There isn't only a kind of Islam . This religion , that's the second one in the world , with 1 billion and 200 million of believers , has so many faces as the societies in which it's professed . Here it is a glossary of key words to get oriented in this complicated world .
The Islam is one of the three monoteist religions . Literally it means submission to Allah . It's a real code of life , based on the Koran and on the Sunna of the Prophet Muhammad . It's a religion based on five "pillars" , real precepts that each Moslem must respect . The first is the profession of the Islamic faith (Shahada) and it declares that the only God is Allah and Mohammed is his Apostle . The second is the daily prayer (Salah) . The third is the Koranic tax (Zakah) , some due money to help people in need and to promote Allah's cause . The forth is the fast (Sawn) during Ramadam . The fifth is the pilgrimage to the Mecca .
The Koran is the holy book revealed by Allah to men . It's at the base of the religion , the law and the tradition of Islam . It's divided into 114 chapters called Sure , from the Arabic surah which means sequence .
The Sunna means literally tradition . It's based on the Prophet Autority , first and supreme interpreter of Allah's word . It's made by examples and models of behaviour to imitate for people who want to live Islam . It's continually enriched and up to date of interpretations owing to the work of the spiritual guides such as Mullah , Ayatollah and Imam .
The Sunnites are orthodox Moslems which recognize the autority of Sunna and they are the majority .
The Sciiti are the disciples of Ali , cousin and son-in-law of Mohammed . They considered that the successor of the Prophet should be a member of his family . They consider the collaborators and the partners of the Prophet as usurpers .
Moslems are people who belong to the Islam . The Moslems are all people which feel "submissed" to Allah , professing Islam , and practise the Islamic code of life .
The Imam is the Islamic belief , the "interior moment" of the Moslem's religion . It consists in believing in Allah the Merciful , in his Angels , in his books , in his apostles , in the future life and especially in the fact that Good and Evil come from a divine will .
The Sharia is the Islamic law based on the autority of the Koran and on the Hadìth , the "words and the facts" of the Prophet which are in the Sunna . It regulates all the aspects of the life : religious , moral , giuridical , economic behaviours and also the etiquette . It's exactly the opposite of what happens in West where law and religion are clearly divided .
The Jihad is commonly translated with "holy war" . But it's a mistake , because in the Koran there isn't the concept of holy war . Literally it means "engagement" . There are 2 kind of Jihad , a bigger one and a lower one . The former is the men's engagement in improving himself , the latter , called Jihad al-qital , is the engagement of Moslems to war to defend Islam from attacks , and it's declared with a Fatwa .
The Fatwa is the juridical verdict , sort of executive sentence , for example that one declared against the writer Salman Rushdie , who wrote the "Satanic Verses" offending Islam .
Taliban comes from talis which means to study , they are the students of teology of Madrase , that's the Koranic schools .
Mullah are learned teachers of teology . Generally they shouldn't be religious leaders , because the most Moslems don't recognize to anybody the role of middleman between man and God . Differently in Afghanistan , the Mullah have exploited their role of teologists and their influence on young students to become real political leaders . That's the example of the Mullah Omar , leader of the Taliban and son-in-law of the sheikh Osama Bin Laden .