The Shia and Sunni Islam comprise the two big branches of Islam that have both similarities and differences within their beliefs. This paper will compare and contrast the Sunnis and the Shia and explain why conflict exists between the two groups.

Similarities between the Sunnis and Shias

            Both the Sunnis and the Shia Muslims believe the existence of one God who created all life and the whole world. Also, both believe in angels, demons and the devil. The Sunni and the Shia believe that Islam started when the last prophet, Muhammad, started receiving God’s message in 610 CE. Both sects have great respect for the Holy Book, Qur’an, which contains the revelations of God to the prophet.

Differences between the Shia and Sunni

            The followers of Shia believe that the successor of Prophet Muhammad was his son-in-law named Ali ibn Abi Talib. In the Shia belief, the Imams are leaders of the community and central figures that represent the true manifestation of God. The Shia depends more on the interpretation of the Qur’an by the clerics rather than in a personal relationship with God.

On the other hand, the followers of Sunni believe that before the death of Prophet Muhammad, a specific successor was not appointed. Sunni followers decided to appoint a close friend and father-in-law to Muhammad, Abu Bakr Siddique as their leader. The sect believes that Imam is the formal leader of prayers and a significant position in their religion. Sunni’s believe that one can directly approach God through prayers and apply teachings from the Qur’an.

The conflict between the Sunni and the Shia

The early differences between the two branches of Islam have resulted in more differences between them. The Sunnis are the majority in Islam denomination and cover about 90% of the followers and hold political power. Shia comprises the minority and covers approximately 10% of the Islam followers, and many live in poor conditions. The Shia believes that the poor conditions are as a result of the discrimination and oppression brought by the Sunni. On the other hand, the Sunni claim that Shias advocate for their murder and are heretics.

In conclusion, the differences that exist between the Sunnis and the Shias all together bring the current tension, conflict, and fights between the two sects.

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