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Author Topic: Differant types of sunnah  (Read 16332 times)
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« on: September 02, 2010, 10:57:18 PM »

What is the best book available regarding the sunnah of prophet (sal) with authentic proof.explains the differant types of sunnah.
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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2010, 11:00:34 AM »


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم والصلاة والسلام على خاتم المرسلين المقتدى به في أمور الدين وعلى آله وصحبه الأطهار ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين، أما بعد

The Definition of the Sunnah and different types of the Sunnah

This is a brief treatise explaniaing the sound definition of Sunnah in religioin. This was a something I wrote couple of days ago on another forum in the aim of explanaing the topic to some laypeople who quote mass texts without realzing what these texts mean. Also, the post that I posted there was enough distrubed with ill manners of such people and ignorant comments. Therfore, I ask Allah to guard us and protect us from what they have been tested with and hold us fast to the right path and decorate our personalities with best of manners. Ameen.

The main reason behind this writing about this topic is due two main reasons:

a) The fact that many Muslims seem to confuse what is meant with the Sunnah in Islam and as a result they become unawre of which Sunnah that must be focsued on.

b) Lack of knowledge about levels of Sunnah and its ranks led many Muslims to compromise what is obligatory for the sake of what is permessible and preferable.

c) Some argue that categorizing the Sunnah into different categoried and excluding some of the acts of the Prophet is an innovation of this time and it has neven been recognized by any salaf or scholar before.

So, I begin seeking Allah's assistance with this writing, hoping that such thread bring some benefits to the readers.

The Sunnah (السنّة) in its linguistic meaning came in different definitions that all pour into one meanings;

The author of Lisaan al-Arab defined it to mean: "The way, the method, the regular habits, the nature". These various lingual definitions seem to require a form of continuation to the act so that it be considered a Sunnah. In other words, based on this definition, acts that are done for some time then stopped are not called Sunnah. Also, it is important to note that the term can apply on anyone and is not restricted to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). So, we can say the Sunnah of life, the Sunnah of X and Y, the Sunnah of Son of Adam, the Sunnah of Muslims and etc. However, if this term was used to refer to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) then an additional meaning is offered here and the context differ.

Scholars of Hadeeth and Usool prefered to define the Sunnah in its religious context to mean: "what has been described for others to follow" [ السنة : ما رسم ليحتذى ]. This definition was adopted by al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi (463 H.) in his book al-faqeeh and al-muatfaqih, al-Baji al-Maliki (474 H.) as in his Muntaqa. Abu Bakr al-Jassas (370 H.) stated in al-Fusool fil Usool a clearer definition, when he said: "The Sunnah of the Prophet "( صلى الله عليه و سلم) is what he said or did in continous manner so that others follow"[سُنَّةُ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : مَا فَعَلَهُ ، أَوْ قَالَهُ ، لِيُقْتَدَى بِهِ فِيهِ ، وَيُدَاوَمَ عَلَيْهِ].

This definition demonstrates that the Sunnah according to the Salaf has not been as understood and defined similarly to most of the recent scholars who defined it to mean:"The acts, the sayings and the silent approvals of the Prophet". This recent definition is often found in recent fiqh scholars books. The interesting part of this broad definition of recent scholars is that it is the exact definition of "The Hadeeth that is related to the Prophet" according to scholars of Hadeeth [See: Tadreeb al-Rawi by al-Syouti: 1/156, al-Nuzha by al-Hafith: 52]. This confusion of terminology can be cleared out when we know that scholars of Fiqh including the recent ones identify The Sunnah to be either obligatory or recommended. al-Subki defined the Sunnah to be: "The Sunnah in Istlaah (religious context) means: what have been known as obligatory or preferable from the saying of the Prophet" [al-ibhaaj fi sharh al-minhaaj: 1/36]

This definition is actually an explicit statement to explain the general broad definition of Sunnah that has been adopted by recent scholars; Meaning: Any act of the Prophet, requires a supportive saying from the Prophet to show the virtue of such act so it becomes a Sunnah. This outline that the Salaf and scholars only recognized ceratin acts and sayings of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) to be Sunnah in the context of religion that they are preferable for others to act upon.

This distinction has not only been recognized by scholars, but also concluded from the words of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) as reported in the authentic hadeeth that is documented in Saheeh Muslim from the Hadeeth of Talha (رضي الله عنه) that he and the Prophet passed by some people who were climbing the tops of Palm-Trees. So, he asked: what do they do? Talha said: they are fruitificating the palm - tree by mixing the male part with the female part. So the Prophet said: I do not see that benefiting them". So, he told them that so they stopped it"...later on this advice turned out to be wrong which upon the Prophet said: " I am just a human; if I tell you to do something in your religion then act upon it but if I order you from my own opinion (i.e. in wordly matters that are irrelevant to religion) then know I am just a human" then Aisha narrted in another route the famous addition:" You know better your wordly matters".

This shows that what the Prophet is only concerned with is matters that are related to religion that can get one closer to Allah. On the other hands, acts that are wordly in its context that have no virtue in itself that is mentioned in texts then it is up to people to decide.

The above explain to us that:

a. The acts of the Prophet are Sunnah in its broad general lingual meaning.

b. The Sunnah in its religious meaning is only refer to the acts that are related to Islam and the Prophet wanted us to act upon directly or indirectly by mentioning the virtue of such act.

c. Early scholars define the Sunnah differently to recent scholars. However, analysing both definition in the sphere of applications, we realize that they are both on the same page.

