A person can achieve salvation by following the five pillars of islam: Faith, Prayer (five times a day), Charity to the poor, Fasting (typically done on Ramadan), and a pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj)
Islam originated around 600 AD in the Central Asian Arabian desert and soon spread to east Asia, Central Europe and North Africa. The religion started with the teachings of Prophet Muhammad who is considered to be the messenger of the one and only, formless, all-powerful God, Allah.
Sunni Muslims include 84%–90% of all Muslims. Sunni means “tradition,” and Sunnis regard themselves as those who emphasize following the traditions of Muhammad and of the first two generations of the community of Muslims that followed Muhammad.A number of movements to reform Islam have originated mainly in the 20th century. Some are limited to one country and others have a broader influence. Most are Sunni movements, such as the Wahhabis, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Jama`at-i-Islami.
Shi`ite Muslims comprise 10%–16% of all Muslims. Shi`ites are the “party of `Ali,” who believe that Muhammad’s son-in-law `Ali was his designated successor (imam) and that the Muslim community should be headed by a designated descendent of Muhammad. Three main subgroups of Shi`ites are Twelvers (Ithna-`Asharis), Seveners (Isma`ilis), and Fivers (Zaydis).