How Do The Sunni And Shia Differ In Their Interpretation Of Islam? (Correct answer)

Differences. The primary ideological difference relates to questions of religious authority and the leadership of all Muslims following the death of the Prophet. Sunnis focus on following the Prophet’s example whereas Shi’a focus on the lineage of Muhammad’s family through a series of Imams.

What do the Shia believe differently than the Sunni?

  • Sunni Muslims pray five times each day, while Shia Muslims have three official prayers. Some Shia Muslims also continue the practice of temporary marriages called muttah. Further, many Shia Muslims accept the belief in the Twelfth Imam who has already been born but is hidden and will play a major role with his return in the last days.


What is the main difference between Sunni and Shia Islam?

The main difference between Sunni and Shiite Muslims is their belief surrounding who should have succeeded the Prophet Muhammad in 632 AD. Historically, Sunni Muslims believed that Abu Bakr was the rightful successor, while Shiite, or Shia, Muslims thought it should have been Ali ibn Abi Talib.

What is the difference between Sunni and Shia Islam quizlet?

The Sunnis look to caliphs as political and military leaders whereas the Shias look to the Imam as a political, military, and spiritual leader. The Sunnis consists of Muslims who follow the example of the prophet and the Sunnis believe that Ali should have taken over from the very beginning.

How did Sunni and Shia differ What beliefs did they share quizlet?

How did the Sunni and Shia differ? Shia believed that caliphs had to be Ali descendants. Shia believed that the Umayyad caliphs were rightful rulers. They agreed on major principles of Islam, one God, the Quran is the holy book of Islam and the five pillars of Islam.

What is the primary structural difference between Sunni and Shi’i Hadith?

In general, the difference between Shi’a and Sunni collections is that Shia give preference to hadiths credited to Muhammad’s family and close associates (Ahl al-Bayt), while Sunnis do not consider family lineage in evaluating hadith and sunnah narrated by any of twelve thousand companions of Muhammad.

How are Sunni and Shiite beliefs alike?

– Both Sunnis and Shiites read the Quran, the sayings of the Prophet. – Both believe Prophet Muhammad was the messenger of Allah. Their prayer rituals are nearly identical, with slight variations: For example, Shiites will stand with their hands at their sides, Sunnis will put their hands on their stomachs.

Which of the following is an accurate comparison between Sunnis and Shiites?

Which of the following is an accurate comparison between Sunnis and Shiites? Sunnis believe that caliphs are chosen by election from the umma, while Shiites trace political succession through the lineage of the Prophet Muhammad.

What are the two major sects of Islam and what is the main difference between them?

Though the two main sects within Islam, Sunni and Shia, agree on most of the fundamental beliefs and practices of Islam, a bitter split between the two goes back some 14 centuries. The divide originated with a dispute over who should succeed the Prophet Muhammad as leader of the Islamic faith he introduced.

What is the difference between Shia and Ismaili?

The main difference between Shia and Ismaili is their existence. Actually, the Muslim religion has many different communities in it, and Shia is a part of the Muslim religion as a community, while Ismaili is a sect of that Shia community.

Are Shia and Shiite the same?

Shiites are the second-largest branch of Islam, after Sunnis. Though Shiites hold this basic belief in common, there are further divisions within Shia Islam, another name for the group of Shiites. You can also call a Shiite a Shia, which is its root as well — from the Arabic shi’ah, “partisans or followers.”

What does Sunni believe in?

Sunni Muslims. Sunni Muslims strongly believe that the redemption of human beings is dependent on faith in Allah, His prophets, acceptance of Muhammad as the final prophet, and belief in righteous deeds as explained in the Koran. The mercy of Allah will determine the redemption of all human beings.

Sunnis vs. Shiites: A Brief Explainer

Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which have existed for decades, have risen to a new level this week with the execution of famous Shiite opposition cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by the Saudis. Although a large part of the regional competition is upon who has the greatest political clout in the Middle East, its origins can be traced back to a schism between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam that first emerged 1,400 years ago. Saudi Arabia is by far the most powerful propagator of Sunni Islam, which is also by far the largest sect.

Here’s a quick overview of the gap that exists between the sects:

What was the origin of the Sunni-Shiite split?

Beginning in 632 AD, when the Islamic Prophet Muhammad died and a discussion erupted over who should succeed him, the Islamic world has been split into two camps. Despite the fact that both sides agreed that Allah is the one true God and that Muhammad was his messenger, one group (which eventually became the Shiites) believed Muhammad’s successor should be someone descended from him, whereas the other (which eventually became the Sunnis) believed a pious individual who would follow the Prophet’s customs would be acceptable.

It was a disagreement on political leadership “Robin Wright, a joint fellow at the nonpartisan United States Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson Center, shared her thoughts on the subject.

Hasan Jamali / Associated Press

What do Sunnis and Shiites have in common?

