What Are The Branches Of Islam? (Question)

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 is largest branch of Islam?

  • The Sunni branch is by far the largest denomination of Islam and represents 89-90% of all followers of Islam. They are present throughout the Middle East with large concentrations in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

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.

What are the two main branch of Islam?

The divide between Sunnis and Shia is the largest and oldest in the history of Islam. Members of the two sects have co-existed for centuries and share many fundamental beliefs and practices.

What is one of the main branches 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.

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).

How many denominations are in Islam?

Most Muslims are of one of two denominations: Sunni (85–90%) or Shia (10–15%). Sunni and Shia differences arose from disagreement over the succession to Muhammad and acquired broader political significance, as well as theological and juridical dimensions.

What are the two branches of Islam What is the main difference between the two groups?

They also both share the holy book of the Quran. The primary difference in practice comes in that Sunni Muslims mainly rely on the Sunnah, a record of the teachings and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad to guide their actions while the Shiites more heavily on their ayatollahs, whom they see as a sign of God on earth.

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 are followers of Islam called?

The word “Islam” means “submission to the will of God.” Followers of Islam are called Muslims. Muslims are monotheistic and worship one, all-knowing God, who in Arabic is known as Allah.

Are there more Sunni or Shia?

The present demographic breakdown between the two denominations is difficult to assess and varies by source, but a good approximation is that 90% of the world’s Muslims are Sunni and 10% are Shia, with most Shias belonging to the Twelver tradition and the rest divided between many other groups.

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 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

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.
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Sunni

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Britannica QuizIslam What is your level of knowledge about the Prophet Muhammad?
  4. With this quiz, you may see how well you know about Islam.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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.

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. It is believed by Ithna Asharis that the so-called “expected imam” did not die, and that he will return to earth at the end of time to restore justice.

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.

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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.

The murder sparked a diplomatic crisis with Iran as well as protests across the region.

More on this story

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).

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

​Sunni 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). Although the exact number of Sunni Muslims in the world is unclear, some experts believe that between 85 and 90 percent of the world’s Muslim population adheres to this branch of Islam. They trace their historical origins to the dominant group that accompanied the caliph Abu Bakr to the throne of Muhammad as his successor.

According to the four schools of thinking, Sunnis base their faith on the Quran and Sunnah as perceived by the majority of the community within the framework of the four schools of thought (madhhabs).

They are all subsets of one another.

They will continue to seek Islamic solutions for the questions given by growing civilizations, regardless of time or place in which they are practiced.

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). They also observe Ramadan, which is the month of fasting. ​

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.

ZAYDIYYAH OR ‘FIVERS’

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.

Understanding the branches of Islam

Photograph by Kaputtknie / Fotolia ” data-medium-file=” ssl=1″ data-large-file=” ssl=1″ data-small-file=” ssl=1″ loading=”lazy” src=”is-pending-load=1 038;ssl=1″ alt=”Understanding the Branches of Islam” loading=”lazy” src=”is-pending-load=1 038;ssl=1″ a width of 300 pixels and a height of 200 pixels ” data-recalc-dims=”1″ data-lazy-src=” is-pending-load=1 038; ssl=”” srcset=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAP” data-recalc-dims=”1″ data-lazy-src=” is-pending-load=” is-pending-load=1 038; ssl=”” data-recalc Photograph by Kaputtknie / Fotolia Eid al-Adha, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, is celebrated by all Muslims on September 24, 2015.

