Islam is a monotheistic religion which believes in the sovereignty of one god, which the Muslims call Allah. Islam was founded by Muhammad in the seventh century in the Middle Eastern city of Mecca. Mecca is still the centre of the Muslim world and considered the holiest place for Muslims.
The followers of Islam are divided into two major sects, Sunni and Shi’a. Sunnis consist of almost 85% of the Muslim population. The place I visited was a mosque belonging to the Sunni Muslims. This division between the Muslims took place after the death of Muhammad when there was disagreement over the successor to Muhammad. Sunnis believe that the four caliphs (leader of Muslims) who succeeded Muhammad were the rightful successors to him. However, the Shiites do not believe in the first three caliphs and claim that Ali, the son-in-law of Muhammad, was the rightful successor. Ali was eventually chosen as the fourth caliph. Sunnis recognize four legal traditions Hanafi, Malaki, Shafi’I and Hunbali. A Sunni Muslim may choose to be guided by any of these four traditions but not any other tradition. If he does, he is not following the Islamic tradition, and hence committing a sin.