What Are The Two Main Sects Of Islam? (Correct answer)

A disagreement over succession after Mohammed’s death in 632 split Muslims into Islam’s two main sects, Sunni and Shia.

What are the names of the two major sects of Islam?

  • In Islam, there are two main sects: Sunni and Shi’a. Sunni Islam is the largest sect, although in some countries it is a minority. Sunnis have their historical roots in the majority group who followed Abu Bakr, an effective leader, as the successor of Muhammad, instead of his cousin and son-in-law Ali.

Contents

What are the two main sects of Islam Class 7?

The two main sects of Islam are Shia and Sunni.

What are the two main sects?

The divide between Sunnis and Shia is the largest and oldest in the history of Islam. Members of the two sects have co-existed for centuries and share many fundamental beliefs and practices. But they differ in doctrine, ritual, law, theology and religious organisation.

What means Umma?

noun. (also ummah) The whole community of Muslims bound together by ties of religion. ‘In Medina, Mohammed established an ummah, a Muslim community, with every aspect of life – political, religious, social and economic – subject to Islamic teaching. ‘

What is Wahhabism in Islam?

Wahhabism (Arabic: الوهابية, romanized: al-Wahhābiyyah, lit. ‘Wahhabism’) is a term used to refer to the Islamic revivalist and fundamentalist movement within Sunni Islam which is associated with the Hanbali reformist doctrines of the Arabian scholar Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab (1703-1792).

What is the Sunni branch of Islam?

Sunni, Arabic Sunnī, member of one of the two major branches of Islam, the branch that consists of the majority of that religion’s adherents. Sunni Muslims regard their denomination as the mainstream and traditionalist branch of Islam —as distinguished from the minority denomination, the Shiʿah.

What are the four Islamic sects?

In addition, there are several differences within Sunnī and Shiʿa Islam: Sunnī Islam is separated into four main schools of jurisprudence, namely Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali; these schools are named after Abu Hanifa, Malik ibn Anas, al-Shafi’i, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, respectively.

What are the two branches of Islam What is the main difference between the two groups?

They also both share the holy book of the Quran. The primary difference in practice comes in that Sunni Muslims mainly rely on the Sunnah, a record of the teachings and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad to guide their actions while the Shiites more heavily on their ayatollahs, whom they see as a sign of God on earth.

What’s difference between Shia and Sunni?

Those who followed the Prophet’s closest companion (Abu Bakr) became known as Sunni (the followers of the Prophet’s example – Sunnah). Those who followed the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law (‘Ali) became known as Shi’a (the followers of the Party of ‘Ali – Shi’atu Ali).

What is seal of prophet?

Khatam an-Nabiyyin (Arabic: خاتم النبيين, romanized: khātam an-nabīyīn or ‘khātim an-nabīyīn), usually translated as Seal of the Prophets, is a title used in the Qur’an and by Muslims to designate the Islamic prophet Muhammad as the last of the prophets sent by God.

What is Year Zero in the Islamic calendar?

The Hijri year (Arabic: سَنة هِجْريّة) or era (التقويم الهجري at-taqwīm al-hijrī) is the era used in the Islamic lunar calendar, which begins its count from the Islamic New Year in 622 CE. During that year, Muhammad and his followers migrated from Mecca to Yathrib (now Medina).

What is the meaning of Dar al Islam?

Dar al-Islam designates a territory where Muslims are free to practice their religion, though this often implies the implementation of Islamic law, whereas Dar al-Harb represents those lands ruled by non-believers.

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 over who should succeed the Prophet Muhammad as leader 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.

What are the two main sects of Islam?

What are the two most important branches of Islam?

Islam

Islam is the world’s second most popular religion, behind Christianity, with over a billion adherents. The Middle East, North Africa, Indonesia, and Malaysia are the countries where it is most extensively practiced. In some places of the world, on the other hand, there are significant numbers of adherents.

