Definition of Shia in US English:

Shia

(also Shiah, Shi'a)

nounPlural Shias

  • 1One of the two main branches of Islam, followed especially in Iran, that rejects the first three Sunni caliphs and regards Ali, the fourth caliph, as Muhammad's first true successor.

    ‘a Shia neighborhood’
    Compare with Sunni
    • ‘In fact the solidarity between the Sunni and Shia goes further.’
    • ‘His father, Ali, met a similar fate 19 years earlier, and it was this latter deed that gave rise to the great fissure in Islam between Sunni and Shia.’
    • ‘This is a religious organisation of Shi'a followers of Islam.’
    • ‘Everyone who looks at Iraq sees a nation divided between Shia, Sunni and Kurd communities.’
    • ‘The tribes who dominate the town are a combination of Sunni and Shia.’
    • ‘The split between Shia and Sunni arose soon after the death of Islam's founder, Mohammed, in the year 632.’
    • ‘Understanding the differences between the Sunni and Shi'a Muslims is important.’
    • ‘It is fine to boast of one's Kurdish, Berber, Sunni, or Shia loyalties, but not of pan-Arabism.’
    • ‘Today, we are still trying to make this Heath-Robinson state work, instead of dividing it into three nations: Kurdish, Sunni and Shia.’
    • ‘It will be drawn from Sunni and Shia, from secular and religious backgrounds, from trade unionists and women's organisations.’
    • ‘Sunni is the larger branch of Islam, with Shia being the smaller.’
    • ‘They are also unintentionally collaborating in the composition of future sagas of Sunni and Shia martyrdom.’
    • ‘They are divided into two main groups, Shia and Sunni, with different interpretations of the religion.’
    1. 1.1 A Muslim who adheres to the Shia branch of Islam.
      • ‘In 1917-20 it took the British three years to unite the Sunni and Shia against them.’
      • ‘If they don't, it may finally trigger a full-scale uprising of both Sunni and Shia.’
      • ‘The Shias to whom the Masjid belonged would have happily given up their claim to the Masjid but our secularists would have none of that.’
      • ‘Relations between Shias and Sunnis have been strained for much of Muslim history.’
      • ‘You have Baathists, Islamists, Sunnis, Shias, sometimes you also have Kurds.’
      • ‘Lebanon has been divided in so many ways: between left and right, between Shia and Sunni, Christian and Druse.’
      • ‘Some are atheists, some are secular; even religious Shia did not all follow the same leader.’
      • ‘He stressed that today there was an immediate need for unity between Shias and Sunnis.’
      • ‘They were at pains to point out the integration of Sunni and Shia, whether by marriage or by tribe.’
      • ‘He said that it is common that Sunnis offer Namaz in Masjids constructed by Shias and vice versa.’
      • ‘There is distrust between Shi'a and Sunni, between secularists, conservatives and Islamists, and between tribes and clans.’
      • ‘Leaving aside the division of Islam into two broad communities of Shia and Sunni, there are national differences which influence the thinking of individual Muslims.’
      • ‘Modernly, such a zone would be both wildly provocative to both Sunnis and central Iraqi Shia and also geopolitically tempting for Iran to get involved.’
      • ‘To my surprise, a large number of people have shown up to vote: men and women, Muslims and Christians, Sunnis and Shias.’
      • ‘For the Kurds the effective veto is seen as a protection against any attempt by Shias to impose Sharia law.’
      • ‘What is the best way to guarantee Shia and Sunni alike are included in the social-political nexus, and to ensure that the region grows economically?’
      • ‘I mean, as so many countries in the Middle East are, you have the Kurds in the north and the Sunni and Shia.’
      • ‘Would Kurd sit in moral judgment on Sunni, Shia on Kurd, exiles on those who stayed and suffered?’
      • ‘For Islam, Sunnis and Shi'as will also be considered as separate groups.’
      • ‘The Shi'as were ruthlessly suppressed and they retreated to Persia, joining with the local groups of Shi'a and eventually forming their own state under the Safavid Shahs.’

Origin

Early 17th century: from Arabic šī‘a ‘party (of Ali)’.

Pronunciation

Shia

/ˈʃiˌɑ//ˈSHēˌä/