Questions and Answers on Islamic Doctrine

Questions on Sects and Schools of Thoughts

Chapter 4: Questions on Sects and Schools of Thoughts


Question 26: What are the differences and similarities netween Sinnism and Shi’ism?  Are there other sects that are considered belonging to the fold of Islam?

Answer 26: Both Sunnis and Shi’as believe in God, His angels, His scriptures, His prophets, the day of judgement, fate, and the pillars of Islam, generally speaking.

Sunnis and Shi’as differ in some respects which include:

1. The Shi’as believe in the inerrancy and infalliablity of the imams coming from the prophet’s family.

2. Their belief that imams are divinely inspired, but to a lesser degree than prophets.

3. Their practice of tactical dissimulation in their dealings with their adversaries, whereby they believe that they are allowed to hide their beliefs.

4. The practice of mut’a, or temporary marriages.  From a sunni perspective such marriages constitute adultry.  There are many hadiths condemn this practice.

Undoubtedly, many other sects claim to belong to the fold of Islam.  The mainstream Islamic population considers such sects in relation to their closeness to, or distance from, the teachings of mainstream Islam. 

Judaism and Christianity are not accepted as viable religions after the advent of Islam.  Islam has superseded them  God says: “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the hereafter he will be one of the losers” (Holy Qur’an: 3: 85).