Schism (religion)

Schism (religion)

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A schism from Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 σχίσμα, skhísma (from σχίζω, skhízō, "to tear, to split"), is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization or movement religious denomination
Religious denomination
A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity.The term describes various Christian denominations...

. The word is most frequently applied to a break of communion
Communion (Christian)
The term communion is derived from Latin communio . The corresponding term in Greek is κοινωνία, which is often translated as "fellowship". In Christianity, the basic meaning of the term communion is an especially close relationship of Christians, as individuals or as a Church, with God and with...

 between two sections of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 that were previously a single body, or to a division within some other religion. It is also used of a split within a non-religious organization or movement or, more broadly, of a separation between two or more people, be it brothers, friends, lovers, etc.

A schismatic is a person who creates or incites schism in an organization or who is a member of a splinter group. Schismatic as an adjective means pertaining to a schism or schisms, or to those ideas, policies, etc. that are thought to lead towards or promote schism.

In religion, the charge of schism is distinguished from that of heresy
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

, since the offence of schism concerns not differences of belief or doctrine but promotion of, or the state of, division, but schisms frequently involve mutual accusations of heresy. In Roman Catholic teaching, every heresy is a schism. However, the Presbyterian
Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

 scholar James McCord (quoted with approval by the Episcopalian
Episcopal Church (United States)
The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States , but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe...

 bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 of Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 Peter Lee) drew a distinction between them, teaching: "If you must make a choice between heresy and schism, always choose heresy. As a schismatic, you have torn and divided the body of Christ. Choose heresy every time."

Buddhism


In Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, the first schism was set up by Devadatta
Devadatta
Devadatta was by tradition a Buddhist monk, cousin and brother-in-law of Gautama Siddārtha, the Śākyamuni Buddha, and brother of Ānanda, a principal student of the Buddha...

, during Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

's life. This schism lasted only a short time, and Devadatta later apologized for his misdeeds. Later (after Buddha's death), the early Buddhist schools
Early Buddhist schools
The early Buddhist schools are those schools into which, according to most scholars, the Buddhist monastic saṅgha initially split, due originally to differences in vinaya, and later also due to doctrinal differences and geographical separation of groups of monks.The original saṅgha split into the...

 came into being due to various schisms, but there is still some unclarity concerning the specific schisms that occurred, and the order in which they occurred. In the old texts, 18 or 20 early schools are mentioned. Later, there were the Mahayana
Mahayana
Mahāyāna is one of the two main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice...

 and Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Vajrayāna Buddhism is also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayāna, Mantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Esoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle...

 movements, which can be regarded as being schismatic in origin. Each school has various subgroups, which often are schismatic in origin. For example, in Thai Theravadin Buddhism there are two groups (Mahanikaya and Dhammayut), of which the Dhammayut has its origin partly in the Mahanikaya, and is the new and schismatic group. Both Mahanikaya and Dhammayut have many subgroups, which usually do not have schismatic origins, but came into being in a natural way, through the popularity of a (leader) monk
Bhikkhu
A Bhikkhu or Bhikṣu is an ordained male Buddhist monastic. A female monastic is called a Bhikkhuni Nepali: ). The life of Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis is governed by a set of rules called the patimokkha within the vinaya's framework of monastic discipline...

. Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism is the body of Buddhist religious doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet and certain regions of the Himalayas, including northern Nepal, Bhutan, and India . It is the state religion of Bhutan...

 has seen schisms in the past, of which most were healed, although the Drukpa school centred in Bhutan
Bhutan
Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China...

 perhaps remains in a state of schism (since 1616) from the other Tibetan schools. In recent years political manipulation from China has attempted to create further schisms among Tibetan Buddhists. But since the religious authority of the Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama is a high lama in the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The name is a combination of the Mongolian word далай meaning "Ocean" and the Tibetan word bla-ma meaning "teacher"...

 is uncertainly defined, schism in Tibetan Buddhism is hard to detect.

Christianity




The words schism and schismatic have found their heaviest usage in the history of Christianity
History of Christianity
The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion, its followers and the Church with its various denominations, from the first century to the present. Christianity was founded in the 1st century by the followers of Jesus of Nazareth who they believed to be the Christ or chosen one of God...

