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Shia Islam

Ali ibn Abi Talib

Shia Islam (/ˈʃə/; Arabic: شيعةShīʿah, from Shīʿatu ʿAlī, "adherents of Ali") 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 they claim was appointed caliph by a small group of Muslims at Saqifah, to be the first rightful caliph after the Prophet.

Unlike the first three Rashidun caliphs, Ali was from the same clan as Muhammad, Banu Hashim as well as being the prophet's cousin and being the first male to become Muslim.

Adherents of Shia Islam are called Shias of Ali, Shias or the Shi'a as a collective or Shi'i or Shi'ite individually. Shia Islam is the second largest branch of Islam: as of the late 2000s, Shia Muslims constituted 10–15% of all Muslims. Twelver Shia (Ithnā'ashariyyah) is the largest branch of Shia Islam, with 2012 estimates saying that 85% of Shias were Twelvers.

Shia Islam is based on the Quran and the message of Muhammad attested in hadith, and on hadith taught by their Imams. Shia consider Ali to have been divinely appointed as the successor to Muhammad, and as the first Imam. The Shia also extend this Imammah doctrine 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.

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Hassan ibn Ali, the second Imam of Shia.
"Both the abodes (this world and the Hereafter) are grasped by the intellect, and whoever is deprived of the intellect is deprived of them both."


  • Al-Irbili, Kashf al-Ghamma, vol.3, p. 197.

In the news

1 July 2019 – Iranian intervention in Iraq (2014–present), Iran–Iraq relations
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi signs a decree ordering all Iranian-backed Shia militias to integrate into the Iraqi Armed Forces by the end of July. The decree will change the names of the militias such as the Popular Mobilization Forces to new divisions and brigades within the military. (Reuters) (Rudaw)
26 June 2019 – Terrorism in Canada
Canada's government adds Neo-Nazi groups Blood & Honour and Combat 18 to its list of designated terrorist organizations. It is the first time that extreme far-right groups have been designated as terrorist in Canada. Three Shia militant groups, including the Iranian-backed Al-Ashtar Brigades are also banned. (Global News)
21 June 2019 –
Ten civilians are killed when a suicide bomber detonates his explosive belt in a crowd of worshippers at a Shia mosque in eastern Baghdad, Iraq. (Sputnik)
14 February 2019 – Iraqi insurgency (2017–present)
A roadside bomb blast kills 8 Shiite militiamen and wounds others. (France 24)
29 December 2018 – Yemeni Civil War
Yemen's Shiite rebels say they have given control of the port of Hodeida to the coast guard and local administrators. The Yemeni government disputes this claim. (AP via Seattle Times)
2 October 2018 – Terrorism in France
French RAID and BRI police units raid the headquarters of a Shiite association in Grande-Synthe and the homes of its leaders for "strong support" to "many" terrorist organizations. Assets are frozen and three people remanded in custody. (France-Soir via Koz Post)
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On this day: 19 Dhu al-Qi'dah

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