The Sunna of Prophet Muhammad


A Muslim who believes in the Qur’an is obliged to accept the [figures of } authority that have been prescribed by the Holy Qur’an.

The Sunnah is "are the words, works and behaviors of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and what he has found appropriate and supported through these." Hadith are the narrations or statements of the Sunnahs of Prophet Muhammad's words, affairs and behaviors. The narration and inscription of the experiences, thus Sunnah, of the Prophet Muhammad to following generations form what are called the Hadith.

Those close to Prophet Muhammad as well as his friends determined his Sunnah accurately, acting very meticulously in narrating these as Hadith to the following generations. These efforts on their behalf, culminated in the early complete compilation of the Sunnah and Hadith.

The relation between Prophet Muhammad's behavior and revelation

All of Prophet Muhammad's behaviors regarding religious rulings and prohibitions were based on revelation and occurred within the boundaries set by revelation; thus, obeying his orders and obedience to his prohibitions are considered obedience to the orders and prohibitions of Allah (Surah An Nisa (4):89, Surah Hashr (59): 71).

 "We sent not a messenger, but to be obeyed, in accordance with the will of Allah." (Surah An-Nisa (4):64).

 "He who obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah..." (Surah An-Nisa (4): 80).

 "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." (Surah Al Ahzhab (33): 36).

It is Allah the Almighty who informed us that Prophet Muhammad, who was described as the “living Qur’an,” was the “best of examples,” and must be followed.

A Muslim who believes in the Qur'an is obliged to accept the [figures of } authority that have been prescribed by the Holy Qur'an. Views which urge, "All I need is the Qur'an, I accept no authority or source other than the Qur'an," contradict the Holy Qur'an it's self. For the Qur'an informs us that prophets, who have been chosen from among the people, have been sent to us by Allah, with the authority to exercise judgment and so that they may be followed. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that holy books have only been revealed to few prophets in order to reflect the authority of prophets in religion. Additionally, all of Prophet Muhammad's words, actions and statements which were not inspired by revelation have undergone a divine control. Meaning his mistakes have not been left without correction, as is the case with other human beings. This is how we understand the innocence of Prophet Muhammad. Herein lays the difference between the Messenger of Allah and other human beings.

When we look at the Qur'an, we see that revelation has not been limited to holy books that were revealed to prophets. We see in the Holy Qur'an that many verses that point to revelation outside of the Holy Qur'an. It is stated in the Qur'an that "hikmah" (wisdom) was given to Prophet Muhammad, as well as some other prophets alongside revelation. "...For Allah hath sent down to thee the Book and wisdom and taught thee what thou Knewest not (before): And great is the Grace of Allah unto thee." (Surah An-Nisa (4): 113). In this verse and similar verses in the Qur'an, this "wisdom" that is stated to be granted to the Messenger of Allah is generally interpreted as the "Sunnah."

In one of the verses dealing with the authority of Prophet Muhammad to exercise judgment, it says the following, "But no, by the Lord, they can have no (real) Faith, until they make thee judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against Thy decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction." (Surah An-Nisa (4):65).

While exercising judgment on a matter, Prophet Muhammad would at times base his decision directly on a verse, while sometimes relying on a revelation outside of the Qur'an and also acting on ijtihad (interpretation), as someone who had the most firm understanding of religious matters. However, all of his efforts concerning the duty of prophecy have undergone divine control.

Understanding the Sunnah properly

It is Allah the Almighty who informed us that Prophet Muhammad, who was described as the "living Qur'an," was the "best of examples," and must be followed. In this case, the most important duty falling upon the shoulders of people who see him as a guide is understanding him and the truth inherent in the purpose of his applications [of righteous deeds.] While doing this one should not overlook the fact that he was a "human prophet." One should not exalt him so much that he cannot be taken as an example for mankind.

If we can understand the exemplary personality of Prophet Muhammad, who understood the Qur’an most accurately and reflected this understanding into his life through his behaviors, we will have the opportunity to understand Islam in its purest, correct form so that we may internalize it.

When one thinks of the Sunnah, it is generally his clothing, manners and worship that comes to mind. We don't witness that the economic, judicial and political applications in the lofty manners of the Prophet being considered as part of the Sunnah. This is matter which needs to be emphasized. In actuality, the Sunnah means the life style of Prophet Muhammad. It could be said that the life style of a person is the external manifestation of one's understanding of life. So in this case, what lies at the basis of Prophet Muhammad's Sunnah is his understanding of life.

If we can understand the exemplary personality of Prophet Muhammad, who understood the Qur'an most accurately and reflected this understanding into his life through his behaviors, we will have the opportunity to understand Islam in its purest, correct form so that we may internalize it. Through this method again, we may reflect the good deeds and beneficial acts of Prophet Muhammad and his friends in line with the conditions of our modern age.

 

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