Difference between Sunni and Wahabi

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Sunni and Wahabi is that Sunni show extra respect for the prophet Muhammad while Wahabi also respects the Prophet Muhammad but have the belief that He should be respected as a human being only.

Comparison Chart

Basis of Distinction Sunni Wahabi
Definition Sunni refers to those Muslims who follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad. They also do new things in Islam and termed these Islamic Wahabi is a member of fundamentalist Sunni Muslim sect founded by Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab
Population 90% of Muslims 5% of Muslims
Countries Asia, Africa, Middle East Saudi Arabia
Word Etymology Derived from Sunnah From the name of Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab
School of Fiqh Four: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali No except Ijma of Ulema
Groups Barelvi, Deobandi, Wahabi Salafi, Ahl Hadith


Sunni is the biggest section of Islam. Its name originates from the word Sunnah, alluding to the model conduct of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. Sunnis see themselves as the customary branch of Islam. The name “Sunni” is gotten from the expression “Ahl al-Sunnah,” or “People of the Tradition.” The convention for this situation alludes to hones given what the Prophet Muhammad said, did consent to or denounced. The essential accumulations comprising of Kutub al-Sittah acknowledged by Sunni conventionality, in conjunction with the Quran and restricting agreement, shape the premise of all statute inside Sunni Islam. Laws are gotten from these essential sources; also, Sunni Islam’s juristic schools perceive contrasting techniques to infer lawful decisions, for example, analogical reason, thought of open welfare and juristic circumspection. One regular slip-up is to expect that the Sunni group speaks to Islam as it existed before the divisions, and ought to be considered as regulating, or the standard. This discernment is halfway because of the dependence on exceptionally ideological sources that have been acknowledged as solid recorded works, furthermore because by far most of the populace is Sunni and this story suits their group, despite the fact that it is a long way from precise.


Wahabi is a person from a strict and fundamentalist Sunni Muslim group established by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–92). It advocates an arrival to the early Islam of the Koran and Sunna, dismissing later developments; the order is still the prevalent religious drive in Saudi Arabia. Numerous Sunni and Shia Muslims can’t help contradicting the Wahhabi development, and a broadly flowed fear inspired notion holds it to have been a result of British mystery benefit endeavors for bringing on the end of the Ottoman Empire. Ulema, including Al-Azhar researchers, frequently revile Wahhabism in wording, for example, “Evil Ideology.” Wahhabism has been blamed for being “a wellspring of worldwide psychological oppression”, rousing the belief system of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and for bringing about disunity in Muslim people group by naming Muslims who couldn’t help contradicting the Wahhabi meaning of monotheism as defectors (takfir) and defending their slaughtering. It has additionally been scrutinized for the demolition of memorable mazaars, catacombs, and other Muslim and non-Muslim structures and ancient rarities.

Key Differences

  • After Prophet Muhammad, Sunni follows the Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Hanbal and Imam Shafi while Wahabis are the followers of Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahab.
  • Sunni believes in mysticism and intercession while Wahabi terms these wrongful innovations in Islam.
  • Most of the Sunni observe the Prophet of Muhammad, Sufi festivals, and other Islamic events while Wahabis are against all these.
  • Wahabi tries to live as close to Muhammad as possible while Sunni follows almost all those who according to them are on right path.
  • The concept of Jihad is strong in Wahabi as compared to the Sunni.
  • Wahabis are more conservative as compared to the Sunnis.
  • Most of the sects of the Muslims are against the founder of Wahabi, Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahab.
  • Sunnis are in the majority and almost 90% of Muslims around the world while Wahabis are located in Saudi Arabia and few Muslim countries.
  • According to Sunnis, Allah (God) does not resemble anything. He is free from the body, etc. He also exists without a place while Wahabis are against all these beliefs and also believe Allah is sitting on Arsh, above skies.
  • Sunni follows the both the companions of Prophet Muhammad and His family members while Wahabis don’t consider that they should be followed when the preaching of Prophet Muhammad had been finalized.
  • Sunnis continuously visit the tombs or shrines of Prophet Muhammad and Islamic saints and consider it is acceptable and blessed. Wahabis believe all these is a great sin,
  • Wahabi’s prayer method is different from Sunnis on one main point, and that is Rafa Yadeen, raising hands up to the ear. While Sunnis don’t follow these.
  • Sunnis believe in prayer after offering funeral prayer while Wahabi doesn’t believe on this.
  • Up to some extent, Wahabism is the branch of Sunnism while Sunnism is an independent sect like Shia.
  • Sunni believes on six books containing collections of Hadiths while Wahabis only belief on the top two only.
  • Wahabis hold strong beliefs about women and even not allowed them to drive a car and take part in politics while most of the Sunni Muslims believe in the equality of Islam.
  • Muslims, since the time of the Prophet until now, have kept and are keeping on visiting and seeking blessings from holy places and celebrating it in all the lands of Muslims. No one denied that, except for the Wahabis who came up with their new doctrine in the fourteenth century of hijra.

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