Sunniy-shia bo'linishi nima?

Sunniy-shia bo'linishi nima?


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Garchi islomdagi ikkita asosiy mazhab - sunniylar va shia islomning asosiy e'tiqodlari va urf -odatlariga rozi bo'lishsa -da, ular orasidagi keskin bo'linish taxminan 14 asrlarga borib taqaladi. Tafovut Muhammad payg'ambarning o'rniga u kiritgan islomiy e'tiqod etakchisi kim bo'lishi kerakligi haqidagi bahsdan kelib chiqqan.

Tashqi aloqalar kengashi hisob -kitobiga ko'ra, bugungi kunda butun dunyo bo'ylab taxminan 1,6 milliard musulmonlarning 85 foizga yaqini sunniylar, 15 foizi esa shia. Shia Eron, Iroq, Bahrayn va Ozarbayjon aholisining ko'p qismini, Livanda ko'pchilikni tashkil etsa, sunniylar Marokashdan Indoneziyaga qadar bo'lgan 40 dan ortiq mamlakatlarda ko'pchilikni tashkil qiladi.

Sunniylar va shia tafovutlariga qaramay, tarixning ko'p qismida bir -birlari bilan nisbiy tinchlikda yashashgan. Ammo 20 -asrning oxiridan boshlab, bo'linish chuqurlashdi va Yaqin Sharqning ko'p joylarida zo'ravonlikka aylandi, chunki sunniy va shia islomning diniy va siyosiy ustunligi uchun kurashdi.

Muhammadning o'limining oqibatlari

Sunniy-shia bo'linishining ildizlari VII asrga borib taqaladi, milodiy 632 yilda Muhammad payg'ambar vafotidan ko'p o'tmay. Muhammad izdoshlarining aksariyati islomiy jamiyatning boshqa elita a'zolari uni tanlashi kerak deb o'ylashgan. vorisi, kichikroq guruh Muhammadning oilasidan faqat uning amakivachchasi va kuyovi Ali vorisi bo'lishi kerak deb hisoblardi. Bu guruh Ali tarafdorlari sifatida tanildi; arab tilida Shiat Aliyoki shunchaki shia.

"Muammoning mohiyati shundaki, Muhammad erkak merosxo'rsiz vafot etdi va u hech qachon o'z vorisi bo'lishni kim xohlayotganini aniq aytmagan", deydi muallif. Lesli Xazleton. Payg'ambardan keyin: Islomda sunniy-shia bo'linishining epik hikoyasi. "Bu juda muhim edi, chunki u vafot etganda, u Arabistonning barcha qabilalarini ummatga aylangan konfederatsiyaga birlashtirgan edi - Islom xalqi yoki millati."

Oxir -oqibat ko'pchilik sunniylar (nomi bilan atalgan sunnat, yoki urf -odatlari) g'olib chiqdi va Muhammad jamoasining birinchi xalifasi yoki etakchisi bo'lish uchun Muhammadning yaqin do'sti Abu Bakrni tanladi. Oxir -oqibat Ali to'rtinchi xalifa bo'ldi (yoki imom, shialar o'z rahbarlarini shunday atashadi), lekin undan oldingi ikkalasi ham o'ldirilganidan keyingina.

Ali, 661 yilda sunniy va shia o'rtasida hokimiyat uchun qattiq kurash davom etar ekan, o'ldirilgan. Muhokama faqat Muhammadning diniy va siyosiy merosini nazorat qilibgina qolmay, balki Islom bayrog'i ostida birlashgan turli qabilalar tomonidan to'lanadigan soliqlar va yig'imlar ko'rinishida ham katta mablag 'edi. Pul va kuchning bu kombinatsiyasi faqat o'sadi. Muhammad vafotidan bir asr o'tgach, uning izdoshlari O'rta Osiyodan Ispaniyaga qadar bo'lgan imperiya qurdilar.

Karbalo jangi va uning mohiyati

681 yilda Alining o'g'li Husayn 72 ta izdoshlari va oila a'zolaridan iborat guruhni Makkadan Karbalaga (hozirgi Iroq) olib bordi va Ummayadlar sulolasining buzuq xalifasi Yazidga qarshi chiqdi. Ularni sunniylarning ulkan armiyasi kutib turdi va har xil kichik kurashlar bilan 10 kunlik to'qnashuvning oxirida Husayn o'ldirildi va boshi kesildi va sunniy xalifaga hurmat sifatida boshi Damashqqa keltirildi.

"Umaviylar, ummat rahbarligiga bo'lgan barcha da'volarga Muhammaddan to'g'ridan -to'g'ri kelib chiqishi bilan yakuniy nuqta qo'yishni maqsad qilgan", deydi Hazleton Husayn va Muhammad oilasining barcha tirik qolgan a'zolari. Karbalo. "Lekin, albatta, bu sodir bo'lmadi." Buning o'rniga, Husaynning Karbaladagi shahidligi shia an'analarining markaziy hikoyasiga aylandi va har yili shunday nishonlanadi. Ashura, shia taqvimidagi eng tantanali sana.

Sunniy-shia 21-asrga bo'linadi

Karbaladan tashqari, NPR podkasti Chiziq chizig'i 20-asr oxiriga kelib sunniy-shia bo'linishlarini keskinlashtiradigan uchta muhim bosqichni aniqladi. Birinchi marta XVI asrda Safaviylar sulolasining paydo bo'lishi, bu Eronni sunniylar markazidan Yaqin Sharqning shia tayanchiga aylantirdi. 20-asrning boshlarida g'alaba qozongan ittifoqchilar Birinchi jahon urushidan keyin sobiq Usmonli imperiyasi egallab olgan hududni bo'linib, bu jarayonda ko'p asrlik diniy va etnik jamoalarni kesib tashladilar. Nihoyat, 1979 yilda Eronda islom inqilobi Saudiya Arabistoni va boshqa o'n yillar davomida sunniy konservatorlar bilan zo'ravonlik bilan to'qnashadigan radikal shia islom brendini yaratdi.

Islomning kuchayib borayotgan siyosatlashuvi va bo'linishning har ikki tarafida fundamentalistlarning kuchayishi fonida, mazhablararo ziddiyat XXI asrning boshlarida, ayniqsa, ikki Fors ko'rfazi urushi, AQSh tomonidan Saddam Husaynning hokimiyatdan ag'darilishi ortidan yuzaga kelgan tartibsizliklar tufayli kuchaygan. Iroqdagi sunniy rejimi va 2011 yilda arab bahori bilan boshlangan butun mintaqadagi ommaviy qo'zg'olonlar.

Sunniy-shia bo'linmalari Suriyada uzoq davom etadigan fuqarolar urushi, Livan, Eron, Iroq, Yaman va boshqa joylarda janglar va har ikki tomondan terrorchilik zo'ravonligini qo'zg'atadi. Bu to'qnashuvlarning ko'pchiligida umumiy nuqta neftga boy Yaqin Sharq va uning atrofidagi mintaqalarda ta'sir o'tkazish uchun Saudiya Arabistoni va Eron shia sunniylari o'rtasida davom etayotgan kurashdir.

Sunniy-shia bo'linishi uzoq davom etganiga qaramay, bu ikki mazhab ko'p asrlar davomida nisbiy tinchlikda yashab kelganligi, ularning kurashlari boylik va kuch bilan emas, balki din bilan bog'liq bo'lishi mumkinligini ko'rsatadi.

"Ularning hech biri butun dunyodagi sunniy musulmonlarning yoki ko'pchilik shia musulmonlarining ko'pchiligining vakili emas", deydi Saudiya Arabistoni va Eronni boshqaruvchi fundamentalistik rejimlardan Hazleton.

"Jamiyat parchalanib ketganda, siz eski identifikatsiya shakllariga qaytasiz, shia va sunniylar esa 1400 yillik o'ziga xoslikdir."


Sunniy va shia musulmonlari: Islom va 1400 yillik farqlar

Saudiya Arabistoni va Eron o'rtasidagi ziddiyat asosan ikkita narsaga to'g'ri keladi - Yaqin Sharqda hukmron davlat bo'lish uchun kurash va bu mamlakatlar islomning ikkita raqib bo'linmasining mintaqaviy tayanchlari.

Saudiya Arabistoni Podshohligi aholisining 90 foizi o'z rahbarlarining e'tiqodiga sodiq bo'lgan Saudlar uyi deb nomlanuvchi sunniy monarxiyasi tomonidan boshqariladi. Eron Islom Respublikasi esa, asosan, shia mazhabiga mansub fuqarolarning 95 foizigacha.

Ikkala mamlakat ham yirik neft ishlab chiqaruvchilar, lekin Saudiya erining katta qismini egallasa ham, Eron aholisi ikki baravar ko'p.

Haqiqatan ham, bu diniy bo'linish ikki mamlakat o'rtasidagi tafovutni keltirib chiqaradi, ammo har bir kishi boshqa millatning hukmron e'tiqodining qonuniyligini qabul qila olmaydi.

Sunniy-shia bo'linishiga nima sabab bo'ldi?

Sunniy-shia mojarosi 1400 yil davom etadi, bu 632 yilda Muhammad payg'ambar vafotidan keyingi yillarga to'g'ri keladi.

Payg'ambar voris tayinlamasdan vafot etdi, bu tez o'sib borayotgan dinning kelajagiga katta bo'linishga olib keldi - asosan, dinning keyingi etakchisi qandaydir demokratik kelishuv bilan tanlanishi kerakmi yoki faqat Muhammadning qon -qarindoshlik munosabatlari hukmron bo'ladimi.

