ANSWERS: 4
  • The schism between Sunni and Shia happened just under 1400 years ago. Basically it was down to a political dispute rather than a theological dispute. Following the death of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), there was a disagreement as to whether the leaders of the faith of Islam should be hereditary or chosen by their peers. As the Prophet had left behind no instructions as to the form of a succession, there was uncertainty over which path to take. The muslims broke into two camps - those that supported hereditary leadership from the relatives of the Prophet (Shia) and those that supported consensus of the people - ie democracy (Sunni) The shia also believe that a certain spiritual attachment was given to the leaders they followed whereas the sunni saw their leaders as more political. Most of the bad blood seems to have occurred following the death of the third Shia Imam - the grandson of the Prophet - at the Battle of Karbala (in present day Iraq) when he and his family and close friends were killed by the forces of the then Sunni Caliph. This day is still commemorated yearly by Shia worldwide as a day of mourning. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_Ashura) In the modern day, there are further minor differences in worship which have developed over time, but the core beliefs are still the same and both Sunni and Shia muslims all perform the yearly Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca together. Today around 13% of Muslims are Shia and 85% are Sunni (out of a total population of around 1.5 Billion people [2004 est from http://www.asoon.org/a-world.htm]). When it comes right down to it though, Sunni or Shia, there's much more in common that there is different. (For more details, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Shi%27a-Sunni_relations) For the record, I'm saying all this from my point of view which, although I consider myself simply as muslim, I acknowledge that my thoughts will be likely more coloured by the majority Sunni view.
  • one believed in the koran written by mohamed's daughters and the others believe in the koran written by his brother is what someone once told me(i think)
  • The difference began in choosing leadership. The conflict is basic human nature... I'M RIGHT! YOU'RE WRONG! NIENER NIENER NIENER!!!

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