Shi'a

Shia (شيعة‎ Shīʿah, from Shīʿatu ʿAlī, "adherent of Ali"), also transliterated Shiah and Shiʿah, is a branch of Islam which holds that the Islamic prophet Muhammad designated Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor and the Imam (leader) after him, most notably at the event of Ghadir Khumm, but was prevented from the caliphate as a result of the incident at Saqifah. This view primarily contrasts with that of Sunni Islam, whose adherents believe that Muhammad did not appoint a successor and consider Abu Bakr, who they claim was appointed Caliph through a Shura, i.e. community consensus in Saqifa, to be the first rightful Caliph after the Prophet. Adherents of Shia Islam are called Shias of Ali, Shias or the Shi'a as a collective or Shi'i or Shi'ite individually.

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Rebecca Masterton, Dr Rebecca Masterton graduated with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature; an MA in Comparative East Asian and African Literature and a PhD in Islamic literature of West Africa. She has been... Answer updated 1 week ago

Analysis of the texts shows that Sufism as a recognised movement, which began to be consolidated under the Sunni Shafi'i Junayd al-Baghdadi, started to take shape during the minor occultation. Even the earliest famous Sufis, such as Sahl al-Tustari (from Shushtar, Iran) and Bayazid Bastami, were from this era. The time of the Minor Occultation and beyond saw an explosion and proliferation of occult (hidden) and mystical movements. The Isma'ili movement also started during this time.

Many Sufi doctrines were copied and pasted from Imami Shi'ism, such as the concept of the walayah of the saint/wali of God (borrowed almost word-for-word from the concept of the walayah of the Imam). In addition to concepts and practices arising from Imami (Twelver) Shi'ism, other concepts also most likely entered Sufi culture, such as that of fana' fi-llah (ecstatic annihiliation in God). This could come from the Greek concept of henosis, which existed in the Neoplatonic tradition.

Most of the well-known Sufis were technically Sunni (even if people claim that Sufism has no madhhab. You can test that out by asking anyone who considers themselves Sufi what they think of the first three khulafa). The question arises therefore, from a Shi'i perspective: why did these 'great Sufis' not recognise the imamate of the Imam of their time? Why did they choose an alternative route? Why do Sufi orders focus on the adhkar and practices of their founders, but not on those of the Imams?

Some strains of Sufism, such as that of Mansur al-Hallaj (executed during the Minor Occultation), also play around with theology; for example, Hallaj championed Iblis and Pharoah, claiming that they were in fact true monotheists, and were simply 'annihilated in God' and were therefore victims of their perfect love for God. This directly contradicts what the Qur'an says about Iblis and Pharaoh, and what the Imams have said also. This kind of Sufism challenged the 'conventional' ideas of tawhid and espoused the idea that true tawhid is when it is realised that there is no difference between the Lover (the human) and the Beloved (God). There is no evidence in the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt (as) to support this. In the School of Ahl al-Bayt (as), of course love and intimacy with God are encouraged, but the idea of merging the identity with God's identity most likely originates from India, or, as I said, from the Neoplatonic tradition.

With regard to the tariqas themselves, close scrutiny of their chains up to the time of their eponymous founders during the early medieval period (12th-13th centuries CE) reveals inconsistencies and illogicalities, which indicate that they have been fabricated. Sufis were under intense pressure from the authorities to justify their beliefs and practices, and most likely borrowed the idea of a chain of saints from the Imami Shi'i school - or else from many of the other spiritual movements of the region that also had chains of initiation as a way of trying to prove their legitimacy.

The Naqshbandi Order's chain effectively espouses the idea that Imam al-Sadiq (as) 'inherited' knowledge from Abu Bakr. (Does that really make sense, when al-Sadiq's (as) forefather was Imam Ali (as)?) It also claims that Bayazid Bastami was Imam al-Sadiq's (as) water carrier and inherited knowledge from Imam al-Sadiq (as), but Imam al-Sadiq (as) had already passed away 150 years before Bayazid Bastami lived. The Chishti Order claims that Hasan al-Basri inherited knowledge from Imam 'Ali (as), but if you read the book 'Between Myth and History' by Suleiman Ali Mourad, you can see the extent to which the person of Hasan al-Basri was fabricated by different schools of thought. Who he really was, we don't know. He worked for the Umayyads, and never supported Imam Ali (as) once Imam Ali (as) had departed for Kufa. Many Sufis also had close ties to the governments of their time, such as 'Abd al-Qadir Jilani (Gilani), who taught in Baghdad.

