security issues related to having an imam inside the room where Ray was executed. Luke Goodrich, WSJ, "The Supreme Court Isn’t Anti-Muslim," 12 Feb. 2019 Two imams are already facing immediate deportation. Bojan Pancevski, WSJ, "Austria to Close Mosques, Expel Imams in Crackdown on Political Islam," 8 June 2018 The lawsuit also said Ajaj went months without being visited by an imam, a term for an Islamic religious leader, contracted to counsel prisoners at the Colorado facility. Kathleen Foody, The Seattle Times, "1993 World Trade Center bomber sues over prison faith rights," 28 Aug. 2018 But the imam who works with Muslim inmates in the program belongs to another denomination of the faith. Kathleen Foody, The Seattle Times, "1993 World Trade Center bomber sues over prison faith rights," 28 Aug. 2018 At the Al-Manaar mosque, imams lacked training to deal with traumatised people, so the mosque brought in counsellors used to dealing with Muslim clients, says Abdurahman Sayed, head of the trust that runs the mosque. The Economist, "Grenfell’s long shadow," 9 June 2018 The center was bombed just before morning prayers when the attackers broke a window to the imam’s office and threw a pipe bomb containing black powder inside, sparking a fire that caused extensive damage. David Crary, The Seattle Times, "Bomb scare rattles those touched by past political violence," 27 Oct. 2018

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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Statistics for imam

Last Updated

6 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for imam

The first known use of imam was in 1613

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English Language Learners Definition of imam

: a Muslim religious leader

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with imam

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

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