Who Is Called Ahlassunna (Sunni)

A 'Mu'min' or 'Muslim' or 'Musliman' is one who believes and accepts the Islamic teachings that were communicated to humanity through Muhammad ('alaihi 's-salam) by Allahu ta'ala and which have spread over Muslim countries. These teachings were declared in Qur'an al-karim and in thousands of hadiths. The as-Sahabat al-kiram [1] heard them from the Prophet (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam). The Salaf as-salihin, that is, the 'ulama' [2] of Islam, who came after the Sahabat al-kiram in the second and third centuries, wrote them in their books as they heard them directly or through those who had heard them from the Sahabat al-kiram. Islamic scholars who succeeded them interpreted the knowledge reported by the Salaf as-salihin [3] differently and differed from one another; thus, seventy-three groups differing in the teachings pertaining to beliefs came into being. Only one of these groups did not follow their own thoughts and opinions or change or add anything in their interpretation. This group with correct credo is called the Ahl as-Sunna [4] or Sunni. The remaining seventy-two groups who dissented as a result of wrong interpretation and explanation of unclear ayats [5] and hadiths [6] are called groups of bid'a [7] (or dalala, deviation, heresy) or the la-madhhabi; they are Muslims, too,but they are in heresy.

Some people, instead of deriving the knowledge of belief from the books of the Salaf as-salihin 'rahmatullahi ta'ala alaihim ajma'in', interpret Qur'an al-karim and Hadith ash-sharif in accordance with only their own minds and opinions; thus their creed deviates completely and they become disbelievers called mulhids. The mulhid thinks of himself as a sincere Muslim and of the Umma [8] of Muhammad ('alaihi 's-salam). The munafiq [9] introduces himself as a Muslim but is in another religion. The zindiq is an atheist and does not believe in any religion, but pretends to be a Muslim in order to make Muslims irreligious, atheistic. He strives to make reforms in Islam and to annihilate Islam by changing and defiling it. He is hostile to Islam. They are much more harmful than Jews and Christians. And so are freemasons.

[1] As'hab-i kiram: (as-Sahabat al-kiram); the Companions of Rasulullah.
[2] 'ulama': pl. of 'alim; 'ulama' ar-rasihin, those learned in both zahiri and batini sciences.
[3] Salaf (as-Salihin): as-Sahaba and the distinguished ones among the Tabi'un and Taba' at-Tabi'in.
[4] 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.
[5] ayat: A verse of al-Qur'an al-karim; al-ayat al-karima.
[6] hadith (sharif): i) a saying of the Prophet ('alaihi 's-salam).; al-Hadith ash-sharif: all the hadiths as a whole; ii) 'ilm al-hadith; iii) Books of the hadith ash-sharif. iv) Al-hadith al-qudsi, as-sahih, al-hasan: kinds of hadiths (for which, see Endless Bliss, II).
[7] bid'at: (pl. bida') heresy; false, disliked belief or practice that did not exist in the four sources of Islam but which has been introduced later as an Islamic belief or 'ibada in expectation of thawab (blessings) ; heresy.
[8] umma(t) followers of Muhammad ('alaihi 's-salam); the community, body of believers, of a prophet.
[9] munafiq: one in the disguise of a Muslim but disbelieves Islam, but believing in another religion; a hypocrite.