theWay logo ...Islam explained, for non-Muslims and new Muslims.

Diversity & Extremes

1. Introduction

2. Major doctrinal divisions
Sunni doctrine
Shi'i doctrine
Ibadi doctrine

3. Major ideological divisions
Traditional Islam
Modernism
Fundamentalism

 

 

Major ideological divisions

Traditional Islam

This ideology is not politicised and is largely based on scholarly consensus of correct opinion. Traditional Islam (or Orthodox Islam) makes up 96% of the world's Muslims, and includes Sunnis, Shi'as and Ibadis. Traditional Muslims emphasise the importance of adhering to a consistent school of Islamic law. Many also follow one of the mystical brotherhoods for spiritual refinement.

Sunnis are the largest denomination of Muslims, making up 90% of the world's Traditional Muslims. They follow one of the four schools of law, namely Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali.

Shi'as are the second-largest denomination of Muslims, making up 9.5% of the world's Traditional Muslims. Their schools of law include the 2 Twelver schools (less than 8% of all Muslims), namely the Usuli and the Akhbari. Other Shi'a schools of law are the Isma'ilis (less than 0.5% of all Muslims) and the Zaidis (less than 0.8% of all Muslims).

Ibadis make up 0.5% of the world's Traditional Muslims. They make up the majority of the population of Oman, and are also found in some parts of Africa.

Islamic modernism

This ideology makes up 1% of the world's Muslims, and emphasises the need for religion to evolve with Western social advances. Modernist Muslims are criticised for having very little knowledge of Traditional Islam, its systems and content, and thus, not fully realising what they are rejecting or criticising.

Islamic fundamentalism

This is a highly politicized religious ideology that makes up 3% of the worlds Muslims. It was popularised in the 20th century through movements within both the Shi'a (Revolutionary Shi'ism) and Sunni (Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabism/Salafism) branches of Islam — characterised by aggressiveness and a reformist attitude toward Traditional Islam.