“من يرد الله به خيرا يفقهه في الدين.” متفق عليه
“من يرد الله به خيرا يفقهه في الدين.” متفق عليه
“A Brief Exposition Dispelling Misconceptions around what is meant by the Sunnah”
Alhamdulillah wasolatu wasalam ‘ala rosulillah
This is a brief exposition explaining the sound meaning of Sunnah. The fact is that many Muslims seem to be confused of what is meant by the Sunnah as a result of the ruling given by some fiqh books. According to some fiqh books, Sunnah is mustahabb (encouraged), which is deed for which the one who does it will be rewarded, but the one who does not do it will not deserve to be punished for that. Is this referring to all the Sunnahs? NO! Why? I will explain Inshaa Allah.
The Sunnah in its lexical mean: the way, the road, the practice, the method, the regular habits, the nature etc. Technically, the Sunnah is applied to the Prophet’s guidance sallallahu ‘alyhi wasalam which is engrained in a broad sense in all of his affairs or did to be way of life for us. However, the definition of Sunnah differs depending on the area of Shari`ah. In hadith terminology it means saying, action, approval, or attribute, whether physical or moral attributed to the Prophet salallahu ‘alyhi wasalam. In Usulul Fiqh terminology whatever the Prophet was reported to have said, did, or permitted others to do. In fiqh terminology it means whatever is firmly established that are optional. The Jurists use the word “Sunnah” when explaining the ruling on doing a specific action as being liked or encouraged.
Actions of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasalam include the acts of worship, such as the way to perform Salat, Hajj, Zakat, the etiquette of fasting, etc. Allah makes Salat compulsory, the details of the Salat is not mentioned in the Quran but in the Sunnah. Since number of rakat in each Salat is not mentioned in the Quran but only mentioned in the Sunnah of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasalam, can we say four rakats of Zuhur is OPTIONAL one can pray one rakat as Zuhur? No! Because it is against the Sunnah. Al-Subki defined the Sunnah to be: “The Sunnah in religious context means: what have been known as obligatory or preferable from the saying of the Prophet” (al-ibhaaj fi sharh al-minhaaj: 1/36). Hence, salat comprises conditions, pillars, obligatory and recommendable actions, and most were derived from the Sunnah in compliance with binding expression of the terms used by the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasalam.
Usulul Fiqh provides standard principles for correct deduction of the rules of fiqh from the Shari’ah sources. Thus, Fiqh is the end product of Usulul Fiqh. Al Ahkam at-Taklifiyyah (Wajib (Obligatory), Sunnah/Mandub (Recommendable), Haram (Prohibited), Makruh (Reprehensible) and Mubah (Permissible)) are obligation creating rules, and/or set of standard values to which every believers ought to obey, and these were derived from the Quran and Sunnah. From juristic reasoning, there is no difference of opinion among the Jurists concerning the fact that some Sunnah actions are more confirmed and bring greater reward than others.
Jurists have classified Sunnah according to the nature, these include: Sunan Wajibah (obligatory) like male circumcision, letting the beard grow; Sunan Mu-akkadah (Emphasised) like two rakats of fajr; Sunan Ghair Mu-akkadah (Non-Emphasised) like two rakats before ‘Asr; Sunan Mustahabbah (desirable) like putting on one’s clothes from the right side, using siwaak; and, Sunan Mubaha (Permissible) like eating food etc.
My brethren, the Sunnah may be obligatory or recommended – all you need is to ask those who knows and don’t ask anybody. Imam Malik said: “The Sunnah is like the Ark of Noah, Whosoever embarks upon it is saved and whosoever refuses it drowned!
Ref: Al-sunnah wa Makanatuha fi al-Tashri’ al-Islami (p.47). Tahreer ‘Uloom al-Hadeeth, Majallat al-Manaar, 30/673. Tareekh Dimashq by Ibn ‘Asaakir, 35/183, al-Lucknawi, Tuhfa al-Abrar, chapter entitled “The Legal Status of the Emphasized sunnah and of its Abandonment” (Hukm al-sunnah al-Mu’akkada wa Tarkiha) (p. 87-92). Fataawa ibn as-Salaah, 1/139-140, Al-Dhahabi, Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’ (1997 ed. 7:92). Tadreeb al-Rawi by al-Syouti: 1/156, al-Nuzha by al-Hafith: 52, Usool al-Sarkhasi: 1/114
May Allah grant us benefiting understanding.
