Shia Islam Shia Islam (Arabic: ????? Shi’ah, sometimes spelled Shi’a), is the second largest denomination of Islam, after Sunni Islam. The followers of Shia Islam are called Shi’as but the terms Shiites or Shi’ites are common Anglicisations. “Shia” is the short form of the historic phrase Shi’atu ‘Ali (???? ??? ), meaning “the followers of Ali” or “the faction of Ali”.  Similar to other schools of thought in Islam, Shia Islam is based on the teachings of the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an and the message of the final prophet of Islam, Muhammad. 3] In contrast to other schools of thought, Shia Islam holds that Muhammad’s family, the Ahl al-Bayt (“the People of the House”), and certain individuals among his descendants, who are known as Imams, have special spiritual and political authority over the community.  Shia Muslims further believe that Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, was the first of these Imams and was the rightful successor to Muhammad and thus reject the legitimacy of the first three caliphs.  Shias regard Ali as the most important figure after Muhammad.
According to them, Muhammad suggested on various occasions during his lifetime that Ali should be the leader of Muslims after his demise. According to this view, Ali as the successor of Muhammad not only ruled over the community in justice, but also interpreted the Sharia Law and its esoteric meaning. Hence he was regarded as being free from error and sin (infallible), and appointed by God by divine decree (nass) to be the first Imam.  Ali is known as “perfect man” (al-insan al-kamil) similar to Muhammad according to Shia viewpoint. 8] Contents[hide] * 1 Doctrine * 2 Beliefs * 2. 1 Succession of Ali * 2. 2 Imamate of the Ahl al-Bayt * 2. 3 Ismah * 2. 4 Intercession * 2. 5 Clergy * 2. 6 The Occultation * 3 History * 3. 1 Origin * 3. 2 Safavid * 3. 2. 1 Akhbaris versus Usulis * 3. 2. 2 Majlisi * 4 Community * 4. 1 Demographics * 4. 2 Persecution * 4. 2. 1 Pakistan * 4. 3 Calendar * 4. 4 Holy cities * 5 Branches * 5. 1 Twelver * 5. 1. 1 The Twelve Imams * 5. . 2 Principles of the Religion (Usul al-Din) * 5. 1. 3 Ancillaries of the Faith (Furu al-Din) * 5. 1. 4 Ja’fari jurispudence * 5. 1. 5 Role of religious scholars * 5. 1. 6 Guardianship of the Jurisprudent * 5. 2 Ismaili * 5. 2. 1 Isma’ili Imams * 5. 2. 2 The Pillars of the Isma’ili * 5. 2. 3 ‘Aql * 5. 2. 4 Contemporary leadership * 5. 3 Zaidiyya * 5. 3. 1 Zaidi Imams * 5. 3. 2 Law * 5. 3. 3 Theology * 5. 3. 4 Unique Beliefs * 5. 3. Zaidi States * 5. 4 Ghulat * 6 See also * 7 Notes * 8 References * 8. 1 Further reading * 9 External links| Doctrine The position of Ali is supported by numerous Hadith, including Hadith of the pond of Khumm, Hadith of the two weighty things, Hadith of the pen and paper, Hadith of the invitation of the close families, and Hadith of the Twelve Successors. In particular, the Hadith of the Cloak is often quoted to illustrate Muhammad’s feeling towards Ali and his family. Therefore, collections of sermons attributed to Ali are revered by Shi’as.
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Although there were several Shia branches through history, nowadays Shi’a Islam is divided into three main branches.  The largest Shia sect in the early 21st century is the Ithna ? Ashariyyah, commonly referred to in English as the Twelvers. Twelvers constitute the majority of the population in Iran, Azerbaijan, Bahrain,, and Iraq. Countries with a significant minority of Shia are Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Oman and Yemen.
