Islam students at LUC

Sectarian Divisions

Posted on: October 21, 2015

Today in class we talked about the sectarian divisions within the Islamic Paradigm. There are the Sunnis, which are the majority, making up 80-90% of the Muslim population. There are the Shia that are the minority and make up 10-20% of the Muslim population. There are the Ibadi, who are literalists, and there are about 1 million of them today. Lastly, there are the heterodox, which we have not learned about yet.

When it comes to the two major groups, the Sunni and the Shia, their differences stem from the belief of who the successor of the Prophet should have been. For the Sunnis, everything happened exactly as it was supposed to, but the Shia believe that Ali should have been the successor. There is also a difference in where they find information on The Prophet. In the Sunni tradition, they learn from the companions while the Shia learn from Imams.

It was interesting to learn about the sectarian divisions because I did not know a lot about the two groups before. I have a question regarding the different groups within the Islamic paradigm. I have been told that they two groups should not be called separate or divided, is sectarian divisions the only correct way to say it? Or are there other ways to talk about the different sects within the religion.

In response to @asaphamzi, I want to reiterate your appreciation for the conversations about religions and their rituals. I admit that I did not know what happened at services in other religions, but after listening to everyone I had a better idea. I would love to go and experience some of those religions first hand, but I worry I will be out of place. As a hindu mentioned, women are expected to sit on one side of the temple and I did not know that; I could have easily gone and sat on the wrong side. I think I will have to talk to some people or do some research, but I think it would be a very beneficial experience to see other religions in practice, so I could draw parallels. I still believe that most religions hold universal principals and I would love to see parts of my own faith in others, so I could compare and contrast and grow in my own beliefs.

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