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Islam and Sectarianism (28 Jun 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)

The Sunni-Shia Discord: Can These Divisions Be Healed?

By Ikram Ahmed, New Age Islam

28 June 2017

How on earth could a straightforward message of Islam get entangled with culture, tradition and politics, and give birth to Shiism as a separate sect with a new ideological structure?

According to the Shia scholars it’s the other way round, meaning that it is Sunnis who have evolved a new ideological construct. The argument started with the dispute pertaining to succession after the demise of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh). The Shias believe that Prophet Mohammed appointed his son-in-law and cousin Hazrat Ali (ra) as his successor, but the Sunnis dispute this claim. The meaning of Shia is ‘Follower’, and the phrase shīʻatuʻAlī means followers of Ali.

Before I get into the genesis of this dispute it would like to begin with a brief review of the movie, “The Message,” a 1976 Film directed by Syrian director Moustapha Akkad. I saw this movie a long time ago. This movie is a brief introduction of the early period of Islam, the inception of Islamic thought, and Islam in its early stage.

The first scene is rather captivating, where three men on horseback are seen riding through the middle of the desert in tandem. Then they breakaway from each other, each of them carrying a letter with a simple message. One takes the eastern direction, the other takes the west, and the third takes the north, to ensure that the message cascades in the most efficient manner possible.

The message was simple and clear, but when one of the men reaches the Persian emperor Khusrau , the emperor openly lambasts  the man carrying the message. He doesn’t hide his revulsion, and tears into the ‘Farman," or message bearing the royal seal. It’s quite ironic that only a few years later, when Muslim forces invade Persia or modern day Iran, his empire adopts that very same message.

The next man approaches the Byzantine emperor Hercules with much conviction. Hercules gives a patient hearing to the messenger, but soon turns sceptical, and tries to make it palatable to his faith, Christianity.

The third man reaches Egypt after a journey through the desert surrounded by pyramids, and hands over the Farman to Al-Muqawqis Patriarch of Alexandria, who accepts it without too much drama.

But what was this message that inspired such long and arduous journeys and such different reactions?

“In the Name of God the most gracious and the most merciful from Mohammed the messenger of God. I bid you to hear the divine call. I’m the messenger of God to the people.  Accept Islam for your salvation.”

Let’s come out of the reveries of this movie. The movie only shows three emissaries, but in reality, there were six emissaries sent to different parts of the world.

The few men under the command of the new Prophet embarked on a journey to spread the message. They never represented any ethnic group, or culture. In crux: east, west, north and south were mere geographical boundaries, but nothing cultural. The message was for all of mankind, even though it did not receive a unanimous acceptance.

In Surah Anam [6:159] any kind of sectarianism is discouraged.

“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.”

After the demise of Prophet Mohammed, there were schisms, machinations, and assassinations. The temporary peace that had been established when Prophet Mohammed brought the tribes together under the banner of Islam disintegrated and tribal affiliation was back as disputes pertaining to succession emerged.

The Shia narrative mostly focuses on the atrocities committed towards the Prophet’s family members, especially his daughter Fatima and her Husband Ali whom the Shia’s consider legitimate heir to Prophet Mohammed. Their antagonism towards the political process was that the Ahl-e–Bait was never consulted in appointing the new Khalifa.

But the counter narrative is also intriguing and valid. The demise of Prophet Mohammed was an extraordinary event. His death had led to the rise of internal strife and uprisings in disputes over the succession, but Hazrat Abu-Bakr successfully mitigated this explosive situation. Hazrat Abu-Bakr aggressively pursued allegiance to fend off further internal feuds. At a time when Islamic society was at a vulnerable early stage, he was the Caliph who rose to the threats of his time.

The rift began when Hazrat Uthman ibn Affan, a close companion of Abu-Baker,  was elected the third caliph through the Shura Council after a close contest between Ali and Uthman. Ali reluctantly took oath to serve under Uthman. But this was the third time that Ali was denied caliphate, and it eventually led to the parting between the followers of Ali (Shia) and the followers of Uthman (Sunni).

