This fatwa acknowledges the principal distinctions between Sunni and Shi'a Islam:
- Shi'a Islam rejects hadith not narrated by the Prophet's family (Ahlu Bait), while Sunni Islam (Ahlu Sunnah wal Jama'ah) does not differentiate between hadith provided that those hadith meet the criteria of the classification of hadith (mustalah hadis);
- Shi'a Islam perceives imams as infallible (ma 'sum), while Sunni Islam does not;
- Shi'a Islam does not acknowledge consensus (ijma') without the presence of an imam, while Sunni Islam does;
- Shi'a Islam believes that political leadership/government is included in the pillars of religion, while Sunni Islam believes in general welfare with the aim of religious, spiritual, political leadership being to guarantee and protect the proselytisation and interests of the Islamic people (umat); and
- Shi'a Islam, in general, does not acknowledge the succession of Abu Bakar as-Siddiq, Umar Ibnul Khatab, and Usman bin Affan, while Sunni Islam does.
Acknowledging these principal differences, especially with regard to government (imamah), the Indonesian Council of Ulama implores Indonesian Muslims to understand Sunni Islam in order to increase their own vigilence towards the flow of interpretations based on Shi'a Islam.