Origin of the Split in Islam

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In the 16th century AD Prophet Muhammad, a merchant in Arabia claimed that, he was receiving visions from God (Allah). Allah is an Arabic word that means God. Muhammad said that the visions proclaimed the complete unity of God, the territories of heaven and hell, and the ideal rules of life. The visions are in the Koran and the faith that was revealed to Muhammad, the founder of Islam religion. Muhammad served as their prophet and political leader, and his death certainly caused them a great loss.

The Declaration of Faith (shia shahadah) states that “Allah is the only God and Muhammad the Prophet is his messenger, Ali is the friend of Allah.” Ali was the second person to be converted into Islam. In 623 AD, Mohammed the Prophet passed on, Ali was a key figure in the Sunni, and Shia split. Ali had married Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter. Shia Muslims felt that Ali should have been the first Caliph and all Caliphates should be the offspring of Muhammad. The Sunnis believed that they should choose a successor as the first caliph. Ali was chosen as the first Caliph, and was killed in war in 661 in Kufa town. The Shia calls their leaders Imams and Sunnis believe that this is according them so much importance, and none should have such power except God. The spilt of Islam into Shia and Sunni has benn followed by violent wars. Shia Muslims commonly known as Shiites make up 80% of the Muslim population while the Sunnis are almost 15%. The remaining 5% is composed of Muslims who follow the Aga Khan among other groups. Today, Shiites control almost all the oil-producing areas of the Middle East, perhaps a source of conflict with the minority Sunnis.

Origin of the Split in Christianity

After the death of Jesus, Simon Peter, became the leader of the Jewish Christian movement. Paul formed Pauline Ministries, which was embraced by the early Catholics. In 70 AD, the Jewish Christian movement collapsed. In 313 AD, the Roman Empire embraced Pauline Christianity over the Jewish Christian Movement. In 1054 AD, another split in Christianity occurred. The split is referred to as the Great East-West Schism. This was the first major split in Christianity, and led to the creation of the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church. In 1517, Martin Luther wrote the 95 theses that led to the reformation, which gave birth to the Protestant Churches. This movement called for a personal interpretation of the scriptures. Today, some people are faithful to the Roman Catholicism, which is believed to be the regulator of doctrines of the Early Church. On the other hand, Protestants believe that they should be allowed to read the Bible, interpret in their own words, and directly pray to God.

Origin of Split in Judaism

The Maccabean Revolution led to the appearance of differences among the Jews. Jews, in the land of Israel united against Greeks. The war lasted for 25 years and after it ended, the Jews split into Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. Sadducees adopted certain elements of Greek Hellenism like being liberal. The Sadducees strictly interpreted and lived according to the Torah. Pharisees believed that God had offered them a written and an oral Torah both of which were subject to rabbinical interpretation. In the 9th century B.C.E, a major split in Judaism led to the formation of Karaites and Rabbinical Judaism. Karaites believed in reading and interpreting the scripture without rabbinical aid. On the other hand, Rabbinical Judaism believed that the Rabbis should interpret the scripture. Currently, almost 5 Million Jews live in the United States of America. After the Reconstructionist Movement, they split into Orthodox and Conservative Jews. Orthodox Jews live in Israel while most of the Liberal or Conservative Jews live outside the state of Israel.

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