Shiite Islam is the largest branch of Islam religion. This is the biggest valued Kufr. It is normally termed as Shia Islam. The actual meaning of this word is “followers’ of Imam Ali who was the son in law as well as cousin of great Prophet Muhammad. Shiite Islam believes Imam Ali to be the successor of Prophet Muhammad.
Like any other branch of Islam religion, Shiite Islam is truly based on the lessons & teaching of the holy book Quran along with the messages and teachings of Prophet Muhammad. Well Shiite Islam has got some contrasts when compared to other branch of Islam religion too.
Shiite Islam believes that only the mighty God has that right to decide a spokesperson. This representative further has got the right to protect the Quran, Islam long with the Sharia. So unlike the beliefs of some branches of Islam religion, Shiite Islam considers only Imam Ali as their first ever Imam.
The Imams are supposed to have political and spiritual authority & influence over the entire Islamic community. There had been twelve divinely religious leaders in Shiite religious hierarchy. These were known as Twelver Shia. Shiite religious hierarchy refers to this Twelver Shia which has been described as below starting with the first leader and ending with the last of this hierarchy. Just have a quick look –
- First Leader – Ali in the d. 661. He was the first Imam and was considered the successor of the Prophet.
- Second Leader – Hassan in d. 669. He was the eldest grandson of Muhammad.
- Third Leader – Hussein in d. 680. He was the grandson of Muhammad and also the brother of Hassan Ali.
- Fourth Leader – Ali Zayn al – Abidin in d. 714.
- Fifth Leader – Muhammed al – Baqir in d. 731. He was considered the most eminent legal scholar.
- Sixth Leader – Ja’far al – Sadiq in d. 765
- Seventh Leader – Musa al – Kazim in d. 799
- Eighth Leader – Ali al – Rida in d. 818. He was declared crown prince by Caliph Al-Ma’mun.
- Ninth Leader – Muhammed al –Jawad in d. 835
- Tenth Leader – Ali al – Hadi in d. 868
- Eleventh Leader – Hasan al – ‘Askari in d. 874
- Twelfth Leader – Muhammad al – Muntazar al – Mahdi
Muhammad al – Muntazar al – Mahdi was the last and still current Imam. The Shiite Islam believed that Muhammad al – Muntazar in his young age hid in a cave. The cave was under his father’s home in Samarra. This was done to avoid the persecution. But he disappeared from the cave. The Shiite Islam believes that he has still been hidden by the God and will return at the end of the time means at the end of this world. This has been the biggest Occultation of Shiite Islam. They consider this twelfth Imam as their Messiah (Mahdi) and will return one day to revitalize the true Islamic message. The disappearance of this last Imam marked the ending of the Islamic leadership of the Prophet’s direct descendants.