In 632 A.D., the Islamic Prophet Muhammad died, and a discussion erupted about who should succeed him as the leader of the Muslim community in general. However, while both groups agreed that Allah is the one true God and that Muhammad was his messenger, one group (which eventually became the Shiites) believed Muhammad’s successor should be a descendant of Muhammad’s lineage, while the other group (which eventually became the Sunnis) believed a pious individual who would follow the Prophet’s customs was acceptable.

Politics was at the heart of the disagreement “The nonpartisan United States Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Robin Wright expressed her thoughts.


What are the differences between Sunnis and Shiites?

In 632 A.D., the Islamic Prophet Muhammad died, and a discussion erupted about who should succeed him as leader of the Muslim community. Both sides agreed that Allah is the one true God and that Muhammad was his messenger, but one group (which eventually became the Shiites) believed Muhammad’s successor should be someone from his bloodline, whereas the other (which eventually became the Sunnis) believed a pious individual who would follow the Prophet’s customs was acceptable. “Although the first split existed between Islam’s two greatest factions, it was not a disagreement over theological theory.

Demonstrators in Jidhafs, Bahrain, demonstrate against Saudi Arabia’s death of Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr as riot police close in on them. AP Photographer Hasan Jamali

How many of each sect are there?

The division may be traced back to 632 A.D., when the Islamic Prophet Muhammad died and a discussion erupted about who should succeed him. Both sides agreed that Allah is the one true God and that Muhammad was his messenger, but one group (which eventually became the Shiites) believed Muhammad’s successor should be someone from his bloodline, while the other (which eventually became the Sunnis) believed a pious individual who would follow the Prophet’s customs was acceptable. “The first rift between Islam’s two greatest factions was not a disagreement over theological theory.

Bahraini ladies make a gesture at riot police who were chasing protestors over Saudi Arabia’s killing of Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Jidhafs, Bahrain.

How Do Sunni and Shia Islam Differ? (Published 2016)

The killing of Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia has the potential to exacerbate tensions in the Muslim world even further. The top leader of Iran’s Shiite theocracy, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, declared on Sunday that Saudi Arabia, which is run by a Sunni monarchy, will face “divine vengeance” for the slaying of the outspoken cleric, which was part of a mass execution that killed 47 men. It has always been the goal of Sheikh Nimr to see increased political rights for Shiites in Saudi Arabia and the surrounding nations.

  1. Here’s a primer on the fundamental distinctions between Sunni and Shia Islamic beliefs and practices.
  2. Following the Prophet Muhammad’s death in 632, a rift developed, and disagreements erupted about who should lead the fledgling but rapidly expanding faith.
  3. The title was handed on to a loyal assistant, Abu Bakr, however others believed it should have been given to Ali, the prophet’s cousin and son-in-law, rather than Abu Bakr.
  4. Image courtesy of EPA (European Pressphoto Agency).
  5. However, in 680, Hussein and many of his family were slaughtered in the Iraqi city of Karbala.
  6. During the month of Muharram, every year, the followers of Ali are commemorated as Shiites, which is a contraction of the word Shiat Ali, which means “followers of Ali” in Arabic.
  7. Sunni kings launched a series of conquests that resulted in the caliphate being extended throughout North Africa and Europe.

What are the differences between their points of view?

Many features of Islam are agreed upon by the branches, yet there are significant differences within each of the branches itself.

Shiites regard Ali and the leaders who came after him as imams, or spiritual leaders.

Shiites who call themselves Twelvers look forward to his coming as the Mahdi, or Messiah.

Which sect is the largest, and where are the members of each group concentrated?

They may be found all across the Arab world, as well as in nations like as Turkey, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Indonesia, among other locations.

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The Saudi royal family, which adheres to an austere and conservative branch of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism, has complete authority over Islam’s holiest sanctuaries, which are located in Mecca and Medina, respectively.

Often, Saudi Arabia and Iran, the two most powerful Sunni and Shiite states in the Middle East, find themselves on opposite sides of regional disputes.

Amidst an ongoing civil conflict in Syria, where a Sunni majority has been established, the Alawite Shiite sect of President Bashar al-administration, Assad’s which has long controlled the country, is fighting to maintain its hold on power.

The Islamic State’s achievements in Iraq have been aided by strong resentments between the Shiite-led government and the Sunni-dominated populations in the country.

The differences between Shia and Sunni Muslims

Shia and Sunni Muslims have been at odds since the Prophet Muhammad’s death in the seventh century, and the dispute dates back to that time. Nonetheless, as the frequency of disputes between the two branches of the religion has increased, the disparities between the two branches of the religion have come under more scrutiny. According to a 2009 report by the Pew Research Center, Sunni Muslims constitute the great majority of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims population. Shia Muslims account for between 10% and 13% of the population, whereas Sunni Muslims account for between 87 percent and 90%.

