BEING THE FIRST SERMON FOR THE MONTH OF RABI’UL AKHIR DATED 7TH RABI’UL AKHIR 1443AH (12TH NOVEMBER, 2021)
THE POSITION OF THE SUNNAH OF THE PROPHET IN THE SCALE OF THE SHARIAH
All Praises belong to Allah who says, “And whatever the Messenger has given you, take it, and what he has forbidden for you, then abstain”. Then, blessings and peace be upon our leader Muhammad ibn Abdullah, the mercy gifted and grace granted to the world. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah alone. He has no partner or associate. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger. He discharged the trust, he conveyed the message, and worshiped his Lord until he certainty (death) came to him.
Dear esteemed brothers – fear Allah, the the way He has the right to be feared – it is Allah’s commandment to the early generations as well as the later ones: “And to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And We have instructed those who were given the Scripture before you and yourselves to fear Allah. But if you disbelieve – then to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And ever is Allah Free of need and Praiseworthy.” (An-Nisaa: 131).
This is our first meeting in the month of Rabee’u-Thaani, a month that comes after the month in which the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad ibn Abdullah, was born, and then our talk will revolve around the prophetic heritage that he left to be a beacon to all muslims in their lives, which is his noble Sunnah.
Understanding what is Sunnah linguistically and as it applies to the Deen
Linguistically, Sunnah is the path. Abu Mansour Al-Azhari said: “The Sunnah is the straight, praised way. (Tahdhibu Lugah by Abu Mansour al-Azhari).
Ibn Manzur said: Sunnah is the life history, whether good or bad. (Lisanul-Arab).
Also the saying of Allah Ta’alah : “They will not believe in it, while there has already occurred the precedent of the former peoples.” ”. (Al-Hijr: 13). And Allah’s saying: “[That is Our] established way for those We had sent before you of Our messengers; and you will not find in Our way any alteration.” (Al-Israa: 77).
And the Prophet, (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “He who establishes a good sunnah in Islam will have its reward and the reward of those who act according to it after him without it taking anything away from their reward in the slightest. And whoever establishes a bad sunnah in Islam will have its burden and the burden of those who act according to it after him without it taking anything away from their burden”t (Muslim).
As for Sunnah in as it concerns the Deen, the scholars have defined it with in many way and with various expressions, all of which indicate the same thing and same singular truth. Abu Al-Biqa Al-Kaqwiy says: “Sunnah in the Shariah is the name of the approved beahvioural way in the religion without compulsion or obligation.”
Al-Jurjani said: “In the Shari’ah, it is the way to be followed in the religion without becoming an obligation, because the Sunnah is what the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) was consistently doing even though leaving it sometimes If the consistent action is course of worship, then it is Sunnah out of guidance, and if it is as a matter of custom or habit, then it is additional Sunnah.”.
And then, there is a difference in the definition of the Sunnah between the scholars of hadeeth, the scholars of Usuul and the scholars of Fiqh.
Obligation to acting according to the Sunnah.
Allah has indeed chosen His prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) with his prophet-hood and singled him out with His Message and so He sent down His Book, the Glorious Qur’aan and instructed him in it what He (Subhaanau Wa-Ta’alah) commanded him to explain to the people. Allah Ta’alah said: “[We
sent them] with clear proofs and written ordinances. And We revealed to you the message [i.e., the Qur’ān] that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them and that they might give thought. ” (An-Nahl: 44).
And Allah Almighty has informed us that the Messenger does not say what he says out of his own desire and purpose, but he says what he was commanded to convey to the people completely, abundantly, without addition or subtraction. Allah, the Most High, said: “And he does not utter from desire. It is nothing but a revelation that is revealed” (An-Najm: 3-4).
Allah has commanded us to follow his Sunnah and to obey him in forty places in the Glorious Qur’aan. Some of these include His saying (Subhaanau Wa-Ta’alah) : “And what Allah restored to His Messenger from the people of the towns – it is for Allah and for the Messenger and for [his] near relatives1 and orphans and the needy and the [stranded] traveler2 – so that it will not be a perpetual distribution among the rich from among you. 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-Hashr: 7).
And His saying: “And obey Allah and obey the Messenger” (Aal-Imraan: 163))
And He (Subhaanau Wa-Ta’alah) says: “O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.” (Nisa: 59).
