Muslim Disunity


Sunni- Most Muslims are Sunni, the biggest, and more orthodox, sect of Islam. They have a less structured hierarchy of religious leaders. Their leaders, Caliphs, are not chosen by God, but are important advisors and community leaders. They are supposed to encourage the community to follow the laws and guidelines of the Qur'an. During the Crusades most of northern Syria and the Levant was Sunni with the centre of Sunni authority in Baghdad.

Shi'ite- These sects of Islam started to split apart in the 600s, after Muhammad's death in 632. They prefered their leader to be a descendant of Muhammed but these descendents all died out by the 800s. Shi'ites now make up 10-15% of all Muslims and are the second largest sect. During the early Crusades their centre of power was Fatimid Egypt which was then taken over by the Sunni Saladin in the late 12th century.

Muslim leaders during the First Crusade