Answer and Explanation:

The Sunni and Shia sects of Islam are the two largest groups in the world. The Sunni community is significantly greater. The majority of Shia adherents live in Iran, however there are also significant numbers of Shia in other countries. See the complete response below for more information.

Learn more about this topic:

Islam is divided into two groups: the Sunni and the Shiite (Chapter 6/Lesson 8). Sunnis and Shiites disputed over who should replace Muhammad as Islamic leader after the Prophet’s death in 632 CE, igniting the Islamic Civilizational Divide. Discover the differences between Sunnis and Shiites, as well as the causes that contributed to the Islamic division.

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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.

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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

Despite the fact that Islam is divided into numerous sects, all Muslims adhere to the idea of Tawhid (belief in a single God, Allah), believe in the Quran, and adhere to the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him). ​

SUNNI ISLAM

​Sunni Sunni Islam is the biggest branch of Islam, and those who adhere to it are referred to as Sunnis. Because they think that they are following the Sunnah (also known as “custom” or “tradition”) of the prophet Muhammad, they are referred to as Sunnis (pbuh). Although the exact number of Sunni Muslims in the world is unclear, some experts believe that between 85 and 90 percent of the world’s Muslim population adheres to this branch of Islam. They trace their historical origins to the dominant group that accompanied the caliph Abu Bakr to the throne of Muhammad as his successor.

According to the four schools of thinking, Sunnis base their faith on the Quran and Sunnah as perceived by the majority of the community within the framework of the four schools of thought (madhhabs).

They are all subsets of one another. The differences between these four schools of law are mostly in the manner in which they are applied. They will continue to seek Islamic solutions for the questions given by growing civilizations, regardless of time or place in which they are practiced. ​

SHI’ISM AND ITS SUB-DIVISIONS

It is believed that the name ‘Shi’ism’ comes from the Arabic phrase’shi’at ‘Ali,’ which literally translates as ‘the party of Ali.’ Several Shi’ite scholars argue that Ali, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuhson-in-law )’s and cousin, should have been elected caliph following the Prophet’s (pbuh) death. The Shiat adhere to the notion of Imamate, who is described as “the divinely inspired, religious and political head of the society;” one who is without sin and who bestows real knowledge on humanity, which is another key distinction.

  1. The great majority of Shi’ites are twelvers, or adherents of the branch known as ‘Ithna Ashari,’ who comprise the bulk of the population.
  2. Shi’a thinking is divided into several schools of thought, the most important of which being the Ja’faryia, which was formed by Ja’far al-Sadiq, the 6th Shia Imam.
  3. In addition, there are discrepancies in the rules for the prayer call and ablutions between Sunni and Shia Muslims, as well as the practice of temporary marriage and the permissible use of the sword, known as taqiya (professing disbelief to avoid harm or persecution).
  4. They also observe Ramadan, which is the month of fasting.

ISMAILIS OR ‘SEVENERS’

Ismailis, also known as the ‘Seveners,’ are Shi’a Muslims who developed in 765 as a result of a debate over who should succeed Ja’far al-Sadiq as the sixth imam. Some Muslims think that Ismail, the eldest son of Imam Ja’far, was the legitimate ruler of the whole Muslim community. Ismailis believe that after the sixth Imam Ja’far went away, his eldest son, Ismail, received the authority to govern, and therefore became the seventh Imam of the Islamic faith. These beliefs are in contrast to those held by the twelvers, who believe that the imamate was passed on to Musa al-Kazaim, Ismail’s brother.

Mawlana Hazar, referred to as ‘His Highness the Aga Khan 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia’ Imami Ismaili Muslims,’ is believed to be a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad and is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia’ Imami Ismaili Muslims (pbuh).

Ismaili leaders that are well-known include Ubaydulla, who claimed to be a direct descendant of Fatima and Ali.

“One of its most enduring landmarks was its religious center, the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo,” which has continued to serve as an epicenter of Islamic instruction to the present day, according to the Associated Press.

