Shia

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Glossaries

Term Definition
Shia

Literally, the word Shia means follower. However, in the Muslim world it is used specifically to refer to a group of Muslims holding that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) after his death, through divine order, has designated Ali ibn Abi Talib as the Imam and Wali of the Muslim community. The Shias believe that, through divine order again, after Imam Ali his progeny would continue the Imamate up to Imam Mahdi (a.s.) (the 12th Imam), who is in a state of occultation and with his return the reign of universal justice will start. Although in some theological and jurisprudential issues there are some difference between the Shias and their Sunni brothers, on the whole there is complete agreement on the principals of Islam. Today, the Shia population is mainly located in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Kashmeer, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, etc. It is important to note that, except in Iran where they constitute the majority, the Shias in most of the said countries, live under both state and foreign pressures and limitations.

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