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|The Fourteen Infallibles|
Peak of Eloquence · The Psalms of Islam · Book of Fundamentals · The Book in Scholar's Lieu · Civilization of Laws · The Certainty · Book of Sulaym ibn Qays · Oceans of Light · Wasael ush-Shia · Reality of Certainty · Keys of Paradise
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This article summarizes the different branches in Islam.
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Prophethood / Messengership
Holy Books · Angels
Judgement Day · Predestination
|Declaration of Faith · Prayer|
Charity · Fasting · Pilgrimage
|Rightly guided Caliphs|
|Abu Bakr · Umar ibn al-Khattab|
Uthman ibn Affan · Ali ibn Abi Talib
|Schools of Law|
|Hanafi · Maliki · Shafi'i · Hanbali · Zahiri|
Awza'i · Laythi
|Schools of Theology|
|Ash'ari · Athari · Maturidi|
|Barelvi · Deobandi|
|Sahih al-Bukhari · Sahih Muslim|
Sunan Abu Dawood
Sunan ibn Majah · Al-Muwatta
Sunni Muslims are the largest denomination of Islam and are known as Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamā‘h or simply as Ahl as-Sunnah. The word Sunni comes from the word sunnah, which means the teachings and actions or examples of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Therefore, the term "Sunni" refers to those who follow or maintain the sunnah of the prophet Muhammad.
The Sunnis believe that Muhammad did not specifically appoint a successor to lead the Muslim ummah (community) before his death, and after an initial period of confusion, a group of his most prominent companions gathered and elected Abu Bakr Siddique, Muhammad's close friend and a father-in-law, as the first caliph of Islam. Sunni Muslims regard the first four caliphs (Abu Bakr, `Umar ibn al-Khattāb, Uthman Ibn Affan and Ali ibn Abu Talib) as "al-Khulafā’ur-Rāshidūn" or "The Rightly Guided Caliphs." Sunnis also believe that the position of caliph may be attained democratically, on gaining majority votes, but after the Rashidun, the position turned into a hereditary dynastic rule because of the divisions that started by the Shias and others. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, there has never been another caliph as widely recognized in the Muslim world.
Madhhab is an Islamic term that refers to a school of thought or religious jurisprudence, or fiqh, within Sunni Islam. Each of the Sahaba had a unique school of jurisprudence, but these schools were gradually consolidated or discarded so that there are currently four recognized schools. The differences between these schools of thought manifest in some practical and philosophical differences. Sunnis generally do not identify themselves with a particular school of thought — simply calling themselves "Sunnis", but they do follow their individual 'Madh'habs exclusively and respectfully.
The Hanafi school was founded by Imam Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man;It is followed by Muslims in Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Western Lower Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Balkans and in many western countries. There are movements within this madhab such as Barelvi and Deobandi which are concentrated in South Asia and in most parts of India.
Shafi`i was founded by Imam Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi`i, It is followed by Muslims in Eastern Lower Egypt, Somalia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Yemen, among Kurds, Kerala (Mappilas) and is officially followed by the governments of Brunei and Malaysia.
The Maliki school derives from the work of Imam Malik ibn Anas, It is followed by Muslims mostly in North Africa, West Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, in parts of Saudi Arabia and Upper Egypt, Oman and many middle eastern countries. In the past, it was also followed in parts of Europe under Islamic rule, particularly Islamic Spain and the Emirate of Sicily.
Aqidah is an Islamic term meaning creed or belief. Any religious belief system, or creed, can be considered an example of aqidah. However this term has taken a significant technical usage in Muslim history and theology, denoting those matters over which Muslims hold conviction. The term is usually translated as "theology". Such traditions are divisions orthogonal to sectarian divisions of Islam, and a Mu'tazili may for example, belong to Jafari, Zaidi or even Hanafi school of jurisprudence.
