Whats the different between a Sunni Muslim, and a Shia Muslim?

With all the stuff happening in Iraq the two factions are always mentioned. What is the difference between the two? Thank you.

14 Answers

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  • Daimyo
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Shias are the tribe of Shi'at Ali, Mohammads cousin who left him when Lohammad declared that his successor would be Abu Bak'r who had given him his 9 year old daughter , whom he'd been "playing" with since she was 6, for a wife; and the second in charge - Omar, who'd given Mohammad his teenage daughter - Hafsah, for a wife.

    Sunnis are the converts whom Mohammad and his followers converted under threat of death. The Shias call them "Miskeen" or beggars, because most of the Sunnis are poor.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    When Mohammed (pbhu) died, a group appointed Abu Bakir as a successor/nation leader. Another group objected saying: "the Prophet said Ali must be the successor". On that unfortunate day, Muslims became two sects. The ones backing Abu Bakir are Sunnis and those backing Ali are Shia's.

    That is all.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    There is not a big difference, people just exagerate.

    Trust me when you do not have knowledge Satan will try to trick you, and divide you.

    The Sunni's follow the prophet Mohammad, and the Shias as well. They just think Ali was supposed to be the next khalifa (leader) after Mohammad but Abu Bakr was the next leader, but they don't have anything against the Companions of the Prophet. They just call themselves shia because they don't agree to what as been decreed but they still accept the others leadership

    Shias follow 12 Imams (Leaders), and Sunni's follow 4. They are all different but still say,

    There is One God and Mohammad is the messenger of God.

    God knows best.

  • 1 decade ago

    The Muslim traditions came about after the death of Mohammed. Sunnis believed that the next leader should have been chosen from Mohammed's companions (traditional). Shi'ias were more radical and believed the next leader should have been chosen from Mohammed's family (they initally supported his nephew Ali). A third (lesser known) group is the Kharijites who thought the leader should have been chosen by piety.

    All these differences in opinion led to internally fighting and killing. Each tradition went its own way, supporting different people. So in pre-war Iraq, only 1 of 3 traditions supported Huessein, the other 2 were hostile to the government.

    Each group has since created created its own rules to follow and hate each other. For example, the 5 Pillars of Islam is a Sunni invention. The Shi'ias follow 10 Branches of Islam. Shi'ias also believe that the members of Mohammed's family (Imans) are held back from error, and therefore their traditions cannot be wrong. Sunnis follow a more logical order of testing theirs opinions against opinions of others in their group. Hope this helps!!

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  • D.A. S
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Went to about.com and found this.

    "What's the difference between Shia and Sunni Muslems?"

    Sunni in Arabic = one who follows the traditions of the Prophet

    Shia in Arabic = a group or supportive party of people

  • 1 decade ago

    its not that big of a deal

    but to tell you the truth, i think many people are trying to start a conflict between the Muslims

    the only difference is who they believe took the lead after Mohammed died. Sunna think it should have been his bestfriend, and Shia think it should have been his cousin

  • 1 decade ago

    Religion is a BIG HUGE part of their lives... small differences of belief cause equally huge problems. There are apparently vast differences even within Sunni or Shia sects... so it is hard to say.

    I found this site, may help...

  • 1 decade ago

    There is no difference between Muslims. We all believe in ONE GOD: ALLAH and the Islamic way of life. I feel compelled to strongly express myself: I think this notion is a bunch of bull shiting crap brought out by the western media! It's just plain friggin BULL ****!

  • 1 decade ago

    shi'ites believe in the grandson of muhammed as the real prophet and sunnis believe in muhammed himself. the other difference is that shi'ites use AK47s and the sunnis use M80 granade launchers to make their points.

  • 1 decade ago

    After the death of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) the muslims separated into two groups:the Sunni and the Shia. Both the factions felt the need for some sort of guidance under someone's leadership to keep the muslim community together and keep the islamic state running. The Sunni's chose Hazrat Abu Bakr, one of Prophet's friends as their first leader (Caliph) for this concern. The Shias chose Hazrat Ali (A.S), Prophet first cousin and son-in-law as their leader as they believed that Prophet (PBUH) himself appointed him as the the leader of muslim community after him, after his last pilgrimage to Kaaba (in city of Mecca).

    HOWEVER, there's a big difference in the type of leadership we are talking about here. Leadership in the Sunni group jus meant handling state affairs and looking after the community and religion, but in the Shia sect it was a totally different concept. To Shias, leadership of Ali(A.S) was the true command as Shias took Ali(A.S) as the true spritual guide after Prophet (PBUH) (in some schools of thought hes taken to be the Ultimate Reality or the Supreme Being). The Sunni's thus believed that Holy Quran and Prophet's (PBUH) sayings (Hadiths) and actions (Sunnah) were the religous code under which lives must be governed. The Shias apart from believing in Holy Quran, Hadiths and Sunnah also believed that there must exist a spritual master who ll be a true guide to muslims after Prohpet's (PBUH) demise. They believed in Hazrat Ali(AS) as this master and considered his family(comprising Prophet's daughter and Ali's wife Fatima and Ali's sons Hassan and Hussain) as the "People of Paradise". The Sunni's completely renounced Ali and Shia idea of leadership of Ali and vice versa. This is the main cause of conflict between the two sects; Shia and Sunni.

    As history shows, from within these two sects many more different sects evolved. For instance, from within the Shia group there are Shia Isnashari's(Twelvers) which make upto 80% of the total Shia population.They are the largest Shia school of thought, predominant in Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain. Then there are Zaidis, Alevi (many in Turkey) ,Ismailis(Aga Khani's) etc The difference in them is in the number of Imam's they follow. (Imam in Shia school of thought is the true guide from the direct progeny of Hazrat Ali(AS), different from Sunni school in which it means one who leads the recitation of prayer in mosque). The Shia Isnashari's(Twelvers) follow 12 Imams, after the 12th Imam's demise they believe their 13th imam will come before Doom's Day; Zaidi's believe in 5 Imams,after the 5th Imam's demise they believe their next imam will come before Doom's Day; Aga Khani's (or Ismailis) believe in 49 Imams so far and this is not a fixed number since they believe that the this process of one true guide after another in every time will continue till eternity. Their 49th Imam is His Highness Aga Khan IV. All the shia sects evolved bcoz they followed two different imams at various times in history, usually choosing different brothers as imams for the next guide position.

    Similarly, there are many schools of thought in Sunni sect: Hanifi, Maliki etc.

    ***Sunni Muslims are the largest denomination of Islam. The total Shia muslims comprise probably less than 10 percent of the Islamic world!.

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