There are certain matters which every person must believe in, and they are called the principles of religion (usul al-deen).
The Principles of Religion
They are five principles of religion:
1- Monotheism: This means that Allah is One, and He is the One Who created the universe with everything that it is in it, including the earth, the sky, the sun, the moon, the human beings, animals, and all other things.
2- Divine Justice: This means that Allah is just and does not wrong anyone, and that He has made the reward for the good and the punishment for the sinners.
3- Prophethood: This means that Allah, in order to guide people to the good and to distance and warn them from the evil and the ugly deeds, ordered some of the righteous people and made them duty-bound to convey His teachings to the people. This person is called a prophet and some prophets are called messengers.
The prophets are many, the first of them being Adam (peace be upon him), and amongst them is Noah (peace be upon him), Abraham (peace be upon him), Moses (peace be upon him), and Jesus (peace be upon him). The last of them is our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his holy progeny), whom Allah sent with the religion of Islam. Whoever believes in him and his message is called a Muslim; thus we are Muslims because we believe in the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) and that which he came with, and that is the religion of Islam.
4- Imamate: This means that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) appointed a successor to succeed him in guiding the people and continue the Prophet’s reformation mission, and he is called the Imam.
The Imams are twelve, appointed in the following order:
(1) Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (peace be upon him), buried in Najaf.
(2) Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (peace be upon him), buried in Medina.
(3) Imam Hussein al-Shaheed (peace be upon him), buried in Karbala.
(4) Imam Ali bin al-Hussein (peace be upon him), buried in Medina.
(5) Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (peace be upon him), buried in Medina.
(6) Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (peace be upon him), buried in Medina.
(7) Imam Musa al-Kadhim (peace be upon him), buried in Baghdad.
(8) Imam Ali al-Ridha (peace be upon him), buried in Mashhad.
(9) Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (peace be upon him), buried in Baghdad.
(10) Imam Ali al-Hadi (peace be upon him), buried in Samarra.
(11) Imam Hasan al-Askari (peace be upon him), buried in Samarra.
(12) Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi (peace be upon him), may Allah hasten his reappearance. He is our present Imam in the current era; he is called the Imam of the Age and the Proof of Allah upon us, and he is alive, absent, and will appear by the permission of Allah to spread justice in the earth.
So whoever believes in the Imamat of these Imams is a Twelver Imami Shia Muslim, so we are the Shia of the Ahlul-Bayt (peace be upon them) because we believe in them and in their Imamate .
5- Resurrection: This means that Allah will resurrect the people after their death and will take account of their deeds on the Day of Judgment; then He will enter the good, the obedient, into Paradise in which there is everything which a person could wish for, and He will enter the evil ones, the disobedient, to the hell fire wherein they will be punished.
It is incumbent upon us to obey Allah and abide by the religious laws, such as prayer, fasting, etc – as we will explain – and that we become attributed with the praiseworthy attributes such as truthfulness, trustworthiness, and justice, so that Allah is pleased with us, and enters us in to Paradise which the Prophets, Imams, martyrs, and all the good will inhabit.
The Branches of Religion
The branches of religion (furoo’ al-deen) are the laws of Islam, which are obligatory for every Muslim to abide by, and the most important of them are ten:
(7) Enjoining the good deeds
(8) Forbidding the wrongdoing
(9) Tawalli : which means friendship and love for the Prophet and the Imams after him (peace be upon them all).
(10) Tabarri: this is that a person disassociates from the enemies of Allah including those who are obstinate to the truth and who are oppressors.