The following book is a must read by anyone who is interested in understanding how the Shi'ah-Sunnah-Split has occurred and developed to what it is today:
After The Prophet
If you are fond of the writings of Karen Armstrong, as the writer of this essay, you will love the style of writing of Lesley Hazelton.
I have just finished reading " After The Prophet " and I must say that I have enjoyed every minute and hour I had spent in reading it, because of the style in which the book was written. Although most of the historical events in the book have been known to me, I could not stop reading the book because I felt like reading an interesting and fascinating novel.
Lesley Hazelton has divided her outstanding book, " After The Prophet " into the following three parts:
Part One: Muhammad.
Part Two: Ali.
Part Three: Hussein.
The content of each part, of the three parts cited above, is profoundly touching in the style of writing and fascinating in the historical events that had taken place in the way Hazelton had presented them
The book has made it clear, in meticulous details, that the reason for the split has been fundamentally political since day one, as Prophet Muhammad had fallen ill and was obvious he was about to die.
The political nature of the split had to do with the fact that The Prophet did not name a successor of his to be Caliph after his death, although he thought very highly of his son-in-law, Ali bin Abi Talib. It seems to me that The Prophet had refrained from naming a successor of his to be Caliph, after his death, was to avoid a possible Fitna; and he wanted to leave it to a Shura amongst his closest companions, including Abu Bakr Al-Sidiq, Omar ibn Al-Khatab, and Uthman ibn Affan, in addion to Ali and others.
I must admit that by the time I finished reading the book I have developed a sense of compassion to what had happened to Ali and his Son, Hussein, and at the same time I had developed a sense of rejection towards Muawiya bin Abi-Sufian who stole the Caliphate to himself by sheer political tricks after political tricks, through his wealth and operatives like Amr, the conqueror and governor of Egypt.
Muawiya bin Abi-Sufian was the founder and the First Caliph of the Umayad dynasty that ruled the Arab Empire from Damascus, Syria instead of Medina in ancient Arabia.
The book, "After The Prophet " is now available in soft cover and its price is quite reasonable. I paid twelve American dollars ( $ 12 ), plus the cost of shipping to my home address. The total cost did not exceed fifteen U.S. dollars. I ordered it from Barnes & Noble book store. Buy it, if you can afford it and enjoy reading it. If not, try your local library and check it out and read it. If your local library does not have it, I just do not know what to tell you to help you out. Tough Luck.