How Many Sects Of Islam? (Correct 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 names of the two major sects of Islam?

  • In Islam, there are two main sects: Sunni and Shi’a. Sunni Islam is the largest sect, although in some countries it is a minority. Sunnis have their historical roots in the majority group who followed Abu Bakr, an effective leader, as the successor of Muhammad, instead of his cousin and son-in-law Ali.

How many Islamic sects are there?

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 the 73 sects Islam?

Sectarian divisions

  • Sunnī Islam.
  • Shiʿa Islam.
  • Kharijite Islam.
  • Murijite Islam.
  • Muʿtazila Islam.
  • Sunnī
  • Shiʿa.
  • Ibadi.

Are there 72 sects in Islam?

The most frequently cited hadith regarding the 73 divisions of the Muslim faith is reported as: the Jews are divided into 71 sects (firqa), the Christians into 72 sects, and my community will divide into 73 sects (Ibn Majah, Abu Daud, al-Tirmidhi and al-Nisa’i). The hadith also occurs in many other versions as well.

What are the 5 sects of Islam?

As with all other world religions, Islam is represented by several major branches: Sunni, Shi’a, Ibadi, Ahmadiyya, and Sufism.

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.

Is Pakistan Sunni or Shia?

Almost all of the people of Pakistan are Muslims or at least follow Islamic traditions, and Islamic ideals and practices suffuse virtually all parts of Pakistani life. Most Pakistanis belong to the Sunni sect, the major branch of Islam. There are also significant numbers of Shiʿi Muslims.

What is Shia Sunni?

After the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in 632, a group of Muslims, who would come to be known as the Sunnis, believed that Muhammad’s successor should be Abu Bakr whereas a second group of Muslims, who would come to be known as the Shia, believed that his successor should have been Ali.

Is barelvi Sunni?

Barelvi (Urdu: بَریلوِی, Barēlwī, Urdu pronunciation: [bəreːlʋi]) is a Sunni revivalist movement following the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, with over 200 million followers in South Asia.

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.

Do Sunnis believe in the 12 imams?

The Sunni Muslims do not place any human being, including the Twelve Shiite Imams, on a level equal to or even close to the prophets. The Sunni view is that nowhere in the Koran is it mentioned that the twelve Shiite Imams are divinely ordained to lead Muslims after the death of Muhammad.

Do Shias have a different Quran?

The Shia view of the Qur’an differs from the Sunni view, but the majority of both groups believe that the text is identical. While some Shia disputed the canonical validity of the Uthmanic codex, the Shia Imams always rejected the idea of alteration of Qur’an’s text.

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.

Who is founder of Islam?

The Prophet Muhammad and the Origins 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 is difference between Sunni and Shiite?

The main difference between Sunni and Shiite Muslims is their belief surrounding who should have succeeded the Prophet Muhammad in 632 AD. Historically, Sunni Muslims believed that Abu Bakr was the rightful successor, while Shiite, or Shia, Muslims thought it should have been Ali ibn Abi Talib.


On December 21, 2014, it was published. The Middle East and Europe Office of the Common Global Ministries has prepared a basic introduction to the subject. With so much focus on the Middle East these days, and suspicions that Osama bin Laden is behind terrorist attacks in the United States, it’s a good idea to refresh your memory on some fundamental facts about Islam. The Middle East and Europe Office of the Common Global Ministries has prepared a basic introduction to the subject. With so much focus on the Middle East these days, and suspicions that Osama bin Laden is behind terrorist attacks in the United States, it’s a good idea to refresh your memory on some fundamental facts about Islam.

Those who “submit” to God’s will are referred to as Muslims, or adherents of Islam.

A collection of “recitations” of Allah (or God) that the prophet Muhammad received directly from Allah (or God), the Quran is considered to be Islam’s sacred book (c.

The Prophet Muhammad is not regarded as a co-equal with God, but rather as the last in a long line of prophets among Muslims.

  • As a result, many Muslims continue to have difficulties understanding the Christian Trinity.
  • Muslim scholars hold up prophets such as Moses, Elijah, and Jesus to be legitimate prophets, but they think that the revelation Muhammad received completes and perfects Abrahamic prophetic history.
  • Nonetheless, it is incorrect to refer to Muslims as ‘Muhammadans’ in the same way that Christians think that religion is mediated and available only via Jesus Christ, which is an error.
  • Although these lines of religious transmission are distinct, they have been the subject of heated debate among various schools of Islamic law and theology on several occasions.

