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Twelver Shi'a Islam or Imamiyyah (Arabic: اثنا عشرية‎, Athnā‘ashariyyah or Ithnā‘ashariyyah; Persian: شیعه دوازده‌امامی‎, pronounced [ʃiːʔe-je dævɑzdæh emɑmiː]) is the largest branch of Shi'a 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, Muhammad al-Mahdi, lives in occultation and will be the returned as the promised Mahdi.

Twelvers make majorities in Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan and Bahrain; a plurality in Lebanon; and significant minorities in Kuwait, India,[1][2][3][4][5] Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia.[6] Smaller minorities also exist in Oman, Yemen, Egypt, and Uzbekistan.

Twelvers share many tenets of Shia with related sects, such as the belief in Imams, but the Ismā'īlī believe in a different number of Imāms and, for the most part, a different path of succession regarding the Imāmate. They also differ in the role and overall definition of an Imam. Alevis in Turkey and Albania and Alawis in Syria share belief in the twelve Imams with Twelvers, but their theological doctrines are different.



Shia is referred to a group of muslims who believe that the succession to Muhammad must remain in his family who are designated by a divine appointment.[7] The word was referred to the partisans of Ali at the time of Muhammad himself.[8] The Twelvers are also known by other names, each connoting some aspect of the faith:

  • The Shī'ah (or Shi'a) is commonly used as a synonym for "Twelvers" since this branch comprises the majority group of Shī'ī Islam.
  • Ja'farī refers to Twelvers to the exclusion of the Ismā'īlī ). This term refers to the majority Twelver school of jurisprudence (a minority school, the Akhbarī, also exists). It is attributed to Ja'far al-Sadiq, who the Twelvers consider to be their Sixth Imām. The founders of the Sunni Hanafi and Maliki schools of jurisprudence narrated hadith from Ja'far al-Sadiq.
  • Imāmī is a reference to the Twelver belief in the infallibility of the Imāms. Though the Ismā'īlī also accept the concept of Imāms, this term is used specifically for the Twelvers.

Now the word refers to the muslims who believe that the leadership of the community after Muhammad belongs to Ali and his successors who are infallible. Nawbakhti states that the term Shia refers to a group of muslims that at the time of the prophet and after him regarded Ali as the Imam and Caliph.[9] Al-Shahrastani expresses that the term Shia refers to those who believe that Ali is designated as the Heir, Imam and caliph by the prophet.[10]

Theological Doctrine (Usul al-Din)[edit]

Tawhid (Unity of God)[edit]

The Arabic word for God is Allah which means "one who deserves to be loved", "one whom every one seeks refuge"; the word has neither plural form nor feminine, thus the form of the word reflects that He is Unique.[11]

Tawhid of the Essence[edit]

The first degree of Tawhid pertain to the essence of God that is the essence of God is one and peerless. His nature has not any plurality. Ali states that nothing is similar to Him and He is One in meaning.[12]

Tawhid of the Attributes[edit]

The second degree of Tawhid pertains to the oneness of divine attributes, that is His attributes are not separate from His essence.[13]

Tawhid of Creatorship[edit]

The third degree of Tawhid pertain to the oneness of the source of creatorship, that is there is no creator but God.[14]

Tawhid of Lordship[edit]

The fourth degree of Tawhid pertains to the oneness of lordship and of the governance of the world and man. This oneness of lordship has two aspects: creative governance (tadbir takwini), and religious governance (tadbir tashrii).[15] At last oneness in worship, that is God alone is to be worshipped.[16] Tawhid or Monotheism is the belief in one God or in God's Essential Oneness.[17] Shia believe that God's names and attributes have no other reality than His essence.[18] Regarding this, Quran 112 states: Say, "He is Allah, [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, Nor is there to Him any equivalent."[19]

The Justice of God (Adle Elahi)[edit]

Justice in Creation[edit]

God grants every existent what is appropriate for it as the verse 20:50 states: Our Lord is He Who gave unto everything its nature, then guided it aright.[20]

Justice in Religious Dispensation[edit]

God guides man through sending the messengers and He does not impose upon them obligations that are beyond his capacity.[20]

Justice in Recompense[edit]

The Prophethood (Nubuwah)[edit]

The Revelation[edit]

The Angels[edit]

The Miracles[edit]

Imamah And Walayah[edit]


18th century mirror writing in Ottoman calligraphy. Depicts the phrase 'Ali is the vicegerent of God' in both directions.

