Succession to Prophet Muhammad

The succession to Muhammad is the central issue that split the Muslim community into several divisions in the first century of Islamic history, the most prominent among these sects being the Shia and Sunni branches of Islam. Shia Islam holds that Ali ibn Abi Talib was the appointed successor to the Islamic prophet Muhammad as head of the community. Sunni Islam maintains Abu Bakr to be the first leader after Muhammad on the basis of election.

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