Sunni Islam is orthodox Islam, and is practiced the world over. It is also known as "Ahlus-Sunnah Wa Al-Jama'ah" (literally, "People of the Tradition and the Congregation"). There is no school or religious course that one must take to become a Sunni but Sunnis tend to follow Sharia, the divine principles that animate Sunni Islam. The other major sect in Islam is Shia, with a locus in Iran.
The founder of Islam is the Prophet Muhammad, Muhammad Bin-Abdullah. Muhammad is believed to have been born in Mecca on April 20, 570 A.D., though Shias say he was born on April 26th. Muhammad became an orphan early in life and his grandfather Abdul Muttalib raised him along with his uncle Abu-Talib beginning at age six. Muhammad visited Syria as a boy and it was there that he learned certain religious precepts including fasting and praying at certain times.
As he grew older Muhammad began experiencing visions and revelations and these revelations, written down, form the Koran, which has many narratives pertaining to humanity, its history and its progress, temporal, moral and spiritual life within the ambit of Allah. What is clear from any study of Islam is that the religion is conceived of as an all-encompassing path, and that Islamic guidelines define how one lives, worships, works, marries and generally pursues one's existence. A main emphasis of Islam is to live a Godly life without too much concern over material things or earthly temptations such as sex, alcohol or other stimulants.
Sunni Muslims await a Messiah who will descend from a white minaret east of Damascus and defeat the Anti-Christ. They also await a Mahdi who will revive the faith through its correct interpretation and who will be guided directly by God, Allah, Himself.
Within Shia, changes in Koranic interpretations are made by fiqh rulings by notable scholars, although every man has the right to interpret the Koran, to derive spiritual guidance. There is no concept of a clergy within Islam. Imams carry out religious duties such as leading the congregational prayers. Anyone can become an Islamic scholar − their calibre is determined by a form of peer and public review.