It is wrong at first to call it a struggle, because it arose as a doctrinal disagreement in some jurisprudential matters between the Sunni and Shiite communities.
The beginning of the dispute came with the first sedition going through the Islamic nation, the sedition that led to the death of the third caliph Uthman ibn Affan. The incident of the killing of Osman caused conflicts between Imam Ali bin Abi Talib, who was appointed as a fourth successor and Muawiya bin Abi Sufyan and the governor of the Levant on the subject of the punishment of the killers of Osman. It turns out that the dispute arose as a political disagreement between two points of view on an issue that is not disputed namely the punishment of the killers of Othman bin Affan, but each had a point of view between the cohesion of the state and then Qassas Umm Qasas and then the cohesion of the state.
What are the main points of disagreement between Sunnis and Shiites?
One of the points of contention is the subject of infallibility. Shiites believe that God gave the infallibility of the wrong to the prophets and then the imams to be a reference and a guide to the nation. While the Sunnis see that the infallibility is for the prophets alone. Hence, the Shiites do not take the companions because they are different in opinion and diligence, but they take away the twelve imams of the people of the house.
The third point of disagreement is the Companions of the Messenger of Allah. Sunnis and Shiites believe that companions are human beings who make mistakes, but the difference lies in the fact that the Shiites believe that among the righteous and virtuous companions, including the hypocritical hypocrite. On the other hand, the Sunnis see that the Companions are all virtuous virtues, but there are degrees for their justice and virtue. They say that the best people after the Prophets are Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq, Omar, Osman, Ali, and so on.
The fourth point of disagreement comes in the mothers of believers. Sunnis and Shiites see them all as the best women without exception ; but the Shiites believe that Ms. Aisha had violated the law of God and went out to the Imam of the Muslims as it was hurt the Prophet. Sunnis on the contrary see it as the people loved the heart of the Prophet Muhammad.
There are other points, such as Taqiya, self-sacrifice, the righteous’s right to seek refuge, the personality of the expected Mahdi, the marriage of pleasure, the ears, and others .
So why does the disagreement develop with time?
Dr. Idris Hany, a researcher in Arab and Islamic thought, believes that the previous contentious issues are merely scourges of the origin of the real dispute. Idris believes that the main difference between the two teams is the referee. The main point in the dispute between Sunnis and Shiites dates back to the character that followed the Messenger of Allah Muhammad in the leadership of the nation after his death.
The Sunnis say that the Prophet Muhammad died without specifying who succeeds him. Thus, the great companions gathered in the shed of the sons of Sa’idah and chose Abu Bakr, the successor to the Messenger of Allah. While Shiites see that the Prophet Muhammad has stated in more than one place that the successor after him is his cousin and the husband of his daughter Ali bin Abi Talib and then to 11 imams after him. The Shi’ites are quoted as saying about this with two hadeeths: the hadeeth of al-Ghadeer and the hadeeth of the twelve caliphs.
This controversy has made both communities spread their sword in the face of the other community to fight each other until the situation out of control; it took on ideological, social and political dimensions, and it turned from controversy and discussion to atonement and blood.
What are the main points of conflict between the two groups in history?
Several conflicts took place between the successors of the Abbasid (Sunni) state and the Shiites in several regions of the Arabian Peninsula to Morocco and Central Asia. What is the role of Iran and its Islamic revolution in the conflict? The Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 against the Shah’s rule has fueled the differences between the Sunni and Shiite sides as a result of the feeling that the Shiite groups in these countries have a warm and supportive presence. This helped Iran to export its revolution to neighboring Arab countries, Iranian Iran at that time as a result of Iranian ambitions in Iraq, which contains many Shiites in its southern regions. The conflict that began at this stage as an intellectual struggle through the attempt of each team to attract the largest number of followers of the other team turned over time to political conflict and then to armed confrontations.
Iran Since the Islamic Revolution, it has been striving to reduce American hegemony in the Middle East by increasing its influence and control over the region, especially with the presence of Shiite communities that serve as a good starting point in Bahrain, Lebanon, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria. Some politicians and Sunni scholars believe that Iran’s talk about the unity of Muslims and the non-differentiation between Sunni and Shi’a is a quest by the Iranians to realize their broad dream of reviving the ancient Persian state that was spent by Caliph Omar ibn al-Khattab.
Is Iran the only reason to fuel the conflict?
Of course not, on the other side arose Sunni extremist ideologies contributed to the processes of fueling the conflict has completely exceeded their disbelief without exception, which created fertile ground in the Arab region to instill the seeds of hatred for all that is Shiite, especially with the exit of a number of Shiites in some media to spank and slander Characters of the Companions whom the Sunnis consider the best creation after the Prophets without exception. With the fear of Saudi Arabia from the Shiite tide towards it, the clerics of Wahhabi thought exploited such fatwas to remove people from Shiite ideology and protect the political system of the Kingdom and the Gulf countries in general. They also cited what Imam Ibn Taymiyyah said in the book “The Platform of the Sunnah” that the Shiites were the ones who sought the arrival of the Tatars to Baghdad – the Caliphate House at the time – which led to the killing of countless numbers of Muslims.
Over time, a number of strong and sometimes armed Shiite groups have emerged in some Arab countries, such as the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, several Shiite groups in Iraq. In addition to the Family of Alawitesin Syria. They represent the regime now in Syria. In contrast, there were many Sunni groups with salafi-jihadist ideology, such as al-Qaeda and the organization of the Islamic state.
With the escalation of the tone of the conflict between the two parties and in the presence of foreign hands of foreign countries working for their own interests in the region began a large-scale armed conflict between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq following the US invasion by car bombs and targeting Sunni and Shiite mosques. Things escalated dramatically following the Arab Spring revolutions. Iran supported these revolutions against leaders who were not allies such as Egypt, Libya and Yemen, while rejecting the Syrian people’s revolt against Bashar al-Assad, its main ally in the region, for Iran to send troops directly or through its military arms such as Hezbollah and a number of armed Shiite militias in Iraq to contribute to Suppressing the Syrian revolution and keeping the Assad regime in power.
With the emergence of the Islamic State Organization in Iraq and its significant expansion and threat and its fight against the Shiites as the first enemy, the region entered into an actual sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites to develop events in Yemen through the control of the Shiite Houthis backed by Iran on the Yemeni capital Sana’a and the attempted coup against President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi (Who was recently killed by the Houthis). When Saudi Arabia establishes a “Sunni” alliance against the Houthis in Yemen and behind them Iran, the apparent thing to the public is that what is happening is a Sunni-Shiite sectarian conflict and not just a political conflict.