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Encyclopedia > Shi'a
This article forms part of the series
Islam ( Arabic al-islām الإسلام,  listen?) the submission to God is a monotheistic faith and the worlds second-largest religion. Etymology In Arabic, Islām means submission and is described as a Dīn, meaning way of life... Islam
It is sometimes difficult to separate concepts in Islam from concepts specific to Arab culture, from the language itself. The Quran is expressed in Arabic and traditionally Muslims deemed it untranslatable, though this view has changed somewhat in recent decades. Concepts that derive from both Islam and Arab tradition... Vocabulary of Islam
The religion of Islam consists of faith (إيمان, īmān) and practice (دين, dīn). The Five Pillars of Islam is the term given to the five most fundamental aspects of Islam. For the Sunni sect, the Five Pillars (Arkan-al... Five Pillars
There is also a town called Shāhāda, which is now in Nandurbār district (formerly in Dhule district) in the northwest corner of Maharashtra state in India. The shahādah, or the Islamic creed, is the declaration of belief in the unity of God... Profession of faith
Salah (other terms and spellings exist) (Arabic: صلاه , Old (Quran) Arabic: صلوة ) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It refers to the five daily ritual prayers that Muslims offer to Allah (God). Being a Pillar of Islam, it is compulsory (fard... Prayer · Zakât (or Zakaat or Zakah) (Arabic: زكاة, Old (Quran) Arabic: زكوة) is the third of the Five Pillars of Islam. Its literal meaning is to grow (in goodness) or increase, purifying or making pure. It is prescribed in the Quran. And... Alms · Ramadan or Ramadhan (Arabic: رمضان ) is the ninth month of the Islamic year. Siyam or Saum (fasting in English) is the fourth of the Five Pillars of Islam and involves fasting during Ramadan. Timing The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the... Fasting
The Hajj or Haj is the Pilgrimage to Mecca (or, Makkah) and is the fifth of the Five Pillars of Islam. Every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so is obliged to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime. The government of Saudi Arabia... Pilgrimage to Mecca
Jihad (ǧihād جهاد) is an Arabic word which comes from the Arabic root word jahada; which means exerting utmost effort or to strive. The word connotes a wide range of meanings, from an inward spiritual struggle to attain perfect faith to holy war. During... Jihad (See The term Sixth pillar of Islam refers to an addition to the Five Pillars of Islam; the five pillars of Islam explain the basic tenets of the Muslim faith. Most Muslims believe there are precisely Five Pillars of Islam, and consider the concept of a sixth pillar to be heretical... Sixth pillar of Islam)
Major Figures
Muhammad is a common male name for Muslims. For other prominent Muhammads, see Muhammad (disambiguation) Muhammad  listen? ( Arabic محمد, also transliterated Mohammad, Mohammed, Muhammed, and formerly Mahomet, following the Latin) is revered by Muslims as the final prophet of God. According to his traditional Muslim biographies... Muhammad
The Quran identifies a number of men as prophets of Islam. Such individuals are believed by Muslims to have been assigned a special mission by God (called Allah in Arabic). In the Quran, prophets such as Moses, Jesus and Muhammad are appointed to spread the word of God... Prophets of Islam
An Anglicized/Latinized version of the Arabic word خليفة or Khalīfah, Caliph (  listen?) is the term or title for the Islamic leader of the Ummah, or community of Islam. It means successor, that is, successor to the prophet Muhammad. Some Orientalists wrote the... Caliph · Sects Within Shiism there are various sects that differ over the number of Imams, or path of succession. The issue of who is the rightful Imam has led to the growth of numerous sects within Shiism including: Ismailis (Seveners), Zaidis (Fivers), Alawites, Druze, and others. Ithna Ashariya According to the... Shia Imam · The Mahdi (or Mehdi), in Islamic eschatology, is a man who will come at the end of the times. The exact nature of the Mahdi differs between Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims. The Mahdi in Sunni traditions The exact nature of the Mahdi is not completely clear, but according to... The Mahdi
In the Islamic religion, the Sahaba (Asahaaba,الصحابه) are the companions of the Prophet Muhammad. A Sahabi (singular of Sahaba) knew or saw the Prophet, believed in his teachings, and died a Muslim. At the time of the death of Muhammad, peace be upon... Companions of Muhammad
Holy Cities Events
Mecca or Makkah (in full: Makkah al-Mukkaramah; Arabic مكة المكرمة) is revered as the holiest site of Islam, and a pilgrimage to it is required of all Muslims who can afford to go. The term Mecca has into common usage metaphorically... Mecca · This article is about the Saudi city of Medina. For other uses, see Medina (disambiguation). Medina (Arabic: مدينة رسول الله or المدينه, Madinat Rasul Allah, or al-Madina; alternatively transliterated into English as Madinah... Medina
Jerusalem ( Modern Hebrew: יְרוּשָׁלַיִם Yerushaláyim, Biblical and trad. Sephardi Hebrew: יְרוּשָׁלַםִ, Arabic: القدس al-Quds, see also names of Jerusalem) is... Jerusalem
Najaf (نجف in the Arabic language) is a city in Iraq, about 160 km south of Baghdad, located at 31.99°N 44.33°E. Its estimated population in 2003 was 585,600 people. It is the capital of Najaf province. It is one of the holiest cities... Najaf · Karbalā (كربلاء; also transliterated as Kerbala or Kerbela) is a city in Iraq, located about 100 km southwest of Baghdad at 32.61°N, 44.08°E. The estimated population in 2003 was 572,300 people. It is the capital of Al Karbala Province... Karbala
Kufa (الكوفة al-Kufa in Arabic) is a city in Iraq, about 170 km south of Baghdad, and 10 km northeast of Najaf. It is located on the banks of the Euphrates River. The estimated population in 2003 was 110,000. Along with Karbala, and... Kufa · View of the Imami Shrine Kazimain or Al-Kazimiyah is a town located in Iraq that is now a neighborhood of Baghdad, located in the northern area of the city about 5 km from the center of the city. The coordinates of Kazimain are 33.38 N, 44.34 E... Kazimain
Imam Reza Shrine Tomb of Nader Shah Afshar, a popular tourist attraction in Mashad. Mashhad (مشهد in Persian) is a city located 850 kilometers East of Tehran, Iran, and the center of the province of Khorasan. With a population of more than 2.5 million, Mashhad is... Mashhad · The two Shiite mosques in Samarra A soldier descends a Minaret in Samarra, Iraq. Sāmarrā (سامراء) is a town in Iraq. It stands on the east bank of the Tigris in the province of Salah ad Din, 125 km north of Baghdad... Samarra
For other uses see Hijra. The Hijra (هِجْرَة), or withdrawal, is the emigration of Muhammad and his followers to the city of Medina in 622. Alternate spellings of this Arabic word in the Latin alphabet are Hijrah, or Hegira in Latin. Muhammad, preaching the... Hijra
The Islamic calendar or Muslim calendar is the calendar used to date events in predominately Muslim countries, and used by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper day on which to celebrate Muslim holy days. It is a purely lunar calendar having 12 lunar months in a year of about 354... Islamic calendar
The Islamic holiday of Eid ul-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر) marks the end of Ramadan. It is one of the two Eid festivals in the Islamic year (the other being Eid ul-Adha). Its also referred to as the Little or Small Bayram... Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحى) is second in the series of Eid festivals that Muslims celebrate. Eid ul-Adha is celebrated as a commemoration of Prophet Ibrahims (Abraham) willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail for Allah. On this day Muslims sacrifice... Eid ul-Adha
The Day of Aashurah, sometimes spelled ‘Ashurah or Aashoorah, falls on the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar. It commemorates the death of Husayn bin Ali, the grandson of Muhammad and the third Imam of the Shias, at the Battle of Karbala in the year 61... Aashurah
Arbaeen (اربعين, Arabic forty) is a Shia religious holiday that occurs forty days after Aashura, the commemoration of the martyrdom by beheading of Husayn bin Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Husayn and 72 supporters died in the Battle of Karbala in... Arba'een
Buildings Religious Roles
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of the Islamic faith. Masjid ( Arabic: مسجد - pronounced: mŭsjĭd) is the Arabic, Urdu, Persian, Malay, Hindi, Gujarati, and Marathi term for a mosque. This term is used widely throughout the Islamic world, and... Mosque · Mosque in Aswan, Egypt, with minarets. A minaret in Samarkand, Uzbekistan History and Evolution Minarets ( Arabic and Urdu: minra pl. minar) are distinctive architectural features of Islamic mosques. Minarets are generally tall, graceful spires, with onion-shaped crowns, usually either free standing or much taller than any surrounding support structure... Minaret
Mihrab (in Persian مهراب or محراب, in Arabic ألمحراب pl. محاريب) is a niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla, i.e. the direction of Kaaba that... Mihrab · The Kaaba or Kaaba, in the mosque known as Masjid al Haram in Mecca (Makkah), is the holiest place in Islam. It is a small masonry building in the shape of a cube. The structure is 50 ft. high (15.24 m), the shorter walls are about 35 ft... Kaaba
Islamic architecture is the entire range of architecture that has evolved from Islam as a social, cultural, political and religious phenomenon. Hence the term encompasses religious buildings as well as secular ones, historic as well as modern expressions and the production of all places that have come under the varying... Islamic architecture
The müezzin (the word is pronounced this way Turkish, Urdu, etc.; in Arabic: muaddin or muadhdhin, plural: muadhdhin, dual: muadhdhinayn) is a servant at the mosque who leads the call ( adhan) to Friday service and the five daily prayers, or Salah, from one of... Muezzin · A Mufti (Arabic: مفتى) is an Islamic scholar who is an interpreter or expounder of Islamic law (Sharia), capable of issuing fataawa (fatwas). See also Grand Mufti Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Mufti also refers to ordinary clothes, especially when worn by one who normally wears, or has... Mufti
Categories: Islam-related stubs | Islamic law | Religious leaders ... Mullah · Imam is an Arabic word meaning Leader. The ruler of a country might be called the Imam, for example. The term, however, has important connotations in the Islamic tradition. Prayer leader The common everyday use of the word is for a person leading Muslim congregational prayers. In this meaning Imam... Imam
Ayatollah (Arabic: آية الله; Persian: آیت‌الله) is a high title given to major Shia clergymen. The word means sign of God, and those who carry the title are experts in Islamic sciences such as jurisprudence, ethics, philosophy and... Ayatollah · A marja is the second highest authority on religion and law in Shia Islam after the (Shia) Imam. Where a difference in opinion exist between the marjas, Aalims (Religious Scholars) try to provide different opinions. Four senior Grand Ayatollahs constitute the Religious Institution Hawza Ilmiyyah in Najaf, the... Marja
