Sunnism is one of the two major branches of Islam, along with Shia Islam. The word “Sunni” comes from the word “Sunnah,” which refers to the teachings and actions of the prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Sunnis make up the largest branch of Islam, comprising 85-90% of the Muslim population worldwide. Those who follow it are called Sunni Muslims.
Sunni Islam is centered around the belief that the prophet Muhammad was the final prophet sent by God, and that the Quran is the final revelation of God’s word. Sunnis also believe in the importance of the prophetic tradition, which includes the Hadith (sayings and actions of the prophet Muhammad) and the Sirah (biography of the prophet Muhammad). These texts, along with the Quran, form the basis of Sunni theology and jurisprudence.
Sunni Islam has a strong emphasis on the role of the community, and the importance of consensus in religious matters. This is reflected in the concept of the “ulama,” which refers to the class of Islamic scholars who are responsible for interpreting and transmitting the teachings of Islam. The ulama also play an important role in the administration of the religious affairs of the Muslim community.
Four Major Schools
Sunni Islam also has four major legal schools, the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali, which are based on the interpretation of Islamic law by their founders, and they are considered to be the traditional Islamic law schools. These legal schools have their own unique interpretations of the Quran, Hadith and the teachings of early Muslim jurists, and they are based on the principles of Quranic reasoning and logic.
Sunni Muslims also have a strong devotion to the companions of the prophet Muhammad, known as the Sahaba. Sunnis consider them to be the first generation of Muslims and they hold them in high esteem.
One of the distinctive practices of Sunni Islam is congregational prayer, which is performed in a mosque led by an imam. The Friday congregational prayer, also known as Jumu’ah, is considered to be particularly important, and it is a time when Muslims come together to pray, listen to a sermon and engage in community activities.
Sunni Islam has a rich history and culture, and it has produced many notable figures across the centuries, including scholars, mystics, and political leaders. Some of the most well-known Sunni Muslim empires include the Ottoman Empire, the Mughal Empire, and the Abbasid Caliphate.
In recent times, however, Sunni Islam has been the subject of much debate and controversy, particularly in the Middle East. The rise of groups like the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, who claim to follow a strict interpretation of Sunni Islam, has led to a negative perception of the faith in many parts of the world. It is important to note that these groups do not represent the vast majority of Sunni Muslims, who are peaceful and do not condone terrorism or violence. Basically, these groups don’t belong to Sunnism.
In conclusion, Sunnism is one of the major branches of Islam, and it comprises the largest percentage of Muslims worldwide. It is based on the belief that the prophet Muhammad was the final prophet and that the Quran is the final revelation of God’s word. It also emphasizes the role of the community and the importance of consensus in religious matters. Legal schools and congregational prayer are considered traditional practices in Sunni Islam. The faith has a rich history and culture and it has been falsely associated with extremist groups, who do not represent the majority of peaceful Sunni Muslims.