Sunni Islam | Meaning, Definition, And Doctrines of the Sunnah and their spread

Sunni Islam Meaning

Sunni branch in Islam

Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam, followed by 85-90% of the world’s Muslims. Its name comes from the word Sunnah, referring to the tradition of Muhammad.

What Is The Meaning Of Sunni Islam:

Sunni Islam (/ˈsuːni, ˈsʊni/) is the largest branch of Islam, followed by 85–90% of the world’s Muslims. Its name comes from the word Sunnah, referring to the tradition of Muhammad. 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.

According to Sunni traditions, Muhammad left no successor and the participants of the Saqifah event appointed Abu Bakr as the next-in-line (the first caliph). This contrasts with the Shia view, which holds that Muhammad appointed his son-in-law and cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor.

Sunni Islam Meaning

The adherents of Sunni Islam are referred to in Arabic as ahl as-sunnah wa l-jamāʻah “the people of the Sunnah and the community” or AHL as-Sunnah for short. In English, its doctrines and practices are sometimes called Sunnism, while adherents are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis, Sunnites, and Ahlus Sunnah. Sunni Islam is sometimes referred to as “orthodox Islam”, though some scholars view this translation as inappropriate.

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 imān (faith) and comprises the Ash’ari and Maturidi schools of Kalam (theology) as well as the textualist school known as traditionalist theology.

The Emergence Of The Sunni Islam:

Sunni, Arabic Sunni, member of one of the two major branches of Islam, the branch that consists of the majority of that religion’s adherents. Sunni Muslims regard their denomination as the mainstream and traditionalist branch of Islam—as distinguished from the minority denomination, the Shiʿah.

The Sunnis recognize the first four caliphs as the Prophet Muhammad’s rightful successors, whereas the Shiʿah believe that Muslim leadership belonged to Muhammad’s son-in-law, ʿAlī, and his descendants alone. In contrast to the Shiʿah, the Sunnis have long conceived of the polity established by Muhammad at Medina as an earthly, temporal dominion and have thus regarded the leadership of Islam as being determined not by divine order or inspiration but by the prevailing political realities of the Muslim world. This led historically to Sunni acceptance of the leadership of the foremost families of Mecca and the acceptance of unexceptional and even foreign caliphs, so long as their rule afforded the proper exercise of religion and the maintenance of order.

A majority of Sunni jurists accordingly came to articulate the position that the caliph must be a member of Muhammad’s tribe, the Quraysh but devised a theory of election that was flexible enough to permit that allegiance to be given to the de facto caliph, whatever his origins. 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 community, as distinguished from the views of peripheral groups. The institution of consensus (ijmāʿ) evolved by the Sunnis allowed them to incorporate various customs and usages that arose through ordinary historical development but that nevertheless had no roots in the Qur’an.

The Sunnis recognize the six “sound” books of Hadith, which contain the spoken tradition attributed to Muhammad. The Sunnis also accept as orthodox four schools of Islamic law: Ḥanafī, Ḥanbalī, Mālikī, and Shāfiʿī. 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 900 million in the early 21st century and constituted a majority of all the adherents of Islam.

Doctrines of the Sunni Islam and their spread:

Traditional Islamic law, or Shari’a, is interpreted in four different ways in Sunni Islam. The schools of law, or madhab, developed in the first four centuries of Islam. The four schools of law are the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali traditions, each based on the beliefs of their founders. Some Sunni Muslims say that one should choose a madhab and then follow all of its rulings.

Other Sunnis say that it is acceptable to mix madhabs, to accept one madhab’s ruling regarding one issue, and accept another madhab’s ruling regarding a different issue. Sunnis also view the hadith, or Islamic oral law, differently than Shi’a Muslims. Hadith is found in several collections, and Sunnis view some of these collections to be more holy and authentic than others, especially the Bukhari collection of hadith.

Even though the main split in Islamic practice is between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, there are many rifts within the Sunni community. There are some liberal and more secular movements in Sunni Islam that say that Shari’a is interpreted on an individual basis, and that reject any fatwa or religious edict by religious Muslim authority figures.

There are also several fundamentalist movements in Sunni Islam, which reject and sometimes even persecute liberal Muslims for attempting to compromise traditional Muslim values.

Some estimates say that Muslims constitute 20 percent of the world’s population. Although the exact demographics of the branches of Islam are disputed, most scholars believe that Sunni Muslims comprise 87-90 percent of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims.

 

World Religions

Sources: 1, 2

Read also:

Sunni vs Shia | What’s the Difference Between Sunni and Shia Muslims?

Sufism Beliefs | Structure, Literature, Thought and Practice

Ahmadiyah adalah | Founder, Beliefs, Thoughts and The Spread

Tomorrow’s Gods | What is the future of religion in the world?

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