The Athari school derives its name from the Arabic word "Athar", meaning "narrations". The Athari methodology is to avoid delving into extensive theological speculation. They use the Qur'an, the Sunnah, and sayings of the Sahaba - this being the middle path where the attributes of Allah are accepted without questioning 'how' they are; as this is regarded as an innovation as famously quoted by Imam Malik when asked regarded the Throne of Allah. Imam Ahmed is regarded as the Imam of the Athari school of thought. Athari is generally synonymous with Salafi. The central aspect of Athari theology is its definition of Tawhid, meaning literally unification or asserting the oneness of Allah (to be the only God who deserves to be worshiped in truth and confirming all attributes with which He has qualified Himself or that are attributed to Him by His Messenger), whereby it is divided into three tenets of theology   ;
The textualistists by reason of their conception of the divine Attributes, came to represent the divinity as a complex of names and qualifications alongside the divine essence itself. The Athari methodology of textual interpretation is to avoid delving into extensive theological speculation. With regard to their belief in Tawheed-al-Asma was-Sifaat, or Belief in the Oneness of the Names and the Attributes of Allah, they take a stance of affirmation of all the Divine Names and Attributes of Allah in a manner that suits His Majesty, as mentioned in the Qu’ran and the Sunnah. This tenet is further divided into four aspects regarding the affirmation that it is without tashbih (establishing likeness), takyeef (speculating as to "how" they are manifested in the divine), ta'teel (negating/denying their apparent meaning) and ta'weel (giving it secondary/symbolic meaning which is different from the apparent meaning). This is strongly opposed to the extremes of either speculative philosophy as was warned against by the Imams of the Salaf, chiefly Imam Al-Shafi'i and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, or of anthropomorphism which was strongly refuted by Sheikh Ibn Taymiyyah in his monumental Al-Aqidah Al-Waasitiyyah who defined the aqeedah or 'creed' of the Salaf to be the balanced middle path far from the extremities of the various sects prevalent in the Muslim world.
Kalām is the Islamic philosophy of seeking theological principles through dialectic. In Arabic, the word literally means "speech/words". A scholar of kalām is referred to as a mutakallim (Muslim theologian; plural mutakallimūn). There are many schools of Kalam, the main ones being the Ash'ari and Maturidi schools in Sunni Islam.
Ash'ari is a school of early Islamic philosophy founded in the 10th century by Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari. It was instrumental in drastically changing the direction of Islam and laid the groundwork to "shut the door of ijtihad" centuries later in the Ottoman Empire. The Asharite view was that comprehension of the unique nature and characteristics of God were beyond human capability.
A Maturidi is one who follows Abu Mansur Al Maturidi's theology, which is a close variant of the Ash'ari school. Points which differ are the nature of belief and the place of human reason. The Maturidis state that belief (iman) does not increase nor decrease but remains static; it is piety (taqwa) which increases and decreases. The Ash'aris say that belief does in fact increase and decrease. The Maturidis say that the unaided human mind is able to find out that some of the more major sins such as alcohol or murder are evil without the help of revelation. The Ash'aris say that the unaided human mind is unable to know if something is good or evil, lawful or unlawful, without divine revelation.
Murji'ah (Arabic المرجئة) is an early Islamic school, whose followers are known in English as Murjites or Murji'ites (Arabic المرجئون). During the early centuries of Islam, Muslim thought encountered a multitude of influences from various ethnic and philosophical groups that it absorbed. Murji'ah emerged as a theological school that was opposed to the Kharijites on questions related to early controversies regarding sin and definitions of what is a true Muslim.
They advocated the idea of "delayed judgement". Only God can judge who is a true Muslim and who is not, and no one else can judge another as an infidel (kafir). Therefore, all Muslims should consider all other Muslims as true and faithful believers, and look to Allah to judge everyone during the last judgment. This theology promoted tolerance of Umayyads and converts to Islam who appeared half-hearted in their obedience. The Murjite opinion would eventually dominate that of the Kharijites.
The Murjites exited the way of the Sunnis when they declared that no Muslim would enter the hellfire, no matter what his sins. This contradicts the traditional Sunni belief that some Muslims will enter the hellfire temporarily. Therefore the Murjites are classified as Ahlul Bid'ah or "People of Innovation" by Sunnis, particularly Salafis.
Mu'tazili theology originated in the 8th century in al-Basrah when Wasil ibn Ata left the teaching lessons of Hasan al-Basri after a theological dispute. He and his followers expanded on the logic and rationalism of Greek philosophy, seeking to combine them with Islamic doctrines and show that the two were inherently compatible. The Mu'tazili debated philosophical questions such as whether the Qur'an was created or eternal, whether evil was created by God, the issue of predestination versus free will, whether God's attributes in the Qur'an were to be interpreted allegorically or literally, and whether sinning believers would have eternal punishment in hell.
