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The Credibility of the Al - Sunnah as a Source of Reference and Guidance for Muslims

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Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities Vol. 1, No. 3, 2014, The Credibility of the Al - Sunnah as a Source of Reference and Guidance for Muslims Rohaizan Baru 1, Syed Hadzrullathfi Syed Omar
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Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities Vol. 1, No. 3, 2014, The Credibility of the Al - Sunnah as a Source of Reference and Guidance for Muslims Rohaizan Baru 1, Syed Hadzrullathfi Syed Omar 2, Nor Hafizi Yusof 3, Tasnim Abdul Rahman 4, Mohd Fauzi Mohd Amin 5 Abstract The previous religious generations had not witnessed such emergence of confusion towards the authority of the al-sunnah and the al-quran as the main sources for the Muslims. Hence, when time had passed, the era changed and the distance between Muslims and the time of the Prophet s s.a.w generation of confidants or salaf al-soleh is too far apart, hence, these could be the reasons for the emergence of confusion among the latest generation of Muslims, especially regarding the al-sunnah as a credible source of reference and guidance. This article will try to explain the confusion and elaborate on the complications that have emerged or purposely made to emerge by adducing arguments and authoritative opinions (dalil) that would prove that the al-sunnah always compliments the al-qur an and is a ready source of reference and guide to Muslims forever. The actual understanding needs to be portrayed to the Muslims about the meaning and definitions of the al-sunnah that has become the subject of confusion and attacks, based on proof from the al-qur an, al- Hadith and practices of past generations. The al-sunnah is clearly a source that has been misunderstood by groups that are unwilling to accept it as a basic source of reference to Islam. This misunderstanding of this matter has its roots in the misunderstanding of the al-qur an itself. The misunderstanding of the clear and apparent fact that the al-qur an itself has relegated the power of explaining and elucidating the contents and syllabus of the al-qur an to the al-sunnah. Keywords: Source of reference, source of explanation, credibility of the al-sunnah, arguments in the alsunnah 1. Introduction Indeed the al-sunnah was created by Allah swt as a compliment to the al-qur an. This is clear in His exhortation: But for the Grace of Allah to thee and his Mercy, a party of them would certainly have plotted to lead thee astray. But (in fact) they will only Lead their own souls astray, and to thee they can do no harm in the least. 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. (al-nisa 4: 113) The word wisdom according to a majority of ulamaks in the field of interpretation is the al-sunnah (Abu Nashr al-mirwazi (1408H: 112). 1 Assoc. Prof. Faculty of Islamic Contemporary Studies/ Research Institute for Islamic Products and Civilization, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, 21300, Malaysia 2 Assoc. Professor: Faculty of Islamic Contemporary Studies, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, 21300, Terengganu, Malaysia. 3 Faculty of Islamic Contemporary Studies, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, 21300, Terengganu, Malaysia. 4 Faculty of Islamic Contemporary Studies, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, 21300, Terengganu, Malaysia. 5 Assoc. Professor: Faculty of Quranic & Sunnah Studies, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, 71800, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia Research Academy of Social Sciences 90 The Prophet S.A.W. said : Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities Let it be known that I have been given the al-qur an and together with it its equivalent (Abu Dawud, al-tirmizi: Hadith Hasan) Even though we have been ordered to pay allegiance and practice the al-qur an, hence we are also to pay allegiance to the Prophet s.a.w. and what He brings along. Allah s.w.t. has exhorted: 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 [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 (al-hasyr 59: 7) This was the principle and stance of the Prophet s companions and the soleh generation of the past and the Prophet s.a.w. had frequently reminded us to be apprehensive about disunity The Jews would break into factions, the Christians to about the same number too and my people would break into 73 