How Many Branches Of Islam Are There? (Perfect answer)

A disagreement over succession after Mohammed’s death in 632 split Muslims into Islam’s two main sects, Sunni and Shia.

What are the two largest branches in Islam?

  • The two main branches of Islam are Sunni and Shi’a. Together they constitute more than 99% of all Muslims. Roughly speaking, Sunnis constitute between 85 and 90 per cent of the world’s Muslims, with another 10-15% being Shi’a.

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How many branches does Islam have?

Though the two main sects within Islam, Sunni and Shia, agree on most of the fundamental beliefs and practices of Islam, a bitter split between the two goes back some 14 centuries. The divide originated with a dispute over who should succeed the Prophet Muhammad as leader of the Islamic faith he introduced.

What are all the branches of Islam?

As with all other world religions, Islam is represented by several major branches: Sunni, Shi’a, Ibadi, Ahmadiyya, and Sufism. These branches started to develop after Muhammad’s death when people began to disagree on the successor of the religion.

What are the 3 main sects of Islam?

Muslims Adhere to Different Islamic Sects

  • Sunni Muslims include 84%–90% of all Muslims.
  • Shi`ite Muslims comprise 10%–16% of all Muslims.
  • Sufis are Islamic mystics.
  • Baha’is and Ahmadiyyas are 19th-century offshoots of Shi`ite and Sunni Islam, respectively.

How many types of Islam are there in the world?

Denominations. Islam is divided into two major denominations, Sunni and Shi’a. Of the total Muslim population, 87–90% are Sunni and 10–13% are Shi’a. Most Shi’as (between 68% and 80%) live in mainly four countries: Iran, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, and Iraq.

What is the Sunni branch of Islam?

Sunni, Arabic Sunnī, member of one of the two major branches of Islam, the branch that consists of the majority of that religion’s adherents. Sunni Muslims regard their denomination as the mainstream and traditionalist branch of Islam —as distinguished from the minority denomination, the Shiʿah.

Who is the founder of Islam?

The rise of Islam is intrinsically linked with the Prophet Muhammad, believed by Muslims to be the last in a long line of prophets that includes Moses and Jesus.

What’s difference between Shia and Sunni?

Those who followed the Prophet’s closest companion (Abu Bakr) became known as Sunni (the followers of the Prophet’s example – Sunnah). Those who followed the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law (‘Ali) became known as Shi’a (the followers of the Party of ‘Ali – Shi’atu Ali).

Are Shias allowed in Mecca?

Both Sunni and Shia Muslims share the same five pillars of Islam, the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, Ramadan, the prayer, Chahada, and Zakat. However, Saudia Arabia has forbidden Shia Muslims to perform the sacred Hajj pilgrimage. If individuals refused to identify, they were not allowed in Mecca.

What is the oldest religion?

The word Hindu is an exonym, and while Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, many practitioners refer to their religion as Sanātana Dharma (Sanskrit: सनातन धर्म, lit.

What are the 2 main types of Islam?

A disagreement over succession after Mohammed’s death in 632 split Muslims into Islam’s two main sects, Sunni and Shia.

Is Turkey Shia or Sunni?

Most Muslims in Turkey are Sunnis forming about 80.5%, and Shia-Aleviler (Alevis, Ja’faris, Alawites) denominations in total form about 16.5% of the Muslim population. Among Shia Muslim presence in Turkey there is a small but considerable minority of Muslims with Ismaili heritage and affiliation.

How many convert to Islam every year?

According to The Huffington Post, “observers estimate that as many as 20,000 Americans convert to Islam annually.”, most of them are women and African-Americans. experts say that conversions to Islam have doubled in the past 25 years in France, among the six million Muslims in France, about 100,000 are converts.

Is Turkey an Islamic country?

Turkey is a secular country with a majority Muslim population. There are no formal statistics on the population’s religious affiliation. The Turkish Constitution officially recognises Sunni Islam, Christianity (some Catholic and Orthodox sects) and Judaism.

Who is the most powerful Islamic country?

Top 10 Countries with the Most Muslims – 2021:

  • Indonesia – 231,000,000.
  • Pakistan – 212,300,000.
  • India – 200,000,000.
  • Bangladesh – 153,700,000.
  • Nigeria – 95,000,000–103,000,000.
  • Egypt – 85,000,000–90,000,000.
  • Iran – 82,500,000.
  • Turkey – 74,432,725.

The Major Branches Of Islam

In Sudan, a Sufi Ritual is performed. Sufis are classified as belonging to a mystical Islamic dimension. The Islam religion has more than 2 billion adherents all across the world. The religion itself has been around for about 1,300 years. Practicing Muslims believe that Islam started around 610 CE, when the final prophet, Muhammad, began receiving revelations from God, according to the Quran and other sources. These revelations were written down in the Qur’an by followers of the faith. Islam, like all other global faiths, is divided into various major branches: Sunni, Shi’a, Ibadi, Ahmadiyya, and Sufism, to name a few examples.

Despite their differences, the main denominations all hold some fundamental ideas in common, such as monotheism, sacred scriptures, and so on.

The Major Denominations Of Islam

Approximately 89-90 percent of all Muslims belong to the Sunni branch of Islam, which is by far the largest of the religion’s denominations. In the Middle East, they are found in vast numbers throughout the region, with the highest populations in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. After several years and much argument, Sunni followers came to the conclusion that Muhammad had not designated a specific successor. Abu Bakr Siddique was chosen by his followers after a long period of time and much disagreement This guy was one of Muhammad’s in-laws as well as a close companion of the Prophet.