Zahiri– A school of thought which literally translates as "literalist", who were regarded as heterodox among many Muslim for rejecting qiyas, though classically they are regarded as the fifth main school of Sunni Islam.
There are a number of groups, mainly named after the founder of the group, which follow much of the teachings of the schools and theologies. Some, such as the Salafis, disagree with the teachings to some extent.
The Salafi movement is a historical revivalist tradition dating back chiefly to the 13th century to Sheikh Ibn Taymiyyah and with a claim to following the methodology of the earliest Muslim generations, known as the Salaf. It is a movement recently revived by the 18th century teacher Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab in the Arabian peninsula, and was instrumental in the rise of the House of Saud to power. Salafism is a puritanical and legalistic Islamic movement under the Sunni umbrella, and is the dominant form of Islam in Saudi Arabia. The terms "Wahhabism" and "Salafism" are often used interchangeably, although the word "Wahhabi" is a specific for followers of Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab who are the far right wing of Salafi Islam.
In addition to the Qur'an and hadith, the works of earlier scholars like Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Al Qayyim and Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab are used for religious guidance. Salafism is, in general, opposed to Sufism as well as sects outside of the Sunni fold, which they regard as heresies. They see their role as a movement to restore Islam from what they perceive to be innovations, superstitions, deviances, and idolatries.
Salafis view the first three generations of Muslims, Muhammad's companions and the two succeeding generations after them, the Tabi‘un and the Tabi‘ al-Tabi‘in, and those who followed in their path as being the best sources in order to understand the foundational principles of Islam, this being the methodology of the salaf. From this they follow the Athari creed with regards to their beliefs and regarding fiqh, as Sheikh Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen once explained, the clearest path is for Muslims who are laymen to follow, do taqlid to, a local scholar or teacher. However for those who wish to further their knowledge in fiqh then these Muslims are advised to take learning from a scholar well versed in a particular Madh`hab and study it thoroughly. The notable thing with regards to the salafi methadology is that it allows for scholars and sheikhs to reach a level whereby if they master the four madha'hib then they are capable of ijtihad, deriving their own fiqh rulings.
The methodology predominates mainly in countries such as Saudi Arabia, and other Arabian Peninsula states. There are also significant numbers of adherents in the Indian subcontinent (known as the Ahl al-Hadith), Egypt, and all over the Muslim world. It is also growing in popularity in countries in the western world; in particular in Muslim communities of the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.
The Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimun, or Muslim Brotherhood, is an organisation that was founded by Egyptian scholar Hassan al-Banna, a graduate of Dar al-Ulum. With its various branches, it is the largest Sunni movement in the Arab world, and an affiliate is often the largest opposition party in many Arab nations. The Muslim Brotherhood is not concerned with theological differences, accepting Muslims of any of the four Sunni schools of thought. It is the world's oldest and largest Islamist group. Its aims are to re-establish the Caliphate and in the mean time push for more Islamisation of society. The Brotherhood's stated goal is to instill the Qur'an and sunnah as the "sole reference point for... ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community... and state."
The Jamaat-e-Islami is an Islamist political party in the Indian Subcontinent. It was founded in Lahore, India, by Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi in 1941 and is the oldest religious party in Pakistan and India. Today, sister organizations with similar objectives and ideological approaches exist in India, (Jamaat-e-Islami Hind), Bangladesh (Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh), Kashmir, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka, and there are "close brotherly relations" with the Islamist movements and missions "working in different continents and countries", particularly those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood or Akhwan-al-Muslimeen. The JI envisions an Islamic government in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan governing by Islamic law. It opposes Westernization--including capitalism, socialism, or such practices as bank interest, and favours an Islamic economic order and Caliphate.
|Beliefs and practices|
Succession to Muhammad
Imamate of the Family
Mourning of Muharram
Intercession · Ismah
The Occultation · Clergy
|The Qur'an · Sahaba|
|Ashura · Arba'een · Mawlid|
Eid ul-Fitr · Eid al-Adha
· Ismāʿīlī · Zaidi
The verse of purification
Mubahala · Two things
Khumm · Fatimah's house
First Fitna · Second Fitna
The Battle of Karbala
|Muhammad · Ali · Fatimah|
Hasan · Hussein
|List of Shia companions|
|Fatimah · Khadijah · Zaynab bint Ali · Fatimah bint al-Hasan · Sukayna bint Husayn · Rubab · Shahrbanu · Nijmah · Fātimah bint Mūsā · Hakimah Khātūn · Narjis · Fatimah bint Asad · Farwah bint al-Qasim ·|
Shia Islam (شيعة Shī‘ah, sometimes Shi'a or Shi'ite), is the second-largest denomination of Islam, comprising anywhere between 19 to 24% of the total Muslim population in the world. Shia Muslims—though a minority in the Muslim world—constitute the majority of the populations in Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Iran, and Iraq, as well as a plurality in Lebanon and Yemen.