factions. (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi: Hasan Sahih) The Prophet added: Indeed, whoever lives after this would witness many conflicts hence at that time you have to hold on to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of one who replaces among the khulafa al-rashidin, hold-on firmly and be carefull of new matters in the religion (A. Dawud, Ahmad, al-darimi) Allah s.w.t. had exhorted in the al-quran: And do not be like the ones who became divided and differed after the clear proofs had come to them. And those will have a great punishment (Al Imran 3: 105) The people before (salaf al-ummah) had lived under the light of the al-qur an and Sunnah. They obeyed every command and abstained from all prohibitions mentioned in these two sources. This had never raised any suspicion. Whatever problem or confusion that emerged was referred to the al-qur an and Sunnah. Allah S.W.T had exhhorted: 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 (al-nisa 4: 59) Civilizations had gone by and time had passed, lately much problems and confusion had emerged in the religious lives of the Muslims. Sometimes the wise would feel confused due to the numerous issues and confusion that exist in society and among the ummah. Are these planned by certain parties? Is this a normal phenomenon when people have deviated far away from the religion of Allah? Or is this the result of the ummah s ignorance in discarding the guidance of nabawi? Or is this a usual consequence of reaching a certain level in human development or luxuries in life? The Aim of this Paper This paper intends to answer several questions that frequently emerge in the Muslim society regarding the position of the al-sunnah or al-hadith as to its credibility as an analytical (tasyrih) source or a legislative source compared to the al-qur an. Hence, to explain this and to answer the confusion that frequently arises, the definition and explanation as to what is actually meant by the al-sunnah has to be initially clarified in detail. Only then can the authenticated opinions and proof related to the arguments on the al-sunnah found in the syariat Islam itself be explained. 91 2. Definition of the Al-Sunnah R. Baru et al. Various definitions of the Sunnah have been given by the ulamak. Ulamak in the field of fiqh had given a different interpretation than that by the ulamak of the hadith or the ulamak of the fiqh. This khilaf (conflict in interpretations) is due to the differences in views and intentions expected from each field. i. Ulamak of language interpret Sunnah as a pathway, either a pathway leading to good or otherwise or the biography of a journey, either good or otherwise (Ibn Manzur, 2008). ii. Ulamak of hadith debate that the Prophet s.a.w. is an imam who carried the word of God and His Highness is an examplanary. Hence, they would try their the best to cite any and everything that is associated with His Highness and his way of life, character and personality, stories, language and actions on whether all these could compliment the syarak or otherwise. Thus, from this aspect, the interpretation of the al-sunnah given by the experts on hadith is: Whatever that is associated with the Prophet S.A.W., from his words, actions, opinions, natural characteristics, personality and way of life, whether after or before He became a Prophet iii. Ulamak of Fiqh argue that the Prophet S.A.W. set the source of the syariat (مشرع) and He provides explanations about the system and procedures in life, hence, what they focus on the words, actions and the.(األدلة الشرعية) attestation of the Prophet s.a.w., which can be related to establishing the laws in the syariat Thus, the interpretation of the al-sunnah as given by them is: Whatever that is transferred from the Prophet, his words, actions and attestations. Sunnah according to them is contrary to bid ah. iv. The ulamak of Fiqh, in their debates, tried to find whatever pratice attributed to the Prophet s.a.w. that could be referred to the laws of the syariah by fellow humans on whether the practices are compulsory (wajib), forbidden (haram), preferred (harus) and so forth. Hence, the interpretation given by them is: Whatever that emanates from the Prophet s.a.w. in the form that is not blessed or not compulsory and contrary to what is compulsory among the five laws. (Matters that are voluntary!!!) The Word Sunnah in the Prophet s Hadith Lets us look into a few of the Prophet s hadith that contains the word al-sunnah and see what it means. Thus, among them are: 1. Ata bin Yassar received from Abi Said R.A. that the Prophet S.A.W. exhorted: You will surely follow the ways (sanan) of the people before you, span by span, sleeve by sleeve (al- Bukhari: hadith 3456) (According to Ibn Hajar, sanan here means the way, Ibn Hajar, 6:498). 