Dalillar murakkab, lekin asosan sunniylar payg'ambarlarning ishonchli do'sti va maslahatchisi Abu Bakr musulmonlarning birinchi qonuniy rahbari yoki "xalifa" ekanligiga ishonishadi, shialar esa Muhammadning amakivachchasi va kuyovi Ali tanlangan deb hisoblashadi. unvonga ega bo'lish uchun Alloh tomonidan.

Ikkalasi ham oxir -oqibat unvonga sazovor bo'lishdi - birinchi bo'lib Abu Bakr vafotigacha, Ali esa to'rtinchi xalifa o'ldirilganidan keyin to'rtinchi - lekin kelishmovchilik haqiqatan ham kimga kelishi kerakligi bilan bog'liq. Sunniy musulmonlar islomni talqin qilish sunnatga (Muhammad yo'llari) amal qiladi, deb bahslashsa, shialar, Ali haqli birinchi xalifa va faqat uning avlodlari musulmonlarning haqiqiy etakchisi deb da'vo qilishlari mumkin, deb bahslashadi.

Payg'ambar alayhissalom: "Ummatim yetmish uch mazhabga bo'linadi va ularning bittasi jahannam olovida bo'ladi", deb aytilgan bir hadis bilan taranglik pasaymaydi. Muqarrar ravishda sunniylar ham, shialar ham "toza" islomiy mazhab deb da'vo qiladilar.

Har bir guruh nimaga ishonadi?

Ming yildan ortiq davom etadigan har qanday bo'linish singari, sunniy-shia bo'linishi har bir mazhabning o'ziga xos madaniyati, ta'limoti va tafakkur maktablarini rivojlanishiga olib keldi.

Ikkala guruhning izdoshlari mo''tadildan ekstremistgacha bo'lsa -da, sunniylar asosan jismoniy dunyoda Xudoning qudratiga e'tibor qaratishadi, shialar esa oxirat mukofotlariga ko'proq e'tibor berishadi va shahidlik bayramida katta ahamiyatga ega.

Sunniylar va shialarning geografik bo'linishi qanday?

Dunyodagi musulmonlarning aksariyati sunniydir, bu din tarafdorlarining 85 foizini tashkil qiladi. Ular butun dunyoda - Marokashdan Indoneziyaga qadar tarqalgan va Shimoliy Afrika va Yaqin Sharqda hukmron dinni tashkil qiladi.

Tavsiya etiladi

Faqat lran, Iroq, Ozarbayjon va Bahrayn shia ko'pchilikni tashkil qiladi, garchi Yaman, Livan, Kuvayt, Suriya va Qatarda ham shia aholisining ko'pchiligi bor.

Diniy ozchilik vakillari bo'lishiga qaramay, Saudiya Arabistoni tomonidan qo'llab-quvvatlanadigan Bahrayn Podshohligini uzoq vaqtdan beri sunniylar Xalifa uyi boshqarib keladi. Iroqni 20 yildan ortiq sunniylar Saddam Husayn boshqargan, shu vaqt ichida u shia musulmonlarini shafqatsizlarcha zulm qilgan.

Iroqdagi hozirgi mojaroga prezident Bashar al-Assad va uning shia alaviy mazhabidagi oila a'zolari bilan kurashgan mazhablararo raqobatlar sabab bo'lmoqda, uning mamlakatidagi ko'plab isyonchi guruhlar, jumladan "Islomiy davlat" terrorchilik guruhi-sunniy tarafdorlar. .

Va, albatta, Yamandagi fuqarolar urushi mazhablararo vakil urushiga aylandi, Eron mamlakat sunniylar hukmron bo'lgan hukumatni ag'dargan shia-xutiy isyonchilarni qo'llab-quvvatladi, Saudiya boshchiligidagi koalitsiya esa sunniylar rahbariyatini qayta o'rnatishga aralashdi.


Sunniy-shia bo'linishi juda foydali xaritalar va vaqt jadvallari bilan tushuntirilgan

"Agar biz Yaqin Sharqni tushunishni istasak, nizolar nima uchun shunday bo'lganini va bu nizolar qanday hal qilinishini tushunishni istasak, biz shia-sunniy mojarosiga ko'zimiz bilan qaray olmaymiz, deydi Vali R. Nasr. Jons Xopkins universiteti Xalqaro tadqiqotlar maktabi dekani, Tashqi aloqalar kengashining (CFR) videolavhasida.

Video CFR tomonidan ishlab chiqarilgan interaktiv ma'lumot qo'llanmasining bir qismi bo'lib, u hozirda Yaqin Sharqni qamrab olgan ko'plab zo'ravon to'qnashuvlarning markazida bo'linish ildizlariga chuqur nazar tashlangan.

"Shia-sunniy bo'linishi-bu Islom va Islom payg'ambarimiz vafotidan keyin qonuniy merosxo'r bo'lgan siyosiy va diniy bo'linish. Ha, bu VII asrga borib taqaladigan olis tarix, lekin butun dunyodagi millionlab musulmonlar uchun. "Bu ularni sekretizmni belgilaydi", deydi Ed Xuseyn, CFR Yaqin Sharq tadqiqotlari katta ilmiy xodimi.

Ushbu interaktiv vaqt jadvalida bo'linishning kelib chiqishiga yana bir nazar soling:


Zamonaviy so'z bilan aytganda, bu qadimiy nizo qanday amalga oshirilayotganini ko'rish uchun, Eron Islom inqilobidan boshlanadi va hozirgi kungacha davom etadi:

Bu ziddiyatlar qayerda ko'proq tarqalgan? Mazhablararo to'qnashuvlar hukmron bo'lgan mamlakatlarni ko'rish uchun xaritaga qarang va ularning demografik tarkibi haqida ko'proq bilish uchun mamlakatlarni bosing.


Sunniy-shia bo'linishi

Xristianlarning protestant va katoliklar, yahudiylarning pravoslav va islohoti bor. Musulmonlar ham sunniy va shialarga bo'lingan. 632 -yilda Muhammad payg'ambar vafotidan keyin kim Islomni boshqarishga haqli ekanligi haqidagi bahs, sunniylar va shialar uchun turlicha ilohiyot va dunyoqarashlarga olib keldi. Parchalanish 14 asr davomida imperiyalar, millatlar va qo'shnilarni uzluksiz bir -biriga qarshi qo'ydi. Hozirgi Yaqin Sharqdagi ko'plab fuqarolar urushlarida, bu ba'zan harakatlantiruvchi kuch, ba'zan esa og'irlashtiruvchi omil. Mahalliy kurashlar sunniy va shia kuchlari Saudiya Arabistoni va Eron o'rtasidagi "#xA0" tanlovi bilan yanada og'irlashadi.

Vaziyat

Mintaqaviy raqiblar o'rtasidagi ziddiyat keskinlashdi va Eron o'z yadroviy dasturi bo'yicha xalqaro bitimni muzokara qilgandan beri, bu mamlakatni iqtisodiy sanksiyalardan mahrum qildi. Saudiya valiahd shahzodasi Muhammad bin Salmon "Eron ichkarisida kurash olib boraman",-deb tahdid qildi va Eron rahbarlari Saudiyalarni dekabr oxirida boshlangan hukumatga qarshi norozilik namoyishlarini o'tkazishda yordam berganlikda ayblamoqda. Yamandagi fuqarolik urushi va xA0ni ikki kuch sunniy-shia yo'nalishida qarama-qarshi tomonlarni qo'llab-quvvatlaganligi tufayli kuchaytirildi. mazhablararo to'qnashuv. Suriyadagi mojaro, o'z navbatida, 2000-yillarning o'rtalarida Iroqda qon to'kilgan sunniy-shialar va xA0 janglarini yana alangaladi. Arab dunyosida kuchli kuch sifatida qaraladigan mamlakatda ko'pchilik shialarga O'rta Sharqdagi sunniylar shia ta'sirining kuchayishidan xavotir bildirishdi. Ko'pchilik sunniylar Eron Iordaniya, Suriya va Livanni qamrab olgan Iordaniya podshohi shia yarim oyini o'rnatishga urinayotganidan qo'rqishadi. Shia hokimiyatidan xavotirni ekstremistik guruhlar, xususan, "Islomiy davlat" jihodlari ishlatgan, uning mafkurasi Saudiya Arabistonining 200 yillik vahhobiylik xurofotiga asoslangan. Vahhobiylar o'zlarini sunniy deb bilishadi, lekin ko'pchilik sunniylar ularni to'dadan tashqarida deb bilishadi.  Sunni-shialar bo'linishi, shuningdek,  Pakistan,  Nigeriya   va & xA0Indoneziya kabi joylarda musulmonlar o'rtasida zo'ravonlikni keltirib chiqaradi. Dunyoning qariyb 85 foizi va 1,6 milliard musulmonlari sunniylardir. Shialar faqat Eron, Iroq, Ozarbayjon va Bahraynda ko'pchilikni tashkil qiladi, va ularni sunniy qirolliklari boshqaradi. Sunniylar hukumatda ko'pchilik yoki hukmronlik qilsa, shialar ko'pincha kamsitilishdan shikoyat qiladilar va aksincha. 2012 yildagi so'rov natijalariga ko'ra, butun dunyodagi shia bo'lmaganlarning qariyb 24 foizi shialarni rad etadi, chunki ular musulmonlar, bu ko'rsatkich sunniylar uchun 7 foizni tashkil qiladi.  

