Saba Rasheed Ali
In order to understand the tacit psychological assumptions and world view of Sunni Muslims or Islam from a Sunni perspective, one has to have a basic understanding of the religion of Islam and its unique history. Muslims were not always divided into the two main sects of Sunni and Shiite; this division occurred in the mid-7th century after the death of Prophet Muhammad (the last and most well known prophet of Islam). This chapter attempts to provide the reader with an overview of Islam, including the major tenets, as well as the similarities among Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, and focus on the events that preceded Muslims before the emergence of the Sunni and Shiite sects. Much of the information contained in these sections is religious principle and historical information common to both Shiite and Sunni Muslims.
Next, this chapter provides a brief introduction to the historical divisions and ideological differences between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. The preceding sections allow the reader to better comprehend the psychology of Sunni Muslims, including information on epistemological tools used to determine Sunni ways of knowing, views of personality and normal or abnormal development, psychological health, and human change processes. The last two sections discuss how common moral and clinical issues are viewed and approached by Sunni Muslims.
In order to provide a better understanding of Islam and Muslims, one must first understand the terminology used in Islam. For example, the word Islam itself comes from the Arabic root word salaam (peace), and