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There are separate pages for this subject as it appears in the other canons such as Zensunni in Expanded Dune and Zensunni in the Dune Encyclopedia

Rogue Zensunni -Fanart

Zensunni was a religious belief system prominent with many cultures spread across the Known Universe, especially those descended from disadvantaged and enslaved peoples.


Little is known of the evolution of the Zensunni faith. What is beyond doubt is that the Zensunni belief was an amalgam of two ancient religions: Sunni Islam and Zen Buddhism.

They were followers of a schismatic sect that broke away from the teachings of Maometh (the so-called "Third Muhammed") about 1381 BG. The Zensunni religion is noted chiefly for its emphasis on the mystical and a reversion to "the ways of the fathers." Most scholars name Ali Ben Ohashi as leader of the original schism but there is some evidence that Ohashi may have been merely the male spokesman for his second wife, Nisai [1].

The Zennsunni faith was based on the teachings of the Ulema and thought to have it's origins in the fiqh. It was partially preserved in the Book of Kreos and the Shah-Nama. One of the zensunni names of god was al-mutakallim, they also believed in a number of kiswa such as Auliya, the female at the left hand of God, shaitan and his realm of Gehenna. One Zensunni Philosopher of note was Bu Ji.

Later, the Zensunni predisposition was manipulated by the Bene Gesserit, via their Missionaria Protectiva arm and Panoplia Propheticus strategy, for their own political objectives. One of the most prominent homes of Zensunni beliefs, Arrakis, was of particular interest in this regard. The exclusivity of the critical Spice Melange on the planet made the resident Fremen, staunch followers of Zensunni, of natural interest to the Bene Gesserit.

The emergence of the powerful Paul Atreides, and his adoption of Fremen ways, gave Zensunni beliefs a dramatic new popularity. After his ascension to Emperor Paul embarked on a ferocious jihad that brought great violence and turmoil. The stark contrast of these actions vis-à-vis pacifist Zensunni beliefs was not lost on some of the faithful.

See Also[]


  • Zensunnism usually is interpreted as a hybrid religion of Sunnitic Islam and Zen-Buddhism, however in Islam Sunna usually refers to the Sunna or example of the Prophet Mohammed, which does not seem to play a large role at all within either original Zensunni nor later Fremen religion just as both seem to contain very little obvious Buddhist elements.
  • Sunna may refer to Usus, consense or tradition, even local tribal tradition within arabic culture, Zen refers to practices of insight and self-control. Indeed Fremen society relied much on both, tribal tradition and practices of harsh discipline and self-control.
  • Despite many arabic names and quotes Fremen and Zensunni faith share very little similarities with orthodox islam.In many aspects they are closer to rather marginal esoteric schools of Islam or even classic Gnosticism and perhaps pre-islamic arabic-pagan traditions. Maybe the so-called third islamic movement, perhaps already the second islamic movement, had abandoned much of traditional terran islam of the First Islam movement and replaced it with esoteric teachings and practices drawn from zen-buddhist self-control and immersion techniques as well as rather abstract and removed notions of god.
  • "Zensunni Catholicism" was one of the main religious groups who contributed to the Orange Catholic Bible.It is however unknown what Zensunni Catholicism exactly refers to. While Many readers interpret it as a blend of Zensunnism with catholic christianity it might also refer to a universal or holistic Zensunnism.


  1. Dune, Termiology of the Imperium, page 345