The Bohras, the Nizaris, and the Druze are some of the other groups that make up the Ismaili community. ​

ZAYDIYYAH OR ‘FIVERS’

Unlike the other Shi’a groupings, the Zaydiyyah school of law has a distinct conception of the imamate than the other Shi’a parties. They recognize Zayd ibn Ali, the grandson of Hussain, as the ‘Fifth Imam,’ as their spiritual leader. Zaydis believe that the Imam does not have to be a direct descendant of Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter (pbuh), but rather can be anybody connected to Ali who possesses the highest level of moral purity. Islam: The Straight Path, by John L. Esposito, Oxford University Press, 1994, p.

Islamic Publications Limited launched the official website of the Ismaili Muslim Community in 2007.

48; John L.

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?

Sunnis and Shiites are both familiar with the Quran, which contains the Prophet Muhammad’s sayings. Neither of them doubts that Prophet Muhammad was the messenger of Allah. Additionally, they observe Islamic principles, including fasting during Ramadan, pledging to undertake a pilgrimage to Mecca, engaging in ritual prayer (which includes five prayers per day), donating to the destitute, and committing themselves to the Islamic religion. Both of their prayer practices are essentially identical, with a few minor differences: Shiites, for example, will stand with their hands at their sides, but Sunnis will place their hands on their bellies when praying.

They both believe in Islamic law, but their interpretations of it are quite different from one another.

What are the differences between Sunnis and Shiites?

The most significant doctrinal divergence between the two is their views on who should have succeeded Prophet Muhammad in his mission. Sunnis, on the other hand, have a less complicated hierarchical hierarchy than Shiites, and their interpretations of Islam’s schools of law differ from those of the other group. Shiites accord human individuals the elevated position that is reserved for prophets in the Quran, and they frequently venerate clerics as saints, whereas Sunnis do not accord this rank.

How many of each sect are there?

Sunnis constitute the vast majority of the world’s more than 1.6 billion Muslims, accounting for upwards of 85 to 90 percent of the total. Shia Muslims account for 10 to 15 percent of the world’s Muslims, with a global population of less than 200 million people, according to some estimates. In contrast to the Sunnis, who dominate the Muslim world from West Africa to Indonesia, the Shiites are centered in the Middle East, with a great majority in Iran, a majority in Iraq, and substantial numbers in Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, among other countries.

She has reported for the network since 2005.

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.

  • Furthermore, both Sunnis and Shiites believe that the Prophet Muhammad created the Islamic faith around the seventh century.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • and will return to Earth at Allah’s command in the near future.

As reported by CNN.com, just 10% of the total Muslim population in the Islamic world is Shiite, which is the minority religion. Iran, Iraq, and Bahrain, a Gulf island state, are the only nations in the Middle East with a Shiite majority, according to the United Nations.

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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 Major Branches Of Islam

In Sudan, a Sufi Ritual is performed. Sufis are classified as belonging to a mystical Islamic dimension. The Islam religion has more than 2 billion adherents all across the world. The religion itself has been around for about 1,300 years. Practicing Muslims believe that Islam started around 610 CE, when the final prophet, Muhammad, began receiving revelations from God, according to the Quran and other sources. These revelations were written down in the Qur’an by followers of the faith. Islam, like all other global faiths, is divided into various major branches: Sunni, Shi’a, Ibadi, Ahmadiyya, and Sufism, to name a few examples.

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Despite their differences, the main denominations all hold some fundamental ideas in common, such as monotheism, sacred scriptures, and so on.

The Major Denominations Of Islam

Approximately 89-90 percent of all Muslims belong to the Sunni branch of Islam, which is by far the largest of the religion’s denominations. In the Middle East, they are found in vast numbers throughout the region, with the highest populations in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. After several years and much argument, Sunni followers came to the conclusion that Muhammad had not designated a specific successor. Abu Bakr Siddique was chosen by his followers after a long period of time and much disagreement This guy was one of Muhammad’s in-laws as well as a close companion of the Prophet.

