Imams used to refer to our political rulers... now it is reduced to a secular old man who leads our collective prayers in state controlled mosqued...
Abu Bakr went to a lady from the Ahmas tribe called Zainab bint Al-Muhajir... She said, "How long shall we enjoy this good order (i.e. Islamic religion) which Allah has brought after the period of ignorance?"
He said, "You will enjoy it as long as your Imams keep on abiding by its rules and regulations."
She asked, "What are the Imams?"
He said, "Were there not heads and chiefs of your nation who used to order the people and they used to obey them?"
She said, "Yes." He said, "So they (i.e. the Imams) are those whom I meant."(Bukhari)
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