Sunnis (often referred to as Shi’is), or those who believe they are following the more Orthodox “path” laid out by Muhammad’s teachings, and Shi’is (often referred to as Shi’ites), or that “party” which believes Ali (Muhammad’s cousin) was the rightful successor to Muhammad’s mantle of leadership, are two of the major groups of Muslims.

  1. In Islam, Sufism, also known as Islamic mysticism, is a prominent manifestation of faith that crosses many different schools of thought and practice.
  2. Practices Along with adherence to canonical scriptures, doctrines, and certain schools of thought, the dedication or practice of Muslim religion is required.
  3. To “witness” to the ultimate divine oneness is the first and most important requirement of every Muslim, and this is accomplished by the public proclamation of a creed known as the Shahada.
  4. A Muslim’s prayer is performed facing Mecca, can be done alone or in a group (Friday prayers are frequently done as a group at a Mosque and include a sermon), and involves ritual cleanliness and prostration before it can be completed.
  5. Zakat, often known as almsgiving, is the third pillar of Islam.
  6. Failing to eat or drink for a period of time is the fourth pillar of Islam.
  7. Sawm is both a symbolic act of renunciation and a time for spiritual introspection and contemplation.

It is the Hajj, or journey to the holy city of Mecca, that completes Islam’s fourth pillar of belief.

The pilgrims who participate in the hajj behave in a spiritually equal manner and are treated as such during the journey.

In the Islamic faith, jihad is the pursuit of truth and justice.

While Muslim leaders may declare jihad in order to rally Muslims against political opponents, much as an American politician would declare a cause to be a “crusade” or define an empire as “evil,” jihad does not always imply “Holy War” in the traditional sense.

Islam started in Mecca and Medina, which are thus regarded hallowed towns, and the rulers of modern-day Saudi Arabia are charged with the responsibility of protecting these sacred places.

It is the city from which Muhammad is said to have ascended to heaven in a dream (the mi’raj), as well as the location where Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son.

East of Saudi Arabia, in fact, there are more Muslims than in the Middle East; Indonesia is the nation with the highest proportion of Muslims.

The Quran can only be properly understood in the language of revelation, hence all Muslims are urged to learn Arabic as well.

As a matter of fact, Islam has surpassed Christianity as the second most populous and fastest-growing religious organization in the United States today.

Islam has prospered throughout history, reaching the pinnacle of achievement in fields such as science, medicine, art, architecture, music, and literature.

Also noteworthy is the fact that, despite the fact that Islamic forces have engaged in war and struggle with non-Muslim kingdoms and groups throughout history (most famously during the Crusades), Islam has also fostered one of the world’s most enduring traditions of religious tolerance.

Islamic extremism and violence in the name of the faith they seek to follow are no more prevalent among Muslims than among Christians, Jews, or any other group of people, according to recent research.

The more we can learn about folks of different religions, the more equipped we will be to recognize when anything done in the name of God is something that no legitimate God would condone.

While Arab Christian communities have been present in the Middle East since Christianity’s inception, the vast majority of African American Muslims identify as Sunni Muslims, which should be distinguished from the Nation of Islam, which while sharing some historical origins differs greatly in theology and community life and is generally considered non-orthodox by the majority of Muslims.

  1. a translation that is up to date The Princeton University Press published a book in 1984 titled “Princeton: Princeton University Press.” Denny, Frederick Mathewson, and Frederick Mathewson Denny This is a basic introduction to Islamic principles and practices.
  2. Political Islam: Revolution, Radicalism, or Reform?, edited by John L.
  3. Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder, Colorado (1997).
  4. In Islam, there is just one way.
  5. Yazbeck, Yvonne Haddad, and Yvonne Haddad Those who adhere to the Islamic faith in the United States.
  6. Encounters between Christians and Muslims 1995, University Press of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
  7. S.

a total of three volumes In 1974, the University of Chicago Press published a book titled “The Chicago Way.” Hossein Nasr, also known as Seyed Hossein Nasr Muslims believe in both the ideals and the realities of their religion.


New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.

Abdul Rahman and Fazlur Rahman are two of the most prominent figures in Bangladeshi history.

Annemarie Schimmel is a writer who lives in New York.

Brent Turner, Richard Brent Turner, Richard Brent Turner African-Americans and Islam: A Comparative Analysis Indiana University Press published a book in 1997 titled The Word of Islam, edited by John Alden Williams.

