Home / All / Geographical Distribution of Islamic Jurisprudential Sects

Geographical Distribution of Islamic Jurisprudential Sects

At that time the Muslims swore allegiance to Imām ‛Alī bin Abī Tālib (a) but Mu‛āwīyah bin Abī Sufyān refused to swear allegiance to him. Nobody followed him in this except the people of Syria. He formed his own, autonomous government there. He also took some jurists and some people who related traditions with him, and thus the major division was started.

At the same time where the Muslims and the great companions believed ‛Alī (a) to be the rightful khalīfa and the most knowledgeable person war was started between him and Mu‛āwīyah bin Abī Sufyān. Here, the belief in the Ahlul-Bayt (a) grew. The Ahlul-Bayt are glorified in the Qurān. Allah said that he removed all impurities from them and purified them a thorough purification. Allah also made it obligatory to love them and accept their authority.

What follow is the Geographical Distribution of Islamic Jurisprudential Sects:

1- Imāmīyah Main population Zones

The majority of Imāmīyah (Twelver Shia) are living in India, Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the countries around Persian Gulf such as Yemen and Bahrain. Statistics show that Twelver Shi’as constitute 89% of the population in Iran, 60-65% of the population in Iraq, 30% of the population in Kuwait, and 16% of the population in the United Arab Emirates. There are no exact statistics for Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar. According to statistics, 20% of the population in Pakistan are Shi’a, but some of them, especially in Kashmir, are Ismā’īlīs. Yemeni Shi’as are primarily Zaydīs, and some population of Turkey and Syria is consisted of ‘Alawī Shi’as.

Contemporary Imāmīyah jurisprudential seminaries:

  • Iran: Qum, Mashhad, Isfahan, Tehran, Shiraz, Tabriz, etc.,
  • Iraq: Najaf al-Ashraf, Karbala, Kāẓimayn, Sāmirrā’,
  • Syria: Damascus, Ḥalab,
  • Lebanon: Beirut, Sur, Saydā’, Nibṭīyah,
  • Pakistan: Karachi, Multan, Lahore,
  • India: Lacknaw, Hyderabad,
  • Around the Persian Gulf: Bahrain, Kuwait, Iḥsā’, Qaṭīf (Saudi Arabia), Emirates,

2- Ḥanafīyah Main population Zones

Ḥanafīyah holds the most followers among four Sunni legal schools. The majority of its followers are living in Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Turkey, the Balkans, Indian subcontinent, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Iran (in northeastern, eastern, and southeastern regions). It is reported that 70% of Muslim population follow this sect.

3- Shāfi’īyah Main population Zones

 Shāfi’īyah is the predominant sect in Egypt plateaus, Palestine, and Kurd-living areas. Most Muslim population of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippine, India, China, Australia, majority of Iranian Sunnis, and half of Yemeni Muslims follow this sect.  It is the second popular Sunni sect in Iraq, and challenges Ḥanafīyah in Hejaz. A quarter of Muslims in Syria are Shāfi’ī, but very few people hold this sect in Afghanistan.

4- Mālikīyah Main population Zones

Before the appearance of Shāfi’īyah, it was the predominant sect in Hejaz, Egypt and the African regions around it, Andalusia, and Sudan, and also, it was famous in Baghdad. However, it declined from 400 A.H. onwards. By the appearance of Shāfi’īyah in Egypt, it decreased there to the second place, but, it held its position in eastern Africa.

            Nowadays, Mālikīyah is the leading sect in the regions like eastern parts of Africa, Sudan, Algeria, Tunisia, alpine regions of Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain. The Mālikīyah presence is negligible in Palestine and Saudi Arabia, especially Iḥṣā’.

5- Ḥanbalīyah Main population Zones

It is the main sect of Saudi Arabia. Most Sunnis in Najd are Ḥanbalīs, and it rivals Shāfi’īyah in Hejaz and Mālikīyah in Iḥṣā’. A quarter of Syrian Muslim population is Ḥanbalī, and it is the third sect in Palestine, but holds a few followers in Egypt, Oman, and Afghanistan.

6- Zaydīyah Main population Zones

It is the predominant sect in north of Yemen and southeast of Saudi Arabia. Yemen is Zaydīs’ main place of residence where Shi’as constitute 45% of the total population; meanwhile, 25% are Zaydīs.

7- Ibāḍīyah Main population Zones

Ibāḍīs mostly live in Oman, Zanzibar, Tunisia, Algeria, and Lybia. Ibāḍīs’ headquarter is Oman, which is the only Muslim country that has accepted this sect as its official religion, and its king holds this sect, too. According to the CIA-the world factbook, 75% of population in Oman are Ibāḍīs. However, they were living in very vast areas (including Andalusia) in the past.


1- In 2010, Christianity with 33% dissemination among people was the most extended religion of the world. Islam with 21% dissemination, Atheism with 16% dissemination, and Hinduism with 14% dissemination were in the next stages.

About Ali Teymoori

Check Also

Qāḍī ʿAbd al-Jabbār’s Theory of Justice: Its Implications for Public Law and Contemporary Political Governance in Islam

By focusing on the concepts of "rationality" and "human will," which hold paramount importance in Qāḍī ʿAbd al-Jabbār al-Muʿtazilī's theory, this article aims to provide a legal and positive interpretation of the elements of his....

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Google Analytics Alternative