The word Imama, from its Arabic root I-m-m (lit: leader, to be in front of), is normally used for the ‘supreme leadership’ of the Muslim community after the death of Prophet Muhammad (SAWS). 
According to the Islamic concept of Divine Guidance and Mediation, man is created in the best form and is given intellect. This is attested to in the Qur’anic verse (95:4), “Surely we created Man of best stature.” This, however, does not mean that he is infallible, perfect. As a matter of fact, in spite of his rationality he has all the possibilities of going astray and being misled. Thus, to save Man from wandering away and falling into error, Divine guidance takes place through Prophets and Messengers who are entrusted with the dual role to guide the believers in their material and also in their spiritual lives by making them aware of the deeper meaning and purposes of life. In other words, they guide the believers to something beyond the transitory and changing phenomena of the material world, that is to something permanent and immutable. Through them, the direct experience of the Truth is made possible.
Read complete article at Simerg.com