Sunni Islam

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Sunni Islam
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{{pp-pc1}}{{Sunni Islam}}Sunni Islam ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|s|uː|n|i|,_|ˈ|s|ʊ|n|i|}}) is the largest denomination of Islam, followed by 87–90% of the world's Muslims.* WEB,weblink Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population, October 7, 2009, Pew Research Center, 2013-09-24, Of the total Muslim population, 10–13% are Shia Muslims and 87–90% are Sunni Muslims.,
  • Sunni Islam: Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guide "Sunni Islam is the dominant division of the global Muslim community, and throughout history it has made up a substantial majority (85 to 90 percent) of that community."
  • WEB,weblink Sunni, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, December 20, 2012, Sunni Islam is the largest denomination of Islam, comprising about 85% of the world's over 1.5 billion Muslims.,
  • WEB,weblink Religions, The World Factbook,, 2010-08-25, Sunni Islam accounts for over 85% of the world's Muslim population..., Its name comes from the word sunnah, referring to the behaviour of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Sunni Islam, John L. Esposito, The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014,weblink The differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims arose from a disagreement over the succession to Muhammad and subsequently acquired broader political significance, as well as theological and juridical dimensions.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Tayeb El-Hibri, Maysam J. al Faruqi, Sunni Islam, Philip Mattar, The Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, MacMillan Reference, 2004, Second,
According to Sunni traditions, Muhammad did not clearly designate a successor and the Muslim community acted according to his sunnah in electing his father-in-law Abu Bakr as the first caliph. This contrasts with the Shia view, which holds that Muhammad announced his son-in-law and cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor, most notably at Ghadir Khumm.BOOK, Jafri, Syed Husain Mohammad, 27 August 1976, The Origins and Early Development of Shi'a Islam (Millennium (Series)) (The Millennium (Series).), Karachi, Pakistan, Oxford University Press (First Published By Longman Group Ltd and Librairie du Liban 1979), 19–21, 9780195793871, The Shi'a unequivocally take the word in the meaning of leader, master and patron, and therefore the explicitly nominated successor of the Prophet. The Sunnis, on the other hand, interpret the word mawla in the meaning of a friend, or the nearest kin and confidant., WEB,weblink Chapter IV Iamhood, Imam Ali (a.s.) Foundation, Imam Ali (a.s.) Foundation, an affiliate website of the Grand Ayatullah al-Sayyid Ali al-Hussani al-Sistani, 24 December 2017, Appointing the heir was done when the Prophet [P] returned from the (Departure Pilgrimage); he [p] gathered all the pilgrims in a place called (Ghadeer khum) addressing them with a lengthy speech through which he asked:(Do not I own thy souls more that thou do, they said: aye). Then he [p] took Imam Ali [p] by the shoulder, holding him in front of the people and said:(He whom I am his guardian, Ali be his guardian). Thus he [p] certified Imam Ali's [p] heavenly guardianship; so everybody who was present then paid tribute to him, including the second Caliph ( i. e Omar Ben Al-Khattab), who congratulated Ali [p] saying: (Blassed be thee O! Ali, thou became my guardian and the guardian of every Mo'men.),weblink" title="">weblink 2017-12-11, live, WEB,weblink Beliefs: Did the Prophet (s) Appoint a Successor,, 25 December 2017, The Shi'ah believe that the proclamation mentioned by the Qur'anic verse was fulfilled by the Prophet (s) when he appointed Imam 'Ali bin Abi Talib (a) as his successor on the day of Ghadir Khumm.,weblink 2017-12-25, live, WEB,weblink Imam Ali declared the Successor of Prophet Muhammad in Sunni Hadith Literature, Mawlana Hazar Imam, Ismaili Gnosis, Ismaili Gnosis, 25 December 2017, As you know, the Shi'a divided from the Sunni after the death of Prophet Muhammad. Hazrat Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet, was in Shia belief, named by the Prophet to be the Legitimate Authority for the interpretation of the faith. For Shi'a today all over the world, he is regarded as the first imam.,weblink 2017-12-26, live, NEWS, Harney, John, How Do Sunni and Shia Islam Differ?,weblink January 3, 2016, The New York Times, January 4, 2016, Shiites believe that he chose Ali, his cousin and son-in-law,weblink" title="">weblink 2016-01-03, live, Political tensions between Sunnis and Shias continued with varying intensity throughout Islamic history and have been exacerbated in recent times by ethnic conflicts and the rise of Wahhabism.The adherents of Sunni Islam are referred to in Arabic as {{transl|ar|ALA|ahl as-sunnah wa l-jamāʻah}} ("the people of the sunnah and the community") or {{transl|ar|ALA|ahl as-sunnah}} for short. In English, its doctrines and practices are sometimes called Sunnism,WEB,weblink Sunnism, -Ologies & -Isms, The Gale Group, Oct 5, 2016, while adherents are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis, Sunnites and Ahlus Sunnah. Sunni Islam is sometimes referred to as "orthodox Islam",BOOK, John Richard Thackrah, Dictionary of Terrorism, 2013, Routledge, 978-1-135-16595-6, 252, 2, revised, BOOK, Nasir, Jamal J., The Status of Women Under Islamic Law and Modern Islamic Legislation, 2009, Brill, 9789004172739, 11, revised, BOOK, George W. Braswell, What You Need to Know about Islam & Muslims, 2000, B&H Publishing Group, 978-0-8054-1829-3, 62, illustrated, though some scholars view this translation as inappropriate.An Introduction to the Hadith. John Burton. Published by Edinburgh University Press. 1996. p. 201. Cite: "Sunni: Of or pertaining sunna, especially the Sunna of the Prophet. Used in conscious opposition to Shi'a, Shi'í. There being no ecclesia or centralized magisterium, the translation 'orthodox' is inappropriate. To the Muslim 'unorthodox' implies heretical, mubtadi, from bid'a, the contrary of sunna, and so 'innovation'."The Quran, together with hadith (especially those collected in Kutub al-Sittah) and binding juristic consensus, form the basis of all traditional jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. Sharia rulings are derived from these basic sources, in conjunction with analogical reasoning, consideration of public welfare and juristic discretion, using the principles of jurisprudence developed by the traditional legal schools. In matters of creed, the Sunni tradition upholds the six pillars of iman (faith) and comprises the Ash'ari and Maturidi schools of rationalistic theology as well as the textualist school known as traditionalist theology. Sunni Islam is not a coherent line of tradition, but a consolidation of doctrines and positions worked out over time in discussions and writings.Todd Lawson The Crucifixion and the Qur'an: A Study in the History of Muslim Thought Oneworld Publications 2014 {{ISBN|9781780746753}} p. 13