  1. Sunni Muslims are also found in more countries and regions around the world.
  2. It was only after Prophet Muhammad’s death that the two factions began to be separated from one another.
  3. The majority of people believed that Prophet Muhammad’s rightful successor should be his father-in-law and close friend, Abu Bakr.
  4. Although the division was first primarily political in nature, as the minority group was a section that supported Ali’s political power, the division eventually morphed into a religious movement.
  5. The twelfth day of the holy month of Muharram is one of the most significant events in the lives of Shia Muslims (the first month in the Islamic lunar calendar).
  6. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
  7. Reuters Ashoura is the occasion for “collective atonement via sorrow and self-flagellation,” as defined by the Islamic tradition.
  8. Each group believes Muhammad to be God’s prophet and adheres to Islam’s five ceremonial pillars, which include fasting during Ramadan and five daily prayers.
  9. They also have a common religious text in the form of the Quran.
  10. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses Iranian senior officials at a mosque at his house in the Iranian capital of Tehran, on March 25, 2015.
  11. Despite the fact that many Shia and Sunni Muslims live peacefully together, a Pew Research Center poll conducted in 2012 found that 40 percent of Sunni Muslims from the Middle East and North Africa do not accept Shias as fellow Muslims in their communities.

There is also a cleavage between the two communities in the Iraq and Syria conflicts, with many Sunni males joining rebel organizations and men from the Shia community fighting for or with government troops, according to the BBC.

Islam’s Sunni-Shia Divide, Explained

Despite the fact that the two largest factions within Islam, Sunni and Shia, agree on the majority of Islam’s essential principles and practices, a severe division exists between the two that dates back more than 14 centuries. In the beginning, there was a disagreement about who should follow the Prophet Muhammad as head of the Islamic faith that was introduced by the Prophet Muhammad. According to a recent estimate by the Council on Foreign Relations, around 85 percent of the approximately 1.6 billion Muslims across the world are Sunni, with only 15 percent belonging to the Shia faith.

Despite their differences, Sunni and Shia Muslims have coexisted in relative peace for the most of history, despite their disagreements.

The Aftermath of Muhammad’s Death

The origins of the Sunni-Shia division may be traced all the way back to the seventh century, just after the death of the prophet Muhammad in A.D. 632, when the two groups first met. While the majority of Muhammad’s supporters felt that his successor should be chosen by the other prominent members of the Islamic community, a tiny fraction believed that only someone from Muhammad’s family—specifically, his cousin and son-in-law, Ali—should be chosen to replace him. This group became known as Ali’s followers, or in Arabic, the Shiat Ali, or just Shia, as a result of their religious beliefs.

Ali finally rose to become the fourth caliph (or Imam, as Shiites refer to their religious leaders), but only after the two caliphs who came before him were both slain.

Not only was the control of Muhammad’s religious and political heritage at danger, but also a substantial sum of money in the form of taxes and tributes collected from the different tribes that had gathered under the banner of Islam, which was at stake as well.

Within a century after Muhammad’s death, his followers had established an empire that spanned from Central Asia all the way down to southern Europe. The Battle of Karbala took place in Iraq. Fine Art Photographs/Heritage Photographs/Getty Images

Battle of Karbala and Its Lasting Significance

A group of 72 followers and family members marched from Mecca to Karbala (present-day Iraq) in 681 to face the corrupt caliph Yazid of the Ummayad dynasty, who was ruling the country at the time. Upon their arrival, a vast Sunni army awaited them, and at the conclusion of a ten-day standoff that included several minor battles, Hussein had been murdered and beheaded, and his head had been sent to Damascus as a tribute to the Sunni caliph. Hussein’s death, as well as the deaths of all surviving members of Muhammad’s family, at Karbala was “clearly intended by the Ummayads to put an end to all claims to leadership of the ummah based on direct descent from Muhammad,” writes Hazleton of the Ummayads’ intention to put an end to all claims to leadership based on direct descent from Muhammad.

He was killed in Karbala, and his martyrdom at Karbala became the primary tale of Shia tradition, and it is honored every year on the Shia calendar on Ashoura, which is the most serious day.

The Sunni-Shia Divide Into the 21st Century

Apart from Karbala, the NPR podcastThroughline highlighted three major turning points in Islamic history that will exacerbate Sunni-Shia divides by the end of the twentieth century. Following the establishment of Iran’s Safavid dynasty in the 16th century, which (by force) changed the country from a Sunni hub to a Shi’a bastion in the Middle East, followed the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century. It was in the early twentieth century that the victorious Allies partitioned the region formerly controlled by the former Ottoman Empire during World War I, tearing apart centuries-old religious and ethnic groups in the process.

Sectarian tensions grew in the early twenty-first century as Islam became increasingly politicized and fundamentalists on both sides of the divide rose in popularity.

Sunni-Shia differences would fuel a long-running civil war in Syria, as well as warfare in Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, and other places, as well as terrorist attacks on both sides.

