Somalis are entirely Muslims, the majority belonging to the Sunni branch of Islam and the Shafi`i school of Islamic jurisprudence, although a few are also adherents of the Shia Muslim denomination.
The whitewashed coral stone city of Merca is an ancient Islamic center in Somalia.
Qu’ranic schools (also known as duqsi) remain the basic system of traditional religious instruction in Somalia. They provide Islamic education for children, thereby filling a clear religious and social role in the country.
Known as the most stable local, non-formal system of education providing basic religious and moral instruction, their strength rests on community support and their use of locally-made and widely available teaching materials.
The Qu’ranic system, which teaches the greatest number of students relative to other educational sub-sectors, is oftentimes the only system accessible to Somalis in nomadic as compared to urban areas. A study from 1993 found, among other things, that “unlike in primary schools where gender disparity is enormous, around 40 per cent of Qur’anic school pupils are girls; but the teaching staff have minimum or no qualification necessary to ensure intellectual development of children.” To address these concerns, the Somali government on its own part subsequently established the Ministry of Endowment and Islamic Affairs, under which Qur’anic education is now regulated.
In the Somali diaspora, multiple Islamic fundraising events are held every year in cities like Toronto and Minneapolis, where Somali scholars and professionals give lectures and answer questions from the audience.
The purpose of these events is usually to raise money for new schools or universities in Somalia, to help Somalis that have suffered as a consequence of floods and/or droughts, or to gather funds for the creation of new mosques like the Abuubakar-As-Saddique Mosque, which is currently undergoing construction in the Twin cities.
In addition, the Somali community has produced numerous important Islamic figures over the centuries, many of whom have significantly shaped the course of Islamic learning and practice in the Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and well beyond.