What are the differences between Shia and Sunni Muslims؟
The distinction between Shia and Sunni Islam began after the death of Islam's founder The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). Sunni Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) did not name a successor to lead Muslims after his death while Shia Muslims deeply believe that the Prophet (PBUH&HP) Introduced Imam Ali (PBUH) for many times as his successor. Including in Qadeer Khom where the Prophet raised Imam Ali's hand then introduced him as the Imam for all Muslims and commanded Muslims (more than one hundred thousand Muslim) there to give Imam Ali allegiance.
As a result, Sunnis believe that people after the Prophet death elected a new leader. The first four caliphs, began the Sunni tradition, though no global Sunni leader has been in place since the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
In contrast, Shia Muslims followed Imam Ali ibn Abi-Talib (PBUH), the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), as the rightful successor of Islam. While Sunni movement has developed into many sub-groups, Shia Muslims emphasize the special spiritual and political leadership of Imams (Muslim religious leaders) to Muslim nations.
In terms of size, Sunni Muslims are the largest group of adherents within Islam, with close to seventy percent of Muslims coming from Sunni heritage. However, in certain countries, including Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Yemen, Iran, and Iraq, Shia Islam is considered the majority groupand in many of other Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and many other countries are minority.
Spiritually, both groups practice the Five Pillars of Islam. All Muslims have to pray five prayers that Sunni Muslims pray these five prayers in five times each day (separately), while Shia Muslims pray them in three official times (together). Further, All of Shia and few of Sunni Scolars and Muslims accept the belief in the Twelfth Imam who has already been born but is hidden and will play a major role with his return in the last days.
Each group also has other unique traditions as part of its religious customs. For example, Shia Muslims observe the Day of Ashura, a day to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Husayn ibn Ali (PBUH), grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP).
Sunni Muslims follow the many Hadith that are considered authenticated sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) to help interpret the Glorious Qur'an. Shia Muslims do not accept the authority of the six major Hadith collections of Sunni Islam but instead follow the Hadiths that is narrated from infallible twelve Imams.
In a religion as large as Islam, many additional subgroups also exist within Sunni and Shia Islam. These differences note some of the major distinctions. Yet all Muslims continue to follow Allah as the one true God, the Five Pillars of Islam, and share many important spiritual and cultural customs related to their religions.
Interestingly, both Sunni and Shia Islam accept the Muslim teaching that Jesus (PBUH) is one of many prophets in Islam. Yet the Bible (composed of Old and New Testaments) is the book in which many of the historic teachings of Moses and Jesus (PBUTH) can be found.