Shia muslims are arguably one of the most misrepresented groups in history. A Shia Muslims not only one must face Islamophobia for being a Muslim, but also Shiaphobia. They are often regarded particularly by those of the Salafi sect as being deviant, polytheists, a non-believer if they are not ignorant, unclean and liars. Marriage to them is impermissible, and eating from them greatly frowned upon. In many countries, the Shia do not have the freedom of expression of the ability to practise where Salafism reigns supreme. Indeed, many Shias can remember a time when we were abused, or even bullied when we were younger in school, by children who had been given misinformation and trained by their parents to loathe, hate, and dissociate from others on the basis of whimsical fallacies.
So what do Shia muslims actually believe?
1. There is no God but Allah. He does not have a place, so that one can point to him – as he existed before there was a ‘where’ and created this limitations and is not confined and limited by them. He does not literally ascend nor descend, as he created these limitations for his creatures and is not limited or confined in location to incur movement or be described by the means his creation operates. He is not composed of constituent parts, such that one can say he literally by his essence has ‘two hands’, a ‘shin’, ‘two fingers’, ‘two feet’, and other such parts. He is one in his absolute and unified oneness. Glory be to him, above what some attribute to him. [Video made by Ashari/Matruidi’ Sunnis against the Salafi-movement]
2. None share any of the attributes of God. The idol worshippers at the time of Muhammed [saw] believed that some of their idols were daughters of God, and hence shared divinity. They also affirmed agents who could act independently of God in creating and influencing the destinies of men. Shias dissociate from all of this, and affirm only Allah is the creator, the sustainer, and nothing shares in his divine attributes, He is the sole ultimate controller of the universe, and whatever occurs is by his will, permission, and power.
3. Muhammedﷺ is the last and final Messenger of God. His Sunnah [way] is what we must strive to adhere to. Whatever he made permissible will remain so until the day of judgement, and whatever he made impermissible will remain so until the day of judgement. There is no Prophet after him.
4. The Quran is the final and unchanged word of God, that has been preserved as we have it in our covers today. We believe whatever is in it and do not deny the truth of the unseen, the day of judgement, and other such fundamental beliefs.
5. The best way to get to the true Sunnah of Muhammed ﷺ is to obey him, and hold fast onto the Quran, and chosen members of his Ahlulbayt: “The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “I have left behind over you [At-Thaqalayn] that which if you hold fast to it you will never go astray: the Book of Allah – one end of which is in the Hand of Allah and the other in your hands [Similar to he expression ‘a rope from the heavens and the earth’]– and my Ahl al-Bayt.” [Musnad ibn Ruwayha, Ibn Sinan, Tirmidhi , Balahudri and other sources]
6. We follow the one whom Allah, the Almighty chose and Muhammed ﷺdesignated as the leader after him – Ali ibn Abi Talib, shortly before his death at Ghadeer Khum: ““…Then the Messenger of Allah continued: “Do I not have more right over the believers than what they have over themselves?”People cried and answered: “Yes, O’ Messenger of God.”Then Prophet (S) held up the hand of ‘Ali and said: “Whoever I am his Mawla [master], ‘Ali is his Mawla [master]…”(1) Sahih Tirmidhi, v2, p298, v5, p63 (2) Sunan Ibn Maja, v1, pp 12,4 (3) Khasa’is, by al-Nisa’i, pp 4,21 (4) al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v2, p129 et al