This led historically to Sunni acceptance of the leadership of the foremost families of Mecca and to the acceptance of unexceptional and even foreign caliphs, so long as their rule afforded the proper exercise of religion and the maintenance of order. The distinctions between the Sunnis and other groups regarding the holding of spiritual and political authority remained firm even after the caliphate ceased to exist as an effective political institution in the 13th century. Sunni orthodoxy is marked by an emphasis on the views and customs of the majority of the communityas distinguished from the views of peripheral groups.
In the early 21st century the Sunnis constituted the majority of Muslims in all countries except Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, and perhaps Lebanon. They numbered about million in the early 21st century and constituted a majority of all the adherents of Islam. Article Media. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback.
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From the inception of the Iraqi state in until the fall of the government of Saddam Hussein inthe ruling elites consisted mainly—although apple ict4 rsu exclusively—of minority Sunni Arabs. These labels are somewhat misleading because they imply that only the Sunni s tried to follow the Sunnah of Muhammad. In fact, each group relied on the Sunnah but….
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More About.Sunni Muslims practice Islam as their interpretation of Islamic law guides them. These interpretations follow four differing schools of thought: the Hanafi, the Maliki, the Shafi'i and the Hanbali. These are based on the teachings of 4 early Islamic scholars. Some Sunni Muslims believe that Islamic law should be based on only one of these interpretations, others believe it is acceptable to choose interpretations of specific issues from each scholar and mix the teachings.
Shia Muslims follow one principle school of thought: Jafariya. They believe that the Imam exists to provide moral and religious leadership to the world. These Imams have been appointed by God. The two sects, while different, also share many beliefs.
They both believe that there is only one all-powerful God who created the world and all life in it. They also believe in a devil, angels, and demons. In practicing their religion, both groups recognize the Five Pillars of Islam which provide the framework for everyday life. These pillars include: testifying the existence of only one God and Muhammad as his prophet, taking part in prayer 5 times daily, giving charity, fasting during Ramadan, and making the pilgrimage to Makkah Mecca.
These two sects also believe that the purpose of human life is to praise God so that one day the gates of Paradise will open for them. Sunni followers believe that their prophet Muhammad did not appoint a specific successor before his death. Sunnis believe that the Imam, an important position within Islam, is the formal prayer leader. In Sunni belief, God will present himself on Judgment Day. Shia followers believe that their prophet Muhammad chose Ali ibn Abi Talib, his son-in-law, as successor.
Their Imams are central figures and leaders of the community in Shia belief, they are the perfect manifestation of God. Shia practitioners do not believe that humans will see God on Judgment Day. This early division between Islam followers has led to additional distinct differences between the two. Over time, the Shia began to give more importance to specific Hadith and Sunnah literature, leaning toward those that were written by family and close associates of the Prophet.
The Sunni, however gave the same importance to all Islamic literature.Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran that date back decades have heated up this week after the Saudis executed a prominent Shiite opposition cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Much of the regional rivalry is about who wields the most political muscle in the Middle East, but it has its roots in a rift between the Sunni and Shia disciplines of Islam that opened 1, years ago.
Saudi Arabia is the most powerful purveyor of Sunni Islam, far and away the larger sect. Iran is the heart of Shia Islam. The divide is traced to A. Both sides agreed that Allah is the one true God and that Muhammad was his messenger, but one group which eventually became the Shiites felt Muhammad's successor should be someone in his bloodline, while the other which became the Sunnis felt a pious individual who would follow the Prophet's customs was acceptable.
It was over political leadership," Robin Wright, a joint fellow at the non-partisan U. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson Center, said. Both Sunnis and Shiites read the Quran, the sayings of the Prophet. Both believe Prophet Muhammad was the messenger of Allah.
And both follow the five tenets of Islam: They fast during Ramadan, pledge to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, practice ritual prayer which includes five prayers each daygive charity to the poor, and pledge themselves to their faith.
Their prayer rituals are nearly identical, with slight variations: For example, Shiites will stand with their hands at their sides, Sunnis will put their hands on their stomachs. They also both believe in Islamic law but have different applications for it. Their beliefs over who should have succeeded the Prophet Muhammad is the key theological difference between the two.
Sunnis also have a less elaborate religious hierarchy than Shiites have, and the two sects' interpretation of Islam's schools of law is different. Shiites give human beings the exalted status that is given only to prophets in the Quran, often venerating clerics as saints, whereas Sunnis do not. The great majority -- upwards of 85 to 90 percent -- of the world's more than 1.
Shia constitute about 10 to 15 percent of all Muslims, and globally their population is estimated at less than million. Whereas Sunnis dominate the Muslim world, from West Africa to Indonesia, the Shiites are centrally located, with a vast majority in Iran, predominance in Iraq and sizable populations in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. News Business World Sports Podcasts.
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Followers of the Sunni tradition are known as Sunnis or Sunnites; they sometimes refer to themselves as Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jamaa'h, "adherents to the Sunnah and the assembly. Sunnis have their historical roots in the majority group who followed Abu Bakr, an effective leader, as the successor of Muhammad successor instead of the prophet's cousin and son-in-law Ali.
What Are the Differences Between Sunni and Shiite Muslims?
The Sunnis are so named because they believe themselves to follow the sunnah "custom" or "tradition" of the prophet. Sunnis base their religion on the Qur'an and the Sunnah as understood by the majority of the community under the structure of four schools of thought. The four Sunni schools of law madhahib - the Hanafi, the Maliki, the Shafi'i and the Hanbali - are sometimes mistakenly understood as different sects, but they are not. These four schools of religious law associate themselves with four great scholars of early Islam: Abu Haneefah, Malik, Shafi'i, and Ahmad bin Hanbal.
