Iraq War Deepens Sunni-Shia Divide : NPR
Sunni v Shia: why the conflict is more political than religious. Across the Middle East, . We hope to pass our goal by early January Of these, eighty-three percent are Sunnis and sixteen percent Shiites. changes in different facets of life in Iran, and the foreign relations of the Middle East. Algeria have also engaged in violence against government and western targets. Shia and Sunni Islam are the two major denominations of Islam. They chose sides following the world, shifting its support from the Shia to the Sunni, with the goal of "containing" Iran and as a by-product bolstering Sunni extremist groups.
In particular, the names Fatima, Zaynab, Ali, Abbas, Hussein, and Hassan are disproportionately common among Shias, though they may also be used by Sunnis. The Umayyads were overthrown in by a new dynasty, the Abbasids. As-Saffah assumed both the temporal and religious mantle of Caliph himself.
He continued the Umayyad dynastic practice of succession, and his brother al-Mansur succeeded him in Ja'far al-Sadiqthe sixth Shia Imam, died during al-Mansur's reign, and there were claims that he was murdered on the orders of the caliph.
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Shia sources further claim that by the orders of the tenth Abassid caliph, al-Mutawakkilthe tomb of the third Imam, Hussein ibn Ali in Karbala, was completely demolished,  and Shias were sometimes beheaded in groups, buried alive, or even placed alive within the walls of government buildings still under construction.
In time, these immigrants adopted the Arabic language and Arab identity, but their origin has been used to "unfairly cast them as lackeys of Iran". Islam in Iran Shafi'i Sunnism was the dominant form of Islam in most of Iran until rise of the Safavid Empire although a significant undercurrent of Ismailism and a very large minority of Twelvers were present all over Persia. The Sunni hegemony did not undercut the Shia presence in Iran.
The writers of the Shia Four Books were Iranian, as were many other great scholars. According to Morteza Motahhari: Of course, it cannot be denied that Iran's environment was more favourable to the flourishing of the Shi'ism as compared to all other parts of the Muslim world.
Islam: Sunnis and Shiites
Shi'ism did not penetrate any land to the extent that it gradually could in Iran. With the passage of time, Iranians' readiness to practise Shi'ism grew day by day. Yavuz Sultan Selim who delivered a devastating blow to the Shia Safavids and Ismail I in the Battle of Chaldirana battle of historical significance.
Pre-Safavid[ edit ] The domination of the Sunni creed during the first nine Islamic centuries characterizes the religious history of Iran during this period. There were some exceptions to this general domination which emerged in the form of the Zaidis of Tabaristanthe Buwayhidthe rule of the Sultan Muhammad Khudabandah r. Nevertheless, apart from this domination there existed, firstly, throughout these nine centuries, Shia inclinations among many Sunnis of this land and, secondly, Twelver and Zaidi Shiism had prevalence in some parts of Iran.
In many other areas the population of Shias and Sunni was mixed.
The first Zaidi state was established in Daylaman and Tabaristan northern Iran in by the Alavids ;  it lasted until the death of its leader at the hand of the Samanids in Roughly forty years later the state was revived in Gilan north-western Iran and survived under Hasanid leaders until This spread of Shiism to the inner circles of the government enabled the Shia to withstand those who opposed them by relying upon the power of the caliphate.
Twelvers came to Iran from Arab regions in the course of four stages. First, through the Asharis tribe [ clarification needed ] at the end of the 7th and during the 8th century.
The Sunni-Shia split at the heart of regional conflict in the middle east explained
Second through the pupils of Sabzevar, and especially those of Al-Shaykh Al-Mufidwho were from Rey and Sabzawar and resided in those cities. Third, through the school of Hillah under the leadership of Al-Hilli and his son Fakhr al-Muhaqqiqin. Fight over the Prophet's successor The division of Islam into the branches of Sunni and Shia arose from a battle over the rightful successor to the prophet Mohammed.
When the Islamic prophet died in the year ADhis followers had to choose his religious and political successor. Shiites believed that Mohammed had chosen his son-in-law Ali to be that successor.
The group now referred to as Sunnis rejected the claim and prevailed. The term Sunnah refers to the ideal of the actions and utterances of the Prophet Mohammed.
Shiites represent only 10 to 15 percent of the world's 1. The two million or so Shiites that live in the oil-rich provinces of Saudi Arabia, however, are a much-bullied minority.
Islam:Sunnis and Shiites
Sunnis themselves are not a unified block and consist of a great number of different groups. There are, nonetheless, many religious similarities among all groups on both sides of the divide.
The Five Pillars of Islam - Testimony, Prayer, Fasting, Pilgrimage to Mecca and Alms-giving, are practically identical among all denominations, although they vary greatly in their details.