Hazrat Uthman’s election led to the emergence of the Umayyad dynasty. The Umayyads ironically came from the family of the bitterest enemies of Prophet Mohammed during the Pre-Islamic Pagan days. Their vengeance was unleashed in the battle of Karbala when most of the family members of Prophet Mohammed were killed by the old adversary Umayyads. They captured the Islamic world and established the first monarchical caliphate, the ‘Umayyad Dynasty’.

The Islamic world under the new caliphate spread through Spain and Indus in the next 100 years -- despite the internal political upheaval. The death of Hussain in Karbala who was the Grandson of Prophet Mohammed and the son of Ali and Fatima added zeal to the Shiism and transformed it into a separate faith and dogma.

According to historian and philosopher Oswald Spengler's theory, ‘civilizations blossom and decay like natural organisms."

In his classic book, The Decline of the West, Spengler argues that history is cyclical and all cultures must pass through the stages of birth-development-fulfilment-decay-death. Every high culture eventually transitions into a "civilization" phase, which is marked by imperialism and rule of money. This leads to a time of drastic social upheaval, mass movements of people, continual wars, and constant crises. Thus, the imaginative Greek Culture eventually was replaced by the Roman Civilization, which then declined.

But one wonders what Spengler would make of the Persian culture that continued to transfuse through the Arab world after the conquest by the Arabs in 651 AD.

In many ways, emergence of Shiism in Iran and Iraq can be attributed to dissidents amongst Persians who were formerly Zoroastrians. Shiism developed from a new religion that was infused with an old culture. The Zoroastrians who had been defeated by the Arabs were being discriminated against. The Persian and the Iraqi coverts were often called ‘Mawalis," a condescending word which alienated the Persians from the Arabs.

Thus, these former Zoroastrians became sympathetic to this new sect that attracted political and spiritual dissidents. The new sect had some eclectic ideas drawn from Greek Philosophy, Neo Platonic, Gnosticism, Zoroastrian messianic tradition and Christianity. So it was able to provide with an alternative that resembled their former belief system. For example, the belief about the sanctity of the blood of house of David resembled the concept of the sanctity of the Imam, a direct descendent from the blood line of the progeny of Ali and Fatima.  This also bears a resemblance to the Christian idea that “the Messiah has arisen from the sacred blood.”

From this, the central doctrine of Shiism, which is unequivocal allegiance to an Imam, emerged. According to Shiism, Imams are spiritual leaders bestowed with special knowledge.  They are considered to be the representatives of Allah.

This allegiance was further fostered by the rise of Mukhtar in 686 AD. He played a pivotal role in ending the Arab domination, defeating the Yazid’s Umayyad forces, to avenge the massacre of the Prophet family in Karbala. His bravado is celebrated among the Shia community world-wide to this day.

To this day, the violence continues between the two groups. The scars are so deep-rooted that during the Iran-Iraq war which started in 1980’s, the people of Iran gave it an Arab vs Iran spin and said it was tantamount to the invasion of Persia some 1400 years ago by the Arabs. The rise of Wahhabism and their anti-Shia slant has led to more animosity.

Prophet Mohammed never envisioned that his message would be distorted and there would be sectarian violence. As the movie, ‘The Message’, illustrates.

These divisions will remain permanent, unless the warring sects can find an amicable solution. There will be more mayhem and killing. It still remains a pertinent question whether the solution would come through liberalism, as Iran was once a westernized liberal society. The Islamic Revolution of 1979 transformed the Iranian society. Although it wasn't only the Shia-Sunni conflict that triggered the war. There were other geopolitical factors. Nevertheless, Shia fundamentalism played a pivotal role in starting a war under the masquerade of religious virtue. Perhaps, a solution can be found within the scriptures.

