Patheos Watermark

You are running a very outdated version of Internet Explorer. Patheos and most other websites will not display properly on this version. To better enjoy Patheos and your overall web experience, consider upgrading to the current version of Internet Explorer. Find more information HERE.


Sacred Narratives

Shiite sacred narratives often concern the family of Muhammad, most notably Ali (his son-in-law), Husayn (his grandson), and Fatima (his daughter). Another set of stories concerns the Imams and the return of the Twelfth Imam, known as the Mahdi.

Ultimate Reality and Divine Beings

Shiites share many beliefs regarding God with the Sunnis, but also believe in the Imams as entities in between God and mankind. The Neoplatonic trend is particularly pronounced in intellectual expressions of Ismailism.

Human Nature and the Purpose of Existence

Shiite theologians discussed the nature of God and its implications for human nature (such as the problem of free will) along similar lines as rationalist Sunni theologians. A common prominent tendency of Shiite and Sufi thought are esoteric and holistic views of humankind as part of the created world.

Suffering and the Problem of Evil

Suffering and martyrdom are important elements of Shiite thought and religious culture. They form a crucial part in Shiite salvation history and serve as a spiritual perspective and moral ideal.

Afterlife and Salvation

Shiite Islam has an elaborate apocalyptic vision with the Mahdi as the key protagonist. After the Resurrection, people will be judged according to their deeds and rewarded or punished in paradise or hell. Unlike Sunnis, Shiites acknowledge the possibility of intercession through the Imams.