File:SA Blue Mosque.jpg|thumb|upright=1.2|Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Mosque in Shah Alam, SelangorSelangor{{transl|ar|ALA|Sunnī}} (Classical Arabic: {{IPA|/ˈsunniː/}}), also commonly referred to as {{transl|ar|ALA|Sunnīism}}, is a term derived from the word (wikt:Sunna|{{transl|ar|ALA|sunnah}}) ( {{IPA|/ˈsunna/}}, plural {{transl|ar|ALA|sunan}} {{IPA|/ˈsunan/}}), meaning "(wikt:habit|habit)", "usual practice",Sunnah {{webarchive|url= |date=2010-12-05 }}, Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement "custom", "tradition". In Arabic, the word is an adjective literally meaning "pertaining to the Sunnah". The Muslim use of this term refers to the sayings and living habits of the prophet Muhammad. In Arabic, this branch of Islam is referred to as {{transl|ar|ALA|ahl as-sunnah wa l-jamāʻah}} (), "the people of the sunnah and the community", which is commonly shortened to {{transl|ar|ALA|ahl as-sunnah}} (Arabic أهل السنة).ENCYCLOPEDIA, Michael E. Marmura, The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World, John L. Esposito, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009,weblink subscription, harv, Sunnī Muslims have thus referred to themselves as ahl al-sunnah wa al-jamāʿah (people of the sunnah and the community)., 10.1093/acref/9780195305135.001.0001, 9780195305135, Sunnī Islam (Historical Overview), ENCYCLOPEDIA, Encyclopedia of Christianity Online, Lucas, Scott C., Sunnism, Sunni, Brill, 2011, The terms "Sunnism" and "Sunni" are anglicizations of Arab. ahl al-sunnah (the people of the Sunna [lit. "custom, way"]) or ahl al-sunnah wa-l-jamāʿa (the people of the Sunna and community)., 10.1163/2211-2685_eco_SI.100,


One common mistake is to assume that Sunni Islam represents a normative Islam that emerged during the period after Muhammad's death, and that Sufism and Shi'ism developed out of Sunni Islam.BOOK, Hughes, Aaron, Muslim Identities: An Introduction to Islam, 115,weblink It is a mistake to assume, as is frequently done, that Sunni Islam emerged as normative from the chaotic period following Muhammad's death and that the other two movements simply developed out of it. This assumption is based in... the taking of later and often highly ideological sources as accurate historical portrayals – and in part on the fact that the overwhelming majority of Muslims throughout the world follows now what emerged as Sunni Islam in the early period., 978-0-231-53192-4, 2013, This perception is partly due to the reliance on highly ideological sources that have been accepted as reliable historical works, and also because the vast majority of the population is Sunni. Both Sunnism and Shiaism are the end products of several centuries of competition between ideologies. Both sects used each other to further cement their own identities and doctrines.BOOK, Hughes, Aaron, Muslim Identities: An Introduction to Islam, 116,weblink Each of these sectarian movements... used the other to define itself more clearly and in the process to articulate its doctrinal contents and rituals., 978-0-231-53192-4, 2013, The first four caliphs are known among Sunnis as the Rashidun or "Rightly-Guided Ones". Sunni recognition includes the aforementioned Abu Bakr as the first, Umar as the second, Uthman as the third, and Ali as the fourth.WEB, Tore Kjeilen,weblink Lexic, Lexic, 2011-06-05,weblink" title="">weblink 2011-06-05, live, Sunnis recognised different rulers as the caliph, though they did not include anyone in the list of the rightly guided ones or Rashidun after the murder of Ali, until the caliphate was constitutionally abolished in Turkey on 3 March 1924.

