Islam in the View of the Shi!a

Islam in the view of the Sh:!a consists of doctrine (aq:dah), law (shar:!ah) and system (nid"m).

1. Shi!a Doctrine

The Sh:!a believe in Allah as their Lord, who is just and who has no partner or associate (shar:k). They believe in Mu9ammad (N) as their Prophet, in Islam as their religion, in the Qur’"n as their holy book, in the Ka!bah in Mecca as their direction of prayer (qiblah), and that all that Mu9ammad brought from his Lord was the truth, and that Allah will bring back to life those who are in the graves, and that heaven and hell are realities, and that mankind has freedom to choose in this life (without compulsion or delegation) and that if he acts well he will be rewarded for it and if he acts badly he will be punished for it.

The Sh:!a also believe that the religion of Islam is complete and lacks nothing, as Allah revealed it and the trusty Messenger (N) and his pure successors (a.s.) propagated it. It is the one religion which must be followed in doctrine and in actions and any deviation from it brings about calamity in this life and tribulation in the next life, while adherence to it brings about happiness in this life and the next. It is a complete way of life that addresses the human being in his entirety. Hence it is concerned with nurturing the soul or spirit just as it is concerned with nurturing the body, it deals with values as well as with systems.

The fundamentals or roots of the religion in the view of the Sh:!a are five in number:

  1. Divine unity.
  2. Divine justice.
  3. Prophethood.
  4. Imamate.
  5. Resurrection.

Divine unity means that Allah is one and has no partner and no equal as Almighty Alla>h has said in the Qur’"n: eSay: He is Allah unique, Allah the eternal, He begets not nor was He begotten, and there is none like unto Himf29 Divine justice means that Allah is just and does not wrong anyone or tolerate wrongdoing.

Prophethood means that Allah by His grace has sent prophets to mankind to clarify the way of good and bad and to direct them to the good and prevent them from the bad. Imamate means that the Messenger of Allah (N) appointed, by order of Alla>h, his twelve successors to come after him and named them one after the other and specified them by name and epithet and fathers’ and mothers’ names just as every Imam specified the succeeding Imam. Hence it is obligatory to follow them and to take the features of the religion from them. Their names were mentioned previously [on page 13].

Resurrection means that Almighty Allah will revive creation on the day of resurrection and reward those who do good and punish those who do bad. eAnd whoever does a speck’s weight of good will see it and whoever does a speck’s weight of bad will see itf30. tails of these five fundamentals please refer to the books and encyclopaedias of the Sh:!a such as: shar9 al-tajr:d31, !abaq"t alanw" r32, al-ghad:r33, al-fuNYl al-muhimmah34, or al-mur"ja!"t35. These are amongst thousands of books authored by the Sh:!a scholars in this regard.

2. Shi!a View of Islamic Law

In the view of the Sh:!a, Islamic law or shar:!ah consists of:

  1. Acts of Worship. These are the acts by which nearness is sought to Allah and include daily prayers (Nal"h), fasting (s}awm), tithe (khums), almsgiving (zakah), pilgrimage (hajj), struggle (jihad), purification (taharah), spiritual retreat to the Mosque (i‘tika f), and enjoining the good and forbidding the bad etc.

  2. Contracts (mu‘amila t) such as selling, renting, endowments and mortgages etc.

  3. Ethics (akhla>q) which consist of: virtues which Islam has made either obligatory or recommended such as truthfulness, honesty, bravery, chivalry, activity and the like; and vices which Islam discourages either by forbidding or by considering them reprehensible such as betrayal, lying, cowardice, inactivity, causing corruption etc.

  4. Etiquettes (a>da>b) which are the actions Islam considers to be courtesies such as the courtesies of sleep and wakefulness, of marriage, or of gatherings, travel and the like.

  5. Laws (ah}ka>m) which comprise obligatory (wa (haram), recommended (mustah}ab), reprehensible (makruh), and neutral (muba>h}). They are also divided into takl:f:yah (duty bound) and wa+!:yyah (statuary) such as the laws of marriage and divorce and inheritance, and justice, penal codes and compensations.