, to denote splits within a church or religious body. In this context, "schismatic", as a noun, denotes a person who creates or incites schism in a church or is a member of a splinter Church; as an adjective, "schismatic" refers to ideas and activities that are thought to lead to or to constitute schism, and so departure from what the user of the word considers to be the true Christian Church. These words have been used to denote both the phenomenon of Christian group splintering in general, and certain significant historical splits in particular.

Some religious groups make a distinction between heresy and schism. Heresy is rejection of a doctrine
Doctrine
Doctrine is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system...

 that a Church considered to be essential. Schism is a rejection of communion
Communion (Christian)
The term communion is derived from Latin communio . The corresponding term in Greek is κοινωνία, which is often translated as "fellowship". In Christianity, the basic meaning of the term communion is an especially close relationship of Christians, as individuals or as a Church, with God and with...

 with the authorities of a Church, and this term has historically been applied to such a break when there was no dispute about doctrine. But, when people withdraw from communion, two distinct ecclesiastical entities result, each of which then, in many cases, accuses the other of heresy.

In Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 canon law
Canon law (Catholic Church)
The canon law of the Catholic Church, is a fully developed legal system, with all the necessary elements: courts, lawyers, judges, a fully articulated legal code and principles of legal interpretation. It lacks the necessary binding force present in most modern day legal systems. The academic...

, an act of schism, like an act of apostasy
Apostasy
Apostasy , 'a defection or revolt', from ἀπό, apo, 'away, apart', στάσις, stasis, 'stand, 'standing') is the formal disaffiliation from or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. One who commits apostasy is known as an apostate. These terms have a pejorative implication in everyday...

 or heresy
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

, automatically brings the penalty of excommunication
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

. As stated in canon 1312 §1 1° of the Code of Canon Law, this penalty is intended to be medicinal, so as to lead to restoration of unity. Roman Catholic theology considers formal schismatics to be outside the Church, understanding by "formal schismatics" "persons who, knowing the true nature of the Church, have personally and deliberately committed the sin of schism". The situation, for instance, of those who have been brought up from childhood within a group not in full communion with Rome
Diocese of Rome
The Diocese of Rome is a diocese of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy. The bishop of Rome is the Pope, who is the Supreme Pontiff and leader of the Catholic Church...

, but who have orthodox faith, is different: these are considered to be imperfectly, though not fully, members of the Church. This nuanced view applies especially to the Churches of Eastern Christianity
Eastern Christianity
Eastern Christianity comprises the Christian traditions and churches that developed in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Northeastern Africa, India and parts of the Far East over several centuries of religious antiquity. The term is generally used in Western Christianity to...

, more particularly still to the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

.

The First Council of Nicaea
First Council of Nicaea
The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325...

 (A.D. 325) distinguished between schism and heresy. It declared Arian
Arian
Arian may refer to:* Arius, a Christian presbyter in the 3rd and 4th century* a given name in different cultures: Aria, Aryan or Arian...

 and non-Trinitarian teachings to be heretical and excluded their adherents from the Church. It also addressed the schism between Peter of Alexandria and Meletius of Lycopolis
Meletius of Lycopolis
Meletius was bishop of Lycopolis in Egypt. He is known to us mainly as the founder and namesake of the Melitians , one of several scismatic sects in early church history which were concerned about the ease with which lapsed Christians reentered the Church. See also DonatismThe details of his life...

, considering their quarrel to be a matter of discipline, not of faith.

The divisions that came to a head at the Councils of Ephesus (A.D. 431) and Chalcedon
Council of Chalcedon
The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451 AD, at Chalcedon , on the Asian side of the Bosporus. The council marked a significant turning point in the Christological debates that led to the separation of the church of the Eastern Roman Empire in the 5th...

 (A.D. 451) were seen as matters of heresy, not merely of schism. Thus, the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy is the faith of those Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the First Council of Ephesus. They rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon...

  consider each other to be heretical, not orthodox, because of the Oriental Orthodox Church's rejection and the Eastern Orthodox Church's acceptance of the Confession of Chalcedon about the two natures, human and divine, of Christ.

The Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

 (adopted by the First Council of Nicaea
First Council of Nicaea
The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325...

 in A.D. 325) declares belief in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Some who accept this creed believe they should be united in a single Church or group of Churches in communion with each other. Others who accept this creed believe it does not speak of a visible organization but of all those baptized who hold the Christian faith, referred to as Christendom
Christendom
Christendom, or the Christian world, has several meanings. In a cultural sense it refers to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity...

