After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam by Lesley Hazleton
In this gripping narrative history, Lesley Hazleton tells the tragic story at the heart of the ongoing rivalry between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam, a rift that dominates the news now more than ever.
Even as Muhammad lay dying, the battle over who would take control of the new Islamic nation had begun, beginning a succession crisis marked by power grabs, assassination, political intrigue, and passionate faith. Soon Islam was embroiled in civil war, pitting its founders controversial wife Aisha against his son-in-law Ali, and shattering Muhammad’s ideal of unity.
Combining meticulous research with compelling storytelling, After the Prophet explores the volatile intersection of religion and politics, psychology and culture, and history and current events. It is an indispensable guide to the depth and power of the Shia–Sunni split.
What's the Difference Between Sunni and Shiite Muslims?
Conflict is growing between Iran, whose people mostly belong to the Shia branch of Islam, and Saudi Arabia, a mainly Sunni kingdom that just executed a popular Shia cleric. The schism happened after the Prophet Mohammed died in and there was disagreement about who should succeed him.
4 simple reasons for the ongoing divide between Sunni and Shia Muslims
Though the two main sects within Islam , Sunni and Shia, agree on most of the fundamental beliefs and practices of Islam, a bitter split between the two goes back some 14 centuries. The divide originated with a dispute over who should succeed the Prophet Muhammad as leader of the Islamic faith he introduced. Today, about 85 percent of the approximately 1. While Shia represent the majority of the population in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain and Azerbaijan, and a plurality in Lebanon, Sunnis are the majority in more than 40 other countries, from Morocco to Indonesia. Despite their differences, Sunni and Shia have lived alongside each other in relative peace for most of history. But starting in the late 20th century, the schism deepened, exploding into violence in many parts of the Middle East as extreme brands of Sunni and Shia Islam battle for both religous and political supremacy. Abu Bakr, later leader of the Islamic community, is seen bending over him.
Is there hope for a resolution of Sunni and Shia tension? Only if we find a way to understand and address the fear factor. After the bombing of the Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia that led to the killing of at least seven Shia worshippers on May 22, a young Saudi journalist interviewed the head of the mosque.
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Battle of Karbala and Its Lasting Significance
We live in a time of disruption but where others see difficulty, we see opportunity - not just to survive but to thrive. Subscribe to the new agenda and lead the way in business and beyond., Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran fundamentally boil down to two things — the battle to be the dominant nation in the Middle East and the fact the countries represent the regional strongholds of two rival branches of Islam. The Islamic Republic of Iran, meanwhile, is overwhelmingly Shia, with up to 95 per cent of nationals belonging to the denomination.
Shia and Sunni Islam are the two major denominations of Islam. They chose sides following the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in AD A dispute over succession to Islamic prophet Muhammad as a caliph of the Islamic community spread across various parts of the world, which led to the Battle of Jamal and Battle of Siffin. Shia make up the majority of the citizen population in Iraq , Bahrain , Iran , Lebanon , and Azerbaijan , as well as being a politically significant minority in Pakistan , Syria , Yemen and Kuwait. Today, there are differences in religious practice, traditions, and customs, often related to jurisprudence. Although all Muslim groups consider the Quran to be divine, Sunni and Shia have different opinions on hadith. In recent years, Sunni—Shia relations have been increasingly marked by conflict,  particularly the Iran—Saudi Arabia proxy conflict.
Ken Chitwood does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Earlier in June, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for two attacks that claimed at least 12 lives in Iran. Iran is a Shia Muslim majority state often in tension with Sunni states and extremist groups like the Islamic State or al-Qaeda. As a scholar of Islam and a public educator, I often field questions about Sunnis, Shias and the sects of Islam. What exactly is the Shia-Sunni divide? And what is its history?