A significant difference between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam are their individual relationships to power.Best Muslim couple (Relationship goals)
Throughout history, the Shiites have mostly been a discriminated minority. That has shaped their theology. According to Shiism, the "Imam" has three functions: Because of these functions, he cannot possibly be elected by a public assembly. As a spiritual guide he receives his authority only from on "high. The Imam is to be concerned with daily matters as well as the spiritual and unmanifested world. His functions are at once human and cosmic Nasr The "Twelve Imams" are mediators for mankind Donaldson The above beliefs of the "Twelvers," which give legitimacy to the verbal and written comments of "The Twelve Imams," are categorically rejected by the Sunnis, who do not consider the institution of hereditary "Imamate" as part of the Islamic faith.
All the prophets of Allah recognized by Islam, such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Christ, and Muhammad, are seen as having been divinely ordained to guide human beings to worship Allah and seek His mercy.
Shia–Sunni relations - Wikipedia
However, even the progeny of prophets are considered to be denied the privilege of the closeness and the blessings of Allah if they fail to practice His commandments. A typical expression of this belief is the Koranic passage, And remember that Abraham was tried by his Lord with certain commands which he fulfilled. I will make thee Imam to the Nations. The Sunni Muslims do not place any human being, including the Twelve Shiite Imams, on a level equal to or even close to the prophets.
The Sunni view is that nowhere in the Koran is it mentioned that the twelve Shiite Imams are divinely ordained to lead Muslims after the death of Muhammad. Muslims should be guided by words such as those in Muhammad's last "Hajj" sermon, known as the Sermon of the Mount, in which he addressed all of humanity: One is the "Book of Allah," and the other is my "tradition" Zaheer The Sunni Muslims believe that no one can intercede between Allah and human beings.
To God belongs exclusively [the right to grant] intercession. To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. In the End, it is to Him that ye shall be brought back Koran According to Shiism, the Twelve Imams can intercede between mankind and Allah. The Apostle of Allah said to Ali: Consensus and analogy can be applied by those scholars who are highly knowledgeable in the Koran, the traditions of the prophet, and Islamic law, and practice the faith in every facet of their lives.
The sources of Muslim law in Shiism are somewhat similar to those in Sunni Islam, namely the Koran, Muhammad's practices, consensus, and analogy. However, the determination of consensus is related to the views of the Imams, and more freedom is given to analogy than in Sunni Islam Nasr 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. Even the prophet Muhammad is at the mercy of Allah. There are many other verses in the Koran which enumerate that the basis of paradise is the mercy of Allah and the righteous deeds of human beings according to the Koran and Hadith.
Shiite Muslims are guaranteed paradise if they obey and follow Muhammad and the Twelve Imams. They are considered righteous Muslims, and the Twelve Imams are particularly respected because of their relationship to Ali and his wife Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad.
Sunnis believe that Ali and his two sons, Hassan and Hussain, were highly respected by the first three Caliphs and the companions of Muhammad. Any righteous and knowledgeable Sunni Muslim can serve as an Imam with the prime function of leading the prayers and interpreting the Koran and Hadith provided he is well versed in these subjects. Sunnis also consider it heretical to impute to human beings attributes of Divine nature such as infallibility and the knowledge of all temporal and cosmic matters.
The highest ranking present-day Imams Ayatollahs are believed to receive their guidance and spiritual enlightenment directly from the "Twelve Imams," who stay in continuous contact with their followers on earth every day through contemporary spiritual leaders.
The Ayatollahs thus play a vital mediatory role. Because of their spiritual role, Ayatollahs cannot be appointed by governments, but only by consensus of other Ayatollahs. Differences in Religious Organization The differences between Sunni and Shiite Islam are more than theological and historical.
They are embedded in the social and political structure of the Middle East. Sunnis and Shiites form distinct communities. Conversions from Shiism to Sunnism and vice versa are rare, and Sunnis and Shiites are expected to marry members of their own community.
The vital moments of life-marriage, birth, and death-are commemorated within the framework of the rituals of the community. Members of each community learn about Islam within the traditions of their own faith, and under the guidance of their faith's religious teachers. Despite these traditions, the political loyalties of Sunnis and Shiites are affected by their country of citizenship and nationality. InIran, a Shiite country whose language and culture are Farsi Persianwas invaded by Iraq, an Arab country with a Sunni leadership but a Shiite majority in the population.
Despite Iranian appeals, most Iraqi Shiites remained loyal to Iraq, performing military service when required during the Iran-Iraq war. Both Sunni and Shiite Islam are organized in ways that reflect their beliefs. In view of the emphasis of mainstream Shiism on the role of the Imamate, it is not surprising that the Shiites have a more elaborate religious hierarchy than Sunni Muslims.