The Islamic Faith And The Muslim Faith

1192 Words5 Pages
The Islamic faith is one of the fastest growing religions in the entire world. Along with Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism, it makes up the four major religions of the world. But the followers of Muhammad, or Muslims, are not one big happy religious family. There are actually two predominate groups within the Muslim faith; the Shi’ites and the Sunnis. Early disagreements among Muslims leadership led to the division. The Sunnis and Shi’as have been at odds with each other since the beginning of Islam, and are still warring today. WHY THEY SPLIT After the death of Muhammad in 632 A.D., there was the question of who would follow him in leading the new religion (Transcript: Sunni and Shia, 2016). Some of his followers wanted his son-in-law and close friend, Abu Bakr, to be the leader of the new faith. This group would eventually become the Sunni sect of Islam. They believed when Muhammad was on his death bed, he told Abu Bakr to take over leadership when he died. The majority of the Muslims were in favor of Bakr. He became the caliph, or temporal leader, in 632 A.D. (Kreis, 2006). However, those opposed to Bakr’s leadership instead favored Muhammad’s son-in-law, Ali. According to the BBC article, “they understood that the Prophet had appointed him as the sole interpreter of his legacy, in both political and spiritual terms” (BBC, 2009). It is believed that after Muhammad’s final pilgrimage, he took the hand of his son-in-law in front of all those present and said that those who follow him should also follow Ali, thus giving him a claim to leadership. These followers became known as Shi’as, which is a contraction for Shiat Ali, or “partisans of Ali” (BBC, 2009). Although Abu Bakr was initially given the role of leader, Ali ... ... middle of paper ... ...s over religious practices and how to worship Allah. All of this has, over time, created a lot of anger and hatred for each other and has allowed for centuries of war between these two Islamic groups. Each group claims to be faithful followers of Allah. CLOSING After centuries of war and hatred between the Sunnis and the Shiites, not only have Muslims been affected but many others around the world have as well. Both groups have spawned terrorists and terrorist groups who have killed thousands of innocent people (Taylor, 2015). A lot of the fighting has happened in densely populated cities which has resulted in mass casualties. It is quite fascinating to see how a group of people, who believe basically the same thing, can differ so broadly and so radically in their interpretation of their beliefs.
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