Theology of Twelvers

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The theology of Twelver Shias contains five Principles of the Religion known as Uṣūl ad-Dīn. Usul al-dín (أصول الدين) is an Arabic Islamic term which literally translates as 'foundation of the faith', roughly interpretable as 'theology'.


The Shi'a Roots of Religion are a set of theological beliefs, in contrast to the ten practices prescribed in the Shi'a Branches of Religion.

In Shi'a theology, these five articles of faith form the basis for Islam, and it is from these articles that the Branches of Religion are derived.


All books of Resalah start with an explicit disclaimer stating that no proof shall be given for any of the points in the Roots of Religion.

The Marja argue that it is permissible to imitate in matters of practical Islam, for example, how one is supposed to do Salat, without being familiar with evidence and arguments for the conclusions.

However, they argue that the matters in the Roots of Religion are much too important to be merely imitated, and it is the responsibility of each individual to make themselves personally familiar with the arguments and evidence for each article of faith.

Articles of faith[edit]

There are five articles of faith in the Shi'a Roots of Religion.

Tawḥīd (Oneness)[edit]

Tawḥīd (also Tawhid or Tauhid or Tawheed; Arabic توحيد) is the Islamic concept of monotheism. In Arabic, Tawḥīd means "unification, i.e. to unify or to keep something unified as one." In Islam, Tawḥīd means to assert the unity of God, it is not just unity of God Almighty but also Uniqueness, as defined in Quran surah 112, He is not born of anyone nor gave birth to any one, nor is any one like Him. The opposite of Tawḥīd is shirk, which means "Association" in Arabic. Muslims view polytheism and idolatry as shirk.

Adalah (Justice)[edit]

The Shias believe that there is intrinsic good or evil in things, and that God (Arabic الله Allah: see God in Islam) commands them to do the good things and forbade the evil. They believe that God acts according to a purpose or design, and human reason cannot comprehend this design or purpose in its entirety (though man must always strive to understand as much as he can).

Nubuwwah (Prophethood)[edit]

"Nubuwwah" means "Prophethood" and denotes that God has appointed Prophets and Messengers to teach mankind God's message.

God has appointed prophets and messengers to teach mankind the religion (that is, a perfect system of how to live in "peace" or "submission to God"). Prophets are Messengers which are appointed by Allah to bring the message of God to people and spread that message while the Imam (leader) is appointed by Allah to protect that message since ordinary people will fail to do so. Also, as Muhammad was the last messenger of God which means the message he brought was the last and final message to the people from Allah, none is supposed to bring a message from Allah after Muhammad, therefore, if people were left with the message alone, the true message could not survive long and would have undergone changes. Imams were therefore appointed to take care of the message and prevent people from going astray after the last prophet.

Imāmah (Leadership)[edit]

Imamah (Leadership): God has appointed specific leaders to lead and guide mankind—a prophet appoints a custodian of the religion before his demise. Refer to Sahih Al-Bukari, Sahih Muslim (Books of Hadiths (or sayings of the prophet of Islam) of the Sunnis) etc. The prophet is reported to have said that the Islamic leadership is in Quraysh (i.e. his tribe) and that 12 "Imams" (also called "Princes" or "Caliphs") shall succeed him.

Shi'a Muslims believe in Twelve Imams, eleven of whom were killed, but they believe their twelfth Imam is still alive. Their history says that he disappeared after performing rituals of the eleventh Imam's (his father's) death. He is still under "ghaybat" or "occultation" and will appear on the face of the earth to raise the truth and bring an end to tyranny and oppression.

Yawm al Qiyyamah (The Day of Resurrection)[edit]

Yaum al-Qiyâmah (يوم القيامة; literally: "Day of the Resurrection" (Qur'an 71.18), also known as "the Hour (Qur'an 31.34, 74.47)", "Day of the Account", (Qur'an 72.130 "Day of the Gathering", "Day of the Reckoning", "Day of Distress", (Qur'an 74.9) and the "Great Announcement") is the Arabic name for the Last Judgement. Belief in Qiyâmah is part of Aqidah and is a fundamental tenet of faith in Islam. After the annihilation of this world, God will raise mankind for Judgement. The trials and tribulations of Qiyâmah are detailed in both the Qur'an and the Hadith, as well as in the commentaries of the Islamic expositors and scholarly authorities. Every human, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, is held accountable for his or her deeds and are judged by God accordingly (Qur'an 74.38).

Other articles[edit]

Mala'ika—Belief in the Angels.

Kutub—Belief in the Books sent by God (including the Qur'an).

See also[edit]


External links[edit]