Guide The Sunna and its Status in Islamic Law: The Search for a Sound Hadith

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And God alone gives success. The purpose of studying the history of any science is to come to know its foundational principles, central concerns, and ultimate goals and benefits so that we may better learn from it. Islamic law is no exception to this, for it is not simply a collection of legal rulings in matters of ritual worship or transactions; rather, it is a complete methodology for all the various facets of human life: doctrine, ritual worship, society, economics, law-making, and politics.

Indeed, in its later stages, Islamic law came to be an impressive edifice, organizing human civilization in all of its social interactions and human relationships with sophistication and nuance. Of course, in this manner of speaking, the Islamic legislation properly existed only in the lifetime of the Prophet upon him be peace , because God has not given the power of legislation to other than his prophet.


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However, the scholars have tended to expand the referent of this branch of knowledge. It specifies the different time periods in which rulings came to be, and elucidates what occurred during them with respect to abrogation, specification, expansion, etc. It also discusses the jurists and mujtahids and their relationship to these rulings. The differences between it and the positive law created by humans are as follows:.

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Islamic law seeks to elevate man, purify his heart, and refine his soul. Islamic law commands the good and forbids the evil, whereas positive legislation is concerned only with prohibitions. It does not compel good works except incidentally.

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Islamic legislation pronounces on both the internal and external actions of man, whereas positive law restricts itself to the external and observable. They are universal principles seeking to fulfill the needs of all people, and raise their standing in all eras. As for positive legislation, it is specific to a given group in a given time, and so is in need of change whenever that constituency evolves and their particular demands change. The word of God, i. The second opinion is that the Meccan is whatever was revealed in Mecca even if it was after the hijra, and the Medinese is that which was revealed after the hijra.

The third opinion is the Meccan is that which is addressed to the people of Mecca, and the Medinese is that which is revealed to the people of Medina. We come to know which verses came later, and so may reliably consider some to abrogate or specify others. We come to know the history of legislation, and the wisdom of its gradualness. Because the pre-Islamic Arabs would worship idols, associate partners shirk with Allah, deny the Day of Judgement, and because their eloquence was well-known, the Meccan revelation was concerned with addressing them with that which was appropriate for their situation; i.

Below are the most prominent features of the Meccan and Medinese verses respectively: Meccan verses:. Through the signs of God in creation, they call to monotheism, the exclusive worship of Allah, the affirmation of prophethood, the prophetic mission, and rewards and punishments; through rational proofs, they respond and debate with the polytheists; they also mention the Day of Judgement and the Hellfire. They establish the general principles of legislation and ethics upon which society is based; they expose the scandals of the polytheists in terms of bloodshed, unjustly usurping the wealth of orphans, burying their daughters alive, and other practices.

They recount stories of the prophets and past nations, so that unbelievers may come to know the fate of those who came before them; they also console the Prophet so that he may endure their abuses, and be assured of victory over them. They appeal to the reader aesthetically by using powerful language, short verses, and choice words. Oaths recur often in Meccan verses.

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Say: "Yea, By my Lord, Ye shall surely be raised up: then shall ye be told the truth of all that ye did. An explanation of laws governing rituals, daily transactions and relationships, punishments, inheritance, the virtues of struggling in the path of God, the family structure, and the relationship between state and society; as well as the principles and main concerns of lawmaking.

An address to the People of the Book Jews and Christians , inviting them to Islam, making clear the manner in which they have corrupted previous scriptures, and indicting them for deviating from the truth, and for dissenting amongst themselves out of envy after knowledge had come to them. Revealing the behavior of the hypocrites munafiqun , unveiling that which they tried to hide, analyzing their mentalities, and making clear their danger to true religion. That it serve as guidance for mankind. A general guidance for all people.


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  • A specific guidance for believers. That it be a manifest sign in support of the Prophet. That creation be able to worship God through its recitation, and that they may be rewarded for simply repeating His words. That He will pay them their wages and increase them of His grace. He is Forgiving, Responsive.