Twelvers believe to the twelve inspired Imams descended from Muhammad. They must meet these attributes: nass(designation by the previous Imam), Ismah(infallibility), ilm(Divine knowledge), Walayah( spiritual guidance).[21] The Twelve Imams are the spiritual and political successors to Muhammad, in the Twelver or Ithna Ashariya branch of Shia Islam.[22] According to the theology of Twelvers, the successor of Muhammad is an infallible human individual who not only rules over the community with justice, but also is able to keep and interpret the Sharia and its esoteric meaning. The prophet 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.[23][24]

It is believed in Shi'a Islam that 'Aql, a divine wisdom, was the source of the souls of the prophets and imams and gave them esoteric knowledge, called Hikmah, and that their sufferings were a means of divine grace to their devotees.[22][25][26] Although the Imam was not the recipient of a divine revelation, but has close relationship with God, through which God guides him, and the imam in turn guides the people. The Imamat, or belief in the divine guide is a fundamental belief in Shi'i Islam and is based on the concept that God would not leave humanity without access to divine guidance.[27]

According to Twelvers, 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, and in the Twelvers' view, the rightful successor to the Prophet of Islam, followed by male descendants of Muhammad (also known as Hasnain) through his daughter Fatimah. Each Imam was the son of the previous Imam, with the exception of Husayn Ibn Ali, who was the brother of Hasan Ibn Ali.[22] The twelfth and final Imam is Muhammad al-Mahdi, who is believed by the Twelvers to be currently alive, and in hiding.[27]

Names of The Fourteen Infallibles (Masūmeen - Descendants Of Muhammad) written in the form of Arabic name على 'Ali'

The Shi'a Imams are seen as infallible. It is an important aspect of Shia theology that they are not prophets (nabi) nor messengers (rasul), but instead carry out Muhammad's message. While Sunni Muslims view all religions and groups that accept prophets or messengers after Muhammad to be heathen or heretical, Shi'a Muslims do consider the Imams to be higher in rank than all the prophets and messengers except Muhammad.[28][29][30]

The Succession to Muhammad[edit]

Shia believe that with the death of Muhammad, his religious and political authority were inherited to the Imams.[31] Shia considers the Successor as the esoteric interpreter of the revelation and the Divine Law.[32]

Twelvers believe that the descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fatimah and his son-in-law 'Alī are the best source of knowledge about the Qur'an and Islam, the most trusted carriers and protectors of Muhammad's Sunnah (traditions) and the most worthy of emulation.

In particular, Twelvers recognize the succession of 'Alī, Muḥammad's cousin, son-in-law, the male head of the Ahl al-Bayt or "people of the [Prophet's] house" and the father of Muḥammad's only bloodline, as opposed to that of the Caliphate recognized by Sunni Muslims. Twelvers also believe that 'Alī should have been successor to Muḥammad.

Although 'Alī is widely accepted by Muslims in general to be the fourth successor to the Caliphate after Uthman, for the Shī'ah, however, he is the first divinely sanctioned "Imām", or divinely appointed spiritual leader after the Prophet Muḥammad. The seminal event in Shī'ah history is the martyrdom in 680 CE of 'Alī's son Husayn, who led an uprising against the then, illegitimate to them, Caliph. For the Shī'ah, Husayn came to symbolize resistance against tyranny.

