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The Importance of
Definition of the Sunnah
The Sunnah can be defined into two meanings: the path of
guidance, which the prophet (peace be upon him) said in the Hadith,
"Whoever turns away from my Sunnah has nothing to do with me."
Another meaning, which the scholars call "mustahabb
(encouraged)", they are the deeds for which the one who does them
will be rewarded, but the one who does not do them will not deserve
to be punished for that. For example, since the prophet used to pray
two rak'ats before fajr prayer, we say that it is Sunnah for us to pray
these two rak'ats, which means that it is recommended to pray the
two rak'ats and not obligatory. The first meaning means, it is
obligatory to follow the commands of the prophet (peace be upon
him) and abstain from what he forbade us to do. Allah the Almighty
ordered us to follow the Sunnah and avoid anything it has
In other words, this means that it is obligatory on every Muslim to
believe in what the Sunnah tells us, and to act according to the
Sunnah in all aspects of our life and ensure that we do not commit
any actions that contradict the Sunnah.
The revelations the prophet
They are two kinds:
The revelation of the Qur’an, the holy book (revelation
that can be recited in the prayers). This kind of
revelation is confirmed to the verses of the Holy Qur’an
and written verbally in it’s folds.
The revelation received by the prophet from time to
time to let him know the pleasures of Allah in day to
day affairs and the details of the principles laid down in
the Holy Qur’an with their correct interpretation. This
kind of revelation has been demonstrated through the
sayings and acts of the Holy prophet.
?Why is the Sunnah important
• It is not possible to understand the Qur’an fully and
practice its commands without following the Sunnah of
the prophet (peace be upon him).
• Hadith is integral to the Qur’an, since they are
inseparably liked to each other.
• For example, performing the five daily prayers is an
obligation and there are verses giving general
information about how to perform it, how to perform
ablution. However, we can understand how exactly we
should perform prayers only by looking at the Sunnah.
• There are no detailed information in the verses of the
Qur’an about the way of praying, what to say in prayer,
the details of ablution, what nullifies ablution, the details
of hajj, etc..
?Why is the Sunnah Important….
• The Sunnah has changed the lives of Muslims
throughout the history, of all past scholars of Islam,
shaping their worships.
• Allah the Almighty commands in His verses a strict
obedience to His prophet. For this reason, Islam can
only be lived through practicing the Sunnah along with
the Qur’an. Therefore, turning away from the Sunnah of
the prophet is like turning away from the Qur’an.
• Allah (subhanu wa ta’la) says: “…And whatever the
Messenger has given you - take; and what he has
forbidden you - refrain from. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah
is severe in penalty.” (Al-Hasr 59:7)
• Imam Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “The
Sunnah of the prophet is like the Ark of Noah. Whoever
embarks upon it reaches salvation and whoever refuses
Evidence in the Qur’an on the
Importance of the Sunnah
• Allah the Almighty says: “He who obeys the Messenger
has indeed obeyed Allah…”[al-Nisaa’ 4:80]
• Allah described obedience to the prophet (peace be
upon him) as being a part of obedience to Him. Then He
made a connection between obedience to Him and
obedience to the prophet (peace be upon him): “O you
who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger…”[alNisaa’ 4:59]
• Allah commands his slaves to respond to Him and His
Messenger: “O you who believe! Answer Allah (by
obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he calls you to
that which will give you life…”[al-Anfaal 8:24]
• Allah also commands His slaves to refer all disputes to
him: “…And if you differ in anything amongst yourselves,
refer it to Allah and his Messenger…” [al-Nisaa’ 4:59]
Evidence in the Qur’an on the…..
Importance of the Sunnah
Allah warns us not to go against the Prophet (peace be
upon him), and states that whoever disobeys him will be
doomed to eternal Hell. Allah says: …”And let those who
oppose the Messenger’s commandment beware, lest
some fitnah (trial, affliction, etc..) befall them or painful
torment be inflicted on them.” [al-Nur 24:63]
Allah has made obedience to His prophet as a religious
duty; resisting or opposing it is a sign of hypocrisy: “But
no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make
you [Muhammad] judge in all disputes between them,
and find themselves no resistance against your
decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.” [alNisaa’ 4:65]
…Some evidence in the Sunnah
Al-Tirmidhi reported from Abu Raafi’ and others that
the prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I do not want to
see any one of you reclining on his couch and, when
he hears of my instructions or prohibitions, saying ‘I
don’t accept it; we didn’t find any such thing in the
Book of Allah.’” (Abu Eessa said: This is a saheeh
ِ bu Dawud also reported from al-’Irbaad ibn Saariyah,
(May Allah pleased with him), that the Messenger of
Allah (peace be upon him) led us in prayer one day
then he turned to us and exhorted us strongly…(he
said), ‘Pay attention to my Sunnah (way) and the way
of the Rightly-guided khaleefahs after me, adhere to it
and hold fast to it.” (Saheeh Abi Dawud)
Misconceptions about the Sunnah
Many people believe that the Qur’an is the only form of
divine revelation, as it is the literal word of Allah. This
view is incorrect as it contradicts the Qur’an itself. Allah
the Almighty says: “Your companion (Muhammad) is
neither astray nor being misled. Nor does he speak of
his own desire. It is (only) the revelation with which he is
inspired.” [Surah An-Najm 53]
Some people chose to deny the Sunnah in particular.