Islamic resources that you may find useful Islam, Islam in America, and Islamic Studies are all topics that will be covered in this course. Evangelical and Reformed Congregations Religious organizations in the United States are the subject of current study. Professor Alan Godlas Studies resources, University of Georgia Islamic Studies resources, University of Southern California Muslim Studies resources, and more. Organizations of the Muslim Community Muslim Congregation of North America is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Islamic values in North America.

The Muslim Council on American-Islamic Relations (MCAIR) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving relations between Muslims and Americans in the United States. Advisory Council on Public Affairs of the Minaret of Freedom Institute Mr. Derek Duncan works as a Program Associate in the Middle East and Europe Office of the Common Global Ministries.


Sunni Islam is the biggest branch of Islam, and those who adhere to it are referred to as Sunnis. Because they think that they are following the Sunnah (also known as “custom” or “tradition”) of the prophet Muhammad, they are referred to as Sunnis (pbuh). However, although the exact number of Sunni Muslims is uncertain, some estimates place the number at between 85 and 90 percent of the total Muslim population, at the very least. Sunnis trace their historical roots to the majority group that followed the caliph Abu Bakr as the successor to Muhammad.

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They base their religion on the Quran and the Sunnah as understood by the majority of the community, which is organized into four schools of thought (madhhabs).

These madhhabs continue to seek Islamic solutions to the questions offered by developing cultures, regardless of the time or place in which they are practiced.


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, 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. ​


Unlike the other Shi’a groupings, the Zaydiyyah school of law has a distinct conception of the imamate than the other Shi’a parties. They recognize Zayd ibn Ali, the grandson of Hussain, as the ‘Fifth Imam,’ as their spiritual leader. Zaydis believe that the Imam does not have to be a direct descendant of Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter (pbuh), but rather can be anybody connected to Ali who possesses the highest level of moral purity. Islam: The Straight Path, by John L. Esposito, Oxford University Press, 1994, p.

Islamic Publications Limited launched the official website of the Ismaili Muslim Community in 2007.

48; John L.

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.

  1. In recent years, however, there has been a movement toward seeing this hadith in a more objective light, moving beyond sectarian interpretations.
  2. Attempts have been made in recent years to decipher the context of this hadith and to evaluate its ramifications for today’s society.
  3. The hadith can be found in a variety of different variants as well.
  4. Frequently, it was assumed that 72 sects would be condemned and one group would be rescued in this manner.
  5. 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Everyone is on the lookout for the truth.
  • 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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.


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 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.


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.


In accordance with Shi’a belief, the bulk of Sufis follow the Islamic path as given by Ali, Muhammad’s successor. Sufism is an Islamic concept that emphasizes on cleansing of the inner-self, despite the fact that it is not formally a sect of Islam. Sufis believe that humans can have a spiritual encounter with God through intuitive and emotional powers that they have developed through years of rigorous study. This experience does not have to take place in Paradise; rather, it can be had in the real world.

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

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.

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.

  1. Ali was killed in 661 at the end of a five-year caliphate that had been beset by internal conflict.
  2. 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.
  3. There are three major sects of Shia Islam practiced today: the Zaidis, the Ismailis, and the Ithna Asharis (or Ithna Asharis) (Twelvers or Imamis).
  4. 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

The Sunni and Shia sects of Islam are the two main branches of the religion. The following are some of the sub-denominations or other orders within these religions: Ahmadiyya (Alawi), Druze (Hanafi), Ismaili (Jafari), Kharijite (Khalifa), Maliki (Shafi), Sufi (Sufi), Wahabi (Zaidi), and others. There are many distinct Islamic denominations, just as there are many different Christian faiths, but these are the two most important ones practiced by the world’s 1,6 billion Muslims.

Sunni Sect

Sunni Muslims are the majority of Islam’s members, accounting for 85-90 percent of the religion’s population. Since the Shi’is were expelled from the main fold in 661, it has maintained a near-constant position of dominance (the Kharijis left in 658). Islam as defined by the revelations given to Muhammad and his life is considered to be Sunni Islam, which is supported by the fact that Shi’i Islam has had a small following and no meaningful, formal structure for a number of decades. In terms of theology, Sunni Islam is neither more or less of a continuation of Islam than any of the other orientations in the religion.

Due to the fact that Sunni Islam was the religious orientation of the rulers, and that Shi’is had not established administrative organizations for a long period of time, it was necessary to establish a law, known as Shari’a – Seriat (for which the hadiths served as a central source), and that the rulers were Sunni Muslims.

