Muslims belong to one of the two major branches of allegiance in Islam — the majority are Sunni (comprising more than 90% of believers) or Shi’ah. The basic difference between the two is that the Shi’ah School believes in the necessity for a spiritual leader from the Family of the Prophet Muhammad, hence a religious structure. The Sunni School on the other hand, does not necessarily require the same.

Each local Muslim Community, whether Sunni or Shi’ah, has one or more religious leaders (people who have attained formal Islamic education or who are proficient in Islamic knowledge). This kind of leader is often referred to as an Imam, Director of the Islamic Centre, or Khateeb (one who gives the Sermon, or Khutba).