In addition to believing in the authority of the Qur'an and teachings of Muhammad, Shia believe that his family, the Ahl al-Bayt (the "People of the House"), including his descendants known as Imams, have special spiritual and political rule over the community and believe that Ali ibn Abi Talib, Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, was the first of these Imams and was the rightful successor to Muhammad, and thus reject the legitimacy of the first three Rashidun caliphs.
The Shi'a Islamic faith is vast and includes many different groups. There are various Shi'a theological beliefs, schools of jurisprudence, philosophical beliefs, and spiritual movements. The Shia identity emerged soon after the death of 'Umar Ibnil-Khattab (the second caliph) and Shi'a theology was formulated in the second century and the first Shi'a governments and societies were established by the end of the ninth century.
An estimate of approximately 10–13% of the world's Muslims are Shi'a, which corresponds to about 130–190 million Shi'a Muslims worldwide. Shi'a Muslims also constitute over 30% of the population in Lebanon, over 45% of the population in Yemen, over 35% of the population in Kuwait, 20–25% of the population (primarily Alevi) in Turkey, 20% (primarily Bektashi) of the population in Albania, 15% of the population in Pakistan and 3% of population in Afghanistan. They also make up at least 25%-31% of the Muslim populations in India, 15-20% in the United Arab Emirates, Syria and Saudi Arabia, although the total number is difficult to estimate due to the intermingling between the two groups and practice of taqiyya by Shiites.
Significant Shi'a communities exist on the coastal regions of West Sumatra and Aceh in Indonesia (see Tabuik). The Shi'a presence is negligible elsewhere in Southeast Asia, where Muslims are predominantly Shafi'i Sunnis.
A significant syncretic Shi'a minority is present in Nigeria, centered around the state of Kano (see Shia in Nigeria). East Africa holds several populations of Ismaili Shia, primarily descendants of immigrants from South Asia during the colonial period, such as the Khoja.
According to Shi'a Muslims community, one of the lingering problems in estimating Shi'a population is that unless Shi'a form a significant minority in a Muslim country, the entire population is often listed as Sunni. The reverse, however, has not held true, which may contribute to imprecise estimates of the size of each sect. For example, the 1926 rise of the House of Saud in Arabia brought official discrimination against Shi'a.
Shi'a Islam is divided into three branches. The largest and best known are the Twelver (اثنا عشرية iṯnāʿašariyya), named after their adherence to the Twelve Imams. They form a majority of the population in Iran, Azerbaijan, Bahrain and Iraq. Other smaller branches include the Ismaili and Zaidi, who dispute the Twelver lineage of Imams and beliefs.
The Twelver Shi'a faith is predominantly found in Iran (90%), Azerbaijan (85%), Bahrain (65%), Iraq (65%), Lebanon (35%), Kuwait (25%), Albania (20%), Pakistan (15%), Afghanistan (3%). and India (25%-31%) of its Muslim population.
The Zaidi dispute the succession of the fifth Twelver Imam, Muhammad al-Baqir, because he did not stage a revolution against the corrupt government, unlike Zaid ibn Ali. They do not believe in a normal lineage, but rather that any descendant of Hasan ibn Ali or Husayn ibn Ali who stages a revolution against a corrupt government is an imam. The Zaidi are mainly found in Yemen.