Related Article:

Murderous Sectarianism in Islam: Salafi Ulema Should Not Only Condemn the Massacre at Lal Shahbaz Qalandar Shrine but Also the Ideology behind It


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  • @Most commentators I agree with;

    Please, if I may add a bit here that there is the charge generally made that Muhammad plagiarized/stole statements of other Messengers!

    In 10-37 it declares that Quran is a confirmation/verification of previous Divine inspirations and in 37-37 too that he, Muhammad has brought the Truth and verifies the Messengers—named and unnamed. Thus he universalized the unity of mankind under one roof; and that clearly eliminates all divisions of religions.

    Did Gautama Buddha and Jesus advocate establishment of separate Churches and Clergy as a class of separate holy elite?

    By Rashid Samnakay - 7/4/2017 7:17:31 PM

  • Dear Ikram Ahmed,

    You hit at the head of the nail in blaming religious supremacism as the root of all problems. The reason I get attracted to the Qur'an is not so much blind faith as the logic of its pronouncements. Thus, it dismisses the notion of religious supremacism by espousing belief in all the prophets and previously revealed scriptures, and asking humanity to make no distinction between any of the Prophets (2:177, 2:285, 4:152, 57:19), and affirming that all the messengers are not mentioned in the Qur’an (4:164, 40:78). Its assertion that God’s name is pronounced in all places of worsip (24:35) including mosques, churches, synagogues, monasteries (22:40) puts all palces of worship on equal footing.     

    Besides its repeatedly pronounced criteria for earning Gos’s pleasure on the Day of reckoning (2:62, 4:124, 5:69, 64:9, 22:17, 65:11) is religion nutral. The problem with the Muslims is their restrictive interpretation of the generic term islam in the Qur’an as the religion preached by the Prophet Muhammad. You may read my following article for further elucidation of this theme.      

    The broader notion of din al-Islam is inclusive of all monotheistic faiths.



    Now the question arises, what about the atheists?


    I have addressed this in my following article and will welcome an objective comment from you or any other commentator – but no sweeping remark that a chaild can make to create confusion and drown any fruitful conversation into polemics.   


    Human beings are equal, have the same Rights, the human race is one, and we are all brothers – global call for improving inter-faith relations and combatting religious supremacism and bigotry.



    By muhammd yunus - 7/4/2017 7:04:08 AM

  • Aaina the root cause of all religious conflict is when people begin to believe in their religion is the best religion and start imposing it on others . I guess you are doing the same with Buddhism. 
    By Ikram Ahmed - 7/1/2017 2:43:38 AM

  • It is pity for sub-continent people writing, fighting and biting each other back for something happen in Arab on name of God.

    It proves brhamnical point of view( which I do not b live), low cast people are born in low cast because of their karma, and birth is taken place in such families,,were curse is life.

    I think Indian( subcontinent Muslims too)Muslims are paying price for not correcting and reviving Indian spiritual spectrum, which Ambedkar tried to provoke through Buddhism.

    It is very well known when Ambedkar said that he is going to leave Hinduisim, Christians, Muslims rushed to convert him in their political arena, and power in India. But he instead choose a real peace relgion(Buddisium) which had no human blood in their hands, and as opposite in Abrhamic relgion God became angry and became blood thirsty every now and then when new sects comes form old one, and this new sect whole purpose is to finish old one on name god that old message is courropt.

    It is so surprising that God always keep giving or reviving it old truth with new one, proving himself/herself/Phoo Phoo/? 

    I think Abhrahmic people people makes invisible talking the god, to chosen one, while Hindus make idol one.

    Lies of Hindus can easily picked up when they make idol but lies of Abrhamic tradition is even dangerous and hypocritical because their message was spoken by invisible God.

