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Aga Khan

Aga Khan  

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The spiritual leader of the Khoja branch of Ismalian Muslims. The first Aga Khan was given his title in 1818 by the shah of Persia and subsequently moved with the majority of the Nizaris to the ...
Ahl al-Bayt

Ahl al-Bayt  

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People of the house, or Muhammad's family and descendants. Shiis are particularly devoted to the Prophet's family, believing that they embody special holiness, spiritual power, and knowledge due to ...
al- Hākim

al- Hākim  

(985–1021)Al-Hākim b. Amr Allāh Abū ʼAlī al-Mansūr, born at Cairo, became the sixth Fātimid caliph in 996 on the death of his father, al-ʼAzīz. Young, opposed to his Christian ...
al- Suhrawardī

al- Suhrawardī  

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Shihāb al-Dīn al-Suhrawardī (1155–1192)was an Iranianphilosopher who was born in the village of Suhraward in northwestern Iran. Educated in Marāgheh and Isfahan, he traveled in Iran, Anatolia, and ...
ʿAlawīyah

ʿAlawīyah  

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A term derived from the name of the cousin and son-in-law of the prophet Muḥammad, ʿAli ibn Abī Tālib (d. 661), ʿAlawīyah was applied originally to those who supported ʿAlīʿs ...
Ali

Ali  

(c.599–661)Cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad; fourth caliph (656–61); first Shiite imam; an early Quran scribe. Hasan and Husayn, his sons with Muhammad’s daughter Fatima, are the second and third ...
Ali ibn Abi Talib

Ali ibn Abi Talib  

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(d. 660)Cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, fourth caliph of Sunni Muslims, and first imam of Shii Muslims. First male convert to Islam and second convert after Muhammad's wife Khadijah. Married ...
Ali Shariati

Ali Shariati  

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(d. 1977)Iranian Shii thinker and political activist. Influenced by Marxian thought, he argued that scripture required adaptation to changing historical circumstances and that religion must be ...
Amal

Amal  

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Acronym, meaning “hope,” for Afwaj al-Muqawamah al-Lubnaniyah (Lebanese Resistance Detachments). Populist Lebanese Shii political movement. Emerged in 1975 as a branch of the Harakat al-Mahrumin ...
assassins

assassins  

The Nizari branch of Ismaili Muslims at the time of the Crusades, renowned as militant fanatics and popularly supposed to use hashish before going on murder missions. The name comes (in the mid 16th ...
Atabat

Atabat  

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Thresholds. The Shii shrine cities of Iraq—Najaf, Karbala, Kazimayn, and Samarra (location of the tombs of the six imams)—are important centers of devotion, pilgrimage, scholarship, and political ...
Ayatollah

Ayatollah  

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Sign of God. Honorific title in Twelver Shii Islam. Popularly assigned to outstanding legal scholars. General use of the title appeared in the late Qajar period in Iran. It is not used among Shiis of ...
Bahrain

Bahrain  

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Bahrain is dominated by its constitutional monarch but tensions are risingThe state of Bahrain consists of around 30 islands in the Persian Gulf. Bahrain island itself, which has more than 85% of the ...
Bohras

Bohras  

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Group numbering approximately one million, residing in India, Pakistan, the Middle East, East Africa, and the West (the name means “traders”). Trace their spiritual ancestry to eleventh-century ...
Cairo

Cairo  

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(Arab., al-Qāhira, ‘the victorious’, but also from al-Qāhir, Mars, the city of Mars).Capital city of the Fāṭimids, established by al-Muʿizz in 969 (ah 358). It was originally called al-Manṣūriyya ...
caliphate

caliphate  

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Formerly, the central ruling office of Islam. The first caliph (Arabic, khalifa, “deputy of God” or “successor of his Prophet”) after the Prophet Muhammad's death in 632 was his father-in-law Abu ...
confraternities

confraternities  

A brotherhood, especially with a religious or charitable purpose.
Damascus

Damascus  

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Capital of the Arab Republic of Syria. Cosmopolitan metropolis of very ancient origins; has been a major center of Islamic culture ever since its conquest by the Muslims in the seventh century. Was ...
Egypt

Egypt  

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Egypt, the largest Arab country, has made little progress towards democracyEgypt's vast territory consists of two main desert areas separated by the fertile Nile Valley. The western desert occupies ...
Fatima

Fatima  

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Religion
Daughter of Muhammad and Khadijah, wife of the fourth caliph, Ali ibn Abi Talib, and mother of Hasan and Husayn. Known as “Mother of the Imams,” in accordance with Shii belief that only descendants ...

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