Twelvers

The second largest branch in the Islamic world, represent 9,5% of the Muslim population. The followers of Shi’ism are called the ‘Shia’. They rose as early as the 7th century, after the death of prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Over the generations, the Shias have further divided into 3 smaller theological groups and 4 sub-division. The most popular group is the ‘Twelvers’. The Twelvers represent 8% followers of all Shias. Their principal difference from the Sunni-mainstream is the belief of Imamate. The Imamate can be defined as a political and spiritual successor of prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) family. Those Imams are considered to be infallible (ismah); they are an example, who would carry the perfect message of Islam. Every Shia must fulfil their duties and promote divine justice as the Imams did, such as praying for them, calling upon them for their intercession, performing a ziyarat (visit) to their resting place once in a lifetime.

The occultation(see Imam Mehdi) represents the 2nd major theological difference between Sunnism and Shi'ism, the third difference is the belief of Taqiyyah (the right to dissimulate one’s true identity in order to remain safe from harmful situations).

The pillars of Shi’ism faith are as follows:

  1. Tawhid (monotheism: belief in the oneness of God)

  2. Adl (divine justice: belief in God's justice)

  3. Nubuwwah (prophethood)

  4. Imamah (succession to Muhammad)

  5. Mi'ad (the day of judgment and the resurrection)

Present day:

The Twelvers are mainly located in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, India and Kuwait. They are divided into 3 schools of jurisprudence: the Usuli, the Akbari and the Shayki.

The Usuli: believe in ijtihad (an intense effort to produce a divine ruling from scriptures). 

The Akbari: reject ijtihad, in other words, follow the scripture literally.

The Shaykis: emerged in the 19th century. They diverge from the Usuli on different topics, such as the interpretation of prophetic narrations, the sources of jurisprudence and some minor details about the day of resurrection. 

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The Twelvers believe in the succession of 12 distinct Imams, respectively:

  1. ‘Alî Ibn Abî Tâlib. Killed in Kufa in 661 AC. Place of burial: Najaf.

  2. Al-Hasan ibn ‘Alî Ibn Abî Tâlib. Poisoned in Medina in 670 AC. Place of burial: al-Baqi.

  3. Al-Husayn ibn ‘Alî Ibn Abî Tâlib . Beheaded in Karbala in 680 AC. Place of burial: Karbala.

  4. Ali ibn Husayn. Poisoned in Medina in 732. Place of burial: al-Baqi.

  5. Muhammad ibn Ali. Martyred in Medina in 732 AC. Place of burial: al-Baqi.

  6. Ja'far ibn Muhammad. Martyred in Medina in 765 AC. Place of burial: al-Baqi.

  7. Mu’sa ibn Jafar. Poisoned in Baghdad in 799 AC. Place of burial: Al-Kazimiyah Mosque in Baghdad.

  8. Ali ibn Musa. Poisoned in Mashad in  817 AC.Place of burial: Imam Rida Mosque in Mashad, Iran.

  9. Muhammad ibn Ali. Poisoned in Baghdad in 835 AC.  Place of burial: Al-Kazimiyah Mosque in Baghdad.

  10. Ali ibn Muhammad.  Poisoned in Samarra in 868 AC. Place of burial: Al Askari Mosque in Samarra, Iraq.

  11. Hasan ibn Ali. Poisoned in Sammarra in 874 AC. Place of burial: Al Askari Mosque in Samarra, Iraq.

  12. Imam Mehdi. In occultation since 868 (hidden from the people, the Shia awaits his arrival to save humanity against the Anti-Christ). To visit imam al-Mehdi, one can visit Jamarkan mosque in Iran, Al 'Askarī Shrine or al-Sahla mosque in Iraq.

​Iran:

Iraq: 

Further maqqam:

ABOUT US

         

Taiba Riaz holds a BA (hons) of Arabic and Islamic Studies at SOAS University of London. Currently a Master student of Civilisation studies at Ibn Haldun University in Istanbul. Her travels are detailed throughout this website, she provides a depth understanding of the Muslim community. The range of theological perspectives within the Islamic dogma. In addition to the various historical sites that recalls the narration of Prophets and Saints in the Holy Qur'an.

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