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Difference Between Sunni and Wahabi

Sunni vs Wahabi

The major difference between Sunni and Wahabi is the beliefs and rituals. Sunnis are in majority and almost 90% percent of Muslims around the world belong to Sunni sect whereas the members of Wahabi movement are located in Saudi Arab. There are a few main and major as well as many secondary differences between the Sunni and Wahabi Muslims which caused these sects to be cut off from each other and emerge independently.

The major difference between them is that Wahabis believe that Prophet Muhammad should be praised only as a human being whereas Sunnis show extra special care and respect towards the Prophet of Islam.

Sunni Muslims celebrate the birthday of the Holy Prophet and arrange Meelaad. Meelaad is a form of gathering in which the Sunni Muslims get together and praise the Holy Prophet. The birthdays of Sufi saints are also celebrated with much dedication and enthusiasm. The day of their deaths are commemorated in the form of Urs. Wahabi Muslims do not believe in celebrating and practicing all these events which are very strongly rooted in Islam. Wahabis call these practices of events as unlawful and wrongful innovations. Wahabis also believe that this is as close as to shirk or polytheism and Sunnis follow the ways of infidel Hindus.

Sunni Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad is Nur and still present in this world. Whereas Wahabis do not believe in using pious individuals as intermediaries when asking Allah as they consider it shirk or polytheism. Sunnis believe in the saints and mysticism whereas Wahabis do not believe in mysticism, intercession and prostration as well. Sunni Muslims visit the tombs of the saints and perform tawassul for the blessings of Allah whereas it is the greatest sin for a Wahabi.

Sunni Muslims believe in four imams of fiqah or Islamic laws such as Hanfi, Hanbli, Malakii and Shaafeyii whereas Wahabi does not follow an Iman in Fiqh. Wahabi Muslims are a group of fundamentalists and have an orthodox version Islam. Wahabis in Saudi Arab do not allow their females to work side by side with their men and they also are not allowed to drive a car. The women are treated as third rate citizens and they are bound to wear a long abayaa or garment to cover them from head to toe. Sunni Muslims are moderate and believe in the equality of women as suggested by Islam.

There are many differences present in their rituals of praying, marriage ceremonies, dresses etc. Wahabi Muslims have separate mosques and schools. Wahabi Muslims are followers of Mohammed ibn Abdul Wahab in the 18th century in Arabia, and his movement came up against a lot of opposition from the Indians Sunni Muslims. Members of the Wahab movement in Saudi Arabia believe their role as a restorer or reformer to free Islam from negative deviances, heresies, innovations, superstitions and idolatries. Wahabis prefer to eliminate music and listening to songs. They are against watching television and drawings of living things which contain a soul.


1. Wahabi Muslims are followers of Muhammad ibne Abdul wahab present in the 18th century in Saudi Arabia whereas Sunni Muslims are followers of Prophet Muhammad and his companions.

2. Sunni Muslims believe in intercession and mysticism whereas Wahabis call them as deviants and wrongful innovations in Islam.

3. Sunni Muslims strictly follow one of the four schools of thoughts or madhabs of fiqah or Islamic jurisprudence whereas Wahabis follow their sheikh.

4. Wahabis do not observe annual Sufi festivals, events or the birthday of Prophet Muhammad.

5. Sunni Muslims wear charms and believe in healing powers unlike Wahabi beliefs like visiting tombs or shrines of saints.

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  1. we are all muslims and the fact that we are cursing and calling everyone scum was one thing that Allah feared would happen and so did the prophet so we should not disrespect each others belief infact we all should just focus on haveing the right intention when we pray so that we all go through the doors of jannah so those who are calling themselves sunni , shia or whahabi should realise that we are all muslims and we are all brothers and sisters and should focus on the fact that we are servents of Allah and no matter what and how you pray all that matters is having the right intention and should try to stay away from the shaytaan that is causing us brothers and sisters to argue and class them as ” not one of us ” the fact that Allah said that we should respect people of other religons and their beliefs and we are not respecting the belief of our own brothers and sisters is digusting and the final fact that i want to say is that iam not a sunni , shia or a whahbi etc im a Muslim

    • Thanks brother, the exact message

    • Salam to you all my brothers and sisters.
      Hussain, I agree with you. Let Allah decides and judges who’s right and who’s wrong. In fact, we don’t have any authorization to judge such a thing.
      I just realize that being judgeful and fighting one to another between moslems are the factors of how Islam weakens by the followers themselves. So, why don’t we be the peaceful followers of the peaceful Islam? May Allah shows us all the right path and gives us the blessings and jannah al-feerdaoos.

