Skip to main content



Shiʿa Muslims are the followers of Ali (Shiʿat Ali), the cousin and brother-in-law of the prophet Muhammad, to whose descendants they believe
leadership of the entire Muslim community rightfully belongs. Ali ibn Abi Talib succeeded the first three successors of Muhammad, but his rule was contested. The successor to Ali, Muʿawiyya, was succeeded by his son Yazid. The second son of Ali, Husayn, revolted against him and was martyred in 632 c.e.. Although they share with Sunnis the basic tenets of Islam, Shiʿas have different doctrines, rituals, theology, and organization. Shiʿas comprise the smaller of the two major branches of Islam. They are predominant in Iran and a majority in Iraq, but elsewhere in the Muslim world are a minority, making up around 15 percent of the world's Muslim population. They constitute a substantial minority in Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Lebanon, Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. In many places Shiʿas are subjected by Sunni majorities to discrimination and sometimes violence; in Iraq, where they are a majority, they have been suppressed for political reasons for decades.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Shi?a." Dictionary of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. . 26 Mar. 2019 <>.

"Shi?a." Dictionary of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. . (March 26, 2019).

"Shi?a." Dictionary of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. . Retrieved March 26, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.