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Shia Belief, Shia Islam, Shia Muslim, Twelver Shiism, Ithna Ashari, Shiite, Shias

Shia Islam, Shia BeliefImam Ali (peace be upon him), used to listen well to the words of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He used to obey the Holy Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) instructions and, in all his actions, was perfectly submissive to them. Imam Ali (peace be upon him) always helped and assisted the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and struggled in the way of righteousness.

During the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), a group amongst the Muslims were friends of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) and, together with Imam Ali (peace be upon him), strove and struggled for the advancement of the "religion of Islam". These Muslims always used to take example from Imam Ali's (peace be upon him) speech, behavior, manners and morals, and, like Imam Ali (peace be upon him), they used to obey the instructions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Our Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to speak to Imam Ali (peace be upon him) and that distinguished group in this fashion; "O Ali! You and your 'Shia' are the best people on the earth."

Also, sometimes when he (peace be upon him) saw Imam Ali (peace be upon him) with his friends, he would point to them and say, "This youth and his 'Shia' are the successful ones." This distinguished group, who really had conviction, was named by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as 'Shia or Shiite'.

Twelve Imams (Ithna Ashari)So, from that very day, a Muslim who followed Imam Ali (peace be upon him) in behavior, speech, ethics, morals, and righteousness, was called a Shia (Shia means follower or friend).

We Shia believe in what our Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, that, after the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), twelve Imams (Ithna Ashari), one after the other, have attained to leadership and Imamate. The first Imam is the Holy Imam Ali (peace be upon him) and the twelfth Imam is the Holy Imam al-Mahdi (peace be upon him).

And We made them leaders guiding (men) by Our Command and We sent them inspiration to do good deeds, to establish regular prayers and to practice regular charity; and they constantly served Us (and Us only). Holy Qur'an (21:73)

Shia Islam or Shiite Muslims

The term "Shia or Shiite" is an adjective used for Muslims who follow the Imams from the Family (Ahlul Bayt) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Sunni Muslims use it not for the reasons of sectarianism or for causing divisions amongst Muslims.

Shia or Shiite Muslims use it because the Holy Qur'an uses it, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used it, and the early Muslims used it - before words such as Sunni or Salafi ever came into existence.

"And most surely Abraham was among the Shia of him (i.e., Noah)" (Holy Qur'an 37:83)

(Notice that the word "Shia" is explicitly used, letter by letter, in the above verse.) In another verse, Holy Qur'an talks about the Shia of Moses (peace be upon him) versus the enemies of Moses (peace be upon him):

"And he (Moses) went into the city at a time when people (of the city) were not watching, so he found therein two men fighting, one being of his Shia and the other being his enemy, and the one who was of his Shia cried out to him for help against the one who was of his enemy..." (Holy Qur'an 28:15)

In the above verse of Holy Qur'an, one is named the Shia of Moses (peace be upon him) and the other one is named the enemy of Moses (peace be upon him), and the people at that time were either the Shia of Moses (peace be upon him) or the enemy of Moses (peace be upon him). Thus Shia is an official word used by Allah in Holy Qur'an for His high rank prophets as well as their followers.

If somebody calls himself a Shia, it is not due to any sectarianism, nor any innovation. It is because Holy Qur'an has used the phrase for some of His best servants.

Conversation of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) with Shias

On a certain evening Imam Ali (peace be upon him) was departing from the Mosque. The surroundings were bright due to the moonlight. Imam Ali (peace be upon him) saw behind him a group of people walking towards him. He enquired as to who they were? They said: "We are your Shias." Imam Ali (peace be upon him) looked at their faces carefully and said:

"Why is it that your faces do not exhibit any sign of you being a Shia?"

"Master, what are the signs of a Shia?"

"Their faces are pale due to excessive worship and the fear of Allah, their backs are bent due to prolonged prayers, too much fasting causes their abdomen to touch their backbones, their lips become dry be repeating endless invocations, and their hearts are filled with the fear of Allah."

Who is true Shia or Shiite?

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (peace be upon him), once said to one of his companions: "O Jabir! It is not enough that a person says; I am a Shia and I love the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the Holy Prophet Muhammad's family (Ahlul Bayt) and the Imams (peace be upon them). By Allah, a Shia is the one who is perfectly pious and obedient to Allah's commands. Anyone else is not a Shia no matter how much they say they love Imam Ali (peace be upon him) and no matter what they call themselves."

True Shia or Shiite"O Jabir! Our Shias are known by these signs:

  • They are truthful, trustworthy and loyal;
  • They always remember Allah;
  • They offer their Prayers, observe fasts, and recite the Holy Qur'an;
  • They act nicely towards their parents;
  • They help their neighbours, take care of orphans, and say nothing but good of people;
  • They are worthy of people's trust and confidence."

Jabir was listening attentively. When the Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (peace be upon him) finished, Jabir said: "O son of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) among the Muslims there are very few who possess these qualities."

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (peace be upon him) replied: "Allah forbid you imagine that just to claim to love us is enough to be a Shia. No not at all. A person who says I love Imam Ali (peace be upon him) but doesn't follow Imam Ali (peace be upon him) in actions is not the Shia of Imam Ali (peace be upon him). Similarly, if a person says I love the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) but doesn't follow the actions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), his claim will be of no use to him."

"O Jabir! Our real friend and Shias are obedient to the commands of Allah, and everyone who is disobedient to Allah is our enemy."

