What's the Difference: Shia vs. Sunni


Image credit: Indi.ca article "Who Will Rule Iraq? (Iraqi Power Players)"


[Update 3/14/07: Distribution of Sunni and Shia in the world. Larger pic: Wikimedia - Thanks Jonathan Soeder!]

The Dilemma: Despite hearing news about the Middle East every day, you still don't know Shia from shinola.

People You Can Impress: Iranians, Iraqis, Syrians, Jordanians, and TV talking heads.

The Quick Trick: The Shia believe that the early succession of power should have gone like the name of a very famous boxer: 1) Muhammad, 2) Ali.

The Explanation: Like Christianity, Islam is home to a spectrum of sects espousing different beliefs and practices. And just as Christianity can be divided into two large groups - Catholic and Protestant - from which other subsects have emerged, so too with Islam: Shia and Sunni.

Unlike Christianity, whose major split wouldn't occur for nearly sixteen centuries, Islam split almost immediately after the death of its founder, the Prophet Muhammad (circa 570 - 632 CE). The rift stems from a disagreement among Muslims over who was the rightful successor to Muhammad.

After the prophet's death on June 8, 632, a gathering of his followers met at Medina and proclaimed Abu Bakr (kinsman, companion, and early convert of Muhammad) caliph, or political leader. The claim stemmed from his close relationship with Muhammad, and the fact that Muhammad had asked Abu Bakr to lead prayers when too ill to do so himself. Those who recognize Abu Bakr and his three immediate successors, called the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs, are referred to as Sunni Muslims, and today almost 90 percent of Muslims worldwide fall into this category.

One group of followers, however, refused to accept Abu Bakr. These Rafidi ("Refusers") supported the claim of Ali ibn Abi Talib, Muhammad's cousin (and son-in-law). The claim is based on a sermon the Prophet had given at Ghadir Khum, in which Muhammad referred to Ali as mawla, which some translate as "master." Ali's supporter called themselves Shiat Ali (the Party of Ali), though today they are known as simply Shia. Ali did eventually ascend as the fourth caliph. To Sunni, he is the last of the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs. But to Shias, he is the first caliph and, more important, the first Imam - a word Shia Muslims use to refer to the person chosen leader of all the faithful.

While they and the Sunnis both revere the Koran, they accept different hadiths (oral traditions), so their laws are different. Many Shias, for example, allow temporary marriage. Shias also recognize esteemed imams as supreme expert on Islamic law, called Ayatollahs or, for the really big guys, Grand Ayatollahs. As for the locations where Shias have a significant Muslim majority, there are really only two: Iraq and Iran.

Much is made of the differences between Shias and Sunnis, but almost all the violence between them in the past 50 years has been caused, directly or indirectly, by Saddam Hussein - a nominal Sunni who by his own admission was never religious.

The article above was reprinted from the mental_floss book "What's the Difference?" with permission.

Monet? Manet? Who can even tell the difference? Well, with the help of the newest mental_floss tome, you can! ... mental_floss gives you all the tips and tricks to have you sounding like a genius.



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to mountain citizen.I am muslim from Europe AND I JUST WANT TO REMIND YOU ABOUT YOUR CHRISTIAN BROTHER ADOLF HITLER.HE BURNED 100 TIMES MORE PEOPLE THEN ALL TERORIST KILLED TOGETHER.HE KEEP KILLING PEOPLE FROM MANY DIFFERENT RELIGIONS BUT YOU NEVER ACCEPT THAT HE DID IN THE NAME OF YOUR GOD
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Funny, The map is bias as the shia population of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Turkey are all shaded the wrong color as some of these countries are shia dominated
-just saying please get your info right.
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NABI KAREEM (SAWW) KI ATA'AT AUR AAP (SAWW) K ITTABA'A AUR AAP (SAWW) K KHULFAA (RA) K ITTABA'A K BAREY ME AHAADESS:

Hazrat Abu Haraira (RA) Hazoor-e-Aqdas (SAWW) ka irshad naql farmatey hein k:

"Jis shakhas ne meri ata'at ki us ne Allah ki ata'at ki aur jis meri nafrmani ki us ne Allah ki nafrmani ki aur jis ne mere ameer ki ata'at ki us ne meri ata'at ki aur jis ne mere ameer ki nafrmani ki us ne meri nafrmani ki". (BUKHARI)

