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How many sects are there in Shiaism?

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Since my first visit to this website, I am reading older posts form 2010 to now and it surprised me that there exists many differences among Shia of Imam Ali (a.s). I am compelled to ask how many sects are there in Shiaism & this website belongs to which sect?

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4 hours ago, Cool said:

Since my first visit to this website, I am reading older posts form 2010 to now and it surprised me that there exists many differences among Shia of Imam Ali (a.s). I am compelled to ask how many sects are there in Shiaism & this website belongs to which sect?



There is no such a thing as Shiaism. Shia means supporter or a follower, so is there a word such a followerism or supporterism?  Shia or supporter/follwer of Ali Ibn Abu Talib a.s (consists of 12 Imams or Divine leaders..... who are  Divinely guided,  Imams are  chosen by Allah swt throught Mohammad s.a.w. So 12  Imams which is also called Jaffary, is  the original Islam from the beginning till the end. Anything besides 12 Imamis are nothing but a man/Shyton made sect, which the Quran forbids. There is a Hadith of Mohammad s.a.w that says: "my Ummah will spread to 73 sects, only 1 is right.. they can not call one another a kaffir".


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The madhabs within Shia school of thought are 12er/ Ithna Ashari, Zaydi, Ismaili (Dwoodi,Tayibi and Sulaymani and Aha Khani). There are other offshoots but their views are so extreme that they are no longer considered a part of Islam. These would be the Nusayris,  Druze and Bahai

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I kinda want to draw a tree. There are several "sects" within Shiaism (and I guess "sects" within "sects" of Shiaism). The main three are Twelver, Ismaili, and Zaidi. They follow different madhabib (schools of thought within fiqh), but sometimes it overlaps. I think the tree would get confusing, so here's an attempt to briefly explain them:

The most prominent and well known are the Ithnā'ashariyyah (often called "Twelver Islam" in English). These are the Shia that believe in the 12 infallible Imams. The prominant school of thought within Twelver system is Ja'fari Fiqh (after the 6th Imam).  There are a few variances within this Fiqh as well: Usuli, Akhbari, and Shayki. Nearly all Shia follow the Usuli school of thought. Most Shia on this Forum fall into this category! Both Akhbari and Shayki schools are now practically non-existent (and most Shaykis apostated to the newly formed Bahai religion). Aside from the Ja'fari Fiqh, there is a Batiniyya school of thought within the Twelvers. The Alevis and Alawites (Nusayris) fall into this category, but some consider them to have their own distinct version of Islam due to the variety of differing beliefs and practices they adhere to. They combine many elements from Sufi practice with certain Twelver beliefs. Some Alevis even follow Ja'fari fiqh. Most mainstream Shia deem these two groups to be heretical.

The second major Shia sect are known as al-Ismāʿīliyya (or Ismailis). At one point in time (during the Fatimid Caliphate), this was actually the largest sect of Shiaism! They differ from the Twelvers over the succession of Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq. Twelvers accepted Imam Musa al-Kadhim as the 7th Imam, while Ismailis accepted Musa's older brother, Ismail ibn Ja'far, as the rightful successor. There are several sects within Ismailis. The Nizari is the main sect that nearly all Ismailis belong to. They beleive that there is a current Imam in every age. They're currently following their 49th Imam, Aga Khan IV. There are also sects like the Mustaalis, who have divided themselves into so many sub-sects that it's hard to count. Druze are often classified under the umbrella of Ismailism as well.

The third sect of Shia are known as az-Zaydiyya (Zaidis). They recognize Zayd ibn Ali, the grandson of Imam Hussein, as the 5th Imam (as opposed to the Twelvers who accepted Imam Muhammad al-Baqir). Although they're "Shia", they follow the Hanafi fiqh of the Sunnis.

Hope this helped a little!

Salaam and Shalom

Edited by Netzari

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On 1/17/2017 at 1:58 PM, Netzari said:

Although they're "Shia", they follow the Hanafi fiqh of the Sunnis

Not at all, Khawer sheli.

Zaidis have their own Fiqh and by no means follow Hanafi Fiqh. For example, they pray with their arms hanging on the side like all Shiites, Maliki Sunnis and Ibaadis do. Their `Adhaan and `Iqaama include "hayy-3ala khayyri-l-`amal", they pray Maghrib and break fast when it´s already dark, unlike Hanfis do.

Their Tashahhud is basically the same as the Tashahhud  of `Ithna Ashariyya (saying "bismillahi wa billahi wa alhamdulillahi wa-l-`Asmaa-ul-husnaa kulla lillah..." instead of "at-Tahiyyatu lillahi wa salawaatu wa-t-tayybat...") and various other examples.

Shalom, Salaam, Peace

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