. Some churches consider themselves as the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. For instance, the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 claims that title and considers the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 to be in schism, while the Eastern Orthodox Church also claims that title and holds that the Catholic Church is schismatic and probably heretical. Some Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 Churches believe that they also represent the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and consider the Orthodox and Catholic Churches to be in error, while others do not expect a union of all Christian churches on earth. See also Great Apostasy
Great Apostasy
The Great Apostasy is a term used by some religious groups to describe a general fallen state of traditional Christianity, especially the Papacy, because it allowed the traditional Roman mysteries and deities of solar monism such as Mithras and Sol Invictus and idol worship back into the church,...

.

A current dispute with an acknowledged risk of schism for the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

 is that over homosexuality
Anglican views of homosexuality
Since the 1990s, the Anglican Communion has struggled with controversy regarding homosexuality in the church. In 1998, the 13th Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops passed a resolution stating that homosexual acts are "incompatible with Scripture". In 2002, the Diocese of New Westminster, in the...

.

It has been recently suggested that a section of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 might be heading for a schism. The potential breakaway church led by Father Rydzyk was named "The Rydzyk Church of Poland" http://www.masterpage.com.pl/outlook/200602/church-against-government.html, an ironic expression, or the "Toruń
Torun
Toruń is an ancient city in northern Poland, on the Vistula River. Its population is more than 205,934 as of June 2009. Toruń is one of the oldest cities in Poland. The medieval old town of Toruń is the birthplace of the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus....

-Catholic Church" (in Polish: kościół toruńsko-katolicki). In Poland the latter term is sometimes used to refer to the ideology
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

 of Father Rydzyk and his followers, who are known as the Radio Maryja Family.

Islam


After the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammed, there have arisen many Muslim sects by means of schools of thought, traditions and related faiths. According to a Hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

 report (collections of accounts of the life and teachings of Muhammed), Muhammed is said to have prophesied
Prophecy
Prophecy is a process in which one or more messages that have been communicated to a prophet are then communicated to others. Such messages typically involve divine inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of conditioned events to come as well as testimonies or repeated revelations that the...

 "My Ummah
Ummah
Ummah is an Arabic word meaning "community" or "nation." It is commonly used to mean either the collective nation of states, or the whole Arab world...

 (Community
Community
The term community has two distinct meanings:*a group of interacting people, possibly living in close proximity, and often refers to a group that shares some common values, and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household...

 or Nation
Nation
A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government irrespective of their ethnic make-up...

) will be fragmented into seventy-three sects, and all of them will be in the Hell
Hell
In many religious traditions, a hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations...

 fire
Fire
Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. Slower oxidative processes like rusting or digestion are not included by this definition....

 except one." The Sahaba
Sahaba
In Islam, the ' were the companions, disciples, scribes and family of the Islamic prophet...

 (his companions) asked him which group that would be, whereupon he replied, "It is the one to which I and my companions belong" (reported in Sunan al-Tirmidhi
Sunan al-Tirmidhi
Jāmi` al-Tirmidhi , popularly and mistakenly Sunan al-Tirmidhi , is one of the Sunni Six major Hadith collections. It was collected by Abu 'Eesa Muhammad ibn 'Eesa al-Tirmidhi.-Title:...

 Hadith No. 171).

However, the central text of Islam, the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, ordains that Muslims are not to be divided into divisions or sects but rather united under a common goal of faith in one God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 and acceptance of Muhammad as the prophet of Allah; failure to do has been deemed a sin by God and thus forbidden. The Qur'an also ordains that the followers of Islam need to "obey Allah and obey the Messenger (i.e., Prophet Muhammed)." The Qur'an stresses the importance of keeping the commandments mentioned in the Qur'an by Allah and following all the teachings of Muhammed, and labels everyone who concurs as a "Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

" and a part of the "best of communities brought forth from mankind".

Sunni
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s, often referred to as Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamā‘h or Ahl as-Sunnah, are the largest denomination
Islamic schools and branches
Muslims are basically divided in two major factions, Sunnis and Shias, that are further divided into various Schools of Jurisprudence and orders of Imamate. All other movements within such as Salafi, Modernists, the Mystical Sufi Orders, Deobandi and Barelvi are either Sunni or Shia or both...

 of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. The word Sunni comes from the word Sunnah
Sunnah
The word literally means a clear, well trodden, busy and plain surfaced road. In the discussion of the sources of religion, Sunnah denotes the practice of Prophet Muhammad that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar...