    By Aayina - 6/30/2017 6:55:03 PM

  • On Imamate theology on which Shi’ism is based

     Peace be upon all the prophets. The Jews hold the belief that only the descendants of Abraham could be prophets and that too only from his son Isaac and from among the sons of Isaac only the progeny of Jacob. As per the Quran Abraham  prayed to Allah to make Imams from his progeny which was granted conditionally. In the Quran the relevant verse is:

     (2:124) And remember that Abraham was tried by his Lord with certain commands, which he fulfilled: He said: "I will make thee an Imam to the Nations." He pleaded: "And also (Imams) from my offspring!" He answered: "But My Promise is not within the reach of evil-doers."

     The verse while promising Imams among the progeny of Abraham is not exclusive to his progeny. However, the Jews believed otherwise and therefore do not recognize several of the prophets mentioned in the Quran, for example, Hud and Saleh. The only exception is Ayub or Job who could not be ignored but they do a good job of hiding the fact that Job does not descend from Jacob.

     What about Muhammad? He does not descend from Jacob but does he descend from Ismail the first son of Abraham? That is what the Muslims believe and while doing so, indirectly subscribe to the theory that God had promised that all Imams will come from the progeny of Abraham exclusively. What is the proof that Muhammad descended from Ismail?  There is no proof at all although there are sources that connect Muhammad to Ismail (61 generations) and to Adam (81 generations)! Clear fabrications when we know that very little of ancient history was recorded or is reliable.  The other tell-tale sign of fabrication is that a hundred generations would roughly mean 2500 years separating the first man Adam and Muhammad which we know is false. Even the 1500 years separating Ismail and Muhammad if we take it as 61 generations, is false. The very same sources are not known to provide any historical information apart from the genealogy of the Prophets. The Quran itself does not support the belief that Muhammad descends from Abraham through his son Ismail, but on the other hand gives us a strong reason to believe that he may have been from among the local Arabs and not a descendent of Ismail.

     (2:126) And remember Abraham said: "My Lord, make this a City of Peace, and feed its people with fruits,-such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day." He said: "(Yea), and such as reject Faith,-for a while will I grant them their pleasure, but will soon drive them to the torment of Fire,- an evil destination (indeed)!"

    (127) And remember Abraham and Isma´il raised the foundations of the House (With this prayer): "Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: For Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-knowing.

    (2:128) "Our Lord! make of us Muslims, bowing to Thy (Will), and of our progeny a people Muslim, bowing to Thy (will); and show us our place for the celebration of (due) rites; and turn unto us (in Mercy); for Thou art the Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.

    (2:129) "Our Lord! send amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall rehearse Thy Signs to them and instruct them in scripture and wisdom, and sanctify them: For Thou art the Exalted in Might, the Wise."

     Clearly “send amongst them a Messenger of their own” means raise a messenger from amongst their own people. To pray for sending a messenger from the progeny of Ismail does not even make sense since Ismail himself was a messenger who lived among the Arabs.

     Neither the Quran nor the genealogy of several earlier prophets supports the theory of exclusive imamate of the progeny of Abraham.  From the perspective of the Quran, whether Muhammad is a descendant of Ismail or not is of little consequence. The fact that none of the sons born to the Prophet survived is another clear indication that Imamate theology is defective and unsupported by Allah who did not provide direct descendants of the Prophet. The theology of imamate goes against the message of the Quran. The preoccupation of Muslims with genealogy and giving it undue importance is also against the spirit of Islam.  The Sunna of the prophet is also that his inheritance belongs to all the people and none of it is exclusively for his family.

     Now for a group of people to believe in Imamate theology and to accuse the Caliphs who preceded Ali the son-in-law of the Prophet of having been usurpers, was bound to be problematic, especially when the predecessors were men of exceptional integrity and from among the people described in the Quran as “the best of creatures”.

     Although the reasons for the schism are now history, can the two groups reconcile? Yes, they can if they decide to ignore the differences in their respective outlooks and work on what is common. The Shias should give up “tabarra” of the predecessors of Ali and the Sunnis should develop tolerance for the Imamate theology without subscribing to it. Both groups should follow the example of Ali, Usman, Umar and Abu Bakr. Even if Ali had a different opinion on the succession, he did not withhold his support to any of the three who preceded him. What is important to remember is that Ali is equally revered by the Sunnis.