Islam’s Sunnis believe that the Qur’an applies to all aspects of life and that individuals can approach God personally, with the expectation that he would appear to them on the Day of Judgement.

Shi’a

They believe that Muhammad did pick a successor, Ali ibn Abi Talib, who was also his son-in-law, and that he was chosen by Allah. Shi’a believers also have Imams, who are more central characters and community leaders than other religious leaders since they are the ideal incarnation of God on the earth. More than anything else, this branch is concerned with the individual’s relationship with God, as opposed to the cleric’s interpretation of the Qur’an. Humans will not see God on Judgement Day, according to the Shi’a, in contrast to the Sunni faith.

The vast majority, on the other hand, appears to be concentrated in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan.

Ibadi

Ibadi Islam is a branch of Islam that is less well-known. This sect predates both Sunni and Shi’a Islam and is believed to be a highly orthodox branch of the religion. They have the same belief as the Shi’a, which is that God will not appear on the Day of Judgment. In contrast to Sunni and Shi’a beliefs, the Ibadi believe that the Muslim community may rule itself without the need for a single leader to guide it.

Ibadi also varies in that they do not believe that the Muslim monarch must be a descendent of Muhammad’s tribe, the Quraysh, as does the majority of the Muslim population. The Ibadi ethnic group constitutes 75% of the population of Oman.

Ahmadiyya

This denomination was created more recently than the preceding one. Those who follow the Ahmadiyya religion do not believe Muhammad to be the last prophet. Its origins may be traced back to the teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908), who served as their prophet. His adherents think he was divinely anointed to be the re-inventor of Islamic civilization. They have beliefs that are identical to those of Sunni Muslims, and they likewise consider the Qur’an as their sacred book. Indonesia, South Asia, and West and East Africa have the highest concentrations of Ahmadiyya Muslims, followed by India.

Sufism

In comparison to the previous denomination, this is a newer one. Muhammad is not considered to be the last prophet by Ahmadiyya adherents. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908), their prophet, is credited with founding the movement. They think he was divinely anointed to be the re-inventor and revitalizer of Islam. Comparable to Sunni Muslims, they regard the Qur’an as their sacred book and have similar views to those of Shi’a Muslims. Indonesia, South Asia, and West and East Africa have the highest concentrations of Ahmadiyya believers.

Strength Of Beliefs

Although not a complete list of the various branches of Islam, the denominations listed above are among the most well-known of them. Islam is a centuries-old religion that is also one of the largest in the world, with a complex set of beliefs and customs. Islamists believe that the objective of human life is to live and thank God in order to one day win admittance into Paradise, regardless of which sect they belong to.

Major Branches Of Islam – Similarities And Differences

Rank Major Branches Of Islam Estimated Global Adherents
1 Sunni 1.39 billion
2 Shi’a 200 million
3 Ahmadiyya 15 million
4 Ibadi 3 million
5 Sufism Widely Disputed

Islam’s Sunni-Shia Divide, Explained

Despite the fact that the two largest factions within Islam, Sunni and Shia, agree on the majority of Islam’s essential principles and practices, a severe division exists between the two that dates back more than 14 centuries. In the beginning, there was a disagreement about who should follow the Prophet Muhammad as head of the Islamic faith that was introduced by the Prophet Muhammad. According to a recent estimate by the Council on Foreign Relations, around 85 percent of the approximately 1.6 billion Muslims across the world are Sunni, with only 15 percent belonging to the Shia faith.

Despite their differences, Sunni and Shia Muslims have coexisted in relative peace for the most of history, despite their disagreements.

The Aftermath of Muhammad’s Death

The origins of the Sunni-Shia division may be traced all the way back to the seventh century, just after the death of the prophet Muhammad in A.D. 632, when the two groups first met. While the majority of Muhammad’s supporters felt that his successor should be chosen by the other prominent members of the Islamic community, a tiny fraction believed that only someone from Muhammad’s family—specifically, his cousin and son-in-law, Ali—should be chosen to replace him. This group became known as Ali’s followers, or in Arabic, the Shiat Ali, or just Shia, as a result of their religious beliefs.

Ali finally rose to become the fourth caliph (or Imam, as Shiites refer to their religious leaders), but only after the two caliphs who came before him were both slain.

Not only was the control of Muhammad’s religious and political heritage at danger, but also a substantial sum of money in the form of taxes and tributes collected from the different tribes that had gathered under the banner of Islam, which was at stake as well.

Within a century after Muhammad’s death, his followers had established an empire that spanned from Central Asia all the way down to southern Europe. The Battle of Karbala took place in Iraq. Fine Art Photographs/Heritage Photographs/Getty Images

Battle of Karbala and Its Lasting Significance

A group of 72 followers and family members marched from Mecca to Karbala (present-day Iraq) in 681 to face the corrupt caliph Yazid of the Ummayad dynasty, who was ruling the country at the time. Upon their arrival, a vast Sunni army awaited them, and at the conclusion of a ten-day standoff that included several minor battles, Hussein had been murdered and beheaded, and his head had been sent to Damascus as a tribute to the Sunni caliph. Hussein’s death, as well as the deaths of all surviving members of Muhammad’s family, at Karbala was “clearly intended by the Ummayads to put an end to all claims to leadership of the ummah based on direct descent from Muhammad,” writes Hazleton of the Ummayads’ intention to put an end to all claims to leadership based on direct descent from Muhammad.

