Sunnites traditionists, or believers in the Sunna (q.v.); the name of the "orthodox" Moslems, as opposed to the Shiites (q.s.v.). They are subdivided into four principal sects, who, though at issue on different minor points, yet are acknowledged by each other to belong to the faithful and to be capable of salvation, and they each have a special oratory at Mecca. The first of these sects are the Hanefites, founded by Abu Hanifa, who died 150 years after the Hegira. They are emphatically' called "the followers of reason," while the other three are guided exclusively by tradition. They allow reason to have a principal share in their decisions on legal and other points. To this sect belong chiefly the Turks and Tartars. The second sect are the Malekites, founded by Malek Ibn-Ans, who died at Medina about 180 H. As one of the chief proofs of his real piety and humility, it is recorded that when asked for his decision on forty-eight questions, he would only decide on sixteen, freely confessing his ignorance about the others. In Barbary and other parts of Africa, the greatest part of his adherents are found. Mohammed Al-Shafei, born in Palestine, 150 H., but educated in Mecca, is the founder of the third sects the Shafeites. He was a great enemy of the scholastic divines, and seems altogether to have been of an original cast of mind. He never swore by God, and always took time to consider whether he should at all answer any given question or hold his peace. The most characteristic saying recorded of him is, "Whosoever pretends to love both the work and the Creator at the same time is a liar." He is accounted of such importance that, according to his contemporaries, "he was as the sun to the world, and as health to the body;" and all the relations of she traditions of Mohammed were said to have been asleep until he came and woke them.' He appears to have been the first who reduced Moslem jurisprudence into a method, and thus made it, from a number of vague sayings, a science. His followers are now chiefly: found in Arabia and Persia. Ahmed Ibn Hanbal founded the fourth sect, the Hanbalites., He was born 164 H., and was a most intimate friend of Shafei. His knowledge of the traditions (of which he could repeat not fewer than a million) was no less famed than was his piety. He taught that the Koran was not created but everlastingly subsisted in the essence of God-a doctrine for which he was severely punished by the caliph Al-Motasem. On the day of his death, no less than 20,000 unbelievers (Jews, Christians, and Magians) are said to have embraced the Mohammedan faith. Once very numerous, the Hanbalites now are but very rarely met with out of Arabia. On the differences between the Sunnites and Shiites, SEE SHIITES. SEE SONNITES.

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