Identity is very hard to understand. There are many different ways to look at how to identify ourselves. We will be looking at identity in a basic way through four spheres.
The first sphere is considered the core sphere. This sphere is a universal principle that transcends time and place. These are our core values and our core beliefs. This is the sphere that leads our lives. It’s what motivates our decision-making. This is the foundation of our identity.
This is where we are proud Shia and proud followers of the Prophet and his holy household. Our lives are dictated by the teachings of the Prophet and his progeny.
The next sphere in identity is the community sphere. First, we are proud Shia. Second, we are part of the larger community called the Muslim Community. The followers of Ahlul-Bayt are an integral part of this community. We have our specific beliefs, but we do not forgo the general practices.
There may be theological or jurisprudential differences between the different Muslim schools of thoughts. However, there are also many common denominators between all these school of thoughts, such as: belief in one God, belief in the Prophet, and belief in the Day of Judgment.
General Belief Sphere
The next sphere we subscribe to is to the general belief sphere. We share a broader identity with other people who believe in Monotheism. Islam has its roots in the Abrahamic traditions. Our perspective is that our faith, Islam, is the completion of the Abrahamic message. Islam is connected to Christianity and Judaism, but is the final completion of God’s work.
The final sphere we adhere to is humanity. All humans share an identity that we are humans and we are living in this world. This sphere is what connects us to all of humanity.
“An individual is either your brother in faith or your equal in humanity.”- Imam Ali (as)
These four spheres are what develop and construct our identity. At the core, we are followers of the Prophet and his Holy Household. It then expands and shares an identity with the Muslim Community. Then the sphere is expanded to share an identity with ones who belief in Monotheism. Finally, we share an identity with all humanity by the near fact that all of us are human beings.