Islam: Sunni and Shi’a are branches of a big tree called Islam
-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
The enemies of Islam as we see today across the globe where even states are engaged themselves in the killing of Muslims; They very tactfully use Sunni people against fellow Shi’a people, getting them killed in thousands and millions while many Muslim nations are being destabilized as the major rude policy against Islam.
While the anti-Islamic nations and their media lords overtly support Sunni sects against Shiites just as a pure gimmick, they also covertly support Shiites against Sunni nations and the anti-Islamic strategy of getting size of Muslim populations reduced has been going on for years now, especially since the Sept-11 hoax in USA.
NATO’s illegal wars for energy resources and routes as well as Israeli invasion cum destabilization of Palestine where even children are being sliced only to be consumed by the Jewish military gives some idea about what exactly is Islamophobia.
More than anybody else, Muslims need to understand that there are no fundamental differences among Muslims of the world-they all are believers in oneness of God. Muslims follow Islam and oneness of God.
Islam is a monotheistic religion based on revelations received by the prophet Muhammad in the 7th century A.D., which were later recorded in the Quran (or Koran), Islam’s sacred text. Islam has spread rapidly throughout the centuries and today the religion is, by some measurements, the largest religion in the world. The Arabic word Islam means “submission,” reflecting the faith’s central tenet of submitting to Allah. Islamic practices are defined by the Five Pillars of Islam: faith, prayer, fasting, pilgrimage and alms. Followers of Islam are called Muslims.
When it comes to Islam, many people have questions like: What do Muslims believe about Allah, the universe, people, the spiritual realm, and the afterlife? What are their values, traditions, and ethics? Who are their teachers, leaders, and converts? And what is their history? Serious students of religion will also want to know how Islam is the same as, and different from, other major world religions, such as Judaism and Christianity.
Islam as religion is articulated by the Holy Qur’an, a holy book considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God, the Almighty and by the teachings and normative example (called the Sunnah and composed of hadith) of Muhammad c. 570 CE – c. 8 June 632 CE, considered by them to be the last prophet of God. An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim.. Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable and the purpose of existence is to worship God. Muslims also believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed before many times throughout the world, including notably through Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, whom they consider prophets. They maintain that the previous messages and revelations have been partially misinterpreted or altered over time but consider the Arabic Qur’an to be both the unaltered and the final revelation of God. Religious concepts and practices include the five pillars of Islam, which are basic concepts and obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law, which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, providing guidance on multifarious topics from banking and welfare, to family life and the environment.
The Holy Qur’an is the main information source for understanding the oneness of God in Islam. All Muslim authorities maintain that a true understanding of God is impossible unless He introduces Himself due to the fact that God is beyond the range of human vision and senses. Tawhid or doctrine of Oneness (of God) is the concept of monotheism in Islam. It is the religion’s most fundamental concept and holds that God (Allah) is One (Wāḥid) and Unique (āḥad).
The Holy Qu’ran asserts the existence of a single and absolute truth that transcends the world; a unique, independent and indivisible being, who is independent of the entire creation. God, according to Islam, is a universal God, rather than a local, tribal, or parochial one—God is an absolute, who integrates all affirmative values and brooks no evil
Islam is one religion and Sunni and Shi’a are parts of it. Divisions in Islam are meant to help understand Islam and God better through cooperation and close contacts. Muslims identify themselves with different strands of Islamic tradition. The main ones are Sunnism and Shiism. There are two main sects in Islam: Sunni and Shi’ite. Sunni Islam is the largest denomination, although in some countries it is a minority. Sunnis have their historical roots in the majority group who followed Abu Bakr, an effective leader, as the successor of Muhammad (SAS), instead of his cousin and son-in-law Ali.
However, in a way as to make the enemies of Islam happy, Muslims are hopelessly split into branches, mainly the two main ones: Sunnis and Shi’as, unfortunately treating one another as their main enemy.
