23 Islamic L. & Soc'y 1 (2016)

handle is hein.journals/islamls23 and id is 1 raw text is: 


                     ISLAMIC LAW AND SOCIETY 23 (2016) 1-22        Islamic Law
                                                                     Society
 BRILL                                                             brilI.com/ils



 The Appellation Sdhib Sunna in Classical Islam:

 How Sunnism Came To Be



        John A. Nawas
      KULeuven, Leuven, Belgium/Institute for Advanced Arabic and Islamic Studies,
      Antwerp, Belgium
        John.Nawas@arts.kuleuven.be


        Abstract

 The term sahib sunna is frequently encountered in classical Arabic biographical diction-
 aries. In this article, I compare the group of Islamic religious scholars (ulama) identified
 as ah.ab sunna with comparable religious scholars who did not receive such a designa-
 tion. The results show that the ah.ab sunna constituted a distinct group of Muslim reli-
 gious scholars. I suggest that the formation of the ah.ab sunna was further prompted by
 the Mihna initiated by the caliph al-Ma'mun. The opposition of the ah.ab sunna to the
 Mihna contributed to the development of the more elaborate formula ahlal-sunnawa-l-
jama'a by which Sunnis define their creed.


        Keywords

 Classical Islam - hadith - Mihna - sahib sunna - Sunnism



        Introduction

 Classical Arabic biographical dictionaries preserve data for thousands of Mus-
 lim religious scholars, the ulama, who lived during the first four centuries of
 Islam. Any researcher who uses these works has, on more than one occasion,


   My sincere thanks go to Joseph Lowry, Christopher Melchert, Hayrettin Yiicesoy and my two
   co-workers in the research program History of the Fundamentals of Islam at Leuven
   University, Belgium, Stijn Aerts and Ahmed Azzouz, for reading and commenting on an earlier
   draft of this article.


( KONINKLIJKE BRILL NV, LEIDEN, 2016 1 DOI 10.1163/15685195-02312P01

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