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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.


It's interesting to see any religion broken down into it's pristine forms, because it then shows how much it gets perverted and abused from there.
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the first split in christianity was the great schism in the 11c which divided it into eastern orthodox and catholic. the protestant reformation came 5 centuries later.
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It's always assumed that the "catholic" church began at Christ's resurrection, but in fact, the early church fathers were Christians...not "catholic". The RCC didn't formulate until the third century a.d. and didn't truly organize until the 5th century. Tradition says otherwise, but the truth is clear and well documented.
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Yes Jael but what you fail to mention is that the early "Christians" you refer to were usurped by the Catholic Church and disappeared entirely for a few thousand years until recently when they were rediscovered or shall I say reborn. The modern versions of these Christians have more in common with the Catholic Church then they do those first sects. This also sort misses the point of the article don't cha think?
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Good and succint historical breakdown on well...the "breakdown" between the Sunni's and Shias.

It's kinda sad that all the sectarian violence seemed to have stemmed only because of Saddam manipulating the two sides against each other. Which would explain how he stayed in power for so long.

I hope the Iraqis can move past this infighting and work together as they used to before Saddam played them.

Hell, my Grandma is a Shia and I'm a Sunni. This little difference doesn't mean a thing!

Boo to the fighting!
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You spoke of Catholics and Protestants but you left out the Eastern Orthodox Christians. To simplify, the Church was one church which split East and West and several hundred years later the Protestants split from the West or Roman Catholic Church.
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Wait a minute - are the Shia in eastern Iraq Arabs? I really doubt it. Check out A Brief History of Iran-US Relations, Part 1: Constitution to Khatami.
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shia & sunni are both Muslims thats it rest its media & people like you who are breaking them apart and rising the conflict by differentiating them.
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As a Shia, I too have no beef with Sunnis. We believe in the same stuff. Now just because we believe the successor was different doesn't mean we should kill each other. Muslims embarrass me because instead of uniting like the other religions do, we are stuck kicking our own butts. Like a dog biting its own tail. Instead of trying to unite and take on Israel and the U.S.'s bully asses, we are still killing each other.
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I'll give you one thing it's a little confusing, but now if someone can explain to me the differences between Protestants and Lutherans and Mormons and Calvinists and Methodists I'll be set.
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The map would provide a lot more context -- and a lot more relevant information in relation to what you hear about the Middle East on a daily basis, and the political differences between these two groups -- if you showed the distribution of Sunni and Shia across Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Not just Iraq.

The geopolitical relationships between these countries, their make-up in terms of Shia / Sunnia Islam, and US foreign policy are all very important. For example, the members of the Axis of Evil Iran and Syria have large and influential Shiite populations.

Saudi Arabia is primarily Sunni. Iraq is has a large Shiite population as well but was ruled by the Sunni minority with funding from the Saudi and the Americans.

All of this deserves deeper investigation if you want to understand who are our political "enemies" and who are our "allies"
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yeah... i agree with amir. Why bother about our small differences. That's what bring us down. Shame on those who like to stay in groups and kill their own brothers.
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If we try to see it from a very generic scenario then I am sure all the muslims will agree that Islam (Quran) doesn't differentiate the followers into any category. We follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H). It was Allah's final Messenger's decision brothers to make Abu Bakr (RaziAllahuanhu) the leader so how can we question or even debate on the thing that
Hazrat Ali (RaziAllahuanu)should have been the made the first Caliph. ISLAM is for every human being in this world and it teaches us a way of life. All other religions teaches you - To Love, To Care, To live in Harmony, ISLAM teaches you all this plus how to achieve it. We all face in one direction when we pray so there is no question of division which the higher classes and politics have created between us today.
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All terrorist organizations consist of Sunni Muslims, who don't follow the right path of the religion. The Prophet NEVER taught violence.

Shia's on the other hand, are peace loving people and the Dawoodi Bohra community (sub-sect) being the most official (has an official spiritual leader) and organized among them.

