Open main menu
Modèle Chiisme

Shia Islam

Calligraphic representation of the name Ali ibn Abi Talib

Shia Islam (/ˈʃə/; Arabic: شيعةShīʿah, from Shīʿatu ʿAlī "adherents of Ali"; Arabic: شيعةShi'i is singular, Arabic: شياعShi'a is plural, Shi'ite is also used in 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 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.

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 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.

Selected pictures

Chosen holy figures
Selected articles
Selected biographies

Selected quote

Ali ibn al-Husayn, the forth imam of Shia
"If people realize the value of science and knowledge, they will sacrifice themselves for earning it."


  • Majlisi, Bihārul Anwār, vol.1, p. 183..

In the news

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)
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)
Shia Islam news from Wikinews...

Did you know...

Jama Masjid

On this day: 18 Muharram

Nothing yet for this day


Main Category:

Detailed information about the Shi'a Islam can be found under these sub-categories:

Related portals


The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:






Learning resources

Travel guides