Hazrat Abu Haraira (RA) Hazoor-e-Aqdas (SAWW) ka irshad naql farmatey hein k:

"Meri sari ummat jannat me dakhil ho gi leiken jo inkar karey ga wo jannat me dakhil ni ho ga arz kia gia aur kon inkar krey ga? Aap (SAWW) ne farmaya! Jis ne meri ata'at ki WO jannat me dakhil ho ga aur jis ne meri nafrmani ki us ne inkar kia" (BUKHARI KAZAFI ALJAMIA'A (GEEM 2 SAWAD 233))

Hazrat Jabar (RA) irshad farmatey hein k chand farishtey Nabi Kareem (SAWW) k pas aye aur Aap (SAWW) so rahey they. Un farishtoon ne (aapas me) kaha k tumharey is saathi k liye aik misaal he us misaal ko biyan kro ba'az farishtoon ne kha k ye to so rahey hein aur ba'az farishtoon ne kha k kha k in ki aankhein soti hein aur dil baidaar rehta he to farishtoon ne kha k " In ki misaal us aadmi jaisi he k jis ne aik ghar bnaya aur us ghar me khaney ki aik dawat ka intazaam kia aur aik bulaney waley ko beijha to jis ne us bulaney waley ki baat maani wo ghar me dakhil huwa aur us dawat me se khaya aur jis ne us bulaney waley ki baat na maani na wo ghar me dakhil huwa aur na us dawat me se khaya". Phir farishtoon ne kha k is misaal ka matlab in k samney biyan kro is par ba'az farishtoon ne kha k ye to so rahey hein aur ba'az farishtoon ne kha k kha k in ki aankhein soti hein aur dil baidaar rehta he tab farishtoon ne ye matlab biyan kia k " Wo ghar jannat he aur bulaney waley Muhammad (SAWW) hein leihaaza jis ne Muhammad (SAWW) ki ata'at ki us ne Allah ki ata'at ki aur jis ne Muhammad (SAWW) ki nafrmani ki us Allah ki nafrmani ki aur Muhammad (SAWW) ki wajah se logoon ki do qismein ho gaien ( jis ne Aap (SAWW) ki maani us ne Allah ki maani aur jannat me jaye ga aur jis ne Aap (SAWW) ki na maani us ne Allah ki na maani aur wo jannat me ni jaye ga)". (BUKHARI-O-AKHRAJ ALDARMI ANN RABIYA-TUL-JARSHI BA MA'ANA KAMAANI AL MISHKAWAT (SAWAD 21))

Hazrat Abu Moosa (RA) Hazoor-e-Aqdas (SAWW) ka irshad naql farmatey hein k:

"Meri aur us Deen ki misaal jis ko de kar Allah Ta'ala ne mujhey beijha he us aadmi jaisi he jo apni qom k paas aaya aur kaha k ay meri qom! Main ne apni aankhoon se (dushman k barrey) lashkar ko (tumhari tarf aatey huwey) deikha he main tum ko be garz ho kar dra rha hoon lehaaza (yahan se bhagney mein) jaldi kro. Chunaachey us ki qom mein se kuch logoon ne us ki baat maan li aur sar-e-shaam chal diye aur aaram se chaltey rahey aur wo to bach gey aur us qom mein se kuch logoon ne usey jhootha samjha aur wohein thehrey rahey to dushman k lashkar ne un per subho subho hamla kar k halak kar dia aur un ko bilkul khatam kar dia. Ye misaal he un logoon ki jinhoon ne meri baat maani aur jo deen-e-haq main le kar aaya us per aml kia aur un logoon ki jinhoon ne meri nafrmani ki aur jo deen-e-haq main le kar aaya us ko jhutlaya". (BUKHARI-O-MUSLIM)

