The Shia ( Arabic الشيعة ash-Shia , DMG AS-šī'a , following, party, group in Germans'), Shi'ism or Shiaism is named after the Sunni Islam the second largest religious flow within the Islam . Today the term is often used in a generalized way for the Twelve Shia, which is the numerically largest group within the Shia. However, the Schia also includes numerous other groups.
The term shia is shortened for the Arabic expression shīʿat ʿAlī (شيعة علي, DMG šīʿat ʿAlī ' Party of Ali'). The reason for this is that the Shiites , i.e. the followers of the Shia, regard ʿAlī ibn Abī Tālib , the son-in-law and cousin of the Prophet Mohammed , as his designated successor ( caliph ) and imam . According to their belief, the succession of the prophets can only be made by a descendant of Ali, since he is the only one who is divinely legitimized. In the centuries after the death of the Prophet Mohammed, various currents developed within the Shia, which differ mainly in terms of their doctrine of the Imam. In addition, various Shiite schools of law have developed.
Today the Shiites make up around 15% of Muslims (as of 2013, the range in literature ranges from 10 to 25%). The states in which the Shiites make up the majority or are an influential minority are sometimes summarized under the term Shiite crescent .
Current currents of the Schia
Overview and distribution area
The largest Shiite current is made up of the Twelve Shiites, who follow a series of twelve imams. They live mainly in Iran , Azerbaijan , Iraq , Bahrain , Lebanon , Kuwait , Pakistan , Afghanistan , Syria , India and the eastern province of Saudi Arabia . If you look at the absolute number, most of the Twelve Shiites live in Iran and Iraq. There they also make up a large part of the political leadership. In the other large countries, Shiites play a rather subordinate role in political life because they are in the minority (as in Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan). In Saudi Arabia, the religious practice of the Twelve Shiites is partially restricted, but an agreement between the Saudi leadership and the Shiite community has existed since 1993, and Shiites are also represented on the Consultative Council. In Lebanon, the Twelve Shiites make up around 30% of the population. The Twelve Shiites are also referred to as Imamites , but this term is imprecise because, according to classical Islamic doxography, it also includes other historical Shiite groups.
The second group are the Ismailis who follow another Imam row over Ishmael ibn Ja'far leads. Today they live mainly in Pakistan, India, Syria, Afghanistan and in the Pamir highlands in Tajikistan . Today's Ismailis are divided into several groups, of which the Nizarites and the Mustaʿlī-Taiyibites are the most important. While most Nizarites consider the Agha Chan to be their imam, the Mustaʿlī Taiyibites are headed by an upper Dāʿī . Ismaili teaching is very much influenced by Gnostic and Neoplatonic thinking. Several revolutionary Ismaili groups have appeared in the past, such as the Assassins in the Levant or the Fatimids , the latter ruling Egypt for more than 200 years. The Druze , whose main settlement areas are in Syria, Lebanon and Israel, emerged from the Ismaili Shia.
The third (and smallest) Shiite group are the Zaidites , for whom the number of imams is not limited. Today they live mainly in northern Yemen . Due to their religious-political orientation towards ʿAlī ibn Abī Tālib, the Zaidites belong to the Shia, but differ in their doctrine of the Imam from the Twelve Shiites and have their own legal school . Since they recognize the caliphate of the first three caliphs Abū Bakr , ʿUmar ibn al-Chattāb and ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān , they are closer to the Sunnis than the other Shiites.
Alevis are assigned to the Shiites according to their origin, as they also worship the 12 imams and especially ʿAlī (Alevis <Arabic ʿalawī ) in religious life. The core areas of the Alevis are in Turkey and in the former Ottoman- ruled Balkan areas. The proportion of Alevis among Muslims in Turkey is around 15 to 20 percent. Since there is no denominational differentiation within the religious affiliation "Islam" in censuses, these are only uncertain estimates. Today Alevis are widespread in Europe and North America due to the emigration of Turks. In Germany, their share among Muslims of Turkish origin is around 17%. Measured against the total number of Muslims living in Germany, this is around 13%.
