The Sunni-Shiite Schism

As Westerners we are, or should be, aware of the rise of Islam in our world. We should also be aware that Islam means “submission,” and is not a religion of peace. We Westerners look at Muslims as a group, but there is a great division within Islam.

About eighty-five percent of Muslims are Sunnis. The remaining fifteen percent of Muslims are of the Shia’ sect, or are Shiites. This division goes back to the question of who should have succeeded Mohammed when he died. The Shiites are considered the fundamentalists and are possibly the more violent Muslims.

Many Shiites are “Twelvers,” which means they believe that there will be twelve imams, or religious leaders, from the time of Mohammed until the End Times. So you see, Shiites believe there will be an End Time. Further, they believe the Twelfth Imam is alive and somewhere in the world today. To make matters more interesting, Shiites believe they can create the turmoil necessary to cause the Twelfth Imam to appear and to take action to bring the world into final submission.

Brother Walid Shoebat, born a Palestinian and obviously familiar with Islam, believes the Twelfth Imam to be the same person that Christians call the Anti-Christ. Therefore, the Shiites believe they can stir the pot and cause the last imam, possibly the Anti-Christ, to make himself known and finish the Islamic goal of complete control of the world.

The Islamic countries that are Shiite are Iran, the majority of Iraq, Azerbaijan and a portion of Turkey. In addition, the eastern desert region of Saudi Arabia, where their large oil fields are located, is heavily Shiite.

If you look at the map of the Middle East, you will see that the predominately Shiite countries and regions are bright orange. There is no significance to the color chosen.

You will see that the area of Shiite dominance forms a core within the Islamic world. Afghanistan and Pakistan are east of this Core, the Islamic former Soviet republics, what are called the “Stans”; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan are northeast of the Core, and the remainder of Islamic countries is south and west of the Shiite Core.

Iran is the primary Shiite country. Here are some facts about Iran:

Iran is the political force behind the Shiite Core. There is more about the Shiite Core in next week’s lesson.

BACK to Lesson Archive.