Islam’s Sunnis believe that the Qur’an applies to all aspects of life and that individuals can approach God directly, with the expectation that he will appear to them on the Day of Judgement.

Shi’a

They believe that Muhammad did pick a successor, Ali ibn Abi Talib, who was also his son-in-law, and that he was chosen by Allah. Shi’a believers also have Imams, who are more central characters and community leaders than other religious leaders since they are the ideal incarnation of God on the earth. More than anything else, this branch is concerned with the individual’s relationship with God, as opposed to the cleric’s interpretation of the Qur’an. Humans will not see God on Judgement Day, according to the Shi’a, in contrast to the Sunni faith.

The vast majority, on the other hand, appears to be concentrated in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan.

Ibadi

Ibadi Islam is a branch of Islam that is less well-known. This sect predates both Sunni and Shi’a Islam and is believed to be a highly orthodox branch of the religion. They have the same belief as the Shi’a, which is that God will not appear on the Day of Judgment. In contrast to Sunni and Shi’a beliefs, the Ibadi believe that the Muslim community may rule itself without the need for a single leader to guide it.

Ibadi also varies in that they do not believe that the Muslim monarch must be a descendent of Muhammad’s tribe, the Quraysh, as does the majority of the Muslim population. The Ibadi ethnic group constitutes 75% of the population of Oman.

Ahmadiyya

This denomination was created more recently than the preceding one. Those who follow the Ahmadiyya religion do not believe Muhammad to be the last prophet. Its origins may be traced back to the teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908), who served as their prophet. His adherents think he was divinely anointed to be the re-inventor of Islamic civilization. They have beliefs that are identical to those of Sunni Muslims, and they likewise consider the Qur’an as their sacred book. Indonesia, South Asia, and West and East Africa have the highest concentrations of Ahmadiyya Muslims, followed by India.

Sufism

In accordance with Shi’a belief, the bulk of Sufis follow the Islamic path as given by Ali, Muhammad’s successor. Sufism is an Islamic concept that emphasizes on cleansing of the inner-self, despite the fact that it is not formally a sect of Islam. Sufis believe that humans can have a spiritual encounter with God through intuitive and emotional powers that they have developed through years of rigorous study. This experience does not have to take place in Paradise; rather, it can be had in the real world.

Strength Of Beliefs

Although not a complete list of the various branches of Islam, the denominations listed above are among the most well-known of them. Islam is a centuries-old religion that is also one of the largest in the world, with a complex set of beliefs and customs. Islamists believe that the objective of human life is to live and thank God in order to one day win admittance into Paradise, regardless of which sect they belong to.

Major Branches Of Islam – Similarities And Differences

Rank Major Branches Of Islam Estimated Global Adherents
1 Sunni 1.39 billion
2 Shi’a 200 million
3 Ahmadiyya 15 million
4 Ibadi 3 million
5 Sufism Widely Disputed

What are the two main sects of Islam? – Brainly.in

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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.

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 Difference between Shiite and Sunni Muslims and Why It Matters

Lutherans and Baptists are nearly identical in their beliefs. That is incorrect, and both sides would very certainly agree on that issue. It is also not correct to say that all Muslims are the same. Over 1.5 billion Muslims live in the world, with approximately 85 percent belonging to a sect known as Sunni and just 15 percent belonging to a group known as Shia. The division is a long-standing one, dating back 1,387 years to be exact. However, it continues to pose a danger to the stability of the whole Middle East and provides background for many of the stories we see in the news throughout the world.

When Muhammad, the prophet and creator of Islam, died, it was the beginning of the end.

Dispute over Muhammad’s Successor

When Muhammad died in AD 632, a huge controversy erupted about who would succeed him as the spiritual head of the new religion that had emerged. Islam was more than just a private religion; it was a social and political force that shaped events. He would have enormous control over society, government, and commerce as Muhammad’s heir. “It all began with Muhammad’s death, the prophet and creator of Islam,” says the author. Some others believed that anyone with the necessary qualifications could take over.