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He was killed in Karbala, and his martyrdom at Karbala became the primary tale of Shia tradition, and it is honored every year on the Shia calendar on Ashoura, which is the most serious day.

The Sunni-Shia Divide Into the 21st Century

Apart from Karbala, the NPR podcastThroughline highlighted three major turning points in Islamic history that will exacerbate Sunni-Shia divides by the end of the twentieth century. Following the establishment of Iran’s Safavid dynasty in the 16th century, which (by force) changed the country from a Sunni hub to a Shi’a bastion in the Middle East, followed the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century. It was in the early twentieth century that the victorious Allies partitioned the region formerly controlled by the former Ottoman Empire during World War I, tearing apart centuries-old religious and ethnic groups in the process.

Sectarian tensions grew in the early twenty-first century as Islam became increasingly politicized and fundamentalists on both sides of the divide rose in popularity.

Sunni-Shia differences would fuel a long-running civil war in Syria, as well as warfare in Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, and other places, as well as terrorist attacks on both sides.

Despite the fact that the Sunni-Shia division has persisted for millennia, the fact that the two sects have coexisted in relative harmony for many centuries implies that their conflicts may have less to do with religion and more to do with money and power.

Branches of Islam

  • 1. The Sunnis (also known as “traditionalists”)
  • Sunnis constitute 85 percent of the Muslim population. Islamic orthodoxy and tradition, as established by Muhammad and the four “rightly led caliphs,” are revered by Sunnis, who believe themselves to be their custodians. The Qur’an and Hadith are the primary sources of religious and legal authority. As a result of the use of analogy (qiyas) and consensus (ijma’) to settle difficulties that were not expressly specified in the Qur’an and Hadith, legal experts played a significant part in the determination of consensus and the drawing of analogies. Individual and community life should be directed by Islamic law, according to adherents of the Sharia. There are four different schools of interpretation:
  1. It is favored by the Hanifite school of thought to utilize logical judgment in selecting what is best for the common welfare (and is most popular in Iraq, Pakistan, India, and Central Asia). To find the correct way, the Malikite looks first for consensus and then for analogy (this school of thought is particularly prevalent in North Africa, Egypt, and eastern Arabia). Shafi’ite- accepts the authority of the Hadith and downplays the importance of reason (most influential in Indonesia)
  2. Sufi-ite- accepts the authority of the Hadith and downplays the importance of reason
  3. Sufi-ite- accepts the authority of the Hadith and downplays the importance of reason Hanbalites are a reaction against the reliance on ‘opinion’ in other schools
  4. They maintain that the Qur’an is the supreme authority and that only the Hadith is accepted as also authoritative (the dominant school in Saudi Arabia)
  5. They are a reaction against the reliance on ‘opinion’ in other schools
  • 2.The Shi’ites (also known as “partisans”)
  • Shi’ites began as a political dispute over the leadership of Islam
  • They considered Ali (a cousin of Muhammad) to be the first legitimate successor to Muhammad – “Shia Ali” (the party of Ali)
  • They considered Ali to be the first legitimate successor to Muhammad
  • And they considered Ali to be the first legitimate successor to Muhammad. Shi’ites believe that revelation ceased with Muhammad and the Qur’an, but they also believe that there is a lineage of imams who have been bestowed with supernatural powers to interpret the Sharia. Theimams’ teachings are thought to be infallible
  • Shi’ites are referred to as “Seveners” because they believe that a succession of sevenimams followed the martyrdom of Husayn (Ali’s youngest son)
  • Shi’ites have traditionally believed in the existence of aMahdi -a messiah figure who will one day appear and restore the purity of the faith
  • Shi’ites have traditionally believed in the existence of aMahdi -a messiah figure who will one day appear and restore the Shi’ite Muslims recreate the martyrdom of Husayn throughout the month of Muharran
  • Shi’ites despise the conventional Sunni reading and interpretation of the Qur’an, which they consider to be corrupt. (It is speculated that the current edition of the Quran, which does not designate Ali as Muhammad’s successor, was tampered with by Muhammad’s opponents.) As a result, the Qur’an must have hidden meanings that can only be discovered via metaphorical interpretations)
  • Ayatollah (Arabic for “sign of Allah”): one who is considered to be so righteous and steeped in the true faith that he can make independent judgments that carry the authority of the imam
  • Shi’ites are the ruling majority in modern Iran
  • An influential minority in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Pakistan, and Iraq
  • A minority in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Pakistan, and Iraq
  • The Sufis (mystics) are the third group. As a sign of poverty and the rejection of earthly pleasures, the wordufime (which means “woolen”) alludes to the coarse wool clothing worn by early Muslim mystics as a symbol of poverty and rejection of worldly pleasures. According to Sufis, their origins may be traced back to the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran. In their view, older Islam was more concerned with actual spiritual things, as opposed to the more materialistic interests of Islam when it had evolved to become a world power in the later centuries. Al-Hallaj announced, “I am the truth,” and was condemned to death in 922 because he was deemed a heretic. al-Ghazali: a professor of theology who attempted to bring together the legalistic and mystical schools of Islam
  • He prescribed Sufism as a remedy for spiritual ills, but he also believed that mystics were still bound by the ritual obligations of the orthodox faith
  • He was born in Baghdad and died in Cairo. 4. The Nation of Islam (sometimes referred to as “Black Muslims”)
  • Wallace Fard, who announced a revelation for African Americans in 1930, claiming that their redemption would come via self-knowledge, which would allow them to regain a feeling of their own history, founded the organization in Detroit in 1930. After Fard’s unexplained disappearance in 1934, Elijah Muhammad took over as Fard’s successor
  • Elijah Muhammad preached that Fard was an embodiment of Allah and pushed his fellow blacks to withdraw from white society and to establish their own institutions
  • Elijah Muhammad died in 1936. Christianity is viewed negatively as a religion of Western culture, and followers adhere to a strict lifestyle that includes five daily prayers, no intoxicants or tobacco, a pure diet, and no illicit sex. Traditional teachings include distrust of Western materialistic culture, the belief that humanity was originally black, and that the white race was created by a black scientist named Yakub who had rebelled against Allah, Christianity is also viewed negatively as a religion of Western culture. Elijah’s son, Wallace D. Muhammad, and Malxolm X both made efforts to bring the Nation of Islam more in line with traditional Islam (e.g., “The World Community of al-Islam in the West”)
  • Malxolm X was the first to make such an endeavor.