Fon

Muhammad ’ izdoshlari uning o'rnini qon qarindoshi olishi yoki jamiyat tomonidan munosiblik asosida tanlangani haqida bahslashishdi. Bu holatda, uning vorisi yoki xalifa sifatida uning hamrohi Abu Bakr tanlangan. Payg'ambarning amakivachchasi Ali ibn Abu Tolib, shia bo'ladiganlarning nomzodi, 656 yilda to'rtinchi xalifa etib saylandi. U g'ayrat bilan o'ldirilgandan so'ng, shialar Muhammadning nasl -nasabidan bo'lgan alohida rahbarlar yoki imomlarga ergashdilar. ular Xudo tomonidan tayinlanganiga ishonishgan. 680 yilda sunniylar xalifasi armiyasi uchinchi imom Ali va o'g'li Husaynni o'ldirganidan so'ng, nizo chuqurlashdi. Aksariyat shialar, 12 ta haqli imom borligiga ishonishadi, ularning oxirgisi IX asrda yashiringan va beshinchi va ettinchi imomlarda Masihning kichik guruhlari buzilganidan keyin qaytib kelishadi. Imom bo'lmagan taqdirda, shialar, taniqli olimlar diniy bilimlarni jamiyat uchun talqin qilish huquqiga ega, deb hisoblaydilar. Sunniylik, Muhammad va Qur'ondagi boshqa payg'ambarlardan boshqa hech kimning nomidan ilohiy da'volarni rad etadi. Ko'p sunniylar Muhammadning qarindoshlari va qabrlariga ziyoratgoh yasash va tug'ilgan kunlarini ziyorat qilish shia amaliyotini ma'qullamaydilar. Sunniylarning fikricha, diniy hokimiyat to'g'ridan -to'g'ri Qur'on va Muhammadning an'analaridan kelib chiqadi. Ularning olimlari islomni talqin qilishda kamroq kenglikka ega.

Argument

Sunniylar va shialar o'rtasidagi ziddiyat, shubhasiz, boshqa e'tiqodlarga nisbatan haqiqiy haqoratdan kelib chiqadi. Shunga qaramay, bugungi mojarolarga asosan siyosiy rejalar sabab bo'lgan. Gap kimning kuchiga ega bo'lishidan ko'ra, musulmonlar o'z e'tiqodlariga qanday rioya qilishlari bilan bog'liq. "Saudiya Arabistoni va Eron arxivlari" ga kelganda, boshqa bir joyda sunniylar yoki shialar uchun qo'llab -quvvatlash yoki boshqa qo'llab -quvvatlash qarama -qarshi tomonning aralashuviga sabab bo'ladi. Hatto o'zboshimchalik bilan qotil bo'lmagan "Islomiy davlat" ning ham shia fuqarolarini nishonga olishda siyosiy maqsadi bor. U o'zining asosiy maqsadi - global xalifalikni amalga oshirish yo'lida jamiyatni beqarorlashtirish uchun betartiblik sepmoqchi.


Freydga ko'ra monoteizm: qiyosiy qarash

Agar Ashura nasroniy o'quvchi uchun qo'ng'iroq qilsa, shunday bo'lishi kerak. Husayn va Iso o'rtasidagi o'xshashliklarni eslab qolish mumkin emas: ikkalasi ham kuchsiz, odobli odamlar bo'lib, ular kuchlarga qarshi ko'tarilishgan va qurbonlik qilish orqali zolimning imonga bo'lgan da'vosini inkor etishgan. Ikkala o'lim ham fojiali bo'lib, ular asrlar davomida motam tutishdi va yangi diniy ta'limotlarni tug'dirishdi. Shunday qilib, Iso va yahudiylar haqidagi hikoya bizga islom dunyosidagi hozirgi mojaroning ildizlari haqida bir oz ma'lumot berishi mumkin.

1939 yilda, Londonda, Germaniyada yahudiylarni ta'qib qilish misli ko'rilmagan darajada yuqori bo'lgan va Ikkinchi Jahon urushi Evropani qamrab olganda, eski yurak xuruji Zigmund Freyd, sevgan Vena shahridan Londonga qochib, so'nggi yillarini surgunda o'tkazdi. Yahudiylik haqidagi tadqiqotining oxirgi qismini yozdi.

Kitobning ikkinchi qismida Freyd asosiy fikrlarini takrorlaydi Totem va tabu, otaning qadimgi birodarlar qo'li bilan o'ldirilishi insoniyat jamiyatiga qanday asos solganini tasvirlab beradi. Yilda Muso va tavhid, u xudojo'ylik xudosi ilohiy maqomga ko'tarilgan o'ldirilgan otadir, deb ta'kidlab, monoteizmning asosi sifatida ham patrisidni oladi. U, shuningdek, "yangi dinning ichki rivojlanishi, lekin yahudiy dinida uning asoschisining o'ldirilishi natijasida yuzaga kelgan chuqurlik yo'qligi sababli, tez orada to'xtab qoldi", deb da'vo qilib, islom bilan qisqacha qiyoslaydi. Shialar turlicha bo'lishni so'rashardi: ular uchun Karbalada Husayn va uning oilasini o'ldirish xristianlar uchun xochga mixlanishdan kam emas.

Freyd dinlar tarixini katta bo'lish yo'lida qiynoqli yo'llar sifatida o'qiydi. Otaning o'ldirilishidan tashqari, dinlarning dastlabki bosqichlarida ro'y beradigan keskinlik va urushlar odamning bolalikdagi katta jarohatlariga to'g'ri keladi. Shikastlanishlarning inkubatsiya davri bo'lgani va keyinchalik hayotga qaytgani kabi, dinlarning tarixiy jarohatlari uzoq vaqt, ba'zan asrlar davomida yashirin yotardi. Biz jarohatlarni hayotni bardoshli qilish uchun bostiramiz, lekin qatag'onlar qaytishi shart. Tarixdagi diniy va mazhablararo urushlarning bir qismini ular bolaligida olgan jarohatlariga bog'lashimiz kerak emasmi?

Freydning o'ziga xos bo'lmagan ma'yus kitobi bizga tarixiy va diniy izlar osonlikcha so'nmasligini aytadi. Tarixdagi har bir katta o'zgarish, uning paydo bo'lishi bilan, chandiqdan zarar ko'rdi. Islom qalbidagi chandiq ham bundan mustasno emas shura Tuya urushi chizig'iga, Karbalo esa chuqur izga aylandi. Bunday jarohatlar oddiygina o'tib ketmaydi, lekin ularni nazorat qilish mumkin, xuddi shunday shikastlanish yuz yillar davomida saqlanib kelgan.

So'nggi ikki asrning Yaqin Sharq tarixi islomning bolalikdagi shikastlanishlarini o'z ichiga olgan barcha kuchlarga ketma -ket zarbalar beradi. Shafqatsiz mustamlakachilik, o'z g'arbiy xo'jayinlariga nisbatan ko'proq harakat qilgan titulli podshohlar, ko'r -ko'rona vahshiyliklari reaktsion ruhoniylarga kuch bergan har qanday dunyoviy diktatorlar, Islom olamida asrlar davomida tinch -totuv yashashga jiddiy zarar etkazdi.

Iroqning halokatli bosqini oxirgi somon edi. Bu kaltaklangan tanani bir -biriga bog'lab turgan oxirgi to'qimalarni yirtib tashladi. Gitlerning paydo bo'lishi, azob chekayotgan Evropadagi tinch hayotni barbod qilgani kabi, yahudiylarning qo'lidan Isoning xochga mixlanishidan kelib chiqqan yahudiy-nasroniy jamiyatlari qalbida chandiq paydo bo'lganidek, Bushning Iroqqa bostirib kirishi ham xuddi shunday xizmat qilgan. dinamit bochkasidagi o'yin.

Demak, shia-sunniy tarangligi boshqa diniy, mazhabiy taranglik boshqa dinlar singari muqarrar va islomning ajralmas qismidir. Asrlar mobaynida Yaqin Sharqda sodir bo'lgan zo'ravonliklarning ko'pligi tufayli, islomning bolalikdagi jarohatlari uning yuzasiga chiqib ketdi.

Falokat mazhabiy yo'nalish bo'yicha ketmoqda va dunyo rahbarlari uning o'zgarishini kuzatmoqdalar. Vaqti -vaqti bilan ular kosmetik tinchlik rejalarini o'ylab topishadi, lekin ular hech qachon samara bermaydi, chunki bunday chandiq siyosiy hiyla -nayrang va ayyorlik bilan davolanmaydi. Faqat har tomondan tinchlikka bo'lgan asosiy majburiyat bunga chek qo'yishi mumkin. Jang qilayotgan guruhlar o'rtasida halol hamkorlik bo'lmasa, yara qon ketishda davom etadi.

Amir Ahmadiy Oriyon - eronlik yozuvchi va tarjimon, Kvinslend universiteti qiyosiy adabiyoti fanlari nomzodi, hozirda Nyu -York universiteti ijodiy yozish dasturida tahsil olgan. Eronda u turli gazeta va jurnallar bilan ishlagan, Eron va Yaqin Sharq madaniyati va siyosati haqida 200 dan ortiq maqola chop etgan.


Sunniy - shia: qisqacha tarix

Ham sunniy, ham shia musulmonlari eng asosiy islomiy e'tiqod va e'tiqod maqolalariga ega. Islomdagi bu ikki asosiy guruh o'rtasidagi farq dastlab ruhiy farqlardan emas, balki siyosiy guruhlardan kelib chiqqan. Asrlar mobaynida bu siyosiy tafovutlar ma'naviy ahamiyatga ega bo'lgan turli xil amaliyotlar va pozitsiyalarni keltirib chiqardi.

