Islam is considered the youngest among other world religions. The historical dates of its origin are determined by the 7th century. Its cradle was Mecca and Medina, which are revered by representatives of all religions. The reason for the split in Islam was the political struggle and the assassination of the third righteous caliph. As a result of the division, three major directions were formed.
In 656, after the death of Uthman ibn Affan, the post of caliph was given to Ali ibn Abu Talib, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad. However, many suspected Ali of involvement in the murder of the former caliph. Muawiya ibn Abu Sufyan, the governor of Syria, refused to swear allegiance to Ali, which led to the battle of Saffin.
Ali's indecision in waging the war sowed doubts among the soldiers, and 12,000 left the army. Having settled in Iraq, they began to call themselves Kharijites, which is translated from Arabic as “speakers”. This was the first major branch within a single religion.
Five years later, Ali ibn Abu Talib was killed. Mu'awiyah was appointed Caliph. However, part of the Muslim people remained faithful to the Ali dynasty. Thus, the Islamic world split into Sunnis, who recognized the power of the new Caliph and the Umayyad dynasty, and Shiites, who still believe that the power legally belongs to the descendants of Ali. The Kharijites, however, did not join any branch.
87% of Muslims are Sunnis. The overwhelming majority is represented in the countries of the Middle East, Central and South Asia, North Africa. In legal matters, Sunnis adhere to one of four Sunni legal schools. The Sunni branch includes the Salafis living in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, and the Sufis.
The second largest group of Muslims is the Shiites, accounting for 12-13% of Muslims. The Shiite group is divided into several subgroups. Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon are moderate Twelver Shiites; Saudi Arabia, Yemen, small groups in Iraq and Iran - zaidis; Turkey and Syria are extreme Shia Ismailis. Iraq is home to 40% of all Shiites in the world.
The Kharijites have religious views that overlap in many respects with those of the Sunni. However, the first two caliphs, Umar ibn Khattab and Abu Bakr, are recognized as legitimate by the Kharijites. Usman, Ali and everyone else are not recognized as this offshoot.
Throughout the history of their existence, the Kharijites were divided into many currents: Ajradis and Ibadis, Bayhasites and Azrakits, Najdatis and Muhakkimites, Sufris and Saalabs. Most of them have become religious history or are represented by minor groups. The only exceptions are the Ibadis, which include most of the population of Oman.
The division is not limited to the three main Islamic denominations. There are movements in the world that are based on Islamic laws, for example, Koranism.