Islamic Sects and Schools


Islamic sects are not simply "denominations," if that word is understood to mean various valid approaches to the same religion. Members of one Islamic group do not usually recognize members of other groups as fellow Muslims, and open conflict between sects is not uncommon.

Yet, as a whole, Islam is less divided than Christianity and Judaism - the vast majority of the world's Muslims are Sunnis. And Sufism is a mystical approach to Islam that is approved as orthodox by nearly all Muslims. Follow a link below to learn about some of the largest Muslim sects and groups.



Ahmadiyya Islam was founded in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (c. 1839-1908) in Qadian, Punjab, India. Ahmad claimed to be the appearance of the Messiah or, according to some sources, the manifestation of the prophet Muhammad and incarnation of Jesus and Krishna...

Shi'a Islam

Shi'a Islam encompasses most Muslims who are not counted among the Sunni. The division between Sunni and Shia dates to the death of the prophet Muhammad, when his followers were faced with the decision of who would be his successor as the leader of Islam...


Sufism is less an Islamic sect than a mystical way of approaching the Islamic faith. It has been defined as "mystical Islamic belief and practice in which Muslims seek to find the truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God...

Sufi Beliefs

Sufi Glossary

Sufi History

Sufi Practices

Sufi Timeline

Sunni Islam

With 940 million adherents out of about 1.1 billion Muslims, Sunni Islam is the largest Islamic sect. (Shia Muslims make up about 10% of all Muslims worldwide...

Sunni Glossary

Sunni Timeline

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