The Shi`i century roughly corresponds to the period between 945 and 1500 C.E. Muslims stretched their territories from Asia all the way to al-Andalusia in Europe (Ullmann 8). This is an era that saw the end of Muslim influence that had prevailed for nearly two centuries. But despite this being the overall feeling, this historical episode did not necessarily translate to the direct decline of the ideas of the Muslim community. The economic and political changes at the time resulted in Shi`i uprising, increasing their intellectual influence. This uprising was fueled by a want to see their foundation built upon the loyalty of Jami’i-sunni scholars that were responsible for the exclusion of the minor trends. They also wanted, even after the passing of the Shi`i century, to continue to be a minority within the realm of the Islam’s community. During this time, the Shi’is were able to rise against their minority status to such an extent that they could provide both financial support and military leadership for many people at the time.
The Muslims were now controlling, Syria, Egypt and Al-Hijaz. They still succeeded to extend their influence from North Africa all the way up to India. Those Areas were completely under the influence of the Shi’ites. This happened primarily because of the decline of the authority of the Sunni political and religious authorities which was in a way a decline that came by in the absence of specialized class that could have ended up gaining the support of many people at the time. Shi’ism thus found a gap and begun to influence the Sunni world again by using the medium of Sufism. Sufism had many dealings as well as connections with Shi’sm. By the middle of the fourth century, the Shi’ists had great political influence in almost all the areas that their influence could reach. Great portions of the Muslims territories were under the control of the Shi`ism dynasties in one way or another.
Shi'ism impacted the Muslim community in a number of ways. First of all, they believed that the divine law of Islam, also known as shari’ah, was set to remain valid up to the Day of Judgment and could never be altered in any way. Thus, any Muslim government can never, at any point, refuse to completely carry out the shari’ah injunctions as required. Thus, they influenced all Islamic governments to be making their decisions upon the consultation with the limitations set by the Shari’ah.
Shi'ism also resulted in new social and economic forces that saw uneven distribution of the public property among the Islamic people; an act that led to bloody struggles among the Muslims later on. Shi’ism also led to division in the Muslim community over the political question as to who should succeed Prophet Muhammad in leading the umma of Muslims. One of the group believed that the succession should go to Muhammad’s family while the other group believed that it was time they have an elected leader for that position. The shi’ist believed in the twelve Imams as respected leaders while the Sunnis saw this act as being against the teaching of the doctrines. This led to a lot of quarrels that saw a division in the Muslim community.
The Sunnis now had the upper hand through their rulers and prevailing conditions at the time. Believers of Shi’ism were effectively prosecuted without mercy. This sent the message that the end of Shi’ism had come and any believer of Shi’sm will either convert or meet their death. With the Shi’ites losing their religious freedom, their influence slowly began to fade to a point that had no voice anymore. The best they could do was watch from a far and do nothing about the situation. As a result, the Sunnis regained their religion and political dynasty as the Shi’ism movement came to an end.
Azzam, Abdel Rahman. "Sources of the Sunni Revival: Nizam u‐Mulk & the Nizamiyya: An 11th Century response to Sectarianism." The Muslim World 106.1 (2016): 97-108. Web. 31 Mar. 2016.
Ullmann, Walter. The Origins Of The Great Schism. [Hamden, Conn.]: Archon Books, 1967. Print.