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/ Detail of the Religion of the Sunni Muslim People

Although several branches of Islam exist, Sunni Muslims are the largest by followership, accounting for about 80 percent of the world’s Muslim population, followed by the Shi’a at approximately 10 percent. As a branch of Islam, the Sunni emerged in the 7th century C.E. in the Middle East after disagreements arose over who would succeed Prophet Muhammad. At the height of the disagreement, the Sunni advocated for the selection of a successor (also referred to as caliph) by the entire Muslim community, but the Shi’a believed that Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law and also cousin, had been chosen by the prophet to succeed him. This paper will research specific features and viewpoints of the Sunni Muslim and describe their past, present and future. It will further highlight their conflicts and where they stand on the worldview and in the eyes of the US government and the Taliban. At this point, it is important to mention that the defining belief of the Taliban is Sunni Islam; however, their interpretation and practice of Islam, including Sharia law and female brutality, informed scholars’ decision to refer to them as fundamentalists or extremists (Goodson, 2002). The term Sunni is derived from the word Sunnah, which is an Arabic term that translates into “the traditions of Prophet Muhammad”. The Sunni Muslims agree with the other Islamic branches on many practical and theological aspects. This is because Islamic life stems from and is defined by Sharia (or Islamic) law. However, the areas that are unique to Sunni Muslims and set them apart from the start include the fact that they developed and grew from a controversy; they do not agree with claims that a successor was named by the prophet; they believed that companions of the prophet had authoritative leadership; and they relied on the consensus of scholars and religion. More contemporarily is their typical emphasis of Allah’s power and how he determines human fate. Their definition of what it entails being a Muslim is more inclusive, and that is why their tradition places prominence on the functions of religion in family (such as marriage, inheritance, divorce), political and public life (Goodson, 2002). For a better insight into Sunni Muslims, the research will be split into sections. Further, because the essence of Sunni Muslims is founded on their differences with the Shi’a Muslims, comparisons between the two will be used for the purpose of emphasis. History Although the Sunni would later develop theological and legal traditions and structures over the centuries, its fundamental origins are embedded in the caliph succession dispute. The 632 C.E. death of Muhammad pitted the Muslim community into a leadership wrangle because Muhammad did not have living heirs, who were required to be male. Without one that the community could agree upon, it followed that they split along the lines of choice of a leader, ending up with the Sunni and Shi’a. Each sect had several subdivisions, but the Sunni and the Shi’a still represent the key divide in Islam (Johnson, 2010). Those who did not back the leadership of Ali adopted the name Sunni, which is a term that derives from ahl al-sunna wa al-jamaa. This is an Arabic phrase referring to a group of people who consider themselves to follow the ways of the prophet and are people of the community. They decided that the next caliph should come from the Quraysh tribe, to which the prophet belonged. Literature on Sunni history indicates that while the prophet ...Show more


Islam is the second largest religion in the world after Christianity. The adherents of Islam are referred to as Muslims and they worship Allah (God). Islam is monotheistic and Abrahamic, articulated by the holy book called Qur’an…
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