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Shīʻatu ʻAlī, followers of Ali
• 10-13% of Muslims
• 11-14% in the Middle East-North Africa region
• Around 70% of Shias live in Iran, Pakistan, India
and Iraq.
• Major Sects: Imami (Twelvers) Ismailis (Seveners)
Zaydis (Fivers)
• Twelvers, Ismailis and Zaidis
• Disagreements among Shiites arose mostly
concerning the line of succession of the imamate
and the nature of the Hidden Imam
Shi’ite Belief on Succession
• God chose Ali to be Muhammad's successor
• Ali was Muhammad's cousin and closest living
male relative as well as his son-in-law,
• married to Muhammad's daughter Fatimah
• The Farewell Pilgrimage
• Shia believe Mohammed appointed Ali caliph
Sunni Belief
• Muhammad died without appointing a
• companions gathered and elected Abu Bakr,
Muhammad's father-in-law, as the first Caliph.
• Caliph may be democratically chosen
• After the Rashidun, hereditary dynastic rule
Islamic Civil Wars
• "Fitna of the Killing of Uthman" established
the Umayyad dynasty.
• Uthman ibn Affan killed 656
• Ali ibn Abi Talib becomes Caliph
• The Second Fitna,. 680 - 692.
• Husayn ibn Ali
Shi’ite Sects
Twelver Shiism—Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain.
Hidden Imam (Mahdi)
Quietism “pacifist”
Changed with Ayatollah Khomeini.
• Ismailis, second largest Shiite sect, broke off in
the 8th century, recognizing only the first
seven imams (the seventh was named Ismail)
• Afghanistan, India, Pakistan. Communities in
East and South Africa.
• Zaydis (Fivers) mostly found in Yemen. Reject
the concepts of the imams’ infallibility and of
a “hidden imam.”
• Alawites, mostly in Syria and Lebanon.
• Alawites interpret the pillars (duties) of Islam
as symbolic rather than applied
• Alevis, Turkey
• The Druze community was an eleventhcentury offshoot of Ismaili Shiite Islam and is
concentrated in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Israel,
Hidden Imam
• Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Mahdī believed by Twelvers
Shī‘a Muslims to be the Mahdī,
• savior of humankind who will emerge with Isa (Jesus)
bringing peace and justice to the world.
• al-Mahdī born 869
• Minor Occultation, Imam hidden on earth for 70 years
• Sunni and other minority Shias believe that the Mahdi
has not yet been born
• disappeared from earth in about 939 CE.
• "greater occultation" spiritually present
Political Shi’ism
• Continual reinterpretation of doctrine.
• Khomeini's velayat-e faqih, political guardianship
of the community of believers by scholars
• The clergy, by virtue of their superior knowledge
of the laws of God, are the best qualified to rule
the society of believers who are preparing
themselves on earth to live eternally in heaven.
• velayat-e faqih provides the doctrinal basis for
theocratic government,