Denominations, Sects and cults in Islam


Muslims have no denominations, they all follow the same Book - The Quran, the same prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and all offer their prayers five times a day, fast in the month of Ramadan, give Zakat -the poor due- and go for Hajj, (pilgrimage) to Mecca.

Even though there are different schools of thoughts in Islam, since they all hold the same principles or articles of faith but with minute differences in the secondary matters, these -minute- differences don't constitute the need for "denominations". Further more, Muslims are encouraged by their scholars to ignore these differences if they happen to be in an area where other Muslims adopt them as a sign of unity and the understanding that these differences are minute.

With the majority of Muslims following the Sunnah or Sunna, which means the actions of Muhammad (pbuh), they are called Sunni. However, about 16 percent of the Muslim population do almost the same things plus holding a political -not a religious- belief that Ali (Muhammad's son-in-law) should have been granted the leadership of Muslims after the death of Muhammad, they form a sect of Muslims called Shia or Shiaa. The word Shia means a partisan, as they formed the party of Ali, and it started more as "a political party", that was formed after the death of both Muhammad and Ali. Most Shias live in Iran and Iraq while the rest of the Muslim world is mostly Sunni.

There are other smaller sects in Islam presenting about 3% of Muslims. Differences between these smaller sects are usually in the ways they express their gratitude, extra thanking or glorifying Allah.

This is the case with Islam and Muslims as a majority or in general, then just like they are in any other religion, in Islam there are also the same people. Those who hold wrong or foreign beliefs or simply misunderstand their own scriptures. Just as there are many Christian cults with foreign beliefs such as the KKK for example, there are some "so called" Muslims who hold some twisted beliefs that are foreign, strange and in many cases, contrary to the true teachings of Islam just as the KKK does.


Other questions related to this topic are in our section of frequently asked questions.

General questions about Islam

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