Despite the fact that the Sunni-Shia division has persisted for millennia, the fact that the two sects have coexisted in relative harmony for many centuries implies that their conflicts may have less to do with religion and more to do with money and power.

Sunnis and Shia: Islam’s ancient schism

AP is the source of the image. Caption for the image The pilgrimage to Mecca is one of many rites that both religions practice, and it is one of the most important. The schism that exists between Sunnis and Shias is the greatest and most ancient in Islamic history. Historically, members of the two religions have lived side by side for centuries and have a number of core beliefs and practices in common. However, there are significant differences in philosophy, ritual, law, theology, and religious organization.

Many recent conflicts, ranging from Lebanon and Syria to Iraq and Pakistan, have emphasized the sectarian difference, driving families and communities apart.

Who are the Sunnis?

It is estimated that Sunnis constitute between 85 percent and 90 percent of the world’s more than 1.5 billion Muslims. Sunnis constitute 90 percent or more of the populations of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, respectively, in the Middle East. Getty Images is the source of this image. Caption: Egypt is home to a number of Sunni Muslims. The earliest centers of study in Islam Sunnis consider themselves to be the religiously orthodox branch of Islam. The term “Sunni” comes from the Arabic word “Ahl al-Sunnah,” which translates as “People of the Tradition.” Specifically, the term “tradition” refers to actions that are founded on what the Prophet Muhammad said or did or agreed to or condemned.

Shia are also directed by the wisdom of Muhammad’s descendants, who are represented by Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law and cousin.

Who are the Shia?

Shia Muslims account for around 10% of the world’s Muslim population, with a global population estimated to be between 154 and 200 million people. AP is the source of the image. Caption for the image The deaths of Ali, Hassan, and Hussein paved the way for the development of the Shia notion of martyrdom. Shia Muslims constitute the majority of the population in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Azerbaijan, and, according to some estimates, Yemen. Shia Muslims are also the majority in Syria. Afghanistan, India, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are also home to significant Shia populations.

Ali was killed in 661 at the end of a five-year caliphate that had been beset by internal conflict.

While Hassan is supposed to have died from poisoning in 680 at the hands of Muawiyah, the first caliph of the Sunni Umayyad dynasty, Hussein is believed to have been murdered by the Umayyads on the battlefield in 681.

There are three major sects of Shia Islam practiced today: the Zaidis, the Ismailis, and the Ithna Asharis (or Ithna Asharis) (Twelvers or Imamis).

In 878, the 12th Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, is reported to have vanished from a cave beneath a mosque, according to legend. It is believed by Ithna Asharis that the so-called “expected imam” did not die, and that he will return to earth at the end of time to restore justice.

What role has sectarianism played in recent crises?

Shia Muslims are disproportionately represented among the weakest elements of society in nations where Sunnis have ruled. They frequently believe that they are the victims of prejudice and injustice. Sunni radicals routinely decry Shia as heretics who should be put to death, and they have a point. AFP is the source of this image. Caption for the image The killing by Saudi Arabia of a famous Shia cleric sparked a diplomatic crisis with Iran, which has since been resolved. A hardline Shia Islamist agenda was initiated by the Iranian revolution of 1979, which was viewed as posing a threat to traditional Sunni countries, notably those in the Persian Gulf.

Many of the battles taking place in the region today have significant sectarian undertones.

While this is happening, Sunni jihadist organizations, especially the Islamic State (IS), have been targeting Shia and their sites of worship in Syria and its neighboring country of Iraq.

The murder sparked a diplomatic crisis with Iran as well as protests across the region.

More on this story

However, while the uninitiated may come across the terms “shia” and “sunni” in the media, and most people are aware that they refer to two branches of Islam, just as Catholicism and Protestantism are two branches of Christianity, it is not uncommon for people who are unfamiliar with the differences between Sunni and Shia Islam to be perplexed as to what exactly distinguishes them. The first and most important distinction is that Shia and Sunni Islam are both interpretations of the same religion that adhere to the same core rules and values.

  • It is important to recognize that there is only one God, and Muhammad is His Messenger
  • Otherwise known as ahmadiyya. Sawm, also known as fasting, is observed throughout Ramadan. Salat, or prayer, five times a day is recommended. Making the Hajj, or going on a trip to Mecca
  • Zakat, or almsgiving to the destitute, is a Muslim custom.
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Though the Quran and the Sharia have differing interpretations, devoted Muslims of both branches adhere to the same regulations emanating from the Quran and the Sharia, such as refraining from eating pork or drinking alcohol.

A historical cause to the split

The rift between Shia and Sunni was sparked by a historical event, according to scholars. Following the Prophet Muhammad’s death, his followers disagreed about who should take his place as the leader of all Muslims and succeed him as leader of the whole world. The large majority of Muslims believed that Abu Bakr, who was a personal companion of the Prophet, should be chosen as the winner, and he was ultimately victorious by sheer numbers. In contrast, a significant minority felt that Ali ibn Abi Talib, the Prophet’s cousin, should be the one to seize the reins of the organization.