SECTS IN ISLAM

Despite the fact that Islam is divided into numerous sects, all Muslims adhere to the idea of Tawhid (belief in a single God, Allah), believe in the Quran, and adhere to the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him). ​

SUNNI ISLAM

Despite the fact that Islam is divided into many sects, all Muslims adhere to the idea of Tawhid (belief in a single God, Allah), believe in the Quran, and adhere to the teachings of Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him). ​

SHI’ISM AND ITS SUB-DIVISIONS

It is believed that the name ‘Shi’ism’ comes from the Arabic phrase’shi’at ‘Ali,’ which literally translates as ‘the party of Ali.’ Several Shi’ite scholars argue that Ali, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuhson-in-law )’s and cousin, should have been elected caliph following the Prophet’s (pbuh) death. The Shiat adhere to the notion of Imamate, who is described as “the divinely inspired, religious and political head of the society;” one who is without sin and who bestows real knowledge on humanity, which is another key distinction.

  • The great majority of Shi’ites are twelvers, or adherents of the branch known as ‘Ithna Ashari,’ who comprise the bulk of the population.
  • Shi’a thinking is divided into several schools of thought, the most important of which being the Ja’faryia, which was formed by Ja’far al-Sadiq, the 6th Shia Imam.
  • They all allude to the number of divine imams who were recognized after the Prophet Muhammad’s death, and they are all capitalized (pbuh).
  • The three primary holidays observed by Shi’a Muslims are Eid al-Adha, Eid al-Fitr, and Ashura (the Day of the Dead).

ISMAILIS OR ‘SEVENERS’

Ismailis, also known as the ‘Seveners,’ are Shi’a Muslims who developed in 765 as a result of a debate over who should succeed Ja’far al-Sadiq as the sixth imam. Some Muslims think that Ismail, the eldest son of Imam Ja’far, was the legitimate ruler of the whole Muslim community. Ismailis believe that after the sixth Imam Ja’far went away, his eldest son, Ismail, received the authority to govern, and therefore became the seventh Imam of the Islamic faith. These beliefs are in contrast to those held by the twelvers, who believe that the imamate was passed on to Musa al-Kazaim, Ismail’s brother.

Mawlana Hazar, referred to as ‘His Highness the Aga Khan 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia’ Imami Ismaili Muslims,’ is believed to be a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad and is the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia’ Imami Ismaili Muslims (pbuh).

Ismaili leaders that are well-known include Ubaydulla, who claimed to be a direct descendant of Fatima and Ali.

“One of its most enduring landmarks was its religious center, the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo,” which has continued to serve as an epicenter of Islamic instruction to the present day, according to the Associated Press.

The Bohras, the Nizaris, and the Druze are some of the other groups that make up the Ismaili community. ​

ZAYDIYYAH OR ‘FIVERS’

Shi’a Muslims known as Ismailis (also known as the “Seveners”) formed in 765 following a controversy over who should succeed Ja’far al-Sadiq as the sixth imam. Some Muslims think that Ismail, the eldest son of Imam Ja’far, was the legitimate ruler of the whole Muslim population. It is believed by Ismailis that after the sixth Imam Ja’far went away, his eldest son, Ismail, received the authority to govern, and therefore became the seventh Imam. These beliefs are in contrast to those held by the twelvers, who believe that the imamate was handed on to Musa al-Kazaim, Ismail’s younger brother.

  1. It is thought that Mawlana Hazar, known as ‘His Highness the Aga Khan 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia’ Imami Ismaili Muslims,’ is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.
  2. (pbuh).
  3. In addition to Ubaydulla, who claimed to be a descendant of Fatima and Ali, there are other well-known Ismaili leaders.
  4. Its religious center, the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, was described as “one of its most lasting monuments,” and it continues to be an epicenter of Islamic instruction to this day.

Sunnis and Shia: Islam’s ancient schism

AP is the source of the image. Caption for the image The pilgrimage to Mecca is one of many rites that both religions practice, and it is one of the most important. The schism that exists between Sunnis and Shias is the greatest and most ancient in Islamic history. Historically, members of the two religions have lived side by side for centuries and have a number of core beliefs and practices in common. However, there are significant differences in philosophy, ritual, law, theology, and religious organization.