************************************************** ************************************************

The above understanding was observed by the companions as well as can be proven in the following texts:

1) al-Tufail reported: I asked Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنهما): your people claim that Allah's Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) walked proudly while moving the shoulders (Ramal) during his Tawaf and that such act is Sunnah. Ibn Abbas replied: They said the truth but they mistakened. I said: what does that mean? He replied: Indeed, he did that but that is not a Sunnah; Quraish said at the time of Hudaybiya treaty let Muhammad and his companions die from Naghaf [i.e. ants that live in camels noses]. Then they signed the truce and agreed that Muslims come next year and stay at Mecca for three days. So, Muslims came and the Prophet said to his companions: Do "raml" thrice while you are performing Tawaf. I [i.e. al-Tufail] said: Your people claim that the Prophet did the Tawaf between the Safaa and Marwa while riding his camel and that is (i.e. tawaf while riding) a Sunnah. He replied: They said the truth but they mistakned. So I said: what do you mean with that? He answered: "Indeed, the Prophet did Tawaf while riding his camel and they are mistakend because that is not a Sunnah; people used to stay around the Prophet so he was riding his camel so they can hear him and see his position while they do not push him"

[ Sunan Abi Dawd: 1885] and [Musnad Ahmad:5/179].

The hadeeth is authentic and was classified so by sh. al-albani and Ahmad shakir.

The hadeeth as can be noted showed two acts of the Prophet. However, Ibn Abbas denied that such acts to be Sunnah although he acknowledged them being performed by the Prophet.

The reason why he denied such acts to be Sunnah was because he knew that such acts that the Prophet did were not for a religious purpose or as a means to get closer to Allah. Ibn Abbas actually saw in these acts to be ordinary wordly acts (i.e. riding so that others can hear and raml to tease disbelievers)

2) Imam Muslim documented in his Saheeh that Aisha (رضي الله عنها) said: Going down "al-Abtah" is not Sunnah. The Prophet only went down there because it was easier for him when he wanted to exit the place"

[ Saheeh Muslim: 1311]

Imam al-Nawawi said in his Sharh: " Aisha and Ibn Abbas did not act upon it because thet viewed this act to happen not for a religious purpose. Yet, other companions acted upon it and because identifying whether this act was performed on religious basis or not, companions differed on it"

From the above, we conclude that companions and scholars differentiated between the acts of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). They viewed acts that are performed on religious basis to get one closer to Allah as Sunnah while other acts that are done for other reasons as general acts.

Based on that, we know that Sunnah can be divided to the following categories according to its nature:

Sunan Mua'kadda: These are Sunan that we are encouraged to do and have been continously acted upon by the Prophet such like the Sunnah of the fajr.

Sunan Ghair Mu'akdda: These are Sunan that we are encouraged to do due its mentioned rewards, however, were not performed regularly by the Prophet such like the Sunnah before Asr.

Sunan A'daat: These are habits and customs that no texts states a virtue or reward for them. Also, no texts encourage acting upon them. This is like clothes, walking, talking and etc.

Based on that, we know that Sunnah can be divided to the following categories according to its rulings:

Sunan Wajiba (obligatory): It is every command of the Prophet that cannot be found any other text prove that such command was said to mean preferable. Such like: "do not backbite eachother".

Sunan Mustahabba: (preferable): It is every command of the Prophet that have another proof that shows the command came to mean preferable. Such like: " Pray as you see me pray" then in another hadeeth only certain acts were mentioned so that one's Salaat can be accepted"

Sunan Mubahaa( Permessible): These are acts that no texts happen to exist and shows a virtue for it or that they are acted upon based on religious purposes such like: clothes of the Prophet and etc.

The great trustworthy scholar Makhoul al-Shami who is from the young Tabi'een (died at 100 H.) said: "Sunnah is two types; Sunnah to follow and that is from guidence and to abandon is a form of misguidence, and Sunnah that following it is good and abandoning is fine. The exmaple of the first type is the Sunnah of the Salaat of Eid, The Adhaana and Iqamaa and so forth while the example of the second type is what was reported from the way of the Prophet's sitting, standing up, clothes and way of riding"

[Usool al-Sarkhasi: 1/114]


One might argue that why we do not consider the clothes of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) to be Sunnah?

We say:

Any act that has no text from the Prophet to show that this type of clothes is recommended then it cannot be considered Sunnah in its religious context. Yet, it can be considered Sunnah in its lingual definition.

It is proven that the Prophet was gifted a garment from disbelievers and he wore it, so does it make sense to say clothes of the disbeliever is Sunnah to wear?!! Also, is there any scholar in the world who ever said that riding a camel is Sunnah because the Prophet did ride a camel?!! These examples are given at this point to show the incorrectness of reasoning of some laypeople when it comes to Sunnah.

How can one benefit from this thread?

The purpose of this thread is to show that there are obligatory and preferable Sunnah that need to be acted upon before one becomes fussy about acts of the Prophet that are permessible to act upon such like his eating habits, clothes and etc.

How many people we know who are deeply involved in Riba but are fussy about eating using the hand?

How many people we know who hears a hadeeth that opposes what he is upon then he insult you and tells you I am from such and such Madhab and i do not care but you find him too fussy about eating on the floor or wearing a turban?

I ask Allah to grant us Muslims enough piety, courage and manners to admit our mistakes and respect the words of the Prophet that told us to do before we start acting about things he never told us to do.

I finish with the famous story of Imam Malik and his respect to Sunnah and Hadeeth:

He was approached by one man while he was walking in the market and asked him about a hadeeth. However, Imam Malik refused to answer him and said: "By Allah, this is not a suitable place (i.e. Markets) so that Hadeeths be discussed. Meet me in the masjid"

Finally, what I have said correct in this article is from Allah and only due Allah's bless on me. And what I have said that is incorrect then it is only from me and the Shaytaan.

Wallahu A'lam


« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 11:03:02 AM by mabdullah » Logged
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