Back Home Next    

 

Treasures of the Madh'habs

 

Main Sources for this chapter:

Al‑Saadiq and the Four Madh'habs, Asad Haidar.

Mafateeh Al-Jinaan, Abbas Al-Qummi.

Fiqh Al-Sunnah, Syed Saabiq.         

Al-Madhaa'hib Al-Khamsah, Hashim M. Al-Hassani.

Seerah of the Twelve Imams, Hashim M. Al-Hassani.

 

THE BRANCHING OUT  go to top of page

      As the Islamic world branched out into Shi'a and Sunni, the basic understanding of Islam continued to be identical to all schools of thought.  The Shi'a adhered to Imam Ali's explanation of the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh), they were named Al‑Khaassah, الخــاصـه meaning the elite, the distinctive, or the special, but such a name was generic.  It was after the 12th Imam (Al-Mahdi المهدى  )  went into major occultation that the Shi'a became (specifically) known as the twelvers, Ithna Ashari  اثـنــا عـشـــرى , or Ja'fari  الجـعـفـــرى. This name continues until to-day.  The Zaidi and Isma'ili, branches of the generic Shi'a, appeared early and had a following in Yemen (Zaidi)  زيدى  and Indian subcontinent (Isma'ili)   اسماعيلى.  Whenever we refer to Shi'a   شيعه  in this book we mean Shi'a Ithna Ashari (Ja'fari).

      The present day Sunni used to be known as Al‑Aammah,   العــــامـه  meaning the common man, then Al‑Jama’ah,  الجـــماعـه  and 150 years later as Al‑Sunnah wal Jama’ah   الســـنه والجــــماعه which 100 years later was abbreviated to Ahlul Sunnah اهل الســــنه    They followed the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) as explained by the Sahaaba and Tabi'in.

 

CLINGING TO THE LIGHT  go to top of page

The guiding force for Islam are the Holy Quran القــــرآن and Sunnah  السنه   of the Prophet (pbuh).  The light of the Quran and Sunnah continue to invigorate and guide all Muslims.  The Holy Quran and Sunnah constitute the very spirit of Islam, whatever the understanding of the Madh'hab of these two.  Let us see what and how the two branches of Islam hold their belief:

 

  1. SHI'I:  A Shi'i person believes in:  go to top of page

    1. the Quran,

    2. the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and

    3. the teachings of the 12 Imams (immediate family of the Prophet (pbuh) in explaining Islam:

    4. A Shi'i is a devotee of the Fiqh (Interpretation of the Islamic Law) as laid down by Ahlul Bayt.

    5. A Shi'i takes the Directives of the Imams as binding,

    6. A Shi'i recites the Du'aas composed by the Imams,

    7. A Shi'i follows the Imam's theological explanations and their sayings.

    8. A Shi'i believes in Imamah, that the 12 Imams were Divinely Commissioned, and they were specified by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

    9. A Shi'i believes in Ismah عصـــمـه —that all the Prophets and the Designated Imams are shielded by Allah from:

    1. Sin,

    2. Religious Error, and

    3. Forgetfulness.

  2. SUNNI:  A Sunni person believes in:  go to top of page

    1. the Quran, and

    2. the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and

    3. A Sunni follows the Fiqh (Interpretation of the Islamic Law) as laid by the head of his school of thought.

    4. A Sunni also follows the rulings (Sunnah) of some Khulafaa.

    5. Though highly respectful of the Imams, a Sunni:

    6. does not believe in Imamah, but he believes in Ismah of the Prophets

 

      The belief of a Shi'i and that of a Sunni is analogous and alike by about 90-95% degree.  Some technical differences do exist however, though minor they are, notwithstanding the fact that the less educated Muslim tends to exaggerate.  A good many people blow these differences out of proportion deliberately, often in a move for self-exaltation and to gain (false) glory.