Texts & Law
The Quran ( Arabic al-qurʾān أَلْقُرآن; its literal meaning is the recitation and is often called Al Quran Al Karim: The Noble Quran, also transliterated as Quran, Koran, and less commonly Alcoran) is the holy book... Qur'an · The Hadith (الحديث, pl. Ahadith) is a body of laws, legends and stories about Muhammads way of life, (Arabic, Sunnah which includes his biography or the sira) and the sayings themselves where he elaborated on his choices or offered advice; many parts of the... Hadith · The Arabic word Sunnah (سنة) means “way” or “custom”, and therefore, the sunnah of the prophet means “the way of the prophet”, or what is commonly known as Prophet’s traditions. Terminologically, the word ‘Sunnah’ means the deeds, sayings... Sunnah
Islamic jurisprudence, Fiqh (in Arabic and Persian: فقه) is made up of the rulings of Islamic scholars to direct the lives of the Muslim faithful. There are four Sunni schools or maddhab of fiqh. The four schools of Sunni Islam are each named after a classical jurist . The... Fiqh · A fatwa (Arabic: فتوى) plural fataawa, is a legal pronouncement in Islam, issued by a religious law specialist on a specific issue. Usually a fatwa is issued at the request of an individual or a judge to settle a question where fiqh, Islamic jurisprudence, is unclear. A... Fatwa · Sharia (Arabic شريعة also Sharia, Shariah or Syariah) is traditional Islamic law. Like most religious cultures, Islam classically drew no distinction between religious and secular life. Hence Sharia covers not only religious rituals, but many aspects of day-to-day life. However, this traditional view... Sharia
Madhhab(مذهب) (Madhahib, pl) is an Islamic term that refers to a school of thought or religious jurisprudence (fiqh) within Sunni Islam. Each of the Ashaab had a unique school of jurisprudence, but these schools were gradually consolidated or discarded so that there are currently four recognized... Sharia Schools The term Kalam can refer to: A President of India, Abdul Kalam Islamic theology This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. If an article link referred you here, you might want to go back and fix it... Kalam Schools
Hanafi is one of the four schools (madhabs) of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. It is considered to be the school most open to modern ideas. Hanafi is predominant among Sunni Muslims in Egypt, Turkey, the Levant, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Indian subcontinent and parts of West Africa, although... Hanafi
Hanbali is one of the four schools (Maddhabs) of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. It is considered to be the most conservative of the four schools. The school was started by the students of Imam Hanbal or Ahmad bin Hanbal (d. 855). Hanbali is predominant among Muslims in... Hanbali
Twelvers or the Ithna Asharia are members of the group of Shias who believe in twelve Imams. The Twelvers are the largest Shia school of thought, predominant in Iran. Among the more notable persons belonging to this denomination in modern history is Ayatollah Khomeini. Alternate names The Twelvers are also... Jafari
It differs from the 3 other schools of law mainly on the sources it uses for derivation of rulings. While all 4 schools use primarily the Quran as a source, followed by the sunnah of the prophet Muhammad transmitted as hadith (sayings), ijma (consensus of the scholars or Muslims) and... Maliki
Shafii is one of the four schools of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. Shafii is practiced throughout the Ummah, but is most prevalent in Egypt, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines, and is the school of thought officially followed by the government of Brunei Darussalam and... Shafi'i
The Asharite school of early Muslim philosophy were instrumental in drastically changing the direction of Islamic philosophy, separating its development drastically from that of philosophy in the Christian world. It was founded by the theologian Abu lHasan al-Ashari (d. 945) who gave it its name. In contrast to... Asharite
Jabriyya
In Islam, one who follows Abu Mansur Al Maturidis theology, which is a close variant of Ashari school of thought. This theology is popular where the Hanafi school of law is followed, viz. in Turkey, Central Asia, Pakistan and India. See also Ashari External links Article from... Maturidi
During the early centuries of Islam, Muslim thought encountered a multitude of infuences from various ethnic and philosophical groups that it absorbed. The Murjites emerged as a theological school that was opposed to the Kharijites on questions related to early controversies regarding sin and definitions of what is a true... Murjite
Mutazili (Arabic المعتزلة) is an extinct theological school of thought within Islam. It is also spelled Mutazilite, or Mutazilah. Etymology The name Mutazili originates from the Arabic root اعتزل meaning to leave, to abandon, to... Mu'tazili
Qadariyya
Shi'a sects Kharijites were members of an Islamic sect in late 7th and early 8th century AD, concentrated in todays southern Iraq. They were distinct from the Sunni and Shiites. The origins of Kharijites lie in the strife over political supremacy over the Muslim community in the years following the death... Kharijite sects
Twelvers or the Ithna Asharia are members of the group of Shias who believe in twelve Imams. The Twelvers are the largest Shia school of thought, predominant in Iran. Alternate names The Twelvers are also known by other names, each connoting some aspect of the faith. Shia, when this term... Ithna Asharia
The Ismaili ( اسماعيلي, Persian Esmaaili) branch of Islam is the second-largest Shia community, after the Twelvers who are dominant in Iran. The Ismailis are found primarily in Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and East Africa... Ismailiyah
Zaiddiyah (also: Zaidi, Zaydi, or in the West Fivers) refers to a sect within Shia Islam. Zaidi separated from the main Shia branch (the Twelvers) over a disagreement as to who the fifth Imam was. Twelvers believe it was Muhammad al-Baqir, while Zaidis hold that it was his half... Zaiddiyah
Alawite is a Middle Eastern Syria. Bashar al_Asad, the president of Syria as of 2004, is an Alawite. Alawites call themselves Alawi. The term Alawi was recognized by the French when they occupied the region in 1920. Historically they had been called Nusairis, Namiriya, or Ansariyya. Nusayri had become a... Alawi* · Alevis are a branch of Islam, related to Shia Islam and practised mainly in (majority Sunni) Turkey, among both Turks and Kurds. Alevis in Turkey Alevis Adherents of Alevism (in Turkish Alevîlik) are called Alevis. The correct number of Alevis isnt known, it varies from 15% to... Alevi*
Sufri
Azraqi
Al-Ibadhiyah is a form of Islam distinct from the Shiite and Sunni sects. It is the dominant form of Islam in only one Muslim country, Oman. One of the earliest schools, it was founded less than 50 years after the death of the prophet Muhammad. Jabir bin Zaid... Ibadi
This article is about religious concept of Messiah. For the musical work by Handel, see Messiah (Handel). For the BBC television drama series, see Messiah (television). In Judaism, the Messiah (מָשִׁיחַ Anointed one, Standard Hebrew Mašíaḥ, Tiberian Hebrew Mā... Messianic Sects Movements
Ahmadi Muslims, or Ahmadiyya, are followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. They comprise two subsects, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement (Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-i-Islaman). There are at least ten million Ahmadi throughout the world, with some counts being more than ten times that high [1]. At... Ahmadiyyah
Zikri is a small Islamic sect that is concentrated in Balochistan. The sect is generally seen as heretical by mainstream Muslims. There are about seven-hundred fifty thousand followers of the religion. The sect is based around the teachings of Nur Pak, a figure who lived in the 15th century... Zikri
Sufism (Arabic تصوف taṣawwuf) is a system of esoteric philosophy commonly associated with Islam. In modern language it might also be referred to as Islamic spirituality or Islamic mysticism. Some non-Islamic Sufi organizations also exist, especially in the West [1] Many Sufi practitioners are... Sufism
Wahhabism (sometimes spelled Wahabbism or Wahabism) is a movement of Islam named after Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab (1703–1792). It is a fundamentalist Sunni form of Islam and has become an object of increased interest because it is the major sect of the government and society of oil... Wahhabism
A Salafi (Arabic سلفي lit. early muslim), from the Arabic world Salaf سلف (meaning predecessors or early generations), is a practictioner of Salafiyyah (Salafism). Modern usage from the Islamic phrase minhaj as-Salaf منهاج السلف, or method... Salafism
In modern times there have been a number of liberal movements within Islam (sometimes called in Arabic: الإسلام الإجتهادية or interpretation-based Islam, also الإسلام المت... Liberals
Other Sects Related Faiths
The Nation of Islam (NOI), also known as the Black Muslim Movement (although the term is discouraged by the NOI), is a spiritual and political black separatist movement founded in America in 1930 by Wallace Fard Muhammad (1877- ?). The Nation of Islam has a somewhat tenuous connection to mainstream... Nation of Islam
The Nation of Gods and Earths, commonly known as the Five Percent Nation or the Five Percenters are an African-American social/ religious movement founded in Harlem in the late 1960s by Clarence 13X. Spawned from a combination of teachings of by Malcolm X and The Nation of Islam, the... Five Percenters
This article needs cleanup. Please edit this article to conform to a higher standard of article quality. The Druze1 (Arabic: durzi درزي, pl. durūz دروز) are a small and distinct religious community residing mainly in Lebanon, Israel, Syria, and Jordan (small communities... Druze*
The room where The Báb declared His mission on May 23, 1844 in His house in Shiraz. The Bábís (in Persian بابی ها Bâbihâ) are members of a religious movement that flourished in Persia between 1844 and 1852. Its founder was Ali... Babism
Known in India as the Lotus Temple, the Bahai House of Worship attracts an average of three and a half million visitors a year. The Baháí Faith is a monotheistic religion whose members follow the teachings of Baháulláh, founder and prophet of... Bahá'í Faith
The Yezidi or Yazidi (Kurdish; Êzidî) are adherents of a small Middle Eastern religion with ancient origins. They are primarily ethnic Kurds, and most Yazidis live near Mosul, Iraq with smaller communities in Syria, Turkey, Iran, Georgia and Armenia, and are estimated to number ca. 500,000 individuals in total... Yazidi
The Golden Temple is the most important sacred shrine for Sikhs Sikhism comes from the word Sikh, which means a strong and able disciple. A Sikh is a person who believes in One God and the teachings of the Ten Gurus, enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book... Sikhism
* = self-identification unclear

