ISLAM – A2- Theme 4 – D E F
Beliefs and practices distinctive of Shi’a Islam
· The Shi’a. the party of Ali are known as the largest minority sect in Islam
· Within Sunni Islam there are several sects – Brewlvi, Deobandi as well as followers of different schools of thought.
· Within Shi’a Islam, there are also different sects – The Twelvers, Ismailis and Allawis.
· Sufi Muslims exist within both Shi’a and Sunni Islam.
· Salafis often reject Shi’a and Sufi practices as they consider much of what these sects do is Bid’ah (innovation).
· However, Sunnis in turn reject Salafis considering them outside the fold of Islam
· Shi’a’s are considered part of traditional Islam
· Despite various differences, you will see that the features of a Sunni mosque to be similar to that of a Shi’a mosque. In addition, the congregation would pray in almost the exact same way.
· Sunnis and Shi’a’s follow the same Arabic Qur’an and focus on the same Allah, the one God. The refrain from shirk – associating partners with him. They also believe in the same judgement and life after death, angels, holy books and Prophets.
Shi’a interpretations of the five pillars
· Shi’a Muslims have a different version of the five pillars of Islam.
· From the perspective of the Twelvers, the pillars are known as Usul al-din. This then classified into beliefs (Usul al-din beliefs) and practices (Furu al-din)
· The main beliefs on which Shi’a practices are based on are as follows;
· Tawhid – the oneness of Allah
· Adl – the concept that Allah is just
· Nubuwwah – belief in Prophets (Sunni belief Risalah)
· Imamah – belief in the succession of the Prophet’s family as leaders of the Shi’a.
· Mi’ad – belief in the day of judgement and resurrection on the afterlife (Sunni belief Akhirah)
· The Shahadah is different – Shi’a’s add the following words; Ali is the guidance of God. This reflects the importance of Ali who in their eyes was chosen by Muhammad to succeed him.
· The Ismaili pillars are different in the sense that Ismaili’s follow the interpretation of their Imam which can vary.
· Ismaili’s place the spiritual aspect of the pillars higher than the physical aspect.
· This is why some Ismaili’s practice the greater fast of avoiding backbiting, swearing and being humble towards others rather than the physical fast of abstaining from eating and drinking.
· Sunni Muslims combine the prayers of Zuhr and Asr as they believe it to be a tradition of the Prophet Muhammad. Shi’a Muslims also follow this tradition, however, they usually read these prayers one after the other at one time.
· When praying, Shi’a Muslims use a clay from the ground of Karbala and place their forehead on it during Sajdah.
Significance of historical dispute that gave rise to Shi’a Islam
· There is disagreement over whether Muhammad appointed anyone as his successor. The response of the community is what led to the division, while many favoured Abu Bakr as the rightly guided by giving bayah, others thought that the first tr...