SunnaThe Arabic term ''Sunna'', according to which Sunnis are named, is old and roots in pre-Islamic language. It was used for traditions which a majority of people followed. The term got greater political significance after murder of ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān. It is said Mālik al-Aschtar, a famous follower of Ali, ʿAlī ibn Abī Tālib, encouraged during the battle of Siffin with the expression, Ali's enemy Muawiyah I, Muʿāwiya ibn Abī Sufyān kills the sunna. After the battle, it was agreed that "the righteous Sunnah, the unifying, not the divisive" ("as-sunna al-ʿādila al-ǧāmiʿa ġair al-mufarriqa") should be consulted to resolve the conflict. The time when the term ''sunna'' became the short form for "sunnah of the prophet" (''sunnat an-nabī'') is still unknown. During the Umayyad Caliphate several political movements, among them the Shia and the Kharijites, who rebelled against the formation of the state led their battles in the name of "the book of God and the Sunna of his Prophet". During the second Civil War (680–92) the Sunna-term received an anti-shia connotation. It is recorded by Masrūq ibn al-Adschdaʿ (d. 683), who was a mufti in Kufa, that he regarded love towards the first two Caliphs Abū Bakr and Omar, ʿUmar ibn al-Chattāb and acknowledge their priority (Fadā'il). A disciple of Masrūq, the scholar ash-Shaʿbī (d. between 721 und 729), who first sided with the Shia in Kufa during Civil War, but turned away in disgust by their fanatism and finally decided to join the umayyadic Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, ʿAbd al-Malik, popularized the concept of ''sunnah''. It is also passed down by asch-Schaʿbī, that he took offensive at the hatred on Aisha, ʿĀʾiša bint Abī Bakr and considered it a violation of the sunnah. The term ''Sunna'' instead of the longer expression ''ahl as-sunna'' or ''ahl as-sunna wa-l-ǧamāʿa'' as a groupname for Sunnis is a relatively young phenomenon. It was probably Ibn Taymiyyah, who used the short-term for the first time. It was later popularized by pan-Islamic thinkers such as Rashid Rida in his treatise ''as-Sunna wa-š-šiʿa au al-Wahhābīya wa-r-Rāfiḍa: Ḥaqāʾiq dīnīya taʾrīḫīya iǧtimaʿīya iṣlaḥīya'' „Sunna and Schia, oder Wahhabism and Rafida, Rāfiditsm: religious history, sociological und reformoriented facts“) pusblished 1928/29. The term "sunna" is usually used in Arabic discourse as designation for Sunnis, when they are intended to be contrasted with Shias. The word pair "Sunnah-Shia" is also used on Western research literature to denote the Sunni-Shia contrast.
Ahl as-SunnaOne of the earliest supporting documents for ''ahl as-sunna'' derives from the basric scholar Muhammad Ibn Siri (d. 728). His is mentioned in the ''Sahih'' of Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj quoted with: "Formerly one did not aksed about the Isnad. But when the ''Fitna (word), fitna'' started, one said: 'Name us your informants'. One would then respond to them: if they were Sunnah people, you accept their hadith. But if they are people of the Bidʻah, Innovations, the hadith was rejected." G.H.A. Juynboll assumed, the term ''fitna'' in this statement is not related to the first Civil War (665–661) after murder of ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān, but the second Civil War (680–692) in which the Islamic community was split into four parties (Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, the Umayyad dynasty, Umayyads, the Shia under Mukhtar al-Thaqafi, al-Mukhtār ibn Abī ʿUbaid and the Kharijites). The term ''ahl sunna'' designated in this situation whose, who stayed away from heretic teachings of the different warring parties. The term ''ahl as-sunna'' was always a laudatory designation. Abu Hanifa (d. 769), who sympathized with Murdshia, insisted that this were "righteous people and people of the Sunnah" (''ahl al-ʿadl wa-ahl as-sunna''). Acccording to Josef van Ess this term did not mean more than "honorable and righteous believing people". Among Hanafits the designation ''ahl as-sunna'' and ''ahl al-ʿadl'' (people of the righteous) remained interchangeable for a long time. Thus the Hanafite Abū l-Qāsim as-Samarqandī (d. 953), who composed a catechism for the Samanides, used sometimes one expression and sometimes another for his own group.Ulrich Rudolph: ''Al-Māturīdī und die sunnitische Theologie in Samarkand.'' Brill, Leiden 1997. S. 66. Singular to ''ahl as-sunna'' was ''ṣāḥib sunna'' (adherent to the sunnah). This expression was used for example by Ibn al-Mubarak, ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Mubārak (d. 797) for a person, who distances himself from the teachings of shia, kharijites, qadarites and murdajites. In addition, the Arabic nouns and adjectives#Nisba, Nisba adjective ''sunnī'' was also used for the individual person. Thus it has been recorded, the Kufic scholar of the Quran Abu Bakr ibn'auyash (d. 809) was asked, how he was a "sunni". He responded the following: „The one who, when the heresies are mentioned, doesn't get excited about any of them.“ The andalisian scholar ibn Hazm (d. 1064) taught later, that whose who confess to Islam can be divided into four groups: ''ahl as-sunna'', Mutazilites, Murdschiiten, Schiiten und Charidschiten. The Muʿtazilites replaced the Qadarites here. In the 9th Century, one started to extent the term ''ahl as-sunna'' with further positive additions. Abu l-Hasan al-Ashari used for his own group expressions like ''ahl as-sunna wa-l-istiqāma'' („people of Sunna and Straightness“), ''ahl as-sunna wa-l-ḥadīṯ'' („people of Sunnah and of the Hadith“) or ''ahl al-ḥaqq wa-s-sunna''So al-Ašʿarī: ''Kitāb al-Ibāna ʿan uṣūl ad-diyāna''. S. 8. – Engl. Übers. S. 49. („people of truth and of the Sunnah“).