Transition of caliphate into dynastic monarchy of Banu Umayya

The seeds of metamorphosis of caliphate into kingship were sown, as the second caliph Umar had feared, as early as the regime of the third caliph Uthman, who appointed many of his kinsmen from his clan Banu Umayya, including Marwan and Walid bin Uqba on important government positions, becoming the main cause of turmoil resulting in his murder and the ensuing infighting during Ali's time and rebellion by Muawiya, another of Uthman's kinsman. This ultimately resulted in the establishment of firm dynastic rule of Banu Umayya after Husain, the younger son of Ali from Fatima, was killed at the Battle of Karbala. The rise to power of Banu Umayya, the Meccan tribe of elites who had vehemently opposed Muhammad under the leadership of Abu Sufyan, Muawiya's father, right up to the conquest of Mecca by Muhammad, as his successors with the accession of Uthman to caliphate, replaced the egalitarian society formed as a result of Muhammad's revolution to a society stratified between haves and have-nots as a result of nepotism, and in the words of El-Hibri through "the use of religious charity revenues (zakat) to subsidise family interests, which Uthman justified as "al-sila" (pious filial support)."BOOK, El-Hibri, Tayeb, October 22, 2010, Parable and Politics in Early Islamic History:The Rashidun Caliphs,weblink New York Chichester West Sussex, A Columbia University Press, 526 (kindle), 978-0-231-52165-9, BOOK, Maududi, Abul A'la, July 2000, Khilafat o Malookiat, Caliphate and Monarchistic,weblink Urdu, Lahore, Pakistan, Adara Tarjuman-ul-Quran (Private) Ltd, Urdu Bazar, Lahore, Pakistan, 105–153, BOOK, Hazleton, Lesley, 4 September 2009, After the Prophet:The Epic Story of Shia-Sunni Split in Islam,weblink New York, London, Toranto, Sydney, Auckland, Anchor (Doubleday), 193 (kindle), 978-0385523936, Ali, during his rather brief regime after Uthman maintained austere life style and tried hard to bring back the egalitarian system and supremacy of law over the ruler idealised in Muhammad's message, but faced continued opposition, and wars one after another by Aisha-Talhah-Zubair, by Muawiya and finally by the Kharjites. After he was murdered his followers immediately elected Hasan ibn Ali his elder son from Fatima to succeed him. Hasan, however, shortly afterwards signed a treaty with Muawiaya relinquishing power in favour of the latter, with a condition inter alia, that one of the two who will outlive the other will be the caliph, and that this caliph will not appoint a successor but will leave the matter of selection of the caliph to the public. Subsequently, Hasan was poisoned to death and Muawiya enjoyed unchallenged power. Not honouring his treaty with Hasan he however nominated his son Yazid to succeed him. Upon Muawiya's death, Yazid asked Husain the younger brother of Hasan, Ali's son and Muhammad's grandson, to give his allegiance to Yazid, which he plainly refused. His caravan was cordoned by Yazid's army at Karbala and he was killed with all his male companions – total 72 people, in a day long battle after which Yazid established himself as a sovereign, though strong public uprising erupted after his death against his dynasty to avenge the massacre of Karbala, but Banu Umayya were able to quickly suppress them all and ruled the Muslim world, till they were finally overthrown by Banu Abbas.BOOK, Irving, Washington, 1859, Lives of the Successors of Mahomet,weblink Sunnyside, W. Clowes, 163–218, 978-1273126963, BOOK, Nadvi, Syed Abul Hasan Ali, Al-Murtaza, The Murtaza, 218–382, Urdu, Karachi Pakistan, Majlis-e-Nashriyat-e-Islam, BOOK, Maududi, Abul A'la, July 2000, Khilafat o Malookiat, Caliphate and Monarchistic,weblink Urdu, Lahore, Pakistan, Adara Tarjuman-ul-Quran (Private) Ltd, Urdu Bazar, Lahore, Pakistan, 90, BOOK, Jafri, Syed Husain Mohammad, 976, The Origins and Early Development of Shi'a Islam (Millennium (Series)) (The Millennium (Series).), Karachi, Pakistan, Oxford University Press (First Published By Longman Group Ltd and Librairie du Liban 1979), 108–109, 9780195793871,

Caliphate and the dynastic monarchy of Banu Abbas

The rule of and "caliphate" of Banu Umayya came to an end at the hands of Banu Abbas a branch of Banu Hashim, the tribe of Muhammad, only to usher another dynastic monarchy styled as caliphate from 750 CE. This period is seen formative in Sunni Islam as the founders of the four schools viz, Abu Hanifa, Malik bin Anas, Shafi'i and Ahmad bin Hambal all practised during this time, so also did Jafar al Sadiq who elaborated the doctrine of imamate, the basis for the Shi'a religious thought. There was no clearly accepted formula for determining succession in the Abbasid caliphate. Two or three sons or other relatives of the dying caliph emerged as candidates to the throne, each supported by his own party of supporters. A trial of strength ensued and the most powerful party won and expected favours of the caliph they supported once he ascended the throne. The caliphate of this dynasty ended with the death of the Caliph al-Ma'mun in 833 CE, when the period of Turkish domination began.BOOK, Kennedy, Hugh, 2016, The Early Abbasid Caliphate: A Political History (Routledge Revivals) 1st Edition, Oxon, Routledge, 15–16, 978-1138953215,

