Sunni vs Shia

I know it's not directly related to leftism, but there's something I never understood and I was wondering if anyone here with a better understanding of Islamic history and theology could explain it to me.

The largest sects of Islam are the Sunni and the Shia. By everything I've seen, the Shia seem to be the more fundamentalist hardliners and the Sunnis are the moderates (Shia believe that their leaders can only be descendants of of Ali, whereas Sunnis think it's more or less open to anyone qualified, Shia have a much larger and more defined hierarchies and see their imams as living saints, etc)

Yet, all the sectarian violence, especially in recent times, seems to have been committed by Sunnis against the Shia and all the militant Islamic terrorist organizations are Sunni as well (Al Qaeda, Daesh, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, etc)

This gives the very odd impication of moderates brutally persecuting hardliners. Can anyone explain this?

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sunni and shia are entirely different sects that diverged more than a thousand years ago. it has nothing to do with "fundamentalism" and moderation. In fact, over the years there's been some cross-breeding of ideas between the sects.

there are groups committed to violence on both sides. the commitment to violence doesn't stem from their sunni or shia backgrounds.

it was mostly the upheavals of the 20th century that lead to the circumstances. For background on this from a western point of view I recommend Adam Curtis' The Power of Nightmares and The Bitter Lake.

you'll get better answers there.

Can't vouch for the books, but basically this.

If you're looking for good guys and bad guys, you're going at it wrong.

They are documentaries.

See, I told you I couldn't vouch for them.

It is not so much about of a matter of "who's more hardline between the two" but rather of doctrinal differences. Specifically, the hierarchical ones.
Sunnis are more open to reinterpretation.
Sometimes, it is possible that sunnis follow more the teachings of the Imam.
The streak of terrorism of the last 50 years has ideological parallels in the book "Milestones" by Sayyid Qubt which argued for a "return to the roots".
Another thing regarding radical Islam, is that you should particularly watch out for Wahhabism and, more in general, Salafism. Those two groups have been fueled to the point we know today.

Sunni islamism is where the money is at. Salafism, Wahabism and Deobandi extremism bubbling under the surface in MENA society got propped up by the Gulf monarchies and the West after the perfect storm of the failure of the Yom Kippur War, increased oil revenues by the oil boycott, the Iranian revolution, the grand mosque seizure and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan took place.

This combined with the fact that Shia islam is a much much smaller force and relatively more isolated on a geopolitical scale ensures that Shia extremism will never manage to be a worldwide force.

Why do leftists like Islam so much?

They secretly want to enslave black people.

Bourgie attraction to the exotic, at a distance. You will notice that it is always lifestyle socialists who live in nice white neighborhoods who "Refugees Welcome". Much easier to idealize the proletariat far away than to actually embrace the proletarians among you, in all their repulsiveness.

By now, it's safe to say that the house of Saud has been a bigger disaster to Islam than colonialism was. Dear Lord, I hope to live long enough to see them burn.

The word you're looking for is "orientalism".

ahh yes the "white working class are racist and we must be racist with them" meme

No, but you must still mobilize them. Racism is not a sufficient reason to dismiss them, as long as this racism is not acted upon.

Not all, communists don't like islam (and most of other religions)

Because Islam will rule the world

How about fucking neither of ya spooks

this dude knows what he's talking about

No its the opposite.

Sunnis are the ones who embrace taqleed. Which means 'to follow'.
They are the ones who get really angry at anything which isnt covered in the quran.

They also happen to be the ones sitting on the most oil. And they are allied to the US where as the Shiites are allied to Russia.

I'm not so sure about this. For instance the Hanbal legal rite which governs the Saudi court system completely rejects allegory, analogy, community consensus, and judicial opinion. The three other Sunni legal rites aren't as strict as the Hanbali but they are all opposes to reinterpretation. Whereas Shi'ite imans are given much more freedom to interpret and re-examine the law which gives greater flexibility to their legal system.