However this is wrong, as the saying of the prophet
(peace be upon him) indicates: “I have been given the
Qur’an and something similar to it beside it. Yet a time
will come when a man leaning on his couch will say
‘follow the Qur’an only; what you find in it permissible,
take and what you find as forbidden, take as forbidden.’
But verily what the Messenger of Allah has forbidden is
like what Allah has forbidden.” [Reported by Ahmad and
Those who reject the Sunnah
We should ask those people:
Where are the aayaat (verses) which tells us how to pray, or tell us
the obligatory prayers are five times a daily, or the nisaab
(threshold) on various kinds of wealth for purpose of zakak, or about
the details of the rituals of hajj, and other rulings which we can only
know from the Sunnah of the prophet (peace be upon him)
Islam can not exist without the sunnah/Hadith of the prophet (peace
be upon him), anyone who rejects the Sunnah of the prophet is in
reality rejecting Islam.
We must know that the Qur’an and the Sunnah do not contradict
one another, rather they complement one another.
Reason why many Muslims are going astray today is because they
are not only leaving off the Sunnah, but they are leaving the Qur’an
as well. If we are not giving the Sunnah its rights, then we are not
giving the Qur’an its rights.
Difference between the Sunnah
and the Qur’an
• The Qur’an- is the foundation of Islamic Law. It is the
miraculous speech of Allah that was revealed to the
Messenger (peace be upon him), by way of the angel
Gabriel. It is written down in its own volume, and its
recitation is a form of worship.
• The Sunnah- it is everything besides the Qur’an that
came from Allah’s Messenger. It explains and provides
details for the laws found in the Qur’an. It also provides
examples of the practical application of these laws.
• The Qur’an is the revelation that is formally recited as an
act of worship, and the Sunnah is a revelation that is not
• The Qur’an consists of the exact words of Allah the
Almighty, where as the Sunnah is not necessarily the
exact words of Allah, but rather their meanings are
explained by the prophet (PBUH).
Connection between the Qur’an
Both the Qur’an and Sunnah are
revelations that must be followed and
The Sunnah comes in agreement with the
Qur’an, it explains the meanings of what is
unclear in the text, provides details for
what is depicted in general terms,
specifies what is general, and explains its
injunctions, and objectives.
The benefit of the Sunnah
As Muslims we know that when Allah or His Messenger decree
something for us, it will always benefit us, even if we do not realize
Who ever adhered to the Sunnah will attain the ultimate benefit:
“Whoever obeys Allah and his Messenger will be admitted to
gardens beneath which rivers flow to live there (forever), and that
will be the great achievement.” (Surah An-Nisaa’ 4:13)
The Prophet also said: “He who obeys me enters paradise, and he
who disobeys me refuses to enter paradise.” [Al-Bukhari].
The sweetness of the Sunnah will also be tasted during this life. The
Prophet’s way is perfect in such a way that it produces physical,
spiritual, and psychological benefits.
Only way of complete guidance: “I have left two things among you,
as long as you hold fast to them you will never go astray. They are
the book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger.” [Reported by
Adhering to the Sunnah
The best way to have a perfect way of life is to adhere to the
Sunnah of the prophet (peace be upon him and his family).
All the companions (may Allah be pleased with them) were
keen on following the Sunnah of the prophet. It was never
reported from a single one of them that they said about any
part of it: “this is only a Sunnah and is not mandatory.. this
is only recommended and not obligatory.. this is a minor
issue not a major one, and we should not waste our time in
it” quite unlike what many people say nowadays about the
Sunnah, thereby giving it a low ranking in their list of
Instead the companions would apply anything that came to
them from the prophet (peace be upon him). Even in matters
that were related to man’s natural disposition, such as
growing the beard, using siwaak and so on.
Taking the prophet as our role
The prophet (peace be upon him) has demonstrated the
best qualities of a human being. Allah the Exalted said:
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good
example to follow…” (33:21)
The prophet was not sent merely to deliver the word of
Allah, but to explain the divine book, to interpret it, to
expound it, to demonstrate the ways of its application, to
present a practical example of its contents, to teach it
and to train people to run their lives in accordance with
The prophet (peace be upon him) delivered the Message in
the best way and demonstrated the religion as it should
be, so for this reason we should look up his morals and
behavior and emulate them in our lives. We can never
do so without studying the Hadith.