Shia va sunniylar o'rtasida bo'linish Muhammad payg'ambar vafotidan va musulmon xalqi rahbarligini kim egallashi kerakligi haqidagi savolga to'g'ri keladi. Sunniy musulmonlar Payg'ambarning ko'plab sahobalari, yangi rahbarni ishga qodir bo'lganlar orasidan saylash kerak, degan pozitsiyaga qo'shiladilar. Bu shunday bo'ldi va Muhammad payg'ambarning yaqin do'sti va maslahatchisi Abu Bakr islom millatining birinchi xalifasi bo'ldi.

Arabcha "sunniy" so'zi "payg'ambar an'analariga amal qiluvchi" degan ma'noni anglatuvchi so'zdan kelib chiqqan.

Boshqa tomondan, ba'zi musulmonlar, rahbarlik Payg'ambarning oilasida, u tayinlaganlar orasida yoki Xudoning O'zi tayinlagan imomlar orasida bo'lishi kerak, degan fikrda.

Shia musulmonlari Muhammad payg'ambar vafotidan keyin rahbarlik to'g'ridan-to'g'ri uning amakivachchasi/kuyovi Aliga o'tishi kerak deb hisoblaydilar. Tarix davomida shia musulmonlari saylangan musulmon etakchilarining vakolatlarini tan olmagan, ular o'rniga Muhammad payg'ambar yoki Xudoning O'zi tayinlagan imomlar qatoriga ergashishni tanlagan. "Shia" so'zi arab tilida odamlarning guruhi yoki qo'llab -quvvatlovchi partiyasini bildiradi. Umumiy ma'lum bo'lgan atama tarixiy "Shia-t-Ali" yoki "Ali partiyasi" dan qisqartirilgan. Ular, shuningdek, "Ahli-bayt" yoki "Uy ahli" (Payg'ambar) izdoshlari sifatida ham tanilgan.

Siyosiy etakchilik haqidagi birinchi savoldan ma'naviy hayotning ba'zi jihatlari ta'sirlangan va hozirda musulmonlarning ikki guruhi o'rtasida farq bor.

Shia musulmonlari imom tabiatan gunohsiz deb hisoblashadi va uning hokimiyati to'g'ridan -to'g'ri Xudodan bo'lgani uchun benuqsondir. Shuning uchun, shia musulmonlari ko'pincha imomlarni aziz deb ulug'laydilar va ilohiy shafoat umidida ularning qabri va ziyoratgohlariga ziyorat qiladilar. Sunniy musulmonlar, Islomda ruhiy etakchilarning irsiy imtiyozli tabaqasi uchun asos yo'q, va, albatta, azizlarni ulug'lash yoki shafoat qilish uchun hech qanday asos yo'q, deb qarshi chiqadilar. Sunniy musulmonlarning fikricha, jamoaga etakchilik to'ng'ichlik huquqi emas, balki bu ishonch odamlarning o'zi tomonidan berilishi yoki olib qo'yilishi mumkin.

Shia musulmonlari, shuningdek, Muhammad payg'ambarning jamiyatdagi etakchilik haqidagi kelishmovchilikning dastlabki yillaridagi pozitsiyalari va harakatlariga asoslanib, ba'zi sahobalariga dushmanlik qilishadi. Bu sahobalarning ko'pchiligi (Abu Bakr, Umar, Oysha va h.k.) Payg'ambarning hayoti va ruhiy amaliyoti haqida an'analar aytib berishgan. Shia musulmonlari bu urf -odatlarni (hadisni) rad etishadi va diniy amaliyotlarining hech birini bu shaxslarning guvohligiga asoslamaydilar. Bu, tabiiyki, ikki guruh o'rtasida diniy amaliyotda ba'zi tafovutlarni keltirib chiqaradi. Bu farqlar diniy hayotning barcha tafsilotlarini qamrab oladi: namoz, ro'za, haj va hk.

Sunniy musulmonlar butun dunyo musulmonlarining ko'pchiligini (85%) tashkil qiladi. Shia musulmonlarining katta qismini Eron va Iroqda, Yaman, Bahrayn, Suriya va Livandagi katta ozchilik jamoalarini uchratish mumkin.

Shuni esda tutish kerakki, fikr va amaliyotdagi bu farqlarga qaramay, shia va sunniy musulmonlar islomiy e'tiqodning asosiy maqolalarini bo'lishadilar va ko'pchilik ularni imonli birodarlar deb hisoblashadi. Aslida, ko'pchilik musulmonlar biron bir guruhga a'zolik da'vosi bilan ajralib turmaydi, balki o'zlarini "musulmon" deb atashni afzal ko'radi.


Islom va sunniy-shia bo'linishi tushuntirildi

Dunyo musulmonlari sunniy va shia kabi ikkita yirik lagerga tushadilar, ba'zida ular xristianlik katoliklar va protestantlarga o'xshaydi. Ammo o'xshashlik yuzaki. Dunyodagi musulmonlarning umumiy soniga kelsak, sunniylar va shialar har bir guruhning necha foiziga egalik qilishda kelisha olmaydilar, sunniylar umumiy sonning 80-90% ini, shialar esa 10-20% ni tashkil qiladi.

Miloddan avvalgi 632 yilda Muhammad vafotidan so'ng, uning o'rnini kim egallashi kerakligi haqidagi kurash islom va keyingi yarim asrni juda notinch qilib qo'ydi. Darhaqiqat, Muhammadning dastlabki to'rt vorisidan uchtasi o'ldirilgan. Sunniy-shia bo'linishi o'sha dastlabki mojaroga borib taqaladi.

Muhammadning amakivachchasi va kuyovi Ali keng jamoatchilik tomonidan uning to'rtinchi vorisi sifatida tanlangan. Ammo ozchilikning ta'kidlashicha, Muhammad Ali va uning oilasini uning o'rniga tayinlagan va agar uni kuchli oilalar chetda qoldirmaganida, Ali birinchi bo'lib rahbarlik qilgan bo'lardi. Bu ozchilik arablardan shia nomi bilan tanilgan Ali va Aliyoki "Alining partizanlari". Sunniylar, ularning muxoliflari, ko'pchilik musulmon etakchilarining qaroriga yo'l qo'yib, Muhammadga ergashdilar sunnatyoki tanlashning "usuli". [1]

661 yilda Ali o'ldirilgandan so'ng, bo'linish yanada kengaydi. 670 yilda Alining birinchi o'g'li Hasan o'ldirildi. Keyin 680 yilda, har ikki tomon ham xiyonat deb hisoblaydilar, sunniy xalifaning vakili Alining qolgan o'g'li Husaynning boshini hozirgi Iroqdagi Karbalo shahrida kesib tashladilar. U Husaynning ko'p sheriklari va oilasini o'ldirdi.

Tarixni hisobga olsak, sunniylar va shialar tabiiy ravishda turli xil ilohiy va amaliy masalalarda farq qiladi. Masalan, O'n ikki Shianing amallaridan biri bu har yili Husayn va uning sheriklarining shahidligini xotirlash marosimi. Sunniy-shia bo'linishi ham keskin kelishmovchiliklar bilan ajralib turadi

  • Qarama -qarshilik qanday rivojlandi, shu jumladan qaysi qahramonlar qahramon
  • Qaysi hadis qabul qilinadi
  • Nikoh va ajralish kabi qonuniy masalalar
  • Muhammadning halollari (sunniylar) yoki imomlar (shia) bo'lsin, qonuniy vorislarining hokimiyati [2]
  • Tarix qanday o'ynaydi va tashqi yomonliklardan esxatologik xaloskor bo'lgan Mahdining roli

Ammo ko'p farqlarga qaramay, sunniylar va shialar o'z e'tiqodlarida Muhammad va Qur'onning markaziyligi to'g'risida kelishib oldilar. Shunday qilib, ular ko'pchilik asoslarga o'xshash qarashlarga ega:

  • Islomning "besh ustunlari" yoki asosiy amaliyotlari - e'tiqod, marosim namozlari, zakot, Ramazon va Makkaga ziyorat
  • Muhammaddan oldingi payg'ambarlar va kitoblar
  • Mo'minning Xudo bilan munosabatlarining tabiati [3] [3]
  • Bu najot yaxshi ishlar va musulmon jamoasiga sadoqat bilan erishiladi
  • Oxirat kunining hayotiy ahamiyati

Ommaviy axborot vositalari Iroq va Pokiston kabi joylarda sunniylar va shialar o'rtasidagi zo'ravonlik haqida tez -tez xabar beradi. Bunday zo'ravonlik fojiali va uni minimallashtirish kerak emas, ayniqsa, bizdan oldin yadro quroliga aylangan Eron (shia) va Saudiya Arabistoni (sunniylar) tahdidi bilan. Ammo bu xabarlar tasvirni buzib ko'rsatganidan shikoyat qilayotgan musulmonlar qisman haqdir, chunki bizning ommaviy axborot vositalarining biznes modeli "qutblanishni taxmin qiladi va kuchaytiradi" [4] va ko'pchilik sunniylar va shialar tinch -totuv yashaydi. Shunga qaramay, sunniy-shia raqobati har qanday mazhab musulmon dunyosida tahdid deb hisoblansa, beqarorlik bo'lib qoladi. Ya'ni, islomiylikning ikkala versiyasi - shia va sunniy - tirik va yaxshi ekan. [5] Va hozirda hech qanday pasayish belgisi yo'q.

