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What is Shi’ism?

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Shi’sm is nothing more than Islam that is based, exclusively, on the most authentic and original sources:  The Holy Qur’an, the unadulterated, final collection of revelations from God and the teachings and examples of the Holy Ahlul Bayt, who consist of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, his Holy daughter, Hadhrat Fatima, and the 12 Holy Imams.  In general the root word Shi’a denotes those who follow and is found in the Holy Qur’an  Specifically, it means a follower of Imam ‘Ali, the first of the Holy Imams and immediate successor to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  An example was Prophet Abraham who was mentioned in Qur’an specifically as the Shia of Noah:  “And most surely Abraham was among the Shia of him (i.e., Noah)” (Qur’an 37:83).  In another verse, the Qur’an talks about the Shia of Moses versus the enemies of Moses:  “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”. (Qur’an 28:15)

If somebody calls himself a Shi’a, it is not due to any sectarianism, nor any innovation. It is because the Qur’an has used the phrase for some of His best servants. The above verses mentioned in support of Shi’a, has used this term singular form (i.e., one group of followers). This means that it has special meaning, such as: THE Shi’a of Noah (AS), THE Shi’a of Moses (AS). Also in the History of Islam, Shi’a has been specially used for the “followers of Ali”. The first individual who used this term was the Messenger of Allah when he spoke the following words to ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib,  “Glad tiding O Ali! Verily you and your companions and your Shi’a (followers) will be in Paradise.”  Thus the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) used to say the phrase of “Shi’a of Ali”. This phrase is not something invented later! Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF) said that the TRUE followers of imam Ali will go to Paradise, and this is a great felicity. Also Jabir Ibn Abdillah al-Ansari narrated that:

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: “The Shi’a of Ali are the real victorious ones on the day of resurrection/day of rising.”  The “day of rising” may also refer to the day of rising of al-Mahdi (AS). But in more general term, it means the day of judgment. Also it is narrated that:

The Messenger of Allah said:  “O Ali! On the Day of Judgment I shall resort to Allah and you will resort to me and your children will resort to you and the Shi’a will resort to them. Then you will see where they carry us. (i.e., to Paradise)”

Sunni references:

  • al-Manaqib Ahmad, as mentioned in:
  • Yanabi al-Mawaddah, by al-Qundoozi al-Hanafi, p62
  • Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Hafidh Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, who quotes the tradition as follows: “We were with the Holy Prophet when Ali came towards us. The Holy Prophet said: He and his Shia will aquire salvation on the day of judgment.”  al-Tabarani, on the authority of Imam Ali
  • al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, p236
  • al-Hafidh Jamaluddin al-Dharandi, on the authority of Ibn Abbas
  • al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, section 1, pp 246-247










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