      To shed a light on the matter, the similarities and the dissimilarities between the Shi'a and Sunni will be explained in this chapter briefly.  These are graphically put in table I, II, and III below:

 

TABLE I,  IMAN (Belief)

BELIEF

THE SHI'A

THE SUNNI

1. Holy Quran

Same

Same

2. Sunnah

Same

Same

3. Imamah

Yes

No

4. Imam's Ismah

Yes

No

5. Imam's Directives

Binding

No

6. Imam's Du'aa

Yes

No

7. Sunnah's teachings

By the Imam's (mostly)

By Sahaaba and Tabi'in

8. Tafseer

Mostly by the Imams

By various scholars

9. Fiqh

By the 12 Imams

By heads of Madh'hab

10. Ij'tihaad

Continues to be Open

Closed since the 5th   Century Hijrah.

────══════·══════────

 

Understanding Each Other:  go to top of page

    To have an understanding of the similarities and dissimilarities of the Shi'a and Sunni belief, each of the above points will be briefly explained:

The Holy Quran:  As always the Holy Quran has been the beacon light and will continue to be so through eternity.  The Quran is the same for the Shi'i and Sunni people. 

The Sunnah:  As always the Sunnah (Sayings and practices of the Prophet (pbuh) has been the guide to both the Shi'i and Sunni people. 

Imamah:  Imamah is specific for the Shi'a.  For them Imamah is regarded as part of the Islamic faith, though their Sunni brothers do not believe in the concept.  The Sunni hold the Imams in great respect, but they do not consider their Directives as binding.  The Shi'a regard the Imams (The immediate family of the Prophet (pbuh) as Divinely Commissioned.  They believe that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had specified them, even named them as the Khalifas after him.[1]  The Shi'a feel obliged to hold to the Imams and follow their Directives as religiously binding, not so the Sunni.

────══════·══════────

 

Imam's Ismah:  While the Sunni believe in the Ismah of the Prophets, they exclude the Ismah from the Imams.  The Shi'a on the other hand believe that the Prophets as well as the Imams are within the bounds of Ismah.  To the Shi'a, Ismah comes from Ayah Tat'heer, saying:[2]

إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ

 أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا

“Verily, Allah has decreed to purify you, O' Ahlul Bayt, and sanctify you in a perfect way”

 

Ismah consists of at least the following:

bullet

That Allah has protected the person (Prophet or Imam) from sin (therefore the person with Ismah can lead the Ummah toward the high Islamic integrity.  Without Ismah, the leader can sin and people would imitate his sin),

bullet

That Allah has protected the person (Prophet or Imam) from religious error (therefore the person with Ismah can lead the Ummah toward the high Islamic integrity.  Without Ismah, the leader can commit religious error and people would imitate his error),

bullet

That Allah has protected the person (Prophet or Imam) from forgetfulness (otherwise the man without Ismah can contradict his own Directives, leading to inconsistency).  Also this is essential, for the Imams taught the Sunnah of their grandfather the Prophet (pbuh), over a period of 12 generations, 329 years.  Not being forgetful is essential for their accuracy in quoting the Prophet (pbuh) and giving pristine information of his teaching —over this 329 years.  And it is Allah Almighty who had endowed this capacity to the Prophets and Imams, the Shi'a assert.

 

Imam's Directives:  Because the Shi'a believe in the Imamah, they consider the Imam's Directives and sayings as binding, i.e., of importance only second to the Hadith of the Prophet (pbuh).  Therefore, to the Shi'a, a) the instructions, b) the gems of wisdom, and c) the recommendations of the Imams hold a lofty theological position.  On the other hand, though the Sunni hold the Imams with reverence and high esteem, they do not consider their Directives as binding.

Imam's Du'aa:   .الدعــاء  Because the Shi'a believe in the Imamah, they dearly hold to the Du'aas composed by the Imams.  The Du'aas are extremely powerful, they reach out and inwardly connect the person to the Almighty in an exceptional manner.  The Du'aas are extremely moving when read in their original language, Arabic.  Unfortunately most of the Du'aas have not been translated to English as of yet.  Outstanding among the Du'aas are:

·       Du'aa Kumayl   دعاء كـمـــيـل by Imam Ali, said on every Thursday evening, usually in congregation.

