School of Thoughts found in Islam Today A Short Intro

Major Doctrinal Division Within Islam!

1) Ash’ari and Maturidi Schools: Sunni Orthodoxy(1)

These two schools of doctrine are followed by the bulk of Sunni Muslims and differ only in minor details.

Ashari School:

This School is named after the followers of the 9th century scholar Abu Hasan al-Ashari (874-936 CE) and is widely accepted throughout the Sunni Muslim World. They believe that the characteristics of God are ultimately beyond human comprehension, and trust in the Revelation is essential, although the use of rationality is important.

(1) Orthodoxy in Islam is based on verse 2:285 of the Holy Quran.let us defined by consensus of Ummah according to, in 2005 international islamic consensus meeting. Amman Message.

(a) Whosoever is an adherent to one of the four Sunni Schools (Mathahib) of Islamic jurisprudence (Hanafi,Maliki,Shafi’i, and Hanbali), the two Shi’a schools of Islamic jurisprudence (Ja’fari and Zaydi), the Ibadi school of Islamic jurisprudence and the Thahiri school of islamic jurisprudence, is a Muslim. Declaring that person an apostate is impossible and impermissible. Verily his (or her) blood, honour, and property are inviolable. Moreover, in accordance with the Sheikh al-Azhar’s fatwa, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare whosoever subscribes to the Ashari creed or whoever practices real Tasawwuf (Sufism) an apostate.

Equality, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare as apostates any group of Muslims who believes in God, Glorified and Exalted be He, and His Messenger (may peace and blessings be upon him) and the pillars of faith, and acknowledges the five pillars of Islam, and does not deny any necessarily self-evident tenet of religion.

(b) There exists more in common between the various schools of Islamic jurisprudence than there is difference between them. The adherents to the eight schools of Islamic jurisprudence are in agreement as regards the basic principles of Islam. All believe in Allah (God), Glorified and Exalted be He, the One and the Unique, that the Noble Quran is the Revealed Word of God; and that our master Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), is a Prophet and Messenger unto all mankind. All are in agreement about the five pillars of Islam; the two testaments of faith (Shahadatayn); the ritual prayer (salat); almsgiving (zakat); fasting the month of Ramadan (sawm), and the Hajj to the sacred house of God (in Mecca). All are also in agreement about the foundations of belief; belief in Allah (God), His angels, His scriptures, His messengers, and in the Day of Judgment, in Divine Providence in good and in evil. Disagreements between ulema (scholars) of the eight schools of islamic jurisprudence are only with respect to the ancillary branches of religion (furu) and not as regards the principles and fundamentals (usul) [of the religion of Islam]. Disagreement with respect to the ancillary branches of religion (furu’) is a mercy. Long ago it was said that variance in opinion among the ulema (scholars) ‘isa good affair’.

(c) Acknowledgement of the schools of Islamic jurisprudence (mathahab) within Islam means adhering to a fundamental methodology in the issuance of fatwas; no one may issue a fatwa without the requisite personal qualifications which each school of Islamic jurisprudence determines [for its own adherents]. No one may issue a fatwa without adhering to the methodology of the schools of Islamic jurisprudence. No one may claim to do unlimited Ijtihad and create a new school of Islamic jursiprudence or to issue unacceptable fatwas that take Muslims out of the principles and certainties of the Sharia and what has been established in respect of its Schools of Jurisprudence.

Maturidi School:
This school is named after the followers of the 9th century scholar Muhammad Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (853-944 CE) and has a wide following in regions where Hanafi Law is practiced. They have a slightly more pronounced reliance on human reason.

2) Salafi School:
This school was developed around the doctrines of 18th century ‘scholar‘!! Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab (1703-1792 CE). Salafis have specific doctrinal beliefs, owing to their particular interpretation of Islam, that differentiate them from the majority of Sunnis, such as a literal anthropomorphic interpretation of God. Salafis place a great emphasis on literal interpretation of the Quran and Hadith, with skepticism towards the role of human reason in theology.

3) Mutazili School:
This school was developed between the 8th and 10th centuries. Although it is traced back to Wasil bin Ata (d. 748 CE) in Basra, theologians Abu al-Hudhayl al Allaf (d. 849 CE) and Bishr bin al Mu’tamir (d. 825 CE) are credited with formalizing its theological stance. Mutazili thought relies heavily on logic, including Greek philosophy. Although it no longer has a significant following, a small minority of contemporary intellectuals have sought to revive it. Mutazilites believe that the Quran was created opposed to the Orthodox Sunni view that it is eternal and uncreated. Moreover they advocate using rationalism to understand allegorical readings of the Quran.