Alawites or Nusairians
The Alawites, also called Nusairians, should not be confused with the larger group of Alevis . The Alawites live mainly in Syria, but also in Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Adana, Mersin, Tarsus and the Hatay province in Turkey. These form the political and military elite in Syria . They go back to Ibn Nusair and come from an environment of Gnostic groups from which Ismailia also originated. On the part of the Twelve Shiites, they are viewed as exaggerators.
Differences and similarities
The distinguishing features of the three or four groups are primarily the number of "recognized" imams and the position they occupy in salvation thinking. For example, there is a tendency among some currents (Alevis, Ismailis) to deify the imams and to some extent to a doctrine of reincarnation ( Druze ). However, here too there are regional differences that characterize the reality of faith, and by no means all Alevis or Ismailis deify the imams. Discussions within Muslims and Shiites are still often polemical about such questions . Sunni scholars generally do not recognize the Alevis as Muslims because they are collectively believed to be deified.
Incidentally, the differences between the groups are not clear-cut, as they depend on many regional factors ( folklore , degree of urbanization , etc.). For example, the Alevis can also be described as “Turkish Twelve Shiites”, although they are strongly influenced by their historical experience as a denominational minority. In return, the Iranian Twelve Shiites are shaped by their majority position, which since the Safavid period from 1501, when Shah Ismail I introduced the Twelve Shia as the state religion, has led to a continuous increase in political influence (cf. also Qajar period), the finally led to the (revolutionary) takeover of political rule by a group of Iranian clerics ( Islamic Revolution in Iran 1979 ).
A peculiarity common to all Shiites is the addition to the prayer call: “ Let's do the best!” ( Ḥaiya ʿalā ḫair al-ʿamal ). The Shiites accuse the second caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab of having arbitrarily abolished this original formula.
History of the Schia
According to Shiite authorities such as al-Qummī, who wrote an important doxographic work before 905 , the history of the Shia began during the Prophet's lifetime. During this time a "party" ( šīʿa ) is said to have developed among his companions , which leaned toward ʿAlī and was loyal to him. According to al-Qummī, the Prophet's companions Miqdād ibn al-Aswad al-Kindī, Salmān al-Fārisī , Abū Dharr al-Ghifārī and ʿAmmār ibn Yāsir belonged to this "party of ʿAlīs" ( šīʿat ʿAlī ) . However, these reports are to be referred to the realm of legends, because reliable reports of a special relationship between these men and ʿAlī only exist from the time after Muhammad's death.
The Arabic term šīʿa also occurs in the Koran, but without reference to ʿAlī ibn Abī Tālib. In Sura 15:10 it is stated that God sent messengers to the “groups of the former” ( šiyaʿ al-auwalīn ) even before Mohammed . And in sura 37 : 83 it is stated that Abraham belonged to the group ( šīʿa ) of Noah .
The succession dispute
The real starting point for the history of the Shia was the dispute over the succession after the death of the Prophet Mohammed in 632 AD, i.e. the dispute over the question of who should be his legitimate successor after Mohammed's death. In a surprise action in which ʿUmar ibn al-Chattāb played a leading role, Abū Bakr , his father-in-law, was proclaimed Muhammad's successor shortly after Muhammad's passing , while ʿAlī and his family were still busy with the burial of the Prophet. However, several of the Prophet's companions did not agree with Abū Bakr's proclamation as the new head and stated in this situation that they favored ʿAlī ibn Abī Tālib, because he had already been appointed as his successor by the Prophet. In this situation, however, ʿUmar made sure that almost all residents of Medina took the oath of allegiance to Abū Bakr .
A little later, the dispute over the Prophet's estate in Fadak in northern Hejaz led to a confrontation between Abū Bakr, ʿUmar and the family of the prophets . When his daughter Fātima, Alī's wife, made claims to this property, the two countered her that the Prophet had bequeathed all of his property to the Muslim community as Sadaqa . Since Fātima could not provide sufficient evidence that the Prophet had given her the estate while she was still alive, Abū Bakr moved it in. Fātima then completely broke off contact with Abū Bakr. She remained in this state at Abū Bakr and died six months later. According to the Sunni view, ʿAlī swore allegiance to the caliph after her death. The succession issue was thus provisionally resolved.
