Saturday 3 September 2022

Sunnah and Hadith of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ

Qur'an. a compilations of all revelations from Allah to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ through arch angel Jibraeel (Gabriel). Qur'an, the last of the four Divine Scriptures, is the main pillar of guidance for all mankind for there would be no more prophets and no more Divine Revelations.  Qur'an in fact is conglomeration of Divine Instructions, Directives and Commandments for the guidance of the man.

However, there are many instructions which are mentioned in Qur'an giving no details or verses for these need to be physically demonstrated for explanation and further elaboration. It has been commanded in the 59th verse of Surah 4. An Nisa that whenever believers dispute on something they should refer to Allah (for prophets) and Qur'an for ordinary Muslims and the Messenger of Allah:
(4:59) Believers! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and those from among you who are invested with authority; and then if you were to dispute among yourselves about anything refer it to Allah and the Messenger if you indeed believe in Allah and the Last Day; that is better and more commendable in the end.
Here comes then the importance of Sunnah and Hadith of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. These Sunnah and Hadith do not add anything more to Qur'an but add modalities which have been left out in Qur'an for Qur'an only provides guidance and instructions for undertaking actions and adopting our lives as per the Divine Wishes.

It is therefore incumbent upon us to understand what Sunnah and Hadith mean and how they are clarifying means for practical manifestation of instructions, commandments of Allah. 

Let us begin with Sunnah first. Sunnah shows how the Islam should be practiced and it completely voids all those arguments which challenge the practicality of the teachings of Quran. Sunnah according to the Arabic means a conduct, a way of life or a manner in which someone acts. According to the science of Hadith, it terms as whatever acts, statements, and a physical conduct or a physical action done by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ during his prophethood is specifically and exclusively termed as Sunnah. According to the legal side of the Fiqh the recommended actions are termed as Sunnah.

Thus in short, Sunnah are the physical actions of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to elaborate the instructions contained therein the Qur'an. For example, believers are commanded to perform Salat / Prayer five times a day. But how to perform the Salat, it is not mentioned in the Qur'an. Therefore Angel Gabriel was sent don to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and he demonstrated the Prophet of Allah as how to perform Salat. In return, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ demonstrated the performance of Salat physically to his companions and as long as he lived, he led the prayers in congregation so that his followers should continue to pray Salat as demonstrated by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.  The Prophet of Allah has been quoted as saying:
“Pray as you saw me pray,”[ Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 1, no. 604.] and he specified that surplus wealth, unused for a year, should be given as zakat
Thus the revered  Prophet ﷺ also showed how may cycles each Salat should have. And also what is to be recited in various positions of Salat, like Standing (Qiyam), Bowing (Ruku) , Prostration (Sajda) and Jalsa (Sitting position till the end of the Salat)
From left to right: (1) Qiyaam, (2) رکـــــــوع Ruku  (3) سجـــــــدہ Sajdah (4) Jalsa
For example, Malik b. Huwairith reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) raised his hands apposite his ears at the time of reciting the takbir (i. e. at the time of beginning the prayer) and then again raised his hands apposite the ears at the time of bowing and when he lifted his head after bowing he said: Allah listened to him who praised Him, and did like it (raised his hands up to the ears).  (Muslim 4:762)

This is but one example of Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ which provides practical manifestation of how to offer Salat. We will in due course add on more Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ for guidance of Muslims, specially the reverts - that is those who have recently embraced Islam. 

Note: Please refer to our Reference Page for complete details on Salat.

Side by Sunnah of Prophet of Allah, Hadith also form an important part of belief of the believers. What do we mean by  Hadith? Hadith are the wise sayings of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ which he has been telling his companions and audience in explanation of Quranic verses.

There are two types of Hadith:

  • The sacred called Hadith e Qudsi- these are sacred sayings in which Muhammad quotes words from Allah which are not included in the Qur’an.
  • The prophetic - these are wise sayings which the Prophet himself gave. They do not have the same authority as the Qur’an as they are not direct revelation from Allah, but are inspired sayings.
Like Sunnah, all wise sayings of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ are by and large interpretation and elaboration of divine Commandments as contained in the Qur'an and matters that require more deliberation. This is as said in the Qur'an:

(We sent them) with Clear Signs and Books of dark prophecies; and We have sent down unto thee [Muhammad (ﷺ)] the Message; that thou mayest explain clearly to men what is sent for them, and that they may give thought. [Qur’an 16:44]
The above said verse clearly indicates that whenever there is a dispute, it should be referred to the Messenger of Allah, who would resolve the issue based on the instructions contained in the Qur'an.  These add ons become wise sayings of the Prophet of Allah and are known as the Hadith. 

Thus it may be said that the Sunnah and Hadith define the  moral conduct in Islam for these have been manifested in the very personal conduct of the Prophet of Allah and thus become a role model for all Muslims till the end of the world. 
Surely there is for all of you a good example (of conduct) in the way of Allah’s Messenger [Qur’an 33:21]

Since many Muslims have not understood the importance of Sunnah and Hadith of  Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, they are often at loss in correctly interpreting the meaning of verses of Qur'an. In fact a segment of Muslims believe that only Qur'an is to be understood and consulted for they find Sunnah and Hadith at tangent with the teachings of Islam. Whereas the opposite is true. The mere procedure of conducting Salat is but one example of many explanatory Sunnah and Hadith of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ that provide practical implementation of Salat. In fact Qur’an is the message, and the Hadith is the explanation of the message by the Messenger himself.

In this regard the following verse of Qur'an clarifies the ambiguity:

It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.(33:36 Quran)

The Farewell Sermon (Arabic: خطبة الوداع, Khuṭbatu l-Widāʿ ) also known as Muhammad's Final Sermon or the Last Sermon, is a religious speech, delivered by the Prophet Muhammad on Friday the 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah, 10 AH (6 March 632[1]) in the Uranah valley of Mount Arafat, during the Hajj. The entire sermon is in fact a summing up of all important things that he wanted to impress upon so that no  one goes astray after him. In fact the sermon itself can be summed as many wise things he wanted to say. And at the end, he cautioned all those present in these very words:

O people. I have conveyed the Message, and have left you with something which, if you hold fast to it, you will never go astray: that is, the Book of God and the sunnah of His Prophet

So brothers and sisters, let us not leave Qur'an and Sunnah of the revered Prophetof Allah so that we do not get astray and understand Islam in its true spirit and meaning. Ameen. 

May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the  Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others life miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door.  

وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible to make you accept it forcibly, And if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, You will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so  that they are able to discuss issues with Non Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

Please refer to our reference page: Sunnah and Hadith of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to know more about sunnah and wise sayings of Prophet of Allah. You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.

Sources References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

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