2. Humaid al-tawil said that Anas bin Malik reported that three friends who had enquired about the Prophets s practices of solemn worship (ibadah), hence, the Prophet came to explain and exhorted: Are you the same people who said so-and-so? By Allah, I am more submissive to Allah and more afraid of Him than you; yet I fast and break my fast, I do sleep and I also marry women. So he who does not follow my tradition in religion, is not from me (not one of my followers). (al-bukhari (5063), Muslim (1401) (According to Ibn Hajar: Sunnah here means the way and not a word contrary to fardu, Ibn Hajar, 9:105) 3. Ibn Buraidah from Abdullah al-muzani r.a. reported that the Prophet S.A.W. exhorted: Pray before the Maghrib (compulsory) prayer. He (said it thrice) and in the third time, he said, Whoever wants to offer it can do so. He said so because he did not like the people to take it as a tradition. (al-bukhari (1183) According to Ibn Hajar: The Sunnah here means syariah dan a confirmed pathway (Ibn Hajar, 3:60) 4. From Jarir bin Abdillah R.A. had reported that the Prophet S.A.W. exhorted. 92 Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities He who sets a good precedent in Islam, there is a reward for him for this (act of goodness) and reward of that also who acted according to it subsequently, without any deduction from their rewards; and he who sets in Islam an evil precedent, there is upon him the burden of that, and the burden of him also who acted upon it subsequently, without any deduction from their burden. (Muslim, (1017)) 5. Ibn Abbas reported that the Prophet S.A.W. exhorted: The most hated persons to Allah are three: (1) A person who deviates from the right conduct, i.e., an evil doer, in the Haram (sanctuaries of Mecca and Medina); (2) a person who seeks that the traditions of the Pre-lslamic Period of Ignorance, should remain in Islam (3) and a person who seeks to shed somebody's blood without any right . (al-bukhari (6882)) There are lot more texts on hadith that contain the word sunnah, which means the way or the way of following. Ibn al-athir said in al-nihayah (2:409): Sunnah has been repeatedly mentioned in the hadith, which basically means pathway or way of following. When mentioned in a general manner in the syariat, it carries a meaning of something that is commanded or prohibited by the Prophet S.A.W. Hence, it is said that the authenticated attestations of the syara are the Scripture and the al-sunnah, which is the al-qur an and the al-hadith. The Sunnah According to the Al-Qur an The Sunnah is one of two devine deliverences of God brought by Gabriel to the Prophet s.a.w. Hence, this is what was understood by the exhortation of Allah s.w.t.: Nor does he (Muhammad S.A.W.) speak from [his own] inclination (al-najm 53:3) It is not but a revelation revealed (al-najm 53:4) Therefore, whatever that is said or proclaimed by the Prophet S.A.W., whether it is from the Al-Qur an or the al-sunnah, it is a devine revelation from God. Thus, the exhortation by Allah s.w.t.: Indeed, it is we who sent down the Qur'an and indeed, We will be its guardian (al-hijr 15:9) Allah S.W.T. had delivered the Al-Qur an to be read until the last days, free from any sort or form of change and subsequently becoming complete proof of the truth of Muhammad s s.a.w. Prophethood. Only Allah s.w.t. could safeguard the syariat of Muhammad s.a.w. from being altered or changed. Had not Allah S.W.T. commanded that The Prophet s.a.w. be paid allegiance? Allegiance to the Prophet s.a.w. means allegiance to Allah S.W.T. Thus, to obey all the commands of Him would be the reason for receiving His love. Allah had exhorted: And obey Allah and obey the Messenger and beware. And if you turn away - then know that upon Our Messenger is only [the responsibility for] clear notification (al-ma idah 5:92) Why do you not bring us the angels, if you should be among the truthful? (al-hasyr: 7) But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], 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. (al-nisa : 4: 65) 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. (al-ahzab, 33:36) 93 R. Baru et al. 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 the Prophet's order, lest fitnah strike them or a painful punishment. (al-nur, 24:63) 3. The Al-Qur an, Al-Sunnah and Devine Revelation When we receive the kind of revelation found in the Sunnah, as explained in the al-qur an, it means that have received the special status of the al-sunnah and its role in the syariat of Islam. Hence, it cannot be denied that there is a clear difference among the revelations in the al-qur an compared to the al-sunnah. The ulamaks have underlined these differences as: The al-qur an in the kalamullah, the acclamation and the meaning from Allah s.w.t.. The reading of the al-qur an is worship and prayer is not complete without citing the verses of the al-qur an. Experts in the Arabic language cannot overcome the Prophet s s.a.w. eternal miracle. Whereas, the al-sunnah had come from Allah s.w.t. in meaning only or from the acclamations of the Prophet himself. Unlike the al-qur an, the reading of the al-sunnah is not considered a practice of worship, neither is it a miracle as the al-qur an as it can be reported with meaning. Hence, for the purpose of religious transgressions and argumentations that involve policy and matters that compliment the syariat, it is similar and equal with the al-qur an as long as the Sunnah is confirmed of its authenticity. In one hatidh, the Prophet S.A.W. had exhorted: I was given the al-qur an and one similar to that, as a satiated man on his soft bed would say: It is enough that what you want is in the al-qur an and what is halal take it as halal and what is haram take it as haram, don t you know that what is declared haram by the Prophet is also declared haram by Allah (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi dan Ibn Majah. al-tirmidhi assessed this hadith as a Hasan hadith). From Hassan Ibn Atiyyah who said: Has Gabriel delivered the al-sunnah to the Prophet as how the al-qur an was taught to him Makhul had narrated from the Prophet: Allah brought me the al-qur an and its equivalent from the al-hikmah (Marasil Abi Dawud, the narratoe was thiqah, except the Abi Dawud s syeikh) Arguments on the Al-Sunnah It has been uninamously agreed (ijma ) that the al-sunnah is a policy on religion and the important tenets that are compulsory to be adhered to and absolutely cannot be transgressed. There are many verses that attest to this policy, among them are: 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 [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 (al-hasyr 59: 7) He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah; but those who turn away - We have not sent you over them as a guardian (al-nisa 4: 80) There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often (al-ahzab 33: 21) Say, [O Muhammad], If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful (Al Imran 3: 31) 94 Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities 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 (al-nisa 4: 59) 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 the Prophet's order, lest fitnah strike them or a painful punishment. (al-nur 24: 63) 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 (al-ahzab 33: 36) Thus, transgressions of these arguments on the al-sunnah could bring about accusations of apostasy. According to al-hafiz Ibn Abd al-barr: (Jami Bayan al-ilm, 2:33) The basis of knowledge is the al-qur an and the al-sunnah. Ibn Hazm commented based on the verse, 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 (al-nisa 4:59). He said, it is clearly proven that what is meant by returning to Allah s.w.t. and the Prophet s.a.w. is to return to the al-qur an and the ways of the Prophet s.a.w. The ulamaks have come to a consensus (ijma ) that the al-qur an was actually referred to us humans. Allah S.W.T. had called upon us to return to the pathway accodting to the Prophet s words. Hence, it is not proper and unwise for a Muslim to return to other than the al-qur an and the al-sunnah when a confusion occurs. Allah s.w.t had exhorted: But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], 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 (al-nisa 4: 65) This verse is enough and fitting for those who are wise and conscious of its meanings. Therefore, it is proper that one introspects if what has been said by the Prophet S.A.W. is inconsistent with one s self or if one cannot accept the Prophet s decision, which is from an authenticated source, but rather accept what other people have said. Hence, one should be aware that Allah S.W.T. had strongly voiced that the person is not one of impiety (iman). Thus, Allah S.W.T. had consolidated the earlier verse with this: And when it is said to them,
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