Shi'a Islam ( Arabic is a Semitic language, closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic. It is spoken throughout the Arab world and is widely known throughout the Islamic world. Arabic has been a literary language for over 1500 years, and is the liturgical language of Islam. The expression Arabic may refer either to... Arabic شيعى follower; English has traditionally used Shiite or Shi'ite) is the second largest Islamic denomination; some 20-25% of all A Muslim is a believer in or follower of Islam. The word Muslim means one who submits and implies complete submission to the will of God ( Allah). Muslims believe that nature is itself Islamic, since it follows natural laws placed by God. Thus, a Muslim strives to surrender to God... Muslims are said to follow a Shi'a tradition. Sunni Islam (Arabic سنّة) is the largest denomination of Islam. Followers of the Sunni tradition are known as Sunnis or Sunnites, and sometimes refer to themselves as the Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jamaah. It is widely believed among Sunnis that the name Sunni derives from the word... Sunni Muslims make up the rest.


Shi'a is short for Shi'at Ali, a follower of Ali. Ali ibn Abi Talib (علي بن أبي طالب) (c. 600 – 661) was the fourth Caliph or successor of Muhammad. He was born at Mecca where his father, Abu Talib, was an uncle of the Prophet. Ali himself was adopted by Muhammad... Ali ibn Abi Talib was Muhammad is a common male name for Muslims. For other prominent Muhammads, see Muhammad (disambiguation) Muhammad  listen? ( Arabic محمد, also transliterated Mohammad, Mohammed, Muhammed, and formerly Mahomet, following the Latin) is revered by Muslims as the final prophet of God. According to his traditional Muslim biographies... Muhammad's relative and son-in-law. Shi'a Muslims believe that Ali should have followed Muhammad as the leader of the Muslims. Sunni Muslims believe that Abu Bakr As Siddiq (Arabic ابو بكر الصديق, alternative spellings, Abubakar, Abi Bakr, Abu Bakar) (c. 573 – August 23, 634) ruled as the first of the Muslim caliphs (632 – 634). Originally called Abd-el-Kaba (servant of the... Abu Bakr, the first caliph to hold power after Muhammad, held his office legitimately. This difference of opinion regarding an event in 632 C.E. may seem like a minor matter to some, but it has shaped two Muslim traditions which differ sharply in many of their beliefs and practices.