Ahl as-Sunna wa-l-jamaWhen the expression 'ahl as-sunna wal-jama' appeared for the first time, is not entirely clear. Der Abbasite Caliph Al-Ma'mūn (reigned 813–33) criticized in his Miha-edict a group of people, who related themselves to the sunnah (''nasabū anfusa-hum ilā s-sunna'') and claimed , they are the "people of truth, religion and community"(''ahl al-ḥaqq wa-d-dīn wa-l-ǧamāʿa''). ''Sunna'' and ''jama'' are already connected here. As a pair, these terms already appear in the 9th Century. It is recorded that the disciple of Ahmad ibn Hanbal Harb ibn Ismail as Sirjdshani (d. 893) created a writing with the title ''as-Sunna wa-l-ǧamāʿa'', to which the Mutazilite Abu l-Qasim al-Balchi wrote a refutation later. Al-Jubba'i (d. 916) tells in his ''Kitāb al-Maqālāt'', that Ahmad ibn Hanbal attributed to his students the predicate ''sunnī jama'' („Jammatic Sunnite“). Dies deutet darauf hin, dass die Hanbaliten die Wendung ''ahl as-sunna wal-ǧamāʿa'' als erste als Selbstbezeichnung verwendeten.Ess: ''Der Eine und das Andere''. 2011, Bd. II, S. 1276. But also the Karramiyya founded by Muhammad ibn Karram (d. 859) referred to the sunnah and community. They passed down for praise of their schoolfounder a hadith, according to which the prophet Muhammad predicted that at the end of times a man named Muhammad ibn Karram will appear, who will restore the sunna and the community (''as-sunna wal-ǧamāʿa'') and take Hidraj from Chorasan to Jerusalem, just how Muhammad himself took a Hidraj from Mecca to Medina. According to the testimony of the transoxanian scholar Abu l-Yusr al-Bazdawi (d. 1099) the Kullabites (followers of the Basrian scholar ibn Kullab (d. 855)) dayed about themselves, taht they are among the ''ahl as-sunna wal-jama'' too.al-Bazdawī: ''Kitāb Uṣūl ad-Dīn.'' 2003, S. 250. Abu l-Hasan al-Ashari used the expression ''ahl as-sunna wal-jama'' rarely, and preferred another combination. Later Asharites like al-Isfaranini (d. 1027) nad Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi (d. 1078) used the expression ''ahl as-sunna wal-jama'' too and used them in their works to designate the teachings of their own school. According to al-Bazdawi all Asharites in his time said they belong to the ''ahl as-sunna wal-jama''. During this time, the term has been used as a self-designation by the hanafite Maturidites in Transoxiania, used frequently by Abu al-Layth al-Samarqandi (d. 983), Abu Schakur as Salimi (d. 1086) and al-Bazdawi himself. They used the term as a contrast from their enemies among them Hanafites in the West, who have been followers of the Mutazilites. Al-Bazdawī also contrasted the ''ahl as-sunna wal-jama with ''ahl-al-ḥadīṯ'', "because they would adhere to teachings contrary to the Quran". According to Al-Muqaddasī, Schams ad-Dīn al-Maqdisī (end of the 10the Century) was the expression ''ahl as-sunna wal-jama'' a laudatory term during his time, similar to ''ahl al-ʿadl wa-t-tauḥīd'' („people of righteousness and Divine Unity“), which was used for Mutazilites or generally designations like Mu'minūn („Believer“) oder ''aṣḥāb al-hudā'' („people of guidance“) for Muslims, who has been seen as rightoues believers. Since the expression ''ahl as-sunna wa-l-jama'' was used with a demand on rightoues belief, it was used in academic researches translated as "orthodox". There are different opinnions regarding what the term ''jama'' in the phrase ''ahl as-sunna wal-jama'' actually means, among Muslim scholars. In the Sunni Creed by at-Tahawi (d. 933), the term ''jama'' contraasts several times the Arabic term ''furqa'' ("Division, sectarianism"). Thus at-Tahāwī explains that ''jama'' is considered as true or right (''ḥaqq wa-ṣawāb'') and ''furqa'' as aberration and punishment (''zaiġ wa-ʿaḏāb''). Ibn Taymiyyah argues, that ''jama'' as opposite term to ''furqa'' inherents the meaning of ''iǧtimāʿ'' ("Coming together, being together, agreement"). Furthermore he connects it with the principle of Ijma, a third juridical source after the Book (= Quran), and the Sunnah. The Ottoman scholar Muslih ad Din al-Qastallani (d. 1495) held the opinnion that ''jama'' means „Path of the Sahaba“ (''ṭarīqat aṣ-ṣaḥāba''). The modern Indonesian theologican Nurcholish Madjid (d. 2005) interpreted ''jama'' as an Inclusivism, inclusivistic concept: It means a society open for Value pluralism, pluralism and dialogue and does not emphasize that much.
HistoryOne 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. 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. The first four caliphs are known among Sunnis as the Rashidun, Rāshidun 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. Sunnis recognised different rulers as the caliph, though they did not include anyone in the list of the rightly guided ones or ''Rāshidun'' 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 UmayyaThe 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 I, Marwān and Al-Walid ibn Uqba, 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 Muawiyah I, Muāwiya, another of Uthman's kinsman. This ultimately resulted in the establishment of firm dynastic rule of Banu Umayya after Husayn ibn Ali, Husain, the younger son of Ali from Fatima bint Muhammad, Fātima, was killed at the Battle of Karbala, Battle of Karbalā. The rise to power of Banu Umayya, the Meccan tribe of elites who had vehemently opposed Muhammad under the leadership of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, Abu Sufyān, Muāwiya'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, zakāt'') to subsidise family interests, which Uthman justified as '
Caliphate and the dynastic monarchy of Banu AbbāsThe rule of and "caliphate" of Banu Umayya came to an end at the hands of Banu Abbās a branch of Banu Hāshim, 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 ibn Anas, Shafi'i, Shāfi'i and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ahmad bin Hanbal all practised during this time, so also did Jafar al Sadiq, Jafar al Sādiq who elaborated the doctrine of imamate, imāmate, 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.
Sunni Islam in the contemporary eraThe 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. This was followed by a considerable rise in Wahhabism, Salafism and Jihadism under the influence of the preaching of Ibn Taymiyyah a self proclaimed advocate of the traditions of Ahmad ibn 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 and harboured by the Taliban – took place, resulting in a war on terror launched against the Taliban. 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. The latest attempt by a section of Salafis to re-establish a Sunni caliphate was seen in the emergence of the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, whose leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is known among his followers as caliph and ''Amir-al-mu'amineen'', "The Commander of the Faithful". 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. Following the puritan approach of Ibn Kathir, Muhammad Abduh and Muhammad Rashid Rida, many contemporary tafsir (exegetic treatises) downplay the earlier significance of Isra'iliyyat, Biblical material (''Isrā'iliyyāt''). Half of the Arab commentaries reject ''Isrā'iliyyāt'' 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, , pp. 114–116. A direct reference to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict could not be found. It remains unclear whether the refusal of ''Isrā'iliyyāt'' is motivated by political discourse or by traditionalist thought alone. 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, , 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.