Political polarization under ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān
During the caliphate of ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān (644–656) there was a social polarization within the Islamic empire. The reasons for this were nepotism and the self-enrichment of the Umayyad relatives of the caliph . Against the new circumstances, attitudes and ways of thinking in the aristocratic leadership circles of the empire, a religious-political opposition movement formed, which was supported by various circles. Abū Dharr al-Ghifārī , who was supported by ʿAlī in his dispute with ʿUthmān , played an important role in this opposition movement . Various sources report that during this time Abdallāh ibn Sabaʾ called for the overthrow of the caliph, arguing that ʿAlī alone was in charge of the Islamic community. Those who sided with ʿAlī in this way were called “Party of ʿAlīs” ( šīʿat ʿAlī ), those who sided with ʿUthmān were called Uthmānites ( ʿUṯmānīya ). According to the report of Saif ibn ʿUmar , it was also on the initiative of ʿAbdallāh ibn Saba 'that Arab complainants moved to Medina and finally murdered ʿUthmān. In Islamic doxography , Abdallāh ibn Saba 'is reported to have viewed ʿAlī himself as a divine incarnation. ʿAlī is said to have cursed him for it.
ʿAlīs Caliphate and the Shia
After the assassination of ʿUthmān in 656, ʿAlī was proclaimed fourth caliph in the mosque of Medina . According to the Shiite view, with him the legitimate successor of Muhammad finally came to power. However, ʿAlī was not universally recognized. Neither the widow of the Prophet ʿĀ'isha bint Abī Bakr nor Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan , former secretary of the Prophet and now governor of Syria, were willing to submit to his rule. Later it grew with the Kharijites new enemies. Those who supported him in the fighting with these opponents are referred to as "the Shia" in the Arab sources. In the dispute with the Kharijites, ʿAlī first referred to the fact that Mohammed had designated him as his successor before his death on his return from his last pilgrimage in the Ghadīr Chumm oasis . The words that Mohammed is said to have spoken to him are: "Everyone whose master I am also has ʿAlī for his master" ( man kuntu maulā-hu fa-ʿAlī maulā-hu ).
After ʿAlī was murdered, Ibn Saba 'is said to have claimed that he did not actually die, but ascended to heaven like Jesus. An extreme Shiite sect called Saba'īya is traced back to ʿAbdallāh ibn Sabaʾ . In an early 8th century Murji'ite source, it is reported that the followers of this sect claimed that the Prophet had given them a hidden knowledge that he had withheld from the rest of the Muslims. Nine tenths of the revelation are affected.
Battle of Karbala
After the assassination of ʿAlī, Muʿāwiya became the fifth caliph and thus the founder and first ruler of the Umayyad dynasty. Al-Hasan , the eldest of ʿAlīs and Fātima’s sons, who was regarded by the Shiites as the second imam , renounced a confrontation with Muʿāwiya, who was a usurper from the Shiite point of view . When Muʿāwiya later died in 680 after having appointed his son Yazīd as heir, this step met with rejection among many Muslims.
On the other hand, ʿAlīs and Fātima's second son, the third Imam al-Husain, rose . In 680 Ḥusain led his family and his followers against the army of the caliph Yazīd after he had been asked by the Shiites of Kufa by letter to such an uprising. After the Shiites from Kufa had abandoned him, Ḥusain was captured by the army of the Umayyad governor near Karbala in the Iraqi desert and murdered on 10th Muharram 61/680 with 72 others, including women and children. Ḥusain's head was impaled and taken to Damascus as a warning to other rebels. Shortly after the event, a group of people formed among the notables of the Arab tribes of Kufa who wanted to atone for their complicity in the downfall of al-Hussain through active repentance with sword in hand; they have become known as tawwābūn ("penitent").
The betrayal of Ḥusain by the Kufic Shiites is still regarded by the Shiites as a collective, historical guilt. Yazīd as a symbol for the evil and the martyrdom of the prophet's grandson al-Husain became an important part of the Shiite emotional world. The Twelve Shiites commemorate the Battle of Karbala on Ashura Day.