    • How accurate is this article? I have never heard of sunni muslim believing in an intercessor or even wearing charms or bracelets. It is something that was not known to be practiced during the Prophet ‘s time( phub). Also celebrating anyone’s birthday is not something known, but I am not sure if it is haram. I have heard cases where sunni muslims celebrate it.

  2. Salaam to all brothers and sisters in Islam, irrespective of what differences we have.

    This is the second or third time I am posting a comment here and the main reason for that is to establish one fact, which is our brotherhood.

    Yes the debate of celebrating Prophet’s (Swallaahu Alaihi Wa sallam) Milaad, Shabaan 15 and many others will continue till the end of this world.

    If I say opinion then definitely I will be offending one sect, and I am sure you will not be able read without prejudice because of our differences.

    We have Quran and the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet, Ahamdulillah our world advanced so much that if you really want to ensure if hadith is true you can find it, if you dont search for it with an opinion.

    My simple request to all, do not call names or decide of someone being Kaafir or a bad muslim or a better muslim. Let Allah (SWT) decide this major thing, because definitely it is not upon us to judge anyone’s actions or deeds, and dont put yourself in trouble on the day of judgement when you will questioned for making statements against your brother. If someone is following a Bidah or dis approving a Sunnah, he will be questioned in the day of judgement. Yes, you can share your opinion, but you cannot force it on someone. Even prophet(Swallaahu Alaihi Wa sallam) said I am just a messenger, and he delivered the message, it is upto the Ummah to follow it completely, exactly, partially or nothing at all.

    So take time to examine without prejudice, and seek the real truth from Allah, and make dua to Allah to show you the real sunnah. And if you are sincere He will definitely guide you to straight path.

    What you are following, what your parents are following, what your teacher taught you, what is being practiced in Saudi Arabia, these are not the answers you should look for. Look for what the Prophet (Swallaahu Alaihi Wa sallam) practiced and make he really practised it from authentic hadith, inshaAllah you will guided rightly.

    Please make dua for me and my family to be guided along the straight path of our Prophet (Swallaahu Alaihi Wa sallam) and also grant us life to embrace this Ramdan with full of imaan.

    Ramadan Kareem to all my brothers and sisters in Islam,

    • those are a kufar who dont obey mohammad simply

      • Correction brother… if one doesn’t believe in Allah then he is a kuffar… and he should follow the Sunnah of our prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him)

    • Could not said it any better my brother .may ALLAH have mercy on u and your family

    • Assalamu alaykum brother,

      Ma’sha’allah i love ur comment as it is right only Allah (swt) has the right to judge. Us Muslims have no right to call someone a kuffar/kaffir as that is the only right tha Allah (swt) has also us calling someone a kaffir can lead to us losing our Imaan. We are a Muslims at the end of the day and the only thing we can do is guide our fellow brothers and sisters in Islam down the right path.
      Jazakullah Khair

    • Ramadan Kareem may Allah SWT grant you and your family all good in this life and the next and grant you good health and a long life. Shukran for telling the truth and yes I shared it on facebook and I am going to share with all my emailers. Salaam

      • JazaakAllahu khairan sister. It feels so right that we are making dua for each other rather than fighting over. This is brotherhood in Islam where you love each other only for the sake of Allah. May Allah help you in spreading peace and the right message to the community within your reach. Ameen

      • Walaikumassalam

  3. Praise be to Allaah.
    The Bareilawis are an extreme Sufi sect that appeared in the Indo-Pakistani subcontinent, in the city of Bareilly, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh during the days of British colonialism. 

    The basic principles of their misguided, deviant teachings are based on exaggeration about the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and the members of his household, exaggeration about the righteous, enmity towards Ahl as-Sunnah, and diverting the people away from jihad for the sake of Allah. 

    The founder of this sect was called Ahmad Reza Khan Taqiy ‘Ali Khan; he called himself ‘Abd al-Mustafa. 

    He was one of the misguided extremists. He used to say: “When you are confused, seek help from the occupants of the graves.” 