·       Du'aa Al-Husain   دعاء الحســـيـن when he stopped on Jabal Arafat, in Mecca before leaving to Karbala in Iraq.  It is recommended to be read the night before Eid al-Adha.

·       Du'aa Al-Thamali,   دعاء ابو حــمـزه الثـــــمالي   composed by Imam Zainul Abideen, to be read after Suhoor in Ramadhan.

·       Risaala of Huqooq رســاله الحــقـوق   (Epistle of Rights and Obligations) written by Imam Zainul Abideen, centuries before the Magna Charta was decided upon in England.

·       Al-Saheefa Al-Sajjadiya,   الصحــيـفه السـجـــاديـه  a treatise of Du'aas for various occasions by Imam Zainul Abideen.

·       Du'aa Al-Sahar-دعاء الســحَر   by Imam Al-Baaqir, to be read after Suhoor in Ramadhan.

·       Numerous other Du'aas by Imam Al-Saadiq and other Imams covering most occasions touching on human life.[3]

 

 

 SOURCE OF SUNNAH'S TEACHINGS   go to top of page

The source of reference for teaching the Prophet's Sunnah comes by two divergent ways:

The Shi'a devote themselves to explanation of the Sunnah mainly by the Imams.  If the sayings or explanation of the Sahaaba and Tabi'in is confirmed by the Imams, then this is taken as authentic.  If this explanation is not confirmed by the Imams, then the point remains questionable, as:

a.  Possibly right.

b.  Might be wrong.

The Sunni follow the explanation of the Sunnah by the Sahaaba and Tabi'in.  It is said that large part of the Sihaah Al-Sittah (some scholars estimate it as 70%) are from narrations by the students of Imam Al-Saadiq (300 scholar students).

 

Tafseer (Commentary):          With the plethora of Tafseer of the Holy Quran:

      The Shi'a hold to the source of the Tafseers by the Imams.  The best known is Tafseer Al-Tibrisi and Tafseer Al-Meezan (parts translated to English).  They are voluminous (often 30 volumes), with many historical references, theological discussions, and philosophical points.  A one volume Tafseer by Mir Ali in English, is highly recommended to the serious reader.

      The Sunni refer to the various Tafseers available, well known among them are:  Tafseer Al-Tibari, Tafseer Al-Razi, Tafseer Al-Aaloosi, Tafseer Syed Qutb.  They come in many volumes, many awaiting translation to English.  A one volume English rendering is Yusuf Ali commentary, an outstanding one.

Fiqh:  Fiqh is the result of interpretation of the Shari'ah and Sunnah according to the Ij'tihaad of the head of the Madh'hab.  It is like the interpretation of the constitution in the US.: which results in the law.

the Shi'a follow the Fiqh by the Imams, most of which was formulated by Imam Al-Saadiq.

the Sunni each follows the Fiqh of the head of the specific Madh'hab consisting at the present time of:

1.     Hanafi

2.     Maaliki

3.     Shafi'i

4.     Hanbali.

      It is worthy of note that the lineage of the head of Madh'hab al-Ja'fari (Shi'a) goes to the Prophet (pbuh) and each of the Imams used to say that my father narrated through his father and he through his father and so on up to the Prophet (pbuh).[4]  On the other hand, none of the heads of the Sunni Madh'habs could claim that their ancestors or their lineage went directly to the Prophet (pbuh).

 

Ij'tihaad:  Ij'tihaad is a process for the scholars in Islam to solve intricate Fiqh problem specific to the period of time it was raised, thus Islamic matters continue to be up-to-date despite the changes in society during the march of years and centuries.  Ij'tihaad was open to all Muslim and practiced by all  scholars for the first 4-5 centuries Hijrah.  Ij'tihaad encouraged independent scholarly thinking.  Actually, each head of the Sunni Madh'habs was scholar in Ij'tihaad.