There's hardliners on both sides, though the Sunni are far more numerous and well funded. If you encounter a muslim, odds are that they're a sunni

Right now Islam is entering another religious war era between Sunni and Shia, exemplified by Iran and the KSA in geopolitical terms. It's one of the reasons the middle east is going up in flames, with a little help from the Western powers

Islam isn't a race, it's an ideology.

I don't like lolberts either, does that make me a racist that hates skinny 14 year old nerds?

In the end, the differences aren't very pronounced, and are most of the time only come to light in relatively obscure theological questions or which islamic theologians and philosophers you've read &c.
In the end, the sharply pronounced conflict between the shia and sunni communities in the ME boil down to geopolitics imo. There's been a political interest for some powers to escalate conflict and destabilize neighboring countries by funding extremists and dividing people, and the shia / sunni split has been used for that, not unlike how USSR used ""communist"" independence movements abroad, or US used ""democratic"" independence movements.
What's happened is that these conflicts have escalated to such a point, that it (The sunni / shia conflict) has now got momentum of their own, and drives geopolitical interests to some degree. Especially since - compared to political ideology - religion is much closer to the identity of a people, especially when it's also tied to your ethnicity.

I'm not too sure about this, and would like it if someone who knows more about the situation can correct me, but that's the impression I've got. Like, I've got some basic understanding of the historical situation that lead to the split, but not much of how separately the communities existed, how large a conflict it was in the pre-cold-war modern era &c.

Also, I have the understanding that the shia are more theologically skeptical of historical legal interpretations of the Qur'an, and rather preferring to base theology on the Qur'an itself and Hadiths, but from reading the thread I'm not too sure anymore? Can somebody correct me on this?

Entering another war implies that the old one that started when mohammed died had stopped.
The Sunni shiite conflict is a fundamental religious war. It will only end when one side wipes the other out.

"Refugee" isn't a race or ideology either but he seemed pretty happy to paint it as such

True, but there are periods where the conflict is more open and more intense
It'll probably result in a regional war in the ME sometime before 2050, probably sooner if US influence in the region continues to collapse

/shia/ are our guys

Muslim here, I will answer this in a form of points:

* Not all Muslims identify as Sunni/Shia/whatever, most Muslims actually don't

* The media doesn't cover Shia terrorist groups in the same way. There's handful in Iraq, Syria today with massive power, they target Sunnis, they got called "militias". Mainly because Shia groups never attack Westerners most likely to attack Sunnis.

* Shia groups are way more organized. Obeying a religious figure does all the difference. This insure they never do crazy that doesn't even serve their goals as Sunni groups do.

* Shia groups don't see America/West as the biggest enemy. Sunni groups market the idea of America/West not letting Muslims live in peace, destroying our live. While Shia groups don't they see America attacking Sunni counties, they saw when America invaded Iraq and handed it over (wrongfully) to Shia. Shia groups market Sunnis as the oppressing enemy, and it's their primary target.

* Both groups are used politically, Shia groups knowingly and accepting that. Sunni without even knowing.

* Quran itself say you must be form sects. So all sects are wrong in Islam.

Hypernormalisation touches on this, although in Adam Curtis style it's probably an oversimplified gloss.

In the Iran-Iraq war, the Shia Iranians were told they could be Maryrs if they took on a suicidal mission, provided that they were taking out heretical Iraqi invaders. In Lebanon this crossed over ideologically into Sunni Islam (by far the bigger sect) and Wahhabism. (very conservative.)

Since Shia are mostly within Iran, whereas most other countries have more Sunni than Shia, I suppose it's just sheer force of numbers that makes most modern extremist groups Sunni.

Personally for wider geopolitical reasons I've always been drawn to Shia. (I'm quite fond of Iran/Persia in all incarnations.) Though obviously I'm not really educated enough on Islam to give full commentary. (If we're taking Adam Curtis to be broadly accurate: I'd like it even more before the Iranian revolution, when they believed they should keep out of politics.)

This is typical sunni ideology.

This better be self parody, or there is no hope for Islam.

The whole Sunni Shia divide is a Shia construct.
The label "Sunni" was created by Shias.

I just noticed that Sunnis are the ones funded by the west but Sunnis are the ones who use mostly the west as a scapegoat.