Regardless of the dispute about the Caliphate, Twelvers recognize the religious authority of the Twelve Imams, also called Khalīfah Ilāhi.[citation needed]

Ziyarat and Tawassul[edit]

Main article: Ziyarat


Main article: Tawassul

To Take advantage of factors to attain the goals is natural but these factors should not be taken as independent from God and should have been established in the Quran and hadith. This means can be anything which causes drawing proximity to God such as prayer almsgiving.[33]


Main article: Ismah

In Shia theology Ismah means "impeccability", "immunity to sin" and "infallibility."[34] When Ismah is attributed to human beings, the concept means "the ability of avoiding acts of disobedience, in spite of having the power to commit them,"[34] As in Prophets and Imams, Ismah is a Divine grace[35] realized by God's preservation of the infallible, first by endowing them with pure constitution then, following in order, by blessing them with great excellences, giving them firm will against opponents, sending tranquility down upon them (as-Sakinah), and preserving their hearts and minds from sin.[36]

According to Twelver Shia the Islamic prophet Muhammad, his daughter Fatima Zahra; and the Twelve Imams are considered to be infallible under the theological concept of Ismah.[37][38] Accordingly, they have the power to commit sin but are able to avoid doing so by their nature The Infallibles are believed to follow only God's desire in their actions, because of their supreme righteousness, consciousness, and love for God.[39] They are also regarded as being immune to error: in practical matters, in calling people to religion, and in the perception of divine knowledge.[40] Shias believe that the Fourteen Infallibles are superior to the rest of creation, as well as to the other major prophets.[41]

From historical viewpoint, Wilferd Madelung claims that the purification of Ahl al-Bayt—the family of the Prophet Muhammad—is guaranteed by the verse of purification in the Qur'an.[42] Donaldson in his argument believed that the development of the Shi'ite theology in the period between the death of Muhammad and the disappearance of the Twelfth Imam originates the concept of Ismah which adds to its importance.[43] Ann Lambton claims that neither the term nor the concept of Ismah is in the Qur'an or in canonical Sunni hadith. It was apparently first used by the Imamiyyah, perhaps during the beginning of the second century of the Islamic calendar in which they maintained that the Imam must be immune from sin (ma'sum).[35] According to Hamid Algar, the concept Ismah is encountered as early as the first half of the second century of the Islamic calendar. The Shia scholars of the fourth and the fifth centuries of the Islamic calendar defined the infallibility of the Prophet Muḥammad and the Twelve Imams in an increasingly stringent form until the doctrine came to exclude their commission of any sin or inadvertent error, either before or after they assumed office.[44]

The Occultation[edit]

Main article: The Occultation

The Resurrection (Ma'ad)[edit]

The Return (Raj'a)[edit]

The term refers to the revival of a group of muslims back to this world after the appearance of Mahdi. The base of this belief derives from the revival of the dead in the past communities as mentioned in the Quran and the revival at the Day of Resurrection.[45]


Intercession (Shafa'ah)[edit]

Shari'ah (Furu al-Din)[edit]

  • Salat (Prayer) – meaning "connection", establish the five daily prayers, called namāz in Persian and Urdu.
  • Sawm (Fasting) – fasting during the holy month of Ramadhan, called rūzeh in Persian.
  • Zakat (Poor-rate) – charity. Zakat means "to purify".
  • Khums ("Fifth" of one's savings) – tax.
  • Hajj (Pilgrimage) – performing the pilgrimage to Mecca.
  • Jihād (Struggle) – struggling to please God. The greater, internal Jihad is the struggle against the evil within one's soul in every aspect of life, called jihād akbār. The lesser, or external, jihad is the struggle against the evil of one's environment in every aspect of life, called jihād asghār. This is not to be mistaken with the common modern misconception that this means "Holy War". Writing the truth (jihād bil qalam "struggle of the pen") and speaking truth in front of an oppressor are also forms of jihād.
  • Commanding what is just.
  • Forbidding what is evil.
  • Tawalla – loving the Ahl al-Bayt and their followers.
  • Tabarra – dissociating oneself from the enemies of the Ahlu l-Bayt.[46]

Shahada (Declaration of faith)[edit]

Main articles: Shahada and Declaration of faith
  • أشهد أن] لا إله إلاَّ الله �� [أشهد أن ] محمداً رسول الله ]
  • [ʾašhadu ʾan] lā ilāha illā l-Lāh wa [ʾašhadu ʾanna] Muḥammadan rasūlu l-Lāh
  • [I testify that] there is no god (ilah) but Allah and [I testify that] Muhammad is messenger of Allah.

In usage the occurrences of ʾašhadu ʾan "I testify that" are very often omitted.