Contents

Shi'as around the world

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An approximate map of Shi'a distribution. Shi'a regions are marked by dark green.

Shi'as live in many parts of the world, but some countries have a higher concentration of Shi'a than others. Iran ( Persia: ایران) is a Middle Eastern country located in southwestern Asia that until 1935 was referred to in the West as Persia. The name Iran is a modern cognate of Aryan meaning Land of the Aryans. Iran borders Pakistan (909km of border) and Afghanistan (936km... Iran has 89% Shi'a, The Kingdom of Bahrain, or Bahrain, is a borderless country in the Persian Gulf (Southwest Asia/Middle East, Asia). Saudi Arabia is to the west and is connected to Bahrain by a causeway, and Qatar is to the south across the Gulf of Bahrain. National motto: None languages Arabic Capital... Bahrain has 70% Shi'a, The Republic of Iraq is a Middle Eastern country in southwestern Asia encompassing the ancient region of Mesopotamia. It shares borders with Kuwait and Saudi-Arabia to the south, Jordan to the west, Syria to the north-west, Turkey to the north, and Iran to the east. Its current leadership... Iraq has 62% and Azerbaijan (disambiguation). Azerbaijan ( Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan) is a country in the Caucasus, in the crossroads of Europe and Southwest Asia, with an east coast on the Caspian Sea. It borders Russia on the north, Georgia and Armenia on the west, and Iran on the south. The Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic... Azerbaijan has 60%. The largest religious denomination in Lebanon is also Shia (36%). Large Shi'a populations are also found in Yemen (49%), This article is about the country of Kuwait. For the capital city with the same name, see Kuwait City The State of Kuwait is a small oil-rich monarchy on the coast of the Persian Gulf, enclosed by Saudi Arabia in the south and Iraq in the north. Kuwait is... Kuwait (30%), The Islamic Republic of Pakistan (پاکستان in Urdu), or Pakistan, is a country located in South Asia. Pakistan borders India, Iran, Afghanistan, China and the Arabian Sea. With over 150 million inhabitants it is the sixth most populous country in the world. It also... Pakistan (15%–20%), Syria (15%–20%), United Arab Emirates (16%), The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a country on the Arabian Peninsula. It borders Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, with the Persian Gulf to its north-east and the Red Sea to its west. National motto: None Official language Arabic Capital Riyadh King Fahd... Saudi Arabia (10%–15%), Afghanistan (13%), Tajikistan (5%), Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, The Sultanate of Oman is a country in the southwestern part of Asia, on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It borders the United Arab Emirates in the northwest, Saudi Arabia in the west, and Yemen in the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea in the... Oman and Brunei, with smaller groups in other parts of the A satellite image showing the Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf (Persian: خلیج فارس, Arabic: الخليج الفارسي) is an extension of the Gulf of Oman in between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. It is... Persian Gulf, Arabic peninsula, India and African countries.


Usul-i Deen:Central beliefs

  • Tawheed: The Oneness of God.
  • Adl: The Justice of God.
  • Nubuwwah: Prophethood.
  • Imamah: Imamate. The Leadership of Mankind.
  • Qiyamaah: The Resurrection.

The Shi'a sects

Enlarge
Imaginary portrait of Ali ibn Abi Talib, by Iranian artist. The word Shi'a signifies "The partisans of Ali".

The Shi'a of the present day are divided into sects based on their beliefs regarding the sequence of the imams.