And Sunnis say that Shiias are not real muslims.

Basically religion turns you in to a dick.

Yeah, but West of course fund them only when it's in their favor, like Ben Laden vs USSR, or rebels vs Assad.

Shia don't and can't have small groups, since they listen to one big leader anyway. So controlling them is harder. And somehow they are more successful and the West can't afford to support them. Like think of how Hezbollah is challenging Israel… and the success of Shia groups of keeping Assad on power, and making Iraq gov 100% controlled by Shia.

In the bigger picture if Sunnis won over Assad in Syria, Israel might take even more land of Syria (they took Golan Heights…).

Hezbollah/Iran were begging Sunni groups to not support the Syrian revolution with arms and begging Assad to not escalate the situation with sniper and barrel bombs. If anything this shows how Shia groups actions and calculated while Sunni groups action are random.

The West didn't fund bin Laden during the Russian-Afghan war. Osama was another source of funding for the same group the US was aiding.

Sunnis don't say that at all, unless you think Salafist types represent all Sunnis, which they don't.
Salafists think everyone who isn't a Salafist isn't a Muslim.

All I know is there were some Sunnis doing a demonstration in a city near me and some Shiites started trying to shit talk them so the sunnis started saying that shiites werent real muslims because they worship idols.

Basically religion makes you be a dick to other people.
I know this from actually seeing religious people with my own eyes and talking to them.

Some Christfags are perfectly OK though.

I'd say that's more a function of tribalism and the trajectory of modern discourse than it is religion.
Saying Shias worship idols would be a fairly niche interpretation of things.

It's mostly Saudi funding to advance Wahabbi fundamentalism.

A fairly good article on Saudi Arabia:

The Saudi govt is scum, so of course the United States allies with & supports them.

Islam is terrible like all the Abrahamic religions, but the Shia are generally the more rational and reasonable and predictable ones. That is true for even the fundamentalist Shia in Iran, who are still not as bad as the Saudis.

But it certainly helps if you want to dehumanize someone and put them in a vulnerable position.

The muslim version is to demuslimise someone

As opposed to all Muslims, jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Asatru, who are without exception all reactionary. Every single one.
Okay, that might actually be true about Asatru, but you get the point.
Excepting Christians specifically from this condemnation is pretty childish, when it's obvious that there are reasonable ways to be religious, even with very differing content.
It's honestly pretty bullshit to even single out Christians when some of the larger schism (Like Lutheran vs. Calvinist vs. Catholic) are theologically significant enough for them to be pretty much completely irreconcilable, which makes it quite hard to talk about those as the same thing.
What makes Italian catholicism enough like Scandinavian Lutheran Christianity in it's capability to contain non-reactionary individuals, that it's worth containing in the same category as opposed to a larger category containing e.g. Judaism? Is the Torah such a uniquely reactionary book that it's impossible to base your belief on it without also being a raving reactionary?
My point being that categories such as "Christianity" are mostly based on ethnicity and culture, rather than actual theology or practice. Scandinavian Lutheranism fall into the same category as Latin Catholicism because they're both based on the same cultural works (The Bible, churches, theologians &c.), and geographically close.
This is why when you're making a statement about Christians as an entire category (e.g., not speaking about theology or practice) you're really talking about a (often ethnic) culture. Which makes a statement such as "Christians have a higher tendency to be non-reactionary" with the subtext that it's related to their Christianity reactionary as fuckk, unless you're talking about literal statistics about literal people who identify as "Christian".

This is also why the whole "Islam isn't a race, therefore you can't be racist against Islam lmao" argument is bullshit front to fucking back. Islam as a category is a piece of culture that happens to have a strong relation to ethnicity. If you want to critique Islam (Which you obviously can, nobody's saying that "lol suppression of women is just their culture yo, diversity lmao"), you critique specific Islamic practices and specific Islamic theology.