Sunni Islam in the contemporary era

The fall, at the end of World War I of the Ottoman Empire, the biggest Sunni empire for six centuries, brought the caliphate to an end. This resulted in Sunni protests in far off places including the Khilafat Movement in India, which was later on upon gaining independence from Britain divided into Sunni dominated Pakistan and secular India. Pakistan, the most populous Sunni state at its birth, however later got partitioned into Pakistan and Bangladesh. The demise of Ottoman caliphate also resulted in the emergence of Saudi Arabia, a dynastic absolute monarchy with the support of the British and Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the founder of Wahhabism.Gail Minault, The Khilafat Movement: Religious Symbolism and Political Mobilization in India (1982).BOOK, Rogan, Eugene, 26 February 2015, The Fall of the Ottomans,weblink UK, Penguin UK, 9780141968704, BOOK, Contemporary Religions: A World Guide, Ian Harris, Stuart Mews, Paul Morris, John Shepherd, 1992, 978-0-582-08695-1, 369, BOOK, Bowen, The History of Saudi Arabia, Bowen, Wayne H., 2007, 978-0-313-34012-3, This was followed by a considerable rise in Wahhabism, Salafism and Jihadism under the influence of the preaching of Ibn Taymiyyah an advocate of the traditions of Ahmad bin Hanbal. The expediencies of cold war resulted in encouragement of Afghan refugees in Pakistan to be radicalised, trained and armed to fight the communist regime backed by USSR forces in Afghanistan giving birth to Taliban. The Taliban wrestled power from the communists in Afghanistan and formed a government under the leadership of Mohammed Omar, who was addressed as the Emir of the faithful, an honorific way of addressing the caliph. The Taliban regime was recognised by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia till after 9/11 perpetrated by Osama bin Laden a Saudi national by birth harboured by the Taliban took place, resulting in a war on terror launched against the Taliban.BOOK, Hitti, Philip K., History of The Arabs (Tenth Edition), Macmillan Education, 689–741, 978-0333098714, BOOK, Kepel, Gilles, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, 2003,weblink 978-1-84511-257-8, JOURNAL, Wiktorowicz, Quintan, 2005, A Genealogy of Radical Islam,weblink Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 28, 83, Taylor & Francis Inc., dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2017-02-14, The sequence of events of the 20th century has led to resentment in some quarters of the Sunni community due to the loss of pre-eminence in several previously Sunni-dominated regions such as the Levant, Mesopotamia, the Balkans, the North Caucasus and the Indian sub continent.BOOK, Minahan, James, Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations, 2002, 547, The latest attempt by a section of Salafis to re-establish a Sunni caliphate was seen in the emergence of the militant group ISIL, whose leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is known among his followers as caliph and Amir-al-maumineen, "The Commander of the Faithful".NEWS, Profile: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, BBC, 15 May 2015, Jihadism is however being opposed from within the Muslim community (known as the Ummah in Arabic) in all quarters of the world as evidenced by turnout of almost 2% of the Muslim population in London protesting against ISIL.NEWS, Adam, Smith, 2 October 2017, Thousands of Muslims protest against isis and terrorism in London,weblink Metro News, London, 5 January 2018,weblink" title="">weblink 2018-01-05, live, NEWS, Da Silva, Chantel, 16 Jun 2017, Cologne rally: As many as 10,000 Muslims to protest Islamic extremism,weblink Independent, Cologne, 5 January 2018,weblink" title="">weblink 2018-01-06, live, Following the puritan approach of Ibn Kathir, Muhammad Abduh and Muhammad Rashid Rida, many contemporary tafsir (exegetic treatises) downplay the earlier significance of Biblical material (Isra'iliyyat). Half of the Arab commentaries reject Isra'iliyyat in general, while Turkish tafsir usually partly allow referring to Biblical material. Nevertheless, most non-Arabic commentators regard them as useless or not applicable.Johanna Pink (2010). Sunnitischer Tafsīr in der modernen islamischen Welt: Akademische Traditionen, Popularisierung und nationalstaatliche Interessen. Brill, {{ISBN|9789004185920}}, pp. 114-116. A direct reference to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict could not be found. It remains unclear whether the refusal of Isra'iliyyat is motivated by political discourse or by traditionalist thought alone.Johanna Pink (2010). Sunnitischer Tafsīr in der modernen islamischen Welt: Akademische Traditionen, Popularisierung und nationalstaatliche Interessen. Brill, {{ISBN|9789004185920}}, pp. 114-116. The usage of tafsir'ilmi is another notable characteristic of modern Sunni tafsir. Tafsir'ilmi stands for alleged scientific miracles found in the Qur'an. In short, the idea is that the Qur'an contains knowledge about subjects an author of the 7th century could not possibly have. Such interpretations are popular among many commentators. However, some scholars, such as the Commentators of Al-Azhar University, reject this approach, arguing the Qur'an is a text for religious guidance, not for science and scientific theories that may be disproved later; thus tafsir'ilmi might lead to interpreting Qur'anic passages as falsehoods.Johanna Pink (2010). Sunnitischer Tafsīr in der modernen islamischen Welt: Akademische Traditionen, Popularisierung und nationalstaatliche Interessen. Brill, {{ISBN|9789004185920}}, pp. 120-121. Modern trends of Islamic interpretation are usually seen as adjusting to a modern audience and purifying Islam from alleged alterings, some of which are believed to be intentional corruptions brought into Islam to undermine and corrupt its message.


File:Islam by country.png|thumb|upright=1.2|Countries with more than 95% Muslim population.Source for distribution is the CIA World Factbook, Shiite/Sunnite distribution collected from other sources. Shiites may be underrepresented in some countries where they do not appear in official statistics.{{legend|#4a6600|Sunni}}{{legend|#66004a|Shias}}{{legend|#04161b|IbadiIbadiSunnis believe the companions of Prophet Muhammad to be reliable transmitters of Islam, since God and Muhammad accepted their integrity. Medieval sources even prohibit cursing or vilifying them.Coeli Fitzpatrick Ph.D., Adam Hani Walker Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God [2 volumes] ABC-CLIO, 25.04.2014 {{ISBN|9781610691789}} p. 106-107 This belief is based upon prophetic traditions such as one narrated by Abdullah, son of Masud, in which Muhammad said: "The best of the people are my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them." Support for this view is also found in the Quran, according to Sunnis.Quran, QURAN, 9, 100, ns, n, Therefore, narratives of companions are also reliably taken into account for knowledge of the Islamic faith. Sunnis also believe that the companions were true believers since it was the companions who were given the task of compiling the Quran.Sunni Islam does not have a formal hierarchy. Leaders are informal, and gain influence through study to become a scholar of Islamic law (sharia) or Islamic theology (Kalam). Both religious and political leadership are in principle open to all Muslims.Simone Chambers, Peter Nosco Dissent on Core Beliefs: Religious and Secular Perspectives Cambridge University Press, 23.04.2015 {{ISBN|9781107101524}} p. 138 According to the Islamic Center of Columbia, South Carolina, anyone with the intelligence and the will can become an Islamic scholar. During Midday Mosque services on Fridays, the congregation will choose a well-educated person to lead the service, known as a Khateeb (one who speaks).Masjid al-Muslimiin. "Organizational Structure Of Islam {{Webarchive|url= |date=2008-10-01 }}," The Islamic Center of Columbia (South Carolina). Accessed 07 December 2013.A study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2010 and released January 2011WEB,weblink Region: Middle East-North Africa, The Future of the Global Muslim Population – Executive Summary, Pew Research Center, 3 April 2013, 2011-01-27,weblink" title="">weblink 2013-03-09, live, found that there are 1.62 billion Muslims around the world, and it is estimated over 85–90% are Sunni.See:
  • Eastern Europe Russia and Central Asia "some 80% of the worlds Muslims are Sunni"
  • WEB,weblink Religions, The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Sunni Islam accounts for over 75% of the world's Muslim population, 8 December 2011,weblink 2011-06-04, live,
  • weblink" title="">Sue Hellett;U.S. should focus on sanctions against Iran "Sunnis make up over 75 percent of the world's Muslim population"
  • Iran, Israel and the United States "Sunni, accounts for over 75% of the Islamic population"
  • A dictionary of modern politics "probably 80% of the worlds Muslims are Sunni"
  • WEB,weblink Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population, 2010-08-24, Pew Research Center, Of the total Muslim population, 10–13% are Shia Muslims and 87–90% are Sunni Muslims., October 7, 2009,
  • NEWS,weblink Quick guide: Sunnis and Shias, BBC News, The great majority of Muslims are Sunnis – estimates suggest the figure is somewhere between 85% and 90%., December 18, 2011, 2011-12-06,weblink" title="">weblink 2011-11-24, live,
  • NEWS,weblink United in Islam, Divided in Practice, USA Today, Among the world's estimated 1.4 billion Muslims, about 85% are Sunni and about 15% are Shiite., January 22, 2019, 2007-09-24,weblink" title="">weblink 2011-12-10, live,
  • Sunni Islam: Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guide "Sunni Islam is the dominant division of the global Muslim community, and throughout history it has made up a substantial majority (85 to 90 percent) of that community."


