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How did Islam split into Shiite and Sunni sects? How do their practises differ?

Poster: STANCOBRIDGE | Date: 5:57pm, 12th Feb 2018. | Views: 30 | 1 Replies
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STANCOBRIDGE. Jalingo, Taraba
5:57pm, 12th Feb 2018.


"Always be on the side of the oppressed" Follower of the authentic Message (Original Islam) by choice, afte...

219w ago

The split came when Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) had not even breathed his last, contrary to what some orientalists and so-called experts write.

For anyone interested in this topic I recommend this book: “The Brother of the Prophet Mohammad” by Mohammad Jawad Chirri.  It provides dozens of Sunni references to back up facts.

On his death bed Prophet Mohammad asked to write his will but Umar ibn-al Khattab (2nd Caliph for Sunni Muslims) objected and accused the Prophet of deliring:
See narration attributed to Ibn 'Abbas recorded by both schools of thought (Shia and Sunni) :

"When   Allah's Apostle was on his death-bed and in the house there were some people   among whom was 'Umar bin Al-Khattab, the Prophet said, "Come, let me   write for you a statement after which you will not go astray." 'Umar   said, "The Prophet is seriously ill and you have the Qur'an; so the Book   of Allah is enough for us." The people present in the house differed and   quarrelled. Some said "Go near so that the Prophet may write for you a   statement after which you will not go astray," while the others said as   Umar said. When they caused a hue and cry before the Prophet, Allah's Apostle   said, "Go away!" Narrated 'Ubaidullah: Ibn 'Abbas used to say,   "It was very unfortunate that Allah's Apostle was prevented from writing   that statement for them because of their disagreement and noise."

see wikipedia for references for above hadith.

The Prophet wanted to put in writing what he had told people orally in his last sermon in Ghadeer Qum. See hadith of the pond of Qum below.

Event of Saqifa
When the Prophet died, while Ali Ibn Abu Talib was busy attending to the ritual washing of the body, the rest of the people rushed to a place called Saqifa where they disputed who had more right to become the successor with complete disregard for Prophet Mohammad’s orders in Ghadeer Qum (see below). 
The Ansars (people of Medina ) disputed with people of Mecca each claiming they had more right. Then Umar ibn al-Khattab out of the blue put his hand in Abu Baker’s  hand and swore allegiance to him (having completely disregard that in Ghadeer Qum he was the first to swear allegiance to Ali Ibn Abu Talib). 
So there was not vote and Ali Ibn Abu Talib was not present in Saqifa.

The farewell pilgrimage
A few months before his demise, Prophet Muhammad, living in the city of Medina, made his exclusive religious pilgrimage to Mecca in a trip referred to as The Farewell Pilgrimage. There, atop Mount Arafat, he addressed the Muslim masses in what came to be known as The Farewell Sermon. After completion of the Hajj, or religious pilgrimage, Muhammad turned back towards his home in Medina.
On the way back, the below Qur'anic verse was revealed:

“O Messenger! Make known that which hath been revealed unto thee from thy Lord, for if thou do it not, thou wilt not have conveyed His message. Allah will protect thee from mankind.”[
Quran 5:67 (Translated by Pickthall)

following which Prophet Muhammad stopped at the pond of Khumm and delivered a sermon. 
See Hadith of the pond of Khumm

Here are the Sunni references confirming that the revelation of the above verse
of Quran was right before the speech of Prophet in Ghadir Khum:

(1) Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhr al-Razi, under commentary of verse 5:67,
    v12, pp 49-50, narrated on the authorities of Ibn Abbas, al-Bara Ibn
    Azib, and Muhammad Ibn Ali.
(2) Asbab al-Nuzool, by al-Wahidi, p50, narrated on the authorities of
    Atiyyah and Abu Sa'id al Khudri.
(3) Nuzul al-Quran, by al-Hafiz Abu Nu'aym narrated on the authorities

    Abu Sa'id Khudri and Abu Rafi.
(4) al-Fusool al Muhimmah, by Ibn Sabbagh al-Maliki al-Makki, p24
(5) Durr al-Manthur, by al-Hafiz al-Suyuti, under commentary of verse 5:67
(6) Fathul Qadir, by al-Shawkani, under commentary of verse 5:67
(7) Fathul Bayan, by Hasan Khan, under commentary of verse 5:67
(8) Shaykh Muhi al-Din al-Nawawi, under commentary of verse 5:67
(9) al-Sirah al-Halabiyah, by Noor al-Din al-Halabi, v3, p301
(10) Umdatul Qari fi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, by al-Ayni
(11) Tafsir al-Nisaboori, v6, p194
(12) and many more such as Ibn Mardawayh, etc...