    In his extreme exaggeration about the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), he said: “The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is in control everywhere; he is the king of earth and the sovereign of mankind.”  

    And he said: “O Muhammad, I cannot say that you are Allah and I cannot differentiate between you and Him; your matter is for Him to judge, for He knows best what you really are.” 

    And he said: “Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, gave the one who brought the Qur’an, our master Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), everything that is in al-Lawh al-Mahfooz.” 

    And he said: “The Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is light from the Light of Allah, and all of creation comes from his light.” 

    Amjad ‘Ali, one of their leaders, said: “The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is a deputy of Allah with complete authority, and the entire universe is under his control. So he does whatever he wants, he gives whatever he wants to whoever he wants, he takes whatever he wants, and there is no one in the universe who can alter his rule. He is the master of humans and whoever does not make him his sovereign is deprived of the sweetness of the sunnah.” 

    And he said: “Those who reject seeking help from the Prophets and saints and from their graves are heretics.” 

    Ahmad Yar Khan – one of their shaykhs – said: “The shar‘i meaning of the one who is present and watching [this refers to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him] is that the one who is possessed of holy power is able to see the world like the palm of his hand from the place where he is; he can hear sounds from near and from far; he can go around the world in a single moment; he helps those who are in need and he answers those who call on him.” 

    They used to build structures over graves and frequent them, lighting candles and lamps in them, offer sacrifices to them in fulfilment of vows, seeking barakah (blessing) from them, holding celebrations for them, putting flowers and roses and cloths on them and putting curtains around them, and calling their followers to circumambulate the tombs, seeking barakah from them. 

    See: al-Kashf ‘an Haqeeqat as-Sufiyyah (1/350); as-Sufiyah: Nash’atuha wa Tatawwuruha (p. 62); al-Mawsoo‘ah al-Muyassarah fi’l-Adyaan wa’l-Madhaahib wa’l-Ahzaab al-Mu‘aasirah (p. 302-306). 

    See also the answer to question no. 1487 

    The scholars of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas were asked: 

    There is a certain group in Pakistan that is called the Bareilawis or the Nawaari group, named after their current leader who is known as Nawaari. I asked you for the shar‘i ruling concerning them and their beliefs, and praying behind them, so that this may bring peace of mind to many people who do not know the truth about them. And once again, I would like to ask you about some of their myths and widespread beliefs: 

    1.     The belief that the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is alive

    2.     The belief that the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is present and can see what is happening, especially immediately after Jumu‘ah prayer.

    3.     The belief that the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) will definitely intercede for them.

    4.     They believe in the awliya’ (“saints”) and the occupants of graves, and they pray at their graves and ask them to meet their needs.

    5.     They build domes over graves and put lights in them.

    6.     They are known to say “Ya Rasool, Ya Muhammad (O Messenger, O Muhammad) (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).

    7.     They get angry with the one who says Ameen out loud and raises his hands when praying, and they regard him as a Wahhaabi.

    8.     They find it very strange when the siwaak is used at the time of prayer.

    9.     They kiss their fingers during wudoo’, at the time of the adhaan, and after prayer.

    10. Their imam always recites the verse “Allah sends His Salat (Graces, Honours, Blessings, Mercy, etc.) on the Prophet (Muhammad ) and also His angels too (ask Allah to bless and forgive him)” [al-Ahzaab 33:56] after prayer, then all the worshippers send blessings upon the Prophet in unison and loudly.

    11. They gather in circles after Jumu‘ah prayer, standing, reciting and reciting poetry in praise of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) loudly.

    12. After completing the recitation of the Holy Qur’an in Taraweeh prayer in Ramadan, they make a great deal of food and distribute it in the forecourt of the mosque, as well as sweets.

    13. They build mosques and adorn them elaborately, and they write over the mihraab “Ya Muhammad (O Muhammad)”.

    14. They regard themselves as followers of the Sunnah and correct ‘aqeedah (belief), and think that others are in the wrong. 

    What is the shar‘i ruling on praying behind them? 

