Difference between Shia and Sunni Muslims

Difference between Shia and Sunni Muslims


 Shia and Sunni Muslims

Both Sunni and Shia Muslims live throughout the world. However, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, and Indonesia all have a significant Sunni population. Countries like Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria are majority or significantly Shia Muslim.


The contrast among Sunni and Shia Muslims started as a political inquiry in Islam’s initial history. The companions of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, had to decide who would lead the Muslim community after the Prophet’s death.

“My community will be divided into 73 sects, all of them in Hell except one.” (Sahih Muslim)

“The saved sect is the one that is upon what I am upon and my Companions are upon.” (Sunan Tirmidhi)


Sunnis hold the belief that the Prophet, peace be upon him, did not explicitly name a successor. Shia Muslims, on the other hand, argue that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did, in fact, make it clear that he wanted Ali, his cousin and son-in-law, to be the ruler after he died.


Sunni Muslims hold the belief that Abu Bakr (RA), the closest companion of the Prophet, was the best candidate to lead the Muslim community. Shia Muslims accept that the pioneer ought to have been Ali(RA). Although some people continued to be dissatisfied, Ali himself was not dissatisfied with the decision to appoint Abu Bakr as ruler.


Abu Bakr was the main caliph, Ali ultimately turned into the fourth. This political difference was the source of the theological differences that existed between the two groups. Assuming Ali was unequivocally assigned by the Prophet harmony arrive, that would suggest that Abu Bakr unjustifiably usurped the right of the caliph.

“Whoever disobeys my Sunnah and follows the way of innovation has gone astray.” (Musnad Ahmad)


This is unacceptable to Sunni Muslims because Abu Bakr is considered one of the greatest Muslims in Sunni tradition. Assuming he usurped the caliph from Ali, this would infer that Abu Bakr was defying the orders of the Prophet. Additionally, it would imply that Abu Bakr’s followers were also disobeying the Prophet. Sunnis disagree with this view because, according to the Qur’an, the Companions are all held in high regard. It is essential to take note of that Ali is additionally significant in Sunni thought.


Ali was assassinated along with the second and third caliphs. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him,’s  grandsons, his sons Hassan and Hussein, claimed the caliphate. However, Hussein and a large number of his relatives were murdered by cursing yazid whose mother was a Jew and father was Muslim. Shia Muslims annually observe a specific day in the Islamic month of Muharram to mourn Hussein’s death, despite the fact that both Sunni and Shia Muslims mourn his death.

While discourse and participation exist, strains can emerge because of verifiable complaints, political intercessions, and partisan translations of specific strict texts. It’s significant to comprehend that the two Sunni and Shia contribute gigantically to the extravagance and variety of Islamic idea and practice, and cultivating shared understanding and regard stays a continuous exertion.


What the book in which they both believe says about this?

“Indeed, those who have divided their religion and become sects – you, [O Muhammad], are not [associated] with them in anything. Their affair is only [left] to Allah; then He will inform them about what they used to do.”   [Quran 6:159]

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, this website is a valuable resource.


Are most Muslims Sunni or Shia?


Sunnis make up the larger population of Muslims. Sunni Muslims make up 87-90% of Muslims, while Shia Muslims make up 10-13%.

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