I admit I'm ignorant but...?

I've been confused lately....when I converted to Islam, I always thought everyone was just muslim, what is all this talk I am hearing about Shiah and....other types of Muslim? I know I am Sunni, and I thought everyone else was sunni...woow it seems as I've been blind from the world.

On the other hand, I feel very strongly about my religion, and Islam was never intended to be like Christianity (no offense to any christians) where there are many different types (Roman Catholics...etc.) So I was just wondering if someone can give me a brief explination of why there are all these different types of muslims now, because I am very very confused.

Are we not all believers of the Holy Qu'ran, do we not all believe that there is only One God who has no partner, Allah swt , that Muhammad (saww) was the last Prophet and messenger?

please, I need some clarification..

Thanks in advance ( ^_^) /

16 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer


    Dear sister, I actually just did give a numerically sequenced representation of the various Sects, Madhabs, groupings etc in Islam at the following http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=200904...

    It's perfectly natural that you did not notice that Sectarianism sadly exists in Islam. I myself being a born Muslim only found this out a few years ago. Sadly you will find that these sectarian issues will never be eliminated but your way of thinking where you mentioned "Are we not all believers of the Holy Qu'ran, do we not all believe that there is only One God who has no partner, Allah swt , that Muhammad (saww) was the last Prophet and messenger?" is perfectly sensible and correct and this is the basics which will definitely keep you a strong Muslim. These primary beliefs which you've outlined above is what you need to hold onto and are the essentials for one to be a content Muslim headed down the straight path, the sectarianism really springs due to conflicting secondary views. Here is a detailed opinion of mine on this matter:

    "LETS ALL BE ONE AGAIN" We are all Muslim brothers and sisters, we are one Ummah.

    Now I do realise unfortunately that a strong and terrifying division exists between our Sunni Muslim brothers and our Shia Muslim brothers. This division is so awful that sadly we see some amongst them killing each other, showing tremendous hatred and disrespect to each other and further continuing the unwelcome disunity in our Ummah. What really hurts me is that some Muslims feel they have absolute authority on declaring other Muslims as kuffaar, this is wrong as I have always felt that as long as a person meets the primary criteria as laid out in our Glorious Quran for being a Muslim, that person is a Muslim. The primary criteria or beliefs being that they affirm that there is no God but Allah, that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the final messenger of Allah and that our Glorious Quran is the final revelation of Allah and that what it says is the truth than that person whether Shia, Sunni, Sufi is a Muslim, this person has met the primary criteria and as such is our Muslim brother, however this person will have secondary views and these views will often differ amongst the various "sects"in Islam and sometimes these secondary views might be very unpleasant and disconcerting which Allah ultimately has the right to judge the seriousness of this view, in a case like this we could say this person might be committing a sin, how major a sin this is, is for Allah to ultimately judge but certainly as long as this person still has his primary belief structure intact, he is still within the fold of Islam, yes he might be committing a major sin but I have never seen anybody thrown out of the fold of Islam for committing a major sin unless that sin is shirk or is against the primary criteria for being a Muslim, so as such, such a person is still a Muslim though he may be committing a major sin upon which Allah has the right to determine the level of punishment such a person deserves and don't forget that Allah's doors of mercy and forgiveness are always open to us Muslims whether we be Sunni, Shia, Sufi (all these are just titles by the way) etc which leads me to my next point that as Muslims we should all engage in a sincere effort to help one another in resolving these deviances so as to sincerely refrain from committing sin as a result of what could be a serious wrong view due to these deviances. I feel that in the interest of seeking truth and reconciliation, there should be a determined effort to promote many dialogues, discussion and research between both Sunni and Shia scholars and any other Muslim (primary criteria - so no Qadianis, Aga Khan Ismailis etc) groups scholars. These discussions should be such that the differing viewpoints should be honestly presented, there should be a critical, sincere and honest analysis of the sources and narrations that provide the basis for such differing views, the historical authenticity of these sources should also be verified and ultimately the aim of such symposia and gatherings should be to bring about reconciliation in the Ummah through honest and sincere analysis of what's causing the split. Obviously this might not bring about total reconciliation and many might still subscribe to their original secondary views but at least now a sincere and truthful effort has been made to iron out the differences and at least the hatred should be encouraged to stop. After all British and Germans still strongly disagree over World War 2 but do you see them at each others throats, instead you see them ideologically recognising and embracing one another despite their strong historical differences. The streets of Berlin and London are peaceful unlike the streets of Baghdad (though that is also due to the US invasion but the sectarian violence was uncalled for). Allah the Exalted, the Wise tells us all in our Glorious Quran to hold on fast to His rope and stay united and that ultimately He is the judge and He will show us where we have gone wrong on the Day of Qiyammah and as I would understand it Him showing us where we may have deviated is not Him discarding or rejecting us and our sincere, honest effort for true belief

    Salaam to all

    EDIT: So as you can see above it's really secondary issues which have divided Muslims. The Primary beliefs which you mentioned in your question are what really should bind us together but sadly most Sectarian orientated Muslims tend to look beyond that and focus more on the Secondary aspects which leads to the conflict. My humble advice to you is to stay the way you are, follow what the Glorious Quran and genuinely authentic Hadith mentions, focus fully on maintaining your belief in almighty Allah, worshipping Him and acknowledging Him as being your Creator, Nourisher and Sustainer. These primary focuses will help you lead a content life as a Muslim. You can anlalyze the secondary aspects which are causing the division/sectarianism (though that's only if you have the time and resources to do such) if you so wish, the best way to do this is to read a lot on these aspects but still this shouldn't deter you from maintaining the strong level of Iman which you so excellently already appear to have

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  • zetta
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    in charge... I dont watch secular television plenty in any respect so i became oblivious to even cutting-edge activities like the Tsunami, Katrina and the California wildfires. somebody at my youngster's daycare had to tell me concerning the fires and that i became like 'fourteen fires somewhat? wow...THATs why I scent the smoke in the air?' call me loopy yet i come across maximum of what the international considers important mainstream matters look repetitive, sensationalized and void of religious fiber for the main area. Im only passing by right here although so pardon my tunnel innovative and prescient...I only experience like (at this think approximately my existence) if it doesnt improve my courting with God then its a waste of time.

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  • Sects are inventions of men. People always want to insert things into Islaam. I converted to Islaam too, from atheism. And I was also a bit overwhelmed at first.

    The Muslims of the past - including the Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them) - would sometimes use terms to show they were different from groups bringing in foreign ideas to the Qur'an and hadith. That doesn't mean they made a different sect, it just means other people made different sects and they wanted to show they weren't part of them.

    If somebody calls himself a Sunni cause he wants to follow the Sunnah, there's nothing really wrong with that. As for people coming up with all sorts of weird terms and groups named after men and not stuff from Islam, then just avoid them.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    As you, once i reverted the issue of sects took over. If you are heavily concerned and confused i first ask you to research the sects objectively, not from this site. The difference of sects in Islam, unlike Christianity sects, is almost completely Political. All sects (referring to general Sunnis and Shia) believe in the Oneness of God, the Holy Qur'an, and his Holy Prophet, 5 Pillars of Islam. They only differ in who succeeds the prophet and several interpretations of verses in the Qur'an.

    I ask you to please study elsewhere, and beg to not derive any conclusions or ideas about either sects from this website.

    Source(s): Revert
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  • 1 decade ago

    I was raised Muslim and I still don't understand the sects fully. I think there is a verse in the Quran that warns Muslims about creating divisions among each other. It's not good, I'd just ignore it, it's not really important. A person is Muslim as long as they believe in one God and his Messenger, period.

    EDIT: I believe it's related to the politics of Islam, about who "took over" after Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) which is nonsense because he is the Seal, the final and last prophet. So the Caliphs or whatnot (don't even ask what that is) have nothing to do with the real religion, to be honest.

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  • 1 decade ago

    There are 72 sects in Islam but the main two are Sunni and Shia. The reason for the great divide in Islam is the question to as who is the real successor of the prophet Muhammad. And of course certain beliefs between Sunni and Shia differ.

