"Imam has many interests, Indiana. Priest. Scholar. Astronomer. If anyone can can explain the markings, he can."
Sallah el-Kahir[src]

Imam was an old man who lived on the outskirts of Cairo in Egypt.


As an acquaintance of Sallah el-Kahir, Sallah believed that Imam would be able to translate the markings on the Headpiece to the Staff of Ra for Indiana Jones in his search to acquire the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis in 1936 due to Imam's talents as priest, scholar, and an astronomer.[1]

It was Imam who revealed the medallion held further instructions on its reverse side, integral to calculating the precise location of the Ark on Tanis' Map Room floor.[2]

Abu was training under Imam as his apprentice.[1]

Five years later, in August 1941, Indiana Jones sought out Imam at his desert abode in the Sinai Peninsula while seeking help in the decryption of an inscription he was using to unravel the mystery of Mount Sinai and discover what the Nazis were looking for there.[3]

Behind the scenesEdit

Imam was played by the late Tutte Lemkow in Raiders of the Lost Ark. A later development to the film's screenplay, his role was previously occupied by Spencer Jules, a Holmesian-like former student of Abner Ravenwood and college roommate of Indiana Jones.[4][5]

In Islam, an imam is a leader of a mosque and/or community who leads prayer during gatherings. Indiana Jones sources vary on treating "Imam" as the character's name (as it is in the script) or his position.



Notes and referencesEdit