, which means the teachings and actions or examples of the Islamic prophet
Prophets of Islam
Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

, Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

; therefore, the term Sunni refers to those who follow or maintain the Sunnah of Muhammad. The Sunni believe that Muhammad died without appointing a successor to lead the Muslim ummah
Ummah
Ummah is an Arabic word meaning "community" or "nation." It is commonly used to mean either the collective nation of states, or the whole Arab world...

 (community). After an initial period of confusion, a group of his most prominent companions gathered and elected Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr was a senior companion and the father-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He ruled over the Rashidun Caliphate from 632-634 CE when he became the first Muslim Caliph following Muhammad's death...

, Muhammad's close friend and father-in-law, as the first Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

. Sunnis regard the first four caliphs - Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr was a senior companion and the father-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He ruled over the Rashidun Caliphate from 632-634 CE when he became the first Muslim Caliph following Muhammad's death...

, Umar
Umar
`Umar ibn al-Khattāb c. 2 November , was a leading companion and adviser to the Islamic prophet Muhammad who later became the second Muslim Caliph after Muhammad's death....

 (`Umar ibn al-Khattāb), Uthman Ibn Affan, and Ali
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

 (Ali ibn Abu Talib) - as the al-Khulafā’ur-Rāshidūn or "Rashidun
Rashidun
The Rightly Guided Caliphs or The Righteous Caliphs is a term used in Sunni Islam to refer to the first four Caliphs who established the Rashidun Caliphate. The concept of "Rightly Guided Caliphs" originated with the Abbasid Dynasty...

" (The Rightly Guided Caliphs). Sunnis believe that the position of Caliph may be democratically chosen, but after the first four Rightly Guided Caliphs the position turned into a hereditary dynastic
Dynasty
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers considered members of the same family. Historians traditionally consider many sovereign states' history within a framework of successive dynasties, e.g., China, Ancient Egypt and the Persian Empire...

 rule. There has not been another widely recognized Caliph since the fall of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in 1923.

Shia Islam is the second largest denomination
Islamic schools and branches
Muslims are basically divided in two major factions, Sunnis and Shias, that are further divided into various Schools of Jurisprudence and orders of Imamate. All other movements within such as Salafi, Modernists, the Mystical Sufi Orders, Deobandi and Barelvi are either Sunni or Shia or both...

 of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. Shi`a Muslims believe that, similar to the appointment of prophets, Imam
Imam
An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...

s after Muhammad are also chosen by God. According to Shi`as, Ali
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

 was chosen by Allah and thus appointed by Muhammad to be the direct successor and leader of the Muslim community. They regard him as the first Shia Imam, which continued as a hereditary position through Fatimah
Fatimah
Fatimah was a daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad from his first wife Khadijah bint Khuwaylid. She is regarded by Muslims as an exemplar for men and women. She remained at her father's side through the difficulties suffered by him at the hands of the Quraysh of Mecca...

 and Ali's descendants.

Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 is a mystical
Mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

-ascetic
Asceticism
Asceticism describes a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various sorts of worldly pleasures often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals...

 form of Islam practised by both Shia and Sunni Muslims. Some Sufi followers consider themselves Sunni or Shia, while others consider themselves as just Sufi or Sufi-influenced. Sufism is usually considered to be complementary to orthodox Islam, although Sufism has often been accused by the salafi of being an unjustified Bid‘ah or religious innovation. By focusing on the more spiritual aspects of religion, Sufis strive to obtain direct experience of God by making use of "intuitive and emotional faculties" that one must be trained to use. One starts with sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

 (Islamic law), the exoteric
Exoteric
Exoteric refers to knowledge that is outside of and independent from anyone's experience and can be ascertained by anyone. Compare Common sense. It is distinguished from internal esoteric knowledge. Exoteric relates to "external reality" as opposed to one's own thoughts or feelings. It is knowledge...

 or mundane practice of Islam, and then is initiated into the mystical (esoteric
Esotericism
Esotericism or Esoterism signifies the holding of esoteric opinions or beliefs, that is, ideas preserved or understood by a small group or those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest. The term derives from the Greek , a compound of : "within", thus "pertaining to the more inward",...