Ali was the next to meet a terrible end when he was slain with a poisoned sword while worshiping in the Great Mosque of Kufa, which was his own doing.

Over time, however, as those two groups grew more and more isolated from one another, new divisions emerged.

A difference in number

Despite the fact that the Shia tradition has survived to the present day, it has never represented more than a minority of Muslims. Shi’ites constitute more or less than ten percent of the world’s Muslim population. These Shias are mostly located in Iran, which is the only country in which they constitute a great majority, but they are also found in Syria and Iraq, where they constitute a sizable portion of the population (almost half), as well as in Pakistan and India. In comparison to the Shia branch, the Sunni branch has a greater geographic reach because it was Sunni leaders who embarked on conquests to expand the impact of their religion within their califate.

Its tragic death is still remembered today as a founding event of their branch, and the death of his son, Husayn, is cited as the inspiration for the festival of Ashoura, during which followers mourn the loss of their leader through a variety of customs that vary from country to country, ranging from large mourning processions to self-mutilation with swords, among other things.

A difference in interpretation

Despite the fact that both groups read the same Qur’an since it is illegal to change or translate the Qur’an, the ways in which they understand its teachings differ. Generally speaking, Sunni Muslims refer to the Sunnah, which is a collection of Muhammad’s sayings, to guide their actions, whereas Shi’ites tend to rely more on the world of Ayatollah’s spiritual leaders, whose mission it is to provide the believers with guidance on all matters, including spiritual and political matters. Each branch of the religion developed its own prominent commentators as a result of this divergence, and it is the work of these commentators that has resulted in disparities in the way the religion is practiced today.

Overall, Shia Islam emphasizes sacrifices and devotions to the next world, whereas Sunni Islam is more materialistic and concerned with the concerns of this world and how one should conduct one’s life in the present.

Control of Holy sites

Mecca and Medina are the two holiest locations in Islam, according to both Shi’ite and Sunni traditions. Because Mecca and Medina are located in Saudi Arabia, they are managed by the Saudi Royal Family, who are Sunni Muslims and supporters of the Wahabi school of thought, which represents a strict interpretation of Islam. Shi’a is of course permitted to visit these places because visiting them is a religious obligation for all capable Muslims, but they have no influence over them. The sacred sites of Islam situated in Iran and Iraq, on the other hand, are under the jurisdiction of Shia muslims, because they are largely associated with Shia history and so under their control.

Most of the remainder of the world’s religious monuments, such as the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, are also under Sunni governance.

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Pier works as the regional manager for YPT’s operations in Africa and the Middle East. Whenever he isn’t blasting his way through the night on top of iron ore trains in Mauritania or battling off iguanas in Socotra, he likes to talk about the revolutionary history of China or sing pop songs in an intolerably high-pitched voice in his spare time.

Key Differences Between Shia and Sunni Muslims

Sunni and Shia Muslims hold the same essential Islamic doctrines and articles of religion, and they are the two most important sub-groups in Islam, according to the Islamic creed. There is a significant difference between them, though, and this division was initially rooted on political differences rather than theological ones. With these political divisions came a variety of behaviors and beliefs that, through time, came to be associated with a spiritual meaning.

The Five Pillars of Islam

Religious obligations to God, personal spiritual growth, care for the less fortunate, self-discipline, and sacrifice are all mentioned in the Islamic tradition’s Five Pillars of Islam. They serve the same function as pillars in a building in that they give a structure or framework for a Muslim’s life.

A Question of Leadership

Historically, the difference between Shia and Sunni may be traced back to the Prophet Muhammad’s death in 632. This occurrence highlighted the question of who would take over as leader of the Muslim country as a result of this tragedy. Among the Islamic branches, Sunnism is the largest and most traditional. According to the Arabic language, the wordSunn derives from a word that means “one who adheres to the traditions of the Prophet.” Several companions of the Prophet, including many of his Sunni followers, agreed that the new leader should be chosen from among those who are competent of carrying out the task after he died.

For their part, some Muslims think that leadership should have remained within the Prophet’s household, among those whom he personally nominated, or among Imams who were personally anointed by God.

The Shia Muslim community has historically refused to acknowledge the authority of elected Muslim leaders, opting instead to follow a line of Imams whom they believe have been anointed by the Prophet Muhammad or God Himself.

The title “the Party of Ali” is derived from the historical term “Shia’t-Ali,” which means “the Party of Ali.” This group is sometimes referred to as Shiites or adherents of Ahl al-Baytor “People of the Household,” which means “People of the Household” (of the Prophet).

Among Sunni Islam’s puritanical factions, Sunni Wahhabism is widespread in Saudi Arabia, for example. In a similar vein, the Druze are a relatively diverse sect of Shiite Islam with members living in Lebanon, Syria, and Israel.