 The last sentence in the above verse indicates that the Prophet (SAWS) was mindful of the reaction of his people in delivering that message but Allah informs him not to worry, for He will protect His Messenger from people.

The Semon

Upon receiving the verse, the Prophet stopped on that place (the pond of Khum) which was extremely hot. Then he sent for all people who havebeen ahead in the way, to come back and waited until all pilgrims who fellbehind, arrived and gathered. He ordered Salman (RA) to use rocks and cameltoolings to make a pulpit (minbar) so he could make his announcement. Itwas around noon time in the first of the Fall, and due to the extreme heatin that valley, people were wrapping their robes around their feet andlegs, and were sitting around the pulpit, on the hot rocks. On this day the Messenger of Allah spent approximately five ours in thisplace; three hours of which he was on the pulpit. He recited nearly onehundred verses from The Glorious Quran, and for seventy three timesreminded and warned people of their deeds and future. Then he gave them along speech. The following is a part of his speech which has been widely narrated by the Sunni traditionists:  

"It seems the time approached when I shall be called away (by Allah) and I shall answer that call. I am for you two precious things and if you adhere both of them, you will never go astray after me. They are the Book of Allah and my     progeny, that is my Ahlul-Bayt. The two shall never separate from each other until they come to me by the Pool (of Paradise)."

Then the Messenger of Allah continued:

"Do I not have more right over the believers than what they have over themselves?"  People cried and answered: "Yes, O' Messenger of God." Then Prophet held up the hand of Ali and said: "Whoever I am his leader (Mawla), Ali is his leader (Mawla). O' God, love those who love him, and be hostile to     those who are hostile to him."

Some of the Sunni references were above can be found:

(1) Sahih Tirmidhi, v2, p298, v5, p63
(2) Sunan Ibn Maja, v1, pp 12,43
(3) Khasa'is, by al-Nisa'i, pp 4,21
(4) al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v2, p129, v3, pp 109-110,116,371
(5) Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v1, pp 84,118,119,152,330, v4, pp 281,368,370,    372,378, v5, pp 35,347,358,361,366,419 (from 40 chains of narrators)

and tens more sources which you can find on this site:www.

The Shia account for 1/3 , 1/4 of the world Muslim population (1.7 billion). 
The majority of the Shias belong to the Ithna Ashari school of thought (also called Ja'farite School). 
Imam Jaffar Al-Sadiq (6th Imam for Shias) was the teacher of the Sunni Imams founders of the Four Sunni schools of thought 
See wikepedia for more on him .

The differences between the two groups are minor the main difference is in wilayat.

NOTE: THE HANDFUL OF PEOPLE WHO HURRIED TO SAQEEFA TO FIGHT OVER THE LEADERSHIP (LEAVING ALI ALONE TO TAKE CARE OF RITUAL WASHING OF THE PROPHET'S BODY) HAD ALL SWORN ALLIANCE TO ALI JUST A FEW MONTHS BEFORE AT GHADEER QUM. THIS IS RECORDED IN SUNNI BOOKS!



Brian Dunlap

I work on a series of tubes.

In terms of backstory - and so touching on the origins of it, rather than many of the modern day elements to their differences - the year 632 AD (11 AH) is where it all begins. 

It was in that year the prophet Muhammed died, and a schism came about as 2 main groups of Muslims disputed who should succeed Muhammed as leader of the Muslim community. 

One group supported the ascension of Abu Bakr - a friend of Muhammed's, and father of his wife Aisha - to leader (caliph).  This group supporting Abu Bakr and his method of selection as leader became the Sunnis.