Bottomline: Islam doesn't teach terrorism/violence and Terrorists are NOT Muslims (from the moment they violate the religious laws).

Peace.
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by the way, the great schism was not between the byzantine and roman church, but after the split into western and eastern orthodox, and occurred within the west as there were two popes at one time, one residing in Avignon, and the other in Rome.
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First I have to say i'm not a muslim, but I know lots of people that are muslim religion and there is only one word i can call them good people.

As for differing beetwen the fractions in the same religion it is to my understanding so stupid that it makes my head ake. I am from the region in Europe that people know of as Balkans so i know what i'm talking about.

The only thing i would like to say to the muslim people in the world is unite and throw out those imperialist war mongerrers likes of US and others.
Believe me when i say they got nothing you really need.
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As a practising Muslim myself I am ashamed at the politicizing of these issues. When you look at the common man, shia or sunni, they are all the same. Unless you are madly indoctrinated the common man doesn't have a problem with sunni or shia. We are all humans, we all breathe air, drink water, and eat the same food.

The root cause of sunni shia fighting and unrest relates to a much bigger problem, the prevalence of fundamentalist elements motivated by power, money and weapons. This does not apply to Islam alone and we can see this in different forms in other religions too, though we muslims are condemned as fundamentalist and violence prone.

This is not helped in any way by the preponderance of violent radical imams and fundamentalis wahhabi strongholds preaching extremes and violence against everyone else. Unless we address this problem at the root, it is going to end in a very very bad way.
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You really need to learn more about the history of the Christian Church if you think it went 1600 years without a major split. That's their propaganda.

A major cause of the Dark Ages was the Roman Church and the Byzantine Church bankrupting the corpse of the Roman Empire to hire mercenaries to attack eachother.

Not to mention the systematic mass murder of anyone who disagreed with them. For example, the First Inquisition focused not on witches but on the heretical Cathars who were guilty of the unforgivible sin of claiming the Church should be poor like Jesus. For that they were ruthlessly exterminated by both major Christian Churches who were and are filthy rich.

But back to the Sunni and Shia. The Shia have saints, mix the church in worldly affairs and maintain many Zoroastrian symbols and rituals. And hey, I've got nothing against Zoroastrianism. In fact, alot of Christianity is plagerized from it. But it's not Islam. So the Sunni have documentation when they say the Shia have not followed the Koran.
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Zeeshan, I'd suggest that it's the guys holding the rocket launchers and hacksaws that are tearing the two groups apart - not the folks who publish USA Today.

I agree wholeheartedly with Dustin.
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Thanks for this post. Just one question-I've heard that it is automatic passage to hell for killing another Muslim. Why all of the killing then?
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Christianity was fissiparous from the very beginning: see e.g. the so-called Ebionites, the Donatists or the Arians.

However, if we're talking about splits that have survived to this day, the oldest one would be that which took place in 431 at the Council of Ephesus, between the churches that adhered to the designation "Theotokos" for the Virgin Mary (modern descendants are the Orthodox, Catholic and most Protestant denominations) and those that rejected it (the Nestorian Christians).

This was followed by the dispute between the "Diophysite" or Chalcedonian Christians (modern descendants are, again the Orthodox, Catholic and most Protestant denominations) and the "Monophysites" who rejected the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The latter group included the majority churches in Armenia, Egypt and Ethiopia. Recently, however, they seem to have kissed and made up with the Orthodox churches and, to an extent, even the Catholic church.

Only then came 1054 when Orthodox and Catholics began to go their separate ways (emphasis on began; the fourth crusade was the real clincher, and they did get back together again briefly in 1439)

And then came the Reformation....
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The article did a great job in differentiating between both Sects. Just to add to the article Ali was not just called mawla, the actual statement of Mohammad (p.b.u.h) was "Whomsoever's master (mawla) I am, this 'Ali is also his master." Shi’ites believe that successor to Mohammad (p.b.u.h) cannot be chosen democratically as only perfection (Mohammad p.b.u.h) can know who’s perfect for succession.

For those willing to learn more about shi’ite: http://www.al-islam.org
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People divide on any matter because we like to judge others and we judge others because we have no real idea of who we really are or why we are born. All religions are based on faith because nobody has seen God yet. None, let alone meeting God. As such, all such faiths are blind faiths and blind faith is based on fear and greed. Fear & greed are the 2 sides of the same coin. Like male & female within a family unit.

There are always 2 sides to any argument just like there is always 2 sides to a story. The reason for this duality is for humans to realise that balance can only be achieved when we comprehend what having 2 sides mean. It is meant for complementing. Like a mother & father, when they complement, only then will there be peace or else division will rule, one way or another.

Love is another word for unity whereas power is another word for division. Power cannot exist without division for power is division. Power cannot be shared for male and female are different. Power can only be neutralised when we realised that when truth is attained, and not read about, preached, taught, practiced artificially, etc, power becomes love. God has no notion of power for to Him, power is Love. Which is why we are all alive and sustained by aspects of Truth called The Sun, Nature, etc. If God exists and He was to have the notion of power like humans do, everything will be destroyed.

Power means to judge, to have contrast, to divide. Love, because it is not power but Truth, do not judge. The love that gives and gives without contrast, judgement, division, etc, is Permanent Power and any entity who is so empowered, do not need to judge. That entity can afford to give and give. If we comprehend this far, we will have some foundation of what Truth, Love, Power, etc is all about. It is about not judging others but judging our self and once we’ve judged our self and found out who we really, really are, we then do not need to judge others and allow others to judge us by way of religions, faiths, right & wrongs, good & bad and all the nonsense that humans take as real and immanent.

Ask yourself this and that is, how can a chimp understand what a human understands? It can’t because there is a difference in evolution [but not a difference in importance for evolution is just a message for those who are honest enough to open their eyes fully]. To evolve higher and back towards Truth/God/Love/etc, we need to evolve away from the hypocrisy that we take as real, like blind faiths. God is not about believing but about knowing and accepting who we really, realy, are and where we stand in relation to Truth, and we can only do that when we judge our self first and not others or allow hypocrisy to judge us [like when we accept a blind belief]. There is nothing that we can express on the outside [without] that we are not already inside [within]. We cannot despise hypocrisy unless we are a hypocrite our self first. Self-judgement is the truth within and only the truth will free the individual. Otherwise, we will be shackled to “technology”, religion, hypocrisy, commerce, politics, and all the junk within humanity that most take as the reason for existing.

The ONLY reason for existing is to evolve back to Truth and Nature uses the mechanism of death to reinforce that point. The blind will always be blind if they refuse to judge themselves first and when we don’t self-judge, we then judge others and covet what belongs to others, especially others’ freedom of beliefs, be that correct or incorrect. Once the majority start judging themselves first and act truthfully, peace will finally start manifesting. And not before, inspite of going to Mars, blindly and greedily/fearfully believing in super-high tech, religions, “New World Order”, kelptomania economics, politics as a means of plundering, or not. If you are “heartless”, your heart will tell you so and all the pills, surgery, maverick of Big Pharma, religion, etc, will not make a bit of difference for removing malice is not the same as perfuming it. Another word for hypocrisy. Humans were evolved to return-back-to/reflect, Truth, and not to become some mad insanity masquerading as “truth”. And WE ALL know it. Hypocrite or not and humans are addicted to hypocrisy and will do anything to hide that fact. Can any animal be so dumb as to cheat itself like humans do?
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In response to penlies, re: the history and development of the early christian church. It's important to recognize the differences between the early Catholic "church" and the christian faith. Although it was instrumental in spreading the Gospel, the administrative body of the Catholic church was actually the government, and really not Faith oriented at all. They used religion as the tool to manipulate the populace, and create war against everyone else. When the populace started to recognize this discrepency, the Reformation occurred, which of course was corrupted in various ways as well.