Schools of law

There are many intellectual traditions within the field of Islamic law, often referred to as legal schools. These varied traditions reflect differing viewpoints on some laws and obligations within Islamic law. While one school may see a certain act as a religious obligation, another may see the same act as optional. These schools aren't regarded as sects; rather, they represent differing viewpoints on issues that are not considered the core of Islamic belief. Historians have differed regarding the exact delineation of the schools based on the underlying principles they follow.Many traditional scholars saw Sunni Islam in two groups: Ahl al-Ra'i, or "people of reason," due to their emphasis on scholarly judgment and discourse; and Ahl al-Hadith, or "people of traditions," due to their emphasis on restricting juristic thought to only what is found in scripture.Murtada Mutahhari, The Role of Ijtihad in Legislation {{Webarchive|url= |date=2012-03-04 }}, Al-Tawhid {{Webarchive|url= |date=2012-03-07 }} volume IV, No. 2, Publisher: Islamic Thought Foundation {{Webarchive|url= |date=2012-03-14 }} Ibn Khaldun defined the Sunni schools as three: the Hanafi school representing reason, the Ẓāhirīte school representing tradition, and a broader, middle school encompassing the Shafi'ite, Malikite and Hanbalite schools.Meinhaj Hussain, A New Medina, weblink" title="">The Legal System, Grande Strategy, January 5th, 2012Ignác Goldziher, The Zahiris, p. 5. Trns. Wolfgang Behn, intro. Camilla Adang. Volume three of Brill Classics in Islam. Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2008. {{ISBN|9789004162419}}During the Middle Ages, the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt delineated the acceptable Sunni schools as only Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali, excluding the Ẓāhirī school.WEB,weblink Law, Islamic,, 13 March 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 2012-01-18, live, The Ottoman Empire later reaffirmed the official status of four schools as a reaction to the Shiite character of their ideological and political archrival, the Persian Safavids,Chibli Mallat, Introduction to Middle Eastern Law, p. 116. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. {{ISBN|978-0-19-923049-5}} though former Prime Minister of Sudan Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, as well as the Amman Message issued by King Abdullah II of Jordan, recognize the Ẓāhirī and keep the number of Sunni schools at five.Hassan Ahmed Ibrahim, "An Overview of al-Sadiq al-Madhi's Islamic Discourse." Taken from The Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Islamic Thought, p. 172. Ed. Ibrahim Abu-Rabi'. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2008. {{ISBN|978-1-4051-7848-8}}WEB,weblink – The Official Site, 2013-09-13,weblink" title="">weblink 2013-02-02, live,

Differences in the schools

File:Great Mosque of Kairouan Panorama - Grande Mosquée de Kairouan Panorama.jpg|thumb|The Great Mosque of Kairouan (also known as the Mosque of Uqba) was, in particular during the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries, an important center of Islamic learning with an emphasis on the Maliki Madh'hab.Wilfrid Scawen Blunt and Riad Nourallah, The future of Islam, Routledge, 2002, page 199 It is located in the city of Kairouan in TunisiaTunisiaInterpreting Islamic law by deriving specific rulings – such as how to pray – is commonly known as Islamic jurisprudence. The schools of law all have their own particular tradition of interpreting this jurisprudence. As these schools represent clearly spelled out methodologies for interpreting Islamic law, there has been little change in the methodology with regard to each school. While conflict between the schools was often violent in the past, the four Sunni schools recognize each other's validity and they have interacted in legal debate over the centuries.ENCYCLOPEDIA, harv, Intisar A., Rabb, Fiqh, The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World, John L. Esposito, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009, 10.1093/acref/9780195305135.001.0001, 9780195305135, ENCYCLOPEDIA, harv, Iza, Hussin, Sunni Schools of Jurisprudence, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics, Oxford University Press, Emad El-Din Shahin, 2014, 10.1093/acref:oiso/9780199739356.001.0001, 9780199739356,