Evidences from Sayings of the Companions of Prophet
Narrated from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with him), who said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: ‘Do not prevent your women from going to the mosque if they ask your permission.’” Bilaal ibn ‘Abdullah said, “By Allah, we will prevent them.” (Ibn ‘Umar) turned to him and told him off in an unprecedented fashion, saying: “I tell you what the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon Him) said, and you say ‘By Allaah, we will prevent them’!!” (Reported by Muslim, 667).
Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “Stones are about to rain down upon you from the sky: I say to you: “Allah’s Messenger (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon Him) said…” and you reply: “But Abu Bakr and `Umar said…?” Kitaab At-Tawheed, Chapter: 36
Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal said: “I am amazed at those people who know that a sanad is authentic and yet, in spite of this, they follow the opinion of Sufyan, for Allah (ra), says: “Let those who oppose his [the Messenger‘s] commandment beware, lest some fitnah befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them” (Qur’an 24:63). Do you know what that fitnah is? That fitnah is Shirk. Maybe the rejection of some of his words would cause one to doubt and deviate in his heart and thereby be destroyed.” Kitaab At-Tawheed, Chapter: 36
Quotes of Scholars on Obedience to Allah and His Messenger
Imam Is-haaq ibn Raahawayh (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Whoever hears a report from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) that he accepts as being sound, then rejects it, not by way of dissimulation (when he has no choice because of a threat), is a disbeliever.
As-Suyooti (may Allah have mercy on him) said: You should understand, may Allah have mercy on you, that whoever denies that the hadith of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) constitutes shar‘i evidence – whether he denies a report that speaks of something that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said or did, if that hadith fulfils the conditions stipulated in usool al-hadith – has committed an act of disbelief that puts him beyond the bounds of Islam, and he will be gathered (on the Day of Resurrection) with the Jews and Christians, or with whomever Allah wills of the disbelieving groups. Miftaah al-Jannah fi’l-Ihtijaaj bi’s-Sunnah (p 14)
Al-‘Allaamah Ibn al-Wazeer (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Rejecting the hadith of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) when one is aware that it is his hadith constitutes blatant disbelief. Al-‘Awaasim wa’l-Qawaasim (2/274)
Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah: The one who denies that we should follow the Sunnah is a disbeliever, because he is expressing disbelief in Allah and His Messenger, and rejecting the consensus of the Muslims. End quote. Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah (vol. 2, 3/194)
Al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali al-Barbahaari said: If you hear a man casting aspersions upon a hadith or denying a hadith, or giving precedence to something else over a hadith, then suspect his commitment to Islam, for he is undoubtedly following whims and desires and innovation. If you hear a man, when you quote a hadith, showing no interest in it on the basis that he only wants to hear quotations from the Qur’an, you should not doubt that he is a man who is following the path of the heretics, so get up and leave him, and bid him farewell. Sharh as-Sunnah (113-119)
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Whatever the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) narrates from his Lord, it is obligatory to believe in it, whether we understand its meaning or not, because he is the most truthful one [namely the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)]. Whatever it says in the Qur’an and Sunnah, every believer must believe in it, even if he does not understand its meaning. Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (3/41)
No Muslim individual or group is entitled to use its own freedom of opinion in a matter in which Allah and His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) have already given a decision. Allah, may He be exalted (interpretation of the meaning): “Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. It is but a revelation revealed” (Q53:3-4). Alah says “But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission” (Q4:65). Because obedience is a form of worship, it is not allowed to obey anyone – be he man or jinn – unless it conforms with obedience to Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
This is why Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) repudiated those who, when they were informed that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had pronounced upon a matter, objected that Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq and `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with them both) had said something different, thus, in effect, preferring the opinions of these two pious Companions over the Revelation of Allah . This incident allegedly occurred during a discussion about Hajj in which Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) mentioned something which he had heard from Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) warned them of Allah’s approaching punishment and His Anger for those who preferred the opinions of Abu Bakr and `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) to the guidance of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). – In view of this, what may be said of those who prefer the opinions of lesser men over the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Kitaab At-Tawheed, Chapter: 36
May Allah grant us understanding of His religion