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Unformatted text preview: POLITICAL, THEOLOGICAL AND ANTHROPOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SUNNIS (90%) See themselves as: Ahl al-Sunna, wa’l- jamah= (People of Tradition and Consensus) Sunnis see Caliphs (successors) of Mohammed as persons elected to carry on the leadership of the Ummah, but they are not seens as being endowed with the special relationship M. had with God. So they emphasize the political (not the prophetic or spiritual) leadership role of caliphs. Hold an egalitarian view of Successors i.e. any faithful Companion ofM. was eligible to be selected. The truth is mt esoteric, but able to be understood by all, so Spiritual Mediators are not needed. (Similar to Protestant thinking) Sunnis do go_t emphasize prophetic or spiritual role of a Ruler. More concerned with ruler who can keep order so faith survives; emphasizes stability to protect Islamic values. Ideally, Religious leaders legitimate the government while Political leaders provide stability and order. Developed 4 Schools of Law or religious jurisprudence (Shariah) al—Shali al Hanafi al Maliki al Hanbali Fatwas or leagal opinions are usually issued by a group ( ulama) of religious jurists. Individual jurists are called mujtahids Reject Visual Arts (are inconoclastic) Emphasize Message (over the Person M.) Often persecuted the Shia who are viewed as not fully observant or not orthodox enough. SHIAS (10%) See themselves as: Shi’at Ali: (The Party of Ali) Developed a Tradition of Imams succeeding M. (Institution of the lmamate). They believe that followers need m rulers and, just as God chose M., so M. is seen as explicitly choosing a successor, namely, Ali, his son-in—law. Subsequent leaders (Imams) were, in turn, chosen by the previous Imam. Take a more elite approach. Leaders are to be chosen from ahl al—Bayt (family of Ali). Just as M. was free of sin and v. spiritual, Shia believe these qualities are passed onto M’s descendents by the grace of God. Prophets are needed for salvation. (Note: For Sunnis, the term “imam“ refers to prayer leaders, not spiritual teachers.) In Shi’ism, imams, especially the more important ones are known as Ayatollahs, are chosen for their virtues and knowledge (ilm). Still, they are not infallible, so their religious decisions can to be debated. In other words. authority an be challenged. Shia developed 1 School of Law _. al-Jafari (named after the 6m Shia Imam.) Shia await the return of the Hidden Mahdi who will restore order andjustice when he comes. Shia have ulalmas as well, but individual Imams/ayatollahs also have the authority to issue fatwas Love visual imagery and pageantry and ritual and drama. Person of M. is important. S_ain_t worship is supported w. hundreds of thousands of pilgrims attending festivals. The Shia sect crystallized at the Battle of Karbala (Iraq) in 680 CE when Hussein. son of Ali, was killed by Sunni followers. ...
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