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Salafism, Wahhabism, And The Definition Of Sunni Islam, Rob J. Williams Jan 2017

Salafism, Wahhabism, And The Definition Of Sunni Islam, Rob J. Williams

Honors Program: Student Scholarship & Creative Works

My capstone deals with the historical definition of Sunni Islam, and how it has changed in approximately the past 200 years. Around 1800, Sunni Islam was pretty clearly defined by an adherence to one of four maddhabs, or schools of law: the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali schools and are all based in nearly a millennium of legal scholarship. Since 1800, however, numerous reform movements have sprung up which disavow previous scholarship and interpret Islamic law their own way. However, certain reformist groups, such as Traditionalist Salafis and Wahhabis, claim that their version of Islam is the only “pure ...