Muslim Diversity Series : Who Is Shia?

In recent times, the Muslim world although fighting to remain unified under a single theocratic banner, has not been able to sustain homogeneity within themselves. This is due to the fact that the Shia-Sunni conflict remains at the heart of Islam. This dissonance is not only persistent in the ideological differences between the Shia and Sunni sects, but also in the disagreement about who possessed the rightful claim to political power. After the death of Prophet Muhammad, the struggle for power and the ascension to the caliphate divided the Muslim populace to choose sides with either Ali (the prophet’s son in law and cousin) or Abu Bakar, a prominent sahaba (follower) of the Prophet. This division has contributed to the centuries’ worth of difference and intolerance within the Muslim world. The dispute within Islam about the rightful claim to power raises the issue that although Islam as preached by Muhammad advocated Muslim unification; the attempt for unification of the Muslim ummah was quickly lost once religion turned into a political power struggle.

The Shia-Sunni distinction presupposes that the rift between these sects, although originating from a power struggle, has resulted in an animosity between different Islamic groups based not only on religious difference but also on a disagreement on which sect possessed control over power, either religiously or politically.  Today  the world has become divided on “civilizational lines” the question that resonates within the minds of many is not whether you are Muslim? It’s whether you are a Shia Muslim or a Sunni Muslim? Therefore, to answer this question Alochonaa presents the first of a three part series, in which we try to disentangle the truth of Islam from the shadow of sectarian dogma. Fatima Raza, Editor, Alochonaa

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Who is Shia?

Syed Raza Abid Zaidi *

Brisbane, June 18th 2014 (Alochonaa): Who is Shia? this question is very simple and complex at the same time. We have tried to answer the question in just a few lines, so that the people outside the Muslim world can easily understand that who the Shia as a sect are and what culminates their belief.

Shias are the followers of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and after him they believe in Imam Ali (AS) as his first and the legitimate successor, caliph and apostle. In his last pilgrimage, the holy Prophet declared Imam Ali as the master of all those who believed in his prophet -hood.

However, Imam Ali (AS) was declined his right to lead the Ummah as a ruler by a group of companions of the Holy Prophet. In this tragedy, some people raised their voice against the illicit regime, and eventually the ruling regime attacked Imam Ali’s house, where his wife Lady Fatima Zahra (the daughter of the Prophet) tried to stop the defiant faction from entering her home. However they set fire on her door and pushed it hard, where Lady Fatima got severely injured and succumbed to her injuries in a few days. This was the first terrorist attack in the history of Islam, where so called Muslims attacked the daughter of Holy Prophet and took her life with an unborn child.

Shias believe that only Prophet Muhammad (SAWAW) and any one like him can lead the Ummah as an apostle of Allah, and such a person must be selected by Allah and declared by the Holy Prophet himself. Thus the succession of the Prophet is set by Allah and Ummah cannot change it by its own will.

Therefore Shias do not follow the teachings of people elected by the defiant will of a fierce faction of Muslim, who established their order against the will of Allah and the Holy Prophet.

Shias absolutely do not believe in subduing the people by force. Shias believe in the principle of LA IKRAHA FIDDEEN (No compulsion in accepting the faith), given by the Quran. We merely present our theory and practice and if anyone likes, can join. We do not believe in taking the life of the people who disagree with our stance or who oppose us. Life is a gift of Allah and only he can take it back as set by His own principles.

pic 2All the Successors of the holy Prophet are infallible like himself, and they do not commit any sin, though small or big. They do not make mistakes in their decisions and judgments and do not get attracted by the worldly things.

World can easily witness that people who left Imam Ali and chose paths of their own choice are extremist and badly involved in terrorism across the world. However the followers of Imam Ali (Shias) absolutely condemn the radical face of so called muslims who have broken the peace of the world.

The List of 14 infallibles is as given below:

1- The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Up on him and his progeny). Departed in 11 Hij.

2- Lady Fatima Zahra (peace be upon her). Martyred 11 Hijri 2 months after Prophet’s departure.

3- Imam Ali the leader of faithful (Peace be upon him).

Martyred in 40 Hij in Mosque of Kofa while praying.

4- Imam Hasan al Mujtaba- The eldest Son of Imam Ali (Peace be upon them).

Poisoned to martyrdom in 50 Hijri

5- Imam Hussain -The martyr of Karbala and second son of Imam Ali (Peace be upon them).

Martyred in 61 Hijri in Karbala by so called Muslims.

6- Imam Ali Zainul Abideen son of Imam Hussain (Peace be upon them).

Poisoned to Martyrdom in 95 Hijri

7- Imam Muhammad Albaqirul Uloom son of Imam Ali Zainul Abideen (Peace be upon them).

Poisoned to Martyrdom in 114 Hijri

8- Imam Jaffar Ass-Sadiq Son of Imam Muhammad al Baqir (Peace be upon them).

Poisoned to Martyrdom in 148 Hijri

9- Imam Mosa Al-Kazim son of Imam Jaffar Assadiq (Peace be upon them).

Poisoned to Martyrdom in 183 Hijri

10- Imam Ali Al_Redha son of Imam Mosa Alkazim (Peace be upon them).

Poisoned to Martyrdom in 203 Hijri

11- Imam Muhammad Al-Taqi son of Imam Ali Aredha (Peace be upon them).

Poisoned to Martyrdom in 220 Hijri

12- Imam Ali Al-Naqi son of Imam Muhammad Al-Taqi (Peace be upon them).

Poisoned to Martyrdom in254 Hijri

13- Imam Hasan Al-Askari son of Imam Ali Al-Naqi (Peace be upon them).

Poisoned to Martyrdom in 260 Hijri

14- Imam Mehdi son of Imam Hasan Al-Askari (Peace be upon them).

Born on 15 Sha’ebaan 255 or 256 Hij and is Still alive.

*Mr. Syed Raza Abid Zaidi is a prominent figure of the Fatima Zahra Imamia Centre (FZIC) in Ipswich Brisbane Qld.  FZIC promotes Shia traditions and caters for the auspicious month of Muhurram for the Pakistani Shia community of Ipswich. 

** is not responsible for any factual mistakes (if any) of this analysis. This analysis further is not necessarily representative of’s view. We’re happy to facilitate further evidence-based submissions on this topic. Please send us your submission at

Categories: Islam, Religion-Politics, Shia

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