AdherentsSunnis believe the Sahabah, companions of Muhammad to be reliable transmitters of Islam, since God and Muhammad accepted their integrity. Medieval sources even prohibit cursing or vilifying them. 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, Qur'an, according to Sunnis. Therefore, Hadith, narratives of companions are also reliably taken into account for knowledge of the Islamic faith. Sunnis also believe that the companions were Mu'min, true believers since it was the companions who were given the task of History of the Quran#Collection of the Quran, compiling the Qur'an. 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, Kalām''). Both religious and political leadership are in principle open to all Muslims. According to the Islamic Center of Columbia, South Carolina, 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). A study conducted by the ''Pew Research Center'' in 2010 and released January 2011 found that there are 1.62 billion Muslims around the world, and it is estimated over 85–90% are Sunni.See:
The doctrine of the three groupsRegarding the question which dogmatic tendencies are to be assigned to Sunnism, there is no agreement among Muslim scholars. Since the early modern period, is the idea that a total of three groups belong to the Sunnis: 1. those named after Al-Ash'ari, Abu l-Hasan al-Aschʿari (d. 935) Ash'ari, Ashʿarites, 2. those named after Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (d. 941) named Maturidites and 3. a differently named third group, which is traditionalistic-oriented and rejects the rational discourse of Kalām advocated by the Maturidites and Ashʿarites. The Syrian scholar ʿAbd al-Baqi Ibn Faqih Fussa (d. 1661) calls this third traditionalist group the Hanbalites. The late Ottoman thinker İsmail Hakkı İzmirli (d. 1946), who agreed to dividing Sunnis into these three groups, called the traditionalist group Salafism, Salafiyya, but also used ''Athariyya'' as an alternative term. For the Maturidiyya he gives ''Nasafīya'' as a possible alternative name.İsmail Hakkı İzmirli: ''Muḥaṣṣalü l-kelâm ve-l-ḥikme''. Istanbul 1336h (= 1917/18 n.Chr.). S. 75
Ash'ariFounded 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. 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.
MaturidiFounded by Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (d. 944), the Maturidiyyah was the major tradition in Central Asia based on Hanafi-law. It is more influenced by Persian interpretations of Islam and less on the traditions established within Arabian culture. In contrast to the traditionalistic approach, Maturidism allows to reject hadiths based on reason alone. 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. 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.
TraditionalistTraditionalist theology is a movement of ic scholars who reject rationalistic Islamic theology (kalam) in favor of strict textualism in interpreting the Quran and sunnah. 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 Traditionalist Theology (Islam)#Terminology, several other names. Adherents of traditionalist theology believe that the ''Zahir (Islam), 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. 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''). 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, ahl al-hadith'' under the leadership of Ahmad ibn Hanbal. 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. 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 Caliphate, Abbasid Baghdad. 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. 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.
Narrow definitionThere were also Muslim scholars who wanted to limit the Sunni term to the Ash Aarites and Māturīdites alone. For example, Murtadā az-Zabīdī (d. 1790) wrote in his commentary on al-Ghazalis "Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm ad-dīn": "When (sc. The term)" ahl ''as-sunna wal jamaʿa'' is used, the Ashʿarites and Māturīdites are meant.Murtaḍā az-Zabīdī: ''Itḥāf as-sāda al-muttaqīn bi-šarḥ Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm ad-dīn''. Muʾassasat at-taʾrīḫ al-ʿArabī, Beirut, 1994. Bd. II, S.
Sunnism in general and in a specific senseThe Hanbalism, Hanbali scholar Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 1328) distinguished in his work ''Minhāj as-sunna'' between Sunnis in the general sense (''ahl as-unna al-ʿāmma'') and Sunnis in the special sense (''ahl as-sunna al-ḫāṣṣa''). Sunnis in the general sense are all Muslims who recognize the caliphate of the three caliphs (Abū Bakr, Omar, ʿOmar ibn al-Khattab and ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān). In his opinion, this includes all Islamic groups except the Shiite Rafida, Rafidites. Sunnis in the special sense are only the "people of the hadith" (''ahl al-ḥadīṯ''). İsmail Hakkı İzmirli, who took over the distinction between a broader and narrower circle of Sunnis from Ibn Taimiya, said that Ibn Kullab, Kullabiyya and the Ashʿarīyya are Sunnis in the general sense, while the Salafism, Salafiyya represent Sunnis in the specific sense. About the Maturidiyya he only says that they are closer to the Salafiyya than the Ashʿariyya because they excel more in Fiqh than in Kalām. The Saudi Arabia, Saudi scholar Muhammad ibn al-Uthaymeen, Muhammad Ibn al-ʿUthaimin (d. 2001), who like Ibn Taimiya differentiated between Sunnis in general and special senses, also excluded the Asharites from the circle of Sunnis in the special sense and took the view that only the pious ancestors (''as-salaf aṣ-ṣāliḥ'') who have agreed on the Sunnah belonged to this circle.Muḥammad ibn ʿUṯaimīn: ''Aš-Šarḥ al-mumtiʿ ʿalā Zād al-mustaqniʿ''. Dār Ibn al-Ǧauzī, Dammam, 2006. Bd. XI, S. 30
Classification of the MuʿtazilaThe Muʿtazila, Muʿtazilites are usually not regarded as Sunnis. Ibn Hazm, for example, contrasted them with the Sunnis as a separate group in his heresiographic work ''al-Faṣl fi-l-milal wa-l-ahwāʾ wa-n-niḥal''. In many medieval texts from the Islamic East, the ''Ahl as-Sunna'' are also differentiated to the Muʿtazilites. In 2010 the Jordanian fatwa office ruled out in a fatwa that the Muʿtazilites, like the Kharijites, represent a doctrine that is contrary to Sunnism. Ibn Taimiyya, however, had a different opinion in this regard. He said that the Muʿtazilites belong to the Sunnis in the general sense because they recognize the caliphate of the first three caliphs.
