Shi’a Islam is almost as old as Islam itself and has always had a minoritypopulation in Muslim populated areas of the world. According to Shi’a beliefs the prophetMuhammad had named his cousin Ali as his successor at his time of death.
Ali had supposedly been the first to accept Muhammad’s revelations after theprophet’s wife, Khadija had. When Muhammad died it was not Ali who was named caliph,but Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr had accompanied Muhammad in the hijra in Medina. His reign ascaliph was short-lived, he died after only two years as an imam. After Abu Bakr’s death Umar was name caliph. He was also a companion of theprophet.
After his death a council was formed to choose the next caliph. The councilelected Uthman of the Umayad clan. Ali, who was on the council disagreed with thedecision but didn’t voice a challenge to him. Followers of both men clashed and for the first time in the history in Islam adivision in the Islamic community had been formed.
Tensions between both sides causedthe murder of Uthman by Ali’s party in Medina. Ali then assumed the position as caliphand imam. Ali was not generally recognized as the caliph outsidBibliography: