SHIA ISLAM Frequently Asked Questions
What is Shia Islam?
All Muslims commonly believe in One God and his Messenger Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), in addition Shia Muslims also believe in the Prophet’s successors (peace be upon them) (Imamat or Divine Leadership) appointed by God.
Which books do Shias follow?
The Holy Quran is the source of all knowledge, which has been the word of God from the day it was revealed without any changes.
There are 4 other main books of narrations from the Holy prophet (peace be upon him) and his Holy progeny (peace be upon him))
- Usool Al-Kafi
- Tahdhib Al-Ahkaam
- Man La Yahduruhu Al-Faqih
In addition, there is the Peak of Eloquence (Nahjul Balagha) and Sahifa Sajjadia (Sahifa Kamila).
How does the public guidance system work in the Shia community?
All Shias get daily guidance from local scholars based in mosques.
For complex matters they can contact a representative of a more qualified scholar in the country who is appointed by one of the Grand scholars (Marja) of the Shia community in the world and classed as the most learned person of the time.
What is the Shia belief of Imamat (divine leadership)?
There are two conditions of being an imam (leader):
- An Imam has to be appointed by GOD.
- An Imam should also be of an infallible character.
Only 12 imams after the Holy prophet had these conditions specified above.
How and what worship is done in Shia mosques?
- 5 daily prayers plus Friday prayers
- Celebrations of historic life events of Shia Holy personalities (Wiladat- Birthdays & Shahadat- Death Anniversary)
- Quran and religious education
Why is Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq so popular in Shias?
This is due to Holy sites in these countries which all Shias are recommended to visit.
They are as follows:
- Saudi Arabia has Holy Kaaba, Shrine of the Holy Prophet, Tombs of 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th Imams and Prophets daughter (peace be upon them all).
- Iraq has Shrines of 1st, 3rd, 7th, 9th 10th and 11th Imams and place of occultation of 12th Imam (peace be upon them).
- Iran has the shrine of the 8th Imam (peace be upon him).
- Syria has the shrine of Sister of Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) , Lady Zainab (peace be upon her).
And the second reason is that Qum in Iran and Najaf in Iraq are two main seminaries (Hawza) of the Shia education system.
How does one become a Shia Muslim?
If one believes in one God, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and the 12 Imams (peace be upon them) they become a Shia Muslim.
What are the basic concepts and actions obligatory in Shia Faith?
There are 5 Usool al-Deen (Roots of Religion):
- Tawhid, Belief in oneness of God;
- Adaalat, justice of God;
- Nubuwwat, Belief in the Prophets;
- Imaamat, Belief of the successorship after the Prophet;
- Qiyamat, Belief in the Day of Judgement.
Furoo al-Deen (Branches of Religion):
- Salat (Prayer)
- Sawm (Fasting)
- Hajj (Pilgrimage)
- Zakat (Wealth Tax)
- Khums (One-Fifth Levy or Income Tax)
- Jihad (The Holy War)
- Amr bi’l Ma’ruf (Enjoining the good)
- Nahy ‘an al-Munkar (Forbidding the prohibited)
- Tawalla (to love the Holy Prophet’s progeny, peace be upon them all and keep friends with their followers)
- Tabarra (to remain aloof from the enemies of the Holy Prophet’s progeny, peace be upon them all)
What’s the Shia view of inviting people to Islam?
Shia belief is letting people:
- Find the truth themselves
- Use own intellect to find information
- Obtain information from a source
Why do Shias believe unity with other faiths is important?
Unity with other Muslims:
Shia faith believes that all Muslims have majority of beliefs in common and classed by the Prophet (peace be upon him) as one ‘ummah’ or community.
With other faith:
Imam Ali (peace be upon him) says “All humans are either your brother in faith or in humanity”, hence all faiths are respected by Shias.