The majority of Muslims belong to this sect within Islam which are rivals to the Shi`ites. Their disputes center upon the claims of the Caliphate. Sunnis accepted all the first four caliphs and accepted the claims of the Ummayyad Dynasty in Damascus to take over the caliphate. There were Sunni caliphs from 7th century until the end of the Abassid caliphate in 1258. The Ottomans revived the caliphate in 1775 but was abolished in 1924. Sunnis are found all over the world.
``The essense of Shi'ism is belief in the imam or charismatic leader, which includes the belief that salvation, or keeping to the straight path and avoiding error, come from following the imam, in contrast to the Sunnite belief that it comes from being a member of a charismatic community. In keeping with the essential belief, the imam came to be regarded as a source of truth or guidance for his followers.'' (W. Montgomery Watt, Muslim Intellectual, A Study of al-Ghazali, Edinburgh University Press, 1963, p.80.)
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