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Current time:0:00Total duration:8:13

Video transcript

- [Instructor] We're now going to talk about the main division that emerges in Islam shortly after the death of Muhammad. And that division is between Sunnis and Shias. And this division even exists today where roughly 90% of the world's 1.5 or 1.6 billion Muslims are Sunni, and roughly 10% are Shia. And that 10% is concentrated mainly in places like Iran, Iraq, but they are spread throughout the Muslim world or the world in general. Now, the word Sunni comes from the word Sunnah which is referring to examples of Muhammad. The word Shia comes from shi'atu 'Ali which means followers of Ali or party of Ali, and we'll talk more about Ali in a little bit. But, the general division is over who should succeed Muhammad after his death as the leader of the Muslim community. Shias believe it should be members of Muhammad's family and especially descendants of Muhammad, while the Sunnis believe that it doesn't necessarily have to be that. But, as we'll see, this division becomes stronger and stronger and stronger as there's more and more bloodshed between the two parties. Because so much of this revolves around the family of Muhammad, let's just review that first and then we'll talk about the division over who should succeed Muhammad as caliph or successor to lead the Muslim community. So, you see Muhammad right over here born 570. We have his birth on our timeline as well. And just to read this timeline, it goes from light blue to dark blue when Muhammad, according to Islamic tradition, starts to have the revelations from God. And the Muslim calendar starts at 622, the time of the Hijrah where the Muslim community, in order to escape persecution from the Quraysh, migrate from Mecca to Medina. Now, we've talked about several of these figures in other videos. Right over here, you have Muhammad's dad, Adbullah, who dies several months before Muhammad is born. You have Aminah here who is Muhammad's mother, and she dies when Muhammad is six years old. Then, you have Abdul-Muttalib who is the head of Muhammad's, you could say, household and he takes custody after the death of Aminah. And he takes custody until Muhammad is eight years old when Abdul-Muttalib dies, and then Muhammad's uncle, Abu Talib, takes custody. It's under Abu Talib that Muhammad learns his trade as a merchant and as a trader. Now, later on, we talk about Khadijah who is a wealthy widow in Mecca, and she employs Muhammad and according to Islamic tradition, is impressed by him and proposes to him, and she's 15 years older than Muhammad. This is her third marriage, and Muhammad marries her. She's a significant figure in Islam, not because she is Muhammad's first wife, but also because she is the first Muslim. Now, as you can see, Muhammad and Khadijah, they have several children, and I list one of them here, Fatimah, because Fatimah ends up marrying Abu Talib's son, Ali. And Ali is the Ali that we're talking about where the word Shia, shi'atu 'Ali comes from, party of Ali. Because Ali is considered the second Muslim. He is one of the early followers of Muhammad. As you can see, he is Muhammad's cousin. He grows up in the same household with Muhammad with Abu Talib, and he is also Muhammad's son-in-law. He marries Fatimah and they have several children, two of which are Hassan and Hussein who figure very prominently in the narrative I'm going to talk about in this video and the next. Now, the other figures that you see here, you have Abu Bakr who was a close companion of Muhammad, also one of the early Muslims. And you can see he was a little bit younger than Muhammad. And they are connected through Aisha. Muhammad marries Aisha after the death of Khadijah, and Aisha is a significant figure in early Islam. She's considered to have a very strong personality. Many of the Hadith are narrated by her. The Hadith are the Muslim traditions and accounts of Muhammad's life, and it's a significant part of the religion outside of the Quran. And she is married to Muhammad at a very, very young age, and there's some debate about how young she actually was. But, as we'll see, she also figures prominently in this narrative and in this schism that develops between the Sunni and the Shia. And the Sunni and the Shia view her differently. So, let's go back to the timeline here. So, as Muhammad's life nears its end in 632, in previous videos, we talk about his final pilgrimage to Mecca. And then, on his way back to Medina, at a place like Ghadir Khumm, he gives a sermon, a sermon that is especially very important to the Shia. According to that short sermon. And Ghadir Khumm, Ghadir literally means pond or small stream, so it's the sermon at the pond Khumm. There's one quotation that Shia consider to be very, very important where Muhammad says "Of whomsoever I had been Mawla." Ali here is to be his Mawla. And the word Mawla means protector or leader, or it could mean guardian or people that you are close to. And the Shia view this as clear evidence that Muhammad intended Ali to be his successor. Many members of the Sunni tradition take a slightly different interpretation where they say Mawla doesn't necessarily have to mean protector or leader. It could mean companion or friend or member that is close to, and so they don't view this as strongly of evidence. But, in the Shia tradition, the event at Ghadir Khumm is actually a significant event and it is even a holiday. So, that's the evidence that Shia point to as why Ali should be the successor. But, then Muhammad dies, and according to the tradition, while his funeral was being planned by his family, the close companions were meeting and discussing who should succeed Muhammad. And the close companions decide that is should be Abu Bakr. So, Abu Bakr becomes the first caliph, and he rules for two years. He's succeeded by Umar, sometimes pronounced as Omar, who then is assassinated who is succeeded by Uthman, sometimes pronounced as Osman who is then assassinated. And then, Ali takes power. According to Sunni tradition, these first four caliphs are considered the Rashidun caliphs or the rightly guided. And under their rule, you have the significant spread of what becomes this Islamic empire that we talk about in other videos. In Shia tradition, they consider these first three caliphs as usurpers. They believe that Ali should have been caliph from the beginning right in 632 at the time of Muhammad's death. And once again, they cite the events at Ghadir Khumm which was observed according to the Hadith by thousands of people and there's many, many accounts of this. Now, Ali is in power, but as we will see in the next video, this starts the first civil war, the first Muslim civil war, often referred to as the First Fitna, between Ali and the Umayyad's who are the family of Uthman, and we will cover that in the next video.