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Shia Islam

Calligraphic representation of the name Ali ibn Abi Talib

Shia Islam (/ˈʃə/; Arabic: شِيعَةShīʿah, from Shīʿatu ʿAlīy شِيعَة عَلِيّ "adherents of Ali"; شِيعِيّ Shīʿīy is singular, شِيَاع Shīʿā is plural, sometimes spelled Shiʽite is also used in archaic English) 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 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.

Shia Islam is the second largest branch of Islam: as of the late 2000s, Shia Muslims constituted 10–15% of all Muslims. Twelver Shia is the largest branch of Shia Islam, with 2012 estimates saying that 85% of Shias were Twelvers.

Shia Islam is based on the prophet'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.

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Fatimah al-Zahra, daughter of Muhammad
"First thy neighbour, and there after your own house."
Fatimah

In the news

7 December 2019 – 2019 Iraqi protests
A drone attacks the home of prominent Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, leaving no casualties and causing minimal damage. The attack follows yesterday's incident in Baghdad when multiple protesters were fired upon and killed. (Reuters)
16 November 2019 – Iran–United States relations, Iran–Saudi Arabia relations, Egypt–Iran relations, Iran–United Arab Emirates relations, Bahrain–Iran relations, Shia–Sunni relations
United States Air Force Chief of Staff David Goldfein asks Gulf States to be united amid rising tensions with Iran as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have divided opinions with Qatar. (Reuters)
29 October 2019 – October 2019 Iraqi protests
Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who heads the current ruling bloc, calls on the opposition to help him introduce a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi. (Reuters)
12 September 2019 – Death of Sahar Khodayari
Iran's judiciary issues a warrant to arrest actress Saba Kamali after she posted a text in her Instagram sympathizing with Sahar Khodayari, which was reported to be found "insulting" to the third Shiite Imam, Hussain ibn Ali. (Radio Farda)
22 July 2019 –
Hundreds of followers from the Shia group Islamic Movement for Nigeria were out on the streets in Abuja to demand the release of their leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, who has been detained since 2015. Police opened fire and killed eleven protesters and a journalist. A police officer was also killed in the fight. (BBC)
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)
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Muharram procession in Bahrain

On this day: 11 Rabi' al-thani

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