Where did Sunnism originate from?

The Details of the Question

- Who are we? Why are we Sunni? 
- ​What is the origin of Sunnism?
- When, where and how did it emerge?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Sunnism, which constitutes the majority of the Islamic world, is not just a name, attribute or sect, but a whole lifestyle, which is the practice of Islam in life in accordance with the Book and the Sunnah.

Those who adhere to Ahl as-Sunnah are called "Sunni", meaning "those who adopt sound and true faith".

The word Sunni probably emerged toward the end of the first century of the Migration (early 8th century AD) for the first time according to a narration attributed to Said b. Jubayr (d. 95/713). (Fığlalı, Çağımızda Îtikadî İslâm Mezhepleri, p. 54)

Members of Ahl as-Sunnah are also mentioned with various phrases with the addition of the one of the words “hadith, jama’ah, istiqamah, haqq, iman, ithbat” to the word "ahl" and with terms "sifatiyya" (those who adopt divine attributes), "firqa an-najiya" (the group that attains salvation) and “as-sawad al-a’zam” (great majority).

The oldest work that includes the term Ahl as-Sunnah among the sources that have survived to the present day is ar-Rad alaz-Zanadiqa wal-Jahmiyya (p. 96) attributed to Ahmad b. Hanbal.

It is followed by Darimi’s as-Sunan (Muqaddima, 23), Muslim’s Sahih (Muqaddima, 1), Ibn Shazan an-Nisaburi’s al-Izah (pp. 93-94) and Ibn Qutayba’s al-Ikhtilaf fil-Lafz, (pp. 67-68).

The information above proves that Ahl as-Sunnah formed as a sect of creed in the 3rd century H (9th century AD); in other words, the conservative majority began to be called by this name after the emergence of ahl al-bid’ah.

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