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Many recent conflicts, ranging from Lebanon and Syria to Iraq and Pakistan, have emphasized the sectarian difference, driving families and communities apart.

Who are the Sunnis?

It is estimated that Sunnis constitute between 85 percent and 90 percent of the world’s more than 1.5 billion Muslims. Sunnis constitute 90 percent or more of the populations of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, respectively, in the Middle East. Getty Images is the source of this image. Caption: Egypt is home to a number of Sunni Muslims. The earliest centers of study in Islam Sunnis consider themselves to be the religiously orthodox branch of Islam. The term “Sunni” comes from the Arabic word “Ahl al-Sunnah,” which translates as “People of the Tradition.” Specifically, the term “tradition” refers to actions that are founded on what the Prophet Muhammad said or did or agreed to or condemned.

Shia are also directed by the wisdom of Muhammad’s descendants, who are represented by Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law and cousin. There are four schools of legal thinking that regulate Sunni living, and each of these attempts to bring the Sunnah to its fullest practical implementation.

Who are the Shia?

Shia Muslims account for around 10% of the world’s Muslim population, with a global population estimated to be between 154 and 200 million people. AP is the source of the image. Caption for the image The deaths of Ali, Hassan, and Hussein paved the way for the development of the Shia notion of martyrdom. Shia Muslims constitute the majority of the population in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Azerbaijan, and, according to some estimates, Yemen. Shia Muslims are also the majority in Syria. Afghanistan, India, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are also home to significant Shia populations.

  • Ali was killed in 661 at the end of a five-year caliphate that had been beset by internal conflict.
  • While Hassan is supposed to have died from poisoning in 680 at the hands of Muawiyah, the first caliph of the Sunni Umayyad dynasty, Hussein is believed to have been murdered by the Umayyads on the battlefield in 681.
  • There are three major sects of Shia Islam practiced today: the Zaidis, the Ismailis, and the Ithna Asharis (or Ithna Asharis) (Twelvers or Imamis).
  • In 878, the 12th Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, is reported to have vanished from a cave beneath a mosque, according to legend.

What role has sectarianism played in recent crises?

Shia Muslims are disproportionately represented among the weakest elements of society in nations where Sunnis have ruled. They frequently believe that they are the victims of prejudice and injustice. Sunni radicals routinely decry Shia as heretics who should be put to death, and they have a point. AFP is the source of this image. Caption for the image The killing by Saudi Arabia of a famous Shia cleric sparked a diplomatic crisis with Iran, which has since been resolved. A hardline Shia Islamist agenda was initiated by the Iranian revolution of 1979, which was viewed as posing a threat to traditional Sunni countries, notably those in the Persian Gulf.

Many of the battles taking place in the region today have significant sectarian undertones.

While this is happening, Sunni jihadist organizations, especially the Islamic State (IS), have been targeting Shia and their sites of worship in Syria and its neighboring country of Iraq.

Anger erupted across the Middle East in January 2016 following the death by Saudi Arabia of a prominent Shia cleric who had supported widespread anti-government rallies. The murder sparked a diplomatic crisis with Iran as well as protests across the region.

More on this story

Home PhilosophyReligion Beliefs in a Higher Power IslamOther possible titles: Ahl al-Sunnah, Sunna, Sunnism, Sunnite are all terms used to refer to the Sunni religion. Sunni Islam and Arabic Members of one of the two major branches of Islam, namely the branch that has the vast majority of the religion’s believers, are referred to as Sunnis. Sunni Muslims consider their denomination to be the dominant and conservative branch of Islam, as opposed to the Shiah, which they consider to be the minority religion.

  • While the Shiah have always seen Muhammad’s government in Medina as an earthly, temporal dominion, the Sunnis have long regarded Islam’s leadership as being governed not by divine order or inspiration, but rather by the prevailing political circumstances in the Muslim world.
  • Thus, a majority of Sunni jurists developed the stance that the caliph must come from Muhammad’s tribe, the Quraysh, while also devising a theory of election that was flexible enough to allow loyalty to be offered to the de facto caliph, regardless of his ethnic origins.
  • Britannica QuizIslam What is your level of knowledge about the Prophet Muhammad?
  • With this quiz, you may see how well you know about Islam.
  • It was the institution of consensus (ijm) that the Sunnis developed that allowed them to integrate a wide range of practices and traditions that originated through regular historical development but that had no antecedents in the Qur’an.
  • The Sunnis also recognize as orthodox four schools of Islamic law: the anaf, the anbal, the Mlik, and the Shfi.

They totaled around 900 million people in the early twenty-first century and formed the vast majority of all Muslims worldwide. Those in charge of editing the Encyclopaedia Britannica Adam Zeidan was the author of the most recent revision and update to this article.

The mystery of 73 sects

THE HADITH given to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), according to which his ummah will be divided into 73 factions, but only one would be saved, has been one of the most lasting issues of Muslim sectarian polemics for centuries. All Muslim sects are quick to proclaim that their sect is the’saved one’ (naji), and that the ‘others’ are doomed to eternal damnation. If we were to follow the usual line of logic, this hadith would split the Muslim ummah into two groups: those who have been rescued and those who have been condemned to hell.