MysticismThere is broad agreement that the Sufism, Sufis are also part of Sunnism. This view can already be found in the Shafiite scholar Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi (d. 1037). In his heresiography, heresiographical work '' al-Farq baina l-firaq '' he divided the Sunnis into eight different categories ('' aṣnāf '') of people: 1. the theologians and Kalam Scholars, 2. the Fiqh scholars, 3. the traditional and Hadith scholars, 4. the Adab (Islam), Adab and language scholars, 5. the Koran - Scholars, 6. the Sufi ascetics ('' az-zuhhād aṣ-ṣūfīya ''), 7. those who perform the ribat and jihad against the enemies of Islam, 8. the general crowd. According to this classification, the Sufis are one of a total of eight groups within Sunnism, defined according to their religious specialization. The Tunisian scholar Muhammad ibn al-Qāsim al-Bakkī (d. 1510) also included the Sufis in Sunnism. He divided the Sunnis into the following three groups according to their knowledge ('' istiqrāʾ ''): # the people of Hadith ('' ahl al-ḥadīṯ ''): Their principles are based on the hearing-based evidence, namely Quran, the Book, the Sunnah, Sunna and the Idjmāʿ. # The people of theory and the intellectual trade ('' ahl an-naẓar wa-ṣ-ṣināʿa al-fikrīya ''): They include the Ashʿarites and the Hanafis, the latter of whom consider Abū Mansūr al-Māturīdī as their master. They agree in the rational principles on all questions where there is no hearing-based evidence, in the hearing-based principles in everything that reason conceives as possible, and in the rational as well as the hearing-based principles in all other questions. They also agree on all dogmatic questions, except for the question of creation ('' takwīn '') and the question of Taqlīd. # the people of feeling and revelation ('' ahl al-wiǧdān wa-l-kašf ''): These are the Sufism, Sufis. Its principles correspond in the initial stage to the principles of the other two groups, but in the final stage they rely on revelation (''kašf'') and inspiration (''ilhām''). Similarly, Murtadā az-Zabīdī stated elsewhere in his commentary on `` Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm ad-dīn '' that the Sunnis consisted of four groups (`` firaq ''), namely the hadith scholars (`` muḥaddiṯūn ''), the Sufis, the Ashʿarites and the Māturīdites. However, there were also Muslim scholars who wanted to exclude the Sufis from Sunnism. The Yemeni scholar ʿAbbās ibn Mansūr as-Saksakī (d. 1284) explained in his doxographic work '' al-Burhān fī maʿrifat ʿaqāʾid ahl al-adyān '' ("The evidence of knowledge of the beliefs of followers of different religions") about the Sufis: "They associate themselves with the Sunnis, but they do not belong to them, because they contradict them in their beliefs, actions and teachings." That is what distinguishes the Sufis from Sunnis according to as-Saksakī their orientation to the hidden inner meaning of the Koran and Sunna. In this, in his opinion, they resemble the Batiniyya, Bātinites. According to the final document of the Grozny Conference, only those Sufis are to be regarded as Sunnis who are "people of pure Sufism" ('' ahl at-taṣauwuf aṣ-ṣāfī '') in the knowledge, ethics and purification of the interior, according to Tariqa, Method as practiced by al-Junaid and the "Imams of Guidance" ('' aʾimma al-hudā '') who followed his path. 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 tariqa, orders which have continued until the present day. All these orders were founded by a major Sunni Islamic Saint (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 Chishti Order, 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, Many of the most eminent defenders of Islamic orthodoxy, such as Abdul-Qadir Gilani, Abu Hamed Mohammad ibn Mohammad Ghazali, Ghazali, and the Sultan Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn (Saladin) were connected with Sufism." The contemporary Salafi and Wahhabi strands of Sunnis, however, do not accept the traditional stance on mystical practices.
Schools of lawThere are many intellectual traditions within the field of Sharia, Islamic law, often referred to as legal Madhhab, 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. 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. During the Middle Ages, the Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo), Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt delineated the acceptable Sunni schools as only Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali, excluding the Ẓāhirī school. 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 Safavid Dynasty, Persian Safavids,Chibli Mallat, ''Introduction to Middle Eastern Law'', p. 116. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. though former List of heads of government of Sudan, 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.
Differences in the schoolsInterpreting Islamic law by deriving specific rulings – such as how to pray – is commonly known as Fiqh, 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.
Pillars of ''iman''The doctrines of the Sunnis are recorded in various Aqida, creeds, which summarize the most important points in the form of a list in the manner of a Catechism. The individual teaching points differ depending on the author's affiliation to a certain teaching tradition. The most important creeds that explicitly claim to represent the teachings of the Sunnis (''ahl as-sunna wal-jama'' or similar) include: * the text traced back to Ahmad ibn Hanbal, in which he defined "the characteristics of the believer of the Sunnis" (''sifat al-Mu'min min ahl as-Sunna wa-l-jama''). The text is handed down in two works in the work ''Ṭabaqāt al-Ḥanābila'' of the Hanbali Qadi Ibn Abi Yaʿla (d. 1131). The first version comes from a treatise on the Sunnah by Ahmad ibn Hanbal's disciple Muhammad ibn Habib al-Andarani, the second is based on Ahmad's disciple Muhammad ibn Yunus al-Sarachhi. * the two creeds of Abu l-Hasan al-Ashʿarī in his works '' Maqālāt al-islāmīyīn'' and ''Kitāb al-Ibāna ʿan uṣūl ad-diyāna ''. The former is called the teaching of ''ahl al-ḥadīṯ wa-s-sunna'', the latter as the teachings of the ''ahl al-ḥaqq wa-s-sunna''. * the confession of the Egyptian Hanafi at-Tahāwī (d. 933), also known under the title '' Bayān as-sunna wa-l-ǧamāʿa '' ("Presentation of Sunna and Community"). It has received frequent comments from the 13th century onwards. * the "Qadiritic Creed" ('' al-iʿtiqād al-Qādirī '') mentioned in the world chronicle '' al-Muntaẓam '' by Ibn al-Jschauzī and referring to the Abbasid caliph al-Qādir (d. 1031) is returned. The caliph Al-Qa'im (Abbasids), al-Qā'im is supposed to read this text, which is shown at the end as the "Doctrine of the Sunnis" (''qaul ahl as-sunna wal-jama''), in the year 433 who read Hijri year, Hijra (= 1041/42 AD) in front of a meeting of ascetics and scholars in the caliph's palace. * the creed al-Ghazālī (d. 1111) in his second book of his religious encyclopedia ''Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm ad-dīn''. It is headed "The Sunni Creed in the Two Phrases of the Shahāda" (''ʿAqīdat ahl as-sunna fī kalimatai aš-šahāda'') and deals first with the doctrine of God and then the other doctrinal points. * the confession ''al-ʿAqīda al-Wāsiṭīya'' by Ibn Taimīya (1263–1328), which later received importance especially among the Wahhabis and the Ahl-i Hadīth. It was translated into French by Henri Laoust, by Merlin Swartz into English and by Clemens Wein into German Most of the mentioned branches testify to six principal articles of faith known as the six pillars of ''imān'' (Arabic for "faith"), which are believed to be essential. These are 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 Al-Aqidah al-Tahawiyyah, Creed of Tahāwi. However, none of these creeds gained the importance attributed to the Nicene Creed in Christianity. Traditionally, these Sunni articles of faith have included the following: # Belief in the Oneness of God # Belief in the Angels of God # Belief in Holy Books # Belief in the Prophets of God # Belief in Resurrection after Death and the Day of Judgment # Belief in Preordainment (''Qadar'')
UnityAt the center of the Sunni creed is Tawhid, the belief in the oneness of God. God is a single (''fard'') God, besides whom there is no other deity.al-Ašʿarī: ''Kitāb Maqālāt al-islāmīyīn''. 1963, S. 290. – Dt. Übers. Schacht, S. 56. He is single (''munfarid''), has no partner (''šarīk''), no opposite (''nidd''), no counterpart (''maṯīl'') and no adversary (''ḍidd''). He has neither taken a companion nor children, neither conceived nor is he conceived.Ibn al-Ǧauzī: ''Al-Muntaẓam fī sulūk al-mulūk wa-l-umam''. 1992, Bd. XV, S. 280. – Dt. Übers. Mez 198. God created everything, the years and times, day and night, light and darkness, the heavens and the earth, all kinds of creatures that are on it, the land and the sea, and everything living, dead and solid. Before he created all of this, he was completely alone, with nothing with him. In contrast to his creation, God has a timeless nature. He is beginningless (''azalī'') because he has existed for all eternity and nothing precedes him, and he is endless (''abadī'') because he continues to exist without interruption for all eternity. He is the first and the last, as it says in the Quran (Sura 57: 3). God brought forth creation not because he needed it, but to demonstrate his power and as the implement his previous will and his primordial speech. God is creator, but has no needs. He does not need food, does not feel lonely and does not keep company with anyone.
