CSSIslamic History

Q4. Explain the causes and effects of Political division and schisms among Muslims during the first three Islamic centuries.

During the first three centuries of Islam, the Muslim community experienced political division and schisms that had both causes and effects. Some of the major causes and effects of these divisions are discussed below:


  1. Leadership succession: One of the main causes of political division in early Islam was the issue of leadership succession after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Some Muslims believed that the leader should be elected through consultation, while others believed that leadership should pass down through the Prophet’s family. This disagreement led to the formation of different political factions and ultimately to the split between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam.
  2. Economic and regional interests: Another cause of division in early Islam was the emergence of economic and regional interests that often clashed with each other. Different regions of the Muslim empire had their own economic and political interests, and these interests sometimes came into conflict with each other, leading to division and tensions.
  3. Interpretation of Islamic law: Differences in the interpretation of Islamic law also contributed to division in early Islam. Some scholars held more liberal views of Islamic law, while others held more conservative views, and these differences led to disagreements and tensions.


  1. Political instability: Political division in early Islam led to political instability and weakened the unity of the Muslim community. This made it easier for outside forces to exploit the division and conquer Muslim territories.
  2. Loss of territories: The division within the Muslim community also contributed to the loss of territories, as different factions were unable to effectively resist foreign invasions and conquerors.
  3. Decline of the Muslim empire: The division and instability in early Islam contributed to the decline of the Muslim empire, as the once-powerful empire was unable to maintain its unity and strength.
  4. Religious division: The division in early Islam also led to the formation of different religious sects, with each sect having its own beliefs and practices. This religious division has had a lasting impact on the Muslim community, and even today, different sects of Islam often have different interpretations of Islamic law and practice.

In conclusion, the political division and schisms that took place in the first three centuries of Islam had significant causes and effects. These divisions contributed to political instability, the loss of territories, the decline of the Muslim empire, and the formation of different religious sects, all of which have had a lasting impact on the Muslim community.

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