  • In recent years, however, there has been a movement toward seeing this hadith in a more objective light, moving beyond sectarian interpretations.
  • Attempts have been made in recent years to decipher the context of this hadith and to evaluate its ramifications for today’s society.
  • The hadith can be found in a variety of different variants as well.
  • Frequently, it was assumed that 72 sects would be condemned and one group would be rescued in this manner.
  • According to Roy Mottahedeh (Diversity and Pluralism in Islam), Muqaddasi (a 10th-century geographer) claims that “72 sects are in paradise and one sect is in hell, according to what he believes to be a more reliable line of transmission (isnad)”.

Some, according to Mottahedeh, have questioned the authenticity of this tradition, claiming that if by 72 they mean the fundamentals of religious belief (usul), then they do not reach this number; however, if by 72 they mean the practices (furu), then the number exceeds this number by several multiples, according to Razi (d.

  • The second interpretation of this hadith holds that the number 73 is not meant literally, but rather is a relative and metaphorical number that has been determined because of the context in which it appears.
  • According to the author, “70 meant ‘a significant number,’ and 70-odd meant ‘a significant number and then more,’ which is rather obvious.
  • Another liberal signal towards God’s recompense may be inferred in this case, as is the case in the previous instance.
  • Two well-known figures, al-Baghdadi (d.
  • 1153), provide contrasting descriptions of the sectarian numbers and their origins in their respective works.
  • Great Muslim poet Hafiz (d.
  • According to Mottahedeh, Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi believes that the “deeper religion is the trans-religious wonder of God’s love,” in a similar vein to Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi.
  • 72) and takes the soul beyond the realm of existence.
  • Contrary to popular belief, truth cannot be limited or constrained by disputes between societies.

This point is reinforced by Abdul Aziz Sachedina in his remarkable book The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism, which demystifies the mystery of different religions and sects, as well as how Islam views this diversity, in order to demonstrate the importance of religious diversity in democratic pluralism.

  1. Today, there is a growing worldwide movement to learn from and appreciate the plurality of faiths in a variety of ways, which is a positive development.
  2. We must see Muslim diversity with respect, humility, responsibility, and joy rather than through the lens of sectarianism, as we have done in the past.
  3. Everyone is on the lookout for the truth.
  4. if thy Lord had willed, everyone who are on the world would have believed together.” Would you (Muhammad PBUH) compel people to become believers till they are?

“He has brought uncleanness upon people who are without of comprehension” (10:99-100). The author is a history and culture professor at a private institution in Pakistan, where he specializes in Muslim societies.

FACTBOX: Islam has different branches around the world

DAKAR, Senegal (Reuters) – The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) will convene in Dakar, Senegal, on March 13-14. The OIC is a group of 57 countries. Below is a factbox containing information on some of the numerous branches of Islam that are practiced throughout the Islamic world.

SUNNI ISLAM

Sunnis, one of Islam’s two major denominations, account for around 85 percent of the world’s roughly 1.5 billion Muslims, making them the largest religious group on the planet. In addition to the Koran, they place a strong emphasis on the Sunna, the example established by the Prophet Mohammad and his companions, as documented in the hadith, an oral history collection that was written down many years after the events that it describes. They think that Mohammad’s first four caliphs were rightful heirs to his position as prophet.

  1. Exceptions were the Fatimid Caliphate, which existed 1,000 years ago, and Iran, which existed from the 16th century onwards, both of which were Shi’ite.
  2. Hanafi is the most well-known of these schools.
  3. People who belong to different schools are rarely hostile toward their counterparts who belong to other schools.
  4. In the Arabian Peninsula in the 18th century, the Wahhabi movement originated and is now actively pushed by the Saudi rulers.
  5. It stands in stark contrast to several African and Asian expressions of Islam, which have adapted to local religious practices and customs, respectively.

SHI’ITE ISLAM

It is estimated that Shi’ites account for up to 15 percent of the world’s Muslims, with the majority of its adherents concentrated mostly in Iran and Iraq, as well as sections of Lebanon, Turkey, and Afghanistan. Shi’ism arose as a result of a political disagreement over who should rule the Muslim community following the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632 AD. In the opinion of the Shi’ites, Ali Ibn Abi Taleb, Mohammad’s cousin and son-in-law, was his legitimate heir and should have taken over soon after him.

It is also believed by some that Ali’s immediate descendants, known as the imams, should have taken over as rulers following his death.

When it comes to the standing of Ali and other personalities in early Islamic history, their hadith collections diverge, particularly when the issue is Ali.

A substantial number of Shi’ites belong to the Twelvers, who believe there have been 12 divinely appointed imams throughout history and who account for more than three-quarters of the total.

Twelvers believe that their final imam, Muhammad ibn Hassan, did not die but rather went into “occultation” in the 9th century and will return as the Mahdi to redeem the world at some point in the future. The Ismailis, the Seveners, and the Zaidis are among the other branches of Islam.

SUFISM

Sufism, which is not a religious sect, is concerned with the mystical aspects of Islam and the quest to know God via meditation and passion. Sufis can be either Sunni or Shi’ite, and their rituals might include chanting, singing, dance, and meditation, among other things. A large number of Sufi organizations may be found in West Africa and Sudan, and they are viewed with suspicion by the more doctrinally rigorous branches of Islam in the Middle East. In West Africa, the majority of Muslims emphasize the need of a spiritual advisor, known as a marabout, which is considered an Africanization of Islam.