It should be remembered that Sunni-Shi’a divide a family division in order to provide avenues of views and that did exit in small measure during the Prophet Muhammad (SAS) and not a big divide to wage war with each other. The split originates in a dispute soon after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (SAS) over who should lead the Muslim community.
Who are the Sunnis? As those who see to follow the life patterns of the Islamic Prophet and the teaching of Holy Quran, Sunni Muslims regard themselves as the orthodox and traditionalist branch of Islam. The Sunnis are so named because they believe themselves to follow the Sunnah or “custom” of the Prophet. Shi’ites are those Muslims who followed Ali, the closest relative of Muhammad, as Muhammad’s successor. The word Sunni comes from “Ahl al-Sunna”, the people of the tradition. The tradition in this case refers to practices based on precedent or reports of the actions of the Prophet Muhammad and those close to him.
Sunnis venerate all the prophets mentioned in the Holy Quran, but particularly Prophet Muhammad (SAS) as the final prophet. All subsequent Muslim leaders are seen as temporal figures. In contrast to Shi’as, Sunni religious teachers and leaders have historically come under state control. The Sunni tradition also emphasizes a codified system of Islamic law and adherence to four schools of law.
Who are the Shia’s? They are indeed younger brothers of Sunni’s and are also close to the heart of the Prophet of Islam Muhammad (SAS). In early Islamic history, the Shi’a was a political faction – literally “Shi’at Ali” or the party of Ali (RA). The Shi’a claimed the right of Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, and his descendants to lead the Islamic community. Hazarat Ali (RA) was killed as a result of intrigues, violence and civil wars which marred his caliphate. His sons, Hassan and Hussein, were denied what they thought was their legitimate right of accession to caliphate. Hassan is believed to have been poisoned by a strong enemy of Islam Muawiyah, the first caliph (leader of Muslims) of the Umayyad dynasty. His brother, Hussein, was killed on the battlefield along with members of his family, after being invited by supporters to Kufa (the seat of caliphate of Ali) where they promised to swear allegiance to him. That was a conspiracy against the Hazarat Ali (RA) and sons.
These events gave rise to the Shi’a concept of martyrdom and the rituals of grieving, being observed very sincerely year after year during the Muharram month. There is a distinctive messianic element to the faith and Shia’s have a hierarchy of clerics who practice independent and ongoing interpretation of Islamic texts.
Members of the two sects have co-existed for centuries and share many fundamental beliefs and practices. Though they may not interact much outside the public sphere, there are always exceptions. In urban Iraq, for instance, intermarriage between Sunnis and Shi’a was, until recently, quite common. From Lebanon and Syria to Iraq and Pakistan, many recent conflicts have emphasized the sectarian divide, tearing communities apart.
In countries that have been governed by Sunnis, Shia’s tend to make up the poorest sections of society. They often see themselves as victims of discrimination and oppression. Some extra Sunni doctrines have preached hatred of Shia’s, not knowing the background of Shi’a. The Iranian revolution of 1979 launched a radical Shi’a Islamist agenda that was perceived as a challenge to conservative Sunni regimes, particularly in the Gulf. Tehran’s policy of supporting Shi’a groups and parties beyond its borders was matched by the Gulf States, which strengthened their links to Sunni governments and movements abroad. During the civil war in Lebanon, Shi’a’s gained a strong political voice because of the military activities of Hezbollah.
Unfortunately, owing to aggressive postures by some Sunni groups, many Shi’a groups consider them as their enemies and by sheer ignorance of Islam, oppose even Islam as being Sunni Islam .
In Pakistan and Afghanistan, Islamist Sunni groups with elements of intolerance- such as the Taliban – have often attacked Shi’a places of worship and the enemies of Islam under NATO made full use o Shi’a against Sunnis.
