Thursday, January 07, 2016

Sunni and Shia Muslims -- the difference


Daniel 11:5-6 -- King James Version (KJV):
5 And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.
6 And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king's daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times.

The news reports about the Middle East often use the terms "Sunni" and "Shia" (or "Shiite") in regard to the conflicting differences between Muslim nations such as Iran and Saudi Arabia. However, the reports seldom if ever define the differences. I have asked several people if they know the difference, and they don't know.

The basic difference dates from the 7th century A. D., after the death of Muhammed in 632, and it relates to qualifications for being the "caliph" (ruler) of the empire.

The Shia say the chief ruler musts be in the genealogical bloodline of Muhammad. The Sunni say that it is not necessary to be a bloodline descendant of Muhammed to be the supreme ruler.

The following link is to a web site where the difference is explained:

The Independent

My understanding of Daniel 11:5, 6 is that this difference between the Muslims was involved in the civil war conflict between Muhammed's widow, Aishah, the daughter of Abu Baker the first caliph, and Muhammed's cousin and son-in-law, Ali, who was married to Fatimah. These two went to war over their differences, which I understand to be referred to in Daniel 11:5, 6. Their conflict is known as "The Battle of the Camel."

I understand Abu Bakr to be the man who is called the "king of the south," Aishah to be the "king's daughter of the south," and Ali to be the "king of the north" in Daniel 11:6.

I do not understand this passage to refer to the Ptolemies of Egypt and the Seleucids of Assyria, as is often taught by writers, commentaries on Daniel, and notes in "study Bibles." This imposition on Daniel 11 apparently originated with Jewish sources which hold that Daniel's prophecies were fulfilled in pre-New Testament times.

However, the Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on Daniel discloses a dozen or more historical inaccuries in the Ptolemies/Seleucids theory on Daniel 11. I have one book which was written to present this theory, and the author, Walter K. Price, acknowledges he is "following the chronology" taught by a Jewish writer, Solomon Zeitlin (In the Final Days by Walter K. Price, page 114).

-- Bob L. Ross
(713) 477-2329


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