They are the most widely practiced Sufi order in West Africa, with significant followings in Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Gambia, among other countries.

SHARIA LAW

Sharia, or “the path”, is a body of religious law based mainly on the Koran and the sayings of Mohammad. Full Islamic criminal law – the code which can involve decapitation and which many non-Muslims think of when they hear the word sharia – is applied in few countries, notably Saudi Arabia. Most states limit the use of sharia to “personal law” on issues such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and child custody. Indonesia, with more than 200 million Muslims, is the world’s largest Islamic state but uses sharia only in the western province of Aceh.

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Pakistan, the second largest Muslim state, also has a split between civil and penal codes from the British colonial period.

Dozens of women convicted of adultery and sentenced to stoning to death have been freed.

Understanding the branches of Islam: Sunni Islam

All Muslims adhere to a set of core beliefs and practices that are universally recognized. In any case, leadership disagreements within the Muslim community have resulted in the emergence of several branches, which has resulted in the development of diverse religious identities within Islam. As the greatest branch of Islam, Sunni Islam accounts for 87 to 90% of the world’s Muslim population, according to the United Nations Development Programme. The word ahl al-sunna wa-l-jama’a (‘people of the prophetic tradition and the community’) is derived from the term ahl al-sunna wa-l-jama’a (‘people of the prophetic tradition and the community’).

In contrast to Shiites and Khawarij, it arose among Muslims who believed that Ali was Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, and that he had been chosen as Muhammad’s sole legal successor.

This briefing provides a high-level review of the particular characteristics of Sunni Islam, as well as its major institutions and holy sites, as well as the major trends in Sunni Islam today.

(June 2015).

Understanding the branches of Islam

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While the Islamic faith is based on a number of fundamental beliefs and practices that are shared by all Muslims, leadership disputes within the Muslim community have resulted in the formation of different branches, which has resulted in the development of distinct religious identities within Islam over the course of history.

In spite of the numerous theological and cultural ties that they have in common, they differ from one another in their interpretations of various parts of their faith, their perspectives on Islamic history, and their notions of leadership.

This Briefing on’Understanding the Branches of Islam’is available in PDF format.

Related publications

  • In February 2016, I published a paper titled Sunni Islam: An Introduction to the Religion of Peace. Understanding the different branches of Islam: Shia Islam, January 2016
  • Understanding the different branches of Islam: Sunni Islam, January 2016
  • The condition of relations between Islam and the state in June of this year
  • Understanding Sharia, May 2015
  • Understanding Islam, May 2015
  • Understanding Islam, May 2015.

Visuals

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The Ahmadiyya branch is included on the list, despite the fact that its affiliation with Islam is strongly opposed by many Muslims.” data-medium-file=” ssl=1″ data-large-file=” ssl=1″ src=” data-large-file=” ssl=1″ data-medium-file=” ssl=1″ “is-pending-load=1 038;h=227 ssl=1 is-pending-load=1 038;h=227 ssl=1 “the dimensions are 390 by 227 px.

data-original-width=”535″ data-original-height=”204″ itemprop=” top ten countries with the greatest Muslim populations” title=”Top ten countries with the largest Muslim populations” alt=”The top ten nations with the highest Muslim populations” alt=”The top ten countries with the largest Muslim populations” data-lazy-src = data-lazy-src “is-pending-load=1 038;h=204;ssl=1 is-pending-load=1 038;h=204;ssl=1 is-pending-load=1 038;h=204 is-pending-load=1 038;h=204 is-pending-load=1 038;h=204 is-pending-load=1 038;h=204 is-pending-load=1 038;h=204 ” srcset=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAP/yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7/yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7/yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7/yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7/yH5BA “The top ten nations with the biggest Muslim populations are shown below.

The world’s Muslim population is presently projected to be 1.57 billion adherents, with the vast majority residing in the Asia-Pacific area, the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa, according to current estimates.” data-medium-file=” ssl=1″ data-large-file=” ssl=1″ src=” data-large-file=” ssl=1″ data-medium-file=” ssl=1″ “is-pending-load=1 038;h=204;ssl=1 is-pending-load=1 038;h=204;ssl=1 is-pending-load=1 038;h=204 is-pending-load=1 038;h=204 is-pending-load=1 038;h=204 is-pending-load=1 038;h=204 is-pending-load=1 038;h=204 “width=”277″ height=”204″ width=”277″ height=”204″ data-original-width=”277″ data-original-height=”204″ itemprop=”” data-original-height=”204″” title=”Muslim population across the world” alt=”Muslim population around the world” srcset=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAP/yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7″ data-lazy-src=” is-pending-load=1 038;h=204 ssl=1″ srcset=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAP/yH JavaScript is required to see this slideshow.

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Muslims

1.6 billion Muslims live on the planet, accounting for 23 percent of the world’s population. Sunni Islam and Shia Islam are the two primary sects of Islam, respectively. Sunnis constitute an overwhelming majority (87-90 percent) of Muslims, with Shia Muslims accounting for around 10-13 percent of the population. The majority of Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific area, where they account for six out of ten (62 percent) of the world’s Muslim population. The Middle East and North Africa (20 percent) as well as sub-Saharan Africa are also home to a large number of Muslims (16 percent ).