Another rendering current among some English-speaking Muslims, but without a historical tradition, is "(I bear witness that) there is none worthy of worship except God, and (I testify that) Muhammad is the messenger of God."[47] This version relies on a translation of (ilah) as being "worthy of worship", something which is correctly said in Arabic but does not translate well into English syntax.

Twelvers, along with Sunnis, agree that a single honest recitation of the shahādah in Arabic is all that is required for a person to become a Muslim according to most traditional schools.

A vast majority of Twelvers often add ʻAlīyun waliyu l-Lāh (علي ولي الله "Ali is the vicegerent of God") at the end of the Shahādah. This testifies that ʻAlī is also the Leader of the Believers along with God and Muhammad, proof of which Shi'a theologians find in the Qur'an.[Quran 5:55]

Though this form of the Shahādah is recited daily by other Shīʻa sects such as the Nizari Ismailis, Twelvers view it as Mustahabb (recommended), but not Wajib (obligatory).


Main articles: Ghusl and Wudu

There are minor differences between Sunnis and Twelver Shīʻa in how the prayer ritual is performed. During the purification ritual in preparation for prayer (which consists of washing the face, arms, feet, etc. and saying of some prayers), the Shīʻa view wiping the feet with wet hands as sufficient, as opposed to some of the Sunnis who consider complete washing of the feet necessary. Also, Shīʻa do not use their fingers to clean inside the ears during the ablution ritual. A prerequisite for purification is that one has to be clean before performing the purification ritual.

Name Prescribed time period (waqt) Voluntary before fardA Fard/Obligatory Voluntary after fardA
Sunni Shi'a Sunni Shi'a
Fajr (فجر) Dawn to sunrise 2 Raka'ahB 2 Raka'ahB 2 Raka'ah - 2 Raka'ah (Before Fajr)
Dhuhr (ظهر) After true noon until Asr 4 Raka'ahB 4 Raka'ah 4 Raka'ahD 2 Raka'ahB 8 Rak'at
Asr (عصر) See footnoteEF 4 Raka'ah 4 Raka'ah 4 Raka'ah - 8 Rak'at
Maghrib (مغرب) After sunset until dusk 3 Raka'ah 3 Raka'ahB 3 Raka'ahB 2 Raka'ahC 4 (2x2) Raka'ah
Isha'a (عشاء) Dusk until dawnF 4 Raka'ah 4 Raka'ah 4 Raka'ah 2 Raka'ah
Salat al-Layl:
8 raka'ah (4x2 Raka'ah)
+ 3 Raka'ah Witr
or depending on madhaahib
+2 Rak'at Shafe'
+1 Rak'at El Witr
1 Raka'at(After Isha'a),
Namaz e Shab / Tahajjud / Salat al-Layl: Total 11 raka'at:
8 raka'at (4x2 Raka'at)
+2 rak'at Shafe'
+1 Rak'at El Witr
  • Sunni often pray two Raka'ah Nafl after Dhuhr, Maghrib and Isha'a.
  • ^A According to Shia Muslims, these are to be performed in sets of two raka'ah each.
  • ^B Prayed daily by Muhammad (Sunnis).
  • ^C Mustahab (praiseworthy) to do everyday (Shias). Wajib (almost to the level of obligatory) (Hanifiyyah). Sunnah Mu'akkadah (voluntary but highly stressed) (Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanbali).
  • ^D Replaced by Jumu'ah on Fridays, which consists of two raka'ah.
  • ^E According to Abū Ḥanīfa, "Asr starts when the shadow of an object becomes twice its height (plus the length of its shadow at the start time of Dhuhr)." For the rest of Sunni Imams, "Asr starts when the shadow of an object becomes equal to its length (plus the length of its shadow at the start time of Dhuhr)." Asr ends as the sun begins to set.
  • ^F According to Shia Muslims, 'Asr prayer and 'Ishaa prayer have no set times but are performed from mid-day. Zuhr and 'Asr prayers must be performed before sunset, and the time for 'Asr prayer starts after Zuhr has been performed. Maghrib and 'Ishaa prayers must be performed before midnight, and the time for 'Ishaa prayer can start after Maghrib has been performed, as long as no more light remains in the western sky signifying the arrival of the true night.
  • ^G According to Shia Muslims, this prayer is termed nawafil.

