Origins of Sunni Islam, History of Sunni Islam, Beliefs of Sunni Islam

Followers of Sunni Islam, one of the two main branches of the tradition (the other is Shia), make up about 80% of the Muslim population worldwide. Sunnis are the majority in most Islamic countries outside of Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain. The sunnah – variously translated as “the way travelled”, “the way”, “the example” or “the usual practice” – refers to the example or path of the Prophet Muhammad and his followers. Sunnis and Shiites both trace their differences back to the 7th century CE, when disagreements over the successor of the Prophet Muhammad arose. Sunnis hold that the Muslim community should choose the successor of the Prophet (caliph) to lead, while Shiites believe that the Prophet chose his son-in-law, Ali, to be his successor. Although Sunnis and Shias agree on many theological and practical issues, Sunnis are generally considered to place more emphasis on the power of God and his determination of human destiny, and are often seen as more inclusive in their definition of what that means. to be a Muslim. Sunni tradition has emphasized the role of religion in public and political life, with great emphasis on Sharia (Islamic law) as the standard for a wide range of social issues – marriage, divorce, inheritance , trade, etc. on.

Valerie E. Frazier