TranscendenceTo absolve God of all anthropomorphism, the Qur'anic statements that "God sat on the throne" (istawā ʿalā l-ʿarš; Surah 7:54; 20: 5) receive a lot of the Sunni creeds attention. The creed of al-Qādir emphasizes that God did not set himself up on the throne (ʿarš) "in the manner of the rest of the creatures" and that he created this throne, although he did not need it. Al-Ghazali's knowledge of the faith states that the "sitting down" is free from contact (''mumāssa'') with the throne. It is not the throne that carries God, but the throne and its bearers are carried through the grace of his power. According to al-Ashʿari, the Sunnis confess that God is on his throne, but without asking how. Even if God does not need the throne and what is below, because he spatially occupies everything, including what is above him, the throne and stool ('' kursī '') are a reality.
His names and attributesThe Sunnis confess that the names of God cannot be said to be anything other than God, as Muʿtazilites and Kharijites claim. Rather, they teach that there are correlating attributes ('' ṣifāt '') which exist in each of the names of God mentioned in the Quran: God is alive through life ('' ḥayāh ''), knowing through knowledge (''ʿilm''), mighty through power (''ʿqudra''), wanting through will (''irāda''), hearing through hearing (''samʿ''), seeing through sight (''baṣar'') and speaking through Speech (''kalām'').al-Ġazālī: ''Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm ad-dīn''. 2005, S. 107. – Engl. Übers. Watt. 1994. p. 76. The attributes are not identical to God, nor are they anything different from him. Only those attributes are ascribed to God which he ascribed to himself (in the Quran) or which his prophet ascribed to him. And every attribute that he or his prophet has ascribed to him is a real attribute, not an attribute Majaz, figuratively.
Angels and other spiritsFurthermore Sunnis believe in Angels in Islam, angels God hid the angels from the vision of humans, thus they can usually not see them. Just in some special occusations God unveils them for individual humans. Like when the archangel Gabrel appeared to the prophet Muhammad one time in his true form with 600 wings, filling the entire horizon and another time when he was among the circles of the Sahaba, in the form of a white clothed traveller. Angels fulfil duties assigned by God. The angel Gabriel has the mission to transmit God's revelations to chosen Prophets. The angel Michael is assigned over rain and plants. The angel Israfil must blow into the trumpet during thunder and the day of resurrection. Furthermore to the angels belong the recording angels, who supervise humans and the angel of deathm, who takes the Ruh, souls (lit. spirits) of the inhabitants of the world.aṭ-Ṭaḥāwī: ''al-ʿAqīda''. 1995, S. 25. – Engl. Übers. Watt 54. Unlike the Mutazilites and the Jahmites, the Sunnis believe that Satan whispers doubts to humans and hits them, as the Quran states.al-Ašʿarī: ''Kitāb Maqālāt al-islāmīyīn''. S. 296. – Dt. Übersetzung 1931, S. 60. But humans, jinn, angels and devils are all created by the power of God and bound to his will. Even when humans, jinn, angels and devils allign to move or stop one atom, they would not succeed without God's will.al-Ġazālī: ''Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm ad-dīn''. 2005, S. 107 – Engl. Übers. Watt. 1994. S. 75.
The books of God, the QuranThe Sunnis further believe in the books of God, sent to the envoys of God.aṭ-Ṭaḥāwī: ''al-ʿAqīda''. 1995, S. 20. – Engl. Übers. Watt 52. To them belong the Quran, the Torah, the Gospel and the Psalms The Quran is according to Sunni views the speech of God. Who listens to it and regards it as human speech is according to Sunni Creed by at-Tahāwī an Kafir, infidel.aṭ-Ṭaḥāwī: ''al-ʿAqīda''. 1995, p. 12.- p. 15 – Engl. Übers. Watt 49. The Quran as the speech of God is sent down by the „trustworthy Spirit“ (''ar-rūḥ al-amīn''; surah 26:193) and taught by Muhammad. God sent him down as inspiration (''wahy'') on his Messenger. The path of God's speech to the community of Muslims is a multi-stage process: God pronounced it, the angel Gabriel heard it and Mohammed repeated it, Mohammed repeated it to his companions, and the Ummah repeated them.Ibn al-Ǧauzī: ''Al-Muntaẓam fī sulūk al-mulūk wa-l-umam''. 1992, Bd. XV, S. 280. – Dt. Übers. Mez 199. As the speech of God, the Quran is according to Sunnism uncreated. The techings of the creation of the Quran is rejected by Sunnis. Anyone who takes this teaching is an regarded as an unbeliever. The Quran is recited with the tongue, written into books and memorized by the heart, but remains the uncreated speech of God, because it is individable and can not be split by the transmition from heart to paper. At-Tahāwī specifies that the Quran is not created like human speech. Rather, it came from God in an unexplained way as a word ('' qaul ''). Ibn Taimīya explains that the Koran originated from God and will return (sc. At the end of times) too.
Prophets and their messagesConfessing to the Prophets of Islam, Prophets of God is also part of the Sunni faith. The first of the prophets is Adam in Islam, Adam. The original contract ('' mīṯāq '') that God concluded with him and his descendants according to sura 7:172-3 is a reality according to Sunni belief. God has taken Abraham in Islam, Abraham as a friend ('' ḫalīl '') and talked to Moses in Islam, Moses directly. The last of the prophets is Mohammed from the tribe of the Quraish.al-Ġazālī: `` Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm ad-dīn ''. 2005, p. 108. - Engl. Übers. Watt. 1994. p. 77. The Sunnis do not differentiate between the messengers of God, (By rejecting some of them), but consider everything they have brought to be true.aṭ-Ṭaḥāwī: ''al-ʿAqīda''. 1995, S. 22. – Engl. Übers. Watt 53. God called the prophets and presented their truthfulness through obvious miracles. The prophets conveyed God's command and prohibition, his promise and threat, and it is incumbent on people to believe what they have brought to be true. God has given people the act of obedience ('' ṭāʿa '') and opposition ('' maʿṣiya '') forbidden. God's right to the acts of obedience is not only an obligation for people through the intellect ('' bi-muǧarrad al-ʿaql ''), but also through it for making it a duty through the oral transmission of his prophets.
