Branches of Islam

Test your knowledge in this short quiz…

1. What percentage of the world's Muslims are Sunni?

It's 85-90 percent. Sunni Muslims far outweigh Shia Muslims in number.

2. What does the Shia holy day Ashura commemorate?

It commemorates the death of Muhammed's grandson, Husayn ibn Ali, who died in the Battle of Karbala in AD 680. Ashura is a day of mourning for Shia Muslims.

3. Which branch of Islam believes that imams can only be those born of the bloodline of Fatima?

Shia Muslims believe imams can only be of Fatima's bloodline. Fatima was the daughter of Muhammad. She was married to his cousin, Ali, who became the fourth caliph in AD 656.

4. What is the name given to Muslims who practice Islamic mysticism?

Sufism is the name for those who practice Islamic mysticism. Sufi Muslims can be Sunni or Shia. They have a strong belief that Islam should not be taught through books alone and their teachers can be traced back to Muhammad himself.

5. In which country will you find the majority of the world's Ibadi Muslims?

It's Oman, where about 45 percent of the Omani population are Ibadi. Ibadism is an orthodox sect of Islam. It was formed about twenty years after Muhammad's death, which means it predates Sunni and Shia Islam.

6. Which of these is a practice of Folk Islam?

It's visiting a saint's tomb. Those who practice Folk Islam will sometimes visit saint's tombs to pray and seek blessing. Other practices include fortune telling, fearing jinn (evil spirits), using the hand of Fatima to ward off evil

7. The Alawi branch of Islam is most often described as an offshoot of which group?

It's Shia Islam. Alawites are a particularly secretive group, mainly found in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey. The most famous Alawite is probably the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

8. What form of Islam do most Saudi Arabians follow?

Most Saudis follow an ultra-conservative form of Islam known as Wahabism.