Sunni Islam

Sunni Islam

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Sunni Islam'
Start a new discussion about 'Sunni Islam'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Sunni Islam is the largest branch
Islamic schools and branches
Muslims are basically divided in two major factions, Sunnis and Shias, that are further divided into various Schools of Jurisprudence and orders of Imamate. All other movements within such as Salafi, Modernists, the Mystical Sufi Orders, Deobandi and Barelvi are either Sunni or Shia or both...

 of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. Sunni Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s are referred to in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 as ''ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah ' onMouseout='HidePop("64606")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Muhammad">Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

] and the community") or ''ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah
for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites.

Sunni Islam is sometimes referred to as the orthodox
Orthodoxy
The word orthodox, from Greek orthos + doxa , is generally used to mean the adherence to accepted norms, more specifically to creeds, especially in religion...

 version of the religion. The word "Sunni" comes from the term Sunnah
Sunnah
The word literally means a clear, well trodden, busy and plain surfaced road. In the discussion of the sources of religion, Sunnah denotes the practice of Prophet Muhammad that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar...

, which refers to the sayings and actions of Muhammad that are recorded in hadiths (collections of narrations regarding Muhammad). Sunni Muslims generally consider Sahih al-Bukhari
Sahih al-Bukhari
Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī , as it is commonly referred to, is one of the six canonical hadith collections of Islam. These prophetic traditions, or hadith, were collected by the Persian Muslim scholar Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari, after being transmitted orally for generations. Muslims view this as one of...

and Sahih Muslim
Sahih Muslim
Sahih Muslim is one of the Six major collections of the hadith in Sunni Islam, oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. It is the second most authentic hadith collection after Sahih Al-Bukhari, and is highly acclaimed by Sunni Muslims...

to be entirely authentic and accurate hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

s.

Etymology


(Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic , also known as Qur'anic or Koranic Arabic, is the form of the Arabic language used in literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times . It is based on the Medieval dialects of Arab tribes...

: /ˈsunniː/) is a broad term derived from
{{Contains Arabic text}}
{{Sunni Islam}}
Sunni Islam (icon or ˈ) is the largest branch
Islamic schools and branches
Muslims are basically divided in two major factions, Sunnis and Shias, that are further divided into various Schools of Jurisprudence and orders of Imamate. All other movements within such as Salafi, Modernists, the Mystical Sufi Orders, Deobandi and Barelvi are either Sunni or Shia or both...

 of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. Sunni Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s are referred to in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 as ''ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah ({{lang-ar|أهل السنة والجماعة}}, "people of the tradition [of Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

] and the community") or ''ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah
({{lang-ar|أهل السنة}}) for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites.

Sunni Islam is sometimes referred to as the orthodox
Orthodoxy
The word orthodox, from Greek orthos + doxa , is generally used to mean the adherence to accepted norms, more specifically to creeds, especially in religion...

 version of the religion. The word "Sunni" comes from the term Sunnah
Sunnah
The word literally means a clear, well trodden, busy and plain surfaced road. In the discussion of the sources of religion, Sunnah denotes the practice of Prophet Muhammad that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar...

({{lang-ar|سنة}}), which refers to the sayings and actions of Muhammad that are recorded in hadiths (collections of narrations regarding Muhammad). Sunni Muslims generally consider Sahih al-Bukhari
Sahih al-Bukhari
Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī , as it is commonly referred to, is one of the six canonical hadith collections of Islam. These prophetic traditions, or hadith, were collected by the Persian Muslim scholar Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari, after being transmitted orally for generations. Muslims view this as one of...

and Sahih Muslim
Sahih Muslim
Sahih Muslim is one of the Six major collections of the hadith in Sunni Islam, oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. It is the second most authentic hadith collection after Sahih Al-Bukhari, and is highly acclaimed by Sunni Muslims...

to be entirely authentic and accurate hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

s.

Etymology


{{transl|ar|DIN|Sunnī}} (Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic , also known as Qur'anic or Koranic Arabic, is the form of the Arabic language used in literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times . It is based on the Medieval dialects of Arab tribes...