The nature of the evangelical church today is to hold Christ as the head of the church (not the Pope) and recognize our responsibility as the Body of Christ on earth (the church). In this it is VERY different than the "Catholic" church at any period.
Glenn
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The difference between Christianity and Islam with regards to sects is that, in Islam, difference is political and not doctrinal, Christian church was split right after the death of Christ you can see that in book of Acts, but majority of those sects where killed off as heretics. Infect some of the early christian sects in their belief were very similar to muslims regarding Jesus Christ.
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"As for the locations where Shias have a significant Muslim majority, there are really only two: Iraq and Iran."

Shias also hold the majority in Baltistan. This is a country that borders Tibet, which you never hear of because Pakistan has control over, so it's part of Pakistan.
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to woot:

1. The US doesnt have to specifically invade and annex another country to be called imperialistic. In the 21st century, imperialism in the strict definition in the word would be fairly infeasible. The US operates like an economic imperialist. We already enjoy such massive power here that the vast majority of us can stay home, while a very small percentage of businessmen and government officials travel overseas to further consolidate our power. We enter into developing countries, and using money that is often supplied by the US Treasury, and approved by the World Bank, offer them massive loans to build up their infrastructure, with the stipulation that those infrastructure contracts go to private contractors that the US supports. When these countries are eventually unable to pay back these massive debts, they often cut national programs or raid their own treasury to avoid defaulting. Once they do default, we agree to absorb their debt in exchange for a 'pound of flesh'. This may be paid in supporting specific policy measures, agreeing to fight against a specific country, privatizing their resources to US-led multinational corporations, etc etc. While our army doesnt specifically go over and enslave those of other countries, a class of businessmen representing "our" interests travels to other countries, and inevitably creates a situation in which those countries are beholden to us, by material or ideological support. So yes, we are imperialistic, we are just way, way better than previous empires at concealing this fact.

2. A country that has been in a state of national emergency for 70+ years, that has spent the majority of its history in some kind of war, that spends more on military budget than the next 50 highest military spenders combined, that jump into a war that the majority of the world are against with little to no factual support, and who are run mostly by neoconservatives who have an obsession with defense contracts and Israeli conflict....I would say the 'warmonger' status is pretty friggin accurate.
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I wonder if it's important to bear in mind that terrorists are a tiny minority of Muslims. In fact, Muslims generally are less likely to condone violence against civilians than are Americans, considered as a group. See Think Muslims Support Terror?
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Sorry, inaccurate link. Should be Think Muslims Support Terror?
In case the link doesn't work again, here 'tis:
http://masbury.wordpress.com/2007/02/24/think-muslims-support-terror-check-this-out/
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LOL at "to woot".

My two cents is that although terrorists may be in the minority, there are lots of Muslims in the world who tacitly agree with some of the things that terrorist organizations say.

The Christian equivalent would be the moderate Christian who agrees with some fundamentalist viewpoints.

Sometimes you "agree" with some points. Sometimes you just "not disagree" with others.
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To w00t: I invite you to read A brief history of Iran-US relations. Iran was only the first of many democracies in which the US organized coups, replacing fairly-elected governments with dictators more favorable to US interests.
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Well, I agree with Zeeshan, Shia and Sunni are merely a division which is widening by media, specially the western media.
This is not the new thing for the West to divide and rule, so they game plan still the same, they rule India by dividing Hindu and Muslim, other wise India was the most prosperous country before the bustard Britishers came in, under the Muslims rule they were prosperous for thousands of years. Then the bustards’ Britishers divided them and still they are fighting.
The same way they want the oil from Iraq and they divided the Sunni's and Shia's.

Till yesterday nobody in West know the real difference between Shia and Sunni and now the bustard’s American play a dirty game and divided the society for their own advantage.

I believe they should forget what ever little difference between them and kick the westerner out of the country then build new iraq.
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It's just the Same Old Game in new dressing:

The Elites use religion (or ethnicity/culture) to divide the "little people" and keep them fighting each other instead of their REAL enemy & main obstacle
to freedom--The Elites.