During prayer, it is the Jaʻfarī view that it is preferable to prostrate on earth, leaves that are not edible or wood, as these three things are considered purest by Muhammad in hadith specifically mentioning Tayammum. Hence many Shīʻa use a turbah, a small tablet of soil, often taken from the ground of a holy site, or wood during their daily prayers upon which they prostrate.

In the Jaʻfarī view, the hands are to be left hanging straight down the side during the standing position of the prayer, while the Sunni schools of thought (except for the majority of Malikis) hold that they should be folded. The Jaʻfarī consider the five daily prayers to be compulsory, though the Jaʻfarī consider it acceptable to pray the second and third prayer, and the fourth and fifth prayer, one after the other during the parts of the day where they believe the timings for these prayers to overlap. The other three Sunni schools allow this consolidation of daily prayers only while travelling or under some other constraint.


Khums and Zakat[edit]

Khums (خمس) is the Arabic word for one fifth (1/5). In Islamic legal terminology, it means "one-fifth of certain items which a person acquires as wealth, and which must be paid as an Islamic tax".[48] According to Shi'a, the items eligible for khums are referred to as Ghanima (الْغَنيمَة) in the Quran. The Arabic word Ghanima has two meanings

  • "spoils of war" or "war booty"
  • gain or profit

The Sunni translate this word exclusively as "war booty" or "spoils of war".[49] The Twelvers hold the view that the word Ghanima has two meanings as mentioned above, the second meaning is illustrated by the common use of the Islamic banking term al-ghunm bil-ghurm meaning "gains accompany liability for loss or risk".[50][51]

Also, in a famous supplication, the supplication after the noon prayer, the person asks God to bestow on him His favors, one of those favors which the person asks is the benefit or gain from every act of righteousness, the word used here is al-ghanima (وَالْغَنيمَةَ مِنْ كُلِّ بِر ) this is in accordance with the second meaning of the word.[52]



Tawalla and Tabarra[edit]

Commanding the Good and Prohibiting the Evil[edit]

Jurisprudence (Fiqh)[edit]

According to Ja'fari jurisprudence, Sharia is derived from the Qur'an and the Sunnah. The difference between Sunni and Shīʻa Sharia results from a Shīʻa belief that Muhammad assigned ʻAlī to be the first ruler and the leader after him (the Khalifa or steward). This difference resulted in the Shīʻa:

  1. Following hadith from Muħammad and his descendants the 12 Imāms.[53]
  2. Not accepting the "examples", verdicts, and ahādīth of Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman ibn Affan (who are considered by Sunnīs to be the first three Caliphs).
  3. Attributing the concept of the masūm "infallibility" to the Twelve Imāms or The Fourteen Infallibles (including Muhammad and his daughter Fatimah) and accepting the examples and verdicts of this special group.

The sources of Jurisprudence[edit]

According to Shia, the Quran, the Sunna, intellect and consensus are the bases of the jurisprudence. As the Islam is the last and the most perfect religion, by ijtihad, it is adapted to new conditions of the society.[54]

Guardianship of the jurisprudent[edit]

{Main|Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists}} Traditionally Twelver Shi'a Muslims consider 'Ali ibn Abi Talib and the subsequent further eleven Imams not only religious guides but political leaders, based on a crucial hadith where Muhammad passes on his power to command Muslims to Ali. Since the last Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, went into "occultation" in 939 and is not expected back until end times, this left Shi'a without religiously sanctioned governance.

The first Shi'a regime, the Safavid dynasty in Iran, propagated the Twelver faith, made Twelver's law the law of the land, and patronized Twelver scholarship. For this, Twelver ulema "crafted a new theory of government" which held that while "not truly legitimate", the Safavid monarchy would be "blessed as the most desirable form of government during the period of awaiting" for Muhammad al-Mahdi, the twelfth imam.[55]

In general, the Shi'a adhere to one of three approaches towards the state: either full participation in government, i.e., attempting to influence policies by becoming active in politics, or passive cooperation with it, i.e. minimal participation, or else most commonly, mere toleration of it, i.e. remaining aloof from it.[56]

This changed with Iranian Revolution where the Twelver Ayatollah Khomeini and his supporters established a new theory of governance for the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is based on Khomeini's theory of guardianship of the Islamic jurist as rule of the Islamic jurist, and jurists as "legatees" of Muhammad.