  • Most Shi'a are Twelvers; they recognize twelve imams, of whom the twelfth, the Mahdi, has been occluded, or removed from human view, and will return at some time in the future.
  1. Ali ibn Abi Talib (علي بن أبي طالب) (c. 600 – 661) was the fourth Caliph or successor of Muhammad. He was born at Mecca where his father, Abu Talib, was an uncle of the Prophet. Ali himself was adopted by Muhammad... Ali ibn Abu Talib ( For other uses, see number 600. Events The moldboard plow is invented in eastern Europe Possibly the first reference to chess, in the Persian work Karnamak_i_Artakhshatr_i_Papakan. The Persians begin to use windmills for irrigation. Pope Gregory I codifies what comes to be known as Gregorian chant. Construction on the monastery... 600 Events Caliph Ali Ben Abu Talib is assassinated. He is succeeded by Muawiyah I ibn Abu Sufyan, first Umayyad caliph Emperor Tenji ascends to the throne of Japan Perctarit and Godepert become co-rulers of the Lombards, following the death of their father Aripert King Munmu becomes the 30th ruler... 661)
  2. Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib (c. 625 - 669) (alternative spelling Hassan) was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, and first son of his daughter Fatima Zahra with Ali ibn Abu Talib. Hasan is a revered figure in Islam, and is considered the second Shia Imam by some Shia sects... Hasan ibn Ali ( Events Pope Boniface V succeeded by Pope Honorius I Births Adamnan, abbot of Iona Empress Wu Zetian of China Deaths Pope Boniface V Categories: 625 ... 625 Events Theodore appointed Archibishop of Canterbury Births Justinian II, Byzantine emperor Deaths Hasan ibn Ali, grandson of Muhammad and second Shia Imam Categories: 669 ... 669)
  3. Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib (c. 626 - October 10, 680) was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, and son of his daughter Fatima Zahra with Ali ibn Abu Talib. Husayn is revered by Muslims, and has a special importance to the Shia as their Third Imam by most shias... Husayn ibn Ali ( Events July 2 - In the early morning, Li Shimin, the future Emperor Tang Taizong of China, eliminated two of his brothers, Li Yuanji and the crown prince Li Jiancheng in a coup détat at the Xuanwu Gate in Changan. September 3 - Emperor Gaozu of Tang China abdicated in... 626 Events October 10 - Battle of Kerbela November 12 - The Sixth Ecumenical Council opens in Constantinople The Bulgars subjugate the country of current-day Bulgaria Pippin of Herstal becomes Mayor of the Palace Umayyad caliph Muawiyah I succeeded by Yazid I ibn Muawiyah Erwig deposes Wamba to become king of the... 680)
  4. Ali ibn Husayn, Zainul Abideen, (658 - 713) (alternative spellings include bin, ben for the middle word and Hussain, Husain, Hussein, etc. for the patronomic) was the fourth Shia Imam (see Shia Imams). He was the son of Hussein bin Ali and the great-grandson of Muhammad. Zainul Abideen, or... Ali ibn Husayn ( Events The union of Slavic tribes falls apart after Samos death Births Deaths King Samo of the Slavs Categories: 658 ... 658 Events Byzantine Emperor Philippicus deposed. Anastasius II made emperor. Kaiyuan becomes Tang dynasty emperor of China Births Deaths Categories: 713 ... 713), also known as Zainul Abideen
  5. Imam Muhammad al Baqir (676 - January 31, 743) was the fifth Shia Imam. He was born Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Husayn. Muhammad al Baqir was born in Medina in 676, his father was Ali Zayn al Abidin, the fourth Shia Imam, his mother was the daughter of Hasan named Fatima... Muhammad al Baqir ( Events November 2 - Donus becomes Pope. Æthelred invades Kent Cuthbert of Lindisfarne withdraws to hermitage Births John of Damascus, Christian Saint (approximate date) Deaths Heads of states Japan - Temmu Emperor of Japan (672-686) Categories: 676 ... 676 Events Umayyad caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik (724-743) succeeded by al-Walid II ibn Abd al-Malik (743-744). Childeric III becomes king of the Franks after an interregnum of seven years. Constantine V re-ascends the throne of the Byzantine Empire. Births Deaths January 31 - Muhammad al_Baqir... 743)
  6. Imam Jafar As-Sadiq (April 20, 702 – December 4, 765), in full Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn Zayn ibn Husayn, was the sixth Shia imam, and a theologian and jurist. His rulings are the basis of the Jafari school of Shia jurisprudence (fiqh); but he is well respected by both... Jafar as Sadiq ( Events Births Deaths Empress Jito of Japan In Other Fields 703 is the area code for telephone numbers in the Northern Virginia region of the United States. It is overlaid by area code 571. It touches the 202 area code of Washington, DC as well as the 301 and 240... 703 Events Papal privileges are restored in Beneventino and Tuscany and partly in Spoleto. Births Deaths December 4 - Jafar Sadiq, Muslim scholar Emperor Junnin of Japan Categories: 765 ... 765)
  7. Imam Musa al Kazim (November 10, 745 - September 4, 799) was the seventh Shia Imam (he is not accepted by the Ismailis as the seventh Imam). He was born Musa ibn Jafar ibn Muhammad. Musa al Kazim was born in Abwa, a town between Mecca and Medina. His father was... Musa al Kazim ( Events Births November 10 - Musa al-Kazim, Shia Imam (d. 799) Deaths Categories: 745 ... 745 Events 29 November - Pope Leo III, aided by Charles the Great, returns to Rome. Births Deaths April 13 - Paul the Deacon, historian September 4 - Musa al-Kazim, Shia Imam Categories: 799 ... 799)
  8. Imam Ali ar Rida (January 1, 766 - May 26, 818) was the Eighth Shia Imam. His given name was Ali ibn Musa ibn Jafar. He is also known as Imam Reza. Ali ar Rida was born in Medina to the seventh Imam, Musa al Kazim and Ummul Baneen Najma. He... Ali ar Ridha ( Events Papal privileges are restored in Beneventino and Tuscany and partly in Spoleto. Births Deaths December 4 - Jafar Sadiq, Muslim scholar Emperor Junnin of Japan Categories: 765 ... 765 Events Bishop Theodulf of Orléans is deposed and imprisoned after getting involved in a conspiracy of Bernard, king of Italy, against Louis the Pious Births Deaths May 26 - Ali ar-Rida, Shia Imam Categories: 818 ... 818)
  9. Muhammad al Taqi ( Events October 1 - A man with a sword makes an attempt on emperor Nicephorus Is life. In the following trial, the assassin claims insanity as his defense. Births Emperor Nimmyo of Japan Kenneth I, king of Scotland (approximate date) Kassia, poet and composer (approximate date) Deaths Pepin, King of... 810 Events Ragnar Lodbrok rises to power (approximate date) The celebration of All Saints is made an obligation throughout the Frankish Empire and fixed on November 1. Viking raid of Dorestad. Births Deaths November 27 - Muhammad at_Taqi, Shia Imam Kukai founder of Shingon Buddhism in Japan Categories: 835 ... 835)
  10. Imam Ali al-Hadi (September 8, 828 _ July 1, 868) was the tenth Shia Imam. He was born Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Ali. Ali al Hadi was born in Medina to Moroccan slave named Samana. He was only six when his father died, and when he had to take... Ali al Hadi ( Events Succession of Pope Valentine, then Pope Gregory IV. Arabs invade Sicily. The royal ceremonial centre at Copán is abandoned. Chalid Ben Abdulmelik and Ali Ben Isa measure the size of the Earth. Births Saint Cyril, scholar, theologian and linguist Emperor Montoku of Japan Deaths Pope Eugene II September... 827 Events 11 May: Printing of The Diamond Sutra, the oldest dated printed book. Aghlabid dynasty of Tunisia takes Malta. In Metz, Charles the Bald and Louis the German decide on a division of the lands of former emperor Lothar (now in possession of Lothar II and Louis II). In England... 868)
  11. Imam Hasan al-Askari (December 6, 846 - January 4, 874), was the eleventh Shia Imam. His given name was Hasan ibn Ali ibn Muhammad. Hasan al Askari, whose ancestor was the prophet Muhammad was born in Samarra to Ali al-Hadi and Saleel. Hasan would live almost his entire life... Hasan al Askari ( Events The Moors temporarily recapture León. August: Arab pirates sack the Vatican. Xuanzong II succeeds China. Births November 1 - Louis the Stammerer, king of West_Francia December 6 - Hasan al-Askari, Shia Imam (d. 874) Deaths Categories: 846 ... 846 Events March 13 - The bones of Saint Nicephorus are interred in the Church of the Apostles, Constantinople. Ingólfur Arnarson arrives as first permanent viking settler in Iceland, settling in Reykjavík (probable date). The Danes invade Mercia. Births King Constantine II of Scotland Deaths January 1 - Hasan al-Askari... 874)
  12. Muhammad al-Mahdi (868 - ?) is the twelfth and final Imam of the Shia. His given name was Muhammad ibn Hasan ibn Ali. When Hasan al Askari died, his estate was divided between his brother Ja‘far and his mother according to the Islamic Law for one who... Muhammad al Mahdi ( Events 11 May: Printing of The Diamond Sutra, the oldest dated printed book. Aghlabid dynasty of Tunisia takes Malta. In Metz, Charles the Bald and Louis the German decide on a division of the lands of former emperor Lothar (now in possession of Lothar II and Louis II). In England... 868—)
  • There are several groups of Seveners are a branch of Ismaili Shiism. They are also known as Seveners, because they believe Imam Jaffar was the seventh and the last Imam. Categories: Stub ... Sevener Shi'as. The The Ismaili ( اسماعيلي, Persian Esmaaili) branch of Islam is the second-largest Shia community, after the Twelvers who are dominant in Iran. The Ismailis are found primarily in Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and East Africa... Ismailis are the largest group.
  • Fiver is most commonly a slang term used to refer to a denomination of currency, most notably: A five-dollar bill A five-pound note Fiver is a term for Zaydi Shiite Muslims, who disagree with the majority of Shiites on the identity of the Fifth Imam. Fiver is a... Fiver Shi'as are also called Zaiddiyah (also: Zaidi, Zaydi, or in the West Fivers) refers to a sect within Shia Islam. Zaidi separated from the main Shia branch (the Twelvers) over a disagreement as to who the fifth Imam was. Twelvers believe it was Muhammad al-Baqir, while Zaidis hold that it was his half... Zaidis. They are found mostly in Yemen. They accept the same first four caliphs as the Sunni Muslims, then recognize Ali's sons, then one of Ali's grandsons.
  1. Abu Bakr As Siddiq (Arabic ابو بكر الصديق, alternative spellings, Abubakar, Abi Bakr, Abu Bakar) (c. 573 – August 23, 634) ruled as the first of the Muslim caliphs (632 – 634). Originally called Abd-el-Kaba (servant of the... Abu Bakr
  2. Umar has been the name of several people: Umar ibn al-Khattab was the second caliph of Islam Umar_II,Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz, the ummayed Caliph Umar (Bulgars) was a khan of the Bulgars in 766. This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages... Umar
  3. Uthman is the Arabian equivalent to the Turkish name Osman (see Osman I). The name of the Ottoman Empire in English and French (among others) derives from uthman (compare to Osmanisches Reich in German). For the third caliph of Islam, see Uthman ibn Affan. ... Uthman
  4. Ali ibn Abi Talib (علي بن أبي طالب) (c. 600 – 661) was the fourth Caliph or successor of Muhammad. He was born at Mecca where his father, Abu Talib, was an uncle of the Prophet. Ali himself was adopted by Muhammad... Ali ibn Abi Talib
  5. Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib (c. 625 - 669) (alternative spelling Hassan) was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, and first son of his daughter Fatima Zahra with Ali ibn Abu Talib. Hasan is a revered figure in Islam, and is considered the second Shia Imam by some Shia sects... Hasan ibn Ali
  6. Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib (c. 626 - October 10, 680) was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, and son of his daughter Fatima Zahra with Ali ibn Abu Talib. Husayn is revered by Muslims, and has a special importance to the Shia as their Third Imam by most shias... Husayn ibn Ali
  7. Ali ibn Husayn, Zainul Abideen, (658 - 713) (alternative spellings include bin, ben for the middle word and Hussain, Husain, Hussein, etc. for the patronomic) was the fourth Shia Imam (see Shia Imams). He was the son of Hussein bin Ali and the great-grandson of Muhammad. Zainul Abideen, or... Ali ibn Husayn
  8. Zayd bin Ali bin Hussayn rather than Imam Muhammad al Baqir (676 - January 31, 743) was the fifth Shia Imam. He was born Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Husayn. Muhammad al Baqir was born in Medina in 676, his father was Ali Zayn al Abidin, the fourth Shia Imam, his mother was the daughter of Hasan named Fatima... Muhammad al Baqir

