The word Shi’a, to quote Ibn Manzur, means “those people who love what the Prophet’s Progeny loves, and they are loyal to such Progeny”. Hameedullah Khan states “Shiat Ali means specifically that party which, after the death of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) attached itself to Hazrat Ali…considering him the successor of the Prophet (PBUH) both in temporal and religious matters”.
1. Lisan al-‘Arab, by Ibn Manzur, vol. 8, p189
2. Schools of Islamic Jurisprudence, by Hameedullah Khan p121
The term Shi’a in fact derives its actual origin from the Qur’an, in which Allah (swt) calls Prophet Ibrahim (as) a Shi’a of Prophet Nuh(as) . In another verse Allah (swt) informs us of a fight between two men, one was a Shi’a of Prophet Musa (as) and the other was an enemy of Musa(as) .
1. The Holy Qur’an 37:83
2. The Holy Qur’an 28:15
It is in praise of the Shi’a of Ali that Allah (swt) sent down the following revelation: “Those who believe and do righteous deeds are the best of the creatures. Their reward from their Lord shall be everlasting gardens, below which flow rivers, they will abide there forever. Well pleased is God with them and they are well pleased with Him.
The Holy Qur’an 98:7