The Differences between Sunnis and Shiites is given here. The Sunnis and Shiites are two branches of followers of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad who differ in succession considerations after the death of Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law. For Sunnis, Muhammad’s successor must belong to an Arab member of the Quraish tribe, while for Shiites this position corresponds to a descendant of Ali’s line of succession.
Sunnis or Sunnis are a majority Muslim group in the global Islamic community. Its name is due to the fact that, in addition to being devoted to the Qur’an, they follow the Sunna, a collection of sayings and deeds attributed to the prophet Muhammad.
Islam arose in Ali AD 610 in Arabia after the revelation to Muhammad by the Archangel Gabriel on Mount Hira. These revelations are reproduced in verses known as verses, which are gathered in chapters called suras; These form the holy text of the Qur’an.
When Muhammad died in 632 AD his followers began to question who would be his successor. Then the first three caliphs arose were Abu-Bakr, Omar, and Uthman; after the murder of the latter, Ali Ibn Abi Talib, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law and father of his grandchildren claimed his inheritance rights and was elected as the fourth caliph.
Ali encountered violent opposition led by Mu’awiya, a member of the Umayyad clan and governor of Syria. After fighting at the Battle of Siffin in 657, Ali’s supporters were defeated and Mu’awiya was appointed as the new caliph. Ali was assassinated in 661 and his supporters recognized his son Hussein as his successor.
This conflict gave rise to two groups in Islam: the Sunnis and the Shiites. Sunnis represent 85% of Muslims and consider that Muhammad’s succession corresponds to an Arab member of the Quraish tribe, from which Muhammad came.
Shiites are the followers of Shiite Islam and are one of the main branches of Islam alongside Sunnism. It is professed by 15% of Muslims. It comes from the term Chía, which is the abbreviated form of “chíat-u-Ali”, which means “supporter of Ali”; from this word originates the term “Shiite”.
Shiite Muslims believe that Ali ibn Abi Tálib was the immediate successor and caliph of the Prophet Muhammad. Shiites consider that the succession of the Prophet is a right of the Prophet’s family and that Muhammad, upon returning from the pilgrimage to Mecca, gathered more than 100,000 believers in Ghadir Jum and informed them that those who considered him a teacher should consider also to Ali ibn Abu Tálib as such.
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Differences between Sunnis and Shiites
- Shiites are 15% of Muslims today.
- Sunnis make up 80% of Muslims.
- Shiites and Sunnis share religious obligations towards shrines and holy places such as Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.
- Shiites believe that Muhammad’s successor must come from his offspring.
- The Sunnis affirm that the successor of Muhammad must come from the tribe to which this prophet belonged.
- Sunnis are a traditional and orthodox branch of Islam.
- Sunni religious teachers and leaders have been controlled by the state.