Zaidis also reject the notion of divinely appointed Imams.


Both Twelver and Sevener Shi'a believe that the last imam (either the seventh or the twelfth) has been occulted, or hidden away by God. He is still alive, and will return. Beliefs vary as to what will happen when the last imam, called the Muhammad al-Mahdi (868 - ?) is the twelfth and final Imam of the Shia. His given name was Muhammad ibn Hasan ibn Ali. When Hasan al Askari died, his estate was divided between his brother Ja‘far and his mother according to the Islamic Law for one who... Mahdi ("the guided one"), returns. It is generally believed that he will be accompanied by Jesus and will affirm Muhammad's message to mankind from God.


Shi'a and Sunni traditions

While the Shi'a and the Sunni accept the same sacred text, the The Quran ( Arabic al-qurʾān أَلْقُرآن; its literal meaning is the recitation and is often called Al Quran Al Karim: The Noble Quran, also transliterated as Quran, Koran, and less commonly Alcoran) is the holy book... Qur'an, they differ somewhat in their approach to recorded oral tradition, or The Hadith (الحديث, pl. Ahadith) is a body of laws, legends and stories about Muhammads way of life, (Arabic, Sunnah which includes his biography or the sira) and the sayings themselves where he elaborated on his choices or offered advice; many parts of the... hadith. Shi'a believe that the split between the Shi'a and Sunni extends back to the time of Muhammad's death, when a small number of the faithful clung to Ali and the rest of the Muslims followed Abu Bakr, then Umar and Uthman. Traditions that can be traced back to the testimony of the faithful are to be trusted, and traditions passed through the other Muslims are suspect. While the Sunni generally accept the hadith collections of Muhammad Ibn Ismail Ibn Ibrahim Ibn al-Mughirah Ibn Bardizbah al-Bukhari محمد بن اسماعيل بن ابراهيم بن المغيرة بن بردزب... Bukhari and Muslim as sahih, or trustworthy, the Shi'a privilege different narrators and different hadith.


Shi'a and Sunni versions of Islamic law

Because Islamic law is based upon the hadith, rejection of some Sunni hadith means that the Shi'a version of the law differs somewhat from the Sunni version. For example, Shiites permit temporary marriages, or mut’a, which can be contracted for months or even days, and follow different inheritance laws.


Shi'a and Sunni belief

Shi'a and Sunni differ not only with regard to history and law, but with regard to belief. Such differences may be summarized as differences regarding:

  • Predestination and free will
  • Prophethood
  • The role of religious scholars

Predestination and free will

Modern Sunnis generally accept a doctrine of predestination. God has ordained all things, including the heart of man. Shi'a stress human free will.


Prophethood

Shi'a believe that the prophets and messengers (Adam being the first prophet and Muhammad the last) appointed by God are impeccable and infallible in every aspect (i.e., in their beliefs, thoughts, actions, speech, etc).


The Mu'tazilite strain of Sunni belief, now extinct, also believed in the infallibility of the prophets. Current Sunni belief (Ash'ari) is that prophets are only infallible in regards to revelation.


The role of religious scholars

Most Sunni scholars, preachers, and judges (collectively known as the ulema) believe that the door of ijtihad is a technical term of the Islamic law and means the process of making a legal decision by independent interpretation of the sources of the law, the Quran and the Sunna. The opposite of ijtihad is taqleed, imitation. The person who applies ijtihad, the mujtahid, must be a scholar... ijtihad, or private judgment, closed some four hundred years after the death of Muhammad. Muslim scholars had been studying Qur'an and hadith for centuries; four schools of law ( Madhhab(مذهب) (Madhahib, pl) is an Islamic term that refers to a school of thought or religious jurisprudence (fiqh) within Sunni Islam. Each of the Ashaab had a unique school of jurisprudence, but these schools were gradually consolidated or discarded so that there are currently four recognized... madhhab) had been developed; there was nothing more to be added to the four schools.


Shi'a scholars believe that the door to ijtihad has never closed. They believe that they can interpret the Qur'an and the Shi'a traditions with the same authority as their predecessors. Generally, the Shi'a clergy have exerted much more authority in the Shi'a community than have the Sunni ulema.


