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Both groups see the family of Muhammad (the Ahl al-Bayt) as divinely chosen, infallible (ismah), and guided by God to lead the Islamic community (Ummah), a belief that distinguishes them from the majority Sunni branch of Islam.After the death of Muhammad ibn Isma'il in the 8th century CE, the teachings of Ismailism further transformed into the belief system as it is known today, with an explicit concentration on the deeper, esoteric meaning (batin) of the Islamic religion.This respect for Muharram does not include self-flagellation and beating because they feel that harming one's body is harming a gift from Allah.

In the first century after the Prophet, the term sunnah was not specifically defined as "Sunnah of the Prophet" but was used in connection to Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, Uthman, and some Umayyad Caliphs.

Both parties could rightfully defend their claims, but due to escalated misunderstandings, the Battle of the Camel was fought and Aisha was defeated but was respectfully escorted to Medina by Ali.

Following this battle, Muawiya, the Umayyad governor of Syria, also staged a revolt under the same pretences.

The idea of "Hadith" or traditions ascribed to the Prophet was not mainstream nor was Hadith criticism. Anas and Abu Hanifa employ many methods including analogical reasoning and opinion and do not rely exclusively on hadith.

Only in the 2nd century does the Sunni jurist al-Shafi‘i first argue that only the Sunnah of the Prophet should be a source of law and that this Sunnah is embodied in Hadiths.