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Sunni Islam, Shia vs Sunni Islam

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Sunni Islam, known in Arabic as Ahl as-Sunnah, is the largest denomination of Islam, representing the majority of Muslims worldwide. The term “Sunni” comes from the word Sunnah, referring to the exemplary life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Sunni branch believes in the legitimacy of the first four caliphs as rightful successors to Muhammad, contrasting with Shia Islam’s belief that leadership should have passed directly to Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, Ali. Sunni Muslims emphasize the authority of established religious traditions and consensus among scholars when interpreting religious texts and laws.

Sunni orthodoxy comprises four main schools of jurisprudence: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali, each with its own unique interpretations and practices. Additionally, Sunni theology includes the Ash’ari and Maturidi schools of thought, which focus on rationalism and spiritualism within Islamic doctrine.

Throughout history, Sunni Islam has played a pivotal role in shaping Islamic civilization’s political, social, and cultural landscapes. Today, it continues to influence the lives of billions of adherents around the globe.

Shia vs Sunni Islam

Sunni and Shia Islam are the two major denominations of Islam. They both share the core beliefs of Islam and consider the Quran as their holy book, but they differ in some aspects of theology, ritual, law, and religious organization.

The division originated from a dispute over who should succeed the Prophet Muhammad as the leader of the Islamic community after his death. Sunni Muslims believe that the new leader should be elected from among those capable of the job, which led to Abu Bakr being chosen as the first caliph. On the other hand, Shia Muslims believe that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet’s family, with Ali ibn Abi Talib, the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law, being the rightful successor.

Over time, these differences have led to distinct religious practices and jurisprudence. Sunnis make up the majority of Muslims worldwide, while Shias are a minority but form majorities in countries like Iran and Iraq.

It’s important to note that despite these differences, Sunni and Shia Muslims share many common practices and beliefs, including the Five Pillars of Islam, which are foundational to both branches.

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