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March 26th, 2007
Pilgrimage to Karbala
Sunni and Shia: The Worlds of Islam

While the Islamic world is predominantly of the Sunni sect, the Muslims who live in the Middle East, and particularly those in the Persian Gulf region, are often Shiite. Globally, the Shia account for an estimated 10 or 15 percent of the Muslim population, but in the Middle East their numbers are much higher: they dominate the population of Iran, compose a majority in Iraq, and are significant minorities in other nations, including Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Syria. Outside of the region, Shia generally constitute only tiny minorities in other Muslim countries, including Algeria, Sudan, and Egypt in Northern Africa.

Map Data Sources: CIA World Factbook;

Population: 28,513,677
Percent Shia Muslim: 19%
Percent Sunni Muslim: 80%

Population: 32,129,324
Percent Shia Muslim: —
Percent Sunni Muslim: 99%

Population: 7,868,385
Percent Shia Muslim: 67%
Percent Sunni Muslim: 29%

Population: 677,886
Percent Shia Muslim: 70%
Percent Sunni Muslim: 30%

Population: 76,117,421
Percent Shia Muslim: —
Percent Sunni Muslim: 90%

Population: 69,018,924
Percent Shia Muslim: 90%
Percent Sunni Muslim: 9%

Population: 25,374,691
Percent Shia Muslim: 63%
Percent Sunni Muslim: 34%

Population: 6,199,008
Percent Shia Muslim: —
Percent Sunni Muslim: 15%

Population: 5,611,202
Percent Shia Muslim: 2%
Percent Sunni Muslim: 92%

Population: 2,257,549
Percent Shia Muslim: 25%
Percent Sunni Muslim: 60%

Population: 3,777,218
Percent Shia Muslim: 36%
Percent Sunni Muslim: 22%

Population: 5,631,585
Percent Shia Muslim: —
Percent Sunni Muslim: 97%

Population: 32,209,801
Percent Shia Muslim: —
Percent Sunni Muslim: 99%

Population: 2,903,165
Percent Shia Muslim: 2%
Percent Sunni Muslim: 21%

Population: 159,196,336
Percent Shia Muslim: 20%
Percent Sunni Muslim: 77%

Palestinian Territory
Population: 3,152,361
Percent Shia Muslim: —
Percent Sunni Muslim: 95%

Population: 840,290
Percent Shia Muslim: 14%
Percent Sunni Muslim: 86%

Saudi Arabia
Population: 25,795,938
Percent Shia Muslim: 5%
Percent Sunni Muslim: 95%

Population: 39,148,162
Percent Shia Muslim: —
Percent Sunni Muslim: 70%

Population: 18,016,874
Percent Shia Muslim: 13%
Percent Sunni Muslim: 74%

Population: 9,974,722
Percent Shia Muslim: —
Percent Sunni Muslim: 98%

Population: 66,893,918
Percent Shia Muslim: 15%
Percent Sunni Muslim: 85%

Population: 2,523,915
Percent Shia Muslim: 16%
Percent Sunni Muslim: 80%

Population: 20,024,867
Percent Shia Muslim: 36%
Percent Sunni Muslim: 63%

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  • Fiaz Awan

    Not be confused, in Almost all Islamaic countries there is absolutely Sunni except three countries, Iran90% shia, Iraq50% shia, Bhirain 50% shia, most of Islamic countries ratio is as under

    Algeria 0% shia
    Albanaia 0% shia
    Egypt 1% shia,
    Moroco 0% shia
    Tunsia 0% shia
    Lybia 0% shia
    Somalia 0% shia
    Mauritania 0% shia
    Sudan 2% shia
    Saudi Arabia 5% shia
    Palestian areas less than 1% shia
    Lebanon 35% shia
    Syria 10% shia
    Turkey 5% shia
    Pakistan 5% shia
    Indonisia I really do not now but it should be 2%
    So these are Muslim countries which has significent population as for UAE Qatar, etc these countries have very little insignificent populatins.

