Describe the major sects of Islam, give a brief outline of their origins, and explain the beliefs that distinguish them from each other.

 The four Islamic sects are Sunni, Shia, Sufism and Ahmadiyya. The major two are Shia and Sunni.The division in the Islamic community occurred after the death of Prophet Muhammad in 632. Abu Bakr as- Siddiq, Mohammed’s friend and father in law succeeded him and became the first caliph. Some members of the Muslim community were of the opinion that Abu Bakr was not fit to be the caliph. They felt that the title of Caliph belonged to Ali Ibn Abi Talib. Ali and his supporters claimed that since he was Muhammad’s cousin and adopted son, he should be the caliph (spiritual leader). This brought about the Sunnis, supporters of Abu Bakr and the Shiites who supported Ali.

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