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The Nakhawila (Arabic: النخاولة‎) are a community of Arab Hijazi Shias who live in the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia. They are Twelver Shi'a ; a branch of Shia Islam that forms majority of shias worldwide and predominant in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia as well. The religious leader of Shia community in Medina was Sheikh Muhammad Ali al-Amri who died in 2011. Now his son takes care of the shia community of Medina Al-Munawarah.


The Nakhawila are considered an integral part of Medina's society.They mainly reside in old and below-standard houses in Al-Awali,Hai Al-Bahar, and Qurban districts.Most of them are considered lower-middle class Saudis,often riding cheap cars and shopping in low-cost stores.Their children are usually set to the streets directly without any parental control,forming strong bonds with other Nakhawila kids; They are often seen in streets as groups,which are usually hostile and aggressive towards any expatriates or any other Saudi ethnic groups (Hadar or Badu).

Relation with government[edit]

Salafi by ideology and principles,The Saudi government indirectly forbids any governmental positions to be handed over to the shias in general or to the Nakhawila in particular. Therefore, the Nakhawila depend on trade and private-sector hiring for a living.


  • The Nakhāwila, a Shia Community in Medina Past and Present, Werner Ende, Die Welt des Islams, New Series, Vol. 37, Issue 3, Shiites and Sufis in Saudi Arabia, (Nov., 1997), pp. 263–348
  • Marja and the Survival of a Community: The Shia of Medina, Yousif al-Khoei in "The Most Learned of the Shiʻa: The Institution of the Marjaʻ Taqlid", ed Linda Walbridge, 2001, Oxford University Press US
  • More Questions than Answers: The Origin of the Nakhāwila, Werner Ende in I. Abbas et al. (eds.), Studies in History and Literature in Honour of Nicola Ziadeh (London: Hazar Publishing Ltd., 1992), pp. 68–72.