The Sunnah


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The Sunnah

131. The Sunnah is whatever was brought forth by the Messenger of Allah apart from the Qur'an. It is a source of legislation for the ummah, whether in the form of his utterance, his action or his approval of an act witnessed by him or reported to him.



132. In order to be accepted as valid or authoritative, a tradition must meet certain standards, as determined by Muhaddithoon (traditionalists), the scholars of the prophetic traditions. No tradition is to be held true, or cited as a proof, if not authentically ascribed to the Prophet.



133. The Sunnah is equivalent to the Book of Allah, the Glorified. We must believe in them equally and regard their ordinances as being of equal weight, since they are both from Allah.(1) The sole difference between them is that Allah made incumbent on us the recitation of the words of the Qur'an as an act of worship, but not of those of the Sunnah.


(1) Al-Miqdad b. Ma'di Karib narrated: The Prophet(Peace be on Him) said: "Verily, I received the Qur'an and similar to it along with it." Ahmad.



134. The Sunnah does not contradict the Quran, as they are both from one source. Allah the Exalted says [meaning]: "And he does not speak from his own desires; it is a revelation which has been revealed to him."(2) And: "We have sent down to you the Book in truth that you may judge between men by that which Allah shows you, so be not a pleader for the traitors.(3) Any ijtihad(4) the Prophet exerted in matters of jurisprudence is truthful and binding, as Allah would never grant approval to erroneous judgment.


(2) Qur'an 53.3

(3) Qur'an 4.105

(4) See page V, note 1



135. Any tradition which has been authentically ascribed to the Prophet through truthful, pious and reliable transmitters must be believed in and applied whether it is mutawatir or aahaad.



136. It is not permissible to turn away from what was determined by consensus of the companions of the Prophet. Since we are assured by the Prophet(Peace be on Him) that the ummah will never be in unison upon dhalalah,(5) we can be confident in the correctness of the collective opinions.


(5) cf. Abu Dawood, Book 34/1. Dhalalah: misguidance.



137. The Sunnah of the khulafa'a ar-Rashidoon(6) is binding as long as it does not differ with a text from the Qur'an and Sunnah.(7)


(7) Al-Irbad reported the Prophet(Peace be on Him) as saying: "Adhere to my sunnah and the sunnah of the well-guided caliphs. . . " (the introduction p. 16)



138. Our understanding of Islam should correspond with the understanding of as-Salaf as-Saalih, (the pious predecessors, -the Prophet's companions in particular) because they had more knowledge of the circumstances of revelation, having actually witnessed them, and greater command of the Arabic language.



139. All Muslim scholars after the Prophet, including his companions, are fallible, and any religious statement by them is rendered null and void if it contradicts or differs from a text from Allah or his Messenger.



140. Rulers, scholars, jurists, parents, educators, husbands or guardians are to be obeyed only insofar as their commands correspond to that which pleases Allah, and to His commands. There should be no obedience to a creature of Allah if it would involve disobeying Allah the Creator.(8)


(8) cf. Muslim Vol.III, p.1022



141. Opinions not substantiated by, reference to the Qur'an or Sunnah are all equal in value and it is permissible to take from them whatever one judges to be trustworthy or reliable. Adopting some such opinion and distinguishing it with particular zeal from all others leads to deviation.



142. It is incumbent upon us to obey those of the Muslims who are in authority over us, and to offer them sincere counsel. It is not permissible to disobey them unless they enact commands the obedience of which would bring us to the disobedience of Allah the Exalted. It is also permissible to issue Fatwa different from theirs if theirs is not substantiated. It is a duty too to obey their decisions on public affairs, whether the decision is reached through ijtihad(9) or ta'weel.(10)


(9) See p.v, Note 1

(10) Muta'awwil is one who tries to discover or develop and interpret a text which may serve as the basis for the formulation of his opinion or decision. Such practice is called Ta'weel.



143. It is not permissible for a Muslim ruler to issue a ruling on a case in the public interest unless he first consults the people. Their unanimous decision becomes binding on him.



144. Deferring to the opinion of the majority by the imam, the leading man in authority, is in accordance with authentic Sunnah and is in the legitimate public interest.



145. Other than those mentioned in the Qur'an and Sunnah, all forms and acts of worship are prohibited. It is not permissible to introduce a form of worship which is not warranted by either Allah or His Messenger(Peace be on Him). "Every practice which has no warrant or sanction from the Qur'an or the Sunnah of the Messenger(Peace be on Him) is to be rejected."(11)


(11) From authentic hadeeth filed by Muslim and Bukhari Vol.IX, p. 329



146. All types of transaction are lawful save those that are specifically prohibited by a text of the Qur'an or of the Sunnah.(12)


(12) Aaishah reported that the Prophet(Peace be on Him) said "He who did any act for which there is no sanction from our behalf, that is to be rejected." Muslim Vol.III, p.931.



147. The sin of the one who makes lawful things unlawful is similar to that of the one who makes unlawful things lawful.



148. The use of 'qiyas'(analogy)(13) in jurisprudence, as long as certain conditions are met, is valid. Wisdom in religion consists in not differentiating between two similar issues nor in combining two dissimilar ones.


(13) Analogy is formulating a ruling on a certain issue that neither the Qur'an nor the Sunnah has dealt with, by comparing it to a textual ruling on a similar issue.



149. Ijtihad, istinbat, jurisprudence and religious knowledge, are with the Ummah until the final Hour. Not everyone may be considered a jurist by virtue of possessing some knowledge. "If Allah wants to do a favour to someone, He bestows on him the gift of religious knowledge (understanding the Qur'an or Sunnah)."(14)


(14) Bukhari, Vol.IX p.310



150. The experience of ijhtihad and istinbat(15) in coming to decisions in matters of law is Fardh Kifayah(16) on Muslims. It is necessary for the proper regulation of people's legal affairs in the novel circumstances of every age.


(15) Istinbat is eliciting a judicial ruling by studying relevant texts.

(16) Fardh, is a thing made obligatory by Allah on every individual Muslim, and neglecting it calls for punishment (e.g., Salat). Fardh Kifayah is that which is obligatory on the collective body of Muslims. It suffices that it be observed by some of them, (e.g., Janazah prayer) but all will be punished if none of them observe it.



151. Only the person who is fit for ijtihad may practise it. He who presumes to issue fatwas without proper qualification risks entering the Fire.



152. Fitness for ijtihad is achieved by acquiring the knowledge of the book and the Sunnah, the Arabic language, the fundamentals of jurisprudence and its purposes. It requires too an awareness of people's concerns and affairs. This knowledge must be combined with gravity of intellect, wisdom and the fear of Allah.



153. Ijtihad consists in employing the faculties of mind and striving to the utmost for the purpose of coming to a decision in a given case which is deemed to be or believed to be in accord with that of Allah, were He to make one.



154. People are divided into three categories with regards to ijtihad:



155. All discord and disagreement must be referred for resolution to the words of Allah and the words of the Messenger (Peace be on Him).




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