Shiite uprising of the Muchtār and the Kaisānīya
After the death of al-Husain, the Muslims split again. In Mecca ʿAbdallāh ibn az-Zubair established his own caliphate. When he sent emissaries to Kufa to take possession of the city, the Shiites there resisted. Since 683, their hopes have been directed towards a third son of ʿAlī, Muhammad ibn al-Hanafīya . His mother was not the daughter of the prophet Fātima, but another woman of ʿAlīs from the Hanīfa tribe. This Muhammad ibn al-Hanafīya lived in Medina and had no part whatsoever in what happened in Kufa on his behalf. As his self-appointed trustee, al-Muchtar ibn Abī anntUbaid appeared in Iraq . He referred to Muhammad ibn al-Hanafīya as the "rightly guided" ( Mahdi ) and rose in his name in October 685 against the governor Kufas sent by Ibn az-Zubair. Although al-Muchtār was able to take control of the city, Muhammad ibn al-Hanafīya refused to come to Kufa and inherit his father ʿAlī. Al-Muchtār was able to assert himself against the opposing forces for over a year, but in April 687 ʿAbdallāh ibn az-Zubair's troops ended his rule over Kufa. After the death of Muhammad ibn al-Hanafīya, a client of al-Muchtār by the name of Kaisān spread that Muhammad ibn al-Hanafīya had not died but was hiding in the gorges of the Radwā Mountain, guarded there by tigers and lions and will emerge from hiding in the near future. The Shiite sect of the Kaisanites is traced back to these Kaisān, although it did not last long.
Shiites in the late Umayyad state
From 723 onwards, Bukair ibn Māhān was the head of the Kufic Shiites. He took part in the Daʿwa movement, which fought for the Umayyads to be replaced by the Hashimite clan , which also included the Aliden . Among the Kufic followers of the Aliden there were some personalities who mystically exaggerated the Imamate and represented Gnostic ideas. One of them was al-Mughīra ibn Saʿīd , who even claimed prophethood for himself. He also claimed to know the “greatest name of God” ( ism Allaah al-aʿẓam ) and thus to be able to bring the dead to life. In 737 he was burned at the stake in Kufa by Hišāms Iraqi governor Chālid al-Qasrī . His extreme Shi'aism was evident in the fact that he declared the two caliphs Abū Bakr and ʿUmar to be unbelievers because they had prevented ʿAlī from taking up his caliphate after the Prophet's death.
Another Shiite group of this time was the Butriyya, which is traced back to a certain Kathīr an-Nawwāʾ with the surname al-Abtar (d. 754). The Butrites held very moderate views with regard to early Islamic history: although they considered ʿAlī to be the best ( al-afḍal ) of all Muslims according to the Prophet , they recognized the caliphate of Abu Bakr and ʿUmars as legitimate, since ʿAlī had paid homage to them. The Hussainid Zaid ibn īAlī , who lives in Medina, had similar views . When he went to Kufa in 739 and called on the Shiites to rebellion against the Umayyads, there was conflict within the Shiite community. Although Zaid was able to gather several thousand Shiites behind him at first, most of them fell away again when they saw that he was not ready to revile the first two caliphs. Zaid's rebellion against the caliph Hishām in 740 was supported by another Shiite group, the so-called Jārūdites, but this support was not enough to help him win. Zaid fell in a street fight against the governor's troops in Kufa.
A third group of Shiites gathered in Medina around the two Hussainids Muhammad al-Bāqir and Jafar as-Sādiq . They abstained from any political activity and concentrated on teaching religious teachings.
Splitting of the Shia into Zaidites, Imamites and Ghulāt
The subdivision of the Shiites into various subgroups that emerged in the late Umayyad period was consolidated in the early Abbasid period. Three blocks were formed, to which various subgroups belonged:
- The Butriten and the Jarudites merged to form the Zaidiyya , which fought as a political group for the supremacy of the Aliden and in the second half established its own Imamat states in Iran and Yemen. Here the Zaidites meant that both al-Hasan's and al-Husain's descendants were qualified for the Imamat, but only those of them deserve support who have the character traits and knowledge required for the Imamat and who can assert themselves with the sword. The Butritic view prevailed within the Zaidīya, according to which the imamate of the first two caliphs, Abū Bakr and Umar ibn al-Khattab, was legitimate.