[Important Note: Please keep in mind that we are only giving here novice information on basics and the groups found mostly followed by Muslims around the globe, although Salafi groups is not a school of thought among Muslims, because their founder does not qualify the qualities of the person who has a criteria to establish a school of thought under proper way defined by Islamic principles, further; Majority only consist of these four schools of thought from 1400 years of Islam and still they are followed i.e., (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali) in Sunni Islam, the spiritual way of Islam is called ‘Tareeqat’ (Sufism in english wrongly). Then another major group in Islam is Shia, we will explain few basic groups of Shias among themselves. In majority of Sunni Islam, ‘Salafism’ (which consists of these new names,i.e., Wahabi/Ahlu Hadith/Deobandi (at some extant)/Quranian.these four are considered out from the Circle of Islam, when they deviate from the basic fundamentals established by Pure orthodox Sunni Islam, thus if some salafi called himself (or herself) salafi, considering that they are following the Salafi, while there is open denial to the fundamentals of Islam in their false beliefs. They are not in PURE ORTHODOX circle, until they repent). Also Mu’tazalis are now not anymore in the world, as explained previously, may be some intellectuals are following that school but its vanished now.
Ibadi School :
Ibadis believe that God created the Quran at a certain point in time, and that God will not be seen on the Day of Judgment. They also believe in the eternal nature of hell for all those who enter it.

Major Shia Theological Positions:

1) The Twelver School:
The infallibility (Ismah) of the Twelve Imams descended from the family of the Prophet (Ahl al Bayt) who are believed to be the spiritual and rightful political authorities of the Muslim community (Umma). The Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi, is believed to be in occultation to return in the future.

2) Isma’ili School:
The Quran and Hadith are said to have truths lying with a single living Imam, descended directly from the Prophet. Also known as ‘seveners’ for their belief that Isma’il ibn Jafar was the seventh and final leading-Imam of the Muslim community.

3) Zaidi School:
The infallibility of the Twelve Imams and the notion of occultation are rejected in favor of accepting the leadership of a living Imam. The Imamate can be held by any descendant of the Prophet (Sayyid). Also known as ‘fivers’ for their belief that Zayd ibn Ali was the fifth and final leading-Imam of the Muslim community.


Traditional Islam (96 % of the World’s Muslims):
Also known as Orthodox Islam, this ideology is not politicized and largely based on consensus of correct opinion — thus including the Sunni, Shia and Ibadi branches of practice (and their subgroups) within the fold of Islam, and not groups such as the Druze or the Ahmadiyya, among others.

Islamic Modernism (1% of the World’s Muslims):
Emerging from 19th century Ottoman Turkey and Egypt, this subdivision contextualized Islamic ideology for the times—emphasizing the need for religion to evolve with Western advances.

Islamic Fundamentalism (3% of the World’s Muslims):
This is highly politicized religious ideology popularized in the 20th century through movements within both the (so called) Shia and (so called) Sunni branches of Islam — characterized by aggressiveness and reformist attitude toward traditional Islam.

[Note: This needs clarification, in short, this last 3% of Group consists of not fundamental but, self created and self imposed Sharia by the branches like (Salafi/Wahabi/Deobandi/Ahlu Hadith) who proclaim to be Sunnis. and some extreme deviant sects among the Shias]

Traditional Islam:


The largest denomination of Muslims referred to as Ahl as Sunnah wa’l Jama’h or ‘People of the prophetic tradition and community‘ — with emphasis on emulating the life of the last Prophet, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).See the diagram to better understand.




Important Note:

Some people may think that this brotherhood is like some kind of occult, for those people, NO, It is not, because they (Sufi Islam) is following Sunnah and traditions which are open, While occult on the other hand has always tend to be secret. That is the biggest difference of argument if someone’s mind go towards that thing. Further, as previously explained in several articles in Tareeqat section of this blog, we recommended you to read those articles to know more. Here only introduction to the modern day Muslims found in the world are given.  Regarding Salafism, why we do not consider Rafida (those extremists among Shias ) and Kharijites (those among Salafis) among circle of the Ummah.Please read articles in 73 sects section and Sufism section for more details on the topic.





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