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Sunnis are the largest denomination in Islam, comprising about eighty-five percent of all Muslims. Their difference with the minority Shia (or Shiite) Muslims arose soon after Muhammad's death, when a conflict arose over who his successor should be. The Sunnis believe that the first four caliphs—Muhammad's companions—rightfully took his place as the leaders of Muslims, whereas the Shia follow a bloodline. They recognize the teachings and Hadiths of the four caliphs as legitimate religious leaders.

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