: {{script/Arabic|سُنِّي}} /ˈsunniː/) is a broad term derived from
{{Contains Arabic text}}
{{Sunni Islam}}
Sunni Islam (icon or ˈ) is the largest branch
Islamic schools and branches
Muslims are basically divided in two major factions, Sunnis and Shias, that are further divided into various Schools of Jurisprudence and orders of Imamate. All other movements within such as Salafi, Modernists, the Mystical Sufi Orders, Deobandi and Barelvi are either Sunni or Shia or both...

 of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. Sunni Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s are referred to in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 as ''ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah ({{lang-ar|أهل السنة والجماعة}}, "people of the tradition [of Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

] and the community") or ''ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah
({{lang-ar|أهل السنة}}) for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites.

Sunni Islam is sometimes referred to as the orthodox
Orthodoxy
The word orthodox, from Greek orthos + doxa , is generally used to mean the adherence to accepted norms, more specifically to creeds, especially in religion...

 version of the religion. The word "Sunni" comes from the term Sunnah
Sunnah
The word literally means a clear, well trodden, busy and plain surfaced road. In the discussion of the sources of religion, Sunnah denotes the practice of Prophet Muhammad that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar...

({{lang-ar|سنة}}), which refers to the sayings and actions of Muhammad that are recorded in hadiths (collections of narrations regarding Muhammad). Sunni Muslims generally consider Sahih al-Bukhari
Sahih al-Bukhari
Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī , as it is commonly referred to, is one of the six canonical hadith collections of Islam. These prophetic traditions, or hadith, were collected by the Persian Muslim scholar Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari, after being transmitted orally for generations. Muslims view this as one of...

and Sahih Muslim
Sahih Muslim
Sahih Muslim is one of the Six major collections of the hadith in Sunni Islam, oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. It is the second most authentic hadith collection after Sahih Al-Bukhari, and is highly acclaimed by Sunni Muslims...

to be entirely authentic and accurate hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

s.

Etymology


{{transl|ar|DIN|Sunnī}} (Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic , also known as Qur'anic or Koranic Arabic, is the form of the Arabic language used in literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times . It is based on the Medieval dialects of Arab tribes...

: {{script/Arabic|سُنِّي}} /ˈsunniː/) is a broad term derived from {{transl ({{script/Arabic|سُنَّة}} /ˈsunna/, pl. {{script/Arabic|سُنَن}} {{transl|ar|DIN|sunan}} /ˈsunæn/), means "habit" or "usual practice". The Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 usage of this term refers to the sayings and living habits of Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

. In its full form, this branch of Islam is referred to as "Ahl al-Sunnah wa Jama'ah" (literally, "People of the Sunan and the Community"). Anyone claiming to follow the Sunnah who can demonstrate that they have no action or belief against the Prophetic Sunnah can consider themself to be a Sunni Muslim. However, it should be noted that Shi'a
Shi'a Islam
Shia Islam is the second largest denomination of Islam. The followers of Shia Islam are called Shi'ites or Shias. "Shia" is the short form of the historic phrase Shīʻatu ʻAlī , meaning "followers of Ali", "faction of Ali", or "party of Ali".Like other schools of thought in Islam, Shia Islam is...

 Muslims also hold that they follow the Sunnah.

Schools of law (Madh'hab)


{{Main|Madh'hab}}
Islamic law is known as the Sharī'ah
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

. The Sharī'ah is based on the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

and the Sunnah
Sunnah
The word literally means a clear, well trodden, busy and plain surfaced road. In the discussion of the sources of religion, Sunnah denotes the practice of Prophet Muhammad that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar...

. The Madh'hab translates to "way", and different Madhaheb (plural of Madh'hab) reflect different opinions on some laws and obligations of the sharia, for example when one Madh'hab sees a certain act as an obligation, while the other does not. It has to be clear that each one of these schools consider the others to be fully valid and accepted and one does not have to follow any of them. Schools of law are not sects rather different opinions in issues that are not the core of Islamic belief.

Below are the most famous four:

Hanafi School


{{Main|Hanafi}}
Abu Hanifah (died 767), was the founder of the Hanafi
Hanafi
The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

 school and student of Ja'far al-Sadiq
Ja'far al-Sadiq
Jaʿfar ibn Muhammad al-Sādiq was a descendant of Muhammad and a prominent Muslim jurist. He is revered as an Imam by the adherents of Shi'a Islam and as a renowned Islamic scholar and personality by Sunni Muslims. The Shi'a Muslims consider him to be the sixth Imam or leader and spiritual...