While not all Twelver Shi'a accept this theory, it is uniquely Twelver and the basis of the constitution of Iran, the largest Shi'a Muslim country, where the Supreme Leader must be an Islamic jurist.

Taqlid (Accepting a scholar's verdict)[edit]

How to associate with a religious and judicial problem that its answer is not in the Quran and hadith. By Shia only fourteen people are considered infallible and nobody else can claim infallibility. While the religious material are limited, what procedure should be taken if a problem arises. Here human reason comes in; God gave reason to human to discover His Will. If no answer was given by tradition (naql) the intellect (aql) should come in. This rational effort to find the solutions for the temporary issues is called Ijtihad (making of an effort). It is derived form the word jihad which means the struggle for the attainment of God's Will on earth. The participle of ijtihad is mujtahid (the person who makes effort). They should master the Arabic language and be familiar with the foundations of Quran and hadith. They also should know the principles of Jurisprudence and logic. The remaining other believers, who have not expertise, exercise taqlid which means authorization; that is common believers authorize the experts to make decisions for them. If the mujtahid make a mistake, the believer is not responsible for his error. Though ijtihad makes the Shia theology flexible.[57]


Imamate Era[edit]

Emergence (583/13 BH Be'sat- 713/95 AH Death of Imam Sajjad)[edit]

Formulation (713/95 AH Imam Baghir - 765/148 AH Death of Imam Sadiq)[edit]

Organizing (765/148 AH Imam Kazim - 874/260 AH Death of Imam al-Askari)[edit]

Crisis and Consolidation[edit]

Minor Occultation/Sufara (874/260 AH - 941/329 AH)[edit]

From 941/329 AH to 991/380 AH (Death of Abul Hasan Ali ibn Muhammad al-Samarri to death of Shaykh al-Saduq)[edit]

Baghdad School: Consolidation of Shia disciplines in Fiqh, Kalam, Rijal, Usul, etc (991/380 AH Al-Shaykh Al-Mufid to Death of 1067/460 Shaykh Tusi)[edit]

Jurisprudencial and Theological Development[edit]

al-Hillah School (543 AH Birth of Ibn Idris Hilli to death of 1325/726 AH Allame al-Hilli)[edit]

With the invasion of Mongols, the Abbasid dynasty was ended. Under the ruling of Mongols, Shi'its were more free to develop and al-Hilla became the new learning center for Shia. Continuing the rationalistic tradition of the Baghdad School, defining reason as an important principle of Jurisprudence, al-Hillah school laid the theoretical foundation upon which the authority of Jurisprudents is based today.[58]

Jabal Amel School (1334/734 Ah Birth of Shahid Awwal to Death of 1558/966 AH Shahid Thani)[edit]

Rising to Power[edit]

School of Isfahan[edit]

In 1501 Isma'il took the power in Iran and set up the Safavid dynasty. While most of the larger cities of Iran were Sunni, he declared Ja'afari Shi'ism as the religion of his empire. Many Shia scholars were brought to set up the Shia infrastructure in Iran.One of those was Karaki who stated that, for the interest of Umma, it is necessary for a Shia scholar to be a legitimate leader of carry out the tasks of the Imam who is hidden. Under Safavids, religious authorities (Shaykh al-Islam) were appointed for all major cities.[59]

In Twelver eschatology, Muhammad ibn Hasan ibn ʻAlī, or al-Mahdi (مهدي transliteration: Mahdī, also Mehdi, "Guided One"), is the twelfth Imam and the Mahdi, the ultimate savior of mankind and prophesied redeemer of Islam. Twelvers believe that the Mahdi has been hidden by God (referred to as The Occultation) and will later emerge to change the world into a perfect and just Islamic society alongside Jesus (Isa) before the Yaum al-Qiyamah (literally "Day of the Resurrection" or "Day of the Standing").