Another group - who became the Shiites - was opposed to Abu Bakr's becoming caliph after Muhammed's death (and the method through which he was chosen), and instead believed Muhammed's son-in-law/cousin, Ali ibn Abi Talib, should succeed him as caliph;

Abu Bakr and Ali ibn Abi Talib represent more than just themselves in this split; the manner and method of their being designated the rightful successors to Muhammed are at the root of the dispute, as well.  While Sunnis believed the Quran endorsed a public consensus in who should be caliph, the Shiites believed such a decision was ordained by Muhammed himself and even commanded by God - not a matter of public consensus among Muslims, but God's command alone and, to an extent, divine right.

Things continued to diverge from there, and many caliphs that came after Abu Bakr (who did manage to become the first caliph after Muhammed) continued to be sources of conflict and disputes.  The roles of imams, various religious practices and interpretations and more are also areas in which Shiites and Sunnis disagree.  But as far as how the split originated and where it first arose, Muhammad's death in 632 was essentially the start.



Shahid Zaidi

I am interested in reading books about Prophets since childhood

Human-Beings by Nature are impatient, emotional, tendency to envy with their fellow being, courteous, blood related love, tribal affiliation, continue to follow rituals of forefathers, helpful, short memory, nearsightedness, courageous, intelligent, to keep record of events for improvements by coming generation.

As human mind evolve, Creator sent in His representatives to keep His best creation in following right path, whether they kept or not is for us to see.

All Knowing Allah sent in 1,24000 of His Prophets (least number recorded), 25 Prophets names recorded in Holy Qur’an out of them 5 names are before Abraham then his two sons Ismael, Issac and he himself = 3, from time to time 17 names coming from Issac, total comes to 25 Great Prophets, while reading Bible the King James Version in O.T. very 1st book Genesis 17:20. “And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee;

Note: Looks clear that Prophet Abraham foretold about value and importance of his son Issac from his 1st wife Sarah so he prayed for Ishmael his son from 2nd wife Hagar (married her on request by Sarah 1st wife of Abraham as they were issue-less for decades.) Above verse in Bible is confusing as two sentences mention show ‘prayer accepted’ later on show not but MIRACLE word ‘TWELVE’ remains.

Had name of last Prophet Muhammad not removed, I believe religion of His favorite nation of Bunu Israel as Prophet Jacob known, would have stayed ‘till Day of Judgement’ as Final coming Prophet known as ‘Blessing for the Worlds’ would have strengthened same like Prophet Jesus Christ did try but in vain, had success means for making World peaceful and not to be divided in various religion. We see otherwise, and World is divided, now can be seen as history.

With human nature discussed earlier people of Mecca were too much prone to ‘tribal system.’ And still are so sectionalism is must.

Now coming to 12 Imams/Prince, only one sect among all Muslims recognize.

Prophet Muhammad waited for 40 years only for 1st Imam Ali to grow to legal age at that time to second him, and help Prophet assume his responsibilities all happen by ‘Will of Allah’ before also Prophet Moses requested for his brother Prophet Aaron, and now Prophet Muhammad (s) requested.

Even during life-time of Prophet Muhammad, 4 major groups existed and only one led by Imam Ali prepare his followers for Next World. All other 3 groups happy with nearsightedness but all 4 groups were prefix with word ‘Shia.’ of so and so.

Caliph Mansoor from Bunu Abbas belonging to Hashmi Tribe being a Shia of Ali himself coined the word ‘Sunni’ this proves Shia Islam = Sunni Islam, still sects remaining in Islam like have in other religions as well.

Question arises why he coined this word as understood that all groups may be or may not be (hypocrites) though prefix word ‘Shia’ yet following Sunah of Rasool, since Imam Ali(a) being closest in fact adopted by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself and proved himself worthy of it, his father known in history as Abu Talib, uncle of the Prophet and also his guardian, alas! all Muslims do not give him respect as he deserves.

And father of Imam Ali, certainly blessing for Prophet Mohammad (s) & Imam Ali (a) and well deserve honor for his father from Almighty Allah subhan a Ho tala, for given most important responsibility as ‘guardian for Prophet and ‘father’ for Imam, this is fact and can not be denied.

This shows as written above that ‘Shia=Sunni’ are same, difference, is only in understanding and that too due to politics, as disturbed by outside and inside forces who have no idea of ‘DAY OF JUDGEMENT.’

My advise is now to prepare for ‘Final World’ as ‘End of Time’ already set in.

