The differences between Shia and Sunni

I. The differences between Shia and Sunni

A. History

The struggle within Islam arose after Prophet Muhammad died in A.D. 632. When the Prophet died, the followings of Muhammad could n’t hold on the issue of who should go the first calif after Muhammad. One group, subsequently know as Shia, insisted that the Prophet had already picked that Ali will be first Imam after him ( Eckman 31 ) . This means the Prophet intended that calif should go on within the Prophet ‘s lineage.

So, they admired Ali, who was the Prophet ‘s cousin and hubby of the Prophet ‘s girl, Fatima to be the first 1 ( Abdulwaheed 30 ) . While another group, subsequently known as Sunni, claimed that the Prophet had left this issue to them, his followings, to make up one’s mind whether who should go the first calif. Sunni selected Abu Bakr, the Prophet ‘s male parent in jurisprudence, to go first Imam. This unresolved issue led to a civil war between Sunni and Shia for many old ages.

As a consequence, Abu Bakr won and became the first Imam ( Eckman 31 ) . After Bakr died, there were 2 more Imams, Umar and Uthman, before Sunni decide to choose Ali to go the calif ( Abdulwaheed 30 ) . But, Shia did non accept this determination and refused to fall in with Sunni. They continued their belief that the leaders of the Islamic universe should stay within the Prophet ‘s household through Ali and Fatima and that they recognized Ali to be the first Imam ( Abdulwaheed 30 ) . After Ali died, Shia believed that there were 11 more Imams after Ali within the Prophet ‘s household.

Get quality help now

Proficient in: Islam

4.7 (348)

“ Amazing as always, gave her a week to finish a big assignment and came through way ahead of time. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

Unexpectedly, the 12th Imams, Al-Mahdi, disappeared after he became a calif for a few yearss. Shia refused to accept that Mahdi had died, but they insisted that he really hid himself and he will return one twenty-four hours to restore a new order and Islamic jurisprudence in the Earth once more ( Eckman 32 ) .

B. Theological Belief

Although Shia and Sunni are Muslim, and both of them believe in the Quran and the Five Pillars, the nucleus cardinal belief of Islam, they are wholly different from each other in many ways. First, there are differences between clerical and church construction. ( Abdulwaheed 33 ) . Shia Islam is seen to similar to Catholic Church in the manner that their construction of their church are both really hierarchal, while Sunni Islam are more resemble to the Protestant Church with trusting more on self-independent ( Abdulwaheed 33 ) . Like Pope, Shia Imam “ is divinely divine and infallible in any judgements. ” Unlike Shia Imams, this belief does non look among Sunni ( Eckman 34 ) . The belief that Shia Imam is divinely divine came from “ the Shia Muslim believe Muhammad designated all 12 sucessors by name and that they inherited a particular cognition of the true significance of the Bible that was passed through the Prophet ‘s descendent ( Dallal 27 ) . Second, Shia strongly holds the value and the importance of the thought of sufferer and agony ( Abdulwaheed 33 ) . This thought of sufferer and agony appear and express in many of Shia ‘s ritual and presentation while Sunni rejects to accept this thought ( Eckman 34 ) . Third, Shia and Sunni both acknowledge the thought of “ the terminal times ” harmonizing to the Quran says, but the Suuni refused to admit the thought about “ the Expected and Awaited ” Imam which is taught among Shia that he will return one twenty-four hours to vaticinate the terminal of times to his people ( Eckman 34 ) .

C. Practical Differences

The Shias have a different manner to make the rite to the Sunni, wudu and salat patterns performed by them differ from the 1s practiced by the Suuni, for case of Shias, brow is placed “ onto a piece of hard-boiled clay from Karbala, and non straight onto the supplication mat ” when they perform worship ( Abdulwaheed 51 ) . Prayers are frequently combined by the Shias besides, and sometimes merely three ( alternatively of five ) worshipping is performed per twenty-four hours. The Shias prefer some different ahadith, particularly the 1s narrated by Ali and Fatima instead than the 1s by other comrades of the Prophet ( pbuh ) ( Abdulwaheed 51 ) . The 1s narrated by Aisha are one of the least preferable due to her resistance to Ali. Shia Islam besides allowed a fixed-term impermanent matrimony called “ muttah ” which is presently prohibited by the Sunnis ( Abdulwaheed 51 ) .