Pillars of iman

{{Original research section|date=May 2019}}All the branches of Sunni Islam testify to six principal articles of faith known as the six pillars of iman (Arabic for "faith"),WEB,weblink Sunni Islam Afterlife and Salvation, 2012-02-24,weblink" title="">weblink 2012-02-27, live, which are believed to be essential. These are WEB,weblink Dr Al-Ifta Al-Missriyyah, 2017-12-19,weblink" title="">weblink 2017-12-22, live,
  1. Belief in the Oneness of God
  2. Belief in the Angels of God
  3. Belief in the Divine Revelations (Books)
  4. Belief in the Prophets of God
  5. Belief in Resurrection after Death and the Day of Judgment and
  6. Belief in Preordainment (Qadar)
These six articles are common that present-day Sunnis agree on, from those who adhere to traditional Sunnism to those who adhere to latter-day movements. Additionally, classical Sunni Islam also outlined numerous other cardinal doctrines from the eighth-century onwards, such as the Creed of Tahawi. However, none of these creeds gained the importance attributed to the Nicene Creed in Christianity. But while most of the tenets outlined in the classical creeds are accepted by all Sunnis, some of these doctrines have been rejected by the aforementioned movements as lacking strictly scriptural precedent. Traditionally, these other important Sunni articles of faith have included the following (those that are controversial today because of their rejection by such groups shall be denoted by an asterisk):{{Citation needed|reason=Why these specific articles of faith and not others mentioned in the creed of Tahawi? And why the creed of Tahawi and not the works by other recognized authors? What's the citation for denoting this one as more significant than others?|date=February 2017}}
  • Belief in the six principal articles of faith being essential for salvation for MuslimsAl-ṬaḥāwÄ«, Al-Ê¿AqÄ«dah aá¹­-Ṭaḥāwiyya LXVI
  • Belief in God having created creation with His wisdomAl-ṬaḥāwÄ«, Al-Ê¿AqÄ«dah aá¹­-Ṭaḥāwiyya XVIII
  • Belief in Muhammad having been the Seal of the Prophets or the last prophet sent to mankindAl-ṬaḥāwÄ«, Al-Ê¿AqÄ«dah aá¹­-Ṭaḥāwiyya XXIX
  • Belief in the Quran being the eternal, uncreated Word of GodAl-ṬaḥāwÄ«, Al-Ê¿AqÄ«dah aá¹­-Ṭaḥāwiyya XXXIII
  • Belief in the beatific vision being a reality in the afterlife, even if it will not be all-encompassing and the "manner" of it remains unknownAl-ṬaḥāwÄ«, Al-Ê¿AqÄ«dah aá¹­-Ṭaḥāwiyya XXXV
  • Belief in the Night Journey of Muhammad having happened in a bodily form, while he was "awake"Al-ṬaḥāwÄ«, Al-Ê¿AqÄ«dah aá¹­-Ṭaḥāwiyya XXXIX
  • Belief in the intercession of Muhammad being a reality on the Last DayAl-ṬaḥāwÄ«, Al-Ê¿AqÄ«dah aá¹­-Ṭaḥāwiyya XLI
  • Belief in God's covenant with Adam and his offspring having been "true"Al-ṬaḥāwÄ«, Al-Ê¿AqÄ«dah aá¹­-Ṭaḥāwiyya XLII
  • Belief in Abraham having been God's "intimate friend"Al-ṬaḥāwÄ«, Al-Ê¿AqÄ«dah aá¹­-Ṭaḥāwiyya LII
  • Belief in Moses having conversed directly with God without a mediator
  • Belief in the idea that wrong works in themselves does not make a Muslim an "unbeliever" and that it is forbidden to declare takfir on those who know that what they are doing is wrongAl-ṬaḥāwÄ«, Al-Ê¿AqÄ«dah aá¹­-Ṭaḥāwiyya LVII
  • Belief in it being wrong to "make a distinction" between the various prophets of GodAl-ṬaḥāwÄ«, Al-Ê¿AqÄ«dah aá¹­-Ṭaḥāwiyya LXVII
  • Belief in believing in that which "all the prophets" brought from God
  • Belief in avoiding "deviations, divisions, and differences" in the fold of IslamAl-ṬaḥāwÄ«, Al-Ê¿AqÄ«dah aá¹­-Ṭaḥāwiyya LXXIII
  • Belief in venerating all the Companions of MuhammadAl-ṬaḥāwÄ«, Al-Ê¿AqÄ«dah aá¹­-Ṭaḥāwiyya XCIII
  • Belief in the existence of saints, and in venerating them and accepting the traditional narratives of their lives and miraclesAl-ṬaḥāwÄ«, Al-Ê¿AqÄ«dah aá¹­-Ṭaḥāwiyya XCVIII-IX ()
  • Belief that saints, while exalted in their own right, occupy an infinitely lesser rank than the prophets and that "one of the prophets is greater than all the saints put together" ()
  • Belief in the Signs of the ApocalypseAl-ṬaḥāwÄ«, Al-Ê¿AqÄ«dah aá¹­-Ṭaḥāwiyya C
  • Belief that Jesus is the Promised Messiah of God and that all Muslims await his Second Coming

Theological traditions

{{Aqidah|Sunni}}{{Islam |denominations|width=23.0em}}Some Islamic scholars faced questions that they felt were not explicitly answered in the Quran and the Sunnah, especially questions with regard to philosophical conundra such as the nature of God, the existence of human free will, or the eternal existence of the Quran. Various schools of theology and philosophy developed to answer these questions, each claiming to be true to the Quran and the Muslim tradition (sunnah). Among Sunni Muslims, various schools of thought in theology began to be born out of the sciences of kalam in opposition to the textualists who stood by affirming texts without delving into philosophical speculation as they saw it as an innovation in Islam. The following were the three dominant schools of theology that grew. All three of these are accepted by Muslims around the globe, and are considered within "Islamic orthodoxy". The key beliefs of classical Sunni Islam are all agreed upon (being the six pillars of Iman) and codified in the treatise on Aqeedah by Imam Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Tahawi in his Aqeedat Tahawiyyah.{{Citation needed|reason=That his work became the codified doctrine for all Sunnis is rather unlikely since Sunnism lacks a scholary hierarchy.|date=May 2019}}