Significance of MuhammadMuhammed from the tribe of the Quraish is not only the seal of the prophets (''ḫātam al-anbiyāʾ''), rather, God placed him above all other prophets and made him Lord of men (''saiyid al-bašar''). He is God's chosen servant (''ʿabd''), Rasūl, Messenger, the Imam of the godly ('' imām al-atqiyāʾ '') and the beloved of the Lord of the Worlds (''ḥabīb rabb al-ʿālamīn''). He is sent with truth (''ḥaqq''), guidance (''hudā'') and light (''nūr''). God has him with his message to Arabs and Non-Arabs as well as sent to the general public of the jinn and humans and with his Sharia, the earlier religious laws Naskh (tafsir), abrogated, except that which he has confirmed. Part of the Sunnis path is to follow the traditions (''āṯār'') of Muhammad internally and externally. They prefer his guidance to the guidance of anyone else. Muhammad's prophethood is proven by miracles (''muʿǧizāt'') such as the splitting of the moon. The most obvious miracle, however, is the Quran with its Iʿjāz, inimitability. Every claim to prophethood after him is an error or imagination, since Muhammad is the last prophet. Another important point of teaching is the belief in Ascension of Muhammad, Muhammad's Ascension (''miʿrāǧ''). Accordingly the Prophet went on a nocturnal journey during which his person was transported to heaven while awake and from there to heights, "which God has chosen". God gave him what he had chosen for him and gave him his revelation. God has also blessed him in his life beyond and in this world.
In the graveAccording to Sunni doctrine, people are questioned in their graves by Munkar and Nakir after death. Munkar and Nakīr are two terrifying, huge figures who let the person sit upright in his grave with mind and body and then tell him about the oneness of God and the prophethood of Muhammad. They ask him: “Who is your master? What is your religion? Who is your prophet?” They are the two inspectors of the grave and the their questioning is the first test ('' fitna '') of humans after death. The believer will answer to this test: "God is my Lord, Islam is my religion and Mohammed is my prophet." The doubter, on the other hand, will answer: "Oh dear, I don't know. I heard people say something, and that's how I said it.” He is then hit with an iron club so that he utters a loud scream that can be heard by everyone except people and jinn. If people heard him, they would lose consciousness. Children are also interviewed by Munkar and Nakīr as well as people who have disappeared, drowned or were eaten by predatory animals. Deceased Muslims receive the Dua, supplication said for them, and the Sadaqa spoken in their name are a favor for them.
Sign of the hourAnother point of belief are the "signs of the hour" (''ašrāṭ as-sāʿa'') that precede the day of resurrection. This includes the emergence of the Dajjal, the rising of the sun in the west, the emergence of the Beast of the Earth, Dabba from the earth and the excerpt from Gog and Magog. Jesus, the son of Mary, will descend from heaven and kill the Dajjal.
Day of resurrectionOn Day of the Resurrection the resurrection ('' baʿṯ '') and the retribution of the deeds take place. First the bodies of all people, animals and jinn are put back together and revived. The souls are brought back into the body, the people rise from their graves, barefoot, naked and uncircumcised. The sun is approaching them and they are sweating. A scales are set up to weigh people's deeds. The scales have two Weighing scale, scales and one tongue and are as big as several layers of heaven and earth. The weights will have the weight of atoms and chardal, mustard seeds in order to realize the accuracy of God's righteousness. The leaves with good deeds (''ḥasanāt'') are thrown in a beautiful shape into the scales of light and weigh down the scales by the grace (''faḍl'') of God, the leaves with bad deeds ('' saiyiʾāt '') are thrown into the scales of darkness in an ugly form and reduce the weight of the scales through the justice (''ʿadl'') of God.
The vision of God in the hereafterThe teachings of the Sunnis also include the vision of God (''ruʾyat Allāh'') in the hereafter, which has similarities with the ''visio beatifica'' in the Christianity, Christian tradition. With this teaching the Sunnis set themselves apart from the Muʿtazilites, the Zaidiyyah and the Islamic philosophy, philosophers who consider the vision of God intellectually impossible. There are, however, differing views among Sunni scholars about the timing and type of the divine vision. Al-Ashari states that God is seen on the day of resurrection, whereby only the believers see him, the unbelievers not because they are kept away from God.al-Ašʿarī: ''Kitāb Maqālāt al-islāmīyīn''. S. 292. – Dt. Übersetzung 1931, S. 58. At-Tahāwī, on the other hand, was of the opinion that the vision of God was a reality for the inmates of Paradise. Ibn Taimīya doubles the vision of God: people see God while they are still in the places of the resurrection, and then after entering paradise.Ibn Taimīya: ''al-ʿAqīda al-Wāsiṭīya''. 1999, S. 91. – Dt. Übers. Wein S. 86. As for the way of seeing God, al-Ash Aari and Ibn Taimiyah emphasized its visual characteristics. Al-Ashari meant that God can be seen with the eyes, just as one sees the moon on the night of the full moon. Ibn Taimīya adds that the vision of God is as one sees the sun on a cloudless day. In the ʿAqīda at-Tahāwīs, however, the transcendence of God is emphasized: the vision can neither be understood nor described, because none of the creatures are like God. According to al-Ghazālī's creed the pious in the hereafter see the essence of God without Matter, substance and Accident (philosophy), accidents. According to the creed of an-Nasafī, God is seen neither in one place nor in any direction or distance. There is also no connection to rays.
Release of the monotheists from hell and intercessionAccording to the Ibn Taimīya's creed, the Umma of Muhammad is the first religious community to enter Paradise, Other religious communities also have the opportunity to get to paradise, because God leads whole peoples through the grace of his mercy (''aqwām'') out of hellfire. Ahmad ibn Hanbal and al-Ghazālī declare in their creeds that the monotheist en (''al-muwaḥḥidūn'') after being punished. Al-Ghazālī adds that through the grace (''faḍl'') of God no monotheist remains in hell for all eternity.al-Ġazālī: ''Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm ad-dīn''. 2005, S. 110. – Engl. Übers. Watt. 1994. p. 78. According to at-Tahāwī's creed, however, this only applies to the serious sinners from Muhammad's Ummah: They are in hell, but not forever if they were monotheists at the time of death. What happens to them lies within God: if he wants, he forgives them through his grace (''faḍl''), and if he wants, he punishes them in his justice (''ʿadl'') and then brings them through His mercy (''raḥma'') and through the intercession of those who obey him out of hell and make them enter the Paradise Garden. The intercession (''šafāʿa'') of the Messenger of God and its effect on those of his ummah who have committed serious sins is a fixed teaching point of the Sunni faith. The Prophet reserved the intercession especially for them. According to al-Ghazālī, the Sunni believer has a total of the intercession of the prophets, then the scholars, then the martyrs, then to believe the other believers in accordance with their dignity and their rank in God. Those of the believers who have no advocate will be brought out of hell by the grace of God.
