Wednesday, January 3, 2007



Articles on the subject will be added and a brief description of the uniqueness of each one of the 10 different denominations will presented as we move along. Please remember, we will strive to keep every one on par without throwing negative light on any group. If we fail in that area, please point the mistake and send me the correction, we will appreciate you and credit you with the paragraph, sentence, phrase or the word.


"The division is not based on religion, it is neither in the Qur'aan nor is it in the Hadith. Differences are politically motivated, as to who should have the influence and governance. The differences have been accepted with resistance, a hard pill to swallow. On the other hand over a period of time, followers have created basis to justify it religiously. There is indeed a greater desire in Muslims to be called just Muslims and some day Insha Allah, it will materialize. Personally, most of us do not want any classification and that is the right attitude. But we are bound to use it for a while.

Mike Ghouse

The Division

None of the words describe the differences within the Muslim community in its approach to Islam. However, given the deficiency of the language, I have used the word Denomination, as, much of the Christian world uses the word denomination to denote the range of beliefs within the followers of Christ. The other words used are "Sect" in general. In India, even the word "Caste" is used.

The Muslims are making an effort in the last 5 years, to recognize plurality of approaches to Islam, however, in the past century the attitudes were not to recognize members of other groups as fellow Muslims. Even today, Pakistan officially denies the Ahmadiyya denomination the right to call themselves Muslims, it was purely politically motivated for the convenience of the politicians. In India, in smaller towns in the northern belt, there is a caste system among Muslims like the Caste System in the Hindu faith where it is un-common to have marriages between members of different castes. However, religiously there is no restriction in a Muslim marrying a non-Muslim either gender. But over the time, it has become one way, i.e., A Muslim man can marry a woman of other faith, conversion is not required religiously but the practice has been otherwise.

Originally, there were Muslims, and that's all it was, Muslim (pronunciation - Moo-Slim) After the death of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) the difference gave birth to differences in approaches - still it was not based on religion, rather it was the question of political leadership that divided the community.

Thus the ones followed the first leader Caliph Bakr (ra) became the followers of tradition called Sunnah, hence Sunni Muslims and the ones who followed the leader, whom they believe should have been the leader came to be known as Shia, followers of Ali (ra) who was he first person to become a Muslim and is the Son-in-Law of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Over a period of time each group developed it's own theological grounding. (A separate Page will be dedicated to understanding the Shia-Sunni differences). The Sunnis developed 4 schools of thought namely: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali. Whereas the Shia developed the Jafaryia and two sub schools of thoughts. The Major one is "Jafaryia" also known as the "Twelvers" and "Seveners" and "Fivers" depending on the Imams each sub group recognizes after Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Usually Jafaryia and Twelvers is used to mean Shia.

The division is neither in Qur'aan nor was it in Hadith. The differences have been accepted with resistance, a hard pill to swallow. I believe, understanding the differences will lead to accepting that there are different ways of asking the divine to help and may actually lead us in to Plurality. We have accepted the different schools, and in fact great scholars like Imam Zia Kavakci will explain the differences with utmost respect.

Most commonly accepted estimates are 85% Sunni and 15% Shia and denominations within each other.

  1. Al-Ibadiyyah
  2. Al-Khawariji
  3. Ahmadiyya
  4. Bohra/Shia
  5. Ismaili/Shia
  6. Shia
  7. Sufi
  8. Sunni
  9. Wahhabi/Sunni
  10. Others (will be added as we find out)

Let's accept our unique differences, but show our civility, integrity and faith in God to bind us and make us better humans. That really is the bottom line. You can pray all you want, but that is for you, Serving mankind is serving God, all else is selfish and we need to develop a good balance between the two.

Mike Ghouse

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Voice of Moderate Muslims

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Moderate Islam Speaker

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.