What primarily distinguishes the Sunni from the Shia is our marked lack of regard for personality.
They can literally be rendered as “way / method” and the latter as “party”.
The first being a reference to the way or method of the Messenger sent from God (saw), and the second referencing the people that supported Ali (ra).
Of course the exception that we both agree upon is the Messenger of God (saw) whose life is both an open book, and a miracle in every respect just waiting to be read and contemplated upon.
And then we do both hold people in regard, except the Sunni is not surprised by imperfection and error in another and compensates for it, and forgives because of it. And is thankful for the aid that one can provide to another.
Whereas those other ways have a similarity to personality cults, which admit no error and gloss infallibility over people who simply have either charisma, or a birth right, or both.
Indeed our very testimony of faith- there is no god but Allah, the true name of the Most High- admits that there is no power or authority except His, and those that He endorses.
Therefore we are unique amongst the Abrahamic faiths in that we have no priesthood, no one that can claim an exclusive access to the Most Gracious.
That Allah is ever near, to each and every one of us, ready to answer our call when we ask. And if we wrong, then forgiveness is but a sincere ask away.
Then is it not sad, when we adopt and encourage a preponderance to titles.
The natural culmination of which is the plethora of our celebrity Sheikhs.
Indeed an Imam is not a title, but is a position.
When a man steps forward he assumes the responsibilities incumbent on him in performing that role.
Likewise “those that know” are not entitled in the Qur’an- they are simply those that have ability and are to use that ability towards the betterment of others.
Their role is to provide answers and help people to appreciate and adopt those answers.
For there are no Sheikhs in the Qur’an, but there are “people who know” whose duty it is to make their knowledge both relevant, accessible and understandable.
And then also help those more able on the paths towards knowledge.
The fixation with personality, and the adoption of various titles of no consequence is not the Sunni way, and is not part of the Sunnah.
Knowledge is sought through nothing except study and contemplation, and we should all be on that path.
There is nothing in a title, but everything in the act of helping others.
When the Messenger (saw) was asked by a stranger to the Polity of Medina, “Who is your leader?” He responded without pause, “The one who best helps the people”.
A lesson that was learned well by our next two heroes, who were most vested with continuing the Message of Islam, for they hated to adopt a title and then later settled on “Khalifah t’ RasulAllah”.
So much so that the second of the two had as his “Khalifah t’ Khalifah t’ RasulAllah”.
“The successor of the Messenger”
“The successor of the successor of the Messenger”.
They both of them disdained from the now loved “amir ul mumineen”- leader of the believers which was only adopted as a title after the titling that they had started became cumbersome.
For Uthman (ra) did also originally adopt the triple successor of the successor of the successor of the Messenger (saw).
Until it’s cumbersomeness became all to apparent.
Islam is an open book.
And the Most Gracious is ever near.
And the best that you can ask is for His guidance.
If He were to guide you then none could lead you astray.
But if He were to leave you to stray then none- not the most educated, nor the most celebrated, nor the most titled- could guide you and keep you safe.
And thankfulness belongs to all, from the least to the most.
Imagine brothers, if this message had been taught from the pulpits as it should be, then we would not have those gullible enough to believe that a man claiming to be a caliph - by the very fact of his claim- was so.
What I have said here is my opinion. If it is wrong then that wrong belongs to me.
Knowledge is sought through study and contemplation, not via lectures, nor speeches, nor this.