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 branches of Islam

Currently, the world’s Muslim population is projected to be 1.57 billion adherents, with the most majority residing in the Asia-Pacific area as well as the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. ” Src=”data-medium-file=”ssl=1″ src=”data-large-file” data-medium-file=”ssl=1″ data-large-file=” ssl=1″ “If you have any questions, please contact us. is-pending-load=1 038;h=227 ssl=1 “the dimensions are 422.227 inches wide and 227 inches high. itemprop=data-original-width=”422″ data-original-height=”227″ data-original-height=”227″ data-original-width=”422″ data-original-height=”227″ itemprop=data-original-width=”422″ data-original-height=”227″ data-original-height=”227″ itemprop=data-original-width=”422″ data-original-height=”227″ data-original-” title=”Global distribution of the Muslim population” description=”Global distribution of Muslim population” alt=”Global distribution of the Muslim population” title=”Global distribution of the Muslim population” description=”Global distribution of the Muslim population” The data-lazy-src attribute has the value “is-pending-load=1 038;h=227 ssl=1″ srcset=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAP/yH5BAEAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7″ data-lazy-src=” is-pending-load=1 038;h=227 ssl= Muslim population distribution across the world Throughout this paper, dashed lines indicate relationships between main branches of Islam and sub-groups that are open for debate.

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However, many Muslims are strongly opposed to the Ahmadiyya branch’s association with Islam, thus it has been included.” Src=”data-medium-file=”ssl=1″ src=”data-large-file” data-medium-file=”ssl=1″ data-large-file=” ssl=1″ “If you have any questions, please contact us.

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How Do Sunni and Shia Islam Differ? (Published 2016)

The killing of Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia has the potential to exacerbate tensions in the Muslim world even further. The top leader of Iran’s Shiite theocracy, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, declared on Sunday that Saudi Arabia, which is run by a Sunni monarchy, will face “divine vengeance” for the slaying of the outspoken cleric, which was part of a mass execution that killed 47 men. It has always been the goal of Sheikh Nimr to see increased political rights for Shiites in Saudi Arabia and the surrounding nations.

  1. Here’s a primer on the fundamental distinctions between Sunni and Shia Islamic beliefs and practices.
  2. Following the Prophet Muhammad’s death in 632, a rift developed, and disagreements erupted about who should lead the fledgling but rapidly expanding faith.
  3. The title was handed on to a loyal assistant, Abu Bakr, however others believed it should have been given to Ali, the prophet’s cousin and son-in-law, rather than Abu Bakr.
  4. Image courtesy of EPA (European Pressphoto Agency).
  5. However, in 680, Hussein and many of his family were slaughtered in the Iraqi city of Karbala.
  6. During the month of Muharram, every year, the followers of Ali are commemorated as Shiites, which is a contraction of the word Shiat Ali, which means “followers of Ali” in Arabic.
  7. Sunni kings launched a series of conquests that resulted in the caliphate being extended throughout North Africa and Europe.

What are the differences between their points of view?

Many features of Islam are agreed upon by the branches, yet there are significant differences within each of the branches itself.

Shiites regard Ali and the leaders who came after him as imams, or spiritual leaders.

Shiites who call themselves Twelvers look forward to his return as the Mahdi, or Messiah.

Which sect is the largest, and where are the members of each group concentrated?

They can be found all over the Arab world, as well as in countries such as Turkey, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Indonesia, among other locations.

The Saudi royal family, which practices an austere and conservative strand of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism, controls Islam’s holiest shrines, Mecca and Medina.

Saudi Arabia and Iran, the dominant Sunni and Shiite powers in the Middle East, often take opposing sides in regional conflicts.

In Syria, which has a Sunni majority, the Alawite Shiite sect of President Bashar al-Assad, which has long dominated the government, clings to power amid a bloody civil war.

And in Iraq, bitter resentments between the Shiite-led government and Sunni communities have contributed to victories by the Islamic State.

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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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.

It is the Qur’an that is important to Islam for both Shi’a and Sunni Muslims, and there is no validity to the claims that Shi’a Muslims utilize a distorted version of the Quran. Ahadith – both Shi’a and Sunni Muslims rely on the Hadith, albeit they tend to favor various compilations of sayings. Four of the five pillars of Islam are also accepted by both groups (Shahada, the declaration that “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is His messenger.”; Ismaili, the declaration 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).

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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