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Status of the Sunnah in Islam and the sources of legislation

Shaykh Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah ibn Baz
8/30/2013
3006 views

This is an important research on the Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet) as the second source of Islam. We have to rely on and work according to the Sunnah, if it is an authentically reported Sunnah. It is well-known among scholars that the Sunnah is the second source of Islam and it comes in significance directly after the Qur'an. Therefore, it is the reliable source after the Book of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) according to the consensus of all scholars. It is independent evidence for the whole nation. Whoever denies it or alleges that it is permissible to leave it aside and work only according to the Qur'an goes astray, commits major Kufr (disbelief) and renegades from Islam. Holding this viewpoint and creed means that this person belies Allah (Exalted be He) and His Messenger (peace be upon him), denies the commands of Allah (Exalted be He) and His Messenger (peace be upon him), denies a great source that Allah (Exalted be He) orders us to rely on and work accordingly and denies the consensus of Muslim scholars. The consensus of Muslim scholars are of the view that the reliable sources agreed upon by all Muslims are three: The first source: the Qur'an. The second source: the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah. The third one: the consensus of scholars. Moreover, scholars have differed concerning other sources. The most important of these sources is; analogical deduction. The majority of scholars consider it the fourth source if the considerable conditions for applying it are fulfilled.

 

 

 

As for the Sunnah, there is no difference among the scholars that it is an independent source of Islam. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the entire Muslim nation to work according to it, rely on it and use it as evidence if the chain of transmitters is authentic. There are many Ayahs (Qur'anic verses) and authentic Hadiths that denote this meaning. This meaning is also affirmed by the consensus of Muslim scholars. They also condemned those who deny it or contradict it.

 

 

 

There was a group who deviated from the right path in the early days of Islam by denying the Sunnah because of accusing the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) of disbelief. This group was Al-Khawarij (separatist group that believes committing a major sin amounts to disbelief) who accused many Companions of disbelief and Fisq (flagrant violation of Islamic law). They alleged that they depend only upon the Qur'an because of their ill assumption about the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Al-Rafidah (a Shiitic group) also adopted their view and said that they would only accept the narrations that come to them through Ahl-ul-Bayt (members of the Prophet's family). They deem other narrations to be unauthentic.

 

 

 

There is another group that came after them that is called Al-Qur'aniyyah whose view is circulated here and there. This group alleges that they are the people of the Qur'an. They only consider the Qur'an as evidence and they do not consider the Sunnah as evidence because it was, as they allege, written a long time after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him). They also said that man may forget and commit mistakes and books may contain some mistakes. They have also said many other myths, superstitions and false viewpoints. They allege that they take precautions for their religion and therefore only accept the Qur'an. They have deviated from the right path and committed an open and major Kufr.

 

 

 

Allah (Exalted be He) commands us to obey His Messenger (peace be upon him) and follow the revelation that he brings. Moreover, Allah (Exalted be He) called the sayings of His Prophet (peace be upon him) as revelation in His saying: [By the star when it goes down (or vanishes).] [Your companion (Muhammad peace be upon him) has neither gone astray nor has erred.] [Nor does he speak of (his own) desire.] [It is only a Revelation revealed.] If the Prophet (peace be upon him) is not to be followed or obeyed, his commands and prohibitions will have no value.

 

 

 

The Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered the conveyance of his Sunnah. When he used to deliver a sermon, he usually asked the attendants to convey his Sunnah. This means that the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) should be followed and obeyed by the whole nation. We have to obey the Messenger (peace be upon him) exactly as we have to obey Allah (Exalted be He). Whoever ponders on the Glorious Qur'an will find this principle clear. Allah (Exalted be He) says in His Glorious Book in Surah al-`Imran: [And fear the Fire, which is prepared for the disbelievers.] [And obey Allâh and the Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him) that you may obtain mercy.] In this Ayah, Allah (Exalted be He) joins obeying the Messenger to obeying Him. He (Exalted be He) says: [And obey Allâh and the Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him) that you may obtain mercy.] He makes His Mercy dependent upon obeying Him and His Messenger. He (Glorified be He) says also in Surah al-`Imran: [Say (O Muhammad peace be upon him to mankind): If you (really) love Allâh then follow me (i.e. accept Islâmic Monotheism, follow the Qur’ân and the Sunnah), Allâh will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.] [Say (O Muhammad peace be upon him): Obey Allâh and the Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him). But if they turn away, then Allâh does not like the disbelievers.]

 

 

 