The Ismaili dispute the succession of the seventh Twelver Imam, Musa al-Kadhim, believing his older brother Isma'il ibn Jafar actually succeeded their father Ja'far al-Sadiq, and did not predecease him like Twelver Shi'a believe. Ismaili form small communities in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, India, Syria, United Kingdom, Canada, Uganda, Portugal, Yemen, mainland China, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia and have several subbranches.
|The Fourteen Infallibles|
Peak of Eloquence · The Psalms of Islam · Book of Fundamentals · The Book in Scholar's Lieu · Civilization of Laws · The Certainty · Book of Sulaym ibn Qays · Oceans of Light · Wasael ush-Shia · Reality of Certainty · Keys of Paradise
Twelvers believe in twelve Imams. The twelfth Imam is believed to be in occultation, and will appear again just before the Qiyamah (Islamic view of the Last Judgment). The Shi`a hadiths include the sayings of the Imams. Many Muslims criticise the Shia for certain beliefs and practices, including practices such as the Mourning of Muharram (Mätam). They are the largest Shi'a school of thought (93%), predominant in Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain and have a significant population in Pakistan, Kuwait and the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia. The Twelver Shi'a are followers of the Jaf'ari madh'hab. Followers of the madh'hab are divided into the following sub-divisions, although these are not considered different sects:
The Ismailis and Twelvers both accept the same initial Imams from the descendants of Muhammad through his daughter Fatima Zahra and therefore share much of their early history. However, a dispute arose on the succession of the Sixth Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq. The Ismailis are those who accepted Ja'far's eldest son Ismail as the next Imam, whereas the Twelvers accepted a younger son, Musa al-Kazim. Today, Ismailis are concentrated in Pakistan and other parts of South Asia. The Nizari Ismailis, however, are also concentrated in Central Asia, Russia, China, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, Syria, Australia, North America (including Canada), the United Kingdom, Bangladesh and in Africa as well.
Zaidiyyahs historically come from the followers of Zayd ibn Ali, the great-Grandson of 'Ali b. Abi Talib. They follow any knowledgeable and upright descendant of al-Hasan and al-Husayn, and are less esoteric in focus than Twelverism or Ismailism.
Alevis are sometimes categorized as part of Twelver Shi'a Islam, and sometimes as its own religious tradition, as it has markedly different philosophy, customs, and rituals. They have many Sufi characteristics and express belief in the Qur'an and the Shi'a Imams, but reject polygamy and accept religious traditions predating Islam, like Turkish shamanism. They are significant in East-Central Turkey. They are sometimes considered a Sufi sect, and have an untraditional form of religious leadership that is not scholarship oriented like other Sunni and Shia groups. They number around 9 million worldwide, of which 6 million are in Turkey, with the rest in the Balkans, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Azerbaijan, Iran and Syria.
Sufism is a mystical-ascetic form of Islam. By focusing on the more spiritual aspects of religion, Sufis strive to obtain direct experience of God by making use of "intuitive and emotional faculties" that one must be trained to use. Tasawwuf is regarded as a science of Islam that has always been an integral part of Orthodox Islam. But the tasawwuf of the Sufis is different insofar as it has historically been accused of innovation by orthodox scholars throughout the ages.
Sufis are not a homogeneous group and many of the key figures in Sufism have historically been known to not have engaged remotely in the modern day witnessed practices carried out by people who ascribe to the label of being 'Sufi'. Many of the 'saints' known in Sufism are highly regarded in orthodox Islam as being individuals who were the epitome of the 'whole' teachings of Islam and are far removed from deviant groups and sub-sects who ascribe to the title of Sufism who are now known in the modern-age to engage esoteric philosophy and strange new innovated practices not known to the early Muslims of Syria, Baghdad, and Hijaz where many of the 'Sufi saints' are known to have originated from, such as Abdul-Qadir Gilani. The common teachings of most tariqas are that one starts off with sharia (Islamic law), the exoteric or mundane practice of Islam and then is initiated into the mystical (esoteric path of a Tariqah (Sufi Order). Some Sufi followers consider themselves as Sunni or Shi'a, while others consider themselves as simply 'Sufi' or Sufi-influenced.
The Bektashi Order was founded in the 13th century by the Islamic saint Haji Bektash Veli, and greatly influenced during its fomulative period by the Hurufi Ali al-'Ala in the 15th century and reorganized by Balim Sultan in the 16th century. Because of its adherence to the Twelve Imams it is classified under Twelver Shi'a Islam. Bektashi are concentrated in Turkey and Albania and their headquarters are in Albania.
The Chishti Order (Persian: چشتیہ) was founded by (Khawaja) Abu Ishaq Shami ("the Syrian") (d. 941) who brought Sufism to the town of Chisht, some 95 miles east of Herat in present-day Afghanistan. Before returning to the Levant, Shami initiated, trained and deputized the son of the local Emir, (Khwaja) Abu Ahmad Abdal (d. 966). Under the leadership of Abu Ahmad’s descendants, the Chishtiyya as they are also known, flourished as a regional mystical order.