The Shi'a:  The Shi'a continue to exercise Ij'tihaad because it was open since after the Prophet (pbuh), and they care not for whatever arbitrary rule the Khalifa had put forth to stop it.

The Sunni:  The Sunni practiced Ij'tihaad actively during the first 4-5 centuries after the Prophet (pbuh), but when the Khalifa (ruler) ruled that Ij'tihaad was to be stopped, they obliged by doing so.  Thus from that time till now Ij'tihaad was stopped by the Sunni, though every once in a while there is an outcry to practice it again, since it is of such great significance to have Ij'tihaad.

────══════·══════────


 

TABLE II,  IBADAT (Acts of Worship):

IBADAT Acts of Worship

THE SHI’A Ja'fari (Ithna Ashari)

THE SUNNI

The 4 schools

1. Salat

Salat is the same in principle and creed, but differs in technique

See left

2. Saum

Saum is the same in principle and creed, but differs in technique

See left

3. Zakat

Zakat is the same in principle and creed, but differs in technicality

See left

4. Haj

Haj is the same in principle and creed, but differs in technicality

See left

5. Khums

Khums is applied in daily life

Khums is applied for spoils of war

6. Jihad

Jihad is a pillar of Ibadat

Jihad is not a pillar of Ibadat

7. Enjoining to the Good

It is a pillar of Ibadat

It is not a pillar of Ibadat

8. Prohibiting Evil

It is a pillar of Ibadat

It is not a pillar of Ibadat

 

      While the Shi'a and Sunni differ in their performing-technique of Ibadat, all elements of worship (Ibadat) are of the same source and principle.  The Shi'a and Sunni agree (100%) on the Quran's Directives and implementation of the Sunnah.  The 5% difference (the technical performance) can be traced to the various narrations and interpretation of these narrations for the specific Fiqh and according to its methodology or format.  A short comment about these items is worth mentioning, reserving a detailed account for a later chapter of this book.

 

1.    Salat:  The obvious technical difference is that the Shi'a hold their arms by their trunk (do not fold their arms) in Wuqoof during the Salat, while the Sunni fold their arms (except the Maaliki).[5]

2.     Saum:  Leilatul Qadr is celebrated by the Shi'a on the 21st and 23rd of Ramadhan, while it is celebrated by the Sunni on the 27th (for the last four centuries).  The Shi’a recite Du’aa Iftitah; the Sunni do Taraweeh Prayers.

3.     Zakat:  The Shi'a and the Sunni differ in some technical manner of Zakat distribution.

4.     Haj:  The Shi'a and the Sunni differ in minor technical manner of performing the Haj.

5.     Khums:  The Shi'a apply Khums in their daily life (Giving 20% of the left-over of their yearly income to the poor and for promotion of Islamic works), and the Sunni apply the Khums only on the spoils of war.

6.     Jihad:  The Shi'a regard Jihad as part and parcel of their acts of worship.  The Sunni regard Jihad as an important part but not a pillar of Ibadat (acts of worship).

7.     Enjoining to the Good:  The Shi'a regard Enjoining to the Good as part and parcel (pillar) of their acts of worship.  The Sunni regard this matter as an important part but not a pillar of Ibadat (acts of worship).

8.     Prohibiting the Evil:  The Shi'a regard Prohibiting the Evil as part and parcel (pillar) of their acts of worship.  The Sunni regard Prohibiting the Evil as an important part but not a pillar of Ibadat (acts of worship).