[1] Ikkala qarash ham islomdan oldingi Arabistonda kuzatilgan, hattoki, ular bugungi kunda ham Saudiya Arabistoni qabilalarida mavjud. Ko'pchilik qabilalarda klanlar qabila shayxini tanlagan etakchilar kengashi tomonidan taqdim etilgan. Qabilalarning ozchiligi, aksincha, qabila etakchiligiga irsiy yondashgan. Shunday qilib, Islomdan oldingi Arabistonning ozchiliklari (qabilalar merosxo'ri merosxo'r bo'lishi kerakligini his qilgan) Muhammad vafotidan keyin islom va ozchilik (shia) ga aylanganga o'xshaydi.

[2] Sunniylar o'z xalifalarini ilohiy buyruq berilgan siyosiy rahbarlar deb bilishadi, shialar ham o'z imomlarini ruhiy masalalarda beg'ubor yo'lboshchilar deb bilishadi.

[3] Bu faqat Ismoiliy shia (Seveners) ga yuzaki taalluqli. Darhaqiqat, ikkita yirik shia mazhablari (O'n ikki va Qo'riqchi), ismoiliylarga qaraganda, diniy jihatdan sunniylar bilan ko'proq o'xshashliklarga ega.

[4] Ross Douthat, “Tram Tramp ommaviy axborot vositalarini bizning ko'zimiz oldida qanday buzdi ” New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/21/opinion/trump-facebook-cambridge-analytica-media.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage Kirish 21-mart, 2018-yil.

[5] Islomizm - islomning harbiy siyosiy ildizlariga qaytishga urinish.


Islomning "toksik" bo'linishi

Saudiya Arabistoni va Eron o'rtasidagi raqobatda vujudga kelgan sunniy-shia bo'linishi islom olamini parchalash bilan tahdid qiladigan bo'linishdir. Garchi uning kelib chiqishi islomning boshlanishiga borib taqalsa -da, uning hozirgi zaharliligi so'nggi paytdagi rivojlanishdir.

Shia hurmat: Eronning Koshan shahridagi ko'chada Ali ibn Abu Tolibning o'g'li Imom Husayn ibn Ali portreti.

Sunniy va shia so'zlari faqat 70 -yillarning oxirida jamoatchilik ongiga kirgan. Bungacha - sunniylar va shialarning o'zlari bundan mustasno, atamalar asosan islomshunoslik fakultetlarining dunyosi bilan cheklangan edi. Ammo 1978 yilda Eronda islom inqilobining dastlabki bosqichlari bilan kurashayotgan jurnalistlar uchun, yaqinda taxtdan ag'dariladigan Shoh tomonidan "qora qarg'alar" deb hisoblanmagan shia ruhoniylari juda muhim ekanligi ayon bo'ldi. Siyosiy tahlilchilar kam, ular orasida Markaziy razvedka boshqarmasi va MI6 ham bor - ular haqida ko'p narsa bilishar edi.

O'shandan beri biz bir chekkadan ikkinchisiga o'tdik. Hozirgi kunda juda ko'p sharhlovchilar sunniy-shia bo'linishida, Yaqin Sharq va boshqa islom olamining aksariyat qismlari duch kelayotgan barcha qiyinchiliklarning asosiy sababi sifatida qarashadi. Bu tushuntirish oson, agar qulay bo'lsa. G'arbdagi neokonservatorlar yoki o'ng qanotli tadbirkorlar bilan chegaralanib qolmaydi, ular dinning mohiyatan zo'ravonlik tabiati haqidagi o'z taxminlariga mos keladigan islom ruhi uchun darvin kurashi haqida yozishni yoqtirmaydi. Indeed, Barack Obama is on record as stating that ‘ancient sectarian differences’ are the drivers of today's instability in the Arab world and that ‘the Middle East is going through a transformation going on for a generation rooted in conflicts that date back millenia’.

What truth is there in such statements? In order to answer that question, we need to establish how most Muslims became either Sunni or Shia and examine why the split is still theologically significant. Is the Sunni-Shia divide really a driver for conflict or is it in reality a convenient cloak for political disputes? I believe that the latter is the case and that we hinder our attempts at analysis by using the divide as an explanation for modern conflicts.

The origins of the split may go back to the final hours of the Prophet Muhammad's life in 632. When those close to him realised he was dying, they were forced to confront the question of who would lead the Muslim faithful after his death. The Muslims, followers of the new religion Muhammad believed had been revealed to him by God, now dominated Arabia. Yet there were different factions within the Muslim community and its roots were still shallow in many parts of the peninsula. Whoever became the new caliph, as the leader of the community came to be styled, would be faced with pressing political decisions, as well as the need to provide spiritual guidance. Moreover, his authority would never be able to match that wielded by Muhammad, since the caliph would not be a prophet.

Ali bin Abi Talib, Muhammad's cousin, who had also married his daughter, Fatima, believed that the Prophet had designated him as his successor. But other leading companions of Muhammad considered Ali unsuitable. He was 30 years younger than Muhammad and therefore much younger than many of the Prophet's leading companions. Some questioned the reliability of his judgment. Perhaps most crucially, he was perceived as too close to the Muslims of Medina, the Ansar. These ‘Helpers’ were the inhabitants of Medina who had given refuge to the Prophet and his followers after they left Mecca in 622. As such, they were not members of the aristocratic Meccan tribe of Quraysh, to which Muhammad had belonged. Ali was repeatedly overlooked as the leadership passed in turn to three much older companions of the Prophet: Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman. Ali accepted this state of affairs with grudging resignation but never abandoned his belief that the Prophet had intended him as his successor.

During the 24 years in which Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman ruled the polity which Muhammad had established, it turned into an empire that conquered Greater Syria, Iraq, Egypt and much of the Iranian plateau. This success was nearly its undoing. Mutinous tribesmen, dissatisfied with their share of the booty from the conquests, murdered Uthman and it was only at this point, in 656, that Ali was acclaimed as caliph.

Ali's rule was contested from the outset. Civil wars inside the Muslim community began within months. The Prophet's widow, Ayesha, stirred up a rebellion against Ali under the leadership of two other eminent companions of the Prophet, Talha and Zubair, both figures of sufficient stature to be considered potential candidates for caliph. Ali defeated them and they were both killed on the battlefield, but then he had to fight the powerful governor of Syria, Mu'awiya, who was a kinsman of the murdered Uthman. There was a pause for negotiations but, before this dispute could be resolved, Ali was assassinated in 661 and the caliphate was taken over by Mu'awiya, who founded the Umayyad dynasty, which ruled until it was overthrown by the Abbasids in 750. Their caliphate lasted until 1258, although they had to bow to the control of families of warlords from 945 onwards. Most Muslims accepted Umayyad and then Abbasid rule, but the office of caliph decayed into little more than a symbolic source of legitimacy. Whatever power the caliph may (or may not) have once had to define Islamic teaching had drained away by the middle of the ninth century.

The civil wars that shattered the Muslim community's unity during Ali's caliphate were a scandal and left a trauma. Islam was meant to bring peace and justice. Instead, it had been torn apart by violence leaving a legacy of bitterness and mistrust, as well as calls for vengeance. Some of Muhammad's closest companions had led armies against each other. As a consequence of this discord, two competing narratives of the early history of Islam emerged, which led directly to rival conceptions of how the truths of Islam should be discerned.

All Muslims accept the Quran as their starting point. The question is: how can Muslims discern the teaching and practice of their faith when the text of the Quran does not provide a clear answer to questions about doctrine and practice. Most Muslims looked to the Prophet's companions as the source of his wisdom, his customs and his practice of the faith. But this was problematic for those who believed Muhammad had intended Ali to follow him. This group saw the overwhelming majority of the companions as people who had betrayed the wishes of the Prophet after his death, when they rejected Ali. It followed that, however close those companions may have been to the Prophet during his lifetime, they were unreliable transmitters of the faith.

Ali's followers clung instead to a belief in the Prophet's family as the source for the true teaching of Islam, especially Ali and his direct descendants through Fatima, the Prophet's daughter. In each generation, the head of the House of Ali became known as the Imam (not to be confused with the more general title given to a prayer leader by Sunni Muslims). He was deemed to be sinless and to have a direct connection with the Divine that meant his interpretation of the faith would always be the true one. Such ideas were anathema to the majority of Muslims, who believed Ali had not been chosen by the Prophet as his successor.

These are the two communities we now call Sunni and Shia. Sunnis are those who revere the companions of the Prophet and see them as the transmitters of his practice or custom (sunnat in Arabic) Shias are the partisans of Ali and his descendants through Fatima (Shi'ah means faction or party). The differences between them go back to their incompatible interpretations of the early history of Islam and each can find justification for its position in the historical sources. The Shia see Sunnis as betrayers of the true Islam, while Sunnis see the Shias as a group who have brought factional strife into their religion. Although most Shia clerics discourage this today, there have been many periods of history when Shia have cursed Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman as well as other important Sunni figures such as the Prophet's widow Ayesha. For their part, many Sunni scholars throw up their hands in horror at the Shia veneration for the Imams, which they see as a form of idolatry.

As long as the basic point concerning these rival narratives of early Islamic history and their theological significance is understood, there is no need to delve any deeper into the struggles between medieval dynasties in order to understand the tensions between Sunnis and Shias today. It is sometimes implied that those struggles have continued into modern times, but this is entirely wrong. What has survived into our own time is the existence of rival – and, to an extent, incompatible ­– teachings as to how the doctrines and practice of Islam should be discerned.

Today, up to 90 per cent of Muslims are Sunnis. Among the Shia minority, an overwhelming majority are ‘Twelvers’. ‘Twelver Shi'ism’ teaches that the 12th Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, went into hiding in the late ninth century in order to escape murder at the hands of the Sunni Abbasid caliphs. He remains alive to this day but is hidden, or absent, from the world. He will reappear at the end of time to initiate a millenarian era of justice which will precede the struggle with the Antichrist and the Last Judgement. One consequence for Twelvers of the absence of the Imam until the end of earthly time is that their religious scholars have gradually taken over the Imam's role in expounding the doctrines and practice of the faith. Iran and Azerbaijan are Twelver countries, while Twelvers constitute a majority in Iraq and Bahrain and are the largest single religious sect in Lebanon. There are also significant Twelver minorities in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia and among the Muslims of India.

When people talk of the Sunni-Shia divide as an issue in international politics, they are generally alluding to the divide between Sunnis and Twelvers, since that is the divide that appears to have political significance today. Other Shia groups, such as the Ismaili followers of the Agha Khan, tend to have little significance in the politics of most Muslim countries, while others, such as the Alawis of Syria (who are an offshoot of the Twelvers) or the Zaydis of Yemen (who are not) are only of political importance in the particular countries where they are located.

It is often forgotten that the Sunni-Shia divide only became explosive internationally from the 1970s onwards. Before then, Twelvers had come to be accepted by many Sunnis almost as an additional law school alongside the four great law schools of Sunni Islam. Sunnis accept these four law schools, the Malikis, Hanafis, Shafi'is and Hanbalis, as equally valid in their teaching of the practice of the faith. Twelvers are sometimes described as followers of the Ja'fari law school, named after the sixth Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq (died 765). It is worth noting in passing that, as well as being a Shia Imam, he was also hugely respected by Sunnis as a teacher of Muslim doctrine and practice. Malik bin Anas and Abu Hanifa, the founders of the Maliki and Hanafi law schools of Sunni Islam, were among his pupils.

None of this means that tensions between Sunnis and Shias had been absent. After the creation of the modern state of Iraq, for instance, there were bitter struggles over whether the Sunni or Shia interpretation of the early history of Islam should be taught in schools. The majority Shia felt excluded from Iraq's predominantly Sunni elite (although between 1945 and the overthrow of the Iraqi monarchy in 1958 there were four Shia prime ministers). Yet in many countries, including Iraq and Syria, secular politics based on nationalist and socialist ideas seemed to be the way forward. This made questions of sectarian identity among the Muslims there less important. When India was partitioned in 1947, Pakistan was conceived as a homeland for a new nation that would have Islam as the cornerstone of its national identity. Intra-Muslim sectarianism played no part in its creation. Frequently overlooked today (and sometimes airbrushed from history) is the fact that Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was a Twelver Shia. So were the Bhutto family.

Why has Sunni-Shia sectarianism become so toxic? There are several reasons. The first is the tolerance of anti-Shia hate speech by the Saudi Arabian government, which, especially after it accrued massive oil revenues from 1973 onwards, has sought to export its brittle Wahhabi ideology. Saudi Arabia might see itself as promoting Muslim solidarity as a rallying point for conservatives against Arab nationalism, socialism and democracy, yet its founding ideology, Wahhabism, demonises the Shia (and Sufis) as idolaters. The second reason is the Iranian revolution of 1979. This was ‘Islamic’, although not primarily in a sectarian sense. Ayatollah Khomeini's ambition was to persuade all Muslims – Sunnis as well as Shias – to line up behind him. (That was his motive when issuing a death sentence on Salman Rushdie, for example). The spread of Iranian revolutionary ideas was seen as a threat by Saudi Arabia and all other western-aligned, conservative states with Muslim populations. As the decades passed, Saudi Arabia and Iran would both try to co-opt Sunni and Shia communities to their side in their struggle for regional power. Iran's greatest success was in the mobilisation of the Twelvers of Lebanon and the formation of the political and paramilitary organisation, Hezbollah. It also did what it could to stir up trouble for Saudi Arabia among the Twelvers of the oil-rich eastern province of the kingdom, who were always looked down on with suspicion by the Saudi monarchy and suffered discrimination. In Pakistan, as a result of Saudi influence during the military rule of General Zia ul-Haq from 1977-88, a form of strict Sunni Islam became the governing ideology of the state. This excluded the Shia and led to the sectarianisation of Pakistani politics

The third reason is the decay of Ba'athism, the ultra-secular Arab nationalist movement that came to power during the 1950s and 1960s in Syria and Iraq through a series of military coups and intrigues. Although Ba'athism pledged to remove religion from politics entirely, the manner in which Ba'athist regimes came to power ended up having the opposite effect. Military dictators have to build up power bases with patronage. Men like Saddam Hussein in Iraq (a member of the Sunni minority) and Hafez al-Assad in Syria (a member of the Shia Alawi minority) promoted family members, childhood friends from their own town or village, people from their own tribe and province and, almost inevitably, co-sectarians. It should be no surprise that Saddam's Republican Guard were recruited from (Sunni) tribes near the president's home town, or that the Alawis of the mountains where Hafez al Assad grew up supplied a disproportionate number of his secret policemen.

In both countries, democratic life ended in the late 1950s or early 1960s and the dictators were as brutal as expediency required. No wonder, then, that toxic sectarian politics should have found fertile soil in each of them. In Syria, this occurred when militant Sunni Islamists, who denounced Alawis and Ba'athists as apostates, took on the regime in Hama in 1982 and subsequently infiltrated the abortive revolution after 2011. In Iraq, Shia opposition to Saddam led to the growth of religion-based political parties linked to Iran, while the re-introduction of democratic elections after the 2003 invasion led to the flourishing of sectarian parties. The perfect storm created in both countries incubated ISIS with its extreme anti-Shia rhetoric. In Iraq, some Sunnis who felt excluded from the new order were tempted to fight under its banner, which also attracted a number of talented former army officers. In Syria, where those killed by ISIS are only a fraction of the number killed by government forces, some Sunnis could see ISIS as the lesser of two evils.

Yet sectarianism is a blind alley. The ideals of the Arab Spring in 2011 and similar movements were non-sectarian. The sectarian identity entrepreneurs who have set up groups like Al Qaidah and ISIS may succeed in manipulating enough people in their communities to destabilise the region for years to come, but in the end the ideals which shook the Arab world in 2011 showed that the people of the region wish to travel in a different direction. Those ideals such as democracy, the rule of law, freedom of speech and the wish for a modern, corruption-free economy (all summarised by the protesters by the one word karamah, ‘dignity’) still bubble away beneath the surface.

John McHugo muallifi hisoblanadi A Concise History of Sunnis and Shi‘is (Saqi, 2017).


Tarkibi

Most of Islamic history was transmitted orally until after the rise of the Abbasid Caliphate. [note 1] Historical works of later Muslim writers include the traditional biographies of Muhammad and quotations attributed to him—the sira va hadith literature—which provide further information on Muhammad's life. [1] The earliest surviving written sira (biography of Muhammad) is Sirat Rasul Allah (Life of God's Messenger) by Ibn Ishaq (d. 761 or 767 CE). [2] Although the original work is lost, portions of it survive in the recensions of Ibn Hisham (d. 833) and Al-Tabari (d. 923). [3] Many scholars accept these biographies although their accuracy is uncertain. [4] Studies by J. Schacht and Ignác Goldziher have led scholars to distinguish between legal and historical traditions. According to William Montgomery Watt, although legal traditions could have been invented, historical material may have been primarily subject to "tendential shaping" rather than being invented. [5] Modern Western scholars approach the classic Islamic histories with circumspection and are less likely than Sunni Islamic scholars to trust the work of the Abbasid historians.

Hadith compilations are records of the traditions or sayings of Muhammad. The development of hadith is a crucial element of the first three centuries of Islamic history. [6] Early Western scholars mistrusted the later narrations and reports, regarding them as fabrications. [7] Leone Caetani considered the attribution of historical reports to `Abd Allah ibn `Abbas and Aisha as mostly fictitious, preferring accounts reported without isnad by early historians such as Ibn Ishaq. [8] Wilferd Madelung has rejected the indiscriminate dismissal of everything not included in "early sources", instead judging later narratives in the context of history and compatibility with events and figures. [9]

The only contemporaneous source is The Book of Sulaym ibn Qays (Kitab al-Saqifah) by Sulaym ibn Qays (died 75-95 AH or 694-714 CE). This collection of hadith and historical reports from the first century of the Islamic calendar narrates in detail events relating to the succession. [10] However, there have been doubts regarding the reliability of the collection, with some believing that it was a later creation given that the earliest mention of the text only appears in the 11th century. [11]

Feast of Dhul Asheera Edit

During the revelation of Ash-Shu'ara, the twenty-sixth Surah of the Quran, in c. 617, [12] Muhammad is said to have received instructions to warn his family members against adhering to their pre-Islamic religious practices. There are differing accounts of Muhammad's attempt to do this, with one version stating that he had invited his relatives to a meal (later termed the Feast of Dhul Asheera), during which he gave the pronouncement. [13] According to Ibn Ishaq, it consisted of the following speech:

Allah has commanded me to invite you to His religion by saying: And warn thy nearest kinsfolk. I, therefore, warn you, and call upon you to testify that there is no god but Allah, and that I am His messenger. O ye sons of Abdul Muttalib, no one ever came to you before with anything better than what I have brought to you. By accepting it, your welfare will be assured in this world and in the Hereafter. Who among you will support me in carrying out this momentous duty? Who will share the burden of this work with me? Who will respond to my call? Who will become my vicegerent, my deputy and my wazir? [14]

