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Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

What is the difference between Sunni and Sh'ia Muslim?

7 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The differences between Sunni and Shī‘ah sects of Islam started out as political over a dispute of who should become the leader after Muhammad's death. Over time, differences have evolved in theological issues as well as socio‑political attitudes.

    Immediately following the death of Muhammad in 632 C.E., the issue of who would become his successor caused a major rift. Ali and Aisha are the central figures at the origin of the Shī‘ah-Sunni split. Muhammad's daughter Fatima married Ali, her father's first cousin. Ali was opposed by Aisha, Muhammad's child-bride who was the daughter of Abu Bakr.

    The term Shī‘ah ( شيعة‎) is a shortened form of Shī‘aht Ali (شيعة علي) , which means "the followers of Ali" - and at the time of Ali's death in 661 C.E., that is probably all it was: a party or tendency of people who supported Ali's claims to the caliphate. Shī‘ah do not worship Ali as some people mistakenly believe. Shī‘ah feel that Ali should have been the first caliph and that the caliphate should pass down only to direct descendants of Mohammed via Ali and Fatima, They often refer to themselves as Ahl al Bayt or "people of the house" [of the prophet]. Sunni ( سني) comes from sunna ( سنة) the Arabic word meaning traditions of the Prophet. Sunni are also referred to as Ahl ul-Sunna wa-l-Jama'ah (Arabic: أهل السنة والجماعة) (people of tradition and congregation) which implies that the Sunni are united. Shī‘ah sects include Twelvers, Ismaili, Alawi and Zaidiyyah.

    Beliefs "Aqeedah" ( عقيدة) —

    Sunni have two sets of enumerated creeds, the Six articles of belief and the Five Pillars of Islam. On the other hand, Shī‘ah Twelvers have the Roots of Religion and the Branches of Religion.

    The six Sunni articles of belief (see Shi'ah roots) are:

    o- Tawhīd ( توحيد) (monotheism) Allah is the one and only one worthy of all worship.

    o- Nubuwwah (prophethood) and Rusul (messengers) sent by Allah.

    o- Kutub (books) Allah (including the Qur'an)

    o- Mala'ika (angels)

    o- Qiyâmah (يوم القيامة) (Day of Resurrection and Judgment) (Qur'an 71.18) (Qur'an 31.34, 74.47) (Qur'an 72.130) (Qur'an 74.9) (Qur'an 74.38)

    o- Qadar (fate)

    The five Shī‘ah "usūl al-dīn" (roots of religion) are:

    o- Tawhīd ( توحيد) (monotheism) Allah is the one and only one worthy of all worship. (Tawhid is derived from the root a,h,d = one)

    o- Nubuwwah (prophethood)

    o- Adalah (justice)

    o- Imāmah (Leadership)

    o- Qiyâmah (يوم القيامة) (Day of Judgment)

    (Qur'an 71.18) (Qur'an 31.34, 74.47) (Qur'an 72.130) (Qur'an 74.9) (Qur'an 74.38).

    The Sunni five Pillars of Islam:

    o- Shahādah (testimony of faith)

    o- Salāt (prayer) 5 times per day

    o- Sawm (fasting during daylight hours of the month of Ramadan) (Qur'an 2:183-185)

    o- Zakāt (alms of 2.5%) - Khums (The Charity of 20%)

    o- Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca)

    The twelve Shī‘ah "furū al-dīn" (branches of religion) are:

    o- Salāt (Prayer) includes Shahādah (testimony of faith) with belief in Ali (3-5 times per day)

    o- Sawm (fasting during daylight hours of the month of Ramadan) (Qur'an 2:183-185)

    o- Zakāt (Poor-rate) Khums (One-fifth)

    o- Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca)

    o- Jihād جهاد‎ (Struggle to please Allah)

    o- Walayah - Guardianship

    o- Taharah - Purity & cleanliness

    o- Amr-Bil-Ma'rūf (Enjoining what is good)

    o- Nahi-Anil-Munkar (Forbidding what is evil)

    o- Tawalla (Loving Ahl al-Bayt and their followers )

    o- Tabarra (Disassociating from the enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt)

    Kutub given to prophets by Allah

    o- Sahífa (scroll revealed to Nuh)

    o- Sahífa (scroll revealed to Ibráhím)

    o- Taurat (the book revealed to Músa)

    o- Zabúr (the psalms revealed to Dawúd)

    o- Injíl (the gospel revealed to 'Isa)

    o- Qur'án (the Koran revealed to Muhammad)

    The Sunni shahada is:

    لا إله إلا الله ومحمد رسول الله Lā 'ilāha 'illā llāha wa Muhammadun rasūlu llāhi

    The Shi'ah shahada is:

    La iláha il Alláh, Muhammadan Rasúl Alláh,

    -- and the phrase -- Alíyun Walí-Alláh, Wasíyu Rasulillah, wa Khalífa tuhu bila fasl.

    "There is no god but Alláh, Muhammad is the Messenger of Alláh, Alí is the friend of Alláh. Ali is the successor of the Messenger of Allah and his first caliph."