  • It was once believed that the only way to distinguish Sunni Islam from Shi’i Islam was by devotion to theCaliphas, who was considered the head of the Muslim world.
  • In terms of key concepts, Sunni and Shi’i Islam are essentially the same: the oneness of God, belief in the revelations of Muhammad, and belief in resurrection on the Day of Judgment (Ashura).
  • Sunni Islam requires the performance of five prayers every day, but Shi’i Islam requires only three.
  • Islam’s Sunni adherents admire Ali, but they do not see him as the only legitimate continuation of Muhammad’s legacy, nor do they place any emphasis on him bringing forth a divine light from the Prophet.

While Sunnis place a strong emphasis on the Prophet Muhammad’s practice and teachings (known as the “Sunna”), Shi’a believe that their Ayatollahs are physical manifestations of God on Earth. Turkey’s Sunni population accounts for around 85 percent of the country’s total population.

Shi’i Sect

The Shi’i, the biggest non-Sunni branch of Islam, constitutes around 10-15 percent of the world’s Muslim population in its different forms. As a result of Muhammad’s daughter Fatima becoming Ali’s sister-in-law, Ali became the fourth Caliph, and thus the last to be chosen from the original nucleus of converts from theMecca-Medinaperiod. The term Shi’i refers to the supporters of Ali, who was Muhammad’s son-in-law through his daughter Fatima, and the fourth Caliph to be elected. Shiites, in their different forms, are major minority in countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Pakistan, and India.

  • In accordance with Shi’i tradition, the Prophet Muhammad indicated that Ali would be his successor as the leader of Islam while on his deathbed, thereby sowing the seeds of split in the Islamic community.
  • Ali’s election and rule turned out to be extremely turbulent, and he was assassinated during the fifth year of his reign, which ended his reign.
  • There were numerous improvements brought about by Muawiyaa’s authority, and the old adherents of Ali served as the basis of the resistance.
  • Husayn departed Medina for Kufah when Mu’awiyaa died in 680 AD, seeking to stake a claim to the Caliphate and establish himself as the legitimate ruler.
  • Husayn and his followers waged a desperate struggle against overwhelming odds, and Husayn and many of his supporters were slaughtered as a result of their efforts.

Because the main tenet of the Shi’i faith is the illegitimacy of the Caliphate after Ali, the Shi’i cause drew a large number of supporters from among the disaffected in the Caliphate over the next few centuries, particularly among those who were not of Arab origin and were therefore considered second class citizens.

  1. Other than a series of unsuccessful rebellions, the Shi’i played crucial roles in the overthrow of the Ummawiyya dynasty, and the Shi’i Buwayhid, an Iranian dynasty, ruled over the Abbasid Caliphate for more than a hundred years.
  2. Both were Shi’a.
  3. But the fortunes of the Shi’i were perilous until they were recognized as the official religion of the Safavid kingdom in Persia in the sixteenth century.
  4. It has only been during the 16th century that the Twelver Shi’i sect has risen to prominence as the dominant Shi’i sect, developing a unique personality from that of the Sunnimajority.
  5. While any of Ali’s descendants, the Alids, were considered suitable candidates to be Shi’i leaders during the first few centuries of the Islamic era, as time progressed, it became increasingly vital for the Shi’i leader to be descended from Ali via Husayn along a certain line.

In today’s Shi’i community, the most significant division is between those who recognize 12 Imams, known as Twelvers, and those who recognize 7, known as Seveners, or more commonly Ismailis, after Ismail, their seventh Imam, and those who differ after the fourth Imam, and who accept any Alid who is learned and who asserts his rule through force of arms, known as Zayyidi.

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Other aspects of Shi’i religion that have their origins in Judeo-Christian tradition include the emphasis on the trials of the martyrs (rawda kani) and general exultation over martyrdom, the use of self-flagelation as a part of religious ritual, and the commemoration of the 10 days culminating in the events of Karbala (ta’ziya), which are the central event of the Shi’i calendar and bear significant similarities to the passion of Jesus.