Where Do Sunni and Shia Muslims Live?

Sunni Muslims constitute an 85 percent majority of Muslims worldwide, with the majority of those being Sunni. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan, Indonesia, Turkey, Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia are examples of countries with a largely Sunni population. Iran and Iraq are both home to significant Shia Muslim populations, according to the United Nations. Large Shiite minority groups may be found in other countries such as Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and Lebanon. Conflict is more likely to occur in parts of the world where Sunni and Shiite people live in close proximity to one another.

Because religious differences are so deeply ingrained in the society, intolerance frequently results in bloodshed.

Differences in Religious Practice

In the wake of the original debate over political leadership, certain areas of spiritual life are beginning to diverge between the two Muslim organizations today. This includes religious practices such as prayer and marriage. Consequently, many individuals see parallels between the two groups and Catholics and Protestants. They have some fundamentally similar ideas, yet they practice in quite different ways. It is critical to note that, despite their differences in view and practice, Shia and Sunni Muslims share the fundamental principles of Islamic religion and are generally regarded as spiritual brothers and sisters by the majority of Muslims.

Religious Leadership

Because his authority originates straight from God, Shia Muslims believe that the Imam is sinless by nature and that his authority is infallible as a result. As a result, Shia Muslims commonly refer to the Imams as saints in their religion. The pilgrimages to their tombs and shrines are undertaken in the expectation of receiving divine intercession. This well defined clerical hierarchy might also play a role in concerns pertaining to the government. Iran serves as an excellent example of a society in which the Imam, rather than the state, is the ultimate authority.

Rather, they argue, leadership in a society is a trust that can be granted or taken away by the people, rather than something that comes naturally or is inherited.

Religious Texts and Practices

Muslim sects such as Sunni and Shia adhere to the Quran as well as the Prophet’s hadith (sayings) and sunna (customs) (customs). In the Islamic religion, these are basic behaviors to follow. They also follow the five pillars of Islam, which are the shahada, salat, zakat, sawm, and hajj (pilgrimage). Shia Muslims have a strong dislike for several of the Prophet Muhammad’s companions, and this has led to a number of incidents of violence against them. Based on their positions and actions throughout the early years of dispute concerning leadership in the community, this conclusion has been reached.

They reject these traditions and do not base any of their religious rituals on the testimony of these individuals, which is why they are known as Shia Muslims.

Naturally, there are some disparities in religious practice between the two groups as a result of this situation. These distinctions apply to all elements of religious life, including prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, and other activities.

Differences Between Sunni And Shia Muslims

The Qur’an is revered as the Holy Book by Sunni and Shia Muslims alike, notwithstanding the conflicts between them.

Basic Beliefs of Sunni Islam

The term “Sunni” is derived from the Arabic word “Sunnah,” which literally translates as “tradition.” Those affiliated with this group believe they are following the authentic tradition of the prophet Muhammad. Sunni Muslims practice Islam in accordance with their understanding of Islamic law, which directs their actions. These interpretations are based on four different schools of thought: the Hanafi, the Maliki, the Shafi’i, and the Hanbali. Hanafi interpretations are the most common. These are based on the teachings of four early Islamic thinkers, who are listed below.

Basic Beliefs of Shia Islam

Shia Muslims adhere to one fundamental school of philosophy, known as Jafariya. They think that the Imam’s role is to give moral and religious guidance to the whole international community. God has selected these Imams to serve as his representatives. In addition to the Qur’an, Shia adherents revere the Nahj al-Balagha book, which contains a compilation of lectures delivered by their first Imam and is considered sacred.

Similarities between the Sunnis and Shias

Despite their differences, the two groups hold many of the same ideas. It is their shared belief that there is a one all-powerful God who created the universe and all of the life that exists within it. They also believe in a devil, angels, and demons, among other supernatural beings. In 610 CE, both Shia and Sunni Muslims believe that Islam officially began with God’s revelations to Muhammad, the last prophet, who began receiving messages from God. These revelations were recorded in the Qur’an by his followers, which is revered as the Holy Book by both sects of Muslims.

In addition to testifying to the existence of only one God and Muhammad as his prophet, these pillars include participating in prayer five times a day, giving charity, fasting during Ramadan, and traveling to Makkah (Mecca).

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What is the Difference between Sunni and Shia Islam?

Followers of the Sunni faith believe that their prophet Muhammad did not choose a specific successor before he passed away. Sunni supporters picked Abu Bakr Siddique, one of Muhammad’s father-in-laws and a close friend, as their religious head after extensive debate lasted for several years. Sunnis believe that the Imam, who holds a significant status within Islam, is the official prayer leader and that the Imam is the formal prayer leader. They also think that individuals can directly contact God via prayer and that the teachings of the Qur’an should be applied to all aspects of life.