    Ashura ( عاشوراء‎) - 10th of Muharram (January 29, 2007):

    The 1st of Muharram is New Year's Day, and with it marks the beginning of the Islamic (Hijri) calendar. Both Sunni and Shī‘ah celebrate New Year. Shī‘ah practice Maatam (self-flagellation) is practiced on Ashura, the 10th of Muharram, in a mourning ritual for Hussain ibn Ali. Sunni consider this to be haram (forbidden).

    Since the 10th century, a distinctive institution of Shī‘ah Islam is the doctrine of "imamah" and "`ismah" (the spiritual leadership of the twelve Imams and their infallibility) the other dogmata developed still later. Shī‘ah argue that a person prone to errors of judgement and sin cannot lead people spiritually. On the other hand, Sunni consider an imam to be merely a prayer leader.

    Sunni recognize four "madhab" (مذهب pl. مذاهب ) schools of legal thought. The founder is called the "muhaddith".

    --o Hanafi (founded by An Numan ibn Thabit Abu Hanifa ca. 700-67 C.E.)

    --o Maliki (founded by Abd Allah Malik ibn Anas ca. 715-95 C.E.)

    --o Shafi'i (founded by Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi`i 767-820 C.E.)

    --o Hanbali (founded by Ahmad ibn Muhammad bin Hanbal 780-855 C.E.)

    Shī‘ah generally follow

    --o Jafri (founded by Ja'far ibn Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Husayn)

    Sunni accepted "ijtihad" as an important source of legislation, but they had practically blocked the road for any original thinking on the matters of reframing the laws in accordance with changing times. The Shī‘ah, with their emphasis on "`aql", kept the door of new thinking on legislation open, and they gave much scope to reason for exercising its power. Similarly the notion of "ijma`" (consensus), which was emphasized much by the Sunnis and was given only a very minor role to play in legislation by the Shī‘ah, came to be accepted as the basis of democratization by Shī‘ah scholars.

    So far as the justification of "taqiyyah" (dissimulation) is concerned, the Islamic scholar Amini admits that the Sunni also follow it for it is an expedient method to ensure the survival of a faith under hostile regimes.

    According to the Islamic scholar, Hamid Enayet, Sunni believe in the inherent goodness of man, whereas Shī‘ah believe that man is essentially sinful and carries a sense of guilt.

    Shī‘ah divorce and inheritance in that it is more favorable to women than Sunni practice. Supposedly the reason for this is the high esteem in which Fatima, the wife of Ali and the daughter of Muhammad, was held. Shī‘ah recognize the practice of "muttah" ( نكاح المتعة‎ ) (fixed-term temporary marriage) which the Sunni forbid.

    On a practical daily level, the "adhan" (call to prayer) is different for Shī‘ah and Sunni. Each practice wudu (partial ablutions) ghusl (full ablutions for Friday prayer) and salat (prayer) differently. During salat when prostrating, Shī‘ah place the forehead onto a piece of hardened clay from Karbala, not directly onto the prayer mat, whereas Sunni put their forehead directly on the prayer mat. During prayer, Shī‘ah hold their hands at their sides whereas Sunni fold their hands. Shī‘ah tend to combine prayers, sometimes worshipping three times per day instead of five as the Sunni do.

    Shī‘ah also have some different ahadith and prefer those narrated by Ali and Fatima to those related by other companions of the Prophet. Because of her opposition to Ali, those narrated by Aisha count among the least favored.

    These differences are significant as evidenced by the conflict between Sunni and Shī‘ah in Iraq.

    Significant differences are also in manner of dress for clerics, slightly different postures for prayer and differences regarding belief in the "mahdi" (divinely guided one of endtimes) and "dajjal" (antichrist).

    Other differences are because of the culture in the country where they live. Iran is predominantly Shī‘ah and many of the clerics in Iraq were trained in Iran. Almost all Iranians were Sunni for many centuries, and they embraced the Shī‘ah faith on mass scale only after Safawids came in power (1502 C.E.)

    In 1928, four years after the abolishment of the caliphate, the Egyptian schoolteacher Hasan al-Banna founded the first Islamic fundamentalist movement in the Sunni world, the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun). Al-Banna was appalled by "the wave of atheism and lewdness [that] engulfed Egypt" following World War I.



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  • 1 decade ago


    is following their messenger words



    is saying many freak stories

    about Ali bn abi taleb radie allah anh

    the raising him too much

    sunni respect him as great man

    but shia is over reacted about that

    and some times

    they humilaite the messenger follows as

    abu bakr and Omar

    which is fetal mistake

    Source(s): muslim from egypt
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    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    No huge difference. All the basic beliefs are same.

    For more info:

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  • wise
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    we all believe in Allah swt and muhammad pbuh! is his prophet so no difference in who Allah swt and the Prophet Muhammad PBUH! is

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    that site explain the difference

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  • 1 decade ago

    Both groups picked different people to take over after Mohamed died.....................that was 600 years ago,they are still KILLING!

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  • 1 decade ago

    the are divided by who is the correct desendants of MOHAMAD....which side thinks its who i dont remember...but is all politics......YEAH!!! OKAY!!! WHAT!

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