Founded by Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari (873–935). This theological school of Aqeedah was embraced by many Muslim scholars and developed in parts of the Islamic world throughout history; al-Ghazali wrote on the creed discussing it and agreeing upon some of its principles.WEB,weblink Fethullah Gülen and Al-Ghazzali on Tolerance, J. B. Schlubach, 2010-01-07,weblink" title="">weblink 2010-03-04, live, Ash'ari theology stresses divine revelation over human reason. Contrary to the Mu'tazilites, they say that ethics cannot be derived from human reason, but that God's commands, as revealed in the Quran and the Sunnah (the practices of Muhammad and his companions as recorded in the traditions, or hadith), are the sole source of all morality and ethics.Regarding the nature of God and the divine attributes, the Ash'ari rejected the Mu'tazili position that all Quranic references to God as having real attributes were metaphorical. The Ash'aris insisted that these attributes were as they "best befit His Majesty". The Arabic language is a wide language in which one word can have 15 different meanings, so the Ash'aris endeavor to find the meaning that best befits God and is not contradicted by the Quran. Therefore, when God states in the Quran, "He who does not resemble any of His creation," this clearly means that God cannot be attributed with body parts because He created body parts. Ash'aris tend to stress divine omnipotence over human free will and they believe that the Quran is eternal and uncreated.


Founded by Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (died 944), the Maturidiyyah was the major tradition in Central AsiaMarlène Laruelle Being Muslim in Central Asia: Practices, Politics, and Identities BRILL, 11.01.2018 {{ISBN|9789004357242}} p. 21 based on Hanafi-law. It is more influenced by Persian interpretations of Islam and less on the traditions established within Arabian culture.Marlène Laruelle Being Muslim in Central Asia: Practices, Politics, and Identities BRILL, 11.01.2018 {{ISBN|9789004357242}} p. 21 In contrast to the traditionalistic approach, Maturidism allows to reject hadiths based on reason alone.Rico Isaacs, Alessandro Frigerio Theorizing Central Asian Politics: The State, Ideology and Power Springer, 2018 {{ISBN|9783319973555}} p. 108 Nevertheless, revelation remains important, to inform humans about that is beyond their intellectual limits, such as the concept of an afterlife. Ethics on the other hand, do not need prophecy or revelation, but can be understood by reason alone. One of the tribes, the Seljuk Turks, migrated to Turkey, where later the Ottoman Empire was established.WEB,weblink Maturidiyyah, Philtar, 2006-04-01, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2006-02-23, Their preferred school of law achieved a new prominence throughout their whole empire although it continued to be followed almost exclusively by followers of the Hanafi school while followers of the Shafi and Maliki schools within the empire followed the Ash'ari and Athari schools of thought. Thus, wherever can be found Hanafi followers, there can be found the Maturidi creed.{{discuss}}{{citation needed|date=May 2015}}


Traditionalist theology is a movement of Islamic scholars who reject rationalistic Islamic theology (kalam) in favor of strict textualism in interpreting the Quran and sunnah.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Binyamin, Abrahamov, Scripturalist and Traditionalist Theology, Sabine Schmidtke, The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Theology, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014,weblink subscription, harv, The name derives from "tradition" in its technical sense as translation of the Arabic word hadith. It is also sometimes referred to as athari as by several other names.Adherents of traditionalist theology believe that the zahir (literal, apparent) meaning of the Qur'an and the hadith have sole authority in matters of belief and law; and that the use of rational disputation is forbidden even if it verifies the truth.BOOK, Halverson, Jeffry R., Theology and Creed in Sunni Islam: The Muslim Brotherhood, Ash'arism, and Political Sunnism, 2010, Palgrave Macmillan, 9781137473578, 36, They engage in a literal reading of the Qur'an, as opposed to one engaged in ta'wil (metaphorical interpretation). They do not attempt to conceptualize the meanings of the Qur'an rationally, and believe that their realities should be consigned to God alone (tafwid).BOOK, Halverson, Jeffry R., Theology and Creed in Sunni Islam: The Muslim Brotherhood, Ash'arism, and Political Sunnism, 2010, Palgrave Macmillan, 9781137473578, 36–37, In essence, the text of the Qur'an and Hadith is accepted without asking "how" or "Bi-la kaifa".Traditionalist theology emerged among scholars of hadith who eventually coalesced into a movement called ahl al-hadith under the leadership of Ahmad ibn Hanbal.BOOK, Lapidus, Ira M., Ira M. Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies, Cambridge University Press (Kindle edition), 2014, 978-0-521-51430-9, 130, In matters of faith, they were pitted against Mu'tazilites and other theological currents, condemning many points of their doctrine as well as the rationalistic methods they used in defending them. In the tenth century al-Ash'ari and al-Maturidi found a middle ground between Mu'tazilite rationalism and Hanbalite literalism, using the rationalistic methods championed by Mu'tazilites to defend most tenets of the traditionalist doctrine.BOOK, Lapidus, Ira M., Ira M. Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies, Cambridge University Press (Kindle edition), 2014, 978-0-521-51430-9, 123–124, BOOK, Khalid, Blankinship, Khalid Yahya Blankinship, 2008, The early creed, Tim Winter, The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology, Cambridge University Press (Kindle edition), 53, Although the mainly Hanbali scholars who rejected this synthesis were in the minority, their emotive, narrative-based approach to faith remained influential among the urban masses in some areas, particularly in Abbasid Baghdad.BOOK, Halverson, Jeffry R., Theology and Creed in Sunni Islam: The Muslim Brotherhood, Ash'arism, and Political Sunnism, 2010, Palgrave Macmillan, 9781137473578, 35, While Ash'arism and Maturidism are often called the Sunni "orthodoxy", traditionalist theology has thrived alongside it, laying rival claims to be the orthodox Sunni faith.BOOK, Jonathan A.C., Brown, 2009, Hadith: Muhammad's Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World, Oneworld Publications (Kindle edition), 180, The Ash'ari school of theology is often called the Sunni 'orthodoxy.' But the original ahl al-hadith, early Sunni creed from which Ash'arism evolved has continued to thrive alongside it as a rival Sunni 'orthodoxy' as well., In the modern era it has had a disproportionate impact on Islamic theology, having been appropriated by Wahhabi and other traditionalist Salafi currents and spread well beyond the confines of the Hanbali school of law.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Jon, Hoover, Ḥanbalī Theology, 1, Sabine Schmidtke, The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Theology, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014,weblink subscription, 625, 9780199696703, 2016-08-02,