II. The predicament of Shia minority

There are 2 chief spiritual subdivisions in Saudi Arabia which are Sunni and Shia. The bulk one is Sunni while the minority is Shia ( Al – Qudaihi 1 ) . Shia in Saudi Arabia consists of about 15 per centum of its whole population and they largely live in eastern portion of the state, such as, Qatif, Dammam, and Al-Hasa, the oil-riches country. ( Al – Qudaihi 1 ) In 1930, when King AbdulAziz Ibn Saud found Saudi Arabia, he declared his land to be free to pattern Shia ( Al – Qudaihi 1 ) . But, King AbdulAziz Ibn ‘s purpose to make free spiritual state does non truly travel into consequence. Obviously, Shias still have a really rough life as they have to confront persecution and favoritism mundane life by Saudi Sunnis who views them as treasonist and heretic ( Megalommatis 49 ) . Furthermore, in some country, Shias even have to hide their religion in secret making the ritual as they are frighten that their unrecorded might non be safe from those extremist Sunni people who hate them ( Al.Hassan 16 ) . From these grounds, many Saudi Shias are really connected with Shias in Iran who portion similar belief ( Yamani 8 ) . As Saudi authorities sees this closely relationship between Iranain Shias and Saudi Shias, they perceive it as a menace to national security. Therefore, the Saudi authorities acts more suppressive to Shias than of all time. Because of the oppressive Acts of the Apostless committed by the authorities, the Saudi authorities has been universe widely recognized as “ the most anti-Shia authorities in the universe ” ( Megalommatis 49 ) .

A. Religious Freedom

The tenseness between Sunni and Shia in Saudi Arabia reaches its flood tide these past few old ages ( Al – Qudaihi 1 ) . During February 2009, Shia Pilgrims from eastern portion of Saudi Arabia came to Medina to mark “ the day of remembrance of the Prophet Muhammad ‘s decease ” , but they were refused by the Sunni spiritual constabularies to fall in the ceremonial due to their different belief in philosophy and ritual. This brought Shia Pilgrims to clash with Sunni spiritual constabularies who were at the front gate. ( Human Right Watch 4 ) At a consequence, many Shia Muslims were wounded and captured and 3 of them died ( Yamani 7 ) . After the confrontation between Shia and Sunni spiritual constabularies, many Shias in London, Berlin and the Hugue came out and protested in forepart of Saudi consulate to name for their independency province from Saudi Arabia ( Yamani 8 ) . Since the state of affairs both in the state and outside the state became worse and worse, King Abdullah decided to let go of the spiritual captives. Still the jobs remain explosive ( Al – Qudaihi 1 ) . In March 2009, Saudi Shias, populating in Qutif and Safwa, protested against unjust intervention by its authorities. Many of them were arrested and detained for many months ( Human Right Watch 5 ) . In May, June and July 2009, the governments were ordered by Eastern Province governor to shut down private halls and besides imprison many Shias in Kholar and Ahsa because they had in secret pattern spiritual activities where it banned by the authorities ( Human Right Watch 5 ) . In April 2010 in Khobar, Eastern Saudi Arabia, a Shia English instructor, Hussan Al Makki, was arrested by Intelligence Administration force. Makki was charged of go againsting the authorities ‘s prohibition to pattern any Shia rite. Furthermore, there were other 3 people that were arrested on the same charge as Makki ( Rasid News Network 28 ) . Although Shia ‘s ritual and public jubilation of their spiritual events are considered illegal to execute, but Shias still continue to pattern both publically and in secret. ( Human Rights First Society 38 ) .Moreover, Shias ‘ mosques are forced to close down often. Harmonizing to the Saudi jurisprudence, to open the mosque, it has to acquire a licence from authorities foremost. It is frequently the instance that the authorities will non allow this licence, peculiarly, to Shia mosque. Therefore, it becomes a common and legal thing for the Saudi authorities to close down the Shia mosque under the charge of non holding licence to run ( Human Rights First Society 38 ) . In add-on, the authorities besides restricts on how Shia can construct their house. The authorities prohibits the Shia from holding cellar within their house because the authorities does non desire Shias to turn it into supplication hall, Hussueniyas ( Jafariya News 47 ) .

Up to today, the authorities does non let publication of Shia spiritual books, it blocks their web sites, and does non let them any look in the public media. ” ( Human Rights First Society 38 ) . Many spiritual books, used in universities for classs, disrespect Shia at all by utilizing bad and humbling words to depict them and even mentioning them as “ Rafuda ” which means “ rejectionists of faith. ” ( Al.Hassan 13 ) .

