WikiIslam:Sandbox/Diversity in Islam

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All Muslims believe that Muhammad was a prophet of Allah, and that the Quran is from Allah and not from Muhammad, even though Muslims directly received the Quran from Muhammad and they never seen Allah. But they have different opinions on the interpretation of the Quran, the authenticity of other Islamic sources like hadiths and on Muhammad's companions and family. This article looks at all the different branches of Islam and their views.


Basic information about the groups:


Sunnis form the majority of Muslims. They believe that the successor after Muhammad should have been Abu Bakr. According to sunnis, the most authentic Islamic sources after the Quran are collections of hadiths Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, which along with other four compilations form, so called "six authentic books" (kutub al-sittah). The word sunni (سُنِّي) is derived from the word sunnah (سُنَّة), which is, in the context of Islam, the way of Muhammad's life. Sunni Islam is further divided into different madhabs (schools of thought), which have slightly different opinions on how to derive laws from the Quran and sunnah (how to do fiqh).


Shias believe that the successor after Muhammad should have been Ali. However the first appointed caliph for the Muslim community was Abu Bakr (as the sunnis wanted) and Ali was eventually the 4th. Shias reject the first three caliphs and consider Ali to be the first one. For that reason they are in a conflict with sunnis. Shias form about 10% of Muslim population.


Sufis are not really a different group from sunnis and shias. A sufi Muslim can be a sunni or shia. Sufis just add some mystical practices, like dancing or singing to "get closer to god". Sufism itself is not concerned with the Islamic sharia law, but it coexists with it and sufis fully respect the sharia. Sufis have a conflict with salafis, who reject music.


Ibadis are not sunnis nor shias. They opposed the third caliph.


Ahmadiyyas accepted another prophet after Muhammad, called Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Because of that they are often considered to be non-Muslims by Muslims, because the vast majority of Muslims believe Muhamad was the last prophet.


There are also other religions which kind of respect Muhammad as a prophet, but their followers don't call themselves Muslims. Among them is the sikh and baha'i faith.


Punishments (hudud)[edit]

Name Stoning Beheadings Cutting hands
Sunni - Hanafi Yes [1]
Sunni - Maliki
Sunni - Shafii
Sunni - Hanbali
Sunni - Salafi - Wahhabi[2] Yes [3]
Shia - Jafari
Shia - Zaidiyyah
Shia - Isma'ili


Name Child marriage Minimum age for marriage Minimum age for sex
Sunni - Hanafi Yes [4]
Sunni - Maliki Yes [4]
Sunni - Shafii Yes [4]
Sunni - Hanbali Yes [4]
Sunni - Salafi - Wahhabi[2]
Shia - Jafari
Shia - Zaidiyyah
Shia - Isma'ili

Views on other religions[edit]

Name Jesus as a Muslim/prophet of Islam Jewish figures as Muslims/prophets of Islam Other deities and prophets as Muslims
Sunni - Hanafi Yes Yes No
Sunni - Maliki Yes No
Sunni - Shafii
Sunni - Hanbali
Sunni - Salafi - Wahhabi[2]
Shia - Jafari Yes[5]
Shia - Zaidiyyah
Shia - Isma'ili
Ahmadiyya Yes[6][7]


Name Beating women Compulsory hijab
Sunni - Hanafi
Sunni - Maliki
Sunni - Shafii
Sunni - Hanbali
Sunni - Salafi - Wahhabi[2]
Shia - Jafari Yes[8]
Shia - Zaidiyyah
Shia - Isma'ili

Other teachings[edit]

Name Freedom of religion Jihad Deception/taqiyya
Sunni - Hanafi No Yes
Sunni - Maliki No Yes
Sunni - Shafii Yes
Sunni - Hanbali Yes Yes
Sunni - Salafi - Wahhabi[2] No [9] Yes [10]
Shia - Jafari Yes[11]
Shia - Zaidiyyah No[12]
Shia - Isma'ili Yes[13]
Ibadi Yes[14][15]
Ahmadiyya Yes[16]


Islam may be divided into dozens of sects, sub-sects, or movements and it may overlap with many languages, races, castes etc. But when it comes to the most disturbing beliefs and practices, Muslims show a incredible similarity. This is clear from the above tables.