  • Syed Rizvi

    thanks fiaz for urinfo but ur figures r based on hypocrisy & the actual figures r what given by Syed Ather Hussain Zaidi…..anyhow ,, we do not want to prove we have significent numbers but infact we r contend that we are in minority and to remain so since QURAN says that majority of Muslims are in for a loss….so alhamdolillah our opponents are losers and we are the successful group following QURAN & AHLEBAIT.
    jazakALLAH khair al jaza……

  • Malik

    DEATH WITH yazeed

  • Fiaz Awan

    But no one has commented on my earlier remarks about Shia rule in Iraq. Is it not true that Iraqi Shia win there a government with help of USA and Israel. And is it not fact that Iraqi shia government is giving billion of dollars contracts to Israelis firms. It is also fact that Iraqi government has been supported by Iran. So in Iraq Shia, jews and Americans are united. It is also fact that in Iraq shia militia has killed thousand of thousand Sunni Muslims cold blooded. Any justifictaion for this?
    As for Indian Muslims, there is no doubt there number is great 200 million but they are under Hindus, very little freedom themselves, how they can play a role in Islamic world?

  • Syed Rizvi

    some of ur facts r right & some r wrong.but see to it that this is a govt.whats happening in iraq is more political than religious.I accept ur facts. so will u be brave enough to accept the other older facts that all these governments in sunni countries, ranging from gulf to africa&pakistan r supported by USA&israel (just take latest example of egypt&tunisia where they cannot form another govt until USA&israel r satisfied!!).is not egypt&jordan a sunni country supporting israel openly&having embassies&support israel in killing sunni palestinians (by closing borders).atleast iran always fights with USA&israel (though we do not take iran to be a representative of Shia!).is it not a fact that pakistani sunni govt & militants & afghanistan sunni militants & many other country the govt sponsered sunni people kill Shias in thousands!!is it not a fact that saudi&egypt&jordan&algeria&morocco&tunisia buy weapons indirectly from israel through USA & eventually giving billions of dollars to them, even via starbucks which is in centre of Mecca Shareef !?
    Now, my India.who told u we have little freedom??atleast come one time for any event, EID, MOHARRUM, RAMZAN, MILAD or anything.we practice our faith&do open tableegh without any fear.we have Azaan five times daily with loud speakers.we wear Muslim attire most often with ease alhamdolillah.&yes we live peacefully with non-Muslims because India is a secular country.small things happen everywhere.even in pakistan Milad cannot be done easily, since any bomb can happen.u see how much more developed is Indian kashmir than compared to pakistani illegally occupied&all this fighting is because of pakistan only.the world knows this thing.even India supports palestinians & also has dealing with israelis for weapons, which is okay as per Islam.
    fine my only answer is-QURAN says majority of Muslims are in a alhamdolillah we Shias are never in majority&so are not the losers.the sunnis who are in majority are in loss.just cross check how many conversions happen from sunnis to Shias.people convert after thoroughly studying Islam to its right path.
    ALLAH shower blessings on MOHAMMED SAWAWS & HIS PROGENY AS.

  • ray asif bhatti

    sunni is not religen they follower of mavia and abu jahal they have already disputes among them they are wahabi, deobandi, malki, etc and divided in several groupes but they have one agenda program they all against Allah, Rasool, ale Rasool and shiane Ali

  • hamisi

    we are all muslims
    we have to work together for our best future.
    no one can try to divide us into differents groups
    i want to ask my brothers sunnis
    which sunni’s country is developping fast than iran?
    no one
    please we are shia
    our aim is to put muslims in their proper and respect places
    our aim is to help all people through the world,teach them ,fighting against tyran,fighting against corruption etc,,,,

    shaia and sunnis we are all called to respect each other,
    we can sit together and solve our problems without figthing or killing ,
    to have many shia or sunnis in one country that doesn’t help us,
    let’s concentret to what can develop fast our countries, as learning,working hard,living peacefuly with others,

    that is my comment about numbers of shia and sunnis in some countries,

    my brothers the first thing in our live is to help others without killing innocent people,learning understanding different views from others etc,,,,

    assalam alikum
    your brother (shia from Rwanda in Africa)

  • Shahid

    Two things I want to share: Before making any statement please think in a cool way of outerworld. Use common sense. Do u ever felt “noor” in wahahi’s face. They looks extremely horrible and zero noor. Not all, the wahabi type sunnies. Yes they are the followers of their ancestors Abu-Jahel, Maavia and Yazeed they Love them.
    Second thing, I m wondering that have they ever thought of the “Elahi Circle”? God gifted Muhammad (PBUH) a daughter who gots marry Ali. Hasson-o-Hussain are tow sons. Muhammad (PBUH) postpones his Namaz When Hussain rides on the shoulder during Salat (prayer). All these things are found in Sunni books.