Other smaller branches include the Ismaili and Zaidi, who dispute the Twelver lineage of Imams and beliefs.  The Shia Islamic faith is vast and inclusive of many different groups.  There are various Shia theological beliefs, schools of jurisprudence, philosophical beliefs, and spiritual movements.  Shi’a Islam embodies a completely independent system of religious interpretation and political authority in the Muslim world.  The Shi’a identity emerged during the lifetime of Muhammad, and Shia theology was formulated in the second century. 16] The first Shi’a governments and societies were established by the end of the third century (after Hijra).  Beliefs Succession of Ali Main article: Shi’a view of Ali Shi’ah Muslims believe that just as a prophet is appointed by God alone, only God has the prerogative to appoint the successor to his prophet. They believe that God chose ‘Ali to be the successor, infallible and divinely chosen. Thus they say that Muhammad, before his death, appointed Ali as his successor. The Investiture of Ali at Ghadir Khumm (MS Arab 161, fol. 62r, AD 1309/8 Ilkhanid manuscript illustration) . Ali was Muhammad’s first cousin and closest living male relative, as well as his son-in-law, having married his daughter Fatimah.  ‘Ali would eventually become the fourth Muslim caliph.  Shia Muslims believe that Muhammad had appointed ‘Ali to be his successor.  However, others made arrangements that prevented ‘Ali from being recognised as such for thirty-five years. When Muhammad died, ‘Ali and Muhammad’s closest relatives made the funeral arrangements.
While they were preparing his body, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and Abu ‘Ubayda met with the leaders of Medina and elected Abu Bakr as khalifa (“caliph”). ‘Ali and his family were dismayed, but accepted the appointment for the sake of unity in the early Muslim community.  It was not until the murder of the third khalifa, ‘Uthman, that the Muslims in Medina invited ‘Ali to become the fourth khalifa.  While ‘Ali was caliph, his capital was in Kufah, Iraq.  ‘Ali’s rule over the early Muslim community was often contested. As a result, he had to struggle to maintain his power, waging “increasingly unsuccessful wars. After Ali’s murder in 661 CE, his main rival Mu’awiya claimed the caliphate.  Some of the problems came from the very people who had initially supported ‘Ali’s claim to rule. While the rebels who accused ‘Uthman of nepotism affirmed ‘Ali’s khilafa, they later turned against him and fought him.  ‘Ali ruled from 656 CE to 661 CE, when he was assassinated.  while prostrating (sujud) in prayer. Imamate of the Ahl al-Bayt The Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Tomb of Muhammad in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Main article: Status of a Shia Imam
Most of the early Shia as well as Zaydis differed only marginaly from mainstream Sunnis in their views on political leadership, but it is possible in this sect to see a refinement of Shia doctrine. Early Sunnis traditionally held that the political leader must come from the tribe of Muhammad???namely, the Quraysh. The Zaydis narrowed the political claims of the Ali’s supporters, claiming that not just any descendant of ‘Ali would be eligible to lead the Muslim community (ummah) but only those males directly descended from Mu? ammad through the union of ‘Ali and Fa? mah. But during the Abbasid revolts, other Shia, who came to be known as imamiyyah (followers of the Imams), followed the theological school of Ja’far al-Sadiq. They asserted a more exalted religious role for Imams and insisted that, at any given time, whether in power or not, a single male descendant of ‘Ali and Fa? imah was the divinely appointed Imam and the sole authority, in his time, on all matters of faith and law. To those Shi? ites, love of the imams and of their persecuted cause became as important as belief in God’s oneness and the mission of Muhammad. 23] Later most of Shia, including Twelver and Ismaili, became Imami. Imamis Shia believe that Imams are the spiritual and political successors to Muhammad.  Imams are human individual who not only rule over the community with justice, but also are able to keep and interpret the Divine Law and its esoteric meaning. Muhammad and Imams’ words and deeds are a guide and model for the community to follow; as a result, they must be free from error and sin, and must be chosen by divine decree, or nass, through Muhammad. 24] According to this view, there is always an Imam of the Age, who is the divinely appointed authority on all matters of faith and law in the Muslim community. ‘Ali was the first Imam of this line, the rightful successor to Muhammad, followed by male descendants of Muhammad through his daughter Fatimah Zahra.  This difference between following either the Ahl al-Bayt (Muhammad’s family and descendants) or the Caliph Abu Bakr has shaped Shia and non-Shia views on some of the Qur’an, the Hadith (narrations from Muhammad) and other areas of Islam.
For instance, the collection of Hadith venerated by Shia Muslims is centered on narrations by members of the Ahl al-Bayt and their supporters, while some Hadith by narrators not belonging to or supporting the Ahl al-Bayt are not included (those of Abu Huraira, for example). According to the Sunnis, Ali was the fourth successor to Abu Bakr however, the Shia maintain that Ali was the first divinely sanctioned “Imam,” or successor of Muhammad. The seminal event in Shia history is the martyrdom in 80 CE at the Battle of Karbala of Ali’s son Hussein, who led an non-allegiance movement against the defiant caliph (71 of Hussein’s followers were killed as well). Hussein came to symbolize resistance to tyranny. It is believed in Twelver and Ismaili Shi’ah Islam that ‘aql, divine wisdom, was the source of the souls of the prophets and imams and gave them esoteric knowledge called ? ikmah and that their sufferings were a means of divine grace to their devotees.  Although the imam was not the recipient of a divine revelation, he had a close relationship with God, through which God guides him, and the Imam in turn guides the people.
Imamate, or belief in the divine guide is a fundamental belief in the Twelver and Ismaili Shi’i branches and is based on the concept that God would not leave humanity without access to divine guidance.  photo of qiblah of imam mustansir in Fatemid masjid of Cairo showing Kalema-tut-shahadat ‘la-ilaha-‘ In one of the Qiblah of Imam mustansir of Fatemi era masjid of Qahira (Mosque of Ahmed-ibn-tulun) engraved his name and “kalema? tut? sahadat”(pl. see right) as ‘La ? ilah? ilal? lah, Mohamad? un? rasul? al? lah Ali ???un? vali ? l ???lah’ . Fundamental first phrase “La- ilaha-ill-al-lah” is foundation stone of Islaam the belief that “there is no god but Allah”. This is confession of “Tauhid”. The second phrase “Mohammad-un ???rasul-al-lah” fulfil the requirement that there should be some one to guide in the name of Allah, which tells”Mohammad is Allah’s “Rasul”, “Nabi”,the Messanger ,Apostle”. This is acceptance of “Nabuvat” of Mohammad. Nabi Mohammad declared Ali bin Abu Talib as his successor and told that “for whoever I am a ‘Moula’ of them Ali is his ‘Moula'”.
Hence, the kalma required further confession the third phrase “Ali-un- vali-ul-lah” ,means “Ali is his(Mohammad’s) “Vali” ,”vasi” , the real care taker, stressing the need that for continuation of faith there is requirement of “Vali” , which is one and only “Imam after Imam ” ,which are realy taking care of Islaam, hence This is also confession of ” Imamat”, Kalema-tut-shahadat make three Islamic teaching “Tauhid”, “Nabuwat” and “Imamate” together . In this devotion to god, his Nabi Mohammad and Imam are so linked together that these can not be viewed separately.
One leads to other and finally to God the “Allah” almighty. Ismah Main article: Ismah Ismah is the concept of infallibility or “divinely bestowed freedom from error and sin” in Islam.  Muslims believe that Muhammad and other prophets in Islam possessed ‘i? mah. Twelver and Ismaili Shi’ah Muslims also attribute the quality to Imams as well as to Fatima Zahra, daughter of Muhammad, in contrast to the Zaidi, who do not attribute ‘ismah to the Imams. According to Shi’ah theologians, infallibility is considered a rational necessary precondition for spiritual and religious guidance.
They argue that since God has commanded absolute obedience from these figures they must only order that which is right. The state of infallibility is based on the Shi’ah interpretation of the verse of purification. [Qur’an??33:33] Thus they are, the most pure ones, the only immaculate ones preserved from, and immune to, all uncleanness.  It doesn’t mean that supernatural powers prevent them from committing a sin, but it is due to the fact that they have an absolute belief in God so that they find themselves in presence of God.  They have also complete knowledge about God’s will.
They are in possession of all the knowledge brought by the angels to the prophets (nabi) and the messengers (Rasul). Their knowledge encompasses the totality of all times. Thus they act without fault in religious matters.  Intercession Main article: Tawassul Tawassul (Arabic: ????? ) is an Islamic religious practice in which a Muslim seeks nearness to God. A rough translation would be: “To draw near to what one seeks after and to approach that which one desires. ” The exact definition and method of tawassul is a matter of some dispute within the Muslim community.
Muslims who practice tawassul point to the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book, as the origin of the practice. Many Muslims believe it is a commandment upon them to “draw near” to God.  Amongst Sufi and Barelwi Muslims within Sunni Islam, as well as Twelver Shi’a Muslims, it refers to the act of supplicating to God through a prophet, imam or Sufi saint, whether dead or alive.  Clergy Main article: Shia clergy | Please help improve this article by expanding it. Further information might be found on the talk page. (January 2009)| The Occultation Main article: The Occultation | Please help improve this article by expanding it.
Further information might be found on the talk page. (January 2009)| The Occultation in Shi’a Islam refers to a belief that the messianic figure, the Mahdi, is an Imam who has disappeared and will one day return and fill the world with justice. Some Shi’a, such as the Zaidi and Nizari Ismaili, do not believe in the idea of the Occultation. The groups which do believe in it differ upon which lineage of imamate is correct, and therefore which individual has gone into the Occultation. They believe there are many signs that will indicate the time of his return. History Origin
There are three theories about the emergence of Shi’a Islam. One of them emphasizes the political struggle about the succession of Muhammad after his death and especially during the First Fitna.  According to this theory, early in the history of Islam, the Shia were a political faction (party of ‘Ali) that supported caliphate of ? Ali ibn Abi ? alib and, later, of his descendants. Starting as a political faction, this group gradually developed into a religious movement.  The other one emphasizes on different interpretation of Islam which led to different understanding about the role of caliphs and ulamas.
Hossein Nasr has written: Shi’ism was not brought into existence only by the question of the political succession to Muhammad as so many Western works claim (although this question was of course of great importance). The problem of political succession may be said to be the element that crystallized the Shi’ites into a distinct group, and political suppression in later periods, especially the martyrdom of Imam Husayn-upon whom be peace-only accentuated this tendency of the Shi’ites to see themselves as a separate community within the Islamic world.
The principal cause of the coming into being of Shi’ism, however, lies in the fact that this possibility existed within the Islamic revelation itself and so had to be realized. Inasmuch as there were exoteric [Zaheri] and esoteric [Bateni] interpretations from the very beginning, from which developed the schools (madhhab) of the Sharia and Sufism in the Sunni world, there also had to be an interpretation of Islam, which would combine these elements in a single whole.
This possibility was realized in Shi’ism, for which the Imam is the person in whom these two aspects of traditional authority are united and in whom the religious life is marked by a sense of tragedy and martyrdom… Hence the question which arose was not so much who should be the successor of Muhammad as what the function and qualifications of such a person would be.  And the last one emphasizes Abdullah ibn Saba’, a Jew who converted to Islam, who created Shia Islam when Ali ruled.
This claim has been challenged by modern scholars, some of whom have disputed the existence of Abdullah ibn Saba, and have also suggested that this account is possibly an attempt to further de-legitimize Shi’ism. Furthermore, anti-Shi’i proponents suggest that the Shia have tried to blur the existence of Abdullah ibn Saba to erase their real origin. Nonetheless, there is no evidence supporting this claim.  Safavid Further information: Safavid conversion of Iran from Sunnism to Shiism A major turning point in Shia history was the Safavid dynasty in Persia. The ending of the relative mutual tolerance between Sunnis and Shiis that existed from the time of the Mongol conquests onwards and the resurgence of antagonism between the two groups. * A sharpening of doctrinal purity and concentration on law and the external observances of the religion, rejecting Sufism and philosophy and minimising the esoteric aspects of the religion. * The beginning of the emergence of an independent body of ulama capable of taking a political stand different from the policies of the state. The growth in importance of Iranian centers of religious learning and change from Twelver Shiism being a predominantly Arab phenomenon.  * The growth of the Akhbari School which preached that only the Qur’an, a? adith in deriving verdicts, rejected the use of reasoning. With the fall of the Safavids, the state in Persia – including the state system of courts with government-appointed judges (qadis) – became much weaker, This gave the Sharia courts of mujtahids an opportunity to fill in the slack and enabled “the ulama to assert their judicial authority. ” The Usuli School also increased in strength at this time. 40] Akhbaris versus Usulis The Akhbari movement “crystalized” as a “separate movement” with the writings of Muhammad Amin al-Astarabadi (d. 1627 A. D. ) It rejected the use of reasoning in deriving verdicts, and believed only the Qur’an, a? adith, (prophetic sayings and recorded opinions of the Imams) and consensus should be used as sources to derive verdicts (fatwas). Unlike Usulis, Akhbaris did and do not follow marja’s who practice ijtihad.  It achieved its greatest influence in the late Safavid and early post-Safavid era when it dominated Twelver Shi’a Islam. 42] However, shortly thereafter Muhammad Baqir Behbahani (d. 1792), along with other Usuli mujtahids, crushed the Akhbari movement.  and it remains now in the Shia Muslim world only as a small minority. One result of the resolution of this conflict was the rise in importance of the concept of ijtihad and the position of the mujtahid (as opposed to other ulema) in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It was from this time that the division of the Shia world into mujtahid (those who could follow their own independent judgment) and muqallid (those who had to follow the rulings of a mujtahid) took place.