  1. "وهذا قول أبي حنيفة، وقولنا فإن كان الزوج دخل بها رجمت وإن كان لم يدخل بها ضربت الحد مئة جلدة" - "And this was said by Abu Hanifa, and he said to us, so if husband entered her, stone her and if he did not enter her, then beat her, the punishment: one hundered lashes." ("Kitab Al-Athar" by Shaybani, chapter 101)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Note: Salafi/Wahhabi not exactly a sect but a movement within Sunnis.
  3. "عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ لِمَاعِزِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ ‏"‏ أَحَقٌّ مَا بَلَغَنِي عَنْكَ ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ وَمَا بَلَغَكَ عَنِّي قَالَ ‏بَلَغَنِي أَنَّكَ وَقَعْتَ بِجَارِيَةِ آلِ فُلاَنٍ ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ نَعَمْ ‏.‏ قَالَ فَشَهِدَ أَرْبَعَ شَهَادَاتٍ ‏.‏ ثُمَّ أَمَرَ بِهِ فَرُجِمَ" - "From Ibn Abbas, that the prophet (saw) said: Is it true what has reached me about you? He said: What has reached you about me? He said: It has reached me that you have committed (adultery) with the slave-girl of so and so? He said: Yes. He (the narrator) said: He testified four times. He (the Holy Prophet) then made pronouncement about him and he was stoned (to death)." (Majmu'a al-Hadith 'Ala Abwab al-Fiqh by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, volume 4, chapter of Hudud. Contains many other hadiths.)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "يجوز تزويج الصغيرة بالكبير إجماعا ولوكانت في المهد" - "It is permissible to marry young girls, by a great ijma (consensus of scholars), even if they were still in a cradle." (Fath Ul-Bari by Bukhari, vol. 11, page 25)
  5. "The Prophethood of Jesus" (archived), 
  6. Ian Adamson. Ahmad the Guided One. Islam International Publications Ltd. pp. 207–208. ISBN 1-85372-597-8.
  7. Modern religious movements in India, John Nicol Farquhar, Munshiram Manoharlal, 1967, p. 138.
  8. Ayatollah Ebrahim Amini. "Women and Hijab". AN INTRODUCTION TO THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF WOMEN IN ISLAM (archived). 
  9. Majmu'a al-Hadith 'Ala Abwab al-Fiqh by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, volume 4, Chapter of Ruling on Murtad (باب الحكم المرتد), page 255
  10. "مَنْ مَاتَ وَلَمْ يَغْزُ وَلَمْ يُحَدِّثْ نَفْسَهُ بِغَزْوٍ مَاتَ عَلَى شُعْبَةِ نِفَاقٍ" - "Whoever dies without having fought or thought of fighting, he dies on one of the branches of hypocrisy." (Majmu'a al-Hadith 'Ala Abwab al-Fiqh by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, volume 3, chapter كتاب الجهاد والسير, page 237)
  11. "al-Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as) (The Sixth Imam of Ahlul-Bayt) said: "al-Taqiyya is my religion, and the religion of my ancestors.”He (as)also said: "He who doesn’t practice al-Taqiyya, doesn’t practice his religion."", "Al-Taqiyya, Dissimulation Part 3", (archived), 
  12. Regional Surveys of the World: The Middle East and North Africa 2003. London, England: Europa Publications. 2003. p. 149. ISBN 1-85743-132-4.
  13. Virani, Shafique N. (2007). The Ismailis in the Middle Ages: A History of Survival, a Search for Salvation. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-19-531173-0.
  14. Ibadis call this concept kitman, analogous to taqiyya.
  15. Juan Eduardo Campo (1 Jan 2009). Encyclopedia of Islam. Infobase Publishing. p. 323. ISBN 9781438126968.
  16. Ahmadiyyas profess belief in three definitions or levels of jihad. The third one calls for a war to defend their religion in the name of Allah as a response to persecution and only upon the orders of their Caliph.