    They replied: 

    It is not permissible to pray behind one who is like this, and if one who knows that the belief of the imam is like that prays behind him, his prayer is invalid, because most of the things listed are characteristics of kufr (disbelief) and bid‘ah (innovation) that are contrary to the Tawheed (affirmation of the Oneness of Allah) with which Allah sent His Messengers and which He revealed in His Books. It is contrary to the clear meaning of the Qur’an, such as the verses in which Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “Verily, you (O Muhammad ) will die and verily, they (too) will die” [az-Zumar 39:30] and “And the mosques are for Allah (Alone), so invoke not anyone along with Allah” [al-Jinn 72:18]. The innovations that they do should be denounced in a gentle way; if they accept it then praise be to Allah. If they do not accept it, then shun them and pray in the mosques of Ahl as-Sunnah. We have a good example in the Close Friend (Khaleel) of the Most Merciful, as Allah tells us he said (interpretation of the meaning): “And I shall turn away from you and from those whom you invoke besides Allah. And I shall call on my Lord; and I hope that I shall not be unblest in my invocation to my Lord” [Maryam 19:48].  

    End quote from Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah, 2/396-398 

    Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked: What is the ruling on praying behind an imam from the Bareilawi sect, who believes that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) is alive and present and can see us? 

    He replied: If they believe that, then they have gone against ijmaa‘ (consensus of the ummah), and if they seek his help, then that is shirk, so it is not permissible to pray behind them.

    And Allah knows best.

    • you have spoken to the truth brother, but I am not sure if this is what the barailvi believe, and I hope this is not

  4. I am a women who believes that celebrating milad urs and the like is sin. But I also want equal rights to aducation marriage and work as men. I feel wahabi religion is constricting for me as a women while sunni religion is full of activities deviating from real islam. What should I do I feel so confused. What is the real islam please guide. I feel Allah does not abandon his creations so he will not impose restrictions on his creation making them feel inferior. Its not my fault I was born female. Please tell somebody which is real islam I should follow dont want to be treated like an eejit and I dont want to die a sinner by following wrong.

    • I am a sunni from a multi-racial country, and I actually believe with what the wahabi’s believe in this post only difference is that:

      1) we treat women equally.

      2) we listen to music, watch tv, go to the cinemas, play games etc. this is probably influence by our multi-racial background.

      3) some of us do believe in charms, visiting tombs and shrines. but this people mostly supernatural practitioners, those who can catch jins and talk to them using medium. but I have to agree that some of them deviated completely like practicing magic etc. But majority of sunni’s are normal muslim who follow the islamic rules. So I don’t know why this author post it like it is. probably sunni from other country practice them? I dunno.

      For me personally, there’s nothing wrong being a wahabi or a sunni as long you are not a shia.

    • Assalamu alyakum sister,
      In the Quran it is said that us Muslims show celebrate the blessings bestowed upon us and the biggest blessing bestowed upon us is the Prohet Muhammad (SAW), which is why Sunnis celebrate the mawlid (the birthday of the Prophet (saw)). Whabis say that you shouldnt celebrate the Mawlid as the Prophet (astagfirullah) passed on the day. However in the Quran is says that every soul will taste death. The Prophet (SAW)’s souls was taken out but they didnt know here to put the blessed soul so they returned it to the body. Also in Islam you are not allowed to mourn for someone after 3 days so celebrating the birthday of the Prophet is fine.
      Jazakullah Khair

  5. Hello my friends and brothers , i think when a wahabbi saying if i kill a shia i will go to paradise , but not saying anything about sunni ,
    When they (wahabbies) living inside of sunnies and sometime (in syria) sunnies give home to wahabbies to not die by iranian soldiers, i think wahabbies are friend with sunnies. even if they say NO!
    but if they wanna choose between shia and wahabbi they will choose wahabbi!

  6. Assalium alaikum

    Just wanted to say everyone just stick to the basics and good deeds and refrain from calling anyone a kafir We are not here to judge each other and we cannot Who knows who Allah loves Have a good niyaat stick to the principles and do more good deeds JazkAllah Khair
    Allah hafiz

  7. As salam walequm
    I am die heart sunni follower of ala hazrat becoz he says what our be loved prophet mohhmad say…
    Nd for munafiks wahabis.. u guys read the kalma of prophet nd say he is common man majallah u r kaffir… allah apne huzzor k sadkey aur tamam buzurgo k wasile se aapko ilm aatah farmaye.. ameen

  8. Well prophet s.a.w according to quran in surah muzamil shows his hayatul nabi…as it reads ya hayuhal muzamil

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