The reality of controversial terms and terms between Sunnis and Shiites An Analytical Study from a Linguistic Historical Perspective

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Rushdy bin Hussain
Abdulwasiu Isiaq Nasirudeen, Assoc. Prof. Dr



This research revolves around studying the reality of controversial terms and expressions between the two largest groups in Islam, namely the Sunnis, and the Shiites. The search chose terms of Caliphate, Imamate, Guardianship, departing from the Ruler, Justice of the Companions, the Twelve Imams, AlMahdi, Taqiyya, Infallibility, which represent most of the terms. And the words that revolve around the dispute between the two groups. In addition to the fact that these terms and expressions represent the biggest points of disagreement between the two groups, the choice of terms and expressions came on the basis of their classification in political, religious and sectarian terms and their great impact on the two groups, whether in the early period in Islam or in the later period. The research relied on studying the semantic meaning of these terms and expressions and how they were used in the early period of Islam, specifically the period of the rightly-guided caliphate, then taking a look at the current reality of these terms and expressions in the present era and more specifically the past ten years. The research focused on defining these terms and expressions mainly from a linguistic point of view, and was keen to avoid delving into jurisprudential, doctrinal and political issues. This research also tried to rely on linguistic sources from the Holy Qur’an only and the views of linguists without expanding reliance on the noble hadiths of the Prophet, whether the hadiths transmitted from the Sunnis and the community. Or the Shiites, due to the many differences and opinions attributed by each sect to the early period of Islam. Historically, the research follows the semantic meanings of the term in the language, then traces its presence in the Holy Qur’an, how it was used during the period of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, then the reality of this term in the present age, and how it developed historically from the early period of Islam until the term’s arrival to us in its current form. The research concludes that there are deep differences in terms and controversial terms related to politics or the system of government and greater differences in how they are used and their current reality, and it also concluded that there are less profound differences in religious terms and expressions and a complete agreement that reaches the extent of congruence between the two groups in other terms. The research notes the development of the use of these terms and expressions from the early period to the current period, and the presence of exaggeration of the meanings of some terms and expressions, and on the contrary, there is a reduction or download to the rank of a number of terms and expressions.

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Linguistic Studies