According to author Moojan Momen, “up to the middle of the 19th century there were very few mujtahids (three or four) anywhere at any one time,” but “several hundred existed by the end of the 19th century. ”  Majlisi “One of the most powerful and influential Shi’i ulama of all time” also preached during this era. Working during the Safavid era, Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, worked diligently to rid Twelver Shi’ism of the influence of Sufiism (which had been closely linked to Shi’ism) and philosophy, and propagate strict adherence to obedience of Islamic law (sharia). 45] Majlisi promoted specifically Shi’i rituals such as mourning for Imam Husayn ibn Ali and visitation (ziyarat) of the tombs of the Imams and Imamzadas; and stressed “the concept of the Imams as mediators and intercessors for man with God. “ Community Demographics Main article: Demographics of Islam It is estimated that 10-15% of the world’s Muslims are Shi’a, with 200 million Shi’a Muslims worldwide.  Shi’a Muslims also constitute over 35% of the population in Lebanon, over 45% of the population in
Yemen, over 20% of the population in Kuwait, 10-15% of the population (primarily Alevi,) in Turkey, 10-15% of the population in Pakistan, and over 10% of population in Afghanistan.  Nations with populations of more than one million Shi’as include (in descending order): Iran, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Turkey, Yemen, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Lebanon, and Tanzania.  Significant Shi’a communities exist on the coastal regions of West Sumatra and Aceh in Indonesia (see Tabuik). The Shi’a presence is negligible elsewhere in Southeast Asia, where Muslims are predominantly Shafi’i Sunnis.
A significant syncretic Shi’a minority is present in Nigeria, centered around the state of Kano (see Shia in Nigeria). East Africa holds several populations of Ismaili Shia, primarily descendants of immigrants from South Asia during the colonial period, such as the Khoja. According to Shi’a Muslims, one of the lingering problems in estimating Shi’a population is that unless Shi’a form a significant minority in a Muslim country, the entire population is often listed as Sunni. The reverse, however, has not held true, which may contribute to imprecise estimates of the size of each sect.
For example, the 1926 rise of the House of Saud in Arabia brought official discrimination against Shi’a.  Nations with over 100,000 Shi’a| Country| Shi’a population| Percent of Muslim population that is Shi’a| Percent of global Shi’a population| Iran| 66,000,000 – 70,000,000| 90 – 95| 37 – 40| Pakistan| 17,000,000 – 26,000,000| 10 – 15| 10 – 15| India| 16,000,000 – 24,000,000| 10 – 15| 9 – 14| Iraq| 19,000,000 – 22,000,000| 65 – 70| 11 – 12| Turkey| 7,000,000 – 11,000,000| 10 – 15| 4 – 6| Yemen| 8,000,000 – 10,000,000| 35 – 40| 5| Azerbaijan| 5,000,000 – 7,000,000| 65 – 75| 3 – 4| Afghanistan| 3,000,000 – 4,000,000| 10 – 15|