With that being said, I don't think that was what you were trying to say when saying that "Some Christfags are perfectly OK though.".
My more charitable reading is that you were saying that from your understanding of Christian theology, it's positively very possible to be both following and understanding Christian theology and practices and also not be a reactionary, rather than a statement of a lacking quality in non-Christians. Which is a statement I get and emphasize with because, to be honest, European Christianity is the only major world religion whose theology I have just a somewhat good understanding of, which makes it the only religion where I can say for certainty that Yes, it's very much indeed possible to not be a reactionary and also be a Christian as in, believing in a faith stemmed from a ethnic and cultural group that are related to cultural traditions and texts related to Christianity, including but not limited to the Bible.
I just want to emphasize that I don't see any evidence that this isn't also the case for most other cultures, on which theology and religious practices are based.

Also, from my understanding of it the Shiites are the ones redeemed by history tbh.

It's telling when literally every Islamic terrorist organization in the world is Sunni.

Shiites really are the /ourguys/ in a broader scope as their first priorities are combatting the Zionists and exterminating the Wahhabis with extreme prejudice. They also tend to have a modicum of pluralism and religious tolerance.

There are strong Sunni exceptions however such as Saddam Hussein and especially Comrade Gaddafi (rest in power). Gaddafi was the most progressive revolutionary Muslim leader in history.

ffs where do you get your bullshit information from?
Shias have been as busy in terrorism as Sunni, I really don't get this desire to pick and choose a side, and declare one /ourguys/. It's just western narcissism.

That's just about leadership, not about fundamentalism in beliefs–which version of Christianity is more fundamentalist, Catholicism with its strict church hierarchy (whose Pope recently said evolution and the Big Bang theory are consistent with Catholicism) or evangelical Protestant churches where anyone can call themselves a pastor? The modern Sunnis are the ones who think the Koran is eternal and uncreated and therefore perfect in every word (though this wasn't always Sunni dogma, there's some info on the history at ), while the Shia believe it was created. Most Shia in Muslim countries are probably still fairly fundamentalist in that they think Muhammad just transcribed the word of Allah but their beliefs at least give a little more room for future flexibility (maybe more will come to believe that Mohammad interpreted the message of Allah through his 7th-century perspective), for example the article on the study of the history of the Koran at says:

This place is fucking weird sometimes.

He's probably a True Aryan.

Moroccan ex-muslim here, like everything else the Shia/Sunni divide is a power struggle.

After the death of Mohammed a lot of people wanted a heriditary process for the chaliph and other wanted a more ""democratic"" process, Ali was qualified but he wasn't elected as the 1st caliph, instead he was passed for power 3 times which he didn't really mind, the 3rd caliph was Othman who was from a tribe compromised of merchants, his tribe got really wealthy during his reign, he was assasinated and Ali finally was elected but Othman's tribe and particularely a wealthy merchant named Moaouia blamed Ali for not dealing harshly with the people who killed Othmane which was impossible since most of them had fled by the time Ali took power and nobody really knew who they were, so it was a pretext for Othman's tribe to take power. Mohammed's young wife sided with Mouaouia in fighting Ali.

The wars came to a stand off and Ali agree'd that his sons (who are descended from Mohammed) wouldn't take power, instead Moauia would be the next Caliph and power wouldn't be heriditary. thing is Moaouia did what he accused ally of wanting to do and transfered power to his sons, The partisants of Ali felt betrayed, called upon Ali's son to go join them in Iraq so they could seize power from Moaouia but Hassan and Hussein but the son of Ali was butshered on his way to Iraq.

and ever since Muslim have been fighting each other for who was in the wrong.

this is an extremly watered down version but there a lot of nuances and books about it.


Sunnis : Love Ali, think he was GOAT but hate his partisants who raise him to deity level

Shia : Love Ali, think they did him dirty and power should've stayed in the house of Mohammed IE : Ali, His son and their descendant.

The only good Islamic sect is Suffism, it's apolitical and more like Kierkegaard's christianity. they're the only one that oppose any form of violence or power through religion and follow a spiritual Islam.

Where do you get yours?

Shia have engaged in terrorism, like Hezbollah bombing the Israeli tour bus in Bulgaria, but it tends to be more targeted and less senseless. It's not "destroy the West and all infidels" it's an attack on Israel with their limited means, a nation they have struggled with for decades. It's not morally defensible, given the innocence of the people on that bus, but there is a logic there.