Religious calendar

All Muslims, Sunni or Shi'a, celebrate the following annual holidays:

  • Eid Al-Fitr (عيد الفطر), which marks the end of fasting during the month of Ramadan or Ramadhan (Arabic: رمضان ) is the ninth month of the Islamic year. Siyam or Saum (fasting in English) is the fourth of the Five Pillars of Islam and involves fasting during Ramadan. Timing The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the... Ramadan.
  • Eid Al-Adha, which marks the end of the The Hajj or Haj is the Pilgrimage to Mecca (or, Makkah) and is the fifth of the Five Pillars of Islam. Every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so is obliged to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime. The government of Saudi Arabia... Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca or Makkah (in full: Makkah al-Mukkaramah; Arabic مكة المكرمة) is revered as the holiest site of Islam, and a pilgrimage to it is required of all Muslims who can afford to go. The term Mecca has into common usage metaphorically... Mecca.

Both Sunni and Shi'a celebrate:

  • Mawlid al-Nabi is a celebration of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam. The day is fixed at the 12th day of the month of Rabi al-Awwal in the Muslim calendar. Muhammad was born about 570 CE and passed away in 632 CE. During his life... Milad al-Nabi, Muhammad is a common male name for Muslims. For other prominent Muhammads, see Muhammad (disambiguation) Muhammad  listen? ( Arabic محمد, also transliterated Mohammad, Mohammed, Muhammed, and formerly Mahomet, following the Latin) is revered by Muslims as the final prophet of God. According to his traditional Muslim biographies... Muhammad's birth date. However, the Sunni celebrate on the 12th of Rabbi al-Awwal and the Shi'a celebrate on the 17th of Rabbi al-Awwal. The Shi'a celebration coincides with the birth date of the sixth imam, Imam Jafar As-Sadiq (April 20, 702 – December 4, 765), in full Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn Zayn ibn Husayn, was the sixth Shia imam, and a theologian and jurist. His rulings are the basis of the Jafari school of Shia jurisprudence (fiqh); but he is well respected by both... Ja'far al-Sadiq.
  • The Day of Aashurah, sometimes spelled ‘Ashurah or Aashoorah, falls on the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar. It commemorates the death of Husayn bin Ali, the grandson of Muhammad and the third Imam of the Shias, at the Battle of Karbala in the year 61... Ashurah (عاشوراء). For Shiites, this commemorates Imam Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib (c. 626 - October 10, 680) was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, and son of his daughter Fatima Zahra with Ali ibn Abu Talib. Husayn is revered by Muslims, and has a special importance to the Shia as their Third Imam by most shias... Husayn bin Ali's martyrdom. It is a day of deep mourning. For Sunnis, it is the anniversary of several prophetic events, including the drowning of This article refers to the historical Pharaoh. For Pharaoh in the Book of Abraham, see Pharaoh (Book of Abraham). Pharaoh (פַּרְעֹה, Standard Hebrew Parʿo, Tiberian Hebrew Parʿōh) is a title used to refer to the kings (of godly... Pharaoh. Ashurah occurs on the 10th of Muharram.

Shi'a alone observe these occasions:

  • Arbaeen (اربعين, Arabic forty) is a Shia religious holiday that occurs forty days after Aashura, the commemoration of the martyrdom by beheading of Husayn bin Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Husayn and 72 supporters died in the Battle of Karbala in... Arba'een, which commemorates the suffering of the women and children of Imam Husayn's household. After Husayn was killed, they were marched over the desert, from Karbala (central Iraq) to Shaam (Damascus, Syria). Many children died of thirst and exposure along the route. Arba'een occurs on the 20th of Safar, 40 days after Ashurah.
  • Eid al-Ghadeer, which celebrates Ghadir Khum, the occasion upon which Shi'a believe Muhammad announced Ali's imamate before a multitude of Muslims. Eid al-Ghadeer is held on the 18th of Dhil-Hijjah.
  • Al-Mubahila celebrates a meeting between the This is an Arabic phrase literally translated as People of the House, or family. In the Islamic tradition, the Ahlul Bayt, or Ahl-e-Bayth, are the progeny of the Prophet Muhammed through his daughter Fatimas marriage with his cousin Ali resulting in their children Hasan and Hussein. Shiites... household of the prophet Muhammad and a Christian deputation from Najran. Ak-Mubahila is held on the 24th of Dhil-Hijjah.

Twelvers celebrate the

  • Mid of Shaban, the birth date of the twelfth and final imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi (868 - ?) is the twelfth and final Imam of the Shia. His given name was Muhammad ibn Hasan ibn Ali. When Hasan al Askari died, his estate was divided between his brother Ja‘far and his mother according to the Islamic Law for one who... Muhammad al-Mahdi.

History of the Shi'a

Modern Sunni-Shi'a relations

Many Sunnis refuse to accept the Shi'a as fellow Muslims, calling them "bringers of bid'a" -- bid'a, or innovation, being regarded as necessarily wrong. The Shi'a in turn believe that the Sunni have yielded to power and the temptations of ease and wealth, and that only the Shi'a have kept faith with Muhammad's original intentions. The communities have remained separate, mingling only during the Hajj.


Modern Shi'a have generally been tolerant towards the Sunni, tolerating them even when the state religion is Shi'a, as in Iran. However, when attacked (as in Pakistan) they have retaliated violently.


Modern mainstream Sunni have also become less confrontational. The renowned Al-Azhar Islamic university in Cairo Egypt Al-Azhar University is connected to the mosque in Cairo named to honor Fatima Az-Zahraa, the daughter of Muhammad, from whom the Fatimid Dynasty claimed descent. The mosque was built in two years from 971 CE. The school of theology (madrassa) connected... al-Azhar Theological school in The Arab Republic of Egypt, commonly known as Egypt, (in Arabic: مصر, romanized Mişr or Maşr, in Egyptian dialect) is a republic mostly located in northeastern Africa. Covering an area of about 1,020,000 km², it includes the Sinai Peninsula (considered part of... Egypt, one of the main centers of Sunni scholarship in the world, announced the following on July 6, 1959:

"The Shi'a is a school of thought that is religiously correct to follow in worship as are other Sunni schools of thought."

Al-Azhar's official position in this regard remains unchanged to this day. However, Muslims like the Flag flown by the Taliban. It is white, with the shahadah written in black. The Taliban (Pashtun and Persian: طالبان; students of Islam), also transliterated as Taleban, is an Islamist movement which ruled most of Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, despite having diplomatic recognition from... Taliban, Al-Qaeda (Arabic: القاعدة, the foundation or the base) is the name given to a worldwide network of militant Islamist organizations under the leadership of Osama bin Laden. Built on the the mujahideen resistance movement against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, it seeks to... Al-Qaeda, and the The Islamic Republic of Pakistan (پاکستان in Urdu), or Pakistan, is a country located in South Asia. Pakistan borders India, Iran, Afghanistan, China and the Arabian Sea. With over 150 million inhabitants it is the sixth most populous country in the world. It also... Pakistani Islamism is a political ideology derived from the conservative religious views of Muslim fundamentalism. It holds Islam is not only a religion, but a political system that also governs the legal, economic and social imperatives of the state. The goal of Islamism is to re-shape the state by implementing... Islamist parties still regard Shi'a as heretics, and have been responsible for many attacks on Shi'a gatherings at mosques and shrines.