Sunni mysticism

There has also been a rich tradition of mysticism within Sunni Islam, which has most prominently manifested itself in the principal orders of Sunni Sufism. Historically, Sufism became "an incredibly important part of Islam" and "one of the most widespread and omnipresent aspects of Muslim life" in Islamic civilization from the early medieval period onwards,WEB, Is orthodox Islam possible without Sufism? – Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad (Dr. Timothy Winter),weblink, 13 May 2015, 2017-06-04,weblink 2017-02-13, live, WEB, Dr. Jonathan AC Brown – What is Sufism?,weblink, 27 December 2015, 2017-06-04,weblink 2017-06-04, live, when it began to permeate nearly all major aspects of Sunni Islamic life in regions stretching from India and Iraq to Senegal.WEB, Dr. Jonathan AC Brown – What is Sufism?,weblink, 13 May 2015, 2017-06-04,weblink 2017-06-04, live, Sufism continued to remain a crucial part of daily Islamic life until the twentieth century, when its historical influence upon Islamic civilization began to be combated by the rise of Salafism and Wahhabism.Jonathan A.C. Brown, Misquoting Muhammad (London: Oneworld Publications, 2015), p. 254 Islamic scholar Timothy Winter has remarked: "[In] classical, mainstream, medieval Sunni Islam ... [the idea of] 'orthodox Islam' would not ... [have been possible] without Sufism," and that the classical belief in Sufism being an essential component of Islam has only weakened in some quarters of the Islamic world "a generation or two ago" with the rise of Salafism. In the modern world, the classical interpretation of Sunni orthodoxy, which sees in Sufism an essential dimension of Islam alongside the disciplines of jurisprudence and theology, is represented by institutions such as Al-Azhar University and Zaytuna College, with Al-Azhar's current Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb defining "Sunni orthodoxy" as being a follower "of any of the four schools of [legal] thought (Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maliki or Hanbali) and ... [also] of the Sufism of Imam Junayd of Baghdad in doctrines, manners and [spiritual] purification."WEB, Profile of Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad Al-Tayyeb on The Muslim 500,weblink The Muslim 500: The World's Most Influential Muslims, en, 2017-06-04,weblink" title="">weblink 2017-06-06, dead, In the eleventh-century, Sufism, which had previously been a less "codified" trend in Islamic piety, began to be "ordered and crystallized"Seyyed Hossein Nasr, The Essential Seyyed Hossein Nasr, ed. William C. Chittick (Bloomington: World Wisdom, 2007), p. 76 into orders which have continued until the present day. All these orders were founded by a major Sunni Islamic saint, and some of the largest and most widespread included the Qadiriyya (after Abdul-Qadir Gilani [d. 1166]), the Rifa'iyya (after Ahmed al-Rifa'i [d. 1182]), the Chishtiyya (after Moinuddin Chishti [d. 1236]), the Shadiliyya (after Abul Hasan ash-Shadhili [d. 1258]), and the Naqshbandiyya (after Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari [d. 1389]). Contrary to popular perception in the West,Martin Lings, What is Sufism? (Lahore: Suhail Academy, 2005; first imp. 1983, second imp. 1999), p. 16 however, neither the founders of these orders nor their followers ever considered themselves to be anything other than orthodox Sunni Muslims, and in fact all of these orders were attached to one of the four orthodox legal schools of Sunni Islam. Thus, the Qadiriyya order was Hanbali, with its founder, Abdul-Qadir Gilani, being a renowned Hanbali jurist; the Chishtiyya was Hanafi; the Shadiliyya order was Maliki; and the Naqshbandiyya order was Hanafi.Massington, L., Radtke, B., Chittick, W.C., Jong, F. de., Lewisohn, L., Zarcone, Th., Ernst, C, Aubin, Françoise and J.O. Hunwick, "Taṣawwuf", in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs; q.v. "Hanafi," "Hanbali," and "Maliki," and under "mysticism in..." for each. Thus, "many of the most eminent defenders of Islamic orthodoxy, such as Abdul-Qadir Gilani, Ghazali, and the Sultan Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn (Saladin) were connected with Sufism."Titus Burckhardt, Introduction to Sufi Doctrine (Bloomington: World Wisdom, 2008, p. 4, note 2The contemporary Salafi and Wahhabi strands of Sunnis, however, do not accept the traditional stance on mystical practices.Jeffrey Halverson, Theology and Creed in Sunni Islam, 2010, p. 48

Sunni view of hadith

{{unreferenced section|date=December 2017}}The Quran as it exists today in book form was compiled by Muhammad's companions (Sahabah) within a handful of months of his death, and is accepted by all sects of Islam. However, there were many matters of belief and daily life that were not directly prescribed in the Quran, but were actions that were observed by Muhammad and the early Muslim community. Later generations sought out oral traditions regarding the early history of Islam, and the practices of Muhammad and his first followers, and wrote them down so that they might be preserved. These recorded oral traditions are called hadith. Muslim scholars have through the ages sifted through the hadith and evaluated the chain of narrations of each tradition, scrutinizing the trustworthiness of the narrators and judging the strength of each hadith accordingly.

Kutub al-Sittah

Kutub al-Sittah are six books containing collections of hadiths. Sunni Muslims accept the hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim as the most authentic (sahih), and while accepting all hadiths verified as authentic, grant a slightly lesser status to the collections of other recorders. There are, however, four other collections of hadith that are also held in particular reverence by Sunni Muslims, making a total of six: There are also other collections of hadith which also contain many authentic hadith and are frequently used by scholars and specialists. Examples of these collections include:

See also



Further reading

External links

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