With ISIS and some of the other Sunni groups, it is pure insanity.

Stopped reading there.

Morocco, Lebanon, Tunisia are the most open. Iran is arguably the most fundamentalists country aside from Saudi Arabia.

Yeah yeah, but against Sunni's, the Shia have been ethnic cleansers. Look at what the militia's did in Baghdad. Not exactly nice lefty folk.

Good post. Ali did literally nothing wrong?

Which side is Mouaouia then?

By "Islamic terrorism" I meant jihadism. World scale religiously motivated terrorism. All Shia violence is sectarian and regional.

The only conclusion I draw from this is that the word 'moderate' means absolutely jack shit

Any good texts on Suffist theology? Maybe something specifically comparing it to Kirkegardian Christianity or Christianity in general?

You can't deny that there's a logic behind ISIS style anti-Europe/US attacks. It creates a stronger divide between ME and EU/US, which is the stated goal behind them.

Somehow, a tankie Saddam Hussein and Qaddafi apologist manages to have a better articulated response than a tripfag. Hilarious.

The difference is Shia terrorism is sanctioned by the Shia religious authorities. Sunni terrorism is not. Suicide bombing is a tactic that carries the approval of a Shia fatwa.
The Sunni authorities - the muftis in Saudi Arabia - have consitently agreed there's no religious basis allowing any form of terrorism.

So basically it's okay as long as it only kills brown people. Got it.

Given the history of Sunnis in recent decades, I would need to hear a lot more details from those on the ground to know that they weren't mostly targeting people who deserved it, even if in practice it was inhumane or gratuitous. For decades, we would hear stories about leaders like Nasser and their human rights violations, but often it was against lunatic Islamists. Plus, we have had a media that for a long time was skewed towards the Sunnis and even now still is, tbh

I'm not just picking on Muslims, someone should have killed John Calvin and his crazier followers centuries ago. And of course it would be nice for the cycle of violence to stop and religious fundamentalism to die out, but Israel and Western governments don't seem to have an interest in that, in spite of their rhetoric.

I don't think the article was talking about "openness" in general, just about openness to the specific kind of discussion mentioned in the earlier paragraph, where it was mentioned that Iran was one of the few Muslim countries where "it is possible to talk about the Koran's textual origins". Keep in mind that the rise of historically-based Biblical criticism in 18th century Christian countries (see ) was a huge factor in the development of less dogmatic forms of Christianity (like the kind of Deist beliefs popular with the American 'Founding Father's), before Darwin or other scientific arguments for challenging more literal readings of the Bible.

That sounds more like something in theory than practice. Hezbollah regularly denies incidents they are supposed to be involved in, like the bus bombing mentioned earlier.

IMHO, history > doctrine, especially outsider's interpretation of doctrine. Otherwise, you'd believe the neocon lies that Christianity is somehow less violent or even much less violent than Islam.

For one thing, ISIS has never attacked. Never. Another thing is the pure terror aspect of burning people alive, destroying Syrian artifacts, and other examples of Abrahamic craziness. This stuff does not have any real rationale for it, just like the Taliban blowing up those Buddhist statues.

Indian shia here. I feel like everyone's already answered ops questions, so instead I'd like to go over points that could be used to possibly produce a reformed Islam

Ijtihad : Ijtihad is the process of determining what is the Islamic thing to do when it isn't available in the Quran or hadith. The barrier to reform though, is that only certain people can engage in ijtihad, those who have been studying thier entire lives (called mujtahids) and all other Muslims follow them. However, it's important to realize that these qualifications for being a mujtahid were themself determined with ijtihad! I think if that point is emphasized we can get many more Muslims to reexamine thier religious lives.

Also it's an important note that salafist/wahabis completely reject the concept of ijtihad and many believe that since the prophet was a Bedouin who lived in the desert the only true Muslims must do the same

Mu'tah :mu'tah is only present in the shia faith. Historically, it was used when men and women would go on years long journies away from thier spouses (or were unmarried), mu'tah was a way to basically fuck someone else and not have it treated as adultery.