  1. Despite the fact that Asia and the Pacific are home to the vast majority of the world’s Muslims, just roughly one-in-four persons (24 percent) in that region identify as Muslims.
  2. Muslims account for around three-in-ten persons in Sub-Saharan Africa, six percent of those who reside in Europe, one percent of North Americans, and fewer than one percent of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the United Nations Development Programme.
  3. Indonesia (13 percent) has the highest concentration, followed by India (11 percent), Pakistan (11 percent), Bangladesh (8 percent), Nigeria (5 percent), Egypt (5 percent), Iran (5 percent), Turkey (5 percent), Algeria (2 percent), and Morocco (2 percent) (2 percent ).
  4. These nations are home to over three-quarters of the world’s Muslims (73 percent).

Median Age

Muslims are, on average, younger than the rest of the world’s population (median age of 23), according to worldwide statistics (median age of 28). Muslims are the youngest in sub-Saharan Africa (median age of 17), followed by Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa (median age of 23), Muslims in Asia and the Pacific (median age of 24), Muslims in North America (26) and Muslims in Europe (median age of 26). (32). Muslims are younger than the general population in each of the major regions for which data is available: North America (Muslims 26 years; general population 37 years), Europe (32 years; general population 40 years), Asia and the Pacific (24 years; general population 29 years), sub-Saharan Africa (17 years; general population 18 years), and the Middle East and North Africa (17 years; general population 18 years) (2 3 vs.

24).

(return to the textual content) 9 India and Pakistan both have Muslim populations that are nearly comparable in size, and it is not totally apparent which country has the bigger population.

The difference between the rankings in this report and those in previous reports is primarily due to a downward revision by the United Nations Population Division of its estimate of the size of Pakistan’s total population and an upward revision by the United Nations Population Division of its estimate of the size of India’s total population, both of which were made by the United Nations Population Division.

More information can be found in the discussion section of theMethodology. (return to the textual content)

What’s the difference between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims?

Having a clear understanding of the distinctions between the two most populous branches of Islam is vital for understanding many geopolitical crises in the Middle East as well as communal problems within diasporic groups in the Western world. Kim Knott and Matthew Francis provide some perspective for a couple of the most important concerns. A warning of the perils of sectarian strife is provided all too frequently by the savage and catastrophic cycle of bloodshed that has engulfed Iraq between Sunni and Shi’a factions.

Although there are some differences between Sunni and Shi’a groups, they share a great deal more in common than they do in terms of beliefs and practices.

In most cases, when war has erupted, it has been owing to a power imbalance or geopolitical dispute (such as that between Iran and Saudi Arabia) rather than an ideological difference between the parties involved.

According to the United Nations, Shi’a Muslims account for roughly 10% (approximately 162 million) of the world’s Muslim population and constitute a majority in five countries: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Lebanon, Iran, and Iraq.

Similarities

Both groups hold the same fundamental Islamic principles and practices, which include the following:

  • In the Qur’an – All Muslim sects, including Shi’a and Sunni Muslims, recognize the importance of the Qur’an as the ultimate source of guidance
  • There is no validity to the claims that Shi’a Muslims utilize an impure version of the book
  • Islam draws on Hadith – Shi’a and Sunni Muslims both rely on Hadith, however they tend to favor different sets of sayings
  • The Five Pillars of Islam – Both groups acknowledge the five pillars of Islam (Shahada, the declaration that “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is His messenger.”
  • The belief that “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is His messenger.”
  • The belief that “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is His messenger.”) Salah (prayer)
  • Zakat (charitable giving)
  • Sawm (fasting during the month of Ramadan)
  • Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca)
  • Etc.

Shi’ism should not be considered a later branch of Sunni Islam; the two only came to be in their current forms in the ninth century CE, following the death of the last Shi’a Imam and the completion of the collection of the Prophet’s sayings (Hadith). These two schools of thought are regarded orthodox, and Al-Azhar University in Cairo (the world’s oldest Muslim university as well as a Sunni institution) incorporates them both into its curricula. Sunni and Shi’a Muslims have coexisted amicably in many regions of the world, and in some cases, they have even intermarried.

Differences

The most significant ideological disagreement concerns matters of religious authority and the leadership of all Muslims in the aftermath of the Prophet’s death, respectively. Following the Prophet’s closest friend (Abu Bakr), those who were known as Sunni (followers of the Prophet’s example – Sunnah) came to be known as Shia. Following the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law (‘Ali), those who followed him were known as Shi’a (the adherents of the Party of Ali, also known as Shi’atu Ali). Rather than following the Prophet’s example, Sunnis place emphasis on the genealogy of Muhammad’s family, which is traced through a succession of Imams.

Iran’s Islamic Revolution resulted in the establishment of a Shi’a theocracy, which has subsequently backed Shi’as in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, in addition to Hezbollah (Lebanon), Hamas (Gaza), and Bashar al-dictatorship Assad’s in Syria.

Similar to this, the fundamental relationship between Wahhabism and Saudi Arabia’s ruling family has resulted in the marginalization of Shi’a movements in the country, while Shi’a communities in Iraq have been exposed to terrible bloodshed at the hands of the Sunni extremist group ISIS.

In 2013, a march in the United Kingdom organised by the Sunni preacher Anjem Choudary contained banners proclaiming that Shi’a were the enemies of Allah, according to the demonstrators.

It is important to note, however, that Wahhabist influence has also resulted in more entrenched differences within Sunni Islam as well.

Also, it is useful in gaining a better understanding of conflicts between groups not just in the Middle East, but also in the West.

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