. He was born in the year 702 CE in Kufa
Kufa
Kufa is a city in Iraq, about south of Baghdad, and northeast of Najaf. It is located on the banks of the Euphrates River. The estimated population in 2003 was 110,000....

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 in an Afghan-Persian family.{{Citation needed|date=September 2011}} Muslims of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

, the Muslim areas of Southern Russia, the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

, most of the Muslim areas of the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and parts of Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, all follow this school of jurisprudence.

Maliki School


{{Main|Maliki}}
Malik ibn Anas
Malik ibn Anas
Mālik ibn Anas ibn Mālik ibn Abī 'Āmir al-Asbahī is known as "Imam Malik," the "Sheikh of Islam", the "Proof of the Community," and "Imam of the Abode of Emigration." He was one of the most highly respected scholars of fiqh in Sunni Islam...

 (died 795) Student of the imam Abu Hanifah's eldest student, Muhammad, Malik ibn Anas developed his ideas in Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

. His doctrine is recorded in the Muwatta which has been adopted by most North African and West African countries like Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

, Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, Mali
Mali
Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

, Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 and others except Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in East Africa that juts hundreds of kilometers into the Arabian Sea and lies along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. It is the easternmost projection of the African continent...

 and Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

. Also, the Maliki
Maliki
The ' madhhab is one of the schools of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. It is the second-largest of the four schools, followed by approximately 25% of Muslims, mostly in North Africa, West Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and in some parts of Saudi Arabia...

 madhab is the official state madhhab of Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

, Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

 and the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

. He was one of the teachers of Imam al-Shafi'i. One of greatest historical centers of Maliki teaching, especially during the ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries, is the Mosque of Uqba also known as the Great Mosque of Kairouan (in Tunisia).

Shafi'i school


{{Main|Shafi'i}}
Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi`i
Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi`i
Abū ʿAbdullāh Muhammad ibn Idrīs al-Shafiʿī was a Muslim jurist, who lived from 767 CE to 820 CE. He was active in juridical matters and his teaching eventually led to the Shafi'i school of fiqh named after him. Hence he is often called Imam al-Shafi'i...

 (died 820 CE) was a student of Malik. He taught in Iraq and then in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. Muslims in Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Lower Egypt
Lower Egypt
Lower Egypt is the northern-most section of Egypt. It refers to the fertile Nile Delta region, which stretches from the area between El-Aiyat and Zawyet Dahshur, south of modern-day Cairo, and the Mediterranean Sea....

, Malaysia, Southern Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, Brunei
Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

, Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

, Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

, Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

, Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, Coastal Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

/Konkan
Konkan
The Konkan also called the Konkan Coast or Karavali is a rugged section of the western coastline of India from Raigad to Mangalore...

 and Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

 in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, Maldives
Maldives
The Maldives , , officially Republic of Maldives , also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and...

, Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 and Kurds in the Kurdish regions follow the Shafi'i
Shafi'i
The Shafi'i madhhab is one of the schools of fiqh, or religious law, within the Sunni branch of Islam. The Shafi'i school of fiqh is named after Imām ash-Shafi'i.-Principles:...

 school. Al-Shafi'i placed great emphasis on the Sunnah of Muhammad, as embodied in the Hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

, as a source of the Shari'ah.

Hanbali School


{{Main|Hanbali}}
Ahmad bin Hanbal  (died 855), the namesake of the Hanbali
Hanbali
The Hanbali school is one the schools of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. The jurisprudence school traces back to Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal but was institutionalized by his students. Hanbali jurisprudence is considered very strict and conservative, especially regarding questions of dogma...

 school, was born in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

. He learned extensively from al-Shafi'i. This school of jurisprudence is followed predominantly in the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

.

Theology


The followers of these four schools follow the same basic belief system but differ from one another in terms of practice and execution of rituals, and in juristic interpretation of "divine principles"{{cn|date=November 2011}} (or Shariah) as envisaged in Quran and Hadith. However Sunni Muslims consider them all equally valid.{{cn|date=November 2011}}

There are other Sunni schools of law. However, many are followed by only small numbers of people and are relatively unknown due to the popularity of the four major schools; also, many have died out or were not sufficiently recorded by their followers to survive.

Interpreting the Shari'ah to derive specific rulings (such as how to pray) is known as fiqh
Fiqh
Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists....

,
which literally means understanding. A madh'hab is a particular tradition of interpreting fiqh. These schools focus on specific evidence (Shafi'i and Hanbali) or general principles (Hanafi and Maliki) derived from specific evidences. The schools were started by eminent Muslim scholars
Imam (Sunni Islam)
In Sunni Islam, an imam khatib is a leader, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. This compound title is merely a common combination of two elementary offices: leader of the congregational prayer, which in larger mosques is performed at the times of all daily prayers; and...

 in the first four centuries of Islam. As these schools represent clearly spelled out methodologies for interpreting the Shari'aa, there has been little change in the methodology per se. However, as the social and economic environment changes, new fiqh rulings are being made. For example, when tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

 appeared it was declared as 'disliked' because of its smell. When medical information showed that smoking
Tobacco smoking
Tobacco smoking is the practice where tobacco is burned and the resulting smoke is inhaled. The practice may have begun as early as 5000–3000 BCE. Tobacco was introduced to Eurasia in the late 16th century where it followed common trade routes...

 was dangerous, that ruling was changed to 'forbidden'. Current fiqh issues include things like downloading pirated software and cloning
Cloning
Cloning in biology is the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually. Cloning in biotechnology refers to processes used to create copies of DNA fragments , cells , or...

. The consensus{{who|date=November 2011}} is that the Shari'ah does not change{{cn|date=November 2011}}{{dubious|date=November 2011}} but fiqh rulings change all the time.

A madh'hab is not to be confused with a religious sect
Sect
A sect is a group with distinctive religious, political or philosophical beliefs. Although in past it was mostly used to refer to religious groups, it has since expanded and in modern culture can refer to any organization that breaks away from a larger one to follow a different set of rules and...

. There may be scholars representing all four madh'habs living in larger Muslim communities, and it is up to those who consult them to decide which school they prefer.

Demographics


{{Main|Demographics of Islam}}

Estimates of the world Sunni population varies from 75% to 90% of all muslims. The remaining belong to various other denominations.

Sunni theological traditions


Some Islamic scholars faced questions that they felt were not explicitly answered in the Qur'an, especially questions with regard to philosophical conundra like the nature of God, the existence of human free will
Free will
"To make my own decisions whether I am successful or not due to uncontrollable forces" -Troy MorrisonA pragmatic definition of free willFree will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long...

, or the eternal existence of the Qur'an. Various schools of theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 and philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 developed to answer these questions, each claiming to be true to the Qur'an and the Muslim tradition (sunnah). Among Sunnites, the following were the dominant traditions, however the key beliefs of the Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a are founded upon the treatise on Aqeedah by Imam al-Tahawi:
  • Athari
    Athari
    Athari , or "textualism" is derived from the Arabic word athar, literally meaning "remnant", and also referring to "narrations". Their disciples are called the Atharis...

     (Arabic: أثري), or "textualism", is derived from the Arabic word athar, literally meaning "remnant", and also referring to "narrations". Their disciples are called the Atharis. The Atharis are considered to be one of three Sunni schools of Aqidah: Athari, Ashari, and Maturidi.
    • The Athari methodology of textual interpretation is to avoid delving into extensive theological speculation. They believe in Allah and his attributes in the exact fashion that they were mentioned in the Quran, the Sunnah, and by the Sahabah. They do not attempt to further interpret the aforementioned texts by giving a literal meaning like in Ẓāhirīya (literalism) or the Tashbih (simile or likening), nor through tahrif
      Tahrif
      Taḥrīf is an Arabic term used by Muslims with regard to irreparable alterations Islamic tradition claims Jews and Christians have made to Biblical manuscripts, specifically those that make up the Tawrat , Zabur and Injil .Traditional Muslim scholars, based on Qur'anic and other traditions, maintain...

       (distortion), nor ta`weel (allegory or metaphor), nor ta'teel (denial). They avoid entering into deep rational philosophical discussions of matters relating to Islamic beliefs that are not supported by the Quran, the Sunnah or the understanding of the Sahabah with specific wording; rather, their discussion and presentation of beliefs revolves entirely around textual evidences found in these three main sources, while remaining cautious to avoid taking the path of the Ẓāhirīs (literalists) either. The Atharis believe this to be the methodology adhered to by the first three generations of Muslims (i.e. the Salaf
      Salaf
      A Salaf is an early Muslim of the first three generations of proponents of the religion.-First generation:* See: List of SahabaThe Salaf are the first generation of Muslims, which included Muhammad's companions and followers at the time....

