Shia Islam is the second largest denomination of Islam and its adherents are called Shias or the Shi'a as a collective or Shi'i individually. "Shia" is the short form of the historic phrase Shīʻatu ʻAlī, meaning "followers", "faction", or "party" of Muhammad's son-in-law and cousin Ali, whom the Shia believe to be Muhammad's successor in the Caliphate. Twelver Shia or the Ithnā'ashariyyah' is the largest branch of Shia Islam, and the term Shia Muslim often refers to the Twelvers by default. Shia Islam is based on the Quran and the message of the Islamic prophet Muhammad attested in hadith recorded by the Shia, and certain books deemed sacred to the Shia. In contrast to other Muslims, the Shia believe that only God has the right to choose a representative to safeguard Islam, the Quran and sharia. Thus the Shia look to Ali, Muhammad's son-in-law, whom they revere and consider divinely appointed, as the rightful successor to Muhammad, and the first Imam. In the centuries after the death of Muhammad, the Shia extended this "Imami" doctrine to Muhammad's family, the Ahl al-Bayt ("the People of the House"), and certain individuals among his descendants, known as Imams, who they believe possess special spiritual and political authority over the community, infallibility, and other quasi-divine traits.
Shi'a is the short form of Shi'atul Ali, or the Party of Ali, which rejected the first Caliph Abu Bakr in favour of Ali. Shi'a Islam is the less orthodox of the two main branches of Islam and accepts the idea of intercession by dead Imams on behalf of the living. The formal head of Shi'a Islan is the (Shiite) Caliph. Defining features in-game:
Head - The Shia Caliph
Heresies - Druze, Hurufi
Holy sites - Nadjaf, Medina, Mecca, Jerusalem, Damascus
- The Caliphate is held by a secular ruler, and can cease to exist.
- The Caliph can subjugate other Shiite rulers freely.
- The Caliph can declare great Jihads.
- Muslim rulers can - and are expected to have - multiple wives.
- Mosque Holdings can be held by anyone without penalty.
- Muslim dynasties grow decadent unless the men have enough land and win wars.