The Quran about the term “shi,a”

In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful

The problem of the separation of religion into different branches touched absolutely all religions and beliefs. A similar phenomenon has not bypassed the world of Islam.

The word “shi,a” is associated by most Muslims with “Shiites.” The root of this word is “shaa,a“, which means “to spread, to belong to everyone“. The word “shiya,un” is a plural from the word “shii,atun,” which means “adherents, followers, groups, groupings, sects.”

With the help of the signs, God tests his servants for strength. One of such “checks” is precisely the division of adherents of one ideology.

Say, “He is able to send upon you affliction from above you or from beneath your feet or to confuse you with groupings (shiya,an) and make you taste the violence of one another.” Look how We diversify the signs that they might understand! (6:65)


There is an opinion based on the tradition that the division into different groupings is the mercy of the Most High. However, the Lord expressed a different opinion in the Quran.

Indeed, those who have divided their duty and become groupings (shiya,an) – you are not with them in anything. Their affair is with God, then He will inform them about what they used to do. (6:159)

And do not be of those who associate others with God and of those who have divided their duty and become groupings (shiya,an), every faction rejoicing in what it has. (30:32)


History has shown the instability of people. Like new growing branches of a tree, groupings appeared (as now) over and over again. To purify the faith in the One Creator, the messengers were sent to various communities with the same indication.

And We had certainly sent before you to the adherents (shi,an) of the former (communities).(15:10)


The ruling elite always used the method of dividing society into various groups. This is dictated by the desire to retain power in their hands. An ideologically unified, non-zombified people can easily deprive the government of an unjust leader. This way of control was used in his time by the pharaoh.

Indeed, pharaoh exalted himself in the land and made its people into groupings (shi,an), oppressing one part of them, slaughtering their sons and keeping their females alive. Indeed, he was of the corrupters! (28:4)


Just at this time, the events that have occurred with the prophet Moses occur.

And he entered the city at a time of inattention by its people and found therein two men fighting: one is his adherent (shi,atihi) and one from among his enemy. And the one from his adherent (shi,atihi) called for help to him against the one from his enemy, so Moses struck him and killed him. He said, “This is from the work of the disobedient. Indeed, he is a manifest, misleading enemy!” (28:15)

To understand these words as unambiguously negative ones, as a “sect” or “grouping”, would be wrong. In fact, along with sinful people, God calls by these words righteous people as well.

And indeed, among his (Noah’s) adherents (shi,atihi) was Ibrahim (Abraham). (37:83)


The messengers sent to people were adherents of the same faith. True God-given faith among existing sects is also considered by these people as the branch, however, on the Day of Debt, God will decide the dispute between them according to their worldview and deeds.

Then We will surely extract from every grouping (shi,atin) those of them who were worst against the Gracious in insolence! (19:69)


All representatives in the world of Islam should think about this passage. After all, the evaluation of their activities will be based on the attitude towards the Creator, which means that for the successful resolution of God’s Judgment the “doctrine” of the believer’s life should be based only on the Prescription of God. Who can better show the rules of behavior on earth, except the Lord of the Worlds?