Shia Islam

Shia Islam or Shi’ism is one of the two main branches of Islam. It holds that the Islamic prophet Muhammad designated Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor and the Imam (leader) after him, most notably at the event of Ghadir Khumm, but was prevented from the caliphate as a result of the incident of Saqifah. This view primarily contrasts with that of Sunni Islam, whose adherents believe that Muhammad did not appoint a successor and consider Abu Bakr, who was appointed caliph by a group of Muslims at Saqifah, to be the first rightful caliph after Muhammad. A person observing Shia Islam is called a Shi’i.


Shia Islam is based on Muhammad’s hadith (Ghadir Khumm). Shia consider Ali to have been divinely appointed as the successor to Muhammad, and as the first Imam. The Shia also extend this Imammah to Muhammad’s family, the Ahl al-Bayt (“the people/family of the House”), and some individuals among his descendants, known as Imams, who they believe possess special spiritual and political authority over the community, infallibility and other divinely ordained traits. Although there are many Shia subsects, modern Shia Islam has been divided into two main groupings: Twelvers and Ismailis, with Twelver Shia being the largest and most influential group among Shia. 

Defense Protection Threat Immune System Imunabwehr


Ismah Ismah or ‘Isma (عِصْمَة‎; literally, “protection”) is the concept of incorruptible innocence, immunity from sin, or moral infallibility in Islamic theology, and which is especially prominent in Shia Islam. In Shia theology, ‘ismah is characteristic of prophets, imams, and angels. When attributed to human beings, ismah means “the ability of avoiding acts of disobedience, in spite of having...

Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal

Hadith of Warning

Hadith of Warning The Hadith of Warning or Yawm al-Inzar (یوْمُ الْاِنذار‎), also known as the Invitation of the close families of Muhammad (دعوة ذو العشیرة – Da‘wat dhul-‘Ashīrah), was a hadith in which the Islamic prophet Muhammad attempted to warn his relatives to become Muslim. Narration The hadith is narrated in the context of the revelation of Ash-Shu’ara,...

Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, Iraq, where Ali is buried.

Shia View of Ali

Shia View of Ali Ali ibn Abi Talib was the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and a member of the Ahl al-Bayt. Shias regard Ali as the first Imam and consider him, along with his descendants, to be one of the divinely appointed successors of Muhammad who are claimed by the Shia...

Imamah (Shia doctrine)


Imamate in Shia doctrine In Shia Islam, the Imamate (Imamah, إمامة‎) is a doctrine which asserts that certain individuals from the lineage of the Islamic prophet Muhammad are to be accepted as leaders and guides of the ummah after the death of Muhammad. Imamah further says that Imams possess divine...

Hujjat-Allah al-Mahdi

Occultation in Shia Islam

Occultation in Shia Islam Occultation in Shia Islam refers to a belief that the messianic figure known as the Mahdi, a cultivated male descendant of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, has already been born and subsequently went into hiding, from which he will one day emerge and establish a global Islamic...

Al Azhar Mosque Cairo Egypt Africa North Africa


Ismailism Ismailism ( الإسماعيلية‎, al-ʾIsmāʿīlīyah; اسماعیلیان‎, Esmâ’īliyân) is a branch or sub-sect of Shia Islam. The Ismāʿīlī get their name from their acceptance of Imam Ismaʻil ibn Jafar as the appointed spiritual successor (imām) to Ja’far al-Sadiq, wherein they differ from the Twelvers who accept Musa al-Kadhim, younger brother of Ismaʻil, as the true Imām. Ismailism rose at one point to...

Qurʾān with illuminated manuscript pages featuring ink, gold, and lapis, late 18th–early 19th century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Louis E. and Theresa S. Seley Purchase Fund for Islamic Art, 2009 (accession no. 2009.294);


Zaidiyyah Zaidiyyah or Zaidism (الزيدية‎ az-zaydiyya, adjective form Zaidi or Zaydi; occasionally known as Fivers) is one of the Shia sects closest in terms of theology to the Ibadi and Muʿtazila schools. Zaidiyyah emerged in the eighth century out of Shi’a Islam. Zaidis are named after Zayd ibn ʻAlī, the grandson of Husayn ibn ʻAlī and the son of their...

Calligraphic representation of the Twelve Imams along with that of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Twelve Imams

The Twelve Imams The Twelve Imams (ٱلَأَئِمَّة ٱلْٱثْنَا عَشَر‎, al-ʾAʾimmah al-ʾIthnā ʿAšar; دوازده امام‎, Davâzdah Emâm) are the spiritual and political successors to the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Twelver branch of Shia Islam, including that of the Alawite and Alevi sects. According to the theology of Twelvers, the Twelve Imams are exemplary human individuals who not only rule...

The image contains stylized Bismillah ar-Rahman, ar-Raheem with Allah being bigger than Bissmillah & ar-Rahman & ar-Rahim over the names of Fourteen Infallibles


Twelver Twelver (ٱثْنَا عَشَرِيَّة‎; ʾIthnā ʿAšarīyah, شیعه دوازده‌امامی‎, Šī’eh-ye Davâzdah-Emâmī), also known as Imamiyyah (إِمَامِيَّة‎), is the largest branch of Shia Islam. The term Twelver refers to its adherents’ belief in twelve divinely ordained leaders, known as the Twelve Imams, and their belief that the last Imam, Imam al-Mahdi, lives in occultation and will reappear as the promised Mahdi. According to Shia tradition,...

A representation of the sword of Ali, the Zulfiqar in an Ottoman emblem.


Alevism Alevism (Alevîlik or Turkish: Anadolu Alevîliği/Alevileri, also called Qizilbash, or Shī‘ahImāmī-Tasawwufī Ṭarīqah, or Shīʿah-ī Bāṭen’īyyah) is a syncretic, heterodox, and local Islamic tradition, whose adherents follow the mystical (bāṭenī) teachings of Ali, the Twelve Imams and a descendant—the 13th century Alevi saint Haji Bektash Veli. Alevis are found primarily in Turkey among ethnic Turks and Kurds, and make up between 11-12% of...

Rawze-e-Sharif, the Blue Mosque, in Mazari Sharif, Afghanistan – where a minority of Muslims believe Ali ibn Abu Talib is buried

Ali ibn Abi Talib

Ali ibn Abi Talib Ali ibn Abi Talib (عَلِيّ ٱبْن أَبِي طَالِب‎, ʿAlī ibn ʾAbī Ṭālib; 13 September 601 – 29 January 661) was a cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, who ruled as the fourth caliph from 656 to 661. He is one of the central figures in Shia Islam and...

Karbala City From Sky

Shia Islam

Shia Islam Shia Islam or Shi’ism is one of the two main branches of Islam. It holds that the Islamic prophet Muhammad designated Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor and the Imam (leader) after him, most notably at the event of Ghadir Khumm, but was prevented from the caliphate as a result...

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