  1. Shi’i innovators include the permitted use of pragmatic dissimulation (taqiyya), which is the denial of religion in public while keeping it in private, as a means of expressing one’s belief in private.
  2. The lady who enters the mut’a is compensated with a certain sum of money.
  3. The Iranian revolution resulted in the restoration of the mut’a system as an integral aspect of Shi’i Muslim practice as a whole.
  4. In order to understand this quandary, it is necessary to consider the techniques by which the early Muslims sought guidance in issues that were not specifically covered by the Koran.
  5. As a result, the Sunni depended on traditions derived from theological and juridical schools, which included parallels drawn from the Koran and Hadith, and, in cases where analogies were not attainable, on the consensus of theologians.
  6. They next acknowledge Ali Zaid l’Abidin’s son, Zayyid, following which they recognize a plethora of Imams who have appeared at various periods and locations throughout history.
  7. The Twelvers and the Ismailis both acknowledge Muhammad al Baqir, and Jafar as Sadiq, following which the Ismailis recognize Jafar’s son Ismail as a legitimate successor.
  8. Musa al Kazim, Ali ar Rida, Muhammad at Taqi, Ali al Hadi, Hassan al Askari, and Muhammad al Mahdi, their last Imam, whom they believe to be concealed, are the Twelvers’ remaining Imams.

The Twelver Shi’i are also known by the names Rafidi, Jafari, Mutawahi, Qizilbash, Imami, Ithna Ashari, and al Khassa, to name a few more names. The Druze, the Nusayri, and the Baha’i are all sects that descended from Shi’i Islam. Shi’i Muslims constitute around 10% of Turkey’s population.

Sects in Islam

An examination of the division between Sunni or mainstream Islam and the Shi’i sects of Islam is presented in this article. It is possible to practice many varieties of Shi’ism, with the most widespread being the Imami or Twelver branch of Shi’ism, which is practiced by the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Iran, southern Iraq, Azerbaijan, and Lebanon. A historical outline of the division between Sunnis and Shi’ites is provided before the topic of the resurgence of Shi’ism as a political force in contemporary times is raised, beginning with its development as a radical ideology in Iran in 1979 and progressing to the present day.

  • Sunni, Islam sects, Shi’i, Imami, extremist ideology, Iran, Sunni–Shi’ite division, political instability are some of the keywords that come to mind.
  • Sami Zubaida is a Professor Emeritus of Politics and Sociology at Birkbeck College, University of London, United Kingdom, and a former member of the British Academy.
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Comment: It’s time you start distinguishing between Islamic sects

When the 2016 Census findings were revealed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) last week, two aspects of Australia’s religiosity drew attention. The Catholic Church was losing ground to “no religion,” while Islam did not grow as rapidly as many had projected, moving from 2.4 percent of the population in 2011 to 2.6 percent in 2012. One of the most interesting aspects of this is that Catholicism, a Christian denomination, as well as Anglicanism and the Uniting Church, are all considered distinct religious categories, whereas Islam, which contains numerous sects, sub-sects, and offshoots, is still considered to be a single religion.

  1. Despite the fact that Indonesia has historically adhered to the Shafi’i school of Sunni Islam and is seen as having a “moderate” understanding of religion, the country is battling to curb the spread of Wahabi doctrine, which has taken root in the country’s Aceh province.
  2. In certain circles, Wahabism and Salafism are used interchangeably, although Wahabism is a stringent school of Sunni Islam that originated in Saudi Arabia and has grown swiftly around the world.
  3. As a result, why do we continue to speak about Islam as though the religion were a monolithic entity?
  4. It also affects other aspects of society.
  5. No indication is given as to what religious sect a specific individual belongs to.

According to the New York Times, Moutia Elzahed, the wife of an Islamic State recruiter, was recently unsuccessful in her legal struggle after making headlines last year for refusing to remove her face cover or come before a District Court judge, claiming she was “just standing for Allah.” By referring to her just as a “Muslim woman,” the media contributes to the flames of the “Muslims are incompatible with the Australian way of life” argument.

Elzahed, on the other hand, is a member of the hardline Salafi/Wahabbi school of thought, and by failing to specify this, the media must bear some of the responsibility for assumptions that Islam itself demands such obstinate behavior, when in reality, the vast majority of Muslims would agree that it is not only reasonable but expected to show respect and identify yourself to law enforcement officials.

