From time to time, I am asked to explain the difference between the Sunni and the Shiite sects of Islam. Sunnis are the majority sect comprising 85%- 90% of all Muslims, and Shiites are the minority sect (10% – 15%). I recently came across the article below which does a great job of providing the historical as well as doctrinal differences between the two sects of Islam. The article is a “CRS Report to Congress” (authored by Christopher M. Blanchard, 1/28/2009, #RS21745), written for the members and committees of our Congress. I hope this will be helpful when you have trouble remembering who the “players” are in the end-times.
difference is in leaership of Islam after prophet (Imamat). Shias believe that the first Khlifa (successer of the prophet) should have been Ali, whereas Sunnis believe that Abu Bakr should be the first, while Ali the fourth. Both acknowledge Ali as Khalifa, but for Sunnis, he’s the fourth, for Shias, he should’ve been the first, but he gave it up, in order that Muslim affairs remain intact and unsplit.
The major difference, however, is between Wahabis/Salafists and both Sunnis and Shias. Wahabis/Salafists are the ones who comprise Al-Qaeda members, found mostly around Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere. they are pretty much, the Muslim version of the Evangelical church; only, if they’re not kept under control, they can get dangerous. Salafists are the ones who are sniper-shooting Syrians and doing suicide-bombings around Syria and Iraq.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has two famous sayings about truth:
1) *** the Judaism nation after Moses (PBUH) became 71 sect that 70 of them are in Hell and 1 in Heaven and Christianity nation after Jesus (PBUH) became 72 sect that 71 of them are in Hell and 1 in Heaven and Islam nation after prophet become 73 sect that 72 of them are in Hell and 1 in Heaven. ***
2) *** Truth is with Ali and Ali is with Truth ***
[en.sahih] O Messenger, announce that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do not, then you have not conveyed His message. And Allah will protect you from the people. Indeed, Allah does not guide the disbelieving people. [5:67]
[en.sahih] And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth,
… Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ. [5:48]
no need to know all the sects.
only know and follow Ali (sa)
(here is text limit, please read rest here:)
Thanks for the additional information, Ahmadi.