The Qur'an is the last divine book, which was revealed
from Allah as a declaration and guidance to mankind. It is an
explanation of all things and means for men to be rightly guided.
In many verses of the Qur'an, it is commanded to obey the prophet
of Allah. This is quite a significant point because understanding
the Qur'an fully can only be possible with following the Sunnah
of the prophet.
The Sunnah is the explanation of the Qur'an. It
is the creed of ahl-i Sunnah, which has been constituted with
collecting true hadiths of the prophet Muhammad (sallallahu
`alayhi wa sallam), and interpretation of these hadiths by great
scholars in later times.
It's worth dwelling upon a point here. The Sunnah is not a concept
that can be dealt with separately from the Qur'an. In the Qur'an, it has been
mentioned that the prophet removes heavy burdens, makes rules, teaches the ummah
(society) the open and hidden meanings of the Qur'an. As a matter of fact, when
we look at the practices of Sunnah, we see that the prophet of Allah gave His
companions a lot of information about numerous subjects. This information was
then interpreted by scholars of the time, continued to be practised in daily
lives and has passed on to us generations to generations.
Allah has informed in the surah Al-e Imran that
the Prophet had the characteristic of teaching the Qur'an and
Certainly Allah conferred a benefit upon the believers
when He raised among them a Messenger from among themselves, reciting to them
His communications and purifying them, and teaching them the Book and the wisdom,
although before that they were surely in manifest error. (Surah Al-e Imran,
It would be useful to attract attention to the
phrase "teaching the book and the wisdom". Because, It is not
possible to understand the Qur'an fully and practise its commands
without following the sunnah of the prophet of Allah. Our religion
is a whole only with the Qur'an and the Sunnah. At that times
when the Qur'an was revealed, the people around the prophet
learned and practised the commands of our religion as required
by looking at the examples of the prophet. Indeed, the prophet
has been an important example with His life, where he practised
the commands of the religion, for us to understand the Qur'an.
We can give "salat" (ritual prayers) as a clear
example to understanding the commands of the religion. As well
known, in Islam, performing salat 5 times a day is an obligation
and there are verses giving general information about how to
perform it, how to perform ablution (wash). However, we can
understand how exactly we should perform prayers only by looking
at sunnah. Because there is no detailed information in the verses
about the way of praying, what to say in prayer, the way of
man and woman's performing the prayer, the degree of importance
of the prayers, the details of ablution, what nullifies ablution.
We can learn such details only by looking at Sunnah of the prophet.
As another example, we can mention the suggestions
of the prophet about Friday and the things He said about Friday
prayer. Beside the subjects such as speaking that which is best,
cleanness, foods, modesty, there are verses in the Qur'an about
obligations such as fasting, ablution and hajj (pilgrimage).
However, there is no detailed information about those worships
in the verses. We learn the detail information about how to
perform these worships from the interpretations of the scholars
about the words and habits of the prophet.
Sunnah has ected the lives of Muslims throughout
the history, of all past scholars of Islam, shaping their worships.
Since the era of our prophet, which has been hundreds of years,
the Muslims have worshipped in compliance with the Sunnah. Worships
like praying five times a day, fasting, giving charity and sacrificing
have not changed until today as they have been always performed
according to the Sunnah. For this reason, starting discussions
upon the worships, which have been practised for hundreds of
years without change, and speculating about the subjects like
time of the prayers, the number of the rakaats (units) are completely
unnecessary. All of them are obligatory worships, whose details
are described in the Sunnah. As a matter of fact, when we look
at the Qur'an, we see many verses in the Qur'an about following
the Messenger. In a verse, for example, Allah commands us to
obey the Messenger as follows:
Surely We have sent you as a witness and as a bearer
of good news and as a warner, That you may believe in Allah and His Messenger
and may aid him and revere him; and (that) you may declare His glory, morning
and evening. Surely those who swear allegiance to you do but swear allegiance
to Allah; the hand of Allah is above their hands. Therefore whoever breaks (his
faith), he breaks it only to the injury of his own soul, and whoever fulfils
what he has covenanted with Allah, He will grant him a mighty reward. (Surah
Whoever obeys the Messenger, he indeed obeys Allah, and
whoever turns back, so We have not sent you as a keeper over them. (Surah An-Nisa,
The point one needs to pay attention in the verses is that they
emphasise on the concept of "obeying the Messenger". This point shows us that
following the Messenger, in other words following His commands and rules is
a worship that Allah brought as an obligation. When we look at the verses, we
again see that our prophet has the authority to enjoin and forbid things. For
example, the verse ".... and whatever the Messenger gives you, accept it,
and from whatever he forbids you, keep back, and be careful of (your duty to)
Allah. (Surah Al-Hashr, 7) shows that the prophet
may forbid certain things for His ummah, apart from those things that are forbidden
in the Qur'an. Besides, it is again informed in the verses that the believers
took the matters that they did not understand to the prophet and the prophet
judged for them.
Those conducts, on the other hand, such as opposing
the Messenger's being a judge, or disrespecting His judgements
are described in the verses as "transgression". The certainty
of the judgement of our prophet and the need for obeying His
judgement is stressed in another verse as follows:
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-Ahzab, 36)
As seen up to here, Allah commands in His verses
a strict obedience to His prophet. For this reason, Islam can
only be lived through practising the Sunnah along with the Qur'an.
The explanations made in the verses related to this subject
are certain. Therefore, putting forward a claim of turning away
from the sunnah of the prophet is completely opposite to the
essence of the Qur'an.
Imam Malik, one of the greatest Islam scholars, compared the Sunnah
of the prophet to the ark of Noah and said : The Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammad
(sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) is like the Ark of Noah. Whoever embarks upon
it reaches salvation and whoever refuses is drowned.". The true salvation will
be realised only when the creed of ahl-i Sunnah is understood by everybody and
prevails in the society.