The term “Shia” means follower and refers to following the way of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), Lady Fatima (AS), the Prophet’s beloved daughter, Ali (AS), the holy Prophet’s cousin, son-in-law, the Shia’s first Imam and his eleven decedents. It is this family or “Ahl-ul-Bayt” towards whom the Shia express their love and affection. The peak of these emotional expressions are crystallized at the Ashoura, the lamentation and mourning festival of Shia remembering the bravery of the stance of Imam Husayn (AS), holy Prophet’s grandson, and Shia’s 3rd Imam, against tyranny of the Umayyad’s regime in which Imam Husayn and seventy two of his companions and family members, including his six-month baby son were brutally martyred only for refusing to accept the corrupted authority of the Umayyad.
According to the fifth Shia Imam, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir:
“Our Shia are recognized by their humility, submission, honesty, abundant praise of Allah, fasting, prayers, goodness to their parents, attention to the poor, needy, debtors, and orphans living nearby, speaking of the truth, recitation of the Qur’an, holding back their tongues except for good words, and trustworthiness towards one’s relatives in all affairs.”
Shia Islam believes in Oneness of God or monotheism, Prophethood or God’s appointing of prophets to guide mankind, the Judgment Day, Leadership of the Twelve Immaculate Imams and Justice, all of which are five principles of Shia faith.
Shia Muslims also believe :
- In brotherhood ties between human beings, regardless of race, culture, citizenship and color,
- In equality in citizenship as well as duties and rights between man and woman,
- That violence and terrorism have nothing to do with the religion and they try their best to achieve their civilized goals
- through peace and nonviolence,
- Politically, Shia Muslims believe in plurality, democracy and openness to all, that is why acceptance is highly granted in Shiism,
- Shia Muslims pay their maximum efforts to achieve freedom, dignity, justice and equality,
- Finally, Shia Muslims believe that thought and religion overcome any geographical boundaries. Shiism is a multicultural faith and Shia Muslims are
- independent from any geographical and political region.