Sunni Muslims are by far the largest denomination of Islam. They are also referred to as Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jamaa'h (Arabic: أهل السنة والجماعة) (people of the example (of Muhammad) and the community) which implies that they are the majority, or Ahl ul-Sunna (Arabic: أهل السنة; "The people of the example (of Muhammad)") for short. The word Sunni comes from the word sunna (Arabic : سنة ), which means the words and actions  or example of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad. They represent the branch of Islam that accepted the caliphate of Abu Bakr due to him being chosen by majority, thus elections, or Shurah, in the caliphate being the first distinguishing factor in Sunni Islam. Most Sunni lawyers define themselves as those Muslims who are rooted in one of the four orthodox schools of Sunni law (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii or Hanbali).
Shī‘a Islam, also Shi‘ite Islam or Shi‘ism (Arabic شيعة šīʿa), is the second largest denomination of the Islamic faith after Sunni Islam. Shias adhere to the teachings of Muhammad and the religious guidance of his family (who are referred to as the Ahl al-Bayt) or his descendents known as Shi'a Imams. Muhammad's bloodline continues only through his beloved daughter Fatima Zahra and cousin Ali which alongside the prophet's grandsons are the Ahl al-Bayt. Thus, Shi'as consider Muhammad's descendents as the true source of guidance while considering the first three ruling Sunni caliphs a historic occurrence and not something attached to faith. The singular/adjective form is šīʿī (شيعي.) and refers to a follower of the faction of Imam Ali according to the Shia ideology.
Shia Islam, like Sunni Islam, has at times been divided into many branches; however, only three of these currently have a significant number of followers. The best known and the one with most adherents is the Twelvers (اثنا عشرية iṯnāʿašariyya) which have a large percentage in Iran 90% and Iraq; the others are Ismaili, Sevener, and Zaidiyyah. Alawites and Druzes consider themselves Shias, although this is sometimes disputed by mainstream Shias. The Sufi orders among the Shias are the Alevi, Bektashi, Kubrawiya, Noorbakhshi, Oveyssi, Qizilbashi, Hamadani and Fatimid orders and denominations. Twenty percent of Turkey's population is Alevi while Lebanon and Syria have a large presence of Druze and Alawites.
The Kurds are an ethnic group who consider themselves to be indigenous to a region often referred to as Kurdistan, an area which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Kurdish communities can also be found in Lebanon, Armenia, Azerbaijan (Kalbajar and Lachin, to the west of Nagorno Karabakh) and, in recent decades, some European countries and the United States (see Kurdish diaspora). Ethnically related to other Iranian peoples, they speak Kurdish, an Indo-European language of the Iranian branch. However, the Kurds' ethnic origins are uncertain.
According to Vladimir Minorsky There is no doubt that the term Mar (Medians) refers to Kurds. Furthermore he writes that in the curious Armenian manuscript containing samples of alphabets and languages, written some time before A.D. 1446, a prayer in Kurdish figures as specimen of the language of the Medians''.
· 1 decade ago