Origin of Sunni Sect
According to Sunni Muslims, after Muhammad’s death, the confusion that ensued from not having a person to head the community led to the election of Abu Bakr, the Prophet’s close friend and father-in-law, as the first Caliph. Sunni were the orthodox Muslims and came into existence as a sect before the Shia sect in a more northerly part of Arabia.
Belief of Sunni Sect
The Sunnis accept the Sunnah or corpus of Muslim law and doctrine based on tradition and not on the direct statements of the Quran. Most of them call themselves "ahi-i-Sunnah wal Jamaat". This means believers in the example, acts and sayings of the Prophet Mohammad and the integrity of the community. Those who do not accept this stand are regarded as heretics. They also believe that the Suras were ordained by God and completed by Mohammad and do not agree with the Shias that there was a logical and chronological order of the Suras.
Most of them hold that the Hanafi code is the correct and final expression of the Shafiah (Muslim religious law) and that innovation and heresy are to be condemned. There is no restriction of trade, employment of social intercourse among the Sunnis and marriage between them and the Shias is not uncommon.
Saints in Sunnu Sect
They acknowledge the first four caliphs, Abu Bakr, Osinan, Omar and Ali. Sunnis have many silsilakas or orders of spiritual successors, which have come down from generation with recognised murshids, each having a group of murshids. These people form the centre of truly religious life they attribute miraculous powers to their pirs and saints who are supposed to help them in worldly matters and alleviate their sufferings.
Sunni life is guided by four schools of legal thought - Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii, and Hanbali. Each of which strives to develop practical applications of revelation and the Prophet's example.