  • They believe that Ali ibn Abi Talib, Muhammad’s son-in-law and successor, was chosen by the prophet Muhammad to be his successor.
  • In this form of Islam, the individual’s relationship with God is emphasized more than their interpretation of the Qur’an, according to the preacher.
  • As a result of this early separation between Islamists and non-Muslims, there are now even more pronounced disparities between the two groups.
  • The Sunni, on the other hand, considered all Islamic literature to be of equal significance.
  • Shia adherents also pay respects to and revere the shrines of previous Imams, saints, and academics.
  • There are also certain ceremonial variances between the two that might be seen.
  • Shias, on the other hand, kneel so that their heads are in contact with bare soil or a little clay block retrieved from a sacred site.
  • People with the most profound studies become leaders, and they have the opportunity to educate all over the world.

In Sunni Islam, there is no such hierarchy or taxes; in fact, because it is the majority religion in many locations, the state frequently pays the religious institutions of the dominant faith. As a result, these are some of the most fundamental distinctions between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

World Demographics

The Sunni branch of Islam is by far the largest denomination in the world, accounting for 89-90 percent of all adherents who are spread around the world. Their numbers are increasing throughout the Middle East, with particularly considerable concentrations in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Sunnis outnumber Shia in every country except Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan, with the exception of Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan. A minority group, Shia Muslims account for only 10 percent to 13 percent of the overall Muslim population in the world.

Shia Muslims constitute between 10 percent and 20 percent of the world’s Muslim population, according to various estimates.

They constitute the bulk of the population of Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan.

In Turkey, they account for somewhat more than 20% of the population, whereas in Pakistan and Afghanistan, they account for between 10% and 20% of the population.

Shia-Sunni Relations Today

Relations between Shias and Sunnis are still tense today, despite recent improvements. Shias tend to live in substandard conditions in areas where Sunnis are the majority and have political power. They claim that the persecution and prejudice experienced by Sunnis is to blame for these problems. Those who hold extreme Sunni fundamentalist views believe that Shias are heretics and advocate for their execution. Iran has governmental policies that encourage Shia military organizations and political parties in other nations, including those in the United States and Europe.

Syria is embroiled in a complicated conflict that is divided along Shia-Sunni fault lines.

Iran has been assisting Shia attempts to quell Sunni resistance by providing funds for militias and dispatching troops to the region.

Efforts Towards Unity

  1. Despite the deep divisions that exist between Sunni and Shia Muslims, as well as all of the bloodshed and mistrust, some Muslim leaders have called for greater unification between the two groups. Those who hold this position believe that violence amongst Islamic factions only serves to harm the Islamic religion. This unification position has gained popularity when terrorists attacked the Prophet’s Mosque, the second holiest site in Islam, which is located in Saudi Arabia, during the month of Ramadan, gaining widespread support. This incident took place only a few months before the Hajj pilgrimage took place. Iranian authorities supported the call for unity as well, marking a significant shift in views considering that Saudi Arabia is predominantly Sunni in composition.

Shia and Sunni Islam – what are the differences?

QuestionAnswer When it comes to the lawful succession of leadership following the death of the prophet Muhammad, the fundamental disagreement between Sunnis and Shias is their view of the succession of leadership. The profession of faith, to which all Muslims subscribe, is as follows: There is no God but Allah, whose messenger is Muhammad (There is no God but Allah). The Shiites, on the other hand, include an additional word at the end: and Ali is God’s buddy. Because the Shiites are so certain about Ali being Muhammad’s heir, significant squabbling and division has erupted in the Islamic world, similar to the warring that occurred between Protestants and Roman Catholics during the Reformation in Europe.

  • Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law, was one of Muhammad’s closest students and was the one who was most conversant with his teachings.
  • 632, however, the followers turned their backs on Ali, whom the Shiites believe to be the legitimate successor to Muhammad.
  • 644-656), Muhammad’s third successor, proclaimed himself caliph instead.
  • When Ali died in A.D.
  • At the Battle of Karbala, the legitimate heirs or caliphs battled each other in a long-running dispute.
  • Yazid, on the other hand, was responsible for the establishment of the Ummayad line of succession, which is the source of modern-day Sunnism.
  • While the Sunnites revere Ali, they do not see their imams as possessing the gift of divine intervention as they do their imams of other faiths.

In many respects, this resembles the way the Pope is revered in the city of Rome.

Muslims of both sects, Shiite and Sunni, are implicated in terrorist activities.

Al-Qaeda, ISIS/ISIL, the Taliban in Afghanistan, and Boko-Haram are examples of Sunni terrorist organizations.

Another significant distinction between the two sects is that Shia Muslims are permitted to enter into a fixed-term temporary marriage, called asmuttah, for a period of time.

Iran is predominantly Shia, with 89 percent of the population being Shia.

In addition, there are significant Shia communities along the east coast of Saudi Arabia and in the country of Lebanon.