 

Inclinations, Cultural Customs, and Practices  go to top of page

      With the passing of time (centuries) major cultural customs evolved among the Shi'a and the Sunni.  For instance, Ashuraa did evolve as a major industry, the livelihood of quite a few people depends on it (orators, organizers, and suppliers among others).  It also evolved into a major social binding spirit which boosts the resolve of the Shi'a for Islam.  Below are the main elements of such cultural evolvements:

 

TABLE III,  CULTURAL CUSTOMS:

CULTURAL (Customs)

THE SHI'A

Ithna Ashari

THE SUNNI

(4 schools)

1. Majlis

Very Educational and emotional (Imam Husain's endeavor as the centerpiece)

None

2. Ashuraa

10th of Muharram)

Commemorated vigorously, usually for 10 days or more, Karbala and the calamity that befell the Prophet's family at the hands of Benu Umayya is fully explained and interpreted

May mention Imam Husain, however they celebrate it as an event of Musa's crossing of the Red Sea and other events

3. Ziyarat

Visiting the tombs of the Prophet (pbuh) and the Imams is actively sought after as a blessing, since the Prophet and the Imams hold the highest status with the Almighty

Sought mainly for the Prophet (pbuh), and some people seek Abu Hanifa Mosque and Gaylaani Mosque in Baghdad among others

4. Birthday of Prophet

Celebrated vigorously

Celebrated vigorously

5. Birthdays & Death of Imams

Celebrated vigorously

Not celebrated

6. Ghadeer Khum

Celebrated vigorously

Not celebrated

6. Du'aa Kumayl

Recited energetically every Thursday evening, usually in congregation

Not recited

 

THE SHI'I AND SUNNI  go to top of page

    Since each is to his own, the Shi'a and the Sunni can hold dearly to their school of Fiqh, and proudly so.  Each school evolved over a period of time, and each has valid points.  Since the Sunni schools of thought are purely Fiqh school in Islam, they differ among themselves as much if not more than the group differs with the Shi'a.  The social factors may play a very large part in this matter as it had in the past, but people of wisdom and those who are steeped in Islam will shun any destructive tendencies some Muslims indulge in.

 

FIQH:       الفـــقـه  go to top of page

      Each of the Shi'a and the Sunni schools has its particular Fiqh.  The Fiqh is the summation of the rules and regulations formulated by the leader of the Madh'hab according to certain methodology (format) formulated by him.  Since each Madh'hab has its particular Fiqh, the rules of one Madh'hab may differ in subtle or not so subtle ways from other Madh'habs.  A Hanafi may differ from a Shafi'i and Hanbali, a Maaliki may differ from Hanafi or Shafi'i or Shi'a.  The Shi'a may differ from most of the Sunni Madh'habs, or be in agreement with 3 out of 4 in some aspects.  This difference therefore, is mainly about technique, performance of rituals, rules of inheritance, marriage and other aspects that regulate a Muslim's life and similar matters.

      It is worth mentioning that the methodology has its points of strength and weakness, and as followers of a Madh'hab, people have to examine that methodology (format) in a critical, analytical, and questioning way.

 

BASIC UNITY:  go to top of page

      Muslims are united (and nourished) in their belief in the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).  They are also bound in their Islamic heritage, the cultural heritage, the intensity of their Taq'wa   النـقــــوى , and in their resolve to be wary of the foes of Islam.  It is true that Muslims nowadays are not under one banner as it used to be in the past, but even so Muslims are bound (united) in numerous ways.  More to the point, Muslims, be they Shi'a or Sunni, are extremely proud of Islam and their heritage, and the two must co-exist in a most amiable way.  When through education their differences are understood and acknowledged, they can respect each other fully and coexist amicably.  They ought to communicate by visitation, praying together (in congregations or in each other's Masjids), breaking Ramadhan fast together, intermarrying, attending Salat of Janaaza together, and attending meeting for mutual understanding among other things.

 

HARMONIOUS CO-EXISTENCE:  go to top of page

      The Shi'a and the Sunni lived in amicable relationship during the first few centuries of Islam.  Abu Hanifa and Malik Ibn Anas were some of the outstanding students of Imam Al-Saadiq.  Imam Al-Saadiq used to say, “Abu Bakr has twice given birth to me.” since the mother and great-grandmother of Imam Al-Saadiq were of Abu Bakr's direct descendants.[6]  Many of the instructors and tutors of Al-Shafi'i, Al-Hanbali, and Bukhari, were Shi'a of the school of Al-Saadiq.  The Shi'a were, a) the administrators, b) educators, c) thinkers, d) writers, e) scholars, f) merchants, and g) the bankers of the Ummah for many centuries.  Why then did discord and contention develop between the Shi'a and Sunni, and when did this happen, one may ask?!