     Sects and beliefs based on narratives and counter narratives of history will always be problematic. It is surprising that such narratives prevail over the message of the Quran. Traditional Islamic theology (irrespective of the sect), based as it is on the narratives and not on the clear message of the Quran, is powerless to tame even the ISIS ideology let alone sink sectarian differences. It is only when we throw all the narratives into the dustbin, and start reading the Quran without having been conditioned by the various narratives, will we be able to follow “the straight path” and find solutions to our problems.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/29/2017 11:06:48 PM

  • An insightful opinion on the subject by Muhammad Asad born Leopold Weiss excerpted From the Book “The Road to Makkah”

      When, in the middle of the seventh century, the armies of Caliph Umar conquered the ancient Sasanian Empire, bringing Islam with them, Iran's Zoroastrian cult had already long been reduced to rigid formalism and was thus unable to oppose effectively the dynamic new idea that had come from Arabia. But at the time when the Arab conquest burst upon it, Iran was passing through a period of social and intellectual ferment which seemed to promise a national regeneration. 

    This hope of an inner, organic revival was shattered by the Arab invasion; and the Iranians, abandoning their own historic line of development, henceforth accommodated themselves to the cultural and ethical concepts that had been brought in from outside.

    The advent of Islam represented in Iran, as in so many other countries, a tremendous social advance; it destroyed the old Iranian caste system and brought into being a new community of free, equal people; it opened new channels for cultural energies that had long lain  dormant and inarticulate: but with all this, the proud descendants of Darius and Xerxes could never forget that the historical continuity of their national life, the organic connection between their Yesterday and Today, had suddenly been broken. A people whose innermost character had found its expression in the baroque dualism of the Zand religion and its almost pantheistic worship of the four elements - air, water, fire and earth - was now faced with Islam's austere, uncompromising monotheism and its passion for the Absolute. The .transition was too sharp and painful to allow the Iranians to subordinate their deeply rooted national consciousness to the supranational concept of Islam. In spite of their speedy and apparently voluntary acceptance of the new religion, they subconsciously equated the victory of the Islamic idea with Iran's national defeat; and the feeling of having been defeated and irrevocably torn out of the context of their ancient cultural heritage - a feeling desperately intense for all its vagueness - was destined to corrode their national self-confidence for centuries to come. Unlike so many other nations to whom the acceptance of Islam gave almost immediately a most positive impulse to further cultural development, the Iranians first - and, in a way, most durable - reaction to it was one of deep humiliation and repressed resentment.

    That resentment had to be repressed and smothered in the dark folds of the subconscious, for in the meantime Islam had become Iran's own faith. But in their hatred of the Arabian conquest, the Iranians instinctively resorted to what psychoanalysis describes as 'overcompensation': they began to regard the faith brought to them by their Arabian conquerors as something that was exclusively their own. They did it by subtly transforming the rational, unmystical God-consciousness of the Arabs into its very opposite: mystical fanaticism and sombre emotion. A faith which to the Arab was presence and reality and a source of composure and freedom, evolved, in the Iranian mind, into a dark longing for the supernatural and symbolic. The Islamic principle of God's ungraspable transcendence was transfigured into the mystical doctrine (for which there were many precedents in pre-Islamic Iran) of God's physical manifestation in especially chosen mortals who would transmit this divine essence to their descendants. To such a tendency, an espousal of the Shia doctrine offered a most welcome channel: for there could be no doubt that the Shiite veneration, almost deification, of Ali and his descendants concealed the germ of the idea of God's incarnation and continual reincarnation - an idea entirely alien to Islam but very close to the Iranian heart.

