Difference between Sunni and Shia
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
I am a Sunni Muslim and i have afew friends who are Shia. I know some points differentiate between the two sects. However could you please advise me on what exactly are the main differences between the two. Another question is what happens if a couple from each sect gets married? What happens then? Must there be changes?
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Difference between Sunni and Shia
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Guidance is not through following any sect, but it is the following of Allah and His Messenger (saws), worshipping Allah Alone and associating no partners with Him, and following the way and traditions of the Messenger of Allah (saws). That is guidance.
Whoever, turns away from the guidance of Allah and His Messenger (saws) and instead chooses to follow any other person as his ‘guide’, or invents and follows his own ‘way’ of life; they are indeed the ones who are astray.
The Straight Path is the one which Allah describes in detail in the Holy Quran, and the Path or Way of Life which the Prophet (saws), his noble family, and his noble companions followed. That is the Straight Path.
The sects of Shias, Sunnis, Ismaelis, Bohras, etc. are the creation and invention of man himself, and have absolutely no basis in Islam. Whoever believes, follows and obeys Allah and His Messenger (saws) are honored to be recognized and called by the name that Allah has chosen for the believers; that is, ‘muslims’.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 38:Henceforth, there shall come to you Guidance from Me (Allah) now and again. Whoever will follow it shall have neither fear nor sorrow, and whoever will refuse to accept it and defy Our Revelations; they shall be doomed to the Fire wherein they shall remain forever.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 3 Surah Ale Imran verse 31-32:O Prophet, tell the people, “If you sincerely love Allah, follow me. Then Allah will love you and forgive you your sins, for He is All Forgiving, All Merciful.” Also say to them, “Obey Allah and His Messenger.” And if, in spite of this, they do not accept your invitation, warn them that Allah does not love those, who refuse to obey Him and His Messenger.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 6 Surah Anaam verse 153:This alone is My Right Way. Therefore you should not follow this Way and should follow other ways, lest they should lead you astray from His Way. This is what Allah has enjoined on you, so that you may attain piety.
Allah says in the Holy
Quran Chapter 43 Surah Zukhruf verse 43:So hold fast to
the Book that has been revealed to you:
you are surely on the
Your Question: However could you please advise me on what exactly are the main differences between the two.
The absolute main difference is that the Shias recognize Hadrat Ali (r.a.) as the successor and first Khalifa of Islam after the death of Prophet Mohamed (saws); and the Sunnis claim that Hadrat Ali (r.a.) was the fourth Khalifa.
There was actually no dispute at the time of the Khalifas themselves; and they all lived peacefully in the bond of Islamic brotherhood as trained by Allah’s Messenger (saws). Many years after the death of the noble Khalifas, there arose a political dispute and some people started claiming that Hadrat Ali (r.a.) was in fact the chosen successor of the Prophet (saws); and his descendants were the appointed Imams. It was only a political difference at the time; but with time, this political difference was changed into a religious difference and some unscrupulous leaders parted from the Ummah of Islam and created their own sects and sub-sects in the name of the noble companion and ‘ahle-bayt’ of the Messenger of Allah (saws).
Your Question: Another question is what happens if a couple from each sect gets married? What happens then? Must there be changes?
Both sects believe in Allah, His Message of the Holy Quran, and the appointment of the Last Messenger, Mohamed ar Rasool Allah (saws); thus they are all muslims. If a couple from each sect get married, the marriage will be considered legal and binding and they will both enjoy all the rights due to a believer.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,