We, in the Greenberg household, are "News Freaks." In some form or another, radio or television, magazines or newspapers, the daily world and local happenings echo their way through our lives and our waking moments.
The New York Times, the New York Post balance our political stance on events. We also subscribe to Newsday and various news magazines. The same stories are repeated over again, each time with a slightly different slant. That is why I found myself not knowledgeable on a basic fact about the war in Iraq.
Question: What is the basic difference between Shiite and Sunni?
They seem really angry at each other but, what is the origin of their split in the religion of Islam? They are killing each other with regularity, but why? I went to the encyclopedias, but gained no insight into the answer. Finally, I Googled it on the Internet.
I will try to explain it in my own simple way.
The basic tenets of Islam are:
I - There is no god but Allah.
II - Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah.
Other beliefs in Islam:
- Mohammed is the last of the Prophets.
- Islam combines many rules and tenets originating from both the Hebrew and Christian religions.
- Christ and Moses are both Prophets in Islam.
When the Prophet Mohammed died in 632 A.D., he had a cousin Ali. Ali was married to the daughter of Mohammed, Fatima. They had two children, Hassan and Hussein.
And now the difference between Sunni and Shia.
Shiite belief - The Caliphate (successors to Mohammed as leaders of the Muslims) should only pass to direct descendants (Ali - son-in-law and Fatima - daughter). They call themselves "people of the house" of the prophet.
Sunni belief - Ali is fourth in line and last of the "rightly guided caliphs." Three others came before him (Abu Bakr-Umar-Uthman). Ali finally succeeded to the Caliphate in 656, 24 years after the death of Mohammed the Prophet.
Ali was killed by his own men in 661 AD.
That, dear readers, is the essence of the rift in Mohammedanism. The Sunnis and Shias agree on the core fundamentals of Islam. It is only on the line of succession from the Prophet that is the fundamental difference of the opposing sects.
Now that I Goggled it, I can listen and view the daily news from Iraq in a more intelligent manner. I hope I have explained it to you, my readers, so you can have understanding as well.