Hazrat Abdullah bin Umro (RA) Hazoor-e-Aqdas (SAWW) ka irshad naql farmatey hein k:
"Jo kuch Bani Israeel per aaya wo meri ummat per zaroor aaye ga (aur donoo me aisi mumaslat ho gi) jaisey k donoo jootey aik doosrey k barabar kiye jatey hein. Yahan tak k agar Bani Israeel me se kisi ne apni maan k sath khulam khula zna kia ho ga to meri ummat me b aisa shakhas zaroor ho ga jo is kaam ko krey ga. Aur Bani Israeel 72 firkoon me takseem ho gey they aur meri ummat 73 firkoon me takseem ho jaye gi aur AIK FIRKEY k ilawa baqi sab firkey jahannum me jaien ge. Sahaba (RA) ne arz kia Ya Rasool Allah (SAWW)! Wo aik firka kon sa ho ga? Aap (SAWW) ne farmaya: JO US RASTEY PER CHALEY GA JIS PER MEIN (SAWW) AUR MERE SAHABA (RA) HEIN" (TIRMAZI)

Hazrat Urbaz Bin Sariya (RA) farmatey hein k:
"Aik din Hazoor-e-Aqdas (SAWW) ne hamein Namaz parrai aur phir apney chehra-e-anwar k sath hum logoon ki tarf mutwajah huwey aur aisa muassar waaz biyan farmaya k jis se aankhoon se aansoo jari ho gey aur dil kaanp gey. Aik shakhas ne arz kia Ya Rasool Allah (SAWW)! Aap (SAWW) ka ye waaz aisa maloom hota he jaisa k janey waley ka (akhari) waaz huwa krta he lehaaza Aap (SAWW) hamein kin khaas baton ki takeed farmatey hein? Aap (SAWW) ne farmaya main tumhein is baat ki wasiyyat karta hoon k Allah se dro aur ameer ki baat suno aur mano agarchey wo habshi ghulam ho. Keun k tum me se mere baad jo b zinda rahey ga wo bohat se ehtalafat deikhey ga to aisi soorat me MERI aur MERE HIDAYAT YAFTA KHULFA-E-RASHDEEN ki sunnat per aml kartey rehna aur usey thamey rakhna aur dantoon se mazboot pakrrey rakhna aur nai nai baton se bachna keun k har nai bat biddat he aur her biddat gumrahi he". (TERMAZI-O-ABUDAWOOD)

Hazrat Umar (R.A) Hazoor-e-Akram (SAWW) ka irshad naql farmatey hein k:

"Me (SAWW) ne apney Rabb se apney baad Sahaba (R.A) me honey waley ehtalaf k barey me poocha to Allah Taala ne mere pas ye wahi beijhi k ay Muhammad (SAWW)! Aap (SAWW) k Sahaba (R.A) mere nazdeek aasman k sitaroun ki manind hein. Har sitarey me noor he leiken ba'az sitarey doosroun se zaida roshan hein. Jab Sahaba (R.A) ki kisi amr k barey me raaye mukhtalif ho jaye to jo aadmi in me se KISI B AIK ki raaye per aml kr le ga wo mere nazdeek hadayt per he." Aur Aap (SAWW) ne farmaya "MERE SAHABA (R.A) SITAROON KI MANIND HEIN JIS KI B IQTADA KRO GE HADAYT PA JAO GE."
(RAZEEN KAZAFI JAMA-UL-FAWAID (GEEM 2 SAWAAD 201))

Hazrat Huzaifa (RA) Hazoor-e-Aqdas (SAWW) ka irshad naql farmatey hein k:

"Mujhey (SAWW) ko maloom ni k main tum me kitna arsa rahoon ga aur Hazrat Abu Bakr-O-Umar (RA) ki taraf ishara kartey huwey farmaya k MEREY (SAWW) K BAAD IN DONOO KI IQTDA KARNA AUR AMMAR (RA) KI SEERAT APNAO AUR IBN-E-MASAUD (RA) TUMHEIN JO B BATAEIN USEY SACHA MANO". (TERMAZI)

Hazrat Bilal Bin Haris Qarni (RA) Hazoor-e-Aqdas (SAWW) ka irshad naql farmatey hein k:
"Jis ne meri kisi miti hui sunnat ko zinda kia to jitney log us sunnat per aml kartey rahein gey un sab k barabar usey ajr miley ga aur is se un logoon k ajr me koi kami ni aaye gi. Aur jis ne gumrahi ka koi aisa tareeqa aijaad kia jis per log aml karein gey un sab k barabar usey gunah ho ga aur is se un logoon k gunah me koi kami ni aaye gi". (TERMAZI-O-AKHRAJ IBN-E-MAJAH AIZAN NAHWA AN KASEER BIN ABDULLAH BIN UMRO AN ABEE AN JADAH)