  • Zishan

    This info is based on biased nature of western world, as we see iraq is a sunni dominant if we gather Kurd and Arab sunni muslims, then it makes total 60% of sunni population in Iraq. as far as the Iran, Iran has 25% sunni muslims who usually reside in seestan balochistan near zahidan.
    Labonan is sunni dominant country, behrain has 50% of sunni muslims. According to former chief of Hizbullah said, Iran invited USA and NATO to invade iraq to bring up shia into power, that’s why we can say” shia is supported by USA,NATO. It is not wrong that the sanction and ban upon iran is fraud, it has no reality, they gave iran free hand to expand nuclear facilities.

  • Mustafa

    In reply to Naina of Jan.24,2011 at 1032 a.m., I would say it is because their caliphs after the death of Prophet Mohammed,SAWW, their caliphs did tremendous berehemi to Ahle beit-e-Rasool,SAWW by usurping Fatema A.S,’s FADAK and even causing her miscarriage of hamal of Mohsin A.S. and her ultimate demise.

  • alkalbani

    am omani and what you said is totally wrong. becauce the government is from the Minority so they say that they are the Majority to not lose the power and they dont published the real numbers

    sunni 75%

    abadiat 25%

    shi’a is less than 0.03% – 0.05% and they are not original omani they are from iran and india.

  • ruhullah farahi

    i am ruhullah and i am from afghanistan… I would like to inform you guyz that my country afghanistan has more tht 25% of shia… So as the figure which iz mentiond iz wrong…
    And yes please stop fightin wth each other under the issue who iz shia and who is sunni…

  • Ramzan

    Yes , Bahrain was 70% shia and 30% sunnis but after vigorous efforts by the government to change the demographic scene it is now 60% shia and 40% sunnis according to latest independent studies.

  • Sarfraz Hussain

    i m sunni from mother side and shia from father side, and eventualy now following shia ideology due to eye opening reason that its shia ideology either in iran or in lebnon that is challenging America and Israil, where as all others bowing before these so called super powers. only ture ideology can do it. arab countries including Saudia are safing guard American and israli interests . No one is compareable with Ahmedi Nijad and Syed Hassan Nasrullah

  • Ghulam Abbas

    if careful study and population may be counted, shias are in very minority even in Iraq, Bahrain, Azerbaijan and Lebonon. Only Iran is shia majority country.

  • Mohamed Hussain

    Am a muslim and i believe all muslims are one irrespective of their sect provided that we agree on the fundamentals of islam(arkanul islam and iman). Sunni muslims do not support Israel against Iran but it is the dictators(presidents&kings) who are American puppets and they do not represent the views of their cityzens . Remember, if you claim that sunnis are the only muslims,we have sects within the sunni islam just like we have in the shia islam. The truth is none of these terms (Shia,sunni,suffi,druzes,khawarij,zaidy,ismaeli,takfir etc) is found in the Quran or in Hadith, or is it?
    This is an American policy of ‘devide and rule’ in the Muslim world. We all know that Iran,Syria( druze president) and Hezbullah(shia) were of more help to sunni palestinians than sunni Egypt( under Hosni Mubarak) and Jordan who sealed their borders and refused to let in aid to Gaza let alone helping them fight. Thank God, these dictators are being toppled by civilian uprisings one after the other.
    The religion of God is Islam and not sunni or Shia. We should love and respect each other as muslim brothers and sisters.

  • Syed Rizvi

    I agreed with Mohammad Hussain’s view

    I request all our brothers and sisters from both Sunni or Shia to stop thinking like what I have seen the comments above.

    We are Muslim and we have no right to say who is right and wrong. please think positive and think how we can regain the glory of our past.

    Unfortunately, I have been seeing some extreme comments from our Shia brothers for Sunni and from Sunni brothers for Shia. And instead of helping each other, we are trying to prefer ourselves.

    First decide what is the basic to be a Muslim and check if those basics are true to other party or not.

    In Islam, no one is better than other. Every Muslim either Shia or Sunni love Hadrath Fatima AS, Hardrath Ali AS and his family. However this love is not the basic of our Iman. If someone is not respecting Ahle Bait, he/she is committing a sin but it doesn’t mean he/she is out of Islam. Then who we are to issue fatwa and comments.

    Please re-think before commenting.

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