Religions and Denominations
The term Shiʿa literally means followers, party, group, associate, partisan, or supporters. Expressing these meanings, Shiʿa occurs a number of times in the Quran (e.g., surahs 19:69, 28:15, and 37:83). Technically the term refers to those Muslims who derive their religious code and spiritual inspiration, after the Prophet, from Muhammad’s descendants, the Ahl al-Bayt (literally, people of the house). The focal point of Shi’ism is the source of religious guidance after the Prophet; although the Sunnis accept it from the sahaba (companions) of the Prophet, the Shiʿa restrict it to the members of the ahl al-bayt.