- Another group of Shiites restricted the imamate to the Husainid Alids , behaved quietistically on the political level , but did not recognize the first three caliphs, Abū Bakr, ʿUmar and ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān . Since this group believed that the world cannot for a moment be without an imam who is "either known or hidden" ( immā mašhūr wa-immā mastūr ), they were called imamites . Another rather pejorative term for this group is Rāfidites . The Twelve Shiites later emerged from the line of tradition of the Imamites .
- Finally, a third group also followed the Husainid line of imams, but attributed divine qualities to these imams. The Shiites of this group are referred to in Islamic doxography as ghulāt ("exaggerators"). These included, for example, al-Mughīra ibn Saʿīd and Abū Mansūr al-ʿIdschlī , who were both executed in the late Umayyad period, as well as the Kufic cloth dealer Abū l-Chattāb , who worshiped Jafar as-Sādiq as an incarnation of God. They all founded their own ghoulāt sects. The Nusairians later emerged from this line of tradition .
Concepts of Shiite teaching
Three concepts can be identified that are inextricably linked to the Shiite faith: 1.) the imamate of certain descendants of the Prophet, 2.) the purity of the Ahl al-bait , the “family of the Prophet”, and 3.) the ʿIsma , the infallibility and sinlessness of imams.
The imamate's guardianship promises salvation to the believer, because without an imam who gives the divine light, creation cannot exist. Only such a mediator, divinely designated by prophetic word or the word of his predecessor, can succeed the Prophet, succeed the Imam before him, take over the leadership of Muslims and humanity, indeed all of creation. Imam Mahdī can be seen as the archetype of this soteriological term, without whose existence creation would be inconceivable. Belief in the Imamate is deeply anchored in the Shia. The Shiites refer to ʿAlī and his successors as imams . The Imams are like the prophets legitimized as divine, as they were designated by the word of the prophet or the word of their immediate predecessor ( NASS ). The prophets also took on the role of imams ( cf. Koran 2: 124 ).
The purity of the family of the Prophet, the Ahl al-bait (Qur'an 33:33), gives the believer emotional role models to look up to. Only they should really be pure. Fātima can be seen as the archetype of this emotional term, which most concretely represents / embodies the family element. An important basis for the Shiite veneration of the prophetic family is the " Hadith of the two burdens" ( ḥadīṯ aṯ-ṯaqalain ). Accordingly, the Prophet said before his death: "I am leaving you with something that you will never go astray about if you stick to it: the book of God and my next of kin, the members of my house ( ahl baitī )."
The ʿIṣma (“protectedness”) of the maʿṣumūn (“protected”) is a necessity for Shiite knowledge, since all knowledge can be derived from the maʿṣumūn . The archetype of this epistemological term could be seen as Imam könnteaʿfar , whose teaching gained particular influence among Shiites.
Shiite Dynasties and States through History
- Qarmatians (approx. 886-1078 on the Arabian Peninsula)
- Caliphate of the Fatimids (909–1171 in North Africa, Syria / Palestine, Sicily, Hejaz)
- Principality of Multan (mid 10th century to 1010/11)
- Sumra Dynasty (1026–1351 in Sindh )
- Sulaihiden (1047–1138 in Yemen)
- Persian Nizarite principality around Alamut (1090–1256)
- Syrian Nizarite principality around Masyaf (approx. 1100–1273)
- Twelve Shiites / Imamites
- Buyiden (932-1062 in western Iran and Iraq )
- Bawandids (11th and early 12th centuries in Tabaristan)
- Adil Shahi dynasty (1490–1686 in the Sultanate of Bidschapur )
- Nizam Shahi dynasty (1490–1636 in the Sultanate of Ahmadnagar )
- Qutb Shahi dynasty (1496–1687 in the Sultanate of Golkonda )
- Safavids in Iran (from 1501: attempt to consolidate rule through the Shiitization of Iran)
- Principality of Awadh (Oudh) with the capital Lucknow (1722-1856)
- Afsharids (1736–1749)
- Zand princes (1750–1794)
- Qajars in Iran (1779–1929)
- Pahlavi dynasty (1925–1979)
- Islamic Republic of Iran (since 1979)
Shiites in Germany
Of the around four million Muslims living in Germany, around 7 to 9% belong to the Shia. Most Shiites come from Iran, Lebanon and Iraq and therefore immigrated to Germany for reasons of flight or study. Among the Muslims in Germany, the Shiites have by far the highest level of education (56% with a high level of education, 36.7% of the Sunnis with a high level of education). The official Shiite umbrella organization is the Islamic Community of Shiite Communities in Germany (IGS), which sees itself as the representative of around 150 Shiite mosques, communities and groups. The most famous member of the IGS is the Islamic Center Hamburg , which is one of the oldest Islamic institutions in Europe. At the annual Ghadīr Chumm festival , at which the Shiites celebrate the appointment of Ali by the Prophet Muhammad as his successor and consider this festival to be the highest, the IGS received over 1000 German Shiites. This festival, held for the second time in Mainz, is one of the largest Shiite events in Germany.
Role of denominations in Islam
In contrast to Christianity, there is no interdenominational movement in Islam analogous to “ ecumenism ”. On the contrary: The relationship between Sunnis and Shiites is currently still hostile. There is, however, based on the Christian theologian Hans Küng , a " Judeo-Christian-Islamic dialogue " (" Abrahamic ecumenism "), which aims to work out what connects the three Abrahamic religions.
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- See Halm 1988, 175.
- See Saʿd ibn ʿAbdallāh al-Ašarī al-Qummī: Kitāb al-Maqālāt wa-l-firaq. Ed. Muḥammad Ǧawād Maškūr. Maṭbaʿat-i Ḥaidarī, Tehran, 1963. p. 15.
- See Madelung: The succession to Muḥammad. 1997, p. 43.
- See Madelung: The succession to Muḥammad. 1997, pp. 50-52.
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- Compare Abū Saʿīd Našwān al-Ḥimyarī: al-Ḥūr al-ʿīn ʿan kutub al-ʿilm aš-šarāʾif dūna n-nisāʾ al-ʿafāʾif. Dār Āzāl, Beirut, 1985. p. 234.
- See Madelung: The succession to Muḥammad. 1997, p. 253.
- See Halm 1982, 33-43.
- The text is reproduced in Josef van Ess : Theology and Society in the 2nd and 3rd Century of the Hijra. A History of Religious Thought in Early Islam. 6 volumes, De Gruyter, Berlin 1991–97, Vol. V, p. 10.
- See Halm 1988, 21.
- See Halm 1982, 43–84.
- On him, see Tucker 52–71.
- Compare Abū Saʿīd Našwān al-Ḥimyarī: al-Ḥūr al-ʿīn ʿan kutub al-ʿilm aš-šarāʾif dūna n-nisāʾ al-ʿafāʾif. Dār Āzāl, Beirut, 1985. p. 235.
- Compare Abū Saʿīd Našwān al-Ḥimyarī: al-Ḥūr al-ʿīn ʿan kutub al-ʿilm aš-šarāʾif dūna n-nisāʾ al-ʿafāʾif. Dār Āzāl, Beirut, 1985. p. 235.
- Quoted from Josef van Ess : Theology and Society in the 2nd and 3rd Centuries of the Hijra. A History of Religious Thought in Early Islam. 6 volumes, De Gruyter, Berlin 1991–97. Vol. V, p. 55. See the explanations on p. 56.
- Haug / Müssig / Stichs 2009, p. 97.
- Wolfgang Frindte, Klaus Boehnke Jacobs, Henry Kreikenbom, Wolfgang Wagner p. 125
- Haug / Müssig / Stichs 2009, p. 211.
- Ghadeer Khumm 2013/2014. IGS Germany. Archived copy ( memento of the original from July 10, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Allgemeine Zeitung. Rhein Main Presse: Believers from all over Germany. ANNUAL FESTIVAL Shiite community commemorates the Prophet Mohammed and his successor. http://www.allgemeine-zeitung.de/lokales/mainz/stadtteile-mainz/weiseau/glaeubige-aus-ganz-deutschland_13571129.htm
- ZDF Forum on Friday (2014): The Shiite Ashura Festival. http://www.zdf.de/ZDF/zdfportal/programdata/e29d79f8-e709-3109-b84c-461f034fb2ef/20369401?generateCanonicalUrl=true