  1. Furthermore, as someone who is linked to an individual associated with ISIS, Elzahed symbolizes an interpretation of Islam that the majority of Muslims themselves reject and regard as a symptom of increasing fundamentalism in the Muslim community.
  2. We want to be joyful,” one lady told Reuters, adding that she and her friends also wanted to listen to music.
  3. This article, for example, describes a “Muslim family” and their “challenges navigating (the) Tasmanian public school system,” which include things like avoiding classroom events including music and dancing because they “conflict with.religious convictions,” among other things.
  4. “We want to be joyful,” one lady told Reuters, adding that she and her friends wanted to listen to music.
  5. Because of the narrative of Mosul, we know that this is just not true.
  6. While this family has every right to practice their religion, it is unfair to more liberal Muslims to assume that such practices are standard.
  7. The more the general public’s understanding of the variations and causes for frictions among the many Islamic traditions, the less probable it is that the whole Muslim community would be regarded as incompatible with Western values.
  8. When discussing groups such as ISIS, the media must begin to specify that they adhere to their own perversion of already-strict Wahabi doctrine.
  9. Islam is a varied religion.
  10. As a member of the Alawite minority, one of the most difficult things to deal with is how even the most well-intentioned segments of western culture fall for the illusion that the most visible Muslim communities are the most real and in the most need of assistance.
  11. Islam is a varied religion.

The first episode of The Mosque Next Door will air on SBS on Wednesday, November 8 at 8.30 p.m., and will air every Wednesday thereafter. SBS On Demand will make episodes accessible for viewing after they have aired, at any time and from any location. TheMosqueNextDoor


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.

Is it true that only one sect of the Ummah will enter paradise whereas the other 70 sects will enter hellfire?

hadith of beloved Prophet Muhammad, the Ummah will be divided into 73 sects and one will go to paradise, how to confirm that what one is following is among the ones who will go to paradise. Please give me the signs of the righteous given in Quran and Sunnah. I want to know it desperately to save my faith and my people. Thank you so much. Anas (may God be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “My ummahwill divide into 70 or 70 something groups; all of them will be in Jannahexcept for the unbelievers”.Scholarly opinionsIn his book Ahsan At-Taqasim, Mohammed ibn Ahmed Al-Bishari al-Maqdisi enumerated these groups and mentioned the two different phrasings of the hadith which read as “72 groups will be in paradise and one in Hellfire” and “72 groups will be in Hell-fire and one will be saved”.

Then, he said: “The second wording of the hadith is well-known while the first has the more authentic chain of transmission.”For this reason, ibn al-Wazir contested the hadith in general and the additional statement of “72 will be in Hell-fire and one will be saved” in particular.

He said: “Do not be misled by the”all of them will be in Hell-fire except for one” because it is an invalid and baseless addition and it is not far-fetchedthat it has been introduced by atheists.” He also quoted ibn Hazm who said: “This addition is fabricated, it is neither classified as mawqufnor as marfu’.

For example, Abu Mohammed ibn Hazm refuted the allegations of those who accuse others of disbelief due to differences in belief and based his refutation on some evidences which they mentioned in this respect.

These are:1- “The Qadariya and Murji’a are the magus of this ummah.” 2- “This ummah will divide into 70 or 70 something groups; all of them will be in Hell-fire except one which will be in Jannah.”In his commentary on the two previously mentioned hadiths, Abu Mohammed said: “In the first place, their chains of transmission are unauthentic.

So, what then of those who do not recognize it!?”In his book Al-‘Awasim wa Al-Qawasim, The Yemeni Jurist, imam and supporter of the sunnah, Mohammed ibn Ibrahim al-Wazir, reconciled intellectual and textual evidences and enumerated the hadiths narrated by Mu’awiyah (may God be pleased with him) including the 8th hadith on the ummah dividing into 70 something groups all of which will be in Hell-fire except for one.

He commented: “The chain of transmission of this hadith includes a nasibiand thus the hadith is unauthentic.” At-Tirmidhi reported the same hadith through Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘As (may God be pleased with them both) and said: “It is a gharibhadith.

Ibn Majah narrated a similar hadith on the authority of ‘Awf ibn Malik and Anas.

At-Tirmidhi authenticated the hadith narrated by Abu Huraira through Mohammed ibn ‘Amr ibn ‘Alqama which does not include “All of them will be in Hellfire except for one “.

Ibn Hazm, on the other hand, maintained that it is fabricated.Despite the fact that some scholars have declared this hadith fairlike ibn Hajar or authenticlike Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiya due to its multiple chains of transmission, it does not stand as proof on the division of the ummah, both in manner and number, to be considered of permanent application until the day of Judgment.

Some of these sects may exist and, when they do, they will be overwhelmed by truth and then perish, never to return.


And the fact that they will be in (Hellfire) does not mean that they will be among its eternal dwellers like the disbelievers but will be dealt with like the disobedient believers.

God has forgiven people of this ummah their mistakes, forgetfulness and anything they were forced to do.

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