What is the difference betwee Shi'a and Sunni?

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Shi'a Islam, also Shi'ite Islam, or Shi'ism (Arabic:شيعة, Persian:شیعه translit: Shī‘ah) is a denomination of the Islamic faith. It is short for Shī'at 'Ali (Arabic: شيعة علي‎ ​, or "the party of 'Ali"). Shi'a Muslims adhere to the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and the religious guidance of his family whom they refer to as the Ahl al-Bayt. Thus, Shi'as consider the first three ruling Sunni caliphs a historic occurrence and not something attached to faith. The singular/adjective form is Shī'ī (شيعي.) and refers to a follower of the Household of Muhammad and of Ali ibn Abi Talib (Imam Ali) in particular.

    Shi'a Islam, like Sunni Islam, has at times been divided into many branches, however only three of these currently have a significant number of followers. The best known and the one with most adherents is Twelvers (اثنا عشرية Ithnāˤashariyya), while the others are Ismaili and Zaidiyyah. Alawites and Druzes consider themselves Shi'as, although this is sometimes disputed by mainstream Shi'as[1]. The Sufi orders among the Shi'as are Alevis, Bektashis, Qizilbashis, Noorbakshis, Kubrawiyas, Hamadanis, Tijānīs, Fatimids etc. Twenty per cent of Turkey's population is Alevi while Lebanon and Syria have huge presence of Druze and Alawites.

    Sunni Muslims are the largest denomination of Islam. They are referred to as Ahl ul-Sunna (Arabic: أهل السنة; "people of the tradition"). The word Sunni comes from the word sunna (Arabic : سنة ), which means the tradition of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad. Sunnis 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 Sunnis are united. They represent the branch of Islam that came through the caliphate, which started with Abu Bakr

  • 1 decade ago

    There are a number of Islamic religious denominations, each of which have significant theological and legal differences from each other but possess similar essential beliefs. The major schools of thought are Sunni and Shi'a; Sufism is generally considered to be a mystical inflection of Islam rather than a distinct school. According to most sources, present estimates indicate that approximately 85% of the world's Muslims are Sunni and approximately 15% are Shi'a.

    The Sunni are the largest group in Islam. In Arabic, as-Sunnah literally means "principle" or "path." The sunnah, or example of Muhammad is described as a main pillar of Sunni doctrine, with the place of hadith having been argued by scholars as part of the sunnah. Sunnis recognize four major legal traditions, or madhhabs: Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanafi, and Hanbali. All four accept the validity of the others and a Muslim might choose any one that he/she finds agreeable to his/her ideas. There are also several orthodox theological or philosophical traditions. The more recent Salafi movement among Sunnis, adherents of which often refuse to categorize themselves under any single legal tradition, sees itself as restorationist and claims to derive its teachings from the original sources of Islam.

    Shi'a Muslims, the second-largest branch of Islam, differ from the Sunni in rejecting the authority of the first three caliphs. They honor different accounts of Muhammad (hadith) and have their own legal traditions. The concept of Imamah, or leadership, plays a central role in Shi'a doctrine. Shi'a Muslims hold that leadership should not be passed down through a system such as the caliphate, but rather, descendants of Muhammad should be given this right as Imams. Furthermore, they believe that the first Imam, Ali ibn Abu Talib, was explicitly appointed by Muhammad to be his successor.

  • 1 decade ago

    This goes back to the 7th century. The religion of Islam had a schism after the death of Muhammed.

    One group demanded the next Caliphate be a direct descendent of Muhammed (The Shiites if memory serves). The Sunnis installed another man as Caliphate; and they have been feuding every since.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Sunni Muslims try to live life as the prophet (pbuh) lived, and uphold the Sunnah- (hadiths)

    For the Sunni there were only 4 caliphs (the four great caliphs directly after Mohammed's (pbuh) passing.

    Shi ite are a sect which believes Ali should have held a much higher role in Islam, and Ali is revered in the highest regard.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Shi'a claim to live by the teachings of Mohamed. Sunni listen to others who claim they KNOW what Mohamed really met. Other than that, they all hate anyone who isn't them.

  • 1 decade ago

    if i am not mistaken, Shi'a can also be called Shiites.

    shiites and sunnis are the 2 kinds of moslems.

    according to my social studies lecture teacher, Shiites are the Moslems who believe that "it is not the prophet who meditates to God (referred to as Allah) but the people themselves"

    while Sunnis are the Moslems who supported Umayyad and they believed that "God (Allah) is the mediator of the people."

    hope i have answered your question!

    i used to have confusion between them until my Social Studies III teacher lectured about this in our 2nd quarter of our school year.

    Source(s): my lecture in Social Studies III my Social Studies teacher
  • Sean
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Sunnis think Shia are heretics, and thats the ONLY difference. Let me put it to you this way. Salami bin rotten was a sunni, and so was Saddam. So which side do you support?

  • 1 decade ago

    One prefers car bombs while the other prefers strapping the bomb to themselves directly.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    shia wrong

  • 1 decade ago

    I am neither of them .

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.