Shiites (Arab. Shiah, Shiat, "a party or faction"), the name given to a Mohammedan sect by the Sunnites (q.v.), or orthodox Moslems. The Shiites never assume that name, but call themselves Al-Adeliat, "Sect of the Just Ones."The principal difference between the two consists in the belief of the Shiites that the imamat, or supreme rule, both spiritual and secular, over all Mohammedans was originally vested in Ali Ibn Abi Taleb, and has been inherited by his descendants, to whom it now legitimately. belongs. They are subdivided into five sects, to one of which, that of Haidar, the Persians belong. They believe in metempsychosis and the descent of God upon his creatures, inasmuch as he, omnipresent, sometimes appears in some individual person, such as their imams. Their five subdivisions they liken unto five trees with seventy branches for their minor divisions of opinions, on matters of comparatively unimportant points of dogma, are endless. In this, however, they all agree that they consider the caliphs Abu-Bekr, Omar, and Othman — who are regarded with the highest reverence by the Sunniites as unrighteous pretenders and usurpers of the sovereign power which properly should have gone to Ali direct from the prophet. They also reject the Abasside. caliphs, notwithstanding their descent from Mohammed, because they did not belong to Ali's line.

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