A Pew Poll has given the percentages of Sunnis, Shiites, and those who identify as "just a Muslim" throughout the world. Each of these is considered mutually exclusive by the pollster. Then it says:

For some Muslims, another layer of identity comes from membership in a Sufi order. ... These orders can fall within either Sunni or Shia Islam.

It then gives the percentages of Sufis in various countries, as it had for Sunnis and Shiites. But it doesn't really give an idea of the overlap between them.

Have any polls or studies said how many Sufi Muslims also adhere to Sunnism or Shiism?


You write: “From these numbers I could derive vague approximations for how many Sufis are also Sunnis and/or Shiites”. I do not understand how (purely statistically) you could do this. Perhaps you could explain.

Most Sufis consider themselves to be followers of one or another of the law schools (madhāhib), either Sunni or Shi’i. In Egypt and North Africa (for example) the majority of the population as a whole, and thus also of the Sufis, follow the Maliki school of Sunni Islam. In Iran the Sufis, like the majority of the population as a whole, follow the Ja’fari school of Shi’i Islam. In the Yemen (if I may speak from my personal experience) the Zaydi (Shi’i) ulama reject Sufism entirely, but the Shafi’i (Sunni) believers are often Sufis.

  • Your first point is a good one. I didn't really think it through, so I'll remove that part of the question. As for the rest, good info. Thank you. Apr 2 '15 at 15:24

The common manifestations between the Sufi and Shiite sects in Kurdistan have been one of the influential factors in the tendency of Kurdish tribes to adopt the Shiite religion in recent centuries; Because under the domination of the customs and rituals of Kurdistan, the symbols and manifestations of many Shiite beliefs became popular among the Kurds and the Kurdish people adhered to the religion of Imam Shafi'i to the level of sufficiency in prayer, the quality of ablution and call to prayer. The Kurds following the Sufi teachings acted like the Shiites in the matter of recourse, pilgrimage to graves, obedience to the Sheikh, etc., and did not feel much difference with the Shiites in the atmosphere of such a belief. Thus, the Naqshbandi, Qaderi, Nematollahi, and Jalali sects, common throughout the Kurdish regions, provided the ground for the entry of Shiite ideas into Kurdistan, and in the form of Sufi ideas, promoted Shiite ideas among the Kurds. The convergence and closeness of the Tariqat and Shiite beliefs provided for the closeness of Kurdish tribes to the Shiite religion, and followed the growth of Shiism among Kurdish tribes, especially the Kurds of southern Kurdistan. However, the fall of the Tariqah ideology in Kurdistan, which began rapidly in the late Pahlavi era and spread throughout Kurdistan during the Islamic Revolution, led to the separation of Shiite and Sunni borders and their differentiation into Kurdish areas.

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