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Old 06-11-2010, 10:25 PM
 
Location: texas
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I was on another thread and asked this question, but no one could answer it there. I am curious to find out and if so, that would help explain why Muslims are so divided in many areas to me.
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Old 06-11-2010, 11:22 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
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No. To my knowledge it is not. Of course, it is divided up in sections, chapters, verses, etc... but there isn't a huge dividing line like there is in the Christian religion. Much of the violent bloodshed and the like that occurs within Islam is indeed a result of two factions - the Shi'a and Sunni's. Typically, but not in every case, the Shi'a are not as rabidly dogmatic and fundamentally literal as the Sunni's are. Yet, I wouldn't dare go so far as to make the mistake of calling the Shi'a faction the peaceful one and the Sunni faction the violent one.

At this point, most of the reasoning behind the violence between the two has to do with retaliation from previous attacks. It's been a vicious cycle of "He attacked me a few years ago; now I'm strong enough to attack him, so I will."

Iraq was a very good example of this, in my opinion. For years, the Saddam Hussein regime was primarily dominated by Sunni Muslims (though Saddam himself wasn't very religious) who made life a living hell for the Shi'a. However, I think it was nearly 90% of Iraqi's who were actually Shi'a - so they were being ruled by the minority - and ruled brutally. So when Baghdad finally fell and some of the dust cleared, the Shi'a started taking their revenge on the Sunni's, the Sunni's were taking their revenge on the Shi'a, the Kurds and Christians wanted the hell out of there and it essentially turned into what it did.

Of course, a lot of people seriously don't realize how "caste" Middle-Eastern society can be. Pakistani's, Egyptian's and Sri Lankan's are often considered to be "scum" and are hired for menial labor for pathetic wages in countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Filipinos are seen as a slight step up from the Pakistani's and Sri Lankan's and often work at fast food joints, as cashiers in their stores, and things of that nature. Indians are seen as a slight step up from that and often do most of the technical and IT work in those countries. And, regardless of religious preference (Sunni or Shi'a), the "caste" system often sticks.

The inheritable bickering amongst tribal groups, the "caste" system of how different countrymen and immigrants are viewed, the geography itself, the West's undying and unyielding support for Israel for purposes I have yet to truly figure out, as well as the religion of Islam being as ghastly and barbaric as it is - all help to give the appearance of Islam as well as the people from the Middle East as being a backwards, trouble-plagued and primitive group of barbaric savages.

In short, it has far less to do with how the Koran is divided up. Although I do agree that cutting religion out of it would be an absolutely, positively tremendous step forward in making it a friendlier place for everyone.
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:27 AM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
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No. Even going by higher-end estimates the Qur'an was compiled over a period of a century, it was not a compilation of books and stories that a people had for centuries. The traditional Muslim view, as I understand it, is that the Qur'an was dictated to Muhammad in his lifetime. It is one, unitary.

That said some see it in terms of "Meccan verses" and "Medina verses." However that perspective is highly controversial.

That said there are different schools of interpretation and streams. Shi'ite is in some ways more rationalistic, but it's also traditionally more authority driven. It has a hierarchy whereas Sunni traditionally has not had a hierarchy, at least not since the fall of the Caliphate. Having a hierarchy is not necessarily a good or bad thing, it varies. Shi'ite leaders can be some of the most extreme Muslims of all, but they can also be some of the most reasonable.

Sunni is in principle all one thing, but in practice there's often a variety based on school and brotherhood. Hanbali is, I believe, the strictest school of Sunni law. There are streams within some schools that are more "liberal" in most things you find in Shi'ite. There's also a good deal of Sunnis who are Sufi and they may see the Qur'an in more allegorical terms.

Than you have smaller groups like Ismaili (a Shiite offshoot as I recall) and Ibadi of Oman. As well as groups that are deemed heterodox like the Ahmadis, Alevis, and Bekhtashi.
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Old 06-12-2010, 08:54 AM
 
Location: texas
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Ok, I have a better understanding of what it is about. Puts things in better perspective.
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Old 06-13-2010, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Houston, Tx
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The Koran is a series of conversations between Mohammad and a spiritual entity believed by Muslims to be Allah (and believed by many others to be Satan). Anyway, the conversations are in verses, called Suras. They are not arranged chronologically like any sane person would arrange a historical narrative of teachings, but in order of length -- shortest to longest or vise versa, I forget.
The Koran can not be fully understood with out reading the companion books, the Hadiths. They were written by Mohammad's contemporaries and often explained what the messages to Mohammad in the Koran meant. The Koran is very much a conversation between two people and without some frame of reference you can't understand it.
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