    It had been no accident that the Prophet Muhammad died without having nominated a successor and, indeed, refused to nominate one when a suggestion to that effect was made shortly before his death. By his attitude he intended to convey, firstly, that the spiritual quality of Prophethood was not something that could be 'inherited*, and, secondly, that the future leadership of the community should be the outcome of free election.by the people themselves and not of an 'ordination* by the Prophet  and thus he deliberately ruled out the idea that the community's leadership could ever be anything but secular or could be in the nature of an 'apostolic succession. But this was precisely what the Shia doctrine aimed at. It not only insisted -in clear contradiction to the spirit of Islam - on the principle of apostolic succession, but reserved that succession exclusively to 'the Prophet's seed, that is, to his cousin and son-in-law Ali and his lineal descendants.

     This was entirely in tune with the mystical inclinations of the Iranians. But when they enthusiastically joined the camp of those who claimed that Muhammad's spiritual essence lived on in Ali and the latter's descendants, the Iranians did not merely satisfy a mystical desire: there was yet another, subconscious motivation for their choice. If Ali was the rightful heir and successor of the Prophet, the three Caliphs who preceded him must obviously have been usurpers - and among them had been Umar, that same Umar who had conquered Iran! The national hatred of the conqueror of the Sasanian Empire could now be rationalized in terms of religion-the religion that had become Iran's own: Umar had 'deprived' Ali and his sons Hasan and Husayn of their divinely ordained right of succession to the Caliphate of Islam and, thus, had opposed the will of God; consequently, in obedience to the will of God, Ali's party was to be supported. Out of a national antagonism, a religious doctrine was born.

     In the Iranian enthronement of the Shia doctrine I discerned a mute protest against the Arabian conquest of Iran. Now I understood why the Iranians cursed Umar with a hatred far more bitter than that reserved for the other two 'usurpers', Abu Bakr and Uthman: from the doctrinal point of view, the first Caliph, Abu Bakr, should have been regarded as the principal transgressor - but it was Umar who had conquered Iran ...

    This, then, was the reason for the strange intensity with which the House of Ali was venerated in Iran. Its cult represented a symbolic act of Iranian revenge on Arabian Islam (which stood so uncompromisingly against the deification of any human personality including that of Muhammad). True, the Shia doctrine had not originated in Iran; there were Shiite groups in other Muslim lands as well: but nowhere else had it achieved so complete a hold over the people's emotions and imagination. When the Iranians gave passionate vent to their mourning over the deaths of Ali, Hasan and Husayn, they wept not merely over the destruction of the House of Ali but also over themselves and the loss of their ancient glory...

    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/29/2017 10:34:25 PM

  • Thanks Ikram Ahmed for this timely article that provoked me to add some points from my side. Here are my comments.

    The short account of the purely historical events leading to the emergence of Shiism is fairly accurate. Actually, the doctrine of Imama emrged soon after the assassination of Hazrat Ali (661 AD)- his followers argued that it was the divine scheme to put Hazrat Ali to test throughout the three decades after the Prophet’s death (632) by denying him succession and then ending his life at the crown of his hard earned and highly belated succession. But the hard fact is there is no reference to the doctrine of Imamah in the Qur’an, and no Shia scholar can point to a verse that could be interpreted to support this notion, except in a speculative manner. They also claim that Allah has purified the entire household of the Prophet’s family and his direct progeny on the strength, primarily of a Qur’anic verse that is addressed to the wives of the Prophet (33:33) as part of his household that they quote by disregarding the explicit reference to the wives of the Prophet in the lead verse 33:32, both rendered below as a passage:   

    “O Wives of the Prophet, you are not as other women. If you are Godfearing, be not casual in your speech, lest one in whose heart is sickness may entertain desires; but speak judiciously (33:32), and stay in your homes (soberly),  and do not make any dazzling display of your charms as in the former times of Ignorance. And establish the Prayer, engage in zakah and obey God and His Messenger. God only wishes to remove from you, O members of the (Prophet’s) household (ahl al bayt), all that may be loathsome, and to purify you (yutahhirkum) to the utmost of purity (tahtira).” (33:33).