By reading Qur’an we find, coming of Prophet Muhammad (s) attains reality as since then “Day of Judgement” ascertain, ref: chapter 54. Al Qamar, 1st verse. 1) ‘The hour has come near and the moon is rent asunder.’

Note: Miracle of parting of moon in to two is establish fact, believe it or not, for here detail not needed as this issue happen with Jews asking questions from Prophet Muhammad (s)



Nancy Shehata

Muslim for 23 years.

Salaam Alaikum / Hello.

Way back in the early days of Islam, immediately following the death of Prophet Muhammad, may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him, this split opened up.  Initially this was purely a "political" difference; both sides were Muslim and they all followed the same teachings. 

Those whom we now call "Sunni" believed that the leadership of the entire Muslim populace should fall to the person who was most qualified, that being the person who was both most pious and talented at governing.  Those who called themselves the "Shi'at Ali", or "Party of Ali" (shortened over time to Shi'a) felt that the leadership of all Muslims should be hereditary and fall to a direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad, may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him.  They wanted the first Khalifah (leader) to be Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, who was the cousin of the Prophet and also his son-in-law.  They then felt that the line of succession should go through him and his sons, Hassan and Hussein, may Allah be pleased with them.  The Sunni position prevailed, and a dear Companion of Muhammad, pbuh, Abu Bakr as Siddiq, was proclaimed to be the first Khalifah, followed by Umar ibn al Khattab, Uthmaan ibn Affan, and then Ali, may Allah be pleased with them.

This split continued to widen over time and due to outside influences, the once "political" split changed as the Shi'ites developed a religious tradition much different from Sunni Islam.  Indeed, there are many beliefs in some, not all, Shi'ite sects (Shi'ism itself having split into many subsets), that they can no longer be considered Muslim at all.

About 85% of Muslims are Sunni with the rest being various sects of Shi'as.  Sunni Islam is the normative form of Islam and any other groups who claim to be Muslim must have their teachings compared to Sunni Islam to see how they stand up.

This is a controversial subject and you will hear many varied opinions but according to the Qur'an and the Sunnah (traditions of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh), the Sunni point of view is the correct one.  And Allah knows best.



Mahdi Hussainiani

Albeit Shia have been before the demise of Prophet Muhammad, (and actually there are narrations that e.g. the Prophet have positive speech about Shias …), but its explicit diverged shape seem to be relevant to after the demise of the Prophet.

In short:

In most main items, Shia/Sunni are the same, their main different is that:

Shia Islam, based on submitted available evidences, declare that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) appointed Ali (a.s.) as his successor as the divine order.

But about Sunni Islam, actually (when the Prophet passed away, and while Imam Ali was busy of burying the Prophet) some of Muslims went to a place and they selected Abu-bakr as the first caliph after being severe conflict between themselves. (But, I strongly believe that the issue of the Prophet succession is not like the issue of elections of president that some or many individuals select someone as the successor of the messenger of Allah, and logically the Prophet as the apostle of Allah (rationally) was appointed his successor as a divine order, as Shia Islam have submitted many evidences for that, for example (as related matters, about the evidences) read the following links/sources:



Jim Gordon

iconoclast, thinker outside of boxes, seeker of novelty, bibliophile, gastronome

The split between the two main branches of Islam is nearly 1,400 
years old, and started with a fight over who should lead the faithful 
after the prophet Muhammad's death in 632. One side believed that direct 
 descendants of the prophet should take up the mantle of the caliph – 
the leader of the world's faithful. They were known as the Shiat-Ali, or 
 "partisans of Ali," after the prophet's cousin and son-in-law Ali, whom 
 they favored to become caliph. In time, they came simply to be known as 
 Shiites.

The other side, the Sunnis, thought that any worthy man 
could lead the faithful, regardless of lineage, and favored Abu Bakr, an 
 early convert to Islam who had married into Muhammad's family. "Sunni" 
is derived from the Arab word for "followers" and is shorthand for 
"followers of the prophet."   < http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0117/p25s01-wome.html>



Aashrai Arun

I search history, trying to understand humans better

The split happened in many phases although the event of Karbala was a key catalyst. When the prophet Muhammad died, the infamous succession crisis broke out. When the first caliphate under the rashidun caliphs reached its end upon Ali's death, the Karbala battle created a schism in the Islamic community.