He (Glorified be He) says in Surah an-Nisa': [O you who believe! Obey Allâh and obey the Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allâh and His Messenger (peace be upon him), if you believe in Allâh and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.] Allah (Exalted be He) orders obeying Him and makes obeying His Messenger (peace be upon him) an independent command and repeats the verb Ati`u (obey) with regard to obeying the Prophet (peace be upon him). He says: [O you who believe! Obey Allâh and obey the Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him).] Then He (Exalted be He) says: [...and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority.] He did not repeat the verb Ati`u (obey) with regard to those who are in authority because obeying them is dependant upon obeying Allah (Exalted be He) and His Messenger (peace be upon him). It means that we should not obey those in authority except in what is Ma`ruf (that which is judged as good, beneficial, or fitting by Islamic law and Muslims of sound intellect) where their commands correspond to the commands of Allah (Exalted be He) and His Messenger (peace be upon him) and do not violate them. Then He points out that the basic rule is obeying Allah (Exalted be He) and His Messenger (peace be upon him). He says: [(And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allâh and His Messenger (peace be upon him).] He did not say: "and to those of authority among you", but he said: [to Allâh and His Messenger (peace be upon him).] This denotes that referring the controversial issues should be to Allah (Exalted be He) and His Messenger (peace be upon him). Scholars said that referring controversial issues to Allah (Exalted be He) means referring them to the Qur'an and referring them to the Prophet (peace be upon him) means referring them to the Prophet (peace be upon him) during his life and to his Sunnah after his death. This means that the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is an independent source that should be followed. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: [He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him), has indeed obeyed Allâh.] He (Exalted be He) also says: [Say (O Muhammad peace be upon him): "O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allâh.] The Ayah that precedes this Ayah is Allah's saying: [So those who believe in him (Muhammad peace be upon him), honour him, help him, and follow the light (the Qur’ân) which has been sent down with him, it is they who will be successful.] Allah (Exalted be He) makes success dependent upon following the Prophet (peace be upon him). This is because the context of the Ayah denotes that [So those who believe in him (Muhammad peace be upon him (, honour him, help him, and follow the light (the Qur’ân) which has been sent down with him, it is they who will be successful.] He mentions that success is only for those who follow the Prophet (peace be upon him). This denotes that whoever denies the Sunnah or does not follow it will not be from among those who gain success. Then Allah (Exalted be He) says: [Say (O Muhammad peace be upon him): O mankind!] Allah (Exalted be He) orders His Prophet (peace be upon him) to say to people:  [O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allâh - to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He). It is He Who gives life and causes death. So believe in Allâh and His Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him), the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e. Muhammad peace be upon him), who believes in Allâh and His Words [(this Qur’ân), the Taurât (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) and also Allâh’s Word: "Be!" - and he was, i.e. ‘Isâ (Jesus) son of Maryam (Mary), peace be upon them], and follow him so that you may be guided.]

 

 

 

Allah (Exalted be He) also makes guidance dependant upon following the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him). This indicates that it is obligatory upon all people to obey the Prophet (peace be upon him) and to follow what he has brought of Qur'an and Sunnah. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says in other Ayahs: [Say: "Obey Allâh and obey the Messenger, but if you turn away, he (Messenger Muhammad peace be upon him) is only responsible for the duty placed on him (i.e. to convey Allâh’s Message) and you for that placed on you. If you obey him, you shall be on the right guidance. The Messenger’s duty is only to convey (the message) in a clear way (i.e. to preach in a plain way)."] He (Glorified and Exalted be He) says also in the same Surah which is Surah an-Nur: [And perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and give Zakât and obey the Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him) that you may receive mercy (from Allâh).] Allah (Exalted be He) only mentions obeying His Prophet (peace be upon him) in His saying: [and obey the Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him) that you may receive mercy (from Allâh).]

 

 

 

He says also at the end of Surah an-Nur: [And let those who oppose the Messenger’s (Muhammad peace be upon him) commandment (i.e. his Sunnah - legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements) (among the sects) beware, lest some Fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a tyrant) should befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them.] Allah (Exalted be He) mentions that whoever disobeys the commands of the Prophet (peace be upon him) will be in great danger. He may be exposed to ordeals; deviating from the truth, disbelief, misguidance, or he may be inflicted with a painful chastisement. We seek refuge in Allah (Exalted be He) against all these things. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says in Surah al-Hashr: [And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him) gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it). And fear Allâh; verily, Allâh is Severe in punishment.]

 

 

 

All these Ayahs and others to the same effect denote the obligation of following and obeying him (peace be upon him). They also denote that guidance, mercy, happiness and well-being are in following the Prophet (peace be upon him) and obeying his commands. He who denies that denies the Qur'an. He who says that he follows the Qur'an only commits mistakes and Kufr. This is because the Qur'an orders us to follow the Messenger (peace be upon him). Therefore, he who does not follow the Prophet (peace be upon him) does not believe and work according to the Qura'n. This is because the Qur'an orders us to obey and follow the Prophet (peace be upon him) and warns us against violating his commands. One can not be a follower of the Qur'an without following the Sunnah and vice versa. They are correlative and can not be separated from each other.

 

 

 

It is mentioned in the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) as reported by Al-Bukhary and Muslim (may Allah be Merciful with them) in their two authentic books on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:  ["Whoever obeys me, obeys Allah, and whoever disobeys me, disobeys Allah, and whoever obeys the ruler I appoint, obeys me, and whoever disobeys him, disobeys me.”] It is reported in Sahih al-Bukahry (may Allah be Merciful with him) on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: [My entire Ummah will enter Paradise except who refuses, then it was said: O' Messenger of Allah, who will refuse? He said, "Whoever obeys me will enter Paradise, and whoever disobeys me is the one who refuses.] This is a clear Hadith that he who disobeys the Messenger (peace be upon him) disobeys Allah (Exalted be He) and whoever disobeys him refuses to enter paradise. We seek refuge in Allah (Exalted be He) against all these things. It is also reported in al-Musnad, Sunan Abu Dawud, and Sahih al-Hakim with a good chain of transmitters on the authority of Al-Miqdam Ibn Ma`d Yakrib Al-Kindy (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: [Beware! I have been given the Book and something like it...] The book here refers to the Qur'an and his saying: "...Something like it..." refers to the Sunnah which is the second revelation. [Yet the time is coming when a man reclined on his couch will say: The judge between us and you is the Book of Allah, what we find in it to be permissible is permissible, and what you find in it to be prohibited is prohibited.] This Hadith was reported in another wording: [A time is about to come when a man reclined on his couch will speak of my Hadith in which I have commanded and forbidden saying: Here is the Book of Allah a judge between you and me; what you find therein we will follow. Verily, what the Messenger of Allah has forbidden is the same way that Allah has forbidden.]

 

 

 

Source: www.alifta.net






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