And of course, most folks fall for it.

Saddam was a master of that game, but so is
Bu$hCo and the MSM.

As long as this Game continues, the future of the human race is very much in doubt.
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Fact is that both Christianity and Islam are differing interpretations (cults) of Judism, a religion based on ancient Semitic mythology. It's Santa Claus for grownups... and Santa is just an anagram for you-know-who.
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This was a good summary of the subject, and many of the comments were helpful, especially Nick's. I would add one difference between Sunni and Shia: the latter have a streak of messianism, awaiting the reappearance of the Mahdi, a revered past figure who disappeared centuries ago. Shiaism also has more hierarchy and is confined to Southwest Asia, mostly Arabs and Persians (but not most Arabs), giving the lie to the ridiculous term "Islamofascism" as applied to Sunnis. Fascism is nothing if not devoted to strong central authority in a monoethnic culture. The only "fascism" at work among insurgents in Iraq, among them battle-hardened Chechens, resembles the "leaderless resistance" of US white supremcists and gun nuts.

As for the comments about the nature of imperialism: WTF? Since when is annexation a requirement? The Romans used puppets, like our good friend Herod the Great, to put a local face on their administration. If the system did not keep the populace in line, direct occupation would follow. The Romans win either way. Either the puppet is successful, or, in an attempt to be sucessful, he is overly brutal and the Romans were "liberators". (The system failed with Cleopatra and Herod Agrippa, who led revolts against the Romans). Hitler placed puppets in Slovakia and part of France, and even countries occupied, like the Netherlands and my beloved Norway, local constables collaborated in arrests and deportation. The SS and Gestapo were not always needed.
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I think there is a big difference between shias and sunnis , but the problem is that we dont have much time to understand this differences, we have understand the differences. the persons who understant the difference are only our islamic scholers, common peoples only said " We are brothers of each others"
No!! We are not brothers , we are entirely different,
shia has other way and sunnis has anohter way.....
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Q1-Do you think the Prophet (PBUH) would leave this world without entrusting Islam to some capable person? Was he not wise enough to nominate his successor to prevent disruption after his departure from this world? Were his followers Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman wiser in realizing that a successor should be elected even before his death?Why were four different methods adopted to install each of the Four Rightly Guided Khalifs?

