The majority of Muslims agree on the authenticity of the hadiths reported by both al-Bukhari and Muslim. This commenced in the first era of Islam, especially after the golden era of tadwin (compiling and writing down the hadiths) in the third and fourth centuries after Hijrah. They consider their two Sahihs the most reliable and authenticated sources of hadith.
Though having confidence in their authenticity, Muslim scholars pursue a scientific methodology and scrupulous verification when quoting them. It is reported that some Hadith scholars had criticized a few sahih or sound hadiths. Others, moreover, differed among themselves if certain hadiths mentioned in the two Sahihs adequately met the conditions stipulated by al-Bukhari and Muslim. Their discussion, however, did not reach the level of weakening the hadiths reported therein.
The Muslim methodology of reviewing, verifying, and checking the minute details (e.g. the orthography and the vocalization of the text, the reliability of the narrators, etc) indicates that the science of Hadith matured to a stage not witnessed by other civilizations. As evidence of this, one thousand years ago, the Muslim library had biographies of at least 100,000 Hadith narrators. These biographies helped identify the reliability of a certain narrator. Also the voluminous works of that science is still within our reach, helping us sort out the good, the sound, and the weak among the hadiths of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
As for the Shiite sect, it first emerged showing love, affection and loyalty to the rightly guided Imam `Ali ibn Abi Talib. This warm feeling towards Imam `Ali is shared by all Muslims, and not just the Shiite Muslims. Actually, it is incumbent upon all Muslims to love and honor Imam `Ali.
Through the course of time, some Shiite trends overstated the status of Imam `Ali and made him superior to Abu Bakr As-Siddiq and `Umar ibn al-Khattab (the first and second rightly guided Muslim Caliphs). This led to a contention between them and the rest of the Muslims. Some Shiite trends continued on their own way and deviated from the general line of Muslim thought. A number of juridical and theological differences were adopted. They rejected the authenticity of the famous Sunnah compilations (e.g. the two Sahihs of al-Bukhari and Muslim), although their imams, such as Imam Ja`far As-Sadiq, Imam ar-Radi, Imam Zayd and others of the Prophet’s house, were identical in their theological beliefs and in the way they were practicing their religion to the majority of Muslims.
We agree that the Shiites perform their prayers differently from the familiar way of the Sunnis. This is due to the Shiite rejection of the hadiths that have been authenticated by the Muslim Ummah for a long time.
However, it should be clear that their way of prayer does not nullify their belief nor take them out of the fold of Islam. Their attitude is just a reflection of how they perceive or understand the issue.
So, all in all, we all Sunnis and Shiites belong to the one and the same entity—the Muslim Ummah.
We invoke Allah the Almighty to guide our Ummah to the right path.