They differed only in minor issues of application of certain principles in the religion and were not in opposition to each other. In fact, Ahmad bin Hanbal was a student of Shafi'i, who was a student of Malik. Sunnis view Shiites as from the ahlul-bidah — the people of innovation. Sunnis oppose Shi'ite beliefs concerning some of the companions of the Prophet, the belief in the Imamate and difference on the Caliphate, and others.
Toggle navigation. Related Books Islam John L. These scholars were known for their knowledge and piety throughout the Muslim world. Related Content.
Wikimedia Commons. Accessed 13 Apr.Church and ministry leadership resources to better equip, train and provide ideas for today's church and ministry leaders, like you. The followers of Sunni Islam, one of the two major branches of the tradition the other is Shi'amake up approximately 80 percent of the Muslim population in the world.
Sunna—translated variously as the "trodden path," "the way," "example," or "habitual practice"—refers to the example or path of the Prophet Muhammad and his followers. The Sunni and Shi'a both trace their differences to the 7th century C. The Sunni maintain that the Muslim community was to select the Prophet's successor caliph to lead, whereas the Shi'a believe the Prophet chose his son-in-law, Ali, to be his successor.
Although Sunnis and Shi'as agree on many theological and practical matters, the Sunni are typically seen as putting more emphasis on the power of God and his determination of human fate, and are often understood to be more inclusive in their definition of what it means to be a Muslim.
The Sunni tradition has placed great emphasis on the role of religion in public and political life, with great weight placed on the Shariah Islamic law as the standard for a broad range of social issues—marriage, divorce, inheritance, commerce, and so on. Toggle navigation. More Topics. Trending Now. Catholic Reactionaries and Jew Hatred are like Peas and Pastors and Church Leaders Resource Center Church and ministry leadership resources to better equip, train and provide ideas for today's church and ministry leaders, like you.
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Contact: Visit our "Make an Appointment" page to schedule a research consultation with a reference librarian. You can also get in touch with the Research Center Desk during our operating hours at Subjects: Area StudiesDiversity e.The Sunnis are the largest branch of the Muslim community, at least 85 percent of the world's 1. The name is derived from the Sunnah, the exemplary behavior of the Prophet Muhammad.
All Muslims are guided by the Sunnah, but Sunnis stress it, as well as consensus ijma; the full name of Sunnis is Ahl al-Sunnah wa'l-Ijma, people of the Sunnah and consensus.
The other branch of Islam, the Shiis, are guided as well by the wisdom of Muhammad's descendants, but through his son-in-law Ali. Sunni life is guided by four schools of legal thought—Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii, and Hanbali—each of which strives to develop practical applications of revelation and the Prophet's example. Although Sunni Islam comprises a variety of theological and legal schools, attitudes, and outlooks conditioned by historical setting, locale, and culture, Sunnis around the world share some common points: acceptance of the legitimacy of the first four successors of Muhammad Abu BakrUmarUthmanand Aliand the belief that other Islamic sects have introduced innovations bidahdeparting from majority belief.
Sunni Islamic institutions developed out of struggles in early Islam over leadership of the Muslim community. Sunnis tend to reject excessive rationalism or intellectualism, focusing instead on the spirit and intent of the Quran. Reform movements within Sunni Islam began to appear during the eighteenth century in the works of scholars seeking to revive the dynamism of Islamic thought and life in order to meet the demands of the modern world.
These movements gained momentum with the imposition of European colonial control throughout the Muslim world. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries witnessed the revival of Quranic studies as well as renewed commitment to science and education as the path to independence and development within the context of Islamic values and identity. Sunni thought of the eighteenth through twentieth centuries has also reexamined traditional Islamic law.
Many modern reformers believe that fiqh jurisprudenceas a human interpretation of divine law, should be open to reinterpretation in accordance with present circumstances and community needs. Almost all twentieth-century Muslim countries are debating the role of Islamic law and civil codes in modern society and the implications for constitutional law and the organization of the state. Many Islamic thinkers reject the notion that Islam requires a particular form of state and government, looking instead to Quranic principles such as shura consultation for guidance.
Some believe that religion and the state are intended to be separate entities, while others, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-i Islami, believe that an Islamic state is necessary to the development of an Islamic social order. Many thinkers have studied in the West and are open to dialogue with the West and commitment to a common struggle for the causes of humanity.
They have examined the impact of European imperialism, Western neocolonialism, exploitation by socialist-bloc countries, the Cold War, the displacement of Palestinians, the lack of democracy in the Muslim world, and other crisis factors. Most Muslim thinkers today stress the importance of justice, especially social justice, in Islam. Increasing attention is also being given to subjects such as women and gender, the family, religious freedom, pluralism, the status of minorities, and religious tolerance.
Islam is increasingly emphasized as a total way of life, encompassing both religious and worldly issues. Human beings are seen as God's stewards on earth, and the Muslim community is intended to reflect God's will. In this view, secularism is often rejected as being antithetical to religious values.
Instead, Islam is presented as perfectly suited for human society, individually and collectively. All Rights Reserved. About What's New Log in. Arberry, first published ; The Qur'an, translated by M. Abdel Haleem, published ; or side-by-side comparison view Arberry Haleem Side-by-side Chapter: verse lookup Select one or both translations, then enter a chapter and verse number in the boxes, and click "Go.