"Our followers are of three kinds, one who follows us but depends on others, one who is like a glass involved in his own reflections, but the best are those who are like gold, the more they suffer the more they shine." - Muhammad al-Baqir
Different branches of the same religion are the exception more than the rule, and they have had a profound impact upon history. The schism between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches influenced relationships between nations across Europe, and religious intolerance based on different Christian faiths led to persecution and outright violence across the continent for centuries. The Protestant Reformation split Christianity further, and the results culminated in the incredibly destructive 30 Years' War in the 17th century.
Today, the most important religious split is between the Sunnis and the Shias (Shiites) within Islam. Unlike divisions in other faiths - between Conservative and Orthodox Jews or Catholic and Protestant Christians - the split between the Sunnis and Shia has existed almost as long as the faith itself, and it quickly emerged out of tensions created by the political crisis after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. In a sense, what are now two different forms of Islam essentially started as political factions within the unified body of Muslim believers.
Over the past few centuries, Christians have mostly been able to live alongside their co-religionists, but the split between the Sunnis and Shias is still so pronounced that many adherents of each branch view each other with disdain if not as outright apostates or non-believers.
©2014 Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors
As always, today's international news is based on historical struggles, and Islamic conflicts are at the forefront right now. For those of us who have only minimal knowledge of the historical politics of Islam, this compact body of research is truly enlightening. There is no religiosity here, but simply a detailing of the conflicts which began with the death of Mohammed and resurfaced time and again within the Arab world.
Excellent choice of narrator as his tone, diction, and delivery are fully appropriate to the material.
Highly informative. Very well narrated. I have only started my journey into studying the religion of Islam and I found this work to be very helpful.
One slight observation ( and I am willing to admit if I am wrong in this regard ) is that the authors seem to be more sympathetic to the Shia position as opposed to the Sunnis. Nevertheless I highly recommended this book to anyone interested in this subject.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
It seems to get things right when it comes to the major facts, and provides both perspectives of the split fairly well. It does a good job for what it is.
This is an except short book. It doesn't waste any words, but packs a lot of information info a short space. This book fills many gaps that are glossed over in other commentaries on the history of Islam.
Businessman, Technologist, Marketer. Loves to learn and enjoys books. Mostly nonfiction plus historic novels.
This is a short book. It feels like history class, where someone is reading a lot of facts. What happened when, then what in which year, etc. There is little story, context, or useful information to give you a better understanding of Islam today other than it was very rocky after the death of Muhammad and the power struggles that resulted form it.
Very helpful to making sense of the complexities of the contemporary Islamic world. Why does Turkey appose Syria's Assad regime while Iran supports it? Makes more sense with the overview of historic Islamic factionalism provided by this brief audiobook.
An easy-to-follow explanation -- just enough info to get a grip on the topic but not so complex that one gets lost in the details. The narration is excellent -- clear and authoritative -- but I can't attest one way or the other to whether the pronunciation of some words is correct. With this narrator, I never felt my concentration drifting, as I do sometimes find with non-fiction audiobooks,
The position of the content as a whole is slightly sympathetic to Shia Islam, but that is not a problem for me since it's in the context of its being both a minority and often an oppressed minority.
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