Among those gathered, only Ali offered his consent. Some sources, such as the Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, do not record Muhammad's reaction to this, though Ibn Ishaq continues that he then declared Ali to be his brother, heir and successor. [15] In another narration, when Muhammad accepted Ali's offer, he "threw up his arms around the generous youth, and pressed him to his bosom" and said, "Behold my brother, my vizir, my vicegerent . let all listen to his words, and obey him." [16]

The direct appointment of Ali as heir in this version is notable by the fact it alleges that his right to succession was established at the very beginning of Muhammad's prophetic activity. The association with the revelation of a Quranic verse also serves the purpose of providing the nomination with authenticity as well as a divine authorisation. [17]

Muhammad not naming a successor Edit

A number of sayings attributed to prominent companions of Muhammad are compiled by Al-Suyuti in his Tarikh Al Khulafa, which are used to present the view that Muhammad had not named a successor. [18] One such example, narrated by Al-Bayhaqi, alleges that Ali, following his victory in the Battle of the Camel, gave the statement "Oh men, verily the Apostle of God (Muhammad) hath committed nothing unto us in regard to this authority, in order that we might of our own judgement approve and appoint Abu Bakr." Another, recorded by Al-Hakim Nishapuri and also accredited to Ali, states that when asked if he wished to name his successor as caliph, Ali responded "the Apostle of God appointed none, shall I therefore do so?" [19] It is also claimed that when Caliph Umar was asked the same question, he replied that if he gave a nomination, he had precedent in Abu Bakr's actions if he named no one, he had precedent by Muhammad's. [18]

Hadith of Position Edit

Prior to embarking on the Expedition to Tabuk in 631, Muhammad designated Ali to remain in Medina and govern in his absence. According to Ibn Hisham, one of the earliest available sources of this hadith, Ali heard suggestions that he had been left behind because Muhammad had found his presence a burden. Ali immediately took his weapons and followed in pursuit of the army, catching up with them in an area called al-Jurf. He relayed to Muhammad the rumours, to which the latter responded "They lie. I left you behind because of what I had left behind, so go back and represent me in my family and yours. Are you not content, Ali, to stand to me as Aaron stood to Moses, except that there will be no prophet after me?" Ali then returned to Medina and took up his position as instructed. [20]

The key part of this hadith (in regards to the Shia interpretation of the succession) is the comparison of Muhammad and Ali with Moses and his brother Aaron. Aside from the fact that the relationship between the latter two is noted for its special closeness, hence emphasising that of the former, [21] it is notable that in Muslim traditions, Aaron was appointed by God as Moses' assistant, thus acting as an associate in his prophetic mission. [22] In the Quran, Aaron was described as being his brother's deputy when Moses ascended Mount Sinai. [23] [24] This position, the Shia scholar Sharif al-Murtaza argues, shows that he would have been Moses' successor and that Muhammad, by drawing the parallel between them, therefore viewed Ali in the same manner. [22] Of similar importance is the divine prerogatives bestowed upon Aaron's descendants in Rabbinical literature, whereby only his progeny is permitted to hold the priesthood. This can be compared to the Shia belief in the Imamate, in which Ali and his descendants are regarded as inheritors of religious authority. [25]

However, there are a number of caveats against this interpretation. The scholar al-Halabi records a version of the hadith which includes the additional detail that Ali had not been Muhammad's first choice in governing Medina, having instead initially chosen an individual named Ja'far. [note 2] It was only on the latter's refusal that Ali was given the position. [26] It is also notable that the familial relationship between Moses and Aaron was not the same as that of Muhammad and Ali, given that one pair were brothers while the other were cousins/in-laws. [27] Additionally, the Quran records that Aaron had failed in his duties during his brother's absence, having not only been unable to properly guide the people, but also joining them in performing idolatry. [28] [29] [27] Finally, Aaron never succeeded his brother, having died during Moses' lifetime after being punished by God for the latter's mistakes. [27]

Event of Ghadir Khumm Edit

The hadith of Ghadir Khumm has many different variations and is transmitted by both Sunni and Shia sources. The narrations generally state that in March 632, Muhammad, while returning from his Farewell Pilgrimage alongside a large number of followers and companions, stopped at the oasis of Ghadir Khumm. There, he took Ali's hand and addressed the gathering. The point of contention between different sects is when Muhammad, whilst giving his speech, gave the proclamation "Anyone who has me as his mawla, has Ali as his mawla." Some versions add the additional sentence "O God, befriend the friend of Ali and be the enemy of his enemy." [30]

Mawla has a number of meanings in Arabic, with interpretations of Muhammad's use here being split along sectarian lines between the Sunni and Shia. Among the former group, the word is translated as "friend" or "one who is loyal/close" and that Muhammad was advocating that Ali was deserving of friendship and respect. Conversely, Shi'ites tend to view the meaning as being "master" or "ruler" [31] and that the statement was a clear designation of Ali being Muhammad's appointed successor. [30]

Shia sources also record further details of the event. They state that those present congratulated Ali and acclaimed him as Amir al-Mu'minin, while Ibn Shahr Ashub reports that Hassan ibn Thabit recited a poem in his honour. [30] However, some doubts have been raised about this view of the incident. Historian M. A. Shaban argues that sources regarding the community at Medina at the time give no indication of the expected reaction had they heard of Ali's appointment. [32] Ibn Kathir meanwhile suggests that Ali was not present at Ghadir Khumm, instead being stationed in Yemen at the time of the sermon. [33]

Supporting Abu Bakr's succession Edit

Among Sunni sources, Abu Bakr's succession is justified by narrations of Muhammad displaying the regard with which he held the former. The most notable of these incidents occurred towards the end of Muhammad's life. Too ill to lead prayers as he usually would, Muhammad had instructed that Abu Bakr instead take his place, ignoring concerns that he was too emotionally delicate for the role. Abu Bakr subsequently took up the position, and when Muhammad entered the prayer hall one morning during Fajr prayers, Abu Bakr attempted to step back to let him to take up his normal place and lead. Muhammad however, allowed him to continue. [34]

Other incidents similarly used by Sunnis were Abu Bakr serving as Muhammad's vizier during his time in Medina, as well as him being appointed the first of his companions to lead the Hajj pilgrimage. However, several other companions had held similar positions of authority and trust, including the leading of prayers. Such honours may therefore not hold much importance in matters of succession. [34] [32]

Incident of the pen and paper Edit

Shortly before his death, Muhammad asked for writing materials so as to issue a statement that would prevent the Muslim nation from "going astray forever". [35] [36] However, those in the room began to quarrel about whether to obey this request, with concerns being raised that Muhammad may be suffering from delirium. When the argument grew heated, Muhammad ordered the group to leave and subsequently chose not to write anything. [37]

Many details regarding the event are disputed, including the nature of Muhammad's planned statement. Though what he had intended to write is unknown, later theologians and writers have offered their own suggestions, with many believing that he had wished to establish his succession. Shia writers, like Al-Shaykh Al-Mufid, suggest that it would have been a direct appointment of Ali as the new leader, while Sunnis, such as Al-Baladhuri, state that it was to designate Abu Bakr. The story has also been linked to the rise of the community politics which followed Muhammad's death, with a possible suggestion that the hadith shows that Muhammad had implicitly given his acceptance and permission to how the Muslim ummah chooses to act in his absence. It may therefore be linked with the emergence of sayings attributed to Muhammad such as "My ummah will never agree on an error", an idea perpetuated by theologians like Ibn Hazm and Ibn Sayyid al-Nās. [37]

Saqifah Edit

In the immediate aftermath of the death of Muhammad in 632, a gathering of the Ansar (natives of Medina) took place in the Saqifah (courtyard) of the Banu Sa'ida clan. [38] The general belief at the time was that the purpose of the meeting was for the Ansar to decide on a new leader of the Muslim community among themselves, with the intentional exclusion of the Muhajirun (migrants from Mecca), though this has since become the subject of debate. [39]

Nevertheless, Abu Bakr and Umar, both prominent companions of Muhammad, upon learning of the meeting became concerned of a potential coup and hastened to the gathering. When they arrived, Abu Bakr addressed the assembled men with a warning that an attempt to elect a leader outside of Muhammad's own tribe, the Quraysh, would likely result in dissension, as only they can command the necessary respect among the community. He then took Umar and another companion, Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, by the hand and offered them to the Ansar as potential choices. He was countered with the suggestion that the Quraysh and the Ansar each choose a leader from among themselves, who would then rule jointly. The group grew heated upon hearing this proposal and began to argue amongst themselves. Umar hastily took Abu Bakr's hand and swore his own allegiance to the latter, an example followed by the gathered men. [40]

Abu Bakr was near-universally accepted as head of the Muslim community as a result of Saqifah, though he did face contention as a result of the rushed nature of the event. Several companions, most prominent among them being Ali ibn Abi Talib, initially refused to acknowledge his authority. [38] Ali himself may have been reasonably expected to assume leadership upon Muhammad's death, having been both the latter's cousin and son-in-law. [41] The theologian Ibrahim al-Nakhai stated that Ali also had support among the Ansar for his succession, explained by the genealogical links he shared with them. [note 3] Whether his candidacy for the succession was raised during Saqifah is unknown, though it is not unlikely. [43] Abu Bakr later sent Umar to confront Ali to gain his allegiance, resulting in an altercation which may have involved violence. [44] Six months after Saqifah, the dissenting group made peace with Abu Bakr and Ali offered him his fealty. [45] However, this initial conflict is regarded as the first sign of the coming split between the Muslims. [46] Those who had accepted Abu Bakr's election later became the Sunnis, while the supporters of Ali's hereditary right eventually became the Shia. [47]