"O Jabir! Always be pious and chaste, and perform good deeds so as to enjoy the blessings of the Paradise. Know that the best and most honourable before Allah are the pious and the chaste."

"O Jabir! Without 'ita'ah' (obedience and submission), nobody can attain proximity to Allah. We do not like them to claim to be our friends if they do not fulfil all the conditions. A sinful person is our enemy. Without good deeds and abstinence from sins, any claim of friendship to us is of no avail."

The True Shias are Those Who Follow (Obey) the Imams (peace be upon them)

Yes, we can give the title of 'Shia or Shiite' to that individual who follows the Imams (peace be upon them) in all aspects of character and speech. Thus, Bab-ul-Hawaij (The Door to Fulfilling Peoples Needs) Imam Musa al-Kazim (peace be upon him) says: "Our Shias are only those who follow us (in every respect), walk in our footsteps and imitate our actions."

Who is Shia or Shiite? The true follower of Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them)

Perhaps, one may think that the Shia of Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them) is someone who is born in a Shia family, or someone who participates in the Azadari of Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) or someone who only claims to love the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and His Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon him), but has nothing to do with obedience to the teachings of Islam.

Shia Islam or Shiite MuslimsImam Ali (peace be upon him): My Shias! By God! The forbearers, the knowledgeable of God and His religion, actively following Him and His orders, guided by His love, appear weak because of worship, seekers of seclusion for their piousness, of pale complexion because of their night prayers, their eyes are weak because of weeping, their lips are dry because of remembrance of God, their stomachs are sunken because of eating in moderation, their faces reveal Godliness, and simplicity is apparent from their appearance, they are guiding lights in every darkness, they are not recognized even when seen, they are not remembered when not present, these are my pure Shias and my respected brothers. Ah! I wish so much to meet them.

Imam Ali (peace be upon him): Our Shias are those who are Gnostics of God, they act according to the orders of God, they possess excellences, they speak only truth, their food is limited to gaining strength, their dress is simple, their behaviour is humble, you think that they have lost their senses, but its not like that, instead, the greatness of their Lord has made them oblivion and His power has overwhelmed their hearts and taken over their intellects. So when they strongly wish of Him, they promptly strive to do pure actions before God, the most High; they are not happy with few good actions, and they never take their abundant good actions to be sufficient.

Imam Ali (peace be upon him): Our Shias, they spend on each other for the sake of our Wilayah, they love each other for the sake of our love, they visit each other for the sake of keeping alive our affair, they never oppress if they become angry with someone and they never become extravagant in their happiness, they are mercy for their neighbours, and a source of peace and security for those who live with them.

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (peace be upon him): No one is our Shia except by the fear of God and His obedience, and they are not recognized except by their humbleness, reverence, trustworthiness, and abundance of remembrance of God.

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (peace be upon him): You shouldn't be mislead by different views (in Islam), for by God nobody is our Shia except by obedience to God, the powerful and magnificent.

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (peace be upon him): (describing the attributes of Shias): They are like strong fortress, their chests are trustworthy, they are men of prudence and self-control, they are not extravagant, they are neither oppressors nor ostentatious, they are devoted worshippers in night and brave like lion in day.

Imam Jafar Sadiq (peace be upon him): Our Shias are those who are pious and men of solid opinion, they are loyal and trustworthy, they are men of piety and worship, they pray fifty one (51) Rak'ats prayers during day and night, they are usually awake in the night, they observe fasts during the day, they purify their property (by paying poor-rate [Zakat]) they perform Hajj of Holy Kaaba, they abstain from all that which is forbidden.

Imam Jafar Sadiq (peace be upon him): He is not from our Shia who lives in a population of several thousand people and someone else is more pious than him among them.

Imam Jafar Sadiq (peace be upon him): He is not from our Shia who accepts us by only his tongue and is against our actions and our legacy.

Imam Jafar Sadiq (peace be upon him): Test our Shias on three occasions: At the time of prayers as to how they safeguard their prayers, and when they have a secret as to how they keep them from our enemies and by their properties (and wealth) as to how they spend on their brethren.

Imam Jafar Sadiq (peace be upon him): Verily the Shia of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) is the one who is purified of (influence of) stomach and sexual desires, and intense is his struggle and his action is for his creator, and his hope is for divine reward and he is afraid of his end so if you see someone like that, then that is the Shia of Jafar (Imam Jafar Sadiq).

Imam Jafar Sadiq (peace be upon him): He is not from our Shias who denies four things: Miraj (heavenly ascension of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)), and questioning in grave, and creation of heaven and hell and Shafaat (intercession).

Shia of Ali, they will be successful on the day of JudgmentImam Jafar Sadiq (peace be upon him): Verily our Shias are known for their following attributes: By their generosity towards their brethren and by their praying of fifty one (51) Rak'ats of prayers during night and day.

Imam Musa al-Kazim (peace be upon him): The Shia of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) is the one whose action testifies his words.

Imam Musa al-Kazim (peace be upon him): He is not from our Shia whose heart is not afraid of God in his loneliness.

Conclusion: So, it is not easy to claim for a Muslim to be a Shia or Shiite, the true follower of Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them). It demands a lot of continuous struggle and hardship in the way of God to become a true follower of Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon him). That is why the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has said: The Shia of Ali, they will be successful on the day of Judgment.

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