Few non-native Tajik speakers in Tajikistan learn Tajik, but instead often learn
Russian in addition to their native language. Russian is perhaps the most common
language of communication across ethnic groups and many industries rely heavily
on Russian. English and other popular international languages are rarely learned
in Tajikistan although some young people are choosing to learn these languages,
with English (after Russian) being the most popular.
About 85% of the population of Tajikistan is Sunni Muslim.
Another 5% of the population is Shia Muslim with the last 10% comprising numerous
Islam (the name of the religion, whose followers are called Muslims) is a monotheistic
religion, whose holy book is called the Qur'an. The Qur'an is believed to
be the word of God spoken through the prophet Muhammad from 609-632 CE (Common Era
is preferred over AD (Anno Domini or "year of the Lord") since the Islamic
world doesn't believe Jesus was the messiah). Islam believes Muhammad was the
last prophet sent to earth by God, the last in a long line of prophets, which includes
Moses, Abraham, and Jesus among others.
Muslims follow five pillars of their faith: testimony, prayer, alms-giving, fasting,
and pilgrimage. These pillars, and other tenants of their faith, can give great
structure to their lives as some foods, like pork, are forbidden and every Muslim
is expected to pray five times a day. However, the level of participation in each
of these pillars and to what degree Islam influences an individual's life varies
from person to person and community to community. Generally speaking, Tajikistan
is fairly liberal in how they practice Islam.