While, global Muslims fight over Shi’a-Sunni importance, Islam and the Muslim world have been the target of the common enemies. USA has been using Israel to challenge the Arab nations the way it finds fit, and Israel gets all economic and military help from Washington and other western capitals. The 1956 invasion of Suez by Israel, Britain and France referred to as the tripartite invasion. The June 1967 war was ignited to seize a large chunk of Arab territory as Arabs were shy of taking the war into Israel. But for USA and Pentagon, Israel would have been out of world map in the October 1973 war had America not used all its resources for Israel – economic, military, human and other.
Today, globally most Muslims are of two denominations: Sunni (75–90%) or Shi’a (10–20%). About 13% of Muslims live in Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority country, 25% in South Asia, Sizable minorities are also found in Europe, China, Russia, and the Americas. Converts and immigrant communities are found in almost every part of the world (see Islam by country). With about 1.6 billion followers or 23% of earth’s population, Islam is the second-largest religion and arguably the fastest-growing major religion in the world’
There are more than 1.5 billion Muslims and about 20% of them live in the Middle East and North Africa. The great majority of Muslims are Sunnis – estimates suggest the figure is somewhere between 85% and 90%. Estimates of the number of Shi’a range from 120 to 170 million, roughly one-tenth of all Muslims. Shi’a Muslims are in the majority in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan, Yemen. There are large Shi’a communities in Afghanistan, India, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Middle Eastern countries with the greatest proportion of Sunnis are Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, with Sunnis making up 90% or more of the population. Shi’a makes up roughly 10% of all Muslims, and globally their population is estimated between 154 to 200 million, according to a 2009 report from the Pew Forum.
If they think the divisions plus in-fights enlighten the non Muslims and others and encourage them to embrace Islam, it is just a mistaken thought. It is unfortunate that Sunnis and Shi’as seek the help of enemies of Islam to settle score with each other. Only a unified Islam can spiritually invite others to come in and become good humans to serve the humanity at large. The USA and its allies in Europe very tactfully use the divide to attack both one after another and one by one. One does not how long will take the enemies to invade Saudi Arabia to execute their hidden agenda.
Americans have created and exploited Islamophobia to further their cause. They seem to equate the existence of fascist Israel with democracy of USA. Israel forces caused a worldwide revulsion by June 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the siege of Beirut and the massacre of Palestinians. The 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq was in fact instigated by the USA to begin to control Arab world’s energy sources as per the Neocons plan and once and for all shatter the facade of Arab unity. Latest Israeli invasion of Gaza again and again is a matter of fun for USA and Europe the Arab league nations refused to stop the merciless bombing of a defenseless population in Gaza Strip. Sept-11 hoax and Arab Spring targeted both Sunni and Shi’a nations and populations.
May God protect the Palestinians here and Hereafter.
With a view to weakening Islamic faith and reduce Muslim populations globally, the occupation forces from USA, EU and elsewhere have created a big wedge among Muslim sects, making them target each other violently. The current conflicts in Iraq and Syria have also acquired strong sectarian overtones. Young Sunni men in both countries have joined rebel groups, many of which echo the active Islamic ideology of al-Qaeda. Meanwhile, many of their counterparts from the Shi’a community have been fighting for – or alongside – government forces. USA uses one Islamic group against the other to stay in power.
May God save the Holy Mosques from the enemies!
The great but artificial Sunni-Shi’a divide has given the advantage to the enemies and has harmed the Muslims and the image of Islam globally as enemies of Islam and Muslims are getting stronger. .
The Palestine issue clearly shows that unity among Muslims cutting across their paths of faith to God and Holy Quran is of paramount importance for existence as real Muslims with dignity and prosperity.
Enemies of Islam are getting ready to attack and do away with Islam, the religion of God, Allah. They target every Muslim nation-both Arab and non-Arab. Israel-USA terror twins have enough potential to gather entire (anti-Islamic) world around for a final onslaught on Muslim nations and Islam.
Time to wake up!
May Almighty God save Islam, Muslims and entire humanity from the enemies who present themselves as democrats!