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Ethics and Community

Community Organization

Shiites are part of the same community as Sunnis, but the relationship remains controversial. Important institutions within the Shiite community include the scholars, guilds, and, in the modern world, political parties and militias.


While Shiite religious scholars were quietists for centuries, they have become increasingly prominent on the political scene.

Principles of Moral Thought and Action

Shiites find guidance in the Quran, in law, and in the sacred narratives around the family of the prophet and the Imams. The branches within Shiism have held different views regarding the need for political action in different historical epochs.

Vision for Society

While all Shiites tend to consider current conditions as unjust and expect the restoration of justice from the Mahdi, they differ regarding their own duty and possibilities to improve the here and now.

Gender and Sexuality

The protagonists of Shiite sacred narratives are often used to promote ideals of gender behavior. These differ according to historical period and geographical region. Shiite law differs from Sunni law by allowing temporary marriage for the sake of pleasure.