Actually, the term “Muslim unity” is rather general and means the establishment of the brotherly relations between various Islamic denominations. So, your essay on Muslim unity can be devoted to one of these denominations or to the relations between several of them. This is exactly what we will do while proposing a topic for your essays on Muslim unity.
We are going to give you some facts about rather complicated relations between Sunni and Shia. But first, we would like to tell you that your essay on Muslim unity can disclose some other aspects like Caliphate. It is a kind of federalism between Muslim nations, and can also be described as a form of political unity.
So, let us return to Shia-Sunni relations that you may study in your essay on Muslim unity.
- The first thing you should explain in your essay on Muslim unity is that Shia (or Shiite) and Sunni are the main denominations of Islam. Sunni constitute 85% of the total amount of Muslims in the world; Shia – 15 %. Mostly, Shias live in Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Bahrain and Lebanon. Sunnis live in South Asia, China, Africa and the rest of the Islamic world.
- In the essay on Muslim unity you should definitely tell about the main differences between Shia and Sunni and the reasons for that. Actually, the split between these two denominations occurred after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in the year 632. The main disputes were focused around the successor of the Prophet. Sunnis believe that the rightful successor of Muhammad is Abu Bakr – his closest friend. Shias believe that Muhammad appointed Ali – his cousin and son-in-law to be the next caliph, and his direct descendants are the successors of the Prophet.
- Another difference between Shia and Sunni that can be described in your essay on Muslim unity is the opposite views on the nature of Mahdi (in a few words, a redeemer of Islam). In the essay on Muslim unity you can tell that Shias believe that Mahdi will come on earth at the end of times and will bring perfect Islamic society on earth. Sunnis believe that Mahdi will have a name Muhammad and will be a descendant of the Prophet. Mahdi will come to revive the faith, but this can happen not necessarily at the end of times.
- Some differences in practices should also be described in your essay on Muslim unity. You can tell about Selah (ritual prayer) and describe the dissimilarities in how Sunni and Shia hold their hands, prostrate and how many times a day they pray. In your essay on Muslim unity you can also tell about Mutah, temporary marriage, which is common for Shia and is not accepted by Sunni. Do not forget to mention the dissimilarities in clothes and in the process of giving names.
- After describing the main differences between Sunni and Shia in the essay on Muslim unity, you can pass to the description of the modern relations between these two denominations. The relations between Shia and Sunni nowadays are rather tense. In some countries, like Saudi Arabia where Sunni dominate, Shia can be treated rather harshly. On the other hand, in the Shia-dominated countries like Iran and Iraq Sunni are also mistreated. However, in your essay on Muslim unity you can mention that there are countries where the two denominations intermingle and can even have intermarriages.
- In your essays on Muslim unity you can investigate not only the modern relations between Sunni and Shia. There are several periods worth mentioning. The first period is 1919-1970. Some scientists regard the period after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire as the most peaceful in the relations of the major denominations of Islam. Sunni and Shia united due to common threats of that time. In the essay on Muslim unity you can give the most remarkable example of their cooperation. It was the Khalifat Movement with the purpose of protecting the Ottoman Empire. Under the Treaty of Sevres, the Empire had to be partitioned.
- The second period that can be discussed in your essay on Muslim unity is post-1970. This was a period when the strife between Shia and Sunni increased significantly. In the essay on Muslim unity you can think of the reasons for that. Actually, there were different explanations of the bloodshed. Some scientists tend to think that there were some hidden enemies of Islam, such as American neo-conservatism or Zionism that wanted to weaken Islam. In the essay on Muslim unity you can introduce the other reasons like the revival of the Islamic religion within the entire Islamic world. Iranian Islamic Revolution also had a great impact on the intensification of Shia-Sunni confrontation.
- While writing your essays on Muslim unity, you should pay special attention to the war in Iraq. Perhaps, this is the worst conflict between Shia and Sunni. Sunnis often used suicide bombers and attacked civilians, mosques, wedding and funeral processions. Shias were using special death squads that tortured and executed hundreds of Sunnis. By the way, in your essay on Muslim unity you can mention that Al-Qaida encouraged the persecution of Shias, calling them heretics.
Take into consideration that your essay on Muslim unity can investigate not only these two denominations. There are lots of other sects and schools of Islam that can be studied in the essay on Muslim unity.
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