And Allah warned us about contradicting the instruction of the Prophet. So He (Subhaanau Wa-Ta’alah) said: “Do not make [your] calling of the Messenger among yourselves as the call of one of you to another. Already Allah knows those of you who slip away, concealed by others. So let those beware who dissent from his [i.e., the Prophet's] order,1 lest fitnah2 strike them or a painful punishment.” (Nuur: 63).
Allah denied choice for believers when the Messenger (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) has decided a matter. He (Subhaanau Wa-Ta’alah) says: “It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.” (Ahzaab:36).
The sunnah of the Prophet is replete on the obligation to follow the Messenger (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) and act in accordance to his Sunnah. It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both), that the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) addressed the people during the Farewell Pilgrimage and said: “O people, I have left among you what, if you adhere to it, you will never go astray – the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet.” (Al-Bayhaqi).
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah, from the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) the he said: “Let me not leave you. Those who were before you perished because of their questioning and their disagreement over their prophets. If I forbid you to do something, avoid it, and if I command you to do something, do as much of it as you can.” (Bukhaariy).
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “All people of my Ummah will enter Paradise except for those who refuse.” They said: O Messenger of Allah, who will refuse? He said: “Whoever obeys me will enter Paradise, and whoever disobeys me has refused.” (Bukhaari). That is, he refused to accept the invitation or to comply with the command .
Indeed, all muslims unanimously agree on the obligation to obey the Messenger (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) and to adhere to his Sunnah.
The position of the Prophet’s Sunnah in the scale of the Shari’ah: The Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) is the second source of Islamic legislation. Imaam Shafi’i said: “The Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah with the Book of Allah are two sides, one of them: the text of a Book, that the Messenger of Allah followed it the way Allah has revealed it. And the other is the body of explanation of the Messenger of Allah of the it about Allah, the meaning of what is intended by the concise text, he explained what is mandated, igenerally or specifically, how it is intended for the servants to bring it and in each of them the Book of Allah is followed. And I do not know anyone of the people of knowledge differing that the Sunnah of the Prophet are of three aspects.
The Sunnah clarifies the ambiguity of the Qur’an:- The Sunnah has a great position in relation to the Glorious Qur’an. It clarifies any ambiguity, and the verses that could not have been understood correctly in accordance to what Allah Ta’alah intends except by the way of the Sunnah. These include the saying of Allah Ta’alah: “And when you travel throughout the land, there is no blame upon you for shortening the prayer, [especially] if you fear that those who disbelieve may disrupt [or attack] you. Indeed, the disbelievers are ever to you a clear enemy.” (An-Nisaa: 101).
The apparent meaning of the verse requires that shortening the prayer while traveling requires a situation of fear, but the Messenger (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) made it clear that fear is not a condition for it. It was narrated by Ya’ala ibn Amayyah, he said: I said (recited) to ‘Umar ibn Khattaab “there is no sin on you to shorten the Salaat if you fear that those who disbelieve would give you problems…” but now the people are secure. Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I wondered at the same thing and I asked the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) " (Muslim).
The Sunnah elaborates the concise parts of the Qur’an:- Parts of its place in relation to the Glorious Qur’an is that it elaborates what came in summary in the Glorious Qur’aan and there are many verses that came as a summary in the Qur’aan. The Prophetic Sunnah did the job of clarifying them. Amog them for example, is the saying of Allah Ta’alah: “And establish salaat” (Al-Baqarah: 43). Allah commanded the establishment of salaat and did not specify how to establish it, so the Sunnah came to clarify how.
The Sunnah explains the constraints of the open-ended terms of the Qur’an:– And the open-ended terms are words denoting a common connotation in its form. Among such is the saying of Allah Ta’alah: “…after a will or a debt” (Al-Nisa’: 11). The word (will) mentioned in the text is absolute, so the Sunnah restricts it to one third. On the authority of Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas, he said: “I said to the Messenger of Allah: “Shall I give two-thirds of my wealth to charity? He (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said: No. I said: With half? He said: No. Then he said: One-third, and one-third is big. (Agreed upon).
The Sunnah specifies the general provisions of the Qur’an: And the general provisions are words that denote all parts of the meaning of the word, And among such is the Almighty’s saying:”Dead (animal) is forbidden to you” (Al-Ma’idah: 3). And it is general to every dead animal, so the Sunnah came to specify the dead sea animal as halaal. On the authority of Abu Hurairah, it is related that the Messenger of Allah said: “Concerning sea water: its water is pure for purufication and it dead animals are halaal.” (Abu Daawud and Tirmidhi).
