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Shias and Sunnis Religious Groups Report

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Updated: Mar 22nd, 2020

Introduction

This paper is aimed at examining two religious groups, representing the Islamic community. In particular, it is necessary to focus on Shias and Sunnis because they can be regarded as the most influential Muslim movements. Each of these groups includes a great number of minor sects that can share various attributes. In this case, one should focus on the set of beliefs and assumptions that are held by the representatives of these groups.

Furthermore, much attention should be paid to the way in which Sunnis and Shias interact with various minority groups. The status of women should also be examined very closely. These are the main questions that should be discussed. To a great extent, this report is based on the results of the interview which was conducted with the representatives of these communities.

One should keep in mind that the experiences of the respondents may not coincide with the views of Sunnis and Shias who may be living in other countries. Additionally, it is critical to consider the information that various scholars can provide because they can offer a more objective evaluation of this topic.

Discussion to the two religious groups

At first, one should mention that Sunnis and Shias can share the essential beliefs that are embedded in the Quran. In particular, it is possible to refer to the so-called articles of faith. For instance, Shias and Sunnis emphasize the oneness of God and the recognition of Muhammad as the Prophet.

Additionally, both Shias and Sunnis believe in Judgment Day. Overall, it is possible to say that the core principles outlined in the Quran are accepted by both groups (Torstrick and Fair 29). To a great extent, these beliefs resemble other monotheistic traditions. This argument was also confirmed during the interview. One should also mention that the differences between Shias and Sunnis can be traced to the political conflict that broke out after the death of Muhammad (Wendlandt 62).

In particular, this struggle emerged because Muslims had different views on the questions about who should govern the Islamic community after the death of the Prophet (Wendlandt 62). Nevertheless, it is important to mention that the participants did not attach much attention to this issue.

One should note that the respondents were relatively young people who grew up in the United States. Nevertheless, these conflicts can have profound implications for such countries as Iraq and Iran (Dabrowska 16). Therefore, one should not suppose that the experiences of the interviewees can be easily generalized. Such an assumption may not be quite accurate. This is one of the main aspects that can be singled out.

In addition to that, Sunnis and Shias lay emphasis on the religious education of children. It should be mentioned that both respondents chose to join these religious groups because these beliefs and convictions were an inseparable part of their family background. This is one of the factors that prompted them to join their work.

Furthermore, both participants believe that membership in this group could be important for their socialization. Nevertheless, these people did not say that religion was the only part of their identity. In particular, they also perceived themselves as American citizens. These issues were mentioned by both participants.

Another question that should be examined in greater detail is the position of women. One should first point out that their status can strongly depend on the legislation of the country in which these people live. Nevertheless, one should mention that there are unwritten rules that govern the relations between people. It is possible to say that both Sunnis and Shias accept the premise that men should act as the main decision-makers in family and society.

This is one of the principles that are included in the Quran. Nevertheless, women are not barred from receiving education or finding employment. The main issue is that the position of women does not necessarily depend on the religious movement within Islam. More attention should be paid to the legislative system adopted in the country because this set of norms profoundly influences the status of an individual.

Apart from that, it is vital to examine the way in which minority groups are treated. First, one should mention both religious groups tolerate the representatives of other confessions such as Christianity and Judaism. This argument is particularly relevant if one speaks about Shias and Sunnis living in the United States. Still, one should also point out that both Sunnis and Shias do not tolerate minorities that differ in terms of lifestyle.

For instance, one can speak about the LGBT community. Therefore, the representatives of these minority groups may feel marginalized if they are either Sunnis or Shias. They do not want to discuss these issues openly. These attitudes do not manifest themselves in an open way. This detail should not be overlooked.

It is possible to argue that both respondents were optimistic about the future of Islam in the United States. They believed that both Sunnis and Shias would integrate into American society. Moreover, they argued that the conflicts between Sunnis and Shias would not manifest themselves in American society.

In turn, the respondents were rather uncertain about the future of Sunni and Shia communities in other parts of the world. Overall, their responses reflect the experiences of people who believe that their rights are properly protected. This is one of the details that should be taken into consideration.

The relevance to the concepts discussed during classes

Overall, this analysis can be related to the concepts that have been studied during classes. In particular, one should focus on the rituals which are embedded in Sunni and Shia traditions. The representatives of these groups have different fasting times and prayers (Tucker 117).

One should mention that these ritualistic elements play a significant role in other religious communities such as Christians (“St. Anthony’s Monastery Web Site”). This is one of the aspects that can be singled out. Additionally, the concept of monastic life does is not relevant to various Islamic communities. In contrast, this element plays a key role in Christianity (“St. Anthony’s Monastery Web Site”). This is one of the points that can be made.

Conclusion

On the whole, this discussion indicates that the Islamic community is not homogeneous as many people can often assume. It incorporates a diversity of religious movements that do not necessarily resemble one another.

The examples of Sunni and Shia groups demonstrate that Muslims can have different views on ritualistic elements and political aspects of Islam. Nevertheless, one should take into account that the experiences of people living in various countries can differ dramatically. The opinions of the interviewees do not reflect the experiences of Sunni and Shias living in different countries.

Works Cited

Dabrowska, Karen. Iraq Then and Now: A Guide to the Country and Its People, New York: Bradt Travel Guides, 2008. Print.

“St. Anthony’s Monastery Web Site”. St. Anthony. 2014. Web. 30. Oct. 2014. < http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/index.php>.

Torstrick, Rebecca, and Elizabeth Faier. Culture and Customs of the Arab Gulf States, New York: ABC-CLIO, 2009. Print.

Tucker, Spencer. The Encyclopedia of Middle East Wars: The United States in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq Conflicts, New York: ABC-CLIO, 2010.Print.

Wyndrandt, James. A Brief History of Saudi Arabia, New York: Infobase Publishing, 2010. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Shias and Sunnis Religious Groups." March 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/shias-and-sunnis-religious-groups/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Shias and Sunnis Religious Groups'. 22 March.

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