What is the difference between Shia and Sunni Muslims?Other than the typical difference over successor

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sunni Muslims are the majority of followers of Islam. They dominate many of the Gulf powers such as Saudi Arabia. Within Sunni Islam, there mis no central religious authority, as the Muhammad was the final authoritative prophet and the Koran, being divinely dictated, the onbly source of absolute religious truth.

For the Shia or Shi'ite Muslms, the second largest denominations, the Imams, or specific teachers decended from the Prophet Muhammad were especially important, including Muhammad's brother Ali. There are 3 branches of Shia Islam, that have slightly different beliefs about the descendents of the Imams. Iran is an example of a country where the predominant variety of Islam is Shia.

boeing | Student

we shias dont blieave that Omar or Abubakr or Osman were right persons for Islamic nation,and also we blieave that it was somehow their fault that Hazrat ZAHRA,the prophet's daughter was killed, 

just-s | Student

Both Sunni and Shia Muslims share the most fundamental Islamic beliefs and articles of faith. The differences between these two main sub-groups within Islam initially stemmed not from spiritual differences, but political ones. Over the centuries, however, these political differences have spawned a number of varying practices and positions which have come to carry a spiritual significance.

The division between Shia and Sunni dates back to the death of the Prophet Muhammad, and the question of who was to take over the leadership of the Muslim nation. Sunni Muslims agree with the position taken by many of the Prophet's companions, that the new leader should be elected from among those capable of the job. This is what was done, and the Prophet Muhammad's close friend and advisor, Abu Bakr, became the first Caliph of the Islamic nation. The word "Sunni" in Arabic comes from a word meaning "one who follows the traditions of the Prophet."

On the other hand, some Muslims share the belief that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet's own family, among those specifically appointed by him, or among Imams appointed by God Himself.

The Shia Muslims believe that following the Prophet Muhammad's death, leadership should have passed directly to his cousin/son-in-law, Ali. Throughout history, Shia Muslims have not recognized the authority of elected Muslim leaders, choosing instead to follow a line of Imams which they believe have been appointed by the Prophet Muhammad or God Himself. The word "Shia" in Arabic means a group or supportive party of people. The commonly-known term is shortened from the historical "Shia-t-Ali," or "the Party of Ali." They are also known as followers of "Ahl-al-Bayt" or "People of the Household" (of the Prophet).

miss-x- | Student
Actully no, sorry, shia believe that hazrat ali r.a was also a cliphate, wereas sunnis dont
miss-x- | Student
Urh thts wht i said ?
alilion | Student

no..Sunnis believe that Ali(peace be upon him) is one of the Khalifas..

boeing | Student

Muhammad announced publically that after his death "ALI" is the caliph of Muslims and there is no doubt about this either in Sunni or Shia. but exactly from the day Muhammad passed away some of the muslims choosed another caliph for the Muslims although every one knew that its ALI`s right to be so.Imam Ali was innocent and atlast he was martyred.but there are so many differences between these two.Sunni are mostly in Arab countries like Saudi Arabia,Egypt and ... but Shai are mostly in Iran and India.Shia bleive in Imams who are 12 persons coming after prophets death.

just-s | Student

for more infomation visit the website:


miss-x- | Student
Shia muslims believe thT ali was also a caliphate, whereas sunnis dont

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