Who are the religious leaders in Islam


The emergence of Islam

Every religion, with the exception of Hinduism and the Japanese natural religion Shintoism, begins with chosen people. In Buddhism this is Siddharta Gautama, who came to enlightenment through asceticism and meditation. Judaism knows several founders at the same time. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are considered the fathers of the people of Israel. Then there is Moses, who receives the Torah, the holy scripture of the Jews, from God on Mount Sinai.

For Christians, Jesus of Nazareth is the chosen divine Messiah. Islam was based on the revelations of the Prophet Mohammed (570-632 AD). He lived in Mecca and Medina and received messages from God over and over again in the course of his life. These revelations (suras) are collected in the Koran.

Shiites and Sunnis - the two largest denominations

There are two major faiths in Islam: the Sunnis and the Shiites. The followers of the Shia (Shiites) make up only about a tenth of the Muslims. In Iran, for example, the Shia is the state religion. There are also many Shiites living in Iraq and Azerbaijan.

Most Muslims, however, are Sunnis. They believe in the Sunnah. The Sunnah is everything that, according to tradition, Mohammed said, done and decided. Basically, the Shiites do the same. The different development of the two faiths begins with the death of the Prophet Mohammed.

It is about following the prophet. The Shiites believe that Muhammad's son-in-law Ali was the rightful successor. They are convinced that this was the real will of the prophet. Instead, another was chosen: Abu Bakr - a close advisor to the Prophet.

At that time, the Sunnis accepted Abu Bakr as their successor. He was called the caliph. From then on, the respective caliph was the accepted deputy of the prophet. In 1924 the caliphate was abolished. Since then, there is no longer any recognized religious authority among the Sunnis.

It is different with the Shiites. The imam plays an important role in them. The imam is the spiritual leader of the community and the undisputed religious authority responsible for interpreting the Koran. The imams, for example Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran, have great secular power as a result.

The sugar festival

What Christmas is for Christians, "Id Al-Fitr" is for Muslims. This festivity is also known in some cultures as the Sugar Festival, because on this day, children in particular are given plenty of sweets. The festival is celebrated on the first day after Ramadan and thus means the end of Lent.

Ramadan is calculated according to the lunar calendar and takes place at a different time each year. That is why the Sugar Festival - unlike Christian Christmas - is not celebrated at the same time every year. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam.