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Relationship of the Sunnah to the Quran — I

Saturday 27/03/2010

Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination. It is not but a revelation revealed.”  [Quran 53: 3-4] 

It would be absurd to differentiate between obedience of Allah and the obedience of His trustee and chosen Messenger,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). Would it be possible for this messenger to deliver what is being revealed to him and guide and direct his followers on the message if he were not to have authority over what they do? Would it be possible for the message to be completely explained and established if the messenger cannot detail it and expound on it and present his followers with the best and easiest example for them to follow and emulate?
 
These are some of the reasons, which we discussed previously along with tens of verses, and Prophetic narrations that support this true role of Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and establish his authority, his Sunnah authority. Allah Says (what means): Your companion [Muhammad] has not strayed, nor has he erred. Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination.[Quran 53: 2-4] And ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, described him  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) saying, “...his character was (embodied) the Quran.” [Al-Bukhari]
 
The role of the Sunnah in relationship to the Quran is best understood by considering its three comprising parts. Imaam Ash-Shaafi’I,  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him explained in his famous treatise, “Ar-Risaalah,” that with respect to indicating what is the Quran, the Sunnah has three functions—which are summarized in the following:
 
ONE: As-Sunnah Al-Muaqqidah or the Emphasizing Sunnah, the function of which is to repeat and stress what is stated and ordered in the Quran. For example, the Quran indicated that Allah made the Prayer, the Zakah, the Fasting and Hajj obligations as well as pillars of the religion of Islam.
 
As an example, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Islam is established on five: witnessing that no god is worthy of worship save Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger, establishing the Prayer, paying of Zakah, fasting of Ramadan and making Hajj to the House for those who are able to do it.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim], which is, in essence, an echo of the many verses stating and prescribing the same.
 
There are also many Prophetic narrations that reported emphasis, motivation and guidance on treating women gently and honorably, which reflects and stresses the various instructions in the verses like, “... and live with them honorably.” [Quran 4: 19]
 
Another example of this emphasis that deals with a parable comparing this world with the Hereafter as stated in the verse (which means), "…Are you satisfied with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But what is the enjoyment of worldly life compared to the Hereafter except a [very] little." [Quran 9: 38] In a narration reported by Imaam Muslim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) elaborated on this issue: "By Allah, this world with respect to the Hereafter is not but like one of you taking this finger—and Yahyaa (the narrator) pointed to his index finger — and putting it into the ocean and seeing what comes out with it (as compared to what remains in the ocean)." So, although the Quran describes the comfort of this life compared to the comfort of the next life as "little," the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) gave us a physical example that specifies exactly how "little" this worldly comfort really is, and how wide the possibilities are in the Hereafter. It is dear that this Hadeeth of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) not only emphasizes the significance of the Hereafter but also provides an extra motivation for all Muslims to strive for it.
Obviously the examples for this part of the Sunnah's relationship to the Quran abound.

Relationship of the Sunnah to the Quran — II

Relationship of the Sunnah to the Quran — III

 

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