Shias in Singapore
Since Shia Muslims are a minority in the country, there are not many Shia centers in Singapore. Sunnis are the majority of Muslims in Singapore, with Shias making up less than 1 per cent of the Muslim population there.
Twelver Shias have been in Singapore since before the First World War 1914 to 1918. Muharram majaalis (gatherings to commemorate the tragic martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.) and his followers at Karbala) were held and continued after the war for several decades at the homes of Shia families. During the Japanese occupation of Singapore from 1942 to 1945, prisoners of war from the British Indian army and other local Shia were allowed to commemorate Muharram and organize processions related to it.
Beginnings of Malay Shia Presence
From 1985 onwards it was noticed that some Malay Muslims asked to attend these majaalis organized by Shia centers in Singapore. For their benefit a short précis of the speaker’s sermon was translated every night. These Malay brethren belonged to a group called the Himpunan Belia Islam (HBI) or Muslim Youth Assembly that numbered about four hundred persons. They had been staunch followers of the Wahabi sect. Then, with better access to authentic Islamic books and personalities, they began to recognize the truth in shia teachings.
The Shia community in Singapore consists of Twelver Shias, Ismailis and Dawoodi Bohras. The history of the Twelver Shias in this country began with the immigration of the Khoja community from India. A member of Khoja community spearheaded the founding of the Jaafari Muslim Association.
A center known as Hussainiyah Azzahra was later established there. A Shia association named Jaafari Muslim Association was approved in 1998. The first meeting was held on 9 January 1998. The Jaafari Muslim Association and Muslim Youth Assembly cater to the Twelver Shias in Singapore.
Some of the most Important Shia centers are listed below: