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What Is Ahl As-sunna?

Those who realize the value and greatness of Rasulullah's (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) Companions and who love and respect all of them and follow them are called Ahl as-Sunna [1]. Those who claim to love some of them and dislike the others and thus slander most of them, and those who do not follow any of them, are called Shi'ites. There are many Shi'ites in Iran, India and Iraq. There are none in Turkey. Some of them, in order to deceive the pure Muslim 'Alawis in Turkey, call themselves 'Alawi, which means 'Muslim who loves Hadrat [2] 'Ali'. Loving someone necessitates following in his footsteps and loving those whom he loves; if they loved Hadrat 'Ali (radiy-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) they would follow in his footsteps.

He loved all of the Prophet's companions. He was a counsellor to the Khalifa (caliph) Hadrat 'Umar, who confided his woes to him. He married his and Hadrat Fatima's daughter Umm Ghulsum to Hadrat 'Umar. In a khutba[3], he said about Hadrat Mu'awiya, "Our brethren disagreed with us. Yet they are not disbelievers or sinners. Their ijtihad [4] occurred in that manner. " When Hadrat Talha (radiy-Allahu ta'ala 'anh), who was fighting against him, died a martry, he himself cleaned the dust from his face and became the imam [5] in the salat (prayer) performed for his death. Allahu ta'ala declares, "Believers are brothers. " In the last ayat-i-kerima [6] of the Surat al-Fat'h [7] He declares, "The Prophet's Companions love one another. " Not to love even one of the Prophet's Companios, or the worst of it, to bear hostility towards him, is to disbelieve the Qur'an al-kerim. The scholars of Ahl as-Sunna understood the superiority of as-Sahabat al-kiram [8] (radiy-Allahu ta'ala 'anhum ajma'in) correctly and commanded Muslims to love all of them and thus rescued Muslims from the danger.

[1] Ahl as-Sunna (wa'l-Jama'a): the true pious Muslims who follow as-Sahabat al-kiram. These are called Sunni Muslims. A Sunni Muslim adapts himself to one of the four Madhhabs. These madhhabs are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali.
[2] Hadrat: title of respect used before the names of great people like and Islamic scholars.
[3] khutba: the preaching delievered at mosque; the homily delivered at the pulpit by the imam at Jum'a and 'Iyd prayers ( at the prayers of Friday and of Islamic festivals), which must be read in Arabic all over the world (sinful if read in another language).
[4] ijtihad: (meaning or conclusion drawn by a mujtahid by) endeavouring to understand the hidden meaning in an ayat or a hadith.
[5] imam: i) profound 'alim; founder of a madhhab; ii) leader in congregational salat; iii) caliph.
[6] ayat: a verse of al-Qur'an al-kerim; al-ayat al-karima.
[7] sura(t): a Qur'anic chapter [a chapter of the Qur'an].
[8] Sahaba: if a Muslim has seen the Prophet, or talked to him, at least once when the Prophet was alive, he is called Sahabi. Plural form of Sahabi is Sahaba or As'hab. The word Sahaba-i kiram includes all those great people each of whom has seen the Prophet at least once. The lowest of the Sahaba is much higher than the highest of other Muslims. If a person has not seen the Prophet but has seen or talked to one of the Sahaba at least once, he is called Tabi'. Its plural form is Tabi'in. In other words, the Tabi'in are the successors of the Sahaba. If a person has not seen any of the Sahaba but has seen at least one of the Tabi'in, he is called Taba'i Tabi'in. The Sahaba, the Tabi'in and the Taba'i tabi'in altogether are called the Salaf-i salihin (the early savants).