Sunni Muslims are the largest group in Islam. They are recorded in the Qur'an and the hadith as the main pillar of Sunni doctrine. Sunnis believe that the first four caliphs were the rightful successors to Muhammad; since God did not specify any particular leaders to succeed him, those leaders had to be elected. Sunnis recognize four major legal traditions, or madhhabs: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i, and Hanbali. All four accept the validity of the others and a Muslim might choose any one that he or she finds agreeable, but other Islamic sects are believed to have departed from the majority by introducing innovations.
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