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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Shi'a Islam

Shi'a Islam, also Shi'ite Islam, or Shi'ism is a denomination of the Islamic faith. It is short for Shi'at 'Ali . Even though it is the second largest denomination of Islam, among the hundreds of millions of Muslims Shi'a muslims are considered to be a minority in number. Shi'a Muslims adhere to what they consider to be the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and the religious guidance of his family whom they
refer to as the Ahlul Bayt. Thus, Shi'as consider the first three ruling caliphs of Islam a historic occurrence and not something attached to faith. The singular/adjective form is Shi’i and refers to a follower of the Household of Muhammad and of Ali ibn Abi Talib in particular.

Shi'a islam, like sunni islam, has at times been divided into many branches but today there are just three branches. The best known and the one with most adherents is Twelvers the others being Ismaili and Zaidiyyah. Also Alawites known as Shi'a but because of their idea about Ali this claim is disputed, though mainstream shias denounce for taking an extreme view of Ali, and not actually following the pillars of islam.

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