Kalpana Jain, The ConversationAug. 30, 2021 Comments
(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)
Kalpana Jain, The Conversation
Journalists and scholars have pointed out how Muslims in the U.S. are often cast simplistically either as good or bad: The good ones are raising their voices against terrorism and the bad ones are violent, or likely to be.
This view blocks out an “otherwise fascinating spectrum” of American Muslims, writes scholar Abbas Barzegar. “Outside of Mecca itself,” he says, “there exists no other Muslim population that displays the theological, ideological, class and ethnic diversity as that which resides here” in the U.S.
So, what are the different ways of being a Muslim?
Many American Muslims belong to one of the two main sects in Islam – Sunni and Shiite. Each draws its faith and practice from the Quran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad. The two agree on most of the fundamentals of Islam.
But the two groups split after the death of Prophet Muhammad in A.D. 632, when issues over leadership emerged, writes religion scholar Ken Chitwood. The majority of the Muslim community sided with Abu Bakr, one of the prophet’s closest companions. A minority, however, opted for the prophet’s cousin – Ali.
Muslims who rallied around Abu Bakr came to be called Sunni – meaning those who follow the Sunna, or sayings, deeds and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad.