(4,228 words)

(a. pl. sunan ; see above, s.v. sunan, for a different connotation), an ancient Arabian concept that was to play an increasingly important role during the formative centuries of Islam, acquiring a range of interrelated nuances. Eventually, some time after the preaching of Islam had begun, the term sunna came to stand for the generally approved standard or practice introduced by the Prophet as well as the pious Muslims of olden days, and at the instigation of al-S̲h̲āfiʿī, the sunna of the Prophet was awarded the position of the second root ( aṣl ) of Islamic law, the s̲h̲arīʿa , after the Ḳu…

Cite this page
Juynboll, G.H.A. and Brown, D.W., “Sunna”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 16 November 2018 <>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007

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