What is the religious classification of islam? How many classifications of religion are there?
Simultaneously with the scholarly research on religion, the various religions in human society have been classified according to a number of criteria. The criteria generally adopted in this regard are, for instance, based upon the concept of God, the socio-historical standpoint, or the geographical historical point of view.
Classification based on the concept of God:
a) Monotheistic religions (religions with divine origin).
b) Dualist religions (Zoroastrianism).
c) Polytheistic religions (such as Ancient Greek, Roman, Hinduism, and Egyptian religions).
d) Those whose concept of god is not clear (such as Buddhism and Shintoism).
Classification of religion from a sociological-historical point of view:
a) Religions whose founders are known (such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism).
b) Traditional religions (such as religions whose founder is unknown, primitive religions, Ancient Greek, Hinduism, and Ancient Egyptian religions).
Another classification is as follows: a) Primitive religions and primitive tribal religions like Nuer, Dinka, and Ga religions. Some scholars consider beliefs such as animism (worship of spirits, especially ancestral spirits), naturism (accepting the forces of nature as sacred), totemism (belief in the sanctity of magic, plants, and animals), and fetishism (the worship of idols by primitive societies) as the first step in religious development. b) National religions are traditional religions that do not usually mention a founder but belong to only one nation. (Ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Roman religions are of this nature). c) World religions like Christianity and Islam.
From a geographical-historical point of view, religions can be classified as follows:
a) Middle Eastern and Semitic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam).
b) Indian religions (such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism).
c) Sino-Japanese religions (such as Confucianism, Taoism, and Shintoism).
d) The African religions.
Commencing from the 16th century in the West, there was a growing interest in the life and religion of primitive tribes, and from the 18th century onward, apart from the data provided by the holy books, archaeological and anthropological findings were evaluated and some theses were put forward on the religions and beliefs of the past nations and even prehistoric societies. It has been argued by such studies that the first societies, under the influence of natural events, attributed sanctity to them (naturism), worshipped spirits and especially ancestral spirits (animism), believed in magic, the sanctity of plants and animals and that such beliefs formed the basis of later religions. As a result of the positivist and materialist propaganda that were effective in the West since the middle of the 19th century, claims and assumptions that contradicted the holy scriptures were spread by bringing the theory of evolution to the forefront. According to this theory, the source of religion was superstitions, false beliefs, and polytheism, and as a result of evolution, it is claimed, that humanity developed the idea of monotheism or the belief in one God.
However, besides the theory of evolution, there have also been researchers who have come to different conclusions by using the same anthropological scientific method. According to this theory, which is called primitive monotheism, the oldest belief of humankind was the belief in the one God. Taylor’s student, Andrew Lang, who made the first serious objection to the theory of animism, disclosed that animism was not found in the primitive tribes of Southeast Australia, but disclosed that the concept of a supreme God residing in heaven who oversaw people’s morality was present amongst them. A similar primitive monotheism was advocated by Wilhelm Schmidt. He demonstrated that there was evidence of belief in a supreme being in all primitive tribes. Contrary to the theory of evolution, the thesis that this belief in the one God, as a result of shifting historical-cultural realities such as the worship of spirits or the belief in polytheism, changed and deteriorated, was acknowledged widely in the scientific circles.
Obviously, religion is innate to humans. A person who has matured to the age of thinking and is able to meditate on his own environment observes that nothing exists by itself, but is brought into being by some other being (the Creator). Thinking of the chain of causes, the mind turns to the first human being, the beginning of animal and plant species, and then to the creation of earth, moon, planets, and stars. It necessarily accepts the existence of a supreme being, who neither begets nor is born, who has neither a beginning nor an end, and possesses infinite power. Those who have no knowledge of religions and have not learned anything about any religion can still reach Almighty Allah by using their own reason and logic. In Islam, it is accepted that people who have not been sent a prophet or who have not had any contact with the true religion and the prophet are considered members of the “interim period”, and are obligated only to believe in Allah. The following is stated in the Qur’an: “Nor would We visit with Our Wrath until We had sent a Messenger (to give warning).”
The true religion is the commands, prohibitions, and decrees that Allah Almighty announced to humankind through His prophets. As long as people abide by the provisions of this divine law, they will find the straight way and be on the right path. As a result, they will attain happiness in this world and in the hereafter.
 See al-Isrā, 17: 15.