The Caucasian races (except the Gregorians), together with the Turks and Tatars, are Mussulmans of the Sunnite sect (2,021,300), and the Iranian races mostly Mussulmans of the Shiite sect (884, too).
The crusading princes were well enough aware of the gulf which divided the caliph of Cairo from the Sunnite princes of Syria; and they sought by envoys to put themselves into connexion with him, hoping by his aid to gain Jerusalem (which was then ruled for the Turks by Sokman, the son of the amir Ortok).
The Shiite caliphs of Egypt were by this time the playthings of contending viziers, as the Sunnite caliphs of Bagdad had long been the puppets of Turkish sultans or amirs; and in 1164 Amalric I.
For Nureddin the fight meant the acquisition of an heretical country for the true faith of the Sunnite, and the final enveloping of the Latin kingdom:' for Amalric it meant the escape from Nureddin's net, and a more direct and lucrative contact with Eastern trade.
Badakshan proper is peopled by Tajiks, Turks and Arabs, who speak the Persian and Turki languages, and profess the orthodox doctrines of the Mahommedan law adopted by the Sunnite sect; while the mountainous districts are inhabited by Tajiks, professing the Shiite creed and speaking distinct dialects in different districts.
The first forty-two years of his life are obscure; we learn from incidental remarks of his that he was a Sunnite, probably according to the IIanifite rite, well versed in all the branches of natural science, in medicine, mathematics, astronomy and astrology, in.
1045-1052) Nasir visited Mecca four times, and performed all the rites and observances of a zealous pilgrim; but he was far more attracted by Cairo, the capital of Egypt, and the residence of the Fatimite sultan Mostansir billah, the great champion of the Shia, and the spiritual as well as political head of the house of `Ali, which was just then waging a deadly war against the 'Abbaside caliph of Bagdad, and the great defender of the Sunnite creed, Toghrul Beg the Seljuk.
The hostility he encountered in the propagation of these new religious ideas after his return to Khorasan in 1052 and Sunnite fanaticism compelled him at last to flee, and after many wanderings he found a refuge in Yumgan (about 1060) in the mountains of Badakshan, where he spent as a hermit the last decades of his life, and gathered round him a considerable number of devoted adherents, who have handed down his doctrines to succeeding generations.
(d) Sunnite Moslems are a weak element, strongest in Shuf and Kurah, and composed largely of Druse renegades and "Druse" families, which, like the Shehab, were of Arab extraction and never conformed to the creed of Hamza.
In the 10th century it suffered severely, being repeatedly pillaged in the wars of the Fatimite caliphs Al-Qaim and Abu Tahir Ismail el Mansur with the Sunnite leader Abu Yazid and the Zenata Berbers.
Meanwhile the district of Khiva, previously subject to Bokhara, was made an independent khanate by Abdul-Gazi Bahadur Khan; and in the reign of Subhankuli, who ascended the throne in 1680, the political power of Bokhara was still further lessened, though it continued to enjoy the unbounded respect of the Sunnite Mahommedans.
In 1742 Shemakha was taken and destroyed by Nadir Shah of Persia, who, to punish the inhabitants for their creed (Sunnite Mahommedanism), built a new town under the same name about 16 m.
Badis, the 4th ruler of the dependent Zeirid dynasty which had ruled in the Maghrib since the migration of the F~imite Moizz to Egypt, definitely abjured his allegiance (1049) and returned to Sunnite principles and subjection to the Bagdad caliphate.
Nureddin loyally aided his deputy in dealing with Frankish invasions of Egypt, but the anomaly by which he, being a Sunnite, was made in Egypt to recognize a Fa~timite caliph could not long continue, and he ordered Saladin to weaken the Fatimite by every available means, and then substitute the name of the Abbasid for his in public worship. Saladin and his ministers were at first afraid lest this step might give rise to disturbances among the people; but a stranger undertook to risk it on the 17th of September 1171, and the following Friday it was repeated by official order; the caliph himself died during the interval, and it is uncertain whether he ever heard of his deposition.
Yet these two schools of Sufis were never quite similar; on Sunnite soil Sufiism could not openly impugn orthodox views, while in Persia it was saturated with Shiite heresy and the pantheism of the extreme devotees of 'Ali.
The only deed of power, however, that is recorded of him, is that he opposed himself to the substitution of a Shiite head cadi for the Sunnite, so that Baha addaula had to content himself with giving to the Shiites a special judge, to whom he gave the title of naqib (superintendent).
His rejection of the Shiite tenets as a state religion seems to have propitiated th~ Sunnite Afghans.
The Sunnite Turk was almost a greater enemy to his neighbor the Shiite than the formidable Muscovite, who had curtailed him of Rupture so large a section of his territory west of the Caspian.
Although most fervent Shiites, they are on very good terms both with their Sunnite and with their Russian neighbours.
They are Sunnite Mussulmans.