    So, every man will have that which he intended.


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    • When the time for prayer came, neither of them had any water with him. So they performed tayammum and prayed. Thereafter, they came across water while the time of prayer had not expired. One of them performed his regular ablutions and repeated his prayer, while the other did not.

      Then, they came to the Prophet peace be upon him and mentioned to him what had transpired. Rulings according with and emphasizing the rulings of the Quran. An example of this is a hadith related by Anas b. An example of this is that which clarifies the amounts for zakat. What you find deemed permissible in it has been made permissible for you, and what what you find deemed impermissible in it has been made impermissible for you. So, neither the domesticated donkey nor any predator with fangs is permissible for you.

      The rulings of both must be followed, and from this we come to know of the prohibition against eating both domesticated donkeys and fanged predators, as well as the prohibition against eating birds with claws, and the rulings on the inheritance of the grandmother, etc. Ritual worship: Rulings about the relationship between God and His servant, in terms of his exclusive worship of Him. These include prayer, alms-tax, fasting, pilgrimage, and all the conditions, constituent parts, obligations, and encouragements associated with the above. Personal status: Rulings related to the regulation of family matters.

      These include marriage, dowries, divorce, the rights and obligations of married life, maintenance obligations, inheritance laws, and things related to these matters. Politics: Rulings related to the system of governance, and the politics of political leadership towards their constituents; as well as the rights and obligations of each.

      These include discussions on the status of the ruler, governors, and viziers and the judiciary. Punitive law: Rulings on punishing criminals, including lex talionis, blood-money, and mandatory and discretionary punishments. International law: Rulings related to the relationship between Islamic polities and others in terms of war, peace, security, and treaties. Rulings related to eating, drinking, and clothing: what is permissible and what is not. The general rule is that of permissibility. Ethics, virtue, and social protocol: These include the etiquette of social gatherings, visiting one another, greetings, seeking permission in some matters, and eating and drinking in gatherings; as well as encouragement to virtues such as humility, forbearance and patience.

      Definition: Linguistically, it means to be determined and tenacious. They are all in the category of heretics. And with regard to heresy the Prophet sws has said that heresy is deviation, and this deviation leads to Hell-fire. Those who reject the Sunnah claim to believe in the Quran, and still deny the Sunnah. It is hard to understand their logic, since, as the Quran is proved by the the verbal adherence of the Ummah, likewise the Sunnah is proved by the practical adherence of the Ummah.

      If these people reject the Sunnah, there is no justification to accept the Quran. There is hardly any difference in the credentials of either. It is rather important that the difference between Hadith and Sunnah, elucidated in the foregoing pages, be kept in mind. When this difference was overlooked, the result was that the denial of a few Ahaadith was construed to mean the denial of the Sunnah.

      Thereafter, whatever doubts were invented against the Hadith by the non-believers of Hadith were extended by them to deny the Sunnah as well, though the denial of the Sunnah is tantamount to denial of the Quran itself, as already explained. Those who are familair with the history of the denial of Hadith are fully aware that this mischief actually raised its head over a few Ahaadith of anomalous nature. However, later on this matter turned into a hot-bed of debates; in the heat of arguments people lost sight of the difference between Hadith and Sunnah. In such battles of wits, the attacking party failed to realize what they were attacking; nor did the defenders knew what exactly they had to defend and wasted their energies on a different front.

      In their ignorance, either side ended up in a loss. The non-believers of Hadith stretched their doctrines so far as to touch the bounds of Kufr disbelief , and the supporters of Hadith, on the other hand quite unnecessarily dragged the Sunnah as well along with the Hadith into the firing-range.

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      The common man appears to be unaware of the fact that in case of one particular issue there can be more than one Sunnah. Owing to ignorance on this point, the followers of Sunnah themselves are divided into different sects, and continue to accuse one another of disregarding the Sunnah. However, if they are fair to themselves in this regard, it should not be hard for them to comprehend that a Sunnah can vary on any single issue.