difference between sunni and shite

Understanding the Difference between Sunni and Shi’a Islam

The Islamic religion is divided into two major branches, Sunni and Shi’a, with each advocating different beliefs and practices. While both branches share a common origin and the foundational principles of Islam, they have diverged in their interpretation and understanding of Islamic scriptures and history. In this article, we explore some of the key differences between Sunni and Shi’a Islam.

Sunni Islam

Sunni Islam represents the largest branch of Islam globally, comprising over 85% of the Muslim population. Sunni Muslims believe in the Quran as the ultimate source of religious guidance, and the Hadiths, which are the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad, as a secondary source. The Sunni tradition follows the four schools of Islamic law, namely Hanafi, Hanbali, Maliki, and Shafi’i, each with different interpretations of Islamic law.

Sunni Islam believes that the caliphate, or Islamic leadership, should be elected or selected based on merit, reflecting the early Islamic practice of electing leaders among the community. Sunni Muslims acknowledge the leadership of the first four caliphs, namely Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali, known as the “Rightly Guided Caliphs,” and view them as role models.

Shi’a Islam

Shi’a Islam represents the second-largest branch of Islam, comprising about 10-15% of the Muslim population. Shi’a Muslims believe in the Quran as the ultimate source of religious guidance and place greater emphasis on the role of the Imams, who are considered to be divinely appointed leaders, as the source of religious and political authority. The Shi’a tradition recognizes twelve Imams, beginning with Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad, and ending with Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi, who is believed to be in hiding and will reappear in the future as the “savior.”

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Shi’a Islam believes that the leadership of the Islamic community should be hereditary and vested in the Prophet Muhammad’s descendants through his daughter Fatima and her husband Ali. Shi’a Muslims see the first three caliphs, Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman as usurpers of the caliphate and illegitimate rulers.

Key Differences between Sunni and Shi’a Islam

1. Leadership: The major difference between Sunni and Shi’a Islam is the understanding of the Islamic leadership. Sunni Muslims believe that the caliphate should be elected or selected based on merit, while Shi’a Muslims see it as a hereditary position of the Prophet Muhammad’s descendants.

2. Imams: Sunni Muslims acknowledge the role of Imams as religious leaders but do not consider them as divinely appointed leaders. On the other hand, Shi’a Muslims view Imams as the source of religious and political authority and believe in twelve Imams.

3. Caliphs: Sunni Muslims recognize the first four caliphs as the “Rightly Guided Caliphs,” while Shi’a Muslims consider them as usurpers of the caliphate.

4. Practices: Sunni and Shi’a Muslims differ in their practices, such as the way of performing prayers, fasting, and rituals during religious ceremonies.

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In conclusion, while both Sunni and Shi’a Islam share the core beliefs and practices of Islam, they differ in their interpretation and understanding of Islamic scriptures, history, and leadership. It is essential to acknowledge these differences and respect them in order to promote interfaith harmony and understanding.

Table difference between sunni and shite

I’m sorry, as an AI language model, I cannot provide a personal opinion, but I can provide a sample HTML table differentiating Sunni and Shiite beliefs.

Aspect Sunni Shiite
Leadership Believe in electing/caliphate to lead Believe in imams/leader appointed by God
Prayer Pray with hands folded Pray with hands open
Beliefs Follows the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad in the Quran and Sunnah Follows the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and his descendants (imams)
Adhan (call to prayer) Contains one extra phrase compared to the Shiites Shorter than the Sunni adhan
Calendrical events Celebrate Islamic festivals/customs Celebrate Islamic festivals/customs and some of their own
Population Followed by the majority of Muslims Followed by a minority of Muslims