) path of a Tariqah
Tariqah
A tariqa is an Islamic religious order. In Sufism one starts with Islamic law, the exoteric or mundane practice of Islam and then is initiated onto the mystical path of a tariqa. Through spiritual practices and guidance of a tariqa the aspirant seeks ḥaqīqah - ultimate truth.-Meaning:A tariqa is a...

 (Sufi Order).

Kharijite
Kharijites
Kharijites is a general term embracing various Muslims who, while initially supporting the authority of the final Rashidun Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib, the son-in-law and cousin of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, then later rejected his leadership...

 (lit. "those who seceded") is a general term embracing a variety of Islamic sects which, while originally supporting the Caliphate of Ali
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

, eventually rejected his legitimacy after he negotiated with Mu'awiya
Muawiyah I
Muawiyah I was the first Caliph of the Umayyad Dynasty. After the conquest of Mecca by the Muslims, Muawiyah's family converted to Islam. Muawiyah is brother-in-law to Muhammad who married his sister Ramlah bint Abi-Sufyan in 1AH...

 during the 7th Century Islamic civil war (First Fitna
First Fitna
The First Islamic Civil War , also called the First Fitna , was the first major civil war within the Islamic Caliphate. It arose as a struggle over who had the legitimate right to become the ruling Caliph...

). Their complaint was that the Imam must be spiritually pure, whereas Ali's compromise with Mu'awiya was a compromise of his spiritual purity and therefore of his legitimacy as Imam or Caliph. While there are few remaining Kharijite or Kharijite-related groups, the term is sometimes used to denote Muslims who refuse to compromise with those with whom they disagree.

Judaism


Throughout the Jewish history
Jewish history
Jewish history is the history of the Jews, their religion and culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions and cultures. Since Jewish history is over 4000 years long and includes hundreds of different populations, any treatment can only be provided in broad strokes...

, Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 survived many schisms. Today, major Jewish denominations
Jewish denominations
Jewish religious movements , sometimes called "denominations" or "branches", include different groups which have developed among Jews from ancient times and especially in the modern era among Ashkenazi Jews living in anglophone countries...

 are Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 and non-Orthodox: Reform
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

, Conservative
Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism is a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s.Conservative Judaism has its roots in the school of thought known as Positive-Historical Judaism,...

 and Reconstructionist
Reconstructionist Judaism
Reconstructionist Judaism is a modern American-based Jewish movement based on the ideas of Mordecai Kaplan . The movement views Judaism as a progressively evolving civilization. It originated as a branch of Conservative Judaism, before it splintered...

.

Jewish

  • Samaritanism, c. 586BCE
  • The Council of Jamnia
    Council of Jamnia
    The Council of Jamnia or Council of Yavne is a hypothetical late 1st-century council at which it is postulated the canon of the Hebrew Bible was finalized....

    , c.90, decreed Nazarenes
    Nazarene (sect)
    The Nazarene sect is used in two contexts:* Firstly of the New Testament early church where in Acts 24:5 Paul is accused before Felix at Caesarea by Tertullus of being "a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes."...

     schismatic.

Islamic

  • The schism of the Shia and Sunni
    Succession to Muhammad
    The Succession to Muhammad concerns the various aspects of successorship of Muhammad after his death, comprising who might be considered as his successor to lead the Muslims, how that person should be elected, the conditions of legitimacy, and the role of successor...

    , c. 632
  • The schism of the Kharijites
    Kharijites
    Kharijites is a general term embracing various Muslims who, while initially supporting the authority of the final Rashidun Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib, the son-in-law and cousin of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, then later rejected his leadership...

    , late 7th century
  • The schism of the Mu'tazili
    Mu'tazili
    ' is an Islamic school of speculative theology that flourished in the cities of Basra and Baghdad, both in present-day Iraq, during the 8th–10th centuries. The adherents of the Mu'tazili school are best known for their having asserted that, because of the perfect unity and eternal nature of God,...

    tes, 8th century
  • The schism of the Mihna
    Mihna
    The Mihna refers to a test instituted by the Abassid Caliph al-Ma'mun in 218 AH/833 AD, in which religious scholars were required to answer whether or not the Qu'ran was a created text. Those who answered in the affirmative were retained; those who answered in the negative were dismissed...

    , c. 833
  • The schism of Ahmadiyya
    Ahmadiyya
    Ahmadiyya is an Islamic religious revivalist movement founded in India near the end of the 19th century, originating with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad , who claimed to have fulfilled the prophecies about the world reformer of the end times, who was to herald the Eschaton as...