Twelver Shi'a, celebrate the following annual holidays:

The following holidays are observed by Twelvers Shi'as, unless otherwise noted:

  • The Mourning of Muharram or Remembrance of Muharram and Ashurah (عاشوراء) for Shia commemorates Imam Husayn ibn Ali's martyrdom in the Battle of Karbala. Imam Husayn was grandson of Muhammad, who was killed by Yazid ibn Muawiyah,the second Caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate (and the first one by heredity).One group of Sunni Scholars have deemed Yazeed to be a kaafir(e.g. Sunni Scholar Ibn Jauzi in Wafa al-Wafa), another has stated he was a fasiq (transgressor), a fajir (one that commits debauchery) and a drunkard.Yazeed considered nikah (marriage) with mothers and sisters to be permissible and drank alcohol". Ashurah is a day of deep mourning which occurs on the 10th of Muharram. Sunnis also commemorates Imam Husayn ibn Ali's martyrdom, but little different from Shi'as.
  • Arba'een (Arabic word for forty(40)) commemorates on 40th day of Imam Husain's martydom( 40th day is an auspious day for any deceased as per Islam) remembering the suffering of Imam Husayn and his household, the women and children. After Husayn was killed, they were marched over the desert, from Karbala (central Iraq) to Shaam (Damascus, Syria). Many children (some of whom were direct descendants of Muhammad) died of thirst and exposure along the route. Arba'een occurs on the 20th of Safar, 40 days after Ashurah.
  • Milad al-Nabi, Muhammad's birth date, is celebrated by the Shia on the 17th of Rabi' al-awwal, which coincides with the birth date of the sixth imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq.
  • Mid-Sha'aban is the birth date of the 12th and final imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi. It is celebrated by Twelvers on the 15th of Sha'aban. Many Shia fast on this day to show gratitude.
  • Eid al-Ghadeer celebrates Ghadir Khum, the occasion when Muhammad announced Ali's imamate before a multitude of Muslims. Eid al-Ghadeer is held on the 18th of Dhu al-Hijjah.
  • Al-Mubahila celebrates a meeting between the Ahl al-Bayt (household of Muhammad) and a Christian deputation from Najran. Al-Mubahila is held on the 24th of Dhu al-Hijjah.

Notable scholars[edit]

See also: List of marjas



Mut'ah: Temporary marriage[edit]

Main article: Nikah mut'ah

Nikāḥ al-Mut'ah, Nikah el Mut'a (Arabic: نكاح المتعة‎, also Nikah Mut'ah literally, "marriage of pleasure"),[60] or sighah, is a fixed-time marriage which, according to the Usuli Shia schools of Shari'a (Islamic law), is a marriage with a preset duration, after which the marriage is automatically dissolved. It has many conditions that can be considered as pre-requisite, similar to that of permanent marriage. It is the second form of Islamic marriage (Nikah). However, it is regarded as haram (prohibited) by Sunnis. This is a highly controversial fiqh topic; Sunnis and Shi'a hold diametrically opposed views on its permissibility. But some of the Sunni Muslims recognizes Nikah Misyar. Mutah existed during the time of the Prophet Muhammad, and during a portion of his time it was not prohibited. On this principle, Shias believe that anything that was allowed during the time of the Prophet should remain allowed after.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Shia women too can initiate divorce". The Times of India. November 6, 2006. Retrieved 2010-06-21. 
  2. ^ "Talaq rights proposed for Shia women". Daily News and Analysis, 5 November 2006. Retrieved 2010-06-21. 
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Further reading[edit]

  1. The book "Durr-e-Mansoor dar Halaat-e-Ulama-e-Zangipur"
  2. The book "MATLA-e-ANWAR" (By Maulana Murtaza Husain Sadrul-Afazil)
  3. The book "KHURSHEED-e-KHAWAR" (By Maulan Saeed Akhtar Gopalpuri)
  4. The thesis on "Life of Jawad-ul-Ulama" research work of Dr.Inayet Ali (Aligarh Muslim University)
  5. The booklet "Haqnuma" published Jamia-Imania, Banaras.


External links[edit]