The World of Islam
Today we do hear lots of happenings and news in the World of Islam, however, not many of us know much about what this complex religion is all about. The regions where Islam is practiced are filled with hot spots of sectarian tensions that lead to constant violence and even radicalism. The sectarian tensions are attributed to the ancient schism that occurred in 632AD once the unanimously accepted prophet, Muhammad, died and disagreements between who the following successor should be escalated. The Schism resulted in two different sects; Sunni Muslims and Shi’ite or Shia Muslims. Although there are many doctrinal differences between the two sects, there still are many shared views and common beliefs. One of the primary shared views is that of the belief in the Five Pillars of Islam.
The main differences between the Sunni and Shi’ite branches of Islam are how the leaders of Islam be selected- merit versus bloodline, the concept of the Imamate, Intercession between the Allah and human beings, Matters not addressed by Koran, Paradise and Hell on the Day of Judgment, and the Role and Status of Present-Day Imams. When Muhammad died in 632 AD, he did not appoint a successor, so Majlis al-Shura, an assembly of knowledgeable advisors, selected Abu Bakras as the first Caliph, this represented the eventual Sunni view that leaders of the Islam faith should be appointed by piety and merit, where as the Shi’ite branch believed that Caliphs should be blood related to Muhammad. The small opposition became known as the first Shi’ite Muslims, they believed Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, who married his daughter Fatima, should be the next Caliph. The Concept of the Imamate was another difference in which the Shi’ite believed the 12 Imams inherited their positions as the exclusive leaders of the Muslims through the authority of the Prophet Muhammad divine ordination. The next difference has to do with Intercession between Allah and human beings;...
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