      ), therefore making it the school of Sunni Aqidah that they believe is adhering to the truth and keeping to the balanced middle path of Islam.


Due to the emphasis of the Hanbali school of thought on textualism, Muslims who are Hanbali usually prefer the Athari methodology in Aqidah. However, Atharis are not exclusively Hanbali, many Muslims from other schools of thought adhere to the Athari school of Aqidah also.

The Atharis are also called sometimes the Salafi
Salafi
A Salafi come from Sunni Islam is a follower of an Islamic movement, Salafiyyah, that is supposed to take the Salaf who lived during the patristic period of early Islam as model examples...

s. And their theological system of Aqidah is most of the time called Aqidat al-Salaf (or in fewer occasions: Aqidat As-hab al-Hadith).
  • Ash'ari
    Ash'ari
    The Ashʿari theology is a school of early Muslim speculative theology founded by the theologian Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari...

    , founded by Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari
    Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari
    Abū al-Hasan Alī ibn Ismā'īl al-Ash'arī was a Muslim Arab theologian and the founder of the Ash'ari school of early Islamic philosophy and Islamic theology.-Biography:...

     (873–935). This theological system of Aqidah was embraced by plenty of Muslim scholars such as Imam al-Ghazali
    Al-Ghazali
    Abu Hāmed Mohammad ibn Mohammad al-Ghazzālī , known as Algazel to the western medieval world, born and died in Tus, in the Khorasan province of Persia was a Persian Muslim theologian, jurist, philosopher, and mystic....

    .
    • Ash'ari theology stresses divine revelation over human reason. Contrary to the Mu'tazilites, they say that ethics
      Ethics
      Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

       cannot be derived from human reason, but that God's commands, as revealed in the Qur'an and the Sunnah (the practices of Muhammad and his companions as recorded in the traditions, or hadith
      Hadith
      The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

      ), 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
      Mu'tazili
      ' is an Islamic school of speculative theology that flourished in the cities of Basra and Baghdad, both in present-day Iraq, during the 8th–10th centuries. The adherents of the Mu'tazili school are best known for their having asserted that, because of the perfect unity and eternal nature of God,...

      te position that all Qur'anic references to God as having physical attributes were not metaphorical. The Ash'aris insisted that these attributes were as they "best befit him"; the Arabic language is a wide language in which one word can have 15 different meanings, so you their strategy is to find the best meaning that befits Allah and that the Qur'an does not contradict. Therefore when Allah states in the Holy Qur'an, "He who does not resemble any of this creation," this clearly means Allah can't be attributed with body parts because he created body parts. This is one way which differentiates these Muslims from most Christians and Jews.
    • Ash'aris tend to stress divine omnipotence
      Omnipotence
      Omnipotence is unlimited power. Monotheistic religions generally attribute omnipotence to only the deity of whichever faith is being addressed...

       over human free will.
    • Ash'aris believe that the Qur'an is eternal and uncreated.

  • Maturidi
    Maturidi
    In Islam, a Maturidi is one who follows Abu Mansur Al Maturidi's theology, which is a close variant of the Ash'ari theology . The Maturidis, Ash'aris and Atharis are all part of Sunni Islam, which makes up the overwhelming majority of Muslims...

    , founded by Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (died 944). Maturidiyyah was a minority tradition until it was accepted by the Turkish
    Turkish people
    Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

     tribes of Central Asia
    Central Asia
    Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

     (previously they had been Ash'ari and followers of the Shafi'i school,{{Citation needed|date=March 2008}} it was only later on migration into Anatolia
    Anatolia
    Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

     that they became Hanafi
    Hanafi
    The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

    s and followers of the Maturidi creed{{Citation needed|date=March 2008}}). One of the tribes, the Seljuk Turks, migrated to Turkey
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

    , where later the Ottoman Empire
    Ottoman Empire
    The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

     was established. 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
    Hanafi
    The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

     school while followers of the Shafi and Maliki
    Maliki
    The ' madhhab is one of the schools of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam. It is the second-largest of the four schools, followed by approximately 25% of Muslims, mostly in North Africa, West Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and in some parts of Saudi Arabia...

     schools within the empire followed the Ash'ari and Athari schools of thought. Thus, wherever can be found Hanafi
    Hanafi
    The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

     followers, there can be found the Maturidi creed.
    • Maturidis argue that the knowledge of God's existence can be derived through pure reason.

