Sunni Islam

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Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam[1][2], and Sunni Muslims are referred to as Ahlus Sunnah wa Al-Jamā‘ah (Arabic: أهل السنة والجماعة‎ "people of the tradition [of Muhammad] and the community") or Ahlus Sunnah (Arabic: أهل السنة‎) for short.

Sunni Islam is referred to as the orthodox version of the religion.[3] The word "Sunni" comes from the term Sunnah (Arabic: سنة‎), which refers to the sayings and actions of Muhammad that are recorded in hadiths (collections of narrations regarding Muhammad).[4] Followers of Sunni Islam consider Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim to be the authentic hadiths.

The Sunni branch of Islam has four legal schools of thought or madh'hab, which are all accepted among one another. Sunni Muslims accept the first four caliphs as rightful successors of Muhammad and accept hadiths narrated by Muhammad's companions.[5]

Contents

Etymology

Sunni is a broad term derived from Sunnah (سنة [ˈsunna], plural سنن sunan [ˈsunæn]), which is an Arabic word that means "habit" or "usual practice".[6] The Muslim usage of this term refers to the sayings and living habits of Muhammad. In its full form, this branch of Islam is referred to as "maslik-e-Haq Ahlus-Sunnah Wa Al-Jama'ah" (literally, "People of the Sunnah and the congregation"). Anyone claiming to follow the Sunnah and can show that they have no action or belief against the Prophetic Sunnah can consider him or herself to be a Sunni Muslim. However, it should be noted that Shi'a Muslims also hold that they follow the Sunnah.

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