But it's quite easy to see how this ruling can be used to justify dating a bit of sexual liberalism even. It already is in fact. In Lebanon, Dearborn Michigan USA, and even here in India young shia are dating each other and calling it mu'tah.

Sorry, meant to write

All porky lies, the real shit is the porkers from both sides steering shit for personal money gain with this excuse.

Ali was/is venerated by both Sunni and Shia,

I don't know much about eastern sufism aside from the fact that they have some beautiful music.

but I can talk about western sufism (Morocco)

Suffis totally disregard the Hadiths, they believe you should look inward and not outward, as in spirituality/religion is a deeply personal thing and you can only get closer to the divine by meditation and self-reflection rather than trying to change the world, so they do not attempt to impose anything on anyone.

It sounds to me like Hadiths are the problem

Calvinism is worst sect easily. Taints the name of protestantism imo.

But all of that shit does have a rationale, you just don't like it that rationale / think it's not very rational. But there's a very real understanding of a wanted effect and a line of action with that effect as a probable result. And it's honestly not one that's incredibly far fetched. What's wrong about it is incredibly wrong understandings of what's wanted and what measures one should be willing to commit to to achieve it. It's not an absence of rationale, it's just a shit one.
They're not literal monkeys throwing shit everywhere, and frankly the idea that they act without reason purely on violent instinct is pretty childish.

Thanks. Sounds pretty inspired by Martin Luther in that case, if that's the founding principles.

Hezbollah isn't a religious authority or order. It's a terrorist/liberation group (take your pick) so it's fair to say they would be violent, as would a Sunni paramilitary group, it's part of the job description.
The religious sanctioning does matter.
The word of respected mainstream scholars matter, and the Ayatollah is the mainest stream in Shiism.
The issue is there's no shortage of non mainstream Sunni scholars willing to construct a justification for terrorism, the copy cat phenomenon, the radicalising effect of the internet, war, political history, and the fact that the average westerner will shit it's pants over a broken finger nail all adding to the problem

Kek. So that's where the stereotype of shias being sluts and wife-swappers comes from

They don't need Calvin for that.

Provide some substance to your response. If all you have is a strawman that I said they were incapable of the most basic reasoning skills like tying their shoes or burning people alive to put fear into their enemies, then there is nothing to discuss.

Hezbollah is a Shia political party in Lebanon with a military branch.

Anyway, I don't see your argument really relating to the real world. Also, don't care about who is mainstream or not, just looking at the results.

There's a communist sufi school too. although I feel like it can't be called sufi anymore since it's politically involved and their leader promotes radical leftism.

They are in a battle against the Wahabists who they consider a bit like the Porky of Islam.

Yes, and they get a lot of their authority and credibility from mainstream Shiism. This thread is about Shiism and Sunnism.
No, you're looking at the results, deciding religious sect has something to do with it then picking your guy. And you're doing it with willful ignorance.

You bring nothing to the discussion other than Sunni apologism, that is why it is so fruitless.

I take it the swastika is a joke btw.

You wanted your little circlejerk of misinformation and I filled you in. Sorry if that was inconvenient.
Do you think either side gives a fuck what you think, or care whether you say they're your guy?
You twat.
lmao at you thinking you're some kind of informative source on this subject.

You didn't fill me in on anything, dude, you're a sad joke who didn't bring a single link or reference to the table, just your assertions.

Read Kierkegaard.

I already did, and you just repeated yourself instead of answering it. In fact your response was just calling it "Abrahamic craziness", even though it very obviously has intent and very obviously has the wanted effect. Which fits the "acts with a rationale" criterion in my book.

If that's seriously what you got out of my post then you should wait get some fucking reading comprehension. I was very obviously referring to the violent and otherwise disrespectful acts that you were referring to in your post, that you yourself called "Abrahamic craziness" or acts without rationale, so I don't think I was misconstruing your point.

So fuck you and stop posting.

You obviously don't understand a fucking word nazi poster is saying.

There nothing factual to argue, you just don't understand basic English.