followers of the Prophet's directions, the name of one of the two main divisions of Islam, the other being the Shi`ites (q.v.).
The Sunnites, who accept the orthodox tradition (Sunna) as well as the Koran as a source of theologico-juristic doctrines, predominate in Arabia, the Turkish Empire, the north of Africa, Turkestan, Afghanistan and the Mahommedan parts of India and the east of Asia; the Shi`ites have their main seat in Persia, where their confession is the state religion, but are also scattered over the whole sphere of Islam, especially in India and the regions bordering on Persia, except among the nomad Tatars, who are all nominally Sunnite.
have tended to bring them closer to one another, we still find that of the thirty-six chief orders three claim an origin from the caliph Abubekr, whom the Sunnites honour, and the rest from 'All, the idol of the Shi`ites.
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