    , 19th century
  • The schism of Zikri
    Zikri
    The Zikris are a branch of Islam settled in Balochistan region of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. They are followers of Imam e Akhar Zama . The name Zikri comes from the Arabic word dhikr . The Zikri sect developed within Sunni Hanafi during the 18th century Mahdi movement as a reaction to British...

    , c. 1500
  • The Moorish Science Temple of America
    Moorish Science Temple of America
    The Moorish Science Temple of America is an American organization founded in the early 20th century by Timothy Drew. He claimed it was a sect of Islam but he also drew inspiration from Buddhism, Christianity, Freemasonry, Gnosticism and Taoism....

    , c. 1913
  • The Nation of Islam
    Nation of Islam
    The Nation of Islam is a mainly African-American new religious movement founded in Detroit, Michigan by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in July 1930 to improve the spiritual, mental, social, and economic condition of African-Americans in the United States of America. The movement teaches black pride and...

    , c. 1930
  • The United Submitters International
    United Submitters International
    United Submitters International is a reformist moderate Islamic religious community, following the teachings of Rashad Khalifa who is regarded in this faith as God's messenger of the Covenant, who claims to be prophesied in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Quran. Majority of Muslims...

    , c. mid-20th century

Christian



  • The schism of Marcionism
    Marcionism
    Marcionism was an Early Christian dualist belief system that originated in the teachings of Marcion of Sinope at Rome around the year 144; see also Christianity in the 2nd century....

    , c.150
  • The schism of Gnosticism
    Gnosticism
    Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

    , which some attribute to Valentinius, c. 150, others much earlier
  • The schism of Montanism
    Montanism
    Montanism was an early Christian movement of the late 2nd century, later referred to by the name of its founder, Montanus, but originally known by its adherents as the New Prophecy...

  • The schism of Monarchianism
    Monarchianism
    Monarchianism is a set of beliefs that emphasize God as being one person. The term was given to Christians who upheld the "monarchy" of God against the Logos theology of Justin Martyr and apologists who had spoken of Jesus as a second divine person begotten by God the Father before the creation of...

    , c. 200
  • The many Antipope
    Antipope
    An antipope is a person who opposes a legitimately elected or sitting Pope and makes a significantly accepted competing claim to be the Pope, the Bishop of Rome and leader of the Roman Catholic Church. At times between the 3rd and mid-15th century, antipopes were typically those supported by a...

    s, beginning with Hippolytus (writer)
    Hippolytus (writer)
    Hippolytus of Rome was the most important 3rd-century theologian in the Christian Church in Rome, where he was probably born. Photios I of Constantinople describes him in his Bibliotheca Hippolytus of Rome (170 – 235) was the most important 3rd-century theologian in the Christian Church in Rome,...

     in 217 though Hippolytus later reconciled.
  • The Donatist
    Donatist
    Donatism was a Christian sect within the Roman province of Africa that flourished in the fourth and fifth centuries. It had its roots in the social pressures among the long-established Christian community of Roman North Africa , during the persecutions of Christians under Diocletian...

     schism, beginning in 311
  • The schism with Arianism
    Arianism
    Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

     and Quartodecimanism
    Quartodecimanism
    Quartodecimanism refers to the custom of some early Christians celebrating Passover beginning with the eve of the 14th day of Nisan , which at dusk is Biblically the "Lord's passover".The modern Jewish Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread is seven days, starting with the sunset at...

     at the First Council of Nicaea
    First Council of Nicaea
    The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325...

    , 325
  • The Nestorian Schism
    Nestorian Schism
    The Nestorian Schism was the split between the Orthodox Church and churches affiliated with Nestorian doctrine in the 5th century. The schism rose out of a Christological dispute, the key figures in which were Cyril of Alexandria and Nestorius...

    , after the First Council of Ephesus in 431, between Western Christianity
    Western Christianity
    Western Christianity is a term used to include the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and groups historically derivative thereof, including the churches of the Anglican and Protestant traditions, which share common attributes that can be traced back to their medieval heritage...

     and Nestorianism
    Nestorianism
    Nestorianism is a Christological doctrine advanced by Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople from 428–431. The doctrine, which was informed by Nestorius's studies under Theodore of Mopsuestia at the School of Antioch, emphasizes the disunion between the human and divine natures of Jesus...