They insisted on the control of Muhammad’s father-in-law and friend Abu Bakr, whom they considered to be his heir.

As a result of their support for Ali ibn Abi Talib, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, this group became known as theshi’atuAli (the “party of Ali”), also known as Shiite Muslims.

Despite this, the Shiites refused to acknowledge Abu Bakr as legitimate and remained firm in their belief that they were obligated to Muhammad’s descendants, whom they referred to as l al-Bayt, or “the family of the house.” Ali was the father of two boys, Hasan and Husayn, who were both beloved by the Shiite community.

For Shiite Muslims, this fight and Husayn’s death are a sad reminder of their past.

Similarities and Differences in Religious Practice

Both sects preserve the core ideas and traditions of Islam. They defend the Qur’an as the revelation of Allah and cling to Islam’s Five Pillars: donating to the needy, fasting during the month of Ramadan, observing daily ritual prayers, taking the trip to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and declaring that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet. Shiite Muslims do all five daily ritual prayers but condense them into three sessions instead of five. When they prostrate for prayer, Shiite Muslims place their face on a clay tablet called aturbah.

  1. For Shiite Muslims, revering the “family of the house” brings you closer to God.
  2. The loss of Husayn and the leadership of Muhammad’s family cast an enduring hue of sadness over Shiite Muslims.
  3. One of the biggest Shiite holidays is the anniversary of Husayn’s death on the holiday namedAshura, the tenth day of the Islamic month of Muharram.
  4. Some even flail themselves with chains and cut their own heads with swords.
  5. In many locations, they even reenact the battle, believing that the recognition and reenactment of the battle at Karbala gets them closer to God.
  6. Shiite Muslims around the world— even in the United States —remember their troubled past and slain leader.

Likewise, Shiite Muslims feel Sunnis are not true Muslims. Their sharp disagreements, unreconciled for centuries, result in a fractured Middle East and perpetually unresolved tension.

Shiites and Sunnis on the Modern Map

Saudi Arabia and Iran are the two most powerful countries in the Islamic world, representing the two major branches of Islam. Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, is considered to be the spiritual core of Sunni Islam. Iran is mostly Shiite, and it has been ruled by a Shiite Supreme Leader since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, when the country gained its independence. The power struggle between these two countries is a continual source of contention in the Middle East. Some Middle Eastern nations contain considerable populations of Islamic sectarian minorities, particularly in Syria and Iraq.

  1. Following his death, rumors emerged that some Shiite Muslims who were present at his funeral danced and sang their Shiite chants in celebration of their triumph, proclaiming that they had reclaimed the territory of Iraq.
  2. Multiple upheavals in the Middle East throughout the years have made it more difficult to maintain peace in the region.
  3. It is critical to understand these dynamics in order to decipher headlines that depict continuous disputes and tensions among Muslim factions.
  4. Shiite and Sunni Muslims may be found all throughout the world, and they may even reside in your own neighborhood.
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Building Meaningful Relationships with Shiite and Sunni Muslims

Considering this, how should we interact with our Muslim friends and neighbors in this context? First and foremost, it is important to recognize that the majority of Shiite Muslims consider themselves to be a persecuted minority. Even devout Shiites who perform the Hajj to Mecca are subjected to maltreatment in Saudi Arabia, where the bulk of the population is Sunni. This should serve as inspiration for our prayers. Pray that people who believe they are oppressed would come to realize the freedom and peace that comes from placing their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. All Muslims living in America, whether they are Sunni or Shiite, are considered minorities.
  2. Simple gestures of kindness may have a significant impact on Muslims’ perceptions of Christians and their Savior, and they should be encouraged.
  3. Consider inviting Muslims you know to your home for a dinner in the evening to break their fast with you.
  4. The majority of Muslims approach dialogues with confidence in their views in opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  5. They have the potential to obtain freedom when we compassionately communicate the truth of Christ with them because the Spirit unlocks their hearts as they hear the message.
  6. We are talking about the reality of a spotless Savior who died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins so that everyone who puts their faith in him might be forgiven and accepted into the family of God.

