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Islam Chronology

Shi'a Beliefs


In addition to the beliefs and practices common to both Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims--the faroo-din, there are other beliefs and practices that distinguish Shi'a Muslims.  While there are a number of different groups which are identified as "Shi'a," the most common is the "Twelver" sect.  Fundamental to this group are the following beliefs:

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1 Tauheed. Unity of God.  God is sacred and distinct from any resemblance at all with his creation...He is, was and will continue to be by his virtue and he does not change state....He has no son, father, wife or other relative.  He is beyond comprehension.

2. Adal  Justice.  God by Nature is absolutely just and no action of injustice can ever be attributed to him.  He is free from being Unjust.

3. Nabuwat.  Prophecy.  God sent to his creation Prophets from the beginning of time starting with Adam.  The chain of prophets continued through Noah, Abraham (Ibrahim), Moses, David, Jesus and other prophets numbering a total of 124,000.  Muhammad was the last of the prophets and after him there will be no more.  All of the prophets preached in its essence the same faith.

4. Imamat  Religious leadership.  While the School of Prophecy ends with Muhammad, the School of Imamat, divine Islamic leadership, starts with Ali as the first Imam and continues with 11 others from his descendants.  Each of the Imams is divinely chosen by God. Each of these imams are considered perfect in doctrine and practice and they provide divine leadership to the community of the faithful.

5. Qayyamat.  Day of Judgment.  Similar to many Jews and Christians, they also believe that a day of judgment shall come when God will do justice with all and people will be rewarded or punished for there beliefs and deeds.

An additional view on the beliefs of Shi'ite Muslims can be found at The Shi'a Homepage.


Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. New York: Charles Scribner, 1920.

Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1910.


Written by:
Shah Jalal
April 23, 2003

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