The best thing to do is to study Sufism and the orders while bearing in mind the historical, social and political context of the era. Overall, Sufi Orders are Sunni and go as far as denouncing the Shi'a. One order, the Kubrawiyya, did split, and one branch became Shi'a, hence why texts from the Kubrawiyya Order are taught as part of the 'irfani tradition in Iran. Nevertheless, the roots of the Kubrawiyya are technically Sunni. 

Abbas Di Palma, Shaykh Abbas Di Palma holds a BA and an MA degree in Islamic Studies, and certifications from the Language Institute of Damascus University. He has also studied traditional Islamic sciences in... Answer updated 1 week ago

as salam alaikum

Shi'a authentic spirituality does not fall under the category of "sufism" as it is widespread nowadays. Shi'a spirituality is based on a deep understanding  of the Qur'an and Sunnah and it includes taqwa, zuhd, dhikr and love for Allah in the way practiced by the Imams and their followers. Concepts and practices that have been introduced later on are not part of the spiritual Shi'a legacy.

In other words the purification of the soul according to Quranic teachings and Prophetic Sunnah as transmitted from the Imams is endorsed but no innovations should be introduced in it.

This does not tantamount to deny the possibility of mystical experiences by the believer but rather it confirms it as Allah wills.

With prayers for your success.

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Seyed Ali Shobayri, Seyed Ali Shobayri is of mixed Iranian and Scottish descent who found the path of the Ahlul Bayt (a) by his own research. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University through the... Answer updated 3 months ago

Bismillah, 

Asalamu Alaykom, Aisha is viewed as one of the opponents of the prophet  and Ahlul Bayt (as) due to her various bad actions. Please read the following answer below to see some of the reasons: 

https://www.al-islam.org/ask/do-the-shia-feel-hatred-towards-the-companions-of-the-prophet-s-and-his-wife-hazrat-ayesha-if-so-what-is-the-justification-for-it/seyed-ali-shobayri

May Allah grant you success 

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Abbas Di Palma, Shaykh Abbas Di Palma holds a BA and an MA degree in Islamic Studies, and certifications from the Language Institute of Damascus University. He has also studied traditional Islamic sciences in... Answer updated 6 months ago

as salam alaikum

there are different types of tafsir. One is the tafsir based on reports, mainly from Imam al-Baqir and Imam al-Sadiq, peace bu upon them, like Tafsir al-al-'Ayyashi, Tafsir al-Qummi and other later works; although many ulama casted doubts on the authenticity of many of these reports, others have made use of them so we don't find unanimity in this regard. Other tafsirs focus on different qira'at, Arabic language, opinions of sahabah, tabi'in, other scholars and their reasonings: that is the case for the Tafsir of Shaykh Tusi and Allamah Tabrisi. Others emphasized the explanation of the Qur'an through the Qur'an, Quranic analysis,  intellectual and theological (and even philosophical) discussions; that is the case of Tafsir al-Mizan by 'Allamah Tabataba'i and those who have followed his methodology.

It is difficult to universally establish what is the"best shia tafsir" because it depends on the conclusions of singular scholars, students and researchers, and many times personal tendencies and "taste" play also a role in it. 

With prayers for your success.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 9 months ago

No.

Our divine leaders are the Prophets and the Infallible Imams and their sincere followers. 

We believe that our absolute obedience must be to Allah, the Prophet (SAWA) and the Infallible Ahlul Bayt (AS). Beside them, No saint or scholar etc has the status of absolute obedience on us.

If fact, there is no need at all for saints in Shia Islam as the divine leadership of Ahlul Bayt (AS) is the real leadership for us.

Wassalam.

