The Roots and Achievements of the Early Proto-Sunni Movement: A Profile and Interpretation
In recent years, the term "proto‐Sunni" has become common in scholarship on the early centuries of Islam. Drawing on categories developed by Peter Berger, this study seeks to move toward a more inclusive portrait of the early proto‐Sunni movement and a more organic understanding of the movement's success. It argues that owing to the erosion of several of the "plausibility structures" of earliest Islam, three tendencies emerged among the proto‐Sunnis between the early 8th and mid‐9th centuries C.E.: proto‐Sunnis as traditionist ῾ulamā᾽, proto‐Sunnis as pious ascetics, and proto‐Sunnis as volunteer holy warriors. The prestige acquired through their activities in these areas enabled the early proto‐Sunnis to "objectify" and "legitimize" new plausibility structures which would prove decisive to an eventual Sunni consensus.
Kuiper, Matthew J. "The Roots and Achievements of the Early Proto‐S unni Movement: A Profile and Interpretation." The Muslim World 104, no. 1-2 (2014): 71-88.
The Muslim World