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Islamic Terms



The term caliphate refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the leaders unity of the Muslim Ummah (community). In theory, it is an aristocratic–constitutional republic (the Constitution being the Constitution of Medina), which means that the head of state, the Caliph, and other officials are representatives of the people and of Islam and must govern according to constitutional and religious law, or Sharia.


Sharia is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia deals with many topics addressed by secular law, including crime, politics and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, and fasting. Though interpretations of sharia vary between cultures, in its strictest definition it is considered the infallible law of God—as opposed to the human interpretation of the law (fiqh).



As shown on the chart above, Iran is predominantly Shia, while the rest of the Muslims of the world are predominantly Sunni.  


There are two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Where it has official status, sharia is interpreted by Islamic judges (qadis) with varying responsibilities for the religious leaders (imams). For questions not directly addressed in the primary sources, they extend the application of sharia through consensus of the religious scholars (ulama) thought to embody the consensus of the Muslim Community (ijma). Islamic jurisprudence will also sometimes incorporate analogies from the Quran and Sunnah through qiyas, though Shia jurists prefer reasoning ('aql) to analogy. 


For 69 (or 74) years between 260 A.H. till 329 A.H., four people acted as the medium between Imam (AS) and his followers. This duration is called as the Minor occultation.


Shia Tradition hold that four deputies acted in succession to one another:

 1.Uthman ibn Sa’id al-Asadi

 2.Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn Uthman

 3.Abul Qasim Husayn ibn Ruh al-Nawbakhti

 4.Abul Hasan Ali ibn Muhammad al-Samarri


This is the last letter received from Imam (AS) in the minor occultation. After three years of deputyship, Ali Ibne Mohammad Seymouri left this world in Shaban 329 A.H. He is buried on the Khalanji Highway near Bab-ul-Mahool on the banks of the Abi Eqaab river. His last words were "For God is the Affair and He will himself execute it". He lived during the reign of Muttaqui, the Abbaside Caliph.


During the blessed month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs during the daylight hours.  Ramadan is a time to practice self-restraint; a time to cleanse the body and soul from impurities and re-focus one's self on the worship of God. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year and contains no intercalation, Ramadan migrates throughout the seasons.





The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word Khalīfah which means "successor" or "representative". Following Muhammad's death in 632, the early leaders of the Muslim nation were called "Khalifat Rasul Allah", the political successors to the messenger of God (referring to Muhammad). Some academics prefer to transliterate the term as Khalīfah. The title 'Khalifatu Rasulil-lah'. was first used for Abu Bakr, who was elected head of the Muslim community after the death of the Prophet.  After the first four caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar ibn al-Khattab, Uthman ibn Affan, and Ali ibn Abi Talib), the title was claimed by the Umayyads, the Abbasids, and the Ottomans, as well as by other, competing lineages in Spain, Northern Africa, and Egypt. Most historical Muslim rulers simply titled themselves sultans or amirs, and gave token obedience to a caliph who often had very little real authority. The title has been defunct since the Republic of Turkey abolished the Ottoman caliphate in 1924.  No attempts at rebuilding a power structure based on Islam were successful anywhere in the Muslim World until the Iranian Revolution in 1979, which was based on Shia principles and whose leaders did not outwardly call for the restoration of a global Caliphate (although Iran has subsequently made efforts to 'export' its revolution to other Muslim countries).


Mullah or Mawlana are Islamic clergy who have studied the Qur'an and the Hadith and are considered experts on related religious matters in this religion. The term Mullah is a variation of the word mawla (means master or lord) and Mawlana is its derivative means my lord. 


Ayatollah (or Grand Ayatollah) is a high title given to major Shia clergymen. Ayatollah means 'sign of God', and those who carry the title are experts in Islamic studies.  Only a few of the most important ayatollah are accorded the rank of Grand Ayatollah.