‘Religious significance’ considers the contrasting views of Islamists and Modernists. How they clash on how to read early Islamic history — literally (Islamists), or each episode within its historical context (Modernists) — demonstrates how important history and its details are to Sunni Muslims. Most Muslims fall somewhere between the two groups and follow the sunna as it has been interpreted by authoritative scholars over the centuries. Shiism has also been shaped by history, but in different ways. From the 9th to late 18th centuries, Twelver Shiites tended towards quietism while other pursued political power in the name of living imams. Practices unique to Shiite Islam — Ta‘ziya passion-plays and martyrdom operations — are discussed.