Undeniably, it is this good news that unifies Christians in a call to love, a call to travel, and a call to declare its truth to all Muslims, whether Sunni or Shiite. Madeline Arthington works as a writer for the International Monetary Fund. She currently resides in Central Asia.

Sunni

Home PhilosophyReligion Beliefs in a Higher Power IslamOther possible titles: Ahl al-Sunnah, Sunna, Sunnism, Sunnite are all terms used to refer to the Sunni religion. Sunni Islam and Arabic Members of one of the two major branches of Islam, namely the branch that has the vast majority of the religion’s believers, are referred to as Sunnis. Sunni Muslims consider their denomination to be the dominant and conservative branch of Islam, as opposed to the Shiah, which they consider to be the minority religion.

  • While the Shiah have always seen Muhammad’s government in Medina as an earthly, temporal dominion, the Sunnis have long regarded Islam’s leadership as being governed not by divine order or inspiration, but rather by the prevailing political circumstances in the Muslim world.
  • Thus, a majority of Sunni jurists developed the stance that the caliph must come from Muhammad’s tribe, the Quraysh, while also devising a theory of election that was flexible enough to allow loyalty to be offered to the de facto caliph, regardless of his ethnic origins.
  • Britannica QuizIslam What is your level of knowledge about the Prophet Muhammad?
  • With this quiz, you may see how well you know about Islam.
  • It was the institution of consensus (ijm) that the Sunnis developed that allowed them to integrate a wide range of practices and traditions that originated through regular historical development but that had no antecedents in the Qur’an.
  • The Sunnis also recognize as orthodox four schools of Islamic law: the anaf, the anbal, the Mlik, and the Shfi.

They totaled around 900 million people in the early twenty-first century and formed the vast majority of all Muslims worldwide. Those in charge of editing the Encyclopaedia Britannica Adam Zeidan was the author of the most recent revision and update to this article.

What’s the difference between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims?

Having a clear understanding of the distinctions between the two most populous branches of Islam is vital for understanding many geopolitical crises in the Middle East as well as communal problems within diasporic groups in the Western world. Kim Knott and Matthew Francis provide some perspective for a couple of the most important concerns. A warning of the perils of sectarian strife is provided all too frequently by the savage and catastrophic cycle of bloodshed that has engulfed Iraq between Sunni and Shi’a factions.

Although there are some differences between Sunni and Shi’a groups, they share a great deal more in common than they do in terms of beliefs and practices.

In most cases, when war has erupted, it has been owing to a power imbalance or geopolitical dispute (such as that between Iran and Saudi Arabia) rather than an ideological difference between the parties involved.

According to the United Nations, Shi’a Muslims account for roughly 10% (approximately 162 million) of the world’s Muslim population and constitute a majority in five countries: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Lebanon, Iran, and Iraq.

Similarities

Both groups hold the same fundamental Islamic principles and practices, which include the following:

  • In the Qur’an – All Muslim sects, including Shi’a and Sunni Muslims, recognize the importance of the Qur’an as the ultimate source of guidance
  • There is no validity to the claims that Shi’a Muslims utilize an impure version of the book
  • Islam draws on Hadith – Shi’a and Sunni Muslims both rely on Hadith, however they tend to favor different sets of sayings
  • The Five Pillars of Islam – Both groups acknowledge the five pillars of Islam (Shahada, the declaration that “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is His messenger.”
  • The belief that “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is His messenger.”
  • The belief that “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is His messenger.”) Salah (prayer)
  • Zakat (charitable giving)
  • Sawm (fasting during the month of Ramadan)
  • Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca)
  • Etc.

Shi’ism should not be considered a later branch of Sunni Islam; the two only came to be in their current forms in the ninth century CE, following the death of the last Shi’a Imam and the completion of the collection of the Prophet’s sayings (Hadith). These two schools of thought are regarded orthodox, and Al-Azhar University in Cairo (the world’s oldest Muslim university as well as a Sunni institution) incorporates them both into its curricula. Sunni and Shi’a Muslims have coexisted amicably in many regions of the world, and in some cases, they have even intermarried.

Differences

The most significant ideological disagreement concerns matters of religious authority and the leadership of all Muslims in the aftermath of the Prophet’s death, respectively. Following the Prophet’s closest friend (Abu Bakr), those who were known as Sunni (followers of the Prophet’s example – Sunnah) came to be known as Shia. Following the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law (‘Ali), those who followed him were known as Shi’a (the adherents of the Party of Ali, also known as Shi’atu Ali). Rather than following the Prophet’s example, Sunnis place emphasis on the genealogy of Muhammad’s family, which is traced through a succession of Imams.

  • Iran’s Islamic Revolution resulted in the establishment of a Shi’a theocracy, which has subsequently backed Shi’as in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, in addition to Hezbollah (Lebanon), Hamas (Gaza), and Bashar al-dictatorship Assad’s in Syria.
  • Similar to this, the fundamental relationship between Wahhabism and Saudi Arabia’s ruling family has resulted in the marginalization of Shi’a movements in the country, while Shi’a communities in Iraq have been exposed to terrible bloodshed at the hands of the Sunni extremist group ISIS.
  • In 2013, a march in the United Kingdom organised by the Sunni preacher Anjem Choudary contained banners proclaiming that Shi’a were the enemies of Allah, according to the demonstrators.
  • It is important to note, however, that Wahhabist influence has also resulted in more entrenched differences within Sunni Islam as well.

Also, it is useful in gaining a better understanding of conflicts between groups not just in the Middle East, but also in the West.

​In detail: Sunnis vs. Shiites

When we watch the news and hear reporters talking about the wars that are raging across the Middle East, we hear a lot about fighting between the Sunnis and the Shiites, the two main sects of Islam, and how they are affecting one other. However, many of us are completely unaware of the underlying differences that exist between the two groups, or why there is such a high level of conflict between them. To obtain a better understanding of what is truly going on, let’s travel back in time and look at some geopolitical trends and events.

Sunnis constitute around 85 percent of the population.

The Sunnis believed that Abu Bakr, a personal companion of the prophet, should be the next Muslim leader, and so he was elected.

The Sunnis were victorious, but a gap was created, which was further exacerbated when Ali’s son was subsequently assassinated by the governing Sunni’s army – an incident that the Shiites commemorate on their annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

According to a research conducted by Pew Research, over 40% of Sunnis do not even consider Shiites to be genuine Muslims.

Geographical location is maybe even more significant.

When the Europeans split up the Middle East, they had little interest in comprehending the theological and ethnic subtleties of the region, as seen by their lack of interest in learning the religions and ethnicities of the region.

Shiites were predominantly concentrated in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, with Alawites (an offshoot of Shia Islam) concentrated in Syria and Iraq.

Sunni Muslims constitute the vast majority of the population of the other nations in the area, with pockets of Shiites dispersed around the region.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has remained in power for the previous 45 years despite the fact that his country has a Sunni majority.

Following the invasion by the United States, Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, was deposed and a Shiite government was installed.

Let’s take a look at who’s who in the Middle East right now: Al Qaeda and ISIS are both Sunni Muslim organizations.

Osama bin Laden was a member of the Sunni faith.

In addition, the Iranian mullahs are Shiites, which helps to explain why Iran has been involved in the Syrian crisis.

In the past, the biggest friends of the United States in the Middle East have been Sunni countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan.

However, the United States continues to assist Saudi Arabia, which is presently bombing Iranian-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen.

One humorist depicted the convoluted network of contradictory ties as a map, which he described as follows: So, what can we draw as a conclusion?

In a way, it’s analogous to the distinctions between, say, Catholics and Protestants in terms of religious beliefs. And the war and carnage that are currently engulfing the area are less about religion than they are about the pursuit of power. Reporter on CBS News’ International Desk, Clarissa Ward

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