 

SOURCE OF ILL WILL  go to top of page

      Because the Shi'a were and are the opposition party to any ruler (and his administration) who lacks integrity, government policies through the ages were against the Shi'a.  The Shi'a were a thorn in the side of any despotic or dictatorial ruler (or dynasty of rulers).  With tremendous effort and by encouragement of the successive governments of centuries ago, people began to exaggerate any differences in Fiqh or otherwise between the Shi'a and Sunni, and the common man followed suit blindly and emotionally, whether he was Shi'a or Sunni.  This tendency continued and became worse with time, and it still exists and will continue unless we, the educated, put all our effort in combating this evil.  The attempts have to at least be directed toward:

 

      Co-existing in an amiable way, fully respecting each other's belief and practices by:

§       Visitation of each other's Mosques, performing Salat together, especially the congregational, following the leader of the congregation.

§       Attending each other's Ramadhan rituals, Salat of Ramadhan (Taraweeh), Du'aa Jawshan Al-Kabir, and Leilatul Qadr rites among other things.

§       Befriending, intermarriage, teamwork in every day life tasks, and business endeavors.

§       Attending meetings of mutual interest, and discussing subjects of differences and methods to respect these differences rather than to defend our belief at the expense of the other.

§       Cooperate in various Islamic projects that help both the Shi'a and the Sunni alike.

 ────══════·══════────

 

 

Glossary for Chapter 2   go to top of page

 

