Sunni Islam

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Several years after Muhammad's death, the various factions of the Islamic faith were formed. Many of Muhammad's relatives and companions were involved in the power struggle, and the war finally stabilized when Mu'awiyya, the governor of Syria, took control of the Caliphate. This marked the rise of the Umayyad dynasty which ruled Islam for quite some time. Although the Qur’an ordains that the division of Muslims into different sections is forbidden, three sects of Islam developed and emerged at the conclusion of the Islamic Civil War. These include the Sunni, Shiite, Ahmadiyya and Karijite. Of these four, the Sunni denomination is by far the largest, comprising of 90% of the world Muslim population, with Shi’a comprising of the second largest percentage.

The literal translation of the word Sunni is “habit” or usual practice. My assumption is that the habit or practice refers to the actions of Muhammad. So anyone claiming to follow the Sunnah, which are the actions of Muhammad and can show that they believe the Hadith, which are narrations of the actions of Muhammad, can consider him or herself to be a Sunni Muslim. People of Sunni orientation believe that Muhammad had never chosen a successor before his death and therefore nobody can really properly succeed him or become the succeeding leader of the Caliphate other than his closest companions, or Shahaba. Sunnis belive that only the the first four caliphs should be regarded as the properly led caliphs. They include Abu Bakr, Umar al-Khattab, Uthman Affan, and Ali Talib. Actually why there has not been one widely known caliph since 1923 for the entire Islamic religion is due to the fact that Islam is divided into these three sections metioned earlier. Although Sunnis accept hadith narrated by the first four caliphs, they regard one collection of hadith to be the most authentic. This is called the Sahih al Bukhari. The literal translation of sahih is “authentic”.

The Sunni branch of Islam has four...
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