| Historically, Sunni Islam has often been defined only in contrast with other denominations or schools of thought, considering itself to be the orthodox form of Islam. The word Sunni comes from the word Sunnah, which means the teachings and actions or examples of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Therefore, the term Sunni refers to those who follow or maintain the Sunnah of Muhammad.
Madhhab is an Islamic school of thought, or fiqh (religious jurisprudence). In the first 150 years of Islam, there were many such "schools" - in fact, several of the Sahābah, or contemporary "companions" of Muhammad, are credited with founding their own.