With this thread spanning to so many pages and so many posts. Skynet , kindly compiled this table of content for easier browsing. I thank him deeply for his effort. The link is found here.
This thread inspired by a very interesting brief discussion in another thread between Retribution , Elone , Cyrano And me about a few issues regarding Islam and Muslims. Me being one , I do not mind to offer what little insight do I have to help clarify a few things to the kind comunity of E.
Please bear in mind that what I have to say is not the definite word about any of these topics , but a simple observation of what I have to offer from a neutral stand point. I am a Muslim , and I have no qualms with any other religion s'long as we have the respect we deserve as humans between one another.
Islam has many factions , but the two that dominate the grand populace of Muslims is the Sunni & the Shee'ah. The difference between the two is simple. The Sunni believes that Mohammad is the rightful prophet. And the Shee'ah believe that his cousin , Ali Bin Abitalib is the rightful prophet. But that is not how it originally began.
First allow me to say what defines a Muslim briefly. It is one phrase. " No god is there but Allah , and Mohammad is his Prophet. " Who says this and believes in it is a Muslim by default. Exclude the teachings and practices of religion because the lack of them is considered a sin , and the practice of them is like ... a scoring system to get into heavens ( Sorry for the stupid metaphor but my lack of terminology had me use this. )
This phrase was altered by the Shee'ah. But the alteration happened around the 800-900Ad era if I remember correctly. It became " No god but Allah , And Mohammad is his prophet , and Ali is his rightful Prophet. " They kept the Mohammad phrase so they would not lose it all as their numbers dwindled back then.
Now back to how it all began.
With the death of Prophet Mohammad , the Muslim feared that God's grace may have forsaken them. But 4 people stood to lead them Muslims through the path , following Prophet Mohammad's teachings. These four were the closest and most loyal followers to the prophet. Abubaker , Omar , Othman and Ali. With the death of Prophet Mohammad , Many thought that there was no reason to follow Islam anymore now that the one who called for it is dead. But the four , especially Abubaker told the people that who follows Mohammad , then he's dead. Who follows Allah ( god ) , then God never dies. Hence the conflict began.
It all started through minor debates. Islam started when humanity did not even delve into science so much. So , since Islam governs the life of a Muslim , anything new is brought into question. If the prophet was alive , anythin can be answered , but with his death and the lack of message from god , every religious figure had to ' improvise '. Abubaker ruled for only two years and then Omar came , strict , swift and harsh. Which caused many to dislike his rule , even when he was very justful. It was then that many called for Ali to be the rightful ruler because he was the prophet's cousin. That the lineage of the prophet should guide the Muslims and not anyone. Bear in mind that Abubaker , Omar and Othman were elected by the few minorities who lived in Madinah & Mecca ( Makkah ).
That was how it started. A simple conflict to whom should ' govern ' the Muslims. Nothing related to Ali as a religious figure. But just like any conflict in history , the longer it dragged , the more it mutates into something different. Several centuries down the road And those who followed Ali were calling those who did not agree with them as heathens. And so did the opposing party. ( Back then the term Sunni was not been labelled yet. )
At some point , each party conspired against the other. Skirmishes and wars , even during Ali's rule happened. And nothing could be done to avoid them. Those who were close to the Prophet started dying , and thus those who preserved peace over ideals narrowed in numbers. And those who lived by ' hearing ' about the prophet and his followers and never had a chance to see them , were the one who were driven by ' passion ' to protect the ' ideals '. When you look down history , so many occurrences happened in the same way , and that is exactly how it all happens really.
So how does any of that relate to our modern day. Look at the modern day Muslims. Which parties of Muslims are engaging in meaningless wars and causing havoc? the Shee'ah is the main faction for , Iran , Iraq , Syria & Hezbollah. As much as history has to offer , they also despise the Sunni who are mostly guided by Saudi Arabia , because the Sunni are more accepting to the western ' heathen ' presence within their soil. Thus this is what is causing these little contradictions when it comes to the portrayal of Islam.
If any more details is required , I would be happy to provide. For now I'll leave this for everyone to join. And it is not restricted to the gentlemen I mentioned at the beginning. This discussion is open for everyone.
All I ask is to be respectful of everyone. A religion is a state of mind and soul. Even an atheist deserves a respect because they share one important fundamental with any religious people. Humanity.