Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam; its adherents are referred to in Arabic as ahl as-sunnah wa l-jamāʻah, "people of the tradition of Muhammad and the consensus of the Ummah" or ahl as-sunnah. For short, in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis, and Sunnites. Sunni Islam is the second largest religious denomination of any religion in the world. Sunni Islam is sometimes referred to as the orthodox version of the religion. The word "Sunni" comes from the term Sunnah, which refers to the sayings and actions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad as recorded in Hadiths. The primary collections consisting of Kutub al-Sittah accepted by Sunni orthodoxy, in conjunction with the Quran and binding consensus, form the basis of all jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. Laws are derived from these basic sources; in addition, Sunni Islam's juristic schools recognize differing methods to derive verdicts such as analogical reason, consideration of public welfare and juristic discretion.
Sunni Islam is by far the most widespread form of the religion. It is the more orthodox of the main branches of Islam but the origin of the Sunni-Shia schism was largely political in nature. The Sunnis accepted the first Caliph, Abu Bakr, whereas the Shiites rejected him in favour of Ali. Sunni Muslims hold strictly to the Sunnah - the sayings and action of Muhammad - as collected in the Hadiths, which form the basis for Sunni jurisprudence. The formal head of Sunni Islam is the (Sunni) Caliph. Defining features in-game:
Head - The Sunni Caliph
Holy sites - Baghdad, Cordoba, Medina, Mecca, Jerusalem
- The Caliphate is held by a secular ruler, and can cease to exist.
- The Caliph can subjugate other Sunni rulers freely.
- The Caliph can declare great Jihads.
- Muslim rulers can - and are expected to have - multiple wives.
- Mosque Holdings can be held by anyone without penalty.
- Muslim dynasties grow decadent unless the men have enough land and win wars.
In most starts, the Sunni Caliph exists, and unless you play as him he's not you. Keep him happy, and he'll consider not Subjugating you.
The Sunni religion is just as widespread as Catholicism, except if the Caliph is landless, he ceases to exist and no Jihads can be called-Muslim lands will quickly be torn apart. So in some ways, it's even more fragile.
With decadence, either kill/imprison your landless cousins and brothers, or give them land. With polygamy, keep the best wife as your first wife.
If, either through great (mis)fortune or you start as the Abbasids untill the Mongols bookmark, you happen to be the Caliph, then you get the powerful ability to call Jihads. It can be any de jure kingdom, however you don't necessarily get the land.