Sunni Traditions

They believed that Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, was appointed by Muhammad to be his successor. Other Caliphs followed.

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Shia Traditions

They believe that Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law, should have been the successor and they reject the other Caliphs. Only members of Muhammad’s family should succeed.

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Shias believe that 12 imams followed and that each has a special place in Islam. They are pure and sinless. They are also infallible. Imams in mosques are seen as respected guides for those who worship. They do not have the same status as priests in the Christian faith.

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