Difference Between Sunni and Shiite Islam

Sunni vs Shiite Islam

Islam is considered to be one of the largest religions practiced in the world. Established by the Prophet Mohammad during the 7th century AD, it is a religion and a way of life practiced in many countries all over the world.

For many of us, we see Islam to be apparently one cohesive religion with a few fanatics here and there. But in reality, there are two different branches of the Islam religion: the Sunni Islam and Shiite Islam. While these two branches of Islam both use the same teachings and practice the same principles, this is pretty much where the similarities between the two branches of Islam end. In fact, there are a number of different beliefs central to the religion of Islam where these two branches differ.

Perceptions in Leadership
The division in Islam had been noted to have occurred after the death of the Prophet Mohammad. After his death, the two branches began to have differences in opinions with regards to the true and rightful leader of the Islam religion. For the Sunni Islam sect, they believed that the rightful heir of Mohammad’s place as leader of the Islam religion is one who is voted based out of the consensus of the Islam communities. For this reason, they regard Abu Bakr, Mohammad’s close friend and advisor, as the heir to the leadership.

Mohammad to the Islam religion.
On the other hand, the Shiite Islam sect believed that only Allah had the ability to choose who the next leaders of the Islam religion should be. As such, they believed that only those can trace their ancestry directly to the family to of the Prophet Mohammad should stand as leaders of the Islam faith. This is why for the Shitte Islam sect, it is Ali, the fourth caliph and a direct descendant from the family of the Prophet Mohammad that is the rightful heir to the leadership of the Islam religion.

Belief of the Rightfully Guided One

Another difference between the Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims is with regards to their belief of the Mahdi, or the ‘Rightfully Guided One.’ While both sects believe that the Mahdi would serve as the global caliph of all Islam, the Sunni Muslims look forward to his birth and coming into the Earth. On the other hand, the Shiite Muslims believe that the Mahdi had already arrived to earth, and will be returning soon.

1. Sunni and Shiite Muslims are sects of the Islam religion which was established by the Prophet Mohammad with the division between the two sects occurring right after the death of the prophet.
2. Sunni Muslims believe that their leaders are those that are voted by the members of the Islam communities based on their capability to fulfill the required tasks. Shiite Muslims believe that their leaders must be those who are direct descendants of the Prophet Mohammad who had been elected by Allah to serve as the first leader of the Islam faith.
3. Sunni Muslims believe that the Mahdi, or the ‘Rightfully Guided One’ is yet to come to Earth and make his presence felt. Shiite Muslims believe that the Mahdi is already here and is just waiting for the right time for him to make his reappearance.