The Sunnah adds new rulings that the Glorious Qur’an did not bring: There are new rulings that the Glorious Qur’an did not bring, but the Sunnah added them. Among such is the prohibition of combining a woman with her paternal aunt, or between a woman and her maternal aunt. It is related on the authority of Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do not combine between a woman and her paternal aunt, nor between a woman and her maternal aunt.” .(Agreed upon). Another is the prohibition of all fanged carnivores. It has been related on the authority of Abu Tha’alabah Al-Hashni, that he said: “The Prophet forbade eating every one of the fanged carnivores” (agreed upon). Also among such is the making halaal of fish and locusts. It is related on the authority of Abdulla ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “I have made lawful for you two dead animals and two bloods. As for the two dead animals, it is the whale (sea animals) and locusts, and as for the blood, it is the liver and the spleen.” (Ibn Majah and Ahmad).
All Praise are due to Allah. May the peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family, his companions, and those who follow him.
As for what follows,
The Prophet’s Sunnah is the second source of legislation after the Noble Qur’an, and the religion of Allah, the Exalted is not complete except by taking up the Qur’an and the Sunnah side by side.
Hence, we are discussing the authenticity of the Prophetic Sunnah and the extent of the validity of using it as a legislative instrument and proof after the Holy Qur’an.
Dear brothers in faith, there are many verses and numerous hadiths that command adherence to the Sunnah, and its legislative authenticity, not to mention the unanimous consensus of the scholars of the Ummah on the obligation to obey the Messenger, follow his path, and footsteps, thus we shall limit our discussion in this sermon to some reliable evidences from the Noble Qur’an on the authenticity of the Sunnah for legislation.
The Noble Qur’an is the first and main source of Islamic legislation, and it has clarified, beyond any doubt, about the position of the Sunnah and its status in several verses that will be recited until the Day of Resurrection and will be used for worship so as to be as clear evidence and a shining proof in the face of the peddlers of falsehoods. There are several verses that indicate the authority of the Sunnah and its place in the religion of Allah the Exalted including the word of Allah:
((فَلا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّى يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيما شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوا فِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ حَرَجاً مِمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيماً(النساء:65
“But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muḥammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full,
willing] submission.” (Surat An-nisaa: 65)
((مَا أَفاءَ اللَّهُ عَلى رَسُولِهِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْقُرى فَلِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ وَلِذِي الْقُرْبى وَالْيَتامى وَالْمَساكِينِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ كَيْ لَا يَكُونَ دُولَةً بَيْنَ الْأَغْنِياءِ مِنْكُمْ وَما آتاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَما نَهاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانْتَهُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقابِ))
“And what Allah restored to His Messenger from the people of the towns – it is for Allah and for the Messenger and for [his] near relatives and orphans and the needy and the [stranded] traveler – so that it will not be a perpetual distribution among the rich from among you. 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.” (Suratul Hashr: 7)
Evidences from the Hadith
The hadiths indicating the obligation to follow the Prophet are many and varied, they collectively indicate definitive evidence of the legislative authenticity of the Sunnah and that it is the other half of the Qur’an as evidence, and could be topically divided into three types:
1- Hadiths that indicate that the Sunnah is the same as the Qur’an and is similar to it in evidence and consideration.
Narrated Al-Miqdam ibn Ma’dikarib: from the Messenger of Allah, he said: “Beware! I have been given the Qur’an and something like it.” (Al- Bukhari).
b- Hadiths in which the Prophet commands to follow his Sunnah and warns against division and disagreement and opposing the religion with corrupt opinions. Narrated Abu Hurairah: The Prophet said, "Leave me as I leave you, for the people who were before you were ruined because of their questions and their differences over their prophets. So, if I forbid you to do something, then keep away from it. And if I order you to do something, then do of it as much as you can."
C – Hadiths in which the command to preserve the Sunnah and communicate it to the people, this indicates its validity for evidence. On the authority of Ibn Abbas, he said: “By the One in whose hand is my soul, it is his wasiyyah (bequest) to his Ummah, so it is incumbent on those who are present to inform those who are absent.” (Agreed upon).
The entire Ummah of Islam, including the Companions, the Tabi’een, and the diligent Imams, and other Muslim scholars, agreed on the authenticity of taking the Sunnah as evidence and the obligation to act upon it, seeking judgment with it, and following its guidance in all aspects of the lives of the Muslims.