The Sunni-Shia Split

By: Courtney Avery


The Sunni-Shia split should be taught in World History classroms, because of how significant it was to the Muslim population, as well as the people of today. It has split the Islamic culture in two different groups, the Sunnis and the Shiites. The split is still affecting the Muslim communities to this day.

The Split

The Split took place around the year 362, shortly after the death of Muhammed. There was an argument that would end up splitting the Muslims into two. One group, called the Sunnis, and the other the Shiites. They split up due to the Umayyads coming into power of the Muslim capital, Damascus. The Sunnis, accepted the Umayyads, whereas the Shiites did not accept them and resisted, leading to the split of the two.

The Shia

They Shia, or the "party of Ali", resisted the idea of the Umayyads coming into control. The Shiites only take up about 10-15% of the Muslim population. They make up the minority of the Muslim population. They believe that all Muslim rulers should be direct descendants of Muhammad. The "Shi'a" terrorist groups tend to lean toward help directly from the state, so they are more likely to come from Iranian embassy's. Consulate's, and state run businesses.

The Sunnis

The Sunnis, or the "followers of Muhammad's example", accepted the Umayyads into rule. They believe that the first four caliphs were "rightly guided". They did not feel that Muslim rulers had to be related to Muhammad, they felt that they should follow the Sunna (Muhammad's example). They are the Majority of the Muslim population, taking up about 85% of the 1.6 billion Muslims. The "Sunni" terrorist groups tend to rely on the support of their coreligionists expatriate communities.


The Sunni-Shia split still affects people to this day, for there are about 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. The main reason the split affects people to this day, is the terrorist groups. One of the most known terrorist group, ISIS, is a Sunni terrorist organization. They are targeting Shia not only in the Middle East, but in the west as well. It has affected many people, those who follow the religion, and those who don't.