Subsequent succession Edit

Abu Bakr adopted the title of Khalifat Rasul Allah, generally translated as "Successor to the Messenger of God". [48] This was shortened to Khalifa, from which the word "Caliph" arose. The use of this title continued with Abu Bakr's own successors, the caliphs Umar, Uthman and Ali, all of whom were non-hereditary. [49] [50] This was a group referred to by Sunnis as the Rashidun (rightly-guided) Caliphs, though only Ali is recognised by the Shia. [41] Abu Bakr's argument that the caliphate should reside with the Quraysh was accepted by nearly all Muslims in later generations. However, after Ali's assassination in 661, this definition also allowed the rise of the Umayyads to the throne, who despite being members of the Quraysh, were generally late converts to Islam during Muhammad's lifetime. [51]

Their ascendancy had been preceded by a civil war among the Sunnis and Shi'ites known as the First Fitna. Hostilities only ceased when Ali's eldest son Hasan (who had been elected upon his father's death) [52] made an agreement to abdicate in favour of the first Umayyad caliph, Muawiyah I, resulting in a period of relative calm and a hiatus in sectarian disagreements. This ended upon Muawiyah's death after twenty years of rule, when rather than following the previous tradition of electing/selecting a successor from among the pious community, he nominated his own son Yazid. This hereditary process of succession angered Hasan's younger brother Husayn, who publicly denounced the new caliph's legitimacy. Husayn and his family were eventually killed by Yazid's forces in 680 during the Battle of Karbala. This conflict marked the Second Fitna, as a result of which the Sunni-Shia schism became finalised. [50]

The succession subsequently transformed under the Umayyads from an elective/appointed position to being effectively hereditary within the family, [53] leading to the complaint that the caliphate had become no more than a "worldly kingship." [51] The Shi'ite's idea of the succession to Muhammad similarly evolved over time. Initially, some of the early Shia sects did not limit it to descendants of Ali and Muhammad, but to the extended family of Muhammad in general. One such group, alongside Sunnis, [54] supported the rebellion against the Umayyads led by the Abbasids, who were descendants of Muhammad's paternal uncle Abbas. However, when the Abbasids came to power in 750, they began championing Sunni Islam, alienating the Shi'ites. Afterwards, the sect limited the succession to descendants of Ali and Fatimah in the form of Imams. [41]

With the exception of Zaydis, [55] Shi'ites believe in the Imamate, a principle by which rulers are Imams who are divinely chosen, infallible and sinless and must come from the Ahl al-Bayt regardless of majority opinion, shura or election. [56] They claim that before his death, Muhammad had given many indications, in the Event of Ghadir Khumm in particular, that he considered Ali, his cousin and son-in-law, as his successor. [57] For the Twelvers, Ali and his eleven descendants, the twelve Imams, are believed to have been considered, even before their birth, as the only valid Islamic rulers appointed and decreed by God. [58] [59] Shia Muslims believe that with the exception of Ali and Hasan, all the caliphs following Muhammad's death were illegitimate and that Muslims had no obligation to follow them. [60] They hold that the only guidance that was left behind, as stated in the hadith of the two weighty things, was the Quran and Muhammad's family and offspring. [61] The latter, due to their infallibility, are considered to be able to lead the Muslim community with justice and equity. [62]

Zaydis, a Shia sub-group, believe that the leaders of the Muslim community must be Fatimids: descendants of Fatimah and Ali, through either of their sons, Hasan or Husayn. Unlike the Twelver and Isma'ili Shia, Zaydis do not believe in the infallibility of Imams nor that the Imamate must pass from father to son. [63] They named themselves Zaydis after Zayd ibn Ali, a grandson of Husayn, who they view as the rightful successor to the Imamate. This is due to him having led a rebellion against the Umayyad Caliphate, who he saw as tyrannical and corrupt. The then Twelver Imam, his brother Muhammad al-Baqir, did not engage in political action and the followers of Zayd believed that a true Imam must fight against corrupt rulers. [64]

One faction, the Batriyya, attempted to create a compromise between the Sunni and Shia by admitting the legitimacy of the Sunni caliphs while maintaining that they were inferior to Ali. Their argument was that while Ali was the best suited to succeed Muhammad, the reigns of Abu Bakr and Umar must be acknowledged because Ali had recognised them. [63] This belief, termed Imamat al-Mafdul (Imamate of the inferior), is one which has also been attributed to Zayd himself. [65] [note 4]

The general Sunni belief states that Muhammad had not chosen anyone to succeed him, instead reasoning that he had intended for the community to decide on a leader amongst themselves. However, some specific hadiths are used to justify that Muhammad intended Abu Bakr to succeed, but that he had shown this decision through his actions rather than doing so verbally. [18]

The election of a caliph is ideally a democratic choice made by the Muslim community. [66] They are supposed to be members of the Quraysh, the tribe of Muhammad. However, this is not a strict requirement, given that the Ottoman Caliphs had no familial relation to the tribe. [67] They are not viewed as infallible and can be removed from office if their actions are regarded as sinful. [66] Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali are regarded as the most righteous of their generation, with their merit being reflected in their Caliphate. The subsequent caliphates of the Umayyads and the Abbasids, while not ideal, are seen as legitimate because they complied with the requirements of the law, kept the borders safe and the community generally united. [68]

The Ibadi, an Islamic school distinct from the Sunni and Shia, [69] believe that leadership of the Muslim community is not something which should be decided by lineage, tribal affiliations or divine selection, but rather through election by leading Muslims. They see the leaders as not being infallible and that if they fail to maintain a legitimate government in accordance to Islamic law, it is the duty of the population to remove them from power. The Rashidun Caliphs are seen as rulers who were elected in a legitimate fashion and that Abu Bakr and Umar in particular were righteous leaders. However, Uthman is viewed as having committed grave sins during the latter half of his rule and was deserving of death. Ali is also similarly understood to have lost his mandate. [70]

Their first Imam was Abd Allah ibn Wahb al-Rasibi, who was selected after the group's alienation from Ali. [71] Other individuals seen as Imams include Abu Ubaidah Muslim, Abdallah ibn Yahya al-Kindi and Umar ibn Abdul Aziz. [72]


Ömer Taşpınar

Nonresident Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Center on the United States and Europe

Nader Hashemi and Danny Postel, in their excellent book, “Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East,” provide a compilation from politicians, journalists and experts who never tire of repeating this mantra of timeless Sunni-Shiite hatred. For instance, US senator Ted Cruz has suggested that “Sunnis and Shiites have been engaged in a sectarian civil war since 632, it is the height of hubris and ignorance to make American national security contingent on the resolution of a 1,500-year-old religious conflict.” Mitch McConnell, the majority leader of the US senate, has observed that what is taking place in the Arab world is “a religious conflict that has been going on for a millennium and a half.” US Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell, a former senator himself, has also embraced this narrative: “First is a Sunni-Shiite split, which began as a struggle for political power following the death of the Prophet Muhammad. That’s going on around the world. It’s a huge factor in Iraq now, in Syria and in other countries.’’ Even New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman asserts that the “main issue in the Middle East is the 7th century struggle over who is the rightful heir to the Prophet Muhammad – Shiites or Sunnis.”

To be sure, this schism has deep historical roots. The rift indeed began shortly after the death of Prophet Mohammad and was centered on the question of rightful succession. Yet, linking the past to today begs a simple question: are Muslims in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon still fighting the same war going back to the early years of the faith? Is religion at the heart of their conflict? The short answer is no.

Religion only is a small part of a much bigger and complex geostrategic and political picture. The bleeding in Syria or Yemen would not stop if Sunnis and Shiites would suddenly agree on who was the rightful successor of Muhammad. Looking at the sectarianized conflicts of the Middle East through the lens of a 7th century conflict is therefore both simplistic and misleading.

Bog'liq

How the Iran-Iraq war will shape the region for decades to come

The Iranian revolution and its legacy of terrorism

Syria and the Six-Day War: A 50-years perspective

This lazy narrative of a primordial and timeless conflict needs to be replaced by serious analysis. And that should be one that looks at what the Sunni-Shiite sectarian contest has become in the 21st century: a modern conflict in failed or failing states fueled by a political, nationalist and geostrategic rivalry.

The sectarianized wars of today’s Middle East have their roots in modern nationalism, not in Islamic theology. These sectarian conflicts have become proxy wars between Iran and Saudi Arabia, two nationalist actors pursuing their strategic rivalry in places where governance has collapsed. What is happening is not the supposed re-emergence of ancient hatreds, but the mobilization of a new animus. The instrumentalization of religion and the sectarianization of a political conflict is a better way of approaching the problem, rather than projecting religion as the driver and root cause of the predicament.

Sunnis and Shiites managed to coexist during most of their history when a modicum of political order provided security for both communities. In other words, the two communities are not genetically predisposed to fight each other. Conflict is not in their DNA, and war is not their destiny.

The same goes for the nationalist rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The regional conflict between Tehran and Riyadh is neither primordial nor intractable. As late as in the 1970s, Iran and Saudi Arabia were monarchic allies against the nationalist republicanism of Egypt under Nasser. In short, Sunnis and Shiite are not fighting a religious war. Instead, Iranian and Arab nationalisms are engaged in a regional rivalry – particularly in Syria and Iraq – where governance has collapsed.

It is quite possible that the rise of identity politics in the West has blinded most American and European policymakers, analysts and journalists, who now focus almost exclusively on Islam without paying much attention to political, economic and social drivers of tension and conflict in the Middle East. Their false diagnosis will only fuel false prescriptions.

It is time to stop for the West to stop its obsession with Islam and begin focusing on the political, institutional and geostrategic factors behind sectarianism.


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