Tamahu seems to have picked out some good links.
There's also this one
However, I would caution on viewing groups like the Druze/Unitarians, Yezidi, and Mandaeans as Islamic. They're not mohammedeans, the yezidi in
particular worship a peacock idol. The mandaeans are sometimes
erroneously refered to as "St. Johns Christians", in reference to john the
baptist ( i beleive that they hold him in high regard and drink wine ceremonially, as do the yezidi).
For secret socities in islam 'proper', the biggies are definitly the Hashashins and Roshaniya.
Mohammed himself, i have heard, belong to a secret society made up mostly of merchants, and supposedly remarked that he felt strongly loyal to them,
even though they weren't muslim at the time.
For other secret societies, you'd want to look at the Shia. They are replete with smaller sects that have arcane rituals. The Sufi, not really a
branch in the proper sense, but more of a tradition amoung unrealated groups, are esoterics.
The Kizil Bashi in Turkey (distinct, though possibly related to the kizil bashi of iran), have practices that are 'strange' in the islamic context
(drink wine, have prophetesses divine the future from wells, etc) are something of a tricky subject. Might not be a 'secret society', but they do
supposedly hide their habits from the sunni muslims.
ANother esoteric group are the allawis, mostly from syria. These people are intersting. Sometimes they are called Nosairii, though apparently thats
become a perjorative. Its supposed to stem from a guy named al-Nusyar (there are alternate spellings). SO calling an allawis a Nosairi is like
calling a muslim a 'mohammed worshipper'.
The things thats really intersting about this group is that, though ostensibly muslim, they are rejceted as such by the mainstream, and there used to
be, before islam even existed, a tribe-cult in that region called c.f. nosairi. They were an Astral Cult, with neo-platonic ideas (ie, c.f. the soul
pre-exists, moves through the heavens into the body, upon death, goes through a series of transmutations to become purer, etc). Though they deny this.
The Assad's, who run syria now, are allawis. Even if we reject the idea that they are secretly pagans, they are recognized as having a
quasi-heretical 'esoteric' faith.
Intersetingly, the Druze, in lebanon, israel, and syria, are also said to have neo-platonic beleifs. And they too attribute their 'origins' to a
muslim, similar to how the nosairii have al-Nusayri.
Beyond that, there are the Bektashi in turkey/the balkans. These guys are usually groupped as Dervishes, and dervishes are sometimes considered a
sufi order, though again its not like sufism started with one guy and spread from there.
They too have rites that are secretive, esoteric, and different from the mainstream muslims. For example, in the balkans, the dervishes would have
Stone Shrines (sort of like "little kaabaas", they'd have rituals where they'd make strange concotions from sacred grounds, or leave strips of
garments in holy trees, along with orders of initiation, indoctrination, symbology, etc.
I am sure that there are many more, even if we exclude terror groups, like the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, etc. I don't even know what the egpytian
and north african situation is on this subject.
However, notice that in the levant, there are lots of these esoteric and secretive groups. You may often hear about 'wisdom comming from the east',
or that, in cryptic terms, that the 'sun rises in the east', these are often meant, within secret societies of the west, as allusions to the
secrets and esoteric knowledge of the group having come from syria, lebanon, parts of turkey.
There's a river in syria in particular, who's name I can't recall, that is often used as a synonym for 'knowledge'. I think its the orontes.
You'd say 'the orontes still flows here' etc, meaning 'the secret occultic knowledge is preserved and passed on'.
[edit on 17-4-2006 by Nygdan]