It is set out in an authentic Hadith that he who fails to recognize the Imam of his age will die the death of ignorance....This direction of the Holy Prophetsa entails that every seeker after truth should continue to seek the true Imam.... The question arises: Who can be called the Imam of the age, and what are his characteristics, and in what respect is he to be preferred to other recipients of revelation and dreams and visions? The answer is that the Imam of the age is the person whose spiritual training is undertaken by God Almighty Himself Who invests his nature with such guiding light as enables him to overcome all philosophers and logicians of the world in every kind of debate. He refutes the subtlest criticism of every description so well by his God-given power, that one is compelled to admit that he has come into the world equipped with all the resources needed for its reform and thus he was not to face humiliation before any opponent He is the spiritual Commander-in-chief of the Muslim forces and God Almighty designs once again to make the faith victorious at his hand. All those who seek shelter under his banner are also equipped with the highest capacities. He is bestowed all that is needed for reform and is endowed with all knowledge that is required for repelling objections and setting forth Islamic excellences.
[Zarurat-ul-Imam, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 13, pp. 472-477]