Many splinter groups began forming, some of which established themselves as rulers such as the idrisiyyah family of shias. By the height of the Umayyad era, must of these groups found a common banner to group under - that of Ali's ideology. These groups organized themselves in various regions where the people resented Umayyad rule. They eventually supported the Abbasid revolution.

Upon the Abbasid ascent, shia Muslims began to gain strength in the lands east of the zagros although the governors there were still sunni. In north Iran and khurasan, many local lords and landowners with shia sentiments began to come to power in the 10th and 11th centuries. This was the second phase of the split where it began to gain an Iranian identity.

One must be mindful that various failed rebellions against the Arab governors had been attempted by local Iranians including Zoroastrian Iranians. They increasingly found sympathy with the shia camp. As the era of the crusades began, the shias in the west Arab world were mostly suppressed and removed by stronger sunni rulers.

The paradox was that all the while, shia Islam gained strength at the grassroots while sunni  Islam remained the officially accepted form of Islam. The Mongol era halted any attempts at doctrinal reformation owing to the devastation and socio political trauma it caused.
However, it was only when the mongol era passed into the era of the safavids that shah Ismail safavi used centuries of nurtured shia Islam into a powerful political tool. This was in my view the last and final phase of the split and foundation of a modern Iranian non sunni  identity within the Islamic world.



Mohammad Ali

works at Iran
Concise answer:
It is related to the order of the Prophet regarding who his successor is, as Shia (search here about Shia: Free Islamic Books by Scholars. Browse 1000+ resources | Al-Islam.org ) present the evidence that the Prophet choose Imam Ali as his successor, but Sunni don't think so, and they choose the successor in a meeting..

As a detailed answer, I prefer the answer of Kawthar Abdullah as remarked:

The split came when Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) had not even breathed his last, contrary to what some orientalists and so-called experts write.

For anyone interested in this topic I recommend this book: “The Brother of the Prophet Mohammad” by Mohammad Jawad Chirri.  It provides dozens of Sunni references to back up facts.

On his death bed Prophet Mohammad asked to write his will but Umar ibn-al Khattab (2nd Caliph for Sunni Muslims) objected and accused the Prophet of deliring:

Seenarration attributed to Ibn 'Abbas recorded by both schools of thought (Shia and Sunni) :

"When  Allah's Apostle was on his death-bed and in the house there were some people  among whom was 'Umar bin Al-Khattab, the Prophet said, "Come, let me  write for you a statement after which you will not go astray." 'Umar  said, "The Prophet is seriously ill and you have the Qur'an; so the Book  of Allah is enough for us." The people present in the house differed and  quarrelled. Some said "Go near so that the Prophet may write for you a  statement after which you will not go astray," while the others said as  Umar said. When they caused a hue and cry before the Prophet, Allah's Apostle  said, "Go away!" Narrated 'Ubaidullah: Ibn 'Abbas used to say,  "It was very unfortunate that Allah's Apostle was prevented from writing  that statement for them because of their disagreement and noise."

see wikipedia for references for above hadith.

The Prophet wanted to put in writing what he had told people orally in his last sermon in Ghadeer Qum. See hadith of the pond of Qum below.

Event of Saqifa

When the Prophet died, while Ali Ibn Abu Talib was busy attending to the ritual washing of the body, the rest of the people rushed to a place called Saqifa where they disputed who had more right to become the successor with complete disregard for Prophet Mohammad’s orders in Ghadeer Qum (see below).

The Ansars (people of Medina ) disputed with people of Mecca each claiming they had more right. Then Umar ibn al-Khattab out of the blue put his hand in Abu Baker’s  hand and swore allegiance to him (having completely disregard that in Ghadeer Qum he was the first to swear allegiance to Ali Ibn Abu Talib).

So there was not vote and Ali Ibn Abu Talib was not present in Saqifa.

The farewell pilgrimage

A few months before his demise, Prophet Muhammad, living in the city of Medina, made his exclusive religious pilgrimage to Mecca in a trip referred to as The Farewell Pilgrimage. There, atop Mount Arafat, he addressed the Muslim masses in what came to be known as The Farewell Sermon. After completion of the Hajj, or religious pilgrimage, Muhammad turned back towards his home in Medina.