The Naqshbandi order is one of the major Sufi orders of Islam. Formed in 1380, the order is considered by some to be a "sober" order known for its silent dhikr (remembrance of God) rather than the vocalized forms of dhikr common in other orders. The word Naqshbandi نقشبندی is Persian, taken from the name of the founder of the order, Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari. Some have said that the translation means "related to the image-maker," some also consider it to mean "Pattern Maker" rather than "image maker", and interpret "Naqshbandi" to mean "Reformer of Patterns", and others consider it to mean "Way of the Chain" or "Golden Chain".
The Ni'matullāhī order is the most widespread Sufi order of Persia today. It was founded by Shah Ni'matullah Wali (d. 1367), established and transformed from his inheritance of the Ma'rufiyyah circle. There are several suborders in existence today, the most known and influential in the West following the lineage of Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh who brought the order to the West following the 1979 Revolution in Iran.
The Oveyssi (or Uwaiysi) order claim to be founded 1,400 years ago by Uwais al-Qarni from Yemen. Uways received the teachings of Islam inwardly through his heart and lived by the principles taught by him, although he had never physically met Muhammad. At times Muhammad would say of him, "I feel the breath of the Merciful, coming to me from Yemen." Shortly before Muhammad died, he directed Umar (second Caliph) and Ali (the first Imam of the Shi'a) to take his cloak to Uwais. "According to Ali Hujwiri, Farid ad-Din Attar of Nishapur and Sheikh Muhammad Ghader Bagheri, the first recipient of Muhammad's cloak was Uwais al-Qarni. The "Original Cloak" as it is known is thought to have passed down the generations from the prophet Abraham to Muhammad, to Uwais al-Qarni, and so on."
The Oveyssi order exists today in various forms and in different countries. According to Dr. Alan Godlas of the University of Georgia's Department of Religion, a Sufi Order or tariqa known as the Uwaysi is "very active", having been introduced in the West by the 20th century Sufi, Shah Maghsoud Angha. The Uwaysi Order is a Shi'i branch of the Kubrawiya.
Dr. Godlas writes that there are two recent and distinct contemporary branches of the Uwaysi Order in the West:
- Uwaiysi Tarighat, led by Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha's daughter, Seyyedeh Dr. Nahid Angha, and her husband Shah Nazar Seyed Ali Kianfar. Dr. Angha and Dr. Kianfar went on to found another the International Association of Sufism (IAS) which operates in California and organizes international Sufi symposia.
The International Association of Sufism (IAS) is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that brings together scholars, educators, translators, and artists interested in the discipline of Sufism. It was the first Sufi organization to achieve the status of United Nations Department of Public Information / Non-governmental organization (DPI/NGO) and is the leading Islamic education organization in Marin County, California. It won the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) "Messenger of Peace" award in 2000. IAS runs conferences co-sponsored with the Humanities Department of Dominican University of California, and organizes an annual international Sufi Symposium which attracts hundreds of Sufi practitioners from around the world.
IAS has played an important role in inter-faith dialogue and cooperation both in California and internationally. The association has been described as modernist or avant-garde in outlook, and this is seen in the manner in which it promotes itself and, for example, in the way modern integrative psychotherapy is used in the Community Healing Centers (CHC) with which the IAS collaborates on some projects. With a foundation in Islam, which has a tradition of respect for women and rights for women dating back to the Prophet, the association and its departments stress and practice a gender-equitable approach in their work.
- Maktab Tarighat Oveyssi Shahmaghsoudi led by the Pir, Salaheddin Ali Nader Shah Angha, who was officially appointed as the forty-second master of the Maktab Tarighat Oveyssi Shahmaghsoudi order, continuing the unbroken chain of transmission on September 4, 1970. The cloak of Muhammad was bestowed upon him by his father, Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha.
Now developed into an international non-profit organization, the Oveyssi order has over five-hundred thousand students with centers spanning five continents. With the use of modern technology and reach of the internet, weekly webcasts of the order's lecture and zekr sessions are broadcast live through the order's official website. 
The Qadiri Order is one of the oldest Sufi Orders. It derives its name from Abdul-Qadir Gilani (1077-1166), a native of the Iranian province of Gīlān. The order is one of the most widespread of the Sufi orders in the Islamic world, and can be found in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Turkey and the Balkans and much of East and West Africa. The Qadiriyyah have not developed any distinctive doctrines or teachings outside of mainstream Islam. They believe in the fundamental principles of Islam, but interpreted through mystical experience.
