If there’s one country that you would want to go to, the country Iraq would be on your list. Iraq is a country of heritage and historical value. It has been known to the world for housing numbers of archaeological sites and art pieces. It is acknowledged for having one thousand archaeological sites including ruins of their past wars. Iraq has been the place for the oldest churches in the world and the first city of the world. The country’s archaeological sites can be dated back even before Christ was born; the mainland for the Old Testament.
Scholars and curators fear the possibility that the civil war in Iraq might destroy the archaeological sites of the country (Guardian, April 2, 2003).
The United States and Iraq conflict began on the twentieth of March of the year Two-Thousand and Three. The main reason for the development of the war is that His Excellence, President George W. Bush along with British Prime Minister Tony Blairand their fellow allies was threatened by the speculations that the Iraq government was developing weapons of mass destruction; nuclear bombs and the likes.
The war went on until the defeat of the Iraqi terrorist Saddam Hussein. The war deteriorated this year, two thousand and seven, but the war between Sunni and Shia Muslims continued up to this date (“A timeline of the Iraq War,”)
Shia vs. Sunni Muslim
Sunni and Shia Muslims are only two among the subgroups of the Muslim religion. Sunni and Shia have the same culture, it is homogenous. Although both share the common Islamic beliefs they do not share common beliefs when it comes to political issues and practices. There is diversity within the Islamic groups regionally.
The division between Sunni Islam and Shia Islam started when the prophet Muhammad died, leadership of the Muslim was then a big question. Who would take the place of Muhammad was at stake, whether it should be a relative or it is just okay for a capable leader to take his place. The Sunni Muslims agreed upon the election of a new leader among the capable ones. On the contrary, the Shia Muslims believed that the leadership should have been passed to Muhammad’s relatives, particularly to his cousin Ali. All throughout the Muslims’ history, the Shia subgroup never have recognized the authority of their elected leaders. From this initial political issue of leadership, the two subgroups’ spiritual beliefs were divided.
There are theological or spiritual differences between the Shia and Sunni Muslims. The Shia subgroups believe that their Imam or leader is a sinless leader since it was appointed by God. They often make shrines for their Imams because they believe that they are saints. On the contrary, Sunni Muslims contradicted the Shia beliefs; they say that there’s no basis for the veneration of saints and that there’s no such thing as the hereditary succession of spiritual leaders (Huda, 2007).
One of the practical differences between Sunni and Shia is through praying. Shia Muslims pray three times a day wherein they combine their prayers; their prayers can be identified by a tablet of clay from what they call Karbala or a holy place, on which their foreheads are pressed against. On the contrary, Sunni Muslims pray five times a day without combining their prayers.
Temporary marriage or what Muslims call Muttah marriage is legal to Shia but the Sunni Muslims do not consider it. Sunni Muslims believe that Muttah marriage is a forbidden act, thus, believing that the Prophet forbid the act (Hourani, 1991).
There are also differences in the kind of government the Sunnis and Shias wanted to have; the political culture differences. Shias are rebellious and always contradict the tyrannical rulers and are against Sunni injustices. They believed in the modern world democracy, in which avoidance of accountability and tyranny is stressed. They are anti-authoritarians and it is known to be an inherent culture of the Shias; they believed in the justification of fair rulers and that justice is fair and without any bias. On the contrary, Sunnis uphold any kind of government, be it democratic or not for as long as it maintains the order and the stability of the Muslim community. Not to mention that it should also protect the Muslim communities.
Gender relations among the Sunni Islam and Shia Islam have differences also. Shias’ allow a fairer gender relation than the Sunnis. The presence of sexual inequality for them is the absence of democracy; this is what the Shias believed in. On the other hand, Sunni Islam communities believed that women should be a subordinate of men; wives should obey their husbands. Thus, it shows that their differences are completely extreme, because one opposes the other (Chaulia,February 16, 2007)
Like other religions, Muslims also have differences, be it political, cultural and regional diversity. The fact is that they are all the same when it comes to spiritual concerns. The most important thing is to be united with God despite of the differences. Holy war is not supposed to be an issue because we are all the same in the eyes of our creator. Our fellow Muslim should unite instead of continuously building up the wall between them.
Iraq should be a sanctuary and not a place for war and conflict. Shias’ and Sunnis’ differences should not hinder them from being united for the sake of peace for the fact that they are both Muslims.
Chaulia, S. (February 16, 2007
). Shia Democracy:Myth or Reality?
[Electronic Version] from .
Guardian, T. (April 2, 2003). The end of civilization [Electronic Version] from http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,11710,927788,00.html.
Hourani, A. (1991). A History of the Arab Peoples [Electronic Version] from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/subdivisions/sunnishia_4.shtml.
Huda. (2007). What’s the Difference Between Shia and Sunni Muslims? [Electronic Version] from http://islam.about.com/cs/divisions/f/shia_sunni.htm.
A timeline of the Iraq War [Electronic ( ). Version]. Retrieved 2005-2007 from http://thinkprogress.org/iraq-timeline.