When Power and Piety Collide
by Sayed Moustafa al-Qazwini. In our present era, it is most disturbing for many Muslims and non-Muslims alike to witness the escalating rise in sectarian violence between the Shia and Sunni followers of Islam, particularly in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Some people, including Muslims, ask why the Shia and Sunni are violently murdering each other; is there something in the history of the Muslims that continues to spark such hatred and violence today; why does one sect accuse the other of heresy; and why is one sect of the Muslims considered as “mainstream,” while the other wing is branded unconventional and literally pacified?
Unquestionably, seeded in the history of Islam is the answer - in particular, the political course that was taken following the death of the Holy Prophet and the way in which the early history of Islam was written. They say that history is bound to repeat itself and this is much more apparent today because the remnants and unconsciousness of Muslims in regards to their own history is affecting Muslims today. The account of the Muslims is not the classical historical case of not knowing their past, but rather, it is of not knowing the truth of its past. Thus, a closer examination into the past political and historical accounts of Islam is needed.