First Islamic Sectarian Controversy

The first Islamic sectarian controversy arose during the Muslim civil war following the assassination of third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan in 656 leading to the Battle of Siffin in 657 in Saudi Arabia. The conflict between Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib and his challenger, Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan were sent to an arbitration panel believing Wahb al-Rasibi’s teachings were contrary to Muhammad’s teaching in the Qur’an leading to the formation of the Kharijites. The believe held the literal interpretation of the Qur’an was the ultimate authority of all actions, demanded the death penalty for any Muslim who committed a grave sin, and rejected illegitimates in other Muslim sects.

      657 CE
      Uthman ibn Affan
      Saudi Arabia

Additional Information:

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  • The Sunni-Shia Divide – Council on Foreign Relations
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  • The Origins Of The Shiite-Sunni Split : Parallels : NPR
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