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History of Shia Islam

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Shī‘a Islam, also Shi‘ite Islam or Shi‘ism is the second largest branch of , after sm. Shi'as adhere to the teachings of and the religious guidance of his family (who are referred to as the ) or his descendents known as . 's bloodline continues only through his daughter and cousin which alongside Muhammad's grandsons are the . Thus, Shi'as consider 's descendents as the true source of guidance while considering the first three ruling Sunni a historic occurrence and not something attached to faith. Shi'a Islam, like , has at times been divided into many branches; however, only three of these currently have a significant number of followers and each of them has a separate trajectory.

From political viewpoint the history of Shia was formed from several parts. The first part is emergence of Shia which starts after Muhammad's death in 632 and lasts until in 680. This part coincides with the of , and . The second part is the differentiation and distinction of Shia as a separate in Muslim community and opposition of . This part starts after battle of Karbala and lasts until the formation of Shia states about 900. During this section Shia is divided into several branches. The third section is the period of Shia states. The first Shia state was (780-974) in . Then dynasty (864 - 928) established in (Tabaristan), north of . These dynasties were local. But they followed by two great and powerful dynasty. which formed in in 909. Then ruled over varying areas of the , and the until 1171. The emerged in , north of Iran, about 930 and then ruled over central and western part of and until 1048. In Imams of various dynasties usually of the Zaidi sect established a theocratic political structure that survived from 897 until 1962.

From Saqifa to KarbalaEdit

Muhammad began preaching Islam at before to , from where he united the into a singular Arab Muslim religious polity. With Muhammad's death in 632, disagreement broke out over who would succeed him as leader of the Muslim community. While , his cousin and son-in-law, and the rest of Muhammad's close family were washing his body for burial, the tribal leaders of and held a secret gathering at to decide who would succeed as head of the Muslim state, disregarding what the earliest Muslims, the , regarded as 's appointment of as his successor at . , a and former enemy of Muhammad, nominated . Others, after initial refusal and bickering, settled on Abu Bakr who was made the first . This choice was disputed by Muhammad's earliest companions, who held that had been designated his successor. According to accounts, Muhammad died without having appointed a successor, and with a need for leadership, they gathered and voted for the position of . Shi'a accounts differ by asserting that Muhammad had designated Ali as his successor on a number of occasions, including on his death bed. Ali was supported by 's family and the majority of the , the initial Muslims, and was opposed by the tribal leaders of Arabia who included 's initial enemies, including, naturally, the .. 's election was followed by a raid on 's house led by and (see ).


The is an extremely contentious issue. Muslims ultimately divided into two branches based on their political attitude towards this issue, which forms the primary theological barrier between the two major divisions of Muslims: Sunni and Shi'a, with the latter following Ali as the successor to Muhammad. The two groups also disagree on Ali's attitude towards Abu Bakr, and the two caliphs who succeeded him: (or `Umar ibn al-Khattāb) and or (‘Uthmān ibn ‘Affān). Sunnis tend to stress Ali's acceptance and support of their rule, while the Shi'a claims that he distanced himself from them, and that he was being kept from fulfilling the religious duty that Muhammad had appointed to him. The Sunni Muslims say that if Ali was the rightful successor as ordained by God Himself, then it would have been his duty as the leader of the Muslim nation to make war with these people (Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman) until Ali established the decree. Shia claim, however, that Ali did not fight Abu Bakr, Umar or Uthman, because firstly he did not have the military strength and if he decided to, it would have caused a civil war amongst the Muslims, which was still a nascent community throughout the Arab world.

Differentiation and distinctionEdit

Division into branchesEdit

Twelvers historyEdit

Imams eraEdit

Occultation eraEdit

Ismaili historyEdit

SetrEdit

Old Da'vatEdit

New Da'vatEdit

Zaidiyya historyEdit

Other sectsEdit

QarmatiansEdit

AlevisEdit

AlawismEdit

NotesEdit


ReferencesEdit

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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