Q2-Br. Zeeshan Asla,muttah was halal during the reign of Abu Bakr and half the reign of Umar, what authority did Umar have to declare muttah haram?
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There either is or is not, a "spiritual" world, i.e. a world with beings greater than our level of evolution, (and usually, not readily perceivable). These beings have to do with our world of matter as interactors and creators, guides or detractors. If there is even one being of this nature then there is a real "spiritual" world. If there are none, then there is no such world. If there is no such world, all of our religions are science fiction. If there is such a world, what are the chances that all of these gods, Allah, Christ, God, Shiva etc.etc. have their own little boxes or Kingdoms and are desperately trying to get us to join their own gang. It is much more likely that there is a spiritual reality than that there isn't. It is also likely that the essence of these creative spiritual forces are pure and powerful in a way we can barely comprehend. The force is probably like a color. Perhaps Love is a beautiful rose-violet. A clairvoyant, (a person who was lucky or developed enough to see into the spiritual world), would see this color whenever a human being loved. It would have nothing to do with the gang they belonged to or what they thought in their intellect. It would happen that when that person loved, forgave, encouraged or nourished the color of that action would be there. When the person killed, lied, hurt or abused a different vibration or color would exist. Repeated actions of one sort or another would cause the color or vibration to exist and come to live in that person no matter what they proclaimed to be on the outside. If there is a spiritual world, no person on this earth has the luxury of "atheism". All humans worship one color or another with their everyday actions. All humans are attracting themselves to or away from spirituals beings with every decision they make. The possibility that the Christian's God and the Muslim's Allah are two totally different gods is non-existent unless their basic vibration or color is also totally different. A God of love, dynamic and powerful enough to create this universe and sustain our hearts is the same God for all of humanity no matter what our limited intelligence gives as a name. A God of violence, ruthless enough to ravage the innocent and destroy the hopes of the suffering is also the same God for all of humanity. We align ourselves with these forces in a thousand ways every day. When we pass over - the truth comes out.
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so, i think the shias are just blain stupid, seriously i wont even count them as real muslims, especially their relegious leaders, and also their actions that are totaly wrong, one example is them hitting them self for someone who have died earlier, i always ask my self, why dont they hit them self in the date muhamad died on? second example is that they do not follow the sharea, which is the guidance from muhamad's actions and his followers (sahaba), and another questions pops up, if they only learn islam from the quran, then where does it say that salaht athohr is 4 rakas? and just another example is the facts of them traveling to visits shrines other than the 3 allowed, seriously, muhamad said do not travel to any shrine other than the ones in maka, madina, and kods, but no they travel to all those imams and they go to their shrines for some reason!
any way i have a lot of things about their wrong actions but they are totaly to much for me to write and for you to read, hopefully they will wakeup one day and understand some of their wronge actions, inshallah
and aslam 3la man itaba3a alhoda
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One time ago,I almost embrace Islam but when I watched Islamist terrorists (Al-Qeada & Taliban)slaughterred Late Eugene Armstrong in cold-blooded,multilated bodies of other helpless and innocent victims including Pakistani's soldiers..I give up. These terrorists cited verses from the Quran before they cut their throats and decipated their bodies... I realised that it is not the RIGHT religion to choose.
Now I am VERY happy thatI am NOT a Muslim. Mr.Abd-allah, please do not tell lies or cover up by saying that terrorists are NOT Muslims. They are real Muslims and I understand most of them learned and studied the Quran much more better than you such as Osama Laden..and others.I believe they pray five times a day....They are the real killers in the Middle-East.... Bombed innocent children, elders and more...Some Imans and extremist Muslims declare ,'if you kill the 'Kafirs'(Non-Muslims) you can short-cut to Heaven without any question ask...and your graves will be filled with fragrance of good, pleasant smell of flowers automatically..... INSYA'ALLAH'.

To what I have observed till now, when they are more Muslims in one country, they tend to be turmoil or troubles in that country.... as if there are no blessings in those countries. May be Satan is more influencial than Angels....in these countries.

When there are less Muslim in one country, they are really nice, good and caring people because their minds are more opened not like in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Telling you all these because of my long experience with Muslims.
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Just to correct one of the posters above - the difference between Shias and Sunni may seem political in origins, but is as much doctorinal. One of the most important difference is the shiite belief in continuation of 'ijtehad', which allows interpretation and re-interpretation of religious law in modern times. The Sunnis too allowed this initially, but sometime during the Abbasid reign, and inspired by the skeptics such as Imam Ghazali - they closed the doors of rational interpretation.

Another doctrinal difference is the shiite belief in the institution of Imamate - the belief that the Imams were the rightly chosen successors and infalliables. Sunnis have similar reverence for the companions of the Prophet, but they don't consider them Infalliable.So unlike what one ignorant poster has said above - shias believe in following the teachings of Quran as well as the actions of the Prophet (and the Imams), unlike Sunnis - The second Caliph is said to have proclaimed that Quran was sufficient and he needed no other guidance.

Also - a very recent phenomenon is Wahabism. Wahabis consider themselves an offshoot of Sunni Islam, started merely 200 years back and all terrorist activities can be traced back to this virulent sect. So you would never find a shia or sunni engaging in terrorism, but wahabis (also known by some other names such as Ahle-Hadiths and Salafis)
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its simple the shias are mention in the quran as munafics ad they exzited during the time of the prophter and they the shias who killed imaam hussan thats why n mohoram they kill and hurt them selves. get a grib on life Mohammed is the last prophet respact him and remember Ali is not higher then him Ali was or as equal as the oour kalifa who we all respact equaily
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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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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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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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