Sh:!ite doctrines and beliefs are derived from two original sources of Islam – the Qur’"n and the sunnah (the teachings of the prophet Muhammad). They can be summarised as follows:
Divine Unity (tawhid)
The Sh:!a believe that Alla>h (All"h) is the Lord and sustainer and that he is the creator of this wide existence which contains millions of galaxies in which are stars larger than our sun by sixty million times, the sun being larger than the earth by thousands of times. This is Alla>h who has no partner or associate and He is just in his acts and commands, everlasting and subsisting, eternally living, all knowing and all powerful, giving of life and death. In His hands is all good and He has power over all things.
The Sh:!a believe that Mu9ammad (N) is their Prophet and that he was sent as a mercy to the worlds by Alla>h, and that he is the last and ‘seal’ of the prophets. He came to the world with the religion of Islam as Almighty Alla>h’s chosen religion. The Prophet Mu9ammad (N) is the one who teaches humanity what will benefit them in this world and the next; beginning from the advent of his mission in the holy city of Mecca until the end of time. His religion (Islam) abrogates all previous religions.
The prophets according to Sh:!ite belief are the messengers of Almighty Alla>h to His creation. They were sent to the people with Alla>h’s laws, and Alla>h authorised them to lead the people in their worldly lives and direct them towards paradise in the next life. They are 124,000 in number; the first being Adam and the last and best of them being Mu9ammad ibn !Abdull"h (N). May Alla>h’s blessings be upon them all.
There are five ‘Arch prophets’ meaning that their divine messages were universal – Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mu9ammad (Blessings and peace be upon them all.). The prophets are all brothers in Alla>h and we venerate and are allied to them all and, as the Qur’"n says: eWe do not distinguish between any of His messengersf123.
The Sh:!a believe that Islam is the religion of Alla>h sent down from the heavens to rescue mankind from all problems and to bring about the people’s happiness in this world and the next. The Sh:!a believe that it is obligatory to implement Islam in all areas of life – politics, economics, education, society, war, peace, in the house, in the school, in the workplace, in the barracks, and in all other stages of life.
Islam is a complete religion providing for all the needs of humanity in every place and at every time. Almighty Alla>h has said: eToday I have perfected for ye your religion and completed my blessings upon ye and have chosen for ye Islam as your religionf124. Therefore Islam lacks nothing and it is the best of religions and principles. If humanity implemented it eThey would eat from above them and beneath their feetf125. Islam then is the true religion and none other will be accepted by Alla>h, and mankind will not find happiness in this world and salvation in the next except by Islam. Almighty Alla>h has said: eAnd whoever desires a relgion other than Islam it will not be accepted from him and in the next life he will be among the losersf126.
Implementing Islam in the world is the hope of the Sh:!a, for Islam provides for every person: correct belief; freedom for individuals and groups; happiness of life through being saved from poverty, illness, ignorance and crime; complete peace between countries, individuals, and nations. Every person has the right to free thought, free speech, freedom to work, freedom to travel and settle, freedom to write, all of this in a pure framework offered by tolerant Islamic law.
Islam consists of fundamentals (os}ool al-deen), ‘branches’ (foroo‘ al-deen), laws (ah}ka>m al-deen), and morals (akhla>q). Whoever denies one of the fundamentals is considered to be an unbeliever. One is also considered unbeliever if one denies – without being ignorant or subject to ambiguity – any of the other three sections127. One who does not follow the laws of Islam in his personal life without denying them is considered to be a wrongdoer (f"siq) as Almighty Alla>h has said: eWhoever does not rule by what Alla>h has revealed then they are the wrongdoersf128. The Fundamentals of Islam are divine unity (tawh } id), prophethood (nobuwwah) and resurrection (ma‘a>d); and following on from divine unity there is divine justice (‘adl) and from prophethood the imamate (imamah).
The ‘Branches’ of Islam are prayer, fasting, tithe, alms, pilgrimage, jihad, enjoining the good, forbidding the bad, allegiance to Allah and His authorities (tawalli), and disassociation from the enemies of Alla>h and the enemies of His authorities (tabarri), as well as all other types of acts of worship such as the ablutions (wudu’), ritual bath (ghusl), purification with earth (tayammum), spiritual retreat to the mosque (i‘tika), etc. The Laws of Islam are all of the systems and laws which the Messenger of Alla>h (N) brought from Almighty Alla>h such as the laws of buying and selling, mortgaging129, renting, divorce, marriage, the judiciary, bearing witness, inheritance, retribution, compensations and the like.
The Sh:!a believe that Islam has not neglected to make clear anything, so politics, economics, education, society, peace, war, agriculture, manufacturing, family life, government and all other affairs to do with mankind from his birth to his death are all clarified in Islam and have particular systems and just laws. If mankind implemented them they would find happiness in this world and the next.
Also, ‘That which Mu9ammad has declared lawful will remain lawful until the day of resurrection and that which he has declared unlawful will remain unlawful until the day of resurrection.’130
According to Sh:!ite belief, the Holy Qur’"n which is read by all Muslims day and night is Islam’s holy book and it is the Messenger of Alla>h’s miracle. If the jinn and mankind gathered together to bring the like of it they would not be able to do so even if they assisted one another. The Qur’"n is that book which is existent today distributed all over the world in many languages and is recited day and night in houses and mosques and on the radio.
There has been no corruption of it and no substitution, no addition and no subtraction and Alla>h has protected it from those who seek to corrupt it and no-one has been able to add even a single letter or subtract a single letter. As Almighty Alla>h has said: eVerily We sent down the reminder (the Qur’"n) and We are its protectorsf131. The Sh:!a believe that the Qur’"n was collated in the form we have it today – beginning with the opening chapter (al-f"ti9ah) and ending with the chapter entitled ‘mankind’ (al-n"s) – during the time of the Messenger of Alla>h (N) by order of Alla>h and under the supervision of His Messenger (N) without corruption or substitution, and without bringing forward or putting back. What to it.
Direction of Prayer
The Sh:!a believe that the direction for prayer (qiblah) is the holy house of the ka!bah in Mecca (may Alla>h increase its holiness) and that prayer is not correct unless directed towards it.