    Some other sects in Islam are...

    Kharijities literally "Those who Went Out" were once Shia Muslims.

    Alawis Shia Muslims in Syria who are extremely devoted to Ali.

    Alevi are Muslims in Turkey who worship in assembly houses rather than Mosques.

    Wahhabi Mainly in Saudi and the Persian Gulf, is a conservative form of Sunni Islam that advocates return of the practices held in the first three generations of Islamic history.

    Sufism is a mystic sect of Islam often whirling dervishes are ascociated with them.

    Source(s): Me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  • 1 decade ago

    Put it this way - Catholics, Protestants, Methodists, Lutherans, etc. are ALL "Christians"...

    The same goes for "Muslims" - the overall beliefs are the same (as you mentioned), but the WAY you show that belief (in your actions, prayers, etc.) is what is different ;);)

    Source(s): Edit: And JUST like "Christians" - those of one group do NOT like to be lumped together with certain (or all) other groups... Putting a Catholic and a Protestant together - and saying that they are EXACTLY the same - is a sure fire recipe for disaster!
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  • 1 decade ago

    hmmm you know when some people believe something that's against Sunnah and the Quran then you have to come up with a name to identify them.There was no such a thing as Sunni or Shia >400 years ago.But unfortunately politics got involved and...

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    We are supposed to be neither sunni nor shia nor wahabbi, nor whatever other sects there are. Belonging to any sect is haram.

    See 6:159 and 30:32 onwards.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The Hadith of the Two Weighty Things (Thaqalayn):

    The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.W) said:

    "It is probable that I will be called soon, and I will respond. So I leave behind me two weighty (very worthy and important) things, the Book of Allah (the Quran), which is a string stretched from the heaven to the earth; and my progeny, my Ahlul Bayt. Verily Allah, the Merciful, the Aware, has informed me that these two will never be separated from each other until they meet me at the Fountain of Abundance (the Hawdh of Kawthar, a spring in heaven). Therefore, be careful of how you treat these two in my absence."

    This hadith was declared on, at least five occasions—the first being the farewell speech during the last hajj, the second at Ghadir Khum, the third after the Prophet left the city of Ta΄if near Makkah, the fourth at the pulpit in Madina, and the fifth—just before he died—in his room which was full of his companions.

    Given the high importance of the Noble Quran, why would the Prophet associate the Ahlul Bayt with the Noble Quran and place them second in importance to it? The answer is that Ahlul Bayt are the best to explain the true meaning and interpretation of this Noble Book. The Noble Quran, as it states itself, contains both clear (muhkam) and unclear (mutashabiah) verses, and so the correct interpretation of these unclear verses must be passed on from the Prophet himself, as he did to his Ahlul Bayt. In addition, the Ahlul Bayt, due to their closeness to the Prophet, had an unparalleled knowledge of his traditions.

    This hadith of Thaqalayn has been narrated by more than twenty companions of the Prophet and has also been narrated by over 185 narrators mentioned in Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2, 238; Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 5, 181-182; Sahih Tirmidhi, Vol. 2, 220.


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    The Verse of Guardianship

    "O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those vested with authority over you ('ul ul-'amr minkum). And if you quarrel about something, refer it to Allah and the Messenger." (Holy Quran, 4:59)

    This verse refers to the guardianship of Imam Ali, and subsequently, the rest of the Ahlul Bayt. The Prophet has said about “those vested with authority over you,” that “They are my successors and the leaders of the Muslims after me. The first of them is Ali ibn Abi Talib, then al-Hassan and al-Husayn, then Ali ibn al-Husayn, then Muhammad ibn Ali, who is known as al-Baqir, then al-Sadiq Ja'far ibn Muhammad, then Musa ibn Ja'far, then Ali ibn Musa, then Muhammad ibn Ali, then Ali ibn Muhammad, then al-Hassan ibn Ali, then the one who bears my name—Muhammad. And he will be the proof (hujjah) of Allah on the earth.”

    Ref: Tafsir al-Burhan



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    Also Visit:

    The Five Schools of Islamic Thought:




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