See also

  • Succession to Muhammad
  • Ali ibn Abi Talib (علي بن أبي طالب) (c. 600 – 661) was the fourth Caliph or successor of Muhammad. He was born at Mecca where his father, Abu Talib, was an uncle of the Prophet. Ali himself was adopted by Muhammad... Ali ibn Abi Talib
  • Karbalā (كربلاء; also transliterated as Kerbala or Kerbela) is a city in Iraq, located about 100 km southwest of Baghdad at 32.61°N, 44.08°E. The estimated population in 2003 was 572,300 people. It is the capital of Al Karbala Province... Karbala
  • Twelvers or the Ithna Asharia are members of the group of Shias who believe in twelve Imams. The Twelvers are the largest Shia school of thought, predominant in Iran. Among the more notable persons belonging to this denomination in modern history is Ayatollah Khomeini. Alternate names The Twelvers are also... Jafari
  • Imam is an Arabic word meaning Leader. The ruler of a country might be called the Imam, for example. The term, however, has important connotations in the Islamic tradition. Prayer leader The common everyday use of the word is for a person leading Muslim congregational prayers. In this meaning Imam... Imam
  • The Fatimid Empire or Fatimid Caliphate ruled North Africa from A.D. 909 to 1171. The term Fatimite is sometimes used to refer to citizens of the Empire/Caliphate. The name Fatimid is derived from the name of daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, Fatima az-Zahra. The dynasty and its... Fatimids
  • The Ismaili ( اسماعيلي, Persian Esmaaili) branch of Islam is the second-largest Shia community, after the Twelvers who are dominant in Iran. The Ismailis are found primarily in Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and East Africa... Ismailis
  • Sunni Islam (Arabic سنّة) is the largest denomination of Islam. Followers of the Sunni tradition are known as Sunnis or Sunnites, and sometimes refer to themselves as the Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jamaah. It is widely believed among Sunnis that the name Sunni derives from the word... Sunni Islam
  • The Iraqi opposition can refer to two things: Pre-2003 : Iraqi anti-Saddam groups were composed of a number of groups in Iraq opposed to the Saddam regime. Post-2003 : The collective term usually denoting Iraqi resistance opposed to the American-led coalition forces and Iraqi security forces... Iraqi opposition
  • Sects Within Shiism there are various sects that differ over the number of Imams, or path of succession. The issue of who is the rightful Imam has led to the growth of numerous sects within Shiism including: Ismailis (Seveners), Zaidis (Fivers), Alawites, Druze, and others. Ithna Ashariya According to the... Shia Imams
  • Zaiddiyah (also: Zaidi, Zaydi, or in the West Fivers) refers to a sect within Shia Islam. Zaidi separated from the main Shia branch (the Twelvers) over a disagreement as to who the fifth Imam was. Twelvers believe it was Muhammad al-Baqir, while Zaidis hold that it was his half... Zaidi
  • Dawoodi Bohras are a Mustali subsect of Ismaili Shia Muslims based primarily in India and Pakistan. Their spiritual leader is Dr. Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin. He is known as the Dail Mutlaq and is the 52nd Dai in an unbroken chain of Dais. The Bohras believe that the... Dawoodi Bohras
  • Grand Ayatollah al-Shirazi
  • Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr, who recently won the Templeton Award for teaching the best course in Islam in America. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Iranian-born philosopher and renowned scholar of Islam, for his view of ecology, comparative religion and sufism. Like Thomas Berry the Catholic scholar of reconciliation with creation, Nasr... Seyyed Hossein Nasr
  • Allameh Tabatabaei
  • Mulla Sadra

Books

Shi'a texts:

  • The Quran ( Arabic al-qurʾān أَلْقُرآن; its literal meaning is the recitation and is often called Al Quran Al Karim: The Noble Quran, also transliterated as Quran, Koran, and less commonly Alcoran) is the holy book... Qur'an
  • The Nahj al Balagha (Peak of Eloquence) is the most famous collection of speeches and letters by Ali ibn Abi Talib, accepted as the fourth of the Caliphs by Sunni Muslims and the first of the Imams by Shia Muslims. External link The Nahj al Balagha in English and Arabic... Nahj al Balagha; the sermons and letters of Ali.
  • Mafatih al-janan; a collection of prayers.
  • Usul i Kafi; a collection of hadiths.

Academic sources:

  • Shi'Ite Islam by Muhammed H. Al-Tabataba'i
  • Expectation of the Millennium: Shi'Ism in History by Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr, who recently won the Templeton Award for teaching the best course in Islam in America. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Iranian-born philosopher and renowned scholar of Islam, for his view of ecology, comparative religion and sufism. Like Thomas Berry the Catholic scholar of reconciliation with creation, Nasr... Seyyed Hossein Nasr.
  • Shi'ism Doctrines, Thought, and Spirituality by Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr, who recently won the Templeton Award for teaching the best course in Islam in America. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Iranian-born philosopher and renowned scholar of Islam, for his view of ecology, comparative religion and sufism. Like Thomas Berry the Catholic scholar of reconciliation with creation, Nasr... Seyyed Hossein Nasr.

External links

  • Grand Ayatollah Naraghi's commemorative website (http://www.naraqi.com/)
  • Noor Fiqh Library (http://www.noornet.net/)
  • Imam Ali commemorative website (http://www.imamalinet.net/)
  • The Islamic Propagation Office of The Islamic Seminary in Qom (http://www.balagh.net/)
  • Ayatollah Beheshti's commemorative website (http://www.beheshti.org/)
  • Ayatollah Khamenei's Office (http://www.wilayah.ir/)
  • Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani website (http://www.lankarani.org/)
  • Ayatollah Seyd Mohammad Shahroudi's website (http://www.shahroudi.com/)
  • Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi website (http://www.makaremshirazi.org/)
  • Ayatollah Tabrizi website (http://farsi.tabrizi.org/)
  • Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi website (http://www.mesbahyazdi.org/)
  • Ayatollah Noori-Hamedani website (http://www.noorihamedani.com/)
  • Ayatollah Sayyed Hassan Abtahi's website (http://www.abtahi.com/)
  • Ayatollah Qara'ati's website (http://www.qaraati.net/)
  • Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili's website (http://www.ardebili.com/)
  • Ayatollah Gharvi-Aliari's website (http://www.gharavi-aliari.com/)
  • Ayatollah Saafi Golpayegani's website (http://www.saafi.net/)
  • Dar-ul Hadith Institute (http://www.hadith.net/)
  • Hawzah Yellow Pages (http://rahnama.noornet.net/)
  • Qom's main Seminary website (http://hawzah.net) (called The Hawzah)
  • Al-Shirazi Website (http://www.shirazi.org.uk)
  • Al-Shia Website (http://www.al-shia.com)
  • Al-Islam.org Ahlul Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project (http://www.al-islam.org/)
  • Shi'ite Encyclopedia (http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia)
  • Answering-Ansar.org  (http://www.answering-ansar.org/)
  • Imam AL-KHOEI islamic center, Jamica, New York (http://www.al-khoei.org/)
  • A list of Shi'a Ulema (http://www.al-shia.com/html/eng/ser/ulama/ola_h.php)

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