So far we have learned how “Shi'ism” emerged. But whence did the “Shiites” themselves and the attendant division within-the Islamic Ummah originate? This is what we shall now try to answer.
If we observe closely the first stage of the Ummah's existence, the Prophet's lifetime, we shall find from the very outset of the Islamic experience two distinct currents. They coexisted within the same community newly brought to life by the Prophet. Their disaccord led to a doctrinal division immediately following the Prophet's death, one which sundered the Ummah into two sections.
One section was fated to rule, and thus to encompass the majority of Muslims; while the other was shunned from rule, destined to become a minority opposition within the general fold of Islam. Shi'ism was this minority. Herein lie three areas of discussion.