Ashuraa:.. Commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Husain in Karbala to save Islam from disintegration.  He sacrificed his life, the lives of his brothers, his children, nephews and other relatives.
Abu Hanifa: Head of the Hanafi Madh'hab, a supporter of Ahlul Bayt.
Ahlul Bayt: Fatima and the Designated twelve Imams from Ali to Al‑Mahdi, who safeguarded the teaching of Islam and conferred it to the Ummah as Muham­mad (pbuh) had taught it.
Al‑Aammah: General term used to refer to the common people or the general public.
Al‑Ah'kaam: The detailed rules and regulations of the Shari'ah, according to the Ij'tihaad of the Jurist.
Al‑Baaqir: The 5th Imam of Ahlul Bayt.
Al‑Hanbali: One of the 4 Sunni Madh'habs, and supporter of Ahlul Bayt.
Al‑Khaassah: The term used for the Shi'a to mean:  The Special, The Distinct, or The Elite; generally referred to the devotees of Ahlul Bayt
Al‑Saadiq: The 6th Imam of Ahlul Bayt, and the chief architect of the Shi'a Fiqh.
Al‑Shafi'i: One of the 4 Sunni Madh'habs, and supporter of Ahlul Bayt.
Al‑Qiyas:  (Analogy) Methodology of thought more often referred to by Hanafi school of thought.
Al‑Raa'y (The Opinionated) Methodology of thought often referred to by Hanafi and other schools of thought.
Ali: The first Imam, 4th Khalifa, cousin of the Prophet (pbuh) and his son‑in‑law, the spine of the faith.
Bukhari: Collector of the Hadiths after a high degree of scrutiny.  His book is one of Al‑Sihaah Al‑Sittah.  He died in the year 256H.
Du'aa Jawshan Al‑Kabir: A moving (long) Du'aa, read during Leilatul Qadr in Ramadhan, by the Shi'a.
Fiqh: Rules and regulations of Islam.
Gaylaani: A pious man buried in Baghdad, whose ornate shrine is frequently visited by the Sunni Hanafi.
H: Hijrah calendar.
Hanafi school of thought: One of the 4 Sunni schools, and the largest of the four Sunni Madh’habs.
Ij'tihaad:  A process for the scholars in Islam to solve intricate Fiqh problems specific to the period of time in which they were raised, thus Islamic matters continue to be up‑to‑date.
Imamah: A fundamental component of faith in Islam according to the Shi'a.
Ismah: Means that Allah has safeguarded all the Prophets and the Specified Imams who followed Prophet  Muhammad (pbuh) from, a) religious error, b) sin, and c) forgetfulness.
Imams: The twelve Imams, the golden chain of narration, the immediate family of the Prophet (pbuh).
Isma'ili: One of the off‑shoots of the generic Shi'a, most followers are in Indian subcontinent.
Ithna Ashari: The general body of the Shi'a, the specific term was used after Imam Al‑Mahdi's major occultation.
Khalifa: The head of Islamdom who during Benu Umayya and Benu Abbas were usurpers of power in the form of monarchs.
Ja'fari: Another term for the Shi'a Ithna Ashari.
Jabal Arafat: An elevation outside Mecca, where Imam Husain delivered his famous Du'aa, just before leaving for Karbala in Iraq.
Karbala: The site where forces of Benu Umayya destroyed the family of the Prophet (pbuh), but indirectly this saved Islam from being annihilated.
Leilatul Qadr: The highest night of worship during Ramadhan.
Madh'hab: Fiqh of a School of Thought in Islam.
Ma'soom: See Ismah, a person whom Allah safeguards from religious error, sin, and forgetfulness.
Majlis: An assembly where the incidents and meaning of Karbala happening took place.
Malik Ibn Anas:  Leader of Maaliki Madh'hab, one of the 4 Sunni Madh'habs, and supporter of Ahlul Bayt.
Mecca: The birth place of Islam, a town in Arabia where pilgrimage takes place.
Sahaaba: Companions of the Prophet (pbuh).
Shari'ah: Islamic Constitution in the Quran.
Shi'a: Believers in the teachings of Muhammad (pbuh) as passed down by Ahlul Bayt, and that Imamah is an indispensable part of the Islamic faith.
Sihaah Al‑Sittah: The six manuals of Hadith collected by Sunni authors.
Suhoor:. Eating before dawn during fast of Ramadhan.
Sunnah: Sayings and practices (Tradition) of Prophet  Muhammad (pbuh).
Sunni: Believers in the teachings of Muhammad (pbuh) as explained by the Sahaaba and Tabi'in.
Tabi'in: The second generation after the Sahaaba (Companions of the Prophet (pbuh).
Tafseer: Interpretation of the Holy Quran.
Taq'wa: Perfection in religion through meticulous application of the Divine commands.
Taraweeh: Congregational Salat, usually in Masjids, after Ishaa' Salat, by the Sunni.
Ummah: Islamic society.
Usool: The format (methodology) as laid down by a particular Madh'hab to base its Fiqh upon.
Wuqoof: Standing up during Salat for recitation.
Zaidi: An off‑shoot of the generic Shi'a, mainly in Yemen.  They were revolutionary in days passed.
Zainul Abideen:  The 4th Imam.
Ziyarat: Visitation of the Shrines of the Prophet (pbuh) and Imams for the sake of heightened worship and reading Du'aa, asking Allah's favors.

────══════·══════────


 

     [1]   Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol 4, Page 164.  Also Sahih Muslim Page 119 (Both are Sunni in school of Islamic thought).  They reported that the Prophet (pbuh) mentioned the number of the Imams after him will be twelve.  According to Yanabi' Al-Mawadda by Al-Qandoozi (who is Hanafi), the Prophet mentioned the twelve Imams by name.

     [2]   Quran, Surah 33, Ayah 33.

     [3] Mafateeh Al-Jinaan, Abbas Al-Qummi.

     [4] Seerah of the twelve Imams, H.M. Al‑Hassani, Vol. 2, Page 196.

     [5] Al‑Saadiq and the Four Madh'habs, Asad Haidar.

     [6] Seerah of the Twelve Imams, Hashim M. Al-Hassani, Vol. 2, Page 212.