Religious notions

Sunnis and Shi'a: A Political History
SUNNI AND SJIA / The religious contradictions between the two main directions of Islam are not so great. But in conflicts between countries and groups, they are used for everything they are worth.


Disputes between Sunni and Shi'a Muslims arose over a disagreement over who would govern the Muslim state after the Prophet Muhammad died without a male descendant in 632. Those we today call Sunnis imagined an oligarchy in which the most suitable were designated as Caliphs. The ones we call Shias today believed the caliph had to come from Muhammad's family: his cousin and son-in-law, Ali. The Sunnis' caliphate quickly developed into a dynastic monarchy where the leader did not have theocratic power, while the Shiites held the notion that religious and political power was united in the Imam.

Structurally speaking, the development in Islam after this is similar to that of Christianity: Real or mythical events that are symbolically added to the power are pointed out. There are deviant teachers – these are usually fought as heretical. And of course, any religious community with aspirations to survive must keep a close eye on the political rulers at all times.

Geopolitical strife

An important year in the battle between Sunnis and Shias is when the Safavide dynasty was founded Iran . . .

Dear reader.
To continue reading, create a new free reader account with your email,
or logg inn if you have done it before. (click on forgotten password if you have not received it by email already).
Select if necessary Subscription (69kr)

Subscription NOK 195 quarter