Article Series – Ismailis within the Muslim Ummah – Principles of Shiism

Article Four of the Series

Ismailis within the Muslim Ummah

Principles of Shiism

The essence of Shiism lies in the desire to search for the true meaning of the revelation in order to understand the purpose of human existence and its destiny. This true, spiritual meaning can never be fettered by the bounds of time, place or the letter of its form. It is to be comprehended through the guidance of the Imam of the time, who is the inheritor of the Prophet’s authority, and the trustee of his legacy.

Read Article Three – Evolution of Communities of Interpretation

A principal function of the Imam is to enable the believers to go beyond the apparent or outward form of the revelation in search of its spirituality and intellect. A believer who sincerely submits to the Imam’s guidance may potentially attain the knowledge of self. The tradition attributed to both the Prophet and Imam Ali: “He who knows himself, knows his Lord”, conveys the essence of this relationship between the Imam and his follower. The Shia thus place obedience to the Imams after that to God and the Prophet by virtue of the command in the Quran for Muslims to obey those vested with authority.

Read Article Two – Shia Islam – Historical Origins

The succession of the line of prophecy by that of Imamat ensures the balance between the shariah or the exoteric aspect of the faith, and its esoteric, spiritual essence. Neither the exoteric nor the esoteric obliterates the other. While the Imam is the path to a believer’s inward, spiritual elevation, he is also the authority who makes the shariah relevant according to the needs of time and universe.

Read Article One – Islam – General Introduction

The inner, spiritual life in harmony with the exoteric, is a dimension of the faith that finds acceptance among many communities in both branches of Islam.

….to be continued.


Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.