Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Q&A: How does of the Islam of Sunnis in Saudi Arabia and Shiites in Iran Differ?

By Jon Harney
Shiite pilgrims at the shrine to Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq, in December. Each year millions visit the city to mark Arbaeen, the end of the 40-day mourning period for Imam Hussein, one of Shiite Islam's most revered figures. Credit European Pressphoto Agency
Here is a primer on the basic differences between Sunni and Shia Islam. A schism emerged after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632. He died without appointing a successor to lead the Muslim community, and disputes arose over who should shepherd the new and rapidly growing faith. More than 85 percent of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims are Sunni. Sunnis emphasize God’s power in the material world, sometimes including the public and political realm, while Shiites value in martyrdom and sacrifice. [link]