Skip to main content


IthnāʿAsharīy(y)a (Arab., ithnaʿashar, ‘twelve’). The Twelvers, majority Shiʿa Islam, the official Shiʿa religion of modern Iran. This Shiʿa sect follows the cult of Twelve Imāms, in distinction from the smaller Sabʿīyya sect (Seveners, see also ISMĀʿĪLIYYA). The series of Twelve Imāms is: ʿAlī, al-Hasan, al-Ḥusain, ʿAlī Zayn, al-ʿAbidīn, Muḥammad al-Bāqir, Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq, Mūsā al-Kāz̳im ʿAlī al-Ridā, Muḥammad al-Taqī, ʿAlī al-Naqī, al-Ḥasan al-ʿAskarī, and Muhammad al-Mahdī. The Imāms are the chosen of God, who direct the destiny of humanity, and preserve and guide the world. Special prayers are reserved for each of the Imāms during weekdays, and it is believed that pilgrimage to their tombs brings special rewards, especially at Karbalāʾ and Mashhad.

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

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"IthnāʿAsharīy(y)a." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . 13 Mar. 2019 <>.

"IthnāʿAsharīy(y)a." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . (March 13, 2019).

"IthnāʿAsharīy(y)a." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved March 13, 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.