Mouride is a large Islamic Sufi order most prominent in Senegal and The Gambia, with headquarters in the holy city of Touba, Senegal. The Tijaniyyah order attach a large importance to culture and education, and emphasize the individual adhesion of the disciple (murīd). The Shadhili is a Sufi order founded by Abu-l-Hassan ash-Shadhili. Followers (murids Arabic: seekers) of the Shadhiliya are often known as Shadhilis. The Mevlevi Order is better known in the West as the "whirling dervishes".
|This article appears to contradict the article Ibadi. (June 2011)|
Kharijite (lit. "those who seceded") is a general term embracing a variety of Muslim sects which, while originally supporting the Caliphate of Ali, later on fought against him and eventually succeeded in his martyrdom while he was praying in the mosque of Kufa. While there are few remaining Kharijite or Kharijite-related groups, the term is sometimes used to denote Muslims who refuse to compromise with those with whom they disagree.
The only surviving Kharijite sect is the Ibadi. The sect developed out of the 7th century Islamic sect of the Kharijites. Nonetheless, Ibadis see themselves as quite different from the Kharijite. Believed to be one of the earliest schools, it is said to have been founded less than 50 years after the death of Muhammad.
Ibadis usually consider non-Ibadi Muslims as unbelievers, though nowadays this attitude has highly relaxed. They approve of the caliphates of Abū Bakr and Umar ibn al-Khattab, whom they regard as the "Two Rightly Guided Caliphs". Specific beliefs include: walāyah- friendship and unity with the practicing true believers and the Ibadi Imams, barā'ah- dissociation and hostility towards the unbelievers and sinners, and wuqūf- reservation towards those whose status is unclear. While Ibadi Muslims maintain most of the beliefs of the original Kharijites, they have rejected the more aggressive methods.
The Ahmadiyya movement was founded in India in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who claimed to be the promised Messiah ("Second Coming of Christ") the Mahdi awaited by the Muslims and a 'subordinate' prophet within Islam. The followers are divided into two groups, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam, the former believing that Ghulam Ahmad was a non-law bearing prophet and the latter believing that he was only a religious reformer though a prophet in an allegorical sense. Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims and claim to practice the pristine form of Islam as re-established with the teachings of Ghulam Ahmad. They are, however considered non-Muslim in some Muslim countries (notably Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) by constitution because of the issue of Ghulam Ahmad's prophethood.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the larger community of the two arising from the Ahmadiyya movement and is guided by the Khalifa (Caliph), currently Khalifatul Masih V, who is the spiritual leader of Ahmadis and the successor to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. He is called the Khalifatul Masih(successor of the Messiah).
The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement also known as the Lahoris, formed as a result of ideological differences within the Ahmadiyya movement, after the demise of Maulana Hakim Noor-ud-Din in 1914, the first Khalifa after its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The main dispute was based on differing interpretations of a verse [Quran 33:40] related to the finality of prophethood. Other issues of contention were the Kalima, funeral prayers, and the suitability of the elected Khalifa (2nd successor) Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad (the son of the Founder). The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement is led by a President or Emir.
Quranism (Arabic: قرآنيون Quraniyoon) is an Islamic branch that holds the Qur'an to be the only canonical text in Islam. Quranists reject the religious authority of Hadith and often Sunnah, libraries compiled by later scholars who catalogued narratives of what the Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said and done. This is in contrast to orthodox Muslims, Shias and Sunnis, who consider hadith essential for the Islamic faith.
The United Submitters International (USI) is a branch of Quranism, founded by Dr. Rashad Khalifa. Submitters considers themselves to be adhering to "true Islam", but prefer not to use the terms "Muslim" or "Islam", instead using the English equivalents: "Submitter" or "Submission". Submitters consider Khalifa to be a Messenger of God. Specific beliefs of the USI include: the dedication of all worship practices to God alone, upholding the Qur'an alone with the exception of two rejected Qur'an verses, and rejecting the Islamic traditions of hadith and sunnah attributed to Muhammad. The main group attends "Masjid Tucson" in Arizona, US.