B. Education

Not merely Shias are limited the right to pattern spiritual freedom, but besides in instruction ( Human Right Watch 5 ) . From the statistic, there are merely 7 Shia schoolmasters out of 319 male child schools and no Shia headmistress in miss schools at all in Eastern Province where bulk of Shias live. Besides King Faisal University, where its headquarter located at Ahsa in Eastern Province, is consisted of merely 7 professors out of 287 professors ( Human Rights First Society 37 ) . Furthermore, any private schools or baby’s rooms operated by Shia people are non allowed be opened. ( Al.Hassan 16 ) . Shia ‘s theological belief is non allowed in Teach in school ( Human Right Watch 6 ) . Furthermore, in the school, it becomes a normal thing that many Sunni instructors publically condemn and look down on Shia pupils sing them as heretic ( Wikipedia 12 ) . Dr. Mohamed J. Al.Hassan, a professor at King Saud University, one time said that his girl was insulted by Sunni instructor and he called the school to name for justness by firing the instructor, but nil happened to the instructor. Furthermore, some extremist people saw that the instructor should hold done more than that ( Al.Hassan 18 ) . But this can non merely be blamed on those instructors themselves. As throughout of the instructors ‘ lives, they have been brainwashed to detest and diss Shia Muslims so when they become a instructor, they will go through their belief to their childs. This will go on from coevals to coevals ( Al.Hassan 16 ) . Not merely Shia pupils are insulted by Sunni instructors, but even Shia instructors or professors are besides insulted by Sunni pupils every bit good ( Al.Hassan 16 ) .

C. Social Opportunity

Socially, Shias sometimes have to conceal their religion and in secret worship to forestall them from any persecution. Furthermore Shias are ever treated as a 2nd citizen by their authorities. For illustration, the Fatima Shia of Najaran, an ancient native community, received really bad dainty from the authorities. More Than 3000 members from the community were forced to go forth their place to travel to else without any good ground ( Megalommatis 50 ) . The authorities besides limits their freedom on how Shia named their kids in order to “ deter them from demoing their individuality. ” ( Wikipedia 12 )

before tribunal where everyone claims a justness section. For illustration, Sunni justice will non let or accept the informant who is Shia. Furthermore, the tribunal Judgess any instances based on Sunni spiritual jurisprudence. Furthermore, no Saudi Shias have right to function as a justice in tribunal and besides in any high-rank place within authorities and military ( Human Right Watch 6 ) .

Government passes out several edicts that encourage people with hatred, force and favoritism against Shia. Some edicts recognize Shia as illegal and non-Muslim and can non populate harmoniously with Shia. ( Al.Hassan 13 ) Other edicts claim Shia to deviate the existent significance of Islam and polytheists. ( 14 )

This type of favoritism and hatred besides widely appear on the cyberspace advancing violent and segregation against Shia. Surprisingly those violent Sunni web site are allowed to travel on while Shia website which advancing peace and integrity are blocked really fast by Saudi authorities. ( J, 25 )

Saudi Shia are out to take any senior place in Government. “ There are no Shia curates, diplomats, security officers, ground forces commanding officer, air force pilots, spiritual instructors, caput of authorities bureaus, Judgess, city managers, official imaums, Royal officers, caput of public company and many other senior authorities. ” ( Megalommatis 49 ) .

III. Chemical reaction

A. Shia

“ All the Saudi Shia wants is for their authorities to esteem their individuality and handle them every bit. Yet, Saudi governments routinely treat these people with scorn and intuition. ” ( Human Right Watch 4 ) . Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia have been so long looking for more equality in their day-to-day life in society including freedom to idolize. They want to hold legal right to hold their ain mosque, Shia spiritual book, and besides are accepted by everyone ( Al – Qudaihi 2 ) . Saudi Shias has set up a new resistance group to name for more equal intervention for their people called “ Khalas ” . This group claims that the authorities has opportunities to reform its society to be more openness toward Shia, but they are merely non willing to make it so ( Al – Qudaihi 3 ) . Tawfik al-saif, a Saudi political militant, states that to stop these drawn-out struggles, the Saudi authorities should present both political and societal reforms to do Sunni and Shia much more integrate to each other ( Al – Qudaihi 2 ) . To stop these jobs, Mai Yamani, a Saudi bookman, suggests that Saudi should alter from “ molithic Wahabi national individuality ” to be more unfastened and inclusive everyone. This means that Saudi Arabia has merely 2 picks to take either stoping favoritism against Shia and giving them their right socially and politically, or sitting down and watch them to derive their strength from foreigners and the state go decomposition ( Yamani 9 ) . Recently, King Abdullah has tried to promote Saudi people to pattern spiritual tolerance and unrecorded together peacefully, but a big figure of province establishments still commit to know apart Shias non to be able to keep any public offices ( Human Right Watch 4 ) .

D. King and the Saudi authorities

In 2003, Prince Abdullah began the thought to acquire both Sunni and Shia Clerics to come together for the first clip. 5 old ages subsequently, Prince Abdullah besides supported “ a pan-Muslim World meeting ” for Shia and Sunni keeping in Mecca ( Financial Times 25 ) .

Since 2001, Saudi authorities stated that they have prepared to redact text editions, curricular, learning method to recommend tolerance and take dissing word from the book. Despite their effort to alter the prejudice position toward Shia, text editions used in schools still contain the words that show intolerance position toward Shia advancing force and hatred against Shia. ( Scripture Seed Foundation 42 )

Cite this page

The differences between Shia and Sunni. (2017, Aug 01). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7