Extent of the predestinationAccording to Sunni doctrine, everything that happens happens through God's decission (''qadāʾ'') and predestination (Qadar) or his determination (''taqdīr''). Predestination includes the predestination of good and bad, sweet and bitter. God has that The measured (''qadar'') of creatures and determined their time of time. He makes his creatures sick and heals them, lets them die and makes them alive, while the creatures themselves have no power over it. God lets die without fear and brings to life without exertion. The one who dies dies on the appointed date, even if he is killed. God has written the things predestined for the creatures on the well-kept tablet (''al-lauḥ al-maḥfūẓ''). The pen she wrote is the first thing God created. God commanded him to write down what will be until the day of resurrection. The pen has already dried out and the scrolls are rolled up. Everything that was written on it in ancient times is immutable. God is righteous in his judgments (''aqḍiya''), but his righteousness cannot be decided by analogy with the righteousness of people, because unjust actions for people are only conceivable with regard to someone else's property, but God does not encounter someone else's property anywhere so that he could behave unfairly towards him. The principle of predestination is God's mystery with regard to his creatures. No Archangel and no prophet is informed of this. Reflecting on predestination leads to destruction and is a step towards rebellion against God because He has hidden the knowledge about it from people.
The Blessed and the DamnedIt is made easy for everyone for what they were created for. Blessed are whose who are saved by God's judgment (''qaḍāʾ Allāh''), condemned are whose who are condemned by the judgment of God.aṭ-Ṭaḥāwī: ''al-ʿAqīda''. 1995, S. 16. – Engl. Übers. Watt 51. God created paradise and hell above all else; then he created the people who are worthy of them. He has designated some out of generosity (''faḍlan'') for paradise, the others out of justice (''ʿadlan'') for hell. God has always known the number of those who go to paradise and the number of those who go to hell. This number is neither increased nor decreased. When God creates the body of the embryo, he sends an angel to him who writes down his livelihood (''rizq''), the hour he dies, his deeds and whether he is a damned (''šaqī'') or a blessed (''saʿīd''). The Sunni believer does not doubt his belief. However, humans neither know how they are registered by God (whether as believers or unbelievers), nor how it ends with them.Ibn al-Ǧauzī: ''Al-Muntaẓam fī sulūk al-mulūk wa-l-umam''. 1992, Bd. XV, S. 281. – Dt. Übers. Mez 200. God is also the converter of hearts (''muqallib al-qulūb''). Therefore it is recommanded to say: ”A believer, if God is willing” or ”I hope that I am a Believer“. Such a way of expression does not make people into doubters, because by that, they only mean that their otherworldly fate and their end are hidden from them. The Sunnis do not speak to any of the people who pray to the Kaaba, to paradise or hell, because of a good deed or a sin he has committed.
Sunni view of ''hadith''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 Sahih al-Bukhari, Bukhari and Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, 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: * Sahih al-Bukhari of Muhammad al-Bukhari * Sahih Muslim of Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj * Sunan al-Sughra of Al-Nasa'i * Sunan Abu Dawud of Abu Dawood * Jami' at-Tirmidhi of Al-Tirmidhi * Sunan Ibn Majah of Ibn Majah 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 of 'Abd ar-Razzaq as-San'ani * Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal * Mustadrak al-Hakim, Mustadrak of Hakim al-Nishaburi, Al Haakim * Muwatta Imam Malik, Muwatta of Imam Malik * Sahih Ibn Hibbaan * Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah of Ibn Khuzaymah * Sunan al-Darimi of Al-Darimi
Sunni State institutionsOne of the most important teaching institutions of Sunni Islam worldwide is the Al-Azhar University, Azhar in Egypt. Article 32b, paragraph 7 of the Egyptian Azhar Law of 1961 stipulates that the Azhar "follows the path of the Sunnis" (''manhaǧ ahl as-sunna wa-l-jamāʿa''), Umma has agreed to the foundations of the religion and applications of fiqh, with its four Madhhab, disciplines. Only those who stick to the paths of their science and behavior can become a ”Member of the Council of Great Scholars” (''haiʾat kibār al-ʿulamāʾ''), among whom the Grand Imam of al-Azhar is elected. Zitouna University in Tunisia and University of al-Qarawiyyin in Morocco are recognized. They are also mentioned, along with the Azhar, in the final document of the Sunni Conference in Grozny.Final Document of Grozn von 2016
Self-image of the Sunnis
As the "saved sect"A well-known Hadith, which is to be interpreted as Vaticinium ex eventu, says that the Muslim Umma will split into 73 sects, only one of which will be saved. The Sunnis have the idea that they are this “saved sect” (“firqa nā niya”). For example, Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi (d. 1037) explains at the beginning of his Heresiology, heresiographical work '' al-Farq baina l-firaq '' ("The difference between the sects" ) that there are 20 Rafida, Rafiditic, 20 Kharijites, Kharijite, 20 Qadariyah, Qadaritic, 3 Murji'ah, Murjiite, 3 Nadjāritic, 3 Karramiyya, karramitic and furthermore Bakriyya, Dirariyyya and Jahm bin Safwan, Jahmīya. These are the 72 erring sects. The 73rd sect that is the “saved sect” are the Sunnis (''ahl as-sunna wa-l-jamaʿa''). According to al-Baghdadi, they are composed of two groups, namely the followers of the Ra'y and the followers of the hadith. However, they both agreed in the fundamentals of religion (''uṣūl ad-dīn''). There were only differences in the derivations (''furūʿ'') from the norms regarding the question of what Halal, permitted and what Haram, forbidden is. However, these differences are not so great that they consider each other to have strayed from the right path.