  • The Oriental Orthodox schism and rejection of the Council of Chalcedon
    Council of Chalcedon
    The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451 AD, at Chalcedon , on the Asian side of the Bosporus. The council marked a significant turning point in the Christological debates that led to the separation of the church of the Eastern Roman Empire in the 5th...

    , c. 451
  • The Acacian schism
    Acacian schism
    The Acacian schism between the Eastern and Western Christian Churches lasted thirty-five years, from 484-519. It resulted from a drift in the leaders of Eastern Christianity toward Monophysitism, and Emperor Zeno's unsuccessful attempt to reconcile the parties with the Henotikon.-Chronology:In the...

    , 484-519
  • The schism of the Armenian Orthodox, 491
  • Two Fourth Councils of Constantinople, one Catholic (869-870) and one Orthodox (879-880)
  • The Cadaver Synod
    Cadaver Synod
    The Cadaver Synod is the name commonly given to the posthumous ecclesiastical trial of Catholic Pope Formosus, held in the Basilica of St...

     of 897
  • The Great Schism
    East–West Schism
    The East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively...

     of 1054
  • Lollardy
    Lollardy
    Lollardy was a political and religious movement that existed from the mid-14th century to the English Reformation. The term "Lollard" refers to the followers of John Wycliffe, a prominent theologian who was dismissed from the University of Oxford in 1381 for criticism of the Church, especially his...

     in the 1350s
  • Three Popes at the same time: Roman Pope Gregory XII
    Pope Gregory XII
    Pope Gregory XII , born Angelo Correr or Corraro, Pope from 1406 to 1415, succeeded Pope Innocent VII on 30 November 1406....

    , Avignon Pope Benedict XIII, Pisan Pope John XXIII
    Antipope John XXIII
    Baldassarre Cossa was Pope John XXIII during the Western Schism. The Catholic Church regards him as an antipope.-Biography:...

    , resolved at Council of Constance
    Council of Constance
    The Council of Constance is the 15th ecumenical council recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, held from 1414 to 1418. The council ended the Three-Popes Controversy, by deposing or accepting the resignation of the remaining Papal claimants and electing Pope Martin V.The Council also condemned and...

    , see also Western Schism
    Western Schism
    The Western Schism or Papal Schism was a split within the Catholic Church from 1378 to 1417. Two men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope. Driven by politics rather than any theological disagreement, the schism was ended by the Council of Constance . The simultaneous claims to the papal chair...

    , 1378–1417
  • The Swiss Reformation
    Reformation in Switzerland
    The Protestant Reformation in Switzerland was promoted initially by Huldrych Zwingli, who gained the support of the magistrate and population of Zürich in the 1520s. It led to significant changes in civil life and state matters in Zürich and spread to several other cantons of the Old Swiss...

     beginning in 1516
  • The Protestant Reformation
    Protestant Reformation
    The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

     beginning in 1517
  • Anabaptist
    Anabaptist
    Anabaptists are Protestant Christians of the Radical Reformation of 16th-century Europe, and their direct descendants, particularly the Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites....

    , c. 1525
  • The English Reformation
    English Reformation
    The English Reformation was the series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church....

     beginning in 1529
  • Michael Servetus
    Michael Servetus
    Michael Servetus was a Spanish theologian, physician, cartographer, and humanist. He was the first European to correctly describe the function of pulmonary circulation...

     burned at the stake
    Burned at the Stake
    Burned at the Stake is a 1981 film directed by Bert I. Gordon. It stars Susan Swift and Albert Salmi.-Cast:*Susan Swift as Loreen Graham / Ann Putnam*Albert Salmi as Captaiin Billingham*Guy Stockwell as Dr. Grossinger*Tisha Sterling as Karen Graham...

     in 1553, considered founder of Unitarianism
    Unitarianism
    Unitarianism is a Christian theological movement, named for its understanding of God as one person, in direct contrast to Trinitarianism which defines God as three persons coexisting consubstantially as one in being....

