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The Shia Islam Essay

743 words - 3 pages

The Shia represents the second largest piece of Islam after Sunni Islam and is approximately fifteen to twenty-five percent of Muslims worldwide. Adherent of the Shia Islam are the Shi’ites or Shias. The Shia consists of one major way of thinking known as the Jafaryia or the “Twelvers,” and a few minor ways of thinking (Syed). These names all refer to the number of religious leaders they recognize after the death of Muhammad. The term Shia is usually meant to be synonymous with the Jafaryia/Twelvers.
The Shia has many distinctive rituals and practices. The principle rituals are referred to in the five Islam pillars. The most characteristic of Shia rituals take place during the first ten days of the month Muharram, which is the first on the Islamic lunar calendar and finish on the tenth day (Akasoy). On the tenth day the Shia show more than a law or familiar practice, Shia show great passion spiritually. Shia will fill all the streets and villages to show their identity and devotion. The first evidence for this ritual dates back to the Buyid era in the tenth and eleventh centuries. Depending on the community, the rituals take place in private houses, courtyards of mosques, community or special Muharram centers, in markets, and on the streets (Akasoy). The rituals take the forms of more or less formal lamentation sessions, where the events of Karbala are recalled, elegies are recited for the martyrs, and taziyah and processions are performed. During the collective lamentations a zakir recites stories and poems. Texts are often local traditions and authors are collective.
Shia Muslims are concentrated in Iran, southern Iraq, and southern Lebanon, and Bahrain. Most countries with mainly Muslim populations belong to the Islamic Conference, which is an IGO. The world’s predominantly Islamic countries stretch from Nigeria to Indonesia centered historically in the Middle East but with the largest populations in South and Southeast Asia. It’s variously estimated that 10-20% of the world’s Muslims are Shia. They also constitute approximately 36 percent of entire population and 38 percent of the local Muslim population of the Middle East. According to the Shia Muslims, one of the common issues in estimating Shia population is that unless Shia forms a significant minority in a Muslim...

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