Shiite Islam
Sunni Islam
History of Islam

Why are Shiites different from Sunnis?

Answer

Wiki User
05/04/2014

shiah believed in five principles such as prophecy , divine unity , ressurrection , imamah or successors of the prophet and divine justice . it is only in the imamah and divine justice that shia and sunni differ . in the question of the imamate , it is the insistence on the esoteric function of the imam that distinguishes the shiite perspective from the sunni .

in the question of justice it is the emphasis upon this attribute as an intrinsic qualiquality of the divine natture that is particular to shiism . we might say that in the esoteric formulation of Sunni theology,especialy as contained in Ash arism , there is an emphasis upon the will of God.whatever god will is just precisly because it is willed by god . and intelligence is a sense subordinated to this will and to the voluntarism which characterizes this form of theology.

in shiism the quality of justice is considered as innate to the divine nature .god cannot act in an unjust manner because it is his nature to be just .fa , him to be unjust would violate his own nature , Which is impossible .intelligence can judge the justness and unjustness of an act and this judgment is not completely suspended in favor of a pure voluntarism on the part of god . hence there is a greater emphasis upon intelligence in shiite theology and great enphasis upon will in scorn kalam ,or theology , at least in predominant asharite school .

shiism also differs sunnusm in its consideration of the means whereby the original message of the Quranic revelation reached the islamic community and thereby in certain aspects of the sacred history of Islam .there is no disagreement on the Quran and the prophet ., that is , on what constitutes the origin of the islamic religion .the difference in view begins in the period immediately following the death of the prophet .one might say that the personality of the prophet contained two dimensions which later to become crystallized into Sunnism and Shiism .each of these two schools was later to reflect back upon the life and the personality of the prophet solely from its own point of view ,thus living aside and forgetting and misconstruing the other dimension ecluded from its own perspective .for shiism the dry(in the alchemical sense) and austere aspect of the prophets personality as reflected in his successors in the Sunni world was equated with worldliness while his warm and compassionate dimension was emphasized as his whole personality and as the essence of the nature of the immams who were considered to be a continuation of him .for the vast majority of the islamic community the companions of the prophet represent the prophet's heritage and the channel through which his messge was transmitted to later generations .within the early community the companions occupied a favored position and among them the first four caliphs stood out as a distinct group .it is through the companions that the saying( Hadith ) and the manner of the living ( sunnah )of the prophet were transmited to the second generations of Muslims . shiism however concentrating on the question of the wilayah and insisting on the esoteric content of the prophetic message , saw in the Ali and the household of the prophet (ahi al -bayt),in its shiiate sense the sole channel through which the original message og islam was transmitted , although , paradoxically enough the majorty of descendants of the prophet beong to Sunnism and continue to do so untill today.

he friends and followers of Ali believed that after the death of prophet, the caliphate and religious authority belonged to ALI. this belief came from consideration of Ali's position and station in relation to the prophet , his relation to the chosen among the companions , as well as his relation to muslim as general.

it was only the events that occurred during the few days of the prophet final illness that indicated that there was opposition to their view, contrary expectation, at the very moment when the prophet died and his body lay still unburied while his household and a few companion occupied with for his burial and funeral services , the friend and followers of Ali received news of the activity of another group who had gone to the mosque where community where gathered faced with this sudden loss of its leader.

this group ,Which was later ti form the majority , set forth in great haste to select a caliph for the muslim with the aims of the ensuring the welfare of the community and solving its immediate problems. they did this without consulting the household of the prophet , his relatives or many of his friends who were busy with funeral and without providing them with the least information. thus Ali and his companions were presented with a fait accompli .

Ali and his friends such as Abbas , Zubayr , Salman . Abu Dharr , Meghdad and Ammar, after finishing with the burial of the body of the prophet became aware of the proceedings by which the caliph had been selected . they proteted against the act of choosing the caliph by consultation or election , and also against those who were responsible for carrying it out.

they even presented their own proofs and arguments but the answer they received was that the welare of the muslims was at sake and the solution lay in what had been done.it was this protest and criticism which separated from the majority the minority that were following Ali and made his followers known to society as the partisans or shiah of Ali . the caliphate of the time was anxious to guard against this appellation being given to the Shiite minority and thus to have muslim society divided into sections comprised of a majority and a minority .

THE supporters of the caliph considered the caliphate to be a matter of the consensus of the community , and called those who objected the opponents of allegiance . they claimed that the shiiah stood, therefore opposed to muslim society .sometimes the shiiah were given other pejorative and degrading names.

shiism was condemn from the first moment because of the political situation of the time and thus it couild not accomplish anything through mere political protest.

Ali in order to safeguard the well-being of islam and the muslims and also because of lack of sufficient political and military power did not endeavor to begin an uprising aganst the existing political order which would have been of a bloody nature . yet those who proteted against the established caliphate refused to surrender to the majority in certain questions of faith and continued to hold that the succession to the prophet and the religious authority belonged by right to Ali. they believed all spiritual and religious matters should be refered to him and invited people to becime his followers.

all in all we can categorize these difference into two levels:one level lies in principles and other in interpreting of Quran .

first level:the five principles of religion as stated by shiism include:tawhid or belief in divine unity,nubuwwah or prophecy,maad or ressurrection,imamah or the immamate:belief in the imams as successors of the prophet and Adl or Divine justice.in the Three bsic principles -unity, prophecy and resurrection-Suunnism and shiism agree.it ts only in the other two that they differ. in the question of the imamate it is the insistence on the esoteric function of of the imam that distingushes the shiites perspective from the Sunni.in the question of Justice it is the emphasis placed upon this attribute as an intrinsic quality of the divine nature that is particular to shiism.we might say that in the esotericformulation of Sunni theology,especially as contained in Asharism there is an emphasis upon the will of god .whatever god will is just precisely because it is willed by God.and intelligence is in a sense subordinate to this will and to the voluntarism which characterizes this form of theology.in shiism however , the quality of justice is considered as innate to the Divine Nature..God can not act in n unjust manner because it is His nature to be just.Fa,him to be unjust would violate His own nature,which is impossible.intelligence can judge the justness and injustness of an act and this judgment is not completely suspended in favor of a pure voluntarism on the part of God.

second level:shiism also different in its consideration of the means whereby the original message of Quranic revelation reached the islamic community and thereby in certain aspects of the sacred history of islam.there is no disagreement on the Quran and the prophet.that is,on what constitutes the origin of the islamic religion.the difference in view begins with the period immediately following the death of the prophet.one might say that the personality of the prophet contained two dimensions which were later to become crystallized into Suunism and Shiism.each of this two schools was later to reflect bck upon the life and personality of the prophet solely from its own point of view,thus leaving aside and forgetting or miscinstruing the other ddimension excluded from its own perspective.for shiism the dry (in the alchemical sense) and austere aspect of the pesonality as reflected in his successors in the Sunni world was equated with worliness.while his warm and compassionate dimevsion was emphasized as his whole personality and as the essence of the nature of the imams,who were considered to be a continuation.