    Among the various claims that the Shia and the Sunni make to support their respective doctrines of Imamah and Sunnah is the farewell sermon of the Prophet – the Sunnis claim that the Prophet said he left the Qur’an and is Sunnah and the Shias claim that he said, he left the Qur’an and the example of ahle bayt.

    I as Muslim with conviction of faith do not find any direct evidence in the Qur’an to support either of these claims - the expression Sunnat al Rasul allah or Sunnat al ahle bayt do not appear in the Qur’an and such notion purports to dismiss the Qur’an’s claim to be a complete book of guidance and parallels the word of God with the alleged sayings or Sunnah of His Prophet or the Prophet’s household.

    So I believe in the third version of the Prophet’s sermon: he left the Qur’an for guidance. This is the only version that is consistent with the Qur’an’s claim to be a fount of guidance to humanity on its own right.

    So the Muslims will do better by regarding the Qur’an which is preserved verbatim and carries divine immunity against any corruption and is not influenced by any historical event post revelation as their common and only source of guidance, though on spiritual matters they can follow the example of the Prophet or ahle bayt.

    In other words, the true ahistorical, eternal, infallible Islam is preserved in the Qur’an which is the only Sharia of Islam and all post revelation theological developments were specific to their era and if we must cling to them until eternity and split Islam into sects and sub-sects, we will see the consequences of the following warnings of the Qur’an.

    “Say, He has the power to send torment upon you, from above you and beneath your feet, and to confuse you with sects (shi‘aon) to make you taste each other’s oppressions. See how do we illustrate our messages that you may understand (yafqahun)” (6:65).    

    “As for those who split their religion into sects (shi‘aon) - you have nothing to do with them (O Muhammad!). Their affair is up to God, and He will tell them of what they had been doing” (6:159).

    “(Believers! Do not be) among those who have split their religion and become sects (shi‘aon) – each faction pleased what they have (by way of tenets)” (30:32).

    “God has enjoined on you the religion (din) that God had ordained for Noah, and that We have revealed to you (O Muhammad), and that We ordained for Abraham and Moses and Jesus. So holdfast to the din and make no division in it…” (42:13).

    By muhammd yunus - 6/29/2017 9:40:09 PM

  • Thanks Ikram. You have beautifully explained a complex problem. However there are multitude of questions that assail me. In the first place why didn’t our Holy Prophet choose a successor in His life time; just as the second great prophet of Islam who chose Peter as the head of the church at an interview with 12 apostles. Peter answered the question first and correctly. (Mathew 16:13-20) He is considered as the first Pope.

    How many times Koran says “Allah is merciful”? Do the Muslims have faith in Allah who is merciful?  If so where is their acts or works of mercy? “FAITH BY ITSELF, IF DOES NOT HAVE WORKS, IS DEAD” (James 2:17)

    You are correct Ikram, the sunni-shia divided just as Catholic-Protestant divide is an artificial construct. If Muslims are merciful just as their Allah is merciful this problem would have been solved long ago. I suspect the political Islam is the culprit. There is no mercy in politics. Therefore let us promote spiritual Islam.


    By Royalj - 6/29/2017 7:44:41 PM

  • They can achieve mutual understanding by first understanding the differences. . 
    By Ikram Ahmed - 6/29/2017 3:25:43 PM

  • The depth study of both Shia and Sunni differences will not give you any chance to think about elimination of their differences, however the war of hatred and violence can be eradicated by their mutual understanding. 
    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي - 6/29/2017 3:12:37 AM

  • The question that arises is that should there be an Shia Sunni in the first. The idea is artificially constructed. 
    By Ikram Ahmed - 6/29/2017 2:36:48 AM

  • Shias and Sunnis, instead of directing their wrath at each other, should introspect and feel ashamed of their own sect for waging this war of hatred for over 1000 years. They should ask for forgiveness of each other if they have any respect for our Prophet.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 6/28/2017 2:04:20 PM

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