  • The Scottish Reformation
    Scots Confession
    The Scots Confession is a Confession of Faith written in 1560 by six leaders of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland. The Confession was the first Subordinate Standard for the Protestant church in Scotland....

     in 1560
  • The Dutch Reformation
    Dutch Reformed Church
    The Dutch Reformed Church was a Reformed Christian denomination in the Netherlands. It existed from the 1570s to 2004, the year it merged with the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands to form the Protestant Church in the...

     in 1571
  • Socinianism
    Socinianism
    Socinianism is a system of Christian doctrine named for Fausto Sozzini , which was developed among the Polish Brethren in the Minor Reformed Church of Poland during the 15th and 16th centuries and embraced also by the Unitarian Church of Transylvania during the same period...

     in 1605
  • The Jansenism
    Jansenism
    Jansenism was a Christian theological movement, primarily in France, that emphasized original sin, human depravity, the necessity of divine grace, and predestination. The movement originated from the posthumously published work of the Dutch theologian Cornelius Otto Jansen, who died in 1638...

     schism of 1643
  • See Old Believers
    Old Believers
    In the context of Russian Orthodox church history, the Old Believers separated after 1666 from the official Russian Orthodox Church as a protest against church reforms introduced by Patriarch Nikon between 1652–66...

     and Raskol
    Raskol
    Raskol |schism]]') was the event of splitting of the Russian Orthodox Church into an official church and the Old Believers movement in mid-17th century, triggered by the reforms of Patriarch Nikon in 1653, aiming to establish uniformity between the Greek and Russian church practices.-The Raskol:...

     for schism within the Russian Orthodox Church
    Russian Orthodox Church
    The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

     in 1666
  • The Old School-New School Controversy
    Old School-New School Controversy
    The Old School-New School Controversy was a schism of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America which began in 1837. Later, both the Old School and New School branches further split over the issue of slavery, into southern and northern churches...

     in the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America
    Presbyterian Church in the United States of America
    The Presbyterian Church in the United States of America was a Presbyterian denomination in the United States. It was organized in 1789 under the leadership of John Witherspoon in the wake of the American Revolution and existed until 1958 when it merged with the United Presbyterian Church of North...

     in 1837
  • Disruption of 1843
    Disruption of 1843
    The Disruption of 1843 was a schism within the established Church of Scotland, in which 450 ministers of the Church broke away, over the issue of the Church's relationship with the State, to form the Free Church of Scotland...

  • American Restorationism beginning in the 1850s
  • Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland
    Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland
    The Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland is the Swiss member church of the Union of Utrecht, also known as Old Catholic Church, originally founded by the jansenists, with a later influx of discontented Catholics following their disappointment with the First Vatican Council. It has 14,000...

     rejects First Vatican Council
    First Vatican Council
    The First Vatican Council was convoked by Pope Pius IX on 29 June 1868, after a period of planning and preparation that began on 6 December 1864. This twentieth ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church, held three centuries after the Council of Trent, opened on 8 December 1869 and adjourned...

     doctrine of Papal Infallibility
    Papal infallibility
    Papal infallibility is a dogma of the Catholic Church which states that, by action of the Holy Spirit, the Pope is preserved from even the possibility of error when in his official capacity he solemnly declares or promulgates to the universal Church a dogmatic teaching on faith or morals...

    , see also Old Catholic Church
    Old Catholic Church
    The term Old Catholic Church is commonly used to describe a number of Ultrajectine Christian churches that originated with groups that split from the Roman Catholic Church over certain doctrines, most importantly that of Papal Infallibility...

    , 1868
  • The Sedevacantism
    Sedevacantism
    Sedevacantism is the position held by a minority of Traditionalist Catholics who hold that the present occupant of the papal see is not truly Pope and that, for lack of a valid Pope, the see has been vacant since the death of either Pope Pius XII in 1958 or Pope John XXIII in 1963.Sedevacantists...

     schism of 1958
  • The Crotty Schism
    Crotty Schism
    The Crotty Schism took place in the early 19th century, when Father Michael Crotty and his cousin, Father William Crotty, broke away from the Catholic Church to form their own church in Birr, County Offaly, Ireland....

     in Birr
    Birr
    Birr is a town in County Offaly, Ireland. Once called Parsonstown, after the Parsons family who were local landowners and hereditary Earls of Rosse. It is also a parish in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Killaloe....

    , Co Offaly, Ireland
    Ireland
    Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

  • The schism between the Anglican Communion
    Anglican Communion
    The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

     and the Continuing Anglican movement
    Continuing Anglican Movement
    The term Continuing Anglican movement refers to a number of churches in various countries that have been formed outside of the Anglican Communion. These churches generally believe that "traditional" forms of Anglican faith and worship have been unacceptably revised or abandoned within some...

    in 1977

External links