On the way back, the below Qur'anic verse was revealed:

“O Messenger! Make known that which hath been revealed unto thee from thy Lord, for if thou do it not, thou wilt not have conveyed His message. Allah will protect thee from mankind.”[

following which Prophet Muhammad stopped at the pond of Khumm and delivered a sermon.

Here are the Sunni references confirming that the revelation of the above verse

of Quran was right before the speech of Prophet in Ghadir Khum:

(1) Tafsir al-Kabir, by Fakhr al-Razi, under commentary of verse 5:67,

  v12, pp 49-50, narrated on the authorities of Ibn Abbas, al-Bara Ibn

  Azib, and Muhammad Ibn Ali.

(2) Asbab al-Nuzool, by al-Wahidi, p50, narrated on the authorities of

  Atiyyah and Abu Sa'id al Khudri.

(3) Nuzul al-Quran, by al-Hafiz Abu Nu'aym narrated on the authorities

  Abu Sa'id Khudri and Abu Rafi.

(4) al-Fusool al Muhimmah, by Ibn Sabbagh al-Maliki al-Makki, p24

(5) Durr al-Manthur, by al-Hafiz al-Suyuti, under commentary of verse 5:67

(6) Fathul Qadir, by al-Shawkani, under commentary of verse 5:67

(7) Fathul Bayan, by Hasan Khan, under commentary of verse 5:67

(8) Shaykh Muhi al-Din al-Nawawi, under commentary of verse 5:67

(9) al-Sirah al-Halabiyah, by Noor al-Din al-Halabi, v3, p301

(10) Umdatul Qari fi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, by al-Ayni

(11) Tafsir al-Nisaboori, v6, p194

(12) and many more such as Ibn Mardawayh, etc...

The last sentence in the above verse indicates that the Prophet (SAWS) was mindful of the reaction of his people in delivering that message but Allah informs him not to worry, for He will protect His Messenger from people.

The Semon

Upon receiving the verse, the Prophet stopped on that place (the pond of Khum) which was extremely hot. Then he sent for all people who havebeen ahead in the way, to come back and waited until all pilgrims who fellbehind, arrived and gathered. He ordered Salman (RA) to use rocks and cameltoolings to make a pulpit (minbar) so he could make his announcement. Itwas around noon time in the first of the Fall, and due to the extreme heatin that valley, people were wrapping their robes around their feet andlegs, and were sitting around the pulpit, on the hot rocks. On this day the Messenger of Allah spent approximately five ours in thisplace; three hours of which he was on the pulpit. He recited nearly onehundred verses from The Glorious Quran, and for seventy three timesreminded and warned people of their deeds and future. Then he gave them along speech. The following is a part of his speech which has been widely narrated by the Sunni traditionists: 

"It seems the time approached when I shall be called away (by Allah) and I shall answer that call. I am for you two precious things and if you adhere both of them, you will never go astray after me. They are the Book of Allah and my  progeny, that is my Ahlul-Bayt. The two shall never separate from each other until they come to me by the Pool (of Paradise)."

Then the Messenger of Allah continued:

"Do I not have more right over the believers than what they have over themselves?"  People cried and answered: "Yes, O' Messenger of God." Then Prophet held up the hand of Ali and said: "Whoever I am his leader (Mawla), Ali is his leader (Mawla). O' God, love those who love him, and be hostile to  those who are hostile to him."

Some of the Sunni references were above can be found:

(1) Sahih Tirmidhi, v2, p298, v5, p63

(2) Sunan Ibn Maja, v1, pp 12,43

(3) Khasa'is, by al-Nisa'i, pp 4,21

(4) al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v2, p129, v3, pp 109-110,116,371

(5) Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v1, pp 84,118,119,152,330, v4, pp 281,368,370,  372,378, v5, pp 35,347,358,361,366,419 (from 40 chains of narrators)

and tens more sources which you can find on this site:www.

The Shia account for 1/3 , 1/4 of the world Muslim population (1.7 billion).

The majority of the Shias belong to the Ithna Ashari school of thought (also called Ja'farite School).

Imam Jaffar Al-Sadiq (6th Imam for Shias) was the teacher of the Sunni Imams founders of the Four Sunni schools of thought

See wikepedia for more on him .

The differences between the two groups are minor the main difference is in wilayat.

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