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Rituals and Worship

Sacred Time

In addition to the common Muslim events connected with the pilgrimage and fasting in Ramadan, Shiites commemorate Husayn's martyrdom and other events in early Islamic history, such as Muhammad's appointment of Ali as his successor at Ghadir Khumm.

Sacred Space

Apart from mosques, the most important sacred spaces for Shiites are the shrines of the Imams located mostly in Iran and Iraq, which believers visit during pilgrimages. They have received patronage from rulers and often become important centers of learning.

Rites and Ceremonies

The most distinctive Shiite rituals are the Muharram passion plays (taziyah), during which Shiites remember the martyrdom of Husayn. The elaborate theatrical forms of these ceremonies developed in Qajar Iran.

Worship and Devotion in Daily Life

Important forms of worship and devotion in daily life include following the regulations of Islamic law and the examples of the Imams.


In addition to the symbols used during the Muharram rituals, Shiites display symbols in everyday contexts that allude to the members of the house of the Prophet.