Islam: Islam and Sunni V. s. Shiite Essay

Submitted By slamp34
Words: 990
Pages: 4

Alex Salinas

Sunni V.S. Shiite

Islam is one of the major religions in the world. One fourth of the world’s religion is Islam, which also is one of the fastest growing religions in the world. Islam is a monotheistic religion characterized by the acceptance of the doctrine of submission to God and to Muhammad as the chief and last prophet of God. There are two major denominations under Islam, which are Sunni and Shia, or Shi’ite. It is believed that about 85 to 90 percent of Islam is Sunni, while the Shia only makes up about 10 percent of Islam. Although, the Sunni and the Shia share the main articles of Islamic beliefs and are considered by most to be brethren in faith, there has been conflict stemming between the two since the creation of the religion in the year 632. The conflict that exists in Islam today is between the Sunni and the Shia and that is due to historical issues and current issues that have arisen between both denominations. These issues have caused a great deal of conflicts which have led to unfortunate violence between both sects, the Sunni and the Shia.
One of the conflicts that exist in Islam today between the Sunni and the Shia is due to historical issues between both denominations. The split between Islam’s two main branches, the Sunni and the Shiites, began when Muhammad died in 632. His fellowers argued over who would be the callph (successor). Some favored the prophel’s cousin and son-in-law All, but others said he was too young. Within 25 years the dispute tumed to all-out war, and the schism became permanent (Newsweek, 2006). Many believe that this event was the first sign of conflict to arise under Islam. The different belief of who should take over the leadership of the Muslim nation resulted in the formation of the two major denominations under Islam, which were the Sunni, and the Shia. The word "Sunni" in Arabic comes from the meaning "one who follows the traditions of the Prophet", while the word "Shia" in Arabic means “a group or supportive party of people.” So the historical issue that has caused major conflict between the Sunni and the Shia is that the Sunnis believed there was no rightful successor and one should be elected, while the Shia Muslims believed Mohammed's cousin should have been his successor. Another one of the conflicts that exist in Islam today between the Sunni and the Shia is due to the current issues that have arisen between both denominations. Over the past centuries, the Sunni and the Shia had managed to often live in peace with one another, but current issues have taken its toll between both denominations. The clash between Sunni and Shia Muslims across the Arab world is already the greatest single cause of strife around the globe. It is taking place within countries and between countries (Chehab, 2007). The two main countries where the conflict is taking place are in Iraq and Iran. Iran with a population of 70 million is a mostly-dominant Shia-ruled state, while Iraq, with a population of 27 million, in which 60 percent is Shia and the other 40 percent, is Sunni, is in complete disarray after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Why are the Shi'ites and Sunnis fighting? Why now? There are several explanations for the timing of the outbreak of hostilities, each tied to a particular interpretation of how events unfolded after the fall of Saddam Hussein: flawed American postwar policies, provocation by foreign jihadis, retaliation by militias like al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, the ineptitude of Iraqi politicians and, lately, Iranian interference (Ghosh, 2007). But these are not the reasons why Sunnis and the Shia are in conflict, it is much bigger than that. It is the product of…