Sunni view of hadith



The Qur'an as it exists today in book form was compiled by Muhammad's companions (Sahaba
Sahabah
In Islam, the ' were the companions, disciples, scribes and family of the Islamic prophet...

) in approximately 650 CE, and is accepted by all Muslim denominations. However, there were many matters of belief and daily life that were not directly prescribed in the Qur'an, but were actions that were observed by Muhammad and the early Muslim community. Later generations sought out oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

s 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
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

. 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.

Most Sunni Muslims accept the hadith collections of Bukhari
Sahih al-Bukhari
Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī , as it is commonly referred to, is one of the six canonical hadith collections of Islam. These prophetic traditions, or hadith, were collected by the Persian Muslim scholar Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari, after being transmitted orally for generations. Muslims view this as one of...

 and Muslim
Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj
Abul Husayn Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj ibn Muslim ibn Warat al-Qushayri al-Nisaburi was the author of the second authentic sahih collection of hadith in Sunni Islam, Sahih Muslim.-Biography:...

 as the most authentic (sahih, or correct), 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:
  • Sahih al-Bukhari
    Sahih Bukhari
    Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī , as it is commonly referred to, is one of the six canonical hadith collections of Islam. These prophetic traditions, or hadith, were collected by the Persian Muslim scholar Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari, after being transmitted orally for generations. Muslims view this as one of...

  • Sahih Muslim
    Sahih Muslim
    Sahih Muslim is one of the Six major collections of the hadith in Sunni Islam, oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. It is the second most authentic hadith collection after Sahih Al-Bukhari, and is highly acclaimed by Sunni Muslims...

  • Sunan an-Nasa'ii
  • Sunan Abu Dawud
  • Sunan at-Tirmidhi
    Sunan al-Tirmidhi
    Jāmi` al-Tirmidhi , popularly and mistakenly Sunan al-Tirmidhi , is one of the Sunni Six major Hadith collections. It was collected by Abu 'Eesa Muhammad ibn 'Eesa al-Tirmidhi.-Title:...

  • Sunan ibn Majah
    Sunan Ibn Maja
    Sunan Ibn Majah is one of the Sunni Six Major Hadith collections, collected by Ibn Majah.-Description:It contains over 4,000 hadith in 32 books divided into 1,500 chapters...



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:
  • Musannaf of Abd al-Razzaq
    Musannaf of Abd al-Razzaq
    The Musannaf of Abd al-Razzaq is a very early book of Hadith that was collected by ‘Abd ar-Razzaq as-San‘ani. It not only contains a huge number of hadith attributed directly to Muhammad, but also from the Sahaba and early Muslim scholars...

  • Musnad
    Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal
    Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal is a collection of Hadith collected by the famous Sunni scholar Ibn Hanbal to whom the Hanbali madhab of Sunnis is attributed.-Description:...

     of Ahmad ibn Hanbal
    Ahmad ibn Hanbal
    Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hanbal Abu `Abd Allah al-Shaybani was an important Muslim scholar and theologian. He is considered the founder of the Hanbali school of fiqh...

  • Mustadrak of Al Haakim
    Hakim al-Nishaburi
    Abu Abd-Allah Muhammad ibn Abd-Allah al-Hakim al-Nishaburi , and also known as Ibn Al-Baiyi.) was a Sunni scholar and the leading traditionist of his age, frequently referred to as the "Imam of the Muhaddithin" or the "Muhaddith of Khorasan."-Biography:Al-Hakim, who hailed from Nishapur, had vast...

  • Muwatta of Imam Malik
  • Sahih Ibn Hibbaan
    Sahih Ibn Hibbaan
    Sahih Ibn Hibban is a collection of hadith by Sunni scholar Ibn Hibban. It has the distinction of being one of small number of collections intended by the respective authors to contain only authentic hadith. The author of this Sahih is Abu Hatim Muhammad ibn Hibban ibn Ahmad al-Tamimi al-Busti,...

  • Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah
    Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah
    Mukhtasar al-Mukhtasar min al-Musnad al-Sahih, in short Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah, is a collection of hadith by Ibn Khuzaymah-Views:Among the Sahih collections after Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, it is regarded highly along with Sahih Ibn Hibbaan and Sahih Abi 'Awana.-Published edition:It has been...


Further reading


External links



{{Sunni hadith literature}}

{{Islam topics|state=collapsed}}