From the Ahl-e Haqq point of view, the universe is composed of two distinct yet interrelated worlds: the internal (batini) and the external (zahiri), each having its own order and rules. Although humans are only aware of the outer world, their lives are governed according to the rules of the inner world. Among other important pillars of their belief system are that the Divine Essence has successive manifestations in human form (mazhariyyat, derived from zahir) and the belief in transmigration of the soul (or dunaduni in Kurdish). The Ahl-e Haqq do not observe Muslim rites and rituals.
Mahdavi Islam (Arabic: مهدوي اسلام) is a sect within Islam, founded by Syed Muhammad Jaunpuri in India in the 15th century CE. Jaunpuri declared himself to be the Imam Mahdi, the prophesied redeemer in Islam, and the denomination takes its name from the term mahdi ("guided"). Mahdavis follow the doctrine of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat. Mahdi e Maud (The Promised Mehdi) is believed to have said 'Mazhab ma Kitab Allah ( Quran )wa Ittebah e Rasool Allah ( Prophet Mohammad SAW). The Mahdavi regard Jaunpuri as the Imam Mahdi, the Caliph of Allah and the second most important figure after the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Both the prophet and imam are considered to be masum (معصوم, "infallible")
Messiah Foundation International is a Pakistani Islamic sect.
The Moorish Science Temple of America is an American organization founded in the early 20th century by Timothy Drew. He claimed it was a sect of Islam but he also drew inspiration from Buddhism, Christianity, Freemasonry, Gnosticism and Taoism.
Its primary tenet was the belief that there was a Negroid-looking population of aboriginal paleo-Americans which existed prior to the transatlantic slave trade that was subsequently confused with African people. Although often criticised as lacking scientific merit, adherents of the Moorish Science Temple of America believe that the Negroid Asiatic was the first human inhabitant of the Western Hemisphere. In their religious texts, adherents refer to themselves as "Asiatics", presumably referring to the non-Mongoloid Paleoamericans (see Luzia Woman). These adherents also call themselves "indigenous Moors", "American Moors" or "Moorish Americans" in contradistinction to "African Moors" or "African Americans".
The Nation of Islam was founded by Wallace Fard Muhammad in Detroit in 1930, with a declared aim of "resurrecting" the spiritual, mental, social and economic condition of the black man and woman of America and the world. It is viewed by almost all Muslims as a heretical cult. The group believes Fard Muhammad was God on earth, a belief viewed as shirk by mainstream Muslims. It does not see Muhammad as the final prophet, but Elijah Muhammad as the "Messenger of Truth" and only allows people of black ethnicity and believes they are the original race on earth.
In 1975, the teachings were abandoned and the group was renamed the American Society of Muslims by Warith Deen Mohammed, the son of Elijah Muhammad. He brought the group into mainstream Sunni Islam, establishing mosques instead of temples and promoting the Five pillars of Islam. Thousands (estimated 2 million) of African Americans joined Imam Muhammad in mainstream Islam. Some members were dissatisfied, including Louis Farrakhan, who revived the group again in 1978 with the same teachings of the previous leaders. It currently has from 30,000 to 70,000 members.
Zikri is claimed to be based around the teachings of Muhammad Jaunpuri. In religious practice, the Zikris differ greatly from mainstream Muslims and the Mahdavis. A main misconception that Zikris perform prayers called dhikr five times a day is a major one, in which sacred verses are recited, as compared to the orthodox practice of salah. Most Zikris live in Balochistan, but a large number also live in Karachi, the Sindh interior, Oman and Iran.
Islamism is a term that refers to a set of political ideologies derived from various fundamentalist views, which hold that Islam is not only a religion, but a political system governing the legal, economic and social imperatives of the state. Many Islamists do not refer to themselves as such and it is not a single particular movement. Religious views and ideologies of its adherents vary, and they may be Sunni Islamists or Shia Islamists depending upon their beliefs. Islamist groups include groups such as Al-Qaeda, the organizer of the September 11, 2001 attacks and perhaps the most prominent; and the Muslim Brotherhood, perhaps the oldest, which also forms the largest opposition grouping in Egypt. Although violence is often employed by some organizations, not all Islamist movements are violent.
Liberal and progressive movements have in common a religious outlook which depends mainly on Ijtihad or re-interpretations of scriptures. Liberal Muslims believe in greater autonomy of the individual in interpretation of scripture, a critical examination of religious texts, gender equality, human rights, LGBT rights and a modern view of culture, tradition, and other ritualistic practices in Islam.