Shia Muslims make roughly 10 to 15 percent of the global Muslim population, yet they comprise the bulk of Islam’s extremist and violent elements, according to some estimates. Return to the Muslim Questions page. What exactly are the distinctions between Shia and Sunni Islam?

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What’s the Difference Between Shiite and Sunni Muslims?

Despite the fact that Sunni and Shiite Muslims are both branches of the Islamic religion, the distinctions between these two groups are rooted in their differing theological views, which are at odds with one another. Political tension also creates divisions amongst the groups. A rivalry for regional dominance in the Arab world continues between Saudi Arabia, a Sunni nation, and Shiite Iran, a Shiite nation. As anti-government rallies and car bombs rage across Saudi Arabia, Sunni officials have accused their Shiite communities of being loyal to the regime in Tehran.

  1. Furthermore, both Sunnis and Shiites believe that the Prophet Muhammad created the Islamic faith around the seventh century.
  2. Because the Sunnis believe that Muhammad had no legitimate heir, they advocate for religious leadership to be elected by the whole Islamic community through a popular vote.
  3. Muslims who adhere to Shiite beliefs believe that only Allah, the God of their faith, has the authority to choose religious leaders, and that as a result, all successors must be direct descendants of Muhammad’s family.
  4. Other religious differences between Shiite and Sunni Muslims include their belief in a figure known as the Mahdi, which is Arabic for “guided one.” Both sides consider the Mahdi to be the only ruler of the Islamic society, and they are correct.
  5. and will return to Earth at Allah’s command in the near future.
  6. As reported by, just 10% of the total Muslim population in the Islamic world is Shiite, which is the minority religion.
  • What’s on the Inside of a Mosque
  • What Are the Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Where Did the Concept of ‘Separation of Church and State’ Come From
  • What Is the Meaning of ‘Separation of Church and State’

The original version of this article appeared on Live Science.

From 2010 until 2012, Remy Melina worked as a staff writer for the Live Science website. With honors from Hofstra University, she earned her bachelor’s degree in communication.

The difference between Shi’a and Sunni explained

ByEuronewsUpdated:01/08/2016 As a result of the frequent coverage of Arab world wars in the media, the phrases Shia and Sunni – the two main branches of Islam – are now recognizable to many non-Muslims who follow international news, even though the qualities that differentiate one from the other remain a source of confusion. In this section, we will look at the history of the two major Islamic sects, their distinctions, and the distribution of their adherents around the world. In Islam, the Shia (also known as Shi’ite) movement has political origins; following Muhammed’s death, in AD 632, the founders of the Shia sect (who are collectively referred to as Shi’a) desired that power be passed to Ali, the Prophet’s son-in-law, and cousin, and then to the Prophet’s male successors.

  • The Shi’a – who are believed to represent for 10-13 percent of the world’s estimated 1,6 billion Muslim adherents — recognize Ali as the divinely chosen Caliph (ruler of the country of Islam) and his successors as Imams, who are bestowed with divine wisdom, according to Islamic tradition.
  • Muhammad’s supporters picked his successor as Caliph in a hasty manner, choosing Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s father-in-law, who also happened to be one of his closest friends, as their candidate.
  • Approximately at this point in history, the divide began: those who sided with Ali against Abu Bakr were known as the Shi’a.
  • After all was said and done, Ali was chosen to be the fourth Caliph, ruling from AD 656 to AD 661.
  • Following Hussein’s assassination, the Sunni Caliphs seized and strengthened their political authority, effectively pushing the Shi’a to the margins.
  • Religious practices differ from one another.
  • As with the other branches of Islam, both branches are founded on the teachings of the holy Quran.
  • According to Shi’a Muslims, the utterances of the imams are also considered Hadith.
  • This is one of the most significant contrasts between the ideologies of the two sects.
  • Consequently, the Shi’a not only travel to Mecca for their pilgrimage (Hajj), but they also visit the tombs of 11 out the 12 Imams, who are regarded saints (the tomb of the 12th Imam, Mehdi, is considered ‘hidden’ or ‘disappeared’ from the world).

While the five pillars of Islam – the statement of faith, prayer, fasting, charity, and pilgrimage – are shared by both Shi’a and Sunni believers, they are expressed in a distinct way in the Shi’a religion: Shi’a Islam, in addition to having five major pillars that differ from those of Sunnis, also contains ten ancillaries, which combine the notions contained in the five Sunni pillars.

Tawhid (belief in the Oneness of God), Nubuwwah (prophethood), Resurrection, Divine Justice, and Imamah (belief in the political and spiritual supremacy of the Prophet’s successors) are the five primary Shi’a pillars.

Among the secondary concepts in Shi’a Islam is jihad (holy war), the meaning of which is still being disputed by Islamic academics today.

The Shia Crescent is a kind of crescent. The majority of Shi’a people can be found in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Bahrain, which together form what is known as the ‘Shia crescent’ on a map because of the shape of these countries on the ground.

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