Zoheir Ali Esmail, Shaykh Zoheir Ali Esmail has a Bsc in Accounting and Finance from the LSE in London, and an MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. He studied Arabic at Damascus University and holds a PhD... Answered 9 months ago

Bismillah

Thank you for your question. If by saints you mean people that have reached closeness to Allah due to their efforts in worship, developing their faith and knowledge, passing trials and tribulations and other such qualities then there is no doubt that Shias not only accept the existence of saints but advocate a path to realize that potential in every person. The most perfect friends of God are the holy Prophet (saw) and his Household (as) as well as the prophets (as) and all of those who follow their footsteps have a place among the friends of God.

May you always be successful and be included among God's chosen friends

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 9 months ago

The meaning of Daabbat al Ardh is Not beast of the earth at all. We should not be misled by wrong translations. Baabbat al-Ardh is any being which moves on earth. Some people wrongly think that it means an animal. While in the Holy Qu’ran
we read that every moving creature is a Daabbah as Allah (SWT) says in
Surah Hud verse number 6 : “There is no Daabbah on the earth but its
sustenance is from Allah (SWT)”. And also in Surah Nahl verse 61 : “If
Allah (SWT) blames people because of the wrong they do, no Daabbah will
remain on the earth”. Which means all human beings are also Daabbah. In
Surah Al Anfal verse 22 : “Verily, the worst of Daabbah with Allah
(SWT) are those who are deaf and dumb who don’t reflect (don’t
understand)”. So Daabbah is not only an animal but also all the human
beings are Dabbah as well. The verse in the Holy Qur’an which is
regarding Daabbat al Ardh was discussed among many scholars according
to the references of their knowledge, Those who do not follow the
Ahlul Bayt (AS), they claimed that the Daabbah is an unusual animal
which has abnormal acts, but this understanding goes against the verse
itself when Allah (SWT) says in Surah al-Naml verse 82 : “And when the
word of torment is fulfilled against them, we shall bring out from the
earth, a moving creature (Daabbah from the earth) to speak to them that most of mankind did not believe with certainty in the verses of Allah (SWT)”. So this is the
act of this special creature and it cannot be an animal who speaks the
facts which are known only to the prophets and their successors.
This Daabbah itself will be a miracle from Allah (SWT).
The scholars who follow Ahlul Bayt (AS) understand the real meaning of
this verse from the authentic Hadeeths which says that Daabbah
according to the Hadeeth narrated by Huthaifah Ibn al Yaman that the Holy
Prophet (SAWA) explained this verse and said that the Daabbah will be
supported by Allah (SWT) and no enemy will harm this Daabbah nor can
escape from this Daabbah and this Daabbah will stamp on the Mo’min
forehead that he is a Mo’min and will write on the forehead of a
Kaafir that he is a Kaafir and the Daabbah will be carrying the stick
of Prophet Musa and the ring of Prophet Sulaiman (ref : Majma’ al
Bayan by al Tabrasi).

We have another narration in Tafseer Ali ibn Ibrahim narrated from
Imam Ja’far as Sadiq (AS) that the meaning of Daabbah is none but Ameer
ul Mo’meneen (AS) (ref : Majma’ al Bayan by al Tabrasi). Another
narration from Tafseer al Ayyashi gives the same meaning. In Bihaar ul
Anwaar Volume 53  Page 52, authentic chain of narrators from Imam
Ja’far as Sadiq (AS) state that the Holy Prophet (SAWA) entered the
Masjid in Madinah and saw Ameer ul Mo’meneen (AS) sleeping and putting
his head on sand as a pillow. The Holy Prophet (SAWA) put his hands on
the legs of Ameer ul Mo’meneen (AS) and told him : “Get up O Dabbaat
of Allah (SWT)”. One of the companions said : “O Holy Prophet (SAWA),
shall we also call each other with this name?” The Holy Prophet (SAWA)
said : “No. By Allah (SWT) this name is only for Ameer ul Mo’meneen
(AS) and he has been mentioned in the Book of Allah (SWT) (Surah Naml
verse 82)”. And the Holy Prophet (SAWA) told Ameer ul Mo’meneen (AS) :
“O Ali, at the end of time Allah (SWT) will bring you up in the best
of shape with a marker with which you will mark your enemies”.

We have also a mention that Imam al Mahdi (ATFS) will mark the
believers and the non-believers (Tafseer Abul Futooh al Raazi Volume 8
Page 23).

Wasalaam.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 10 months ago

Quds is the place where Baitul Maqdis Masjid is, and Baitul Maqdis is the first Qibla for Muslims.

In the narrations from the Ahlul Bayt (AS) we have a narration from Imam Mohammad al Baqir (AS) telling Abu Hamza al Thimali that the great Masjids are four: al Masjid al Haraam in Makkah, the Masjid of the Holy Prophet (SAWA) in Madinah, Masjid Baitul Maqdis in Quds and Masjid al Kufa. The Imam (AS) said : O Aba Hamza, performing obligatory Salaah in any of these Masjids equals performing full Hajj and performing recommended Salaah in any of these Masjids equals performing Umrah. This Hadith is narrated in the book of Man La Yahdharuhu Al Faqih by Al Sadooq , volume 1 page 163.

Also we have narrations mentioned in the same book of Al Faqih by Sheikh Al Sadooq  from Ameerul Mo"meneen Ali (AS) that Salaah in Bait Al Maqdis equal one thousand Salaah. Volume 1, page 167 .

A narration also from Ameerul Mo"meneen Ali (AS) that when Imam Al Mahdi (ATFS) comes back to the public life he will go to Bait Al Maqdis. This narration is in Mo"jam Ahaadith Al Imam Al Mahdi (ATFS) volume 4 page 175.

Wassalaam.

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Mateen Charbonneau, Sheikh Mateen Joshua Charbonneau achieved a certificate from Harvard University in Islamic Studies. He undertook Howza classes under esteemed scholars since 2013 and has been teaching at Imam Mahdi... Answered 10 months ago

There is a great movie in English about Sayeda Narjis (sa) called The Princess of Rome. 

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You can start by exploring this link, and the sub-sections from it, that will lead you to many relevant books and articles.

https://www.al-islam.org/explore/shia-and-sunni

If you are looking for short Fact Sheets on various topics related to Shi'a belief and practice, then check this out:

https://www.al-islam.org/nutshell/

If you would like to sample the words of the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) when they speak of God, or address Him in supplications, then these two resources may be of interest:

https://www.al-islam.org/shiite-anthology-sayyid-muhammad-husayn-tabatabai

and

https://www.al-islam.org/sahifa-al-kamilah-al-sajjadiyya-imam-ali-zayn-al-abidin

Hope this helps!

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 10 months ago

Masjid Namirah is a well known Masjid in Arafat area. It is mentioned that this Masjid was built on the place were the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) gave his famous sermon in Arafah when he performed Hajj on the year 10 after Hijra which is called  Hajjatul Wadaa' (The Welfare Hajj).

Masjid Namirah is important for the followers of Ahlul Bayt (AS) as it is one of the places where the Prophet (SAWA) visited and gave  a sermon.  The Prophet (SAWA) prayed Dhuhr and Asr prayers together. All Muslims admit and accept this fact. No one can claim the the Prophet prayed Asr before its time. It means hat he tme of As starts immediately after performing Dhuhr Prayer.

Till now, all Muslims pray Dhuhr and Asr together in Arafah. This Prophetic worship itself is another evidence that what Shi'a Muslims practice is completely authentic and it is from the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA).

Wassalam.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answer updated 11 months ago

Real Muslim will not remain in Hellfire for ever. The Hadeeth says (The Paradise is for the believers in Tawheed ) (الجنة للموحدين)

Remaining in Hellfire for ever is only for the Kuffaar  (disbelievers who are the enemies of Allah (SWT)).

Kharijites and Mu'tazilah say that Muslim who committed major sins will remain in Hellfire forever like the Kuffaar.

Shaikh al-Mufeed said in Awaa'il al-Maqaalaat P.14: The Imami (Shia) scholars are unanimous that remaining in Hellfire for ever is for the Kuffaar only and not for the major sinners from those who believe in Allah.

Shaikh al-Sadouq said in Sharh Aqaed al-Sadouq P55: The Hellfire is the place of those who did not believe in Allah and some of the believers in Allah who committed major sins but they will not remain in it. No one will remain in Hellfire for ever but the non believers.

The names which you mentioned can be from those who claimed being Muslims but did not really believe, just like the Munafiqeen (hypocrates).

Wassalam.