Recently, in arguing the difference between Five Pillar Muslims and Six Pillar Islamics, I had an opportunity to do some more research in the area that started with my previous post Why the Muwahiddun Sect of Islam is Dangerous. If you haven't read that, this won't make much sense. But if you have, I've got more information on the true War of Reformation in Islam.
Islam schismed very early, within a couple of hundred years after the death of Mohammed. This diagram shows the standard, what we might call orthodox schools of Islamic Thought. These are all Five Pillar schools of thought- in that they hold to the five precepts that every Muslim must do in their lifetime to be a good Muslim. Shahada (Professing Monotheism), Salat (the five daily prayers), Sawm (fasting at prescribed times), Zakāt (Charity to the less fortunate), and Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca). Despite other differences, these are the ONLY five things a Muslim must do by the primary sects, schools, and orders.
Note that the first diagram does NOT include the Muwahiddun. Muwahiddun are very different. They are six pillar muslims. They take Shahada to an extreme, claiming the only authority of truth is Allah and that Allah can change his mind at a whim. They also add Jihad- Just War- to their beliefs. And not just Jihad as proclaimed by the other schools, under much consideration from legitimate authority with the first tactic to be used in all cases of diplomacy. No, the Muwahiddun claim that Jihad can be declared by the individual.
There are two major schools of Muwahiddun- the Wahabbi and the Druze. The Wahhabi were formed primarily in reaction to the House of Saud taking over the "Holy Peninsula" of Saudi Arabia, where Mecca is- and allowing in non-Muslim tourists and foreign businesses. Thus, al Qaida's main thrust is NOT in fact, to destroy all of the non-Arabic world, but merely to free the Holy Peninsula from what they see as unjust actions by foreign invaders, including US oil companies.
The Druze, or Muwahiddun al Tawhid as they prefer, are more interesting. They are a sect that sprung up in the 11th century, and while they do subscribe to Tawhid (the extremist form of Shahada), they do seem willing to listen to legitimate authority. They have some Christian Gnostic influence in their theology, separating the world of flesh from the world of the spirit, and thus, are able to handle secular authority better than their Wahhabist cousins. Druze have served on both sides of the Arab-Israeli wars, mainly for Syria which they have been protecting since Crusader days, but also for Lebanon and Israel. Yes, despite being Islamic in Origin- many Israeli Druze have served honorably in the Israeli Defense Forces.
What this goes to show is that Islam, in general, is NOT as monolithic as most people think. And in comparison to their older cousins, the violent Wahhabi Muwahiddun are a very small minority. In the long run, I think they will continue to be a small minority, and as I said in the last post on this topic, one day they'll be as rare as Oneness Pentecostals are in Christianity.