During Mohammad Prophets’ death, the Muslim population worldwide began to follow many divisions in beliefs and rituals. Some that followed the same belief formed groups, whereas the others went away to form separate sects.
Two such are the Sunnis and Wahabis. Due to their many differences in prayers, rituals, and beliefs, Sunni and Wahabi Muslims are separated into different sects. They parted ways and continued to believe in their way of praying to the Almighty.
- Sunni and Wahabi are branches of Islam, with Sunni being the larger of the two.
- Sunni Muslims follow the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and emphasize the importance of the consensus of the Muslim community, while Wahabi Muslims adhere to a strict interpretation of Islamic scripture and reject outside influences.
- Wahabi Islam is associated with Saudi Arabia and has been criticized for its extreme views and support of violence.
Sunni vs Wahabi
Sunni Muslims follow the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence. Wahhabi Islam is a conservative and fundamentalist branch of Islam; it follows a strict interpretation of Islamic law and rejects many traditions and practices. It also rejects the use of religious symbols or images.
Sunni Muslims were the first group that formed after the Mohammad Prophet’s death and were the Sunnah’s followers. They formed new rules for Islam and named these activities Islamic. They believe in the powers of rituals and celebrations of annual Sufi festivals.
Wahabi Muslims are the followers of Mohammad ibn Abdul Wahab and got their name from him. This sheikh was present in the 18th century. They are only 5% of the world’s Muslim population, and all of them are located in Saudi Arabia. They only follow the words of their sheikh.
|Parameters of Comparison
|Mohammad Prophet and his followers
|Mohammad ibn Abdul Wahab of the 18th century.
|Derived from Sunnah
|From the name of the sheikh that they follow, Mohammad ibn Abdul Wahab.
|They are 90 % of the world’s Muslim population
|They are only found in Saudi Arabia (5%)
|they believe in healing powers
|They believe in visiting tombs and shrines of saints
|Belief in Mohammad’s Prophet
|They believe that he is the connection between them and Allah and give him special treatment.
|They believe he should be treated as just a mortal human and nothing beyond that.
What is Sunni?
Sunni Muslims are a group of people who follow the Mohammad Prophet and his followers. They are the ones who get new Islamic manners and label them as Islam. Sunni Muslims follow the four schools of thought, also called the School of Fiqh: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali.
They are 85-90% of the world’s Muslim population. Sunni Muslims reside in the UAE, Egypt, Kuwait, Yemen, etc. They are moderate and are not orthodox Muslims. They also treat their women as their equals.
Sunni Muslims believe that Mohammad is the only reliable transmitter or messenger to God as they have agreed on the integration of Mohammad and God. They do not have any hierarchical ruler or Calif. The rulers are formed informally when they gain large followers through their preaches.
Sunni Muslims celebrate the birth of Muhammad Prophet in the form of Urs and also have Sufi festivals. They wear charms and place their belief in healing powers, intercession, and mysticism.
What is Wahabi?
Wahabi Muslims are the revolutionary Sunni Muslims who left the group following Mohammad ibn Abdul Wahab. The word ‘Wahabi’ was given to his followers.
These groups do not believe in equality for women. The women of this country are not allowed to work beside a man and are also not allowed to drive cars. They must wear long garments to cover their face, exposing only their eyes.
According to Wahabi Muslims, praying and performing rituals in the shrine is a sin, and they are against it. They also do not believe in intercession and mysticism. They are known to be a group of fundamentalists.
Wahabi Muslims are only 5% of the world’s Muslim population, as they are found only in Saudi Arabia. They do not migrate and reside in any other country around the world. Their only belief is visiting the shrines and tombs of the saints and following the words of their sheikh.
Main Differences Between Sunni and Wahabi
- Sunni Muslims are the followers of the Mohammad Prophet and his followers. They were the first group that formed at the death of the Prophet. Wahabi Muslims are the followers of Mohammad ibn Abdul Wahab of the 18th century.
- The word Sunni came from ‘Sunnah’ as they were the followers of the Sunnah of Mohammad Prophet. The word ‘Wahabi’ came from the one they follow, Mohammad ibn Abdul Wahab.
- Sunni Muslims have a majority of 85-90% of the Muslim population worldwide. They are found in the Middle-east. At the same time, Wahabi Muslims are only found in Saudi Arabia and comprise only 5% of the world’s Muslim population.
- Sunni Muslims wear charms and place their belief in healing power. On the other hand, Wahabi Muslims do not believe in these but rather in visiting tombs and shrines of saints.
- Since Sunni Muslims are followers of Mohammad’s Prophet, they treat him with special care and celebrate his birthday as Urs. Wahabi Muslims do not follow Mohammad’s prophet and believe they need to treat as only a mortal human.
Last Updated : 13 July, 2023
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.