As center of MuslimsLater Sunni scholars also present the Sunnis as the center of Muslim community. The idea already appears to some extent in the Ashʿarite ʿAbd al-Qāhir al-Baghdādī, who emphasizes on several dogmatic questions that the Sunnis hold a position that lies in the middle between the positions of the other Islamic groups. An example is the question of predestination (Qadar), in which, according to the Kasb theory, you hold exactly the middle between the two extreme positions of the Jabriyya and the Qadariyya. The Hanbali scholar Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 1328), who was otherwise known for his uncompromising attitude, also adhered to this view. He said that the Sunnis represented "the middle among the sects of the Umma" ('' al-wasaṭ fī firaq al-umma ''), just as the Islamic Umma is the middle between the other religious communities. He illustrates this with the following examples: * When it comes to the attributes of God, the Sunnis stand in the middle between the Jahmiyya, who completely drains God of attributes, and the Muschabbiha, who make God similar to creation, * in the works of God they stand in the middle between the Qadariyya and the Jabriyya, * on the question of the threat from God (''waʿid Allah'') they stand in the middle between the Murdschi'a and the Waʿīdiyya, a subgroup of the Qadariyya, * When it comes to the question of faith and religion, they stand in the middle between Haruiyya (= Kharijites) and Muʿtazila on the one hand and Murji'a and Jahmiyya on the other, * and with regard to the Sahaba, Companions of the Prophets they are in the middle between Rafida, Rafidites and Kharijites. The Hanafi scholar Ali al-Qari, ʿAlī al-Qārī (d. 1606) continued this idea later. In his anti-Shiite pamphlet ''Šamm al-alawāriḍ fī ḏamm ar-rawāfiḍ'' he quotes a tradition according to which Ali, ʿAlī ibn Abī Tālib said: "Two kinds of people perish on me: the exaggerated lover and the exaggerated hater." He notes that the exaggerated lover is the Rafidites and the exaggerated hater is the Kharijit. The Sunni, on the other hand, loves ʿAlī in high esteem and is thus in the balanced middle ('' al-wasaṭ allaḏī huwa al-qisṭ ''). This relates al-Qari to the Qur'anic sura 2: 143, in which it is said that God made the Muslims a community standing in the middle ('' umma wasaṭ ''). Since the Sunnis stay away from the exaggeration described in the traditional ʿAlī saying, al-Qārī believes that they are also the actual "Shia, Party of ʿAlīs" ('' šīʿat ʿAlī '').
As the essential bearers of Islamic science and cultureʿAbd al-Qāhir al-Baghdādī portrays the Sunnis in his work ''al-Farq baina l-firaq'' as the actual bearers of Islamic science and culture. Of all the sciences, knowledge and efforts of which Muslims are proud, al-Baghdādī explains that the Sunnis have amajor share. In the last chapter of his book, al-Baghdadi also relates this to building activity in Islamic countries. He believes that the Sunnis with their mosques, madrasas, palaces, factories and hospitals have achieved an unattainable position because none of the non-Sunnis have performed such services.
Rivalry between Ashʿarīya and Salafīya and the 2016 Sunni conferencesSince the second half of the 20th century, there have been fierce clashes within the Sunni camps between Ashʿarites on the one hand and Salafism, Salafis/Wahhabism, Wahhabis on the other, who exclude each other from Sunnism. In Indonesia, the Ashʿarite scholar Sirajuddin Abbas (d. 1980) wrote several books in the 1960s in which he explicitly excluded the ''Ahl as-salaf'' from Sunnism. Among other things, he argued that there was no Salafi madhhab in the first 300 years of Islam. From this he deduced that those who called other Muslims to obey the Salafi madhhab, were promoting a madhhab which did not even exist. In his view, only the Ashʿarites were real Sunnis. Abbas' books served as the theological basis for anti-Salafist campaigns in Aceh in 2014. During these campaigns, various Salafist schools in Aceh were closed by the provincial government. Apparently because of doubts about the Salafīya affiliation with Sunniism, the "Standing Committee on Scientific Investigation and Fatwa Issuing" in Saudi Arabia issued a fatwa stating that they consider the Salafis as Sunnis. Like many Ashʿarites, the Salafis believe that their teachings are the only true form of Sunnism. That is why they reject the Asharites and Maturidites as part of Sunnism. An example is the Saudi scholar Muhammad ibn al-Uthaymeen, Muhammad Ibn al-ʿUthaimīn, who in his 2001 published commentary on ''Aqīda Wāsiṭīya'' by Ibn Taimiyya expressed the opinion that Ash Aarites and Māturīdites would not count among the Sunnis, because their doctrine of attributes would be in contrast to the doctrine of the Prophet and his companions. For this reason, the view that three groups belong to Sunnism should also be rejected. Sunnis are only those who are ''salaf'' in terms of belief. The accusation by some Wahhabis that the Ashʿarites were not Sunnis was subject of a fatwa by the "Egyptian Fatwa Office" in July 2013. In its fatwa, the office rejected this accusation, affirming that the Ashʿarites still represented the "multitude of Ulama, scholars" (''jumhūr al-ʿulamāʾ''), and stressed out that it they were the ones who in the past rejected the arguments of the Mulhid, Atheists (''šubuhāt al-malāḥida''). Anyone who declares them to be unbelieving or who doubts their orthodoxy should fear for their religion. On the same day, the fatwa office made clear in a fatwa that, according to their understanding, the ''Ahl as-Sunna wa-l-jama'' only refer to those Muslims who are Ashʿarites or Maturidites. The rivalry between Ashʿarīyya and Salafiyya became visible again at the two Sunni conferences in 2016, which were directed against the terror of the IS organization. The 2016 international conference on Sunni Islam in Grozny, first conference with the title "Who are the Ahl al-Sunna wa al-jama?" Took place in the Chechen capital Grozny in August 2016 under the patronage of Ramzan Kadyrov. Numerous religious figures from Egypt, India, Syria, Yemen and the Russian Federation took part, including Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Grand Imam the Azhar, and Sheikh Aboobacker Ahmed, the Grand Mufti of India who is a member of the Barelvi movement. According to its organizers, the conference should "mark a blessed turning point in efforts to correct the serious and dangerous distortion of religion by those extremists trying to usurp the venerable name of Ahl al-Sunna wa-al-Jama, him to coin exclusively on itself and to exclude its true representatives from it." In the final declaration the takfir operating Salafis and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, IS organization were excluded from Sunni Islam. In response to this, various prominent Salafiyya figures held a counter-conference in Kuwait in November 2016 under the title "The Correct Meaning of Sunnism" (''al-Mafhūm aṣ-ṣaḥīḥ li-ahl as-sunna wa-l-jama''), in which they also distanced themselves from extremist groups, but at the same time insisted that Salafism was not only part of Sunnism, but represented Sunnism itself. The conference was chaired by Ahmad ibn Murabit, Grand Mufti of Mauritania. A few days later, Ahmed el-Tayeb publicly distanced himself from the final declaration of the Grozny conference, reiterating that he had not participated in it and stressed that he naturally viewed the Salafists as Sunnis.
See also* Outline of Islam * Glossary of Islam * Index of Islam-related articles * Islamic schools and branches * International Islamic Unity Conference (Iran) * Organisation of Islamic Cooperation * Persecution of Muslims * Shia view of the Quran
Further reading* Ahmed, Khaled. ''Sectarian war: Pakistan's Sunni-Shia violence and its links to the Middle East'' (Oxford University Press, 2011). * Charles River Editors. ''The History of the Sunni and Shia Split: Understanding the Divisions within Islam'' (2010) 44p