Answered by Shaykh Gibril Haddad
Question: I often refer to ’Alī b. Abī Ṭālib as Imām ’Alī , may Allāh ennoble his countenance. I’m sure there is no harm in referring to him as Imām,
however I understand that our Shi’ah brethren refer to him as such too, but with differing connotations. Taking this into consideration, is it better not to refer to him as Imām ’Alī?
Answer: Alaykum Salam,
There is nothing wrong in itself to call any of the Rightly-Guided or subsequent caliphs “Imam” but the expressions Imam Ali and Imamal-Husayn have tended to single it out in a way that is in imitation(even unconscious) of Shi`is. It would be more correct usage, therefore,to say Sayyidina in both cases, and this is what we have always witnessed our teachers do. And Allah knows best.
GF Haddad

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