Hazrat Umro Bin Auf (RA) Hazoor-e-Aqdas (SAWW) ka irshad naql farmatey hein k:

"Deen hajjaz ki taraf aisey simatt aaye ga jaisey k saanp apney bil ki tarf simatt aata he aur deen hajjaz me apni jagha is tarah zaroor bna le ga jis tarah paharri bakri (shair k dar ki wajha se) paharr ki choti per apni jagha bnati he. Deen shuroo me ajnabi tha aur ankareeb phir pehley ki tarah phir ajnabi ho ga. Lehaaza UN logoon k liye khushkhabri he JIN KO deen ki wajah se ajnabi samjha jaye ga aur ye wo log hein jo Mere(SAWW) baad Meri jis sunnat ko log bigarr dein ge ye us sunnat ko theek kar detey hein". (TERMAZI)

Hazrat Ans (RA) farmatey hein k Hazoor-e-Aqdas (SAWW) ne farmaya k:

"Ay Mere beittey! Agar tum har waqt apney dil ki ye kaifiyat bna saktey ho k is me kisi k barey me zra b khot na ho to zaroor aisey karo phir Aap (SAWW) ne farmaya Ay Mere beittey! Ye Meri sunnat me se he aur jis ne Meri sunnat se mohabbat ki us ne muj se mohabbat ki aur jis ne muj se mohabbat ki wo mere sath jannat me ho ga". (TERMAZI)

Hazrat Ibn-e-Abbas (RA) Hazoor-e-Aqdas (SAWW) ka irshad naql farmatey hein k:

"Meri ummat k bigarrney k waqt jis ne meri sunnat ko mazbooti se thamey rakha usey 100 shaheedoon ka sawab miley ga" ye riwayat BEIHAIQI ki he aur TIBRANI me ye riwayat Hazrat Abu Huraira (RA) se marvi he aur us me ye he k "Usey aik shaheed ka sawab miley ga". (KAZAFI TARGHEEB (GEEM 1 SAWAD 44))

Hazrat Abu Huraira (RA) Hazoor-e-Aqdas (SAWW) ka irshad naql farmatey hein k:

"Meri ummat k bigarrney k waqt Meri sunnat ko mazbooti se thamney waley ko aik shaheed ka ajr miley ga". (TIBRANI-O-ABU NAEEM FIL HALIYAAT)

Hazrat Abu Huraira (RA) Hazoor-e-Aqdas (SAWW) ka irshad naql farmatey hein k:

"Meri ummat me ehtalaf k waqt meri sunnat ko mazbooti se thamney wala hath me chingari leney waley ki tarah ho ga".
(KAZAFI KIN-ZUL-AAMAL (GEEM 1 SAWAD 47))

Hazrat Ans (RA) Hazoor-e-Aqdas (SAWW) ka irshad naql farmatey hein k:

"Jo meri sunnat se airaaz karey us ka Mere (SAWW) se koi taaluq ni he" (MUSLIM)

Hazrat Ibn-e-Umar (RA) Hazoor-e-Aqdas (SAWW) ka irshad naql farmatey hein k:

"Jis ne meri sunnat per aml kia us ka muj (SAWW) se taaluq he aur jo meri sunnat se airaaz karey us ka Mere (SAWW) se koi taaluq ni he". (IBN-E-ASAKAR)

Hazrat Aysha (RA) Hazoor-e-Aqdas (SAWW) ka irshad naql farmati hein k:

"Jis ne sunnat ko mazbooti se thama wo jannat me jaye ga". (DARQUTNI)

Hazrat Ans (RA) Hazoor-e-Aqdas (SAWW) ka irshad naql farmatey hein k:
"Jis ne meri sunnat ko zinda kia us ne muj se mohabbat ki aur jis ne muj se mohabbat ki wo mere sath jannat me ho ga" (SAJZI)
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