Sunnah in the Qur’aan: A Summary of Ash-Shaykh al-Albânî (may Allâh bestow mercy on him)’s Lecture at Doha, Qatar, Ramadan 1392.

Indeed all praise belongs to Allâh; we seek His Help and ask for His Forgiveness, we seek refuge in Allâh from the evils of our souls and our ill-deeds. He who is guided by Allâh no one can misguide, and he who is left astray by Him no one can guide. I bear the testimony that there is no deity deserving of worship except Allâh alone, He has no partner; and I testify that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

"O you who believe! Fear Allâh as He should be feared; and die not except in a state of Islâm (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allâh." [Al-Imrân: 102].

"O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from Him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawâ], and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allâh through whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship) . Surely, Allâh is ever an All-Watcher over you." [Nisâ: 1].

"O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allâh and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allâh and His Messenger has indeed achieved a great achievement." [Ahzâb: 70-71].

Role of the Sunnah in the Qur’aan

Allâh the Mighty did choose [Prophet] Muhammad (salaLlâhu alayhi wa sallam) as a prophet and selected him as His Messenger, He revealed the Qur’aan to him and commanded him, among other things, to convey to the people what He had revealed to him.

He the Mighty said:

وأنزلنا إليك الذكر لتبين للناس ما نزل إليهم

“…And We have also sent down unto you (O Muhammad ) the Reminder and the advice (the Qur'ân), that you may explain clearly to men what is sent down to them...” [Nahl: 44].

This command to the Messenger of Allâh (salaLlâhu alayhi wa sallam) that he should explain the Qur’aan to the people involves two things:

One, explaining the wording and construction in the Qur’aan which translates into conveying the Qur’ân as a whole and not concealing anything thereof. This is what is intended in the Word of Allâh the Mighty:

يا أيها الرسول بلغ ما أنزل إليك من ربك

“O Messenger (Muhammad)! Proclaim (the Message) which has been sent down to you from Your Lord. And if you do not, then you have not conveyed His Message. Allâh will protect you from mankind. Verily, Allâh guides not the people who disbelieve.” [Maidah: 67].

So the Messenger of Allâh (salaLlâhu alayhi wa sallam) did not conceal anything he was sent with, just as Aa’ishah (may Allâh be pleased with her) said:

‘Whoever narrates to you that Muhammad concealed anything he was sent with has told a big lie about Allâh.’

Then Aa’ishah (may Allâh be pleased with her) recited the Verse earlier quoted.

The report can be seen in the Sahîhayn.

The second meaning is: explaining the meanings of condensed, general and absolute terms in the Qur’aan. That comes in forms of the statements of the Messenger of Allâh (salaLlâhu alayhi wa sallam), acts or permissions.

An example is where Allâh said:

والسارق والسارقة فاقطعوا أيديهما

“Cut off (from the wrist joint) the (right) hand of the thief, male or female.” [Maidah: 38].

It is the Sunnah that explains what a hand, in this context, is, and what worth of property will be stolen that will warrant the cutting of the hand. In fact, the Sunnah went on to say what will be the cutting in the repeated cases of stealing.

So it is the wrist that will be cut. The worth of the properly is a quarter of a dinar. If the right hand is cut in the first case, it is the left leg that will be cut in the second case. What of the third case? Find out in the Sunnah!

So also when Allâh the Mighty said:

فامسحوا بوجوهكم وأيديكم

“...then perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands...” [Nisâ: 43].

‘Hands’ as mentioned in the Verse is explained in the Sunnah. The Sunnah says it is the palm. So the next time you perform dry ablution and rub the whole of your hand [up to the elbow], you will have yourself to blame when people laugh at you.

The Messenger of Allâh (salaLlâhu alayhi wa sallam) has said:

التيمم ضربة للوجه والكفين

‘Tayammum is a strike for the face and the two palms.’

[Recorded by Ahmad, the Two Shaykhs and other collectors on the authority of ‘Ammaar bn Yaasir (may Allâh be pleased with both)].

So there are several Verses in the Qur’aan that one can never understand without the Sunnah.

Can you try the meanings of the following Verses:

الذين آمنوا ولم يلبسوا إيمانهم بظلم أولئك لهم الأمن وهم مهتدون

“It is those who believe and confuse not their belief with Zulm (wrong), for them (only) there is security and they are the guided.” [An’aam: 82].

Who among us does not do one wrong or the other?

Allâh also said:

وإذا ضربتم في الأرض فليس عليكم جناح أن تقصروا من الصلاة إن خفتم أن يفتنكم الذين كفروا

“And when you (Muslims) travel in the land, there is no sin on you if you shorten your Salât (prayer) if you fear that the disbelievers may attack you, Verily, the disbelievers are ever unto You open enemies.” [Nisâ: 101].

So the only reason we can shorten our prayers when we go on journey is when there is fear in town?

So also when Allâh said:

حرمت عليكم الميتة والدم

“Forbidden to you (for food) are: Al-Maytatah (the dead animals - cattle-beast not slaughtered) and blood... [Mâidah: 3]

Are all dead animals prohibited? Including the fish we always eat?

[These are the questions you will ask those who deny the authority of the Sunnah; those who say we can make do with only the Qur’aan].

There are many other Verses in the Qur’aan we can never understand at the expense of the Sunnah. True is the statement of Imâm Ahmad (may Allâh bestow mercy on him) that the Sunnah interprets the Qur’aan.

Can you make any meaning out of this statement: the Qur’aan is more in need of the Sunnah than the Sunnah the Qur’aan?

At this juncture, it should be known that both the Sunnah are the Qur’aan are from the same source. They both came from Allâh the Mighty. Hence they serve the same purpose as far as legislating is concerned in Islam. It will be foolhardy of a person to say he will not follow a particular order in the Sunnah because it is not in the Qur’aan! The Qur’aan and the Sunnah are both Revelations from Allâh. One is recited as an act of worship the other is not. We hope this is very clear. Therefore, those who drag on their trousers below the ankles saying it is only the Sunnah that commands it are better warned. May Allâh protect us.

Misguidance of those Who Deny the Sunnah

There are people today who say they are Quraniyyoon – those who claim to follow the Qur’aan alone. They do nothing but interpret the Qur’aan based on their whims and caprices. They say whoever follows the Sunnah is following desires!

The Messenger of Allâh (salaLlâhu alayhi wa sallam) foretold the appearance of such people. He said (salaLlâhu alayhi wa sallam):

لَا أُلْفِيَنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ مُتَّكِئًا عَلَى أَرِيكَتِهِ يَأْتِيهِ الْأَمْرُ مِنْ أَمْرِي مِمَّا أَمَرْتُ بِهِ أَوْ نَهَيْتُ عَنْهُ فَيَقُولُ لَا نَدْرِي مَا وَجَدْنَا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ اتَّبَعْنَاهُ

‘I don’t like to see any of you sit on his couch whereby any of my commands will come to him which I have commanded or forbidden and will say: ‘I don’t know this; whatever I see in the Qur’ân I follow.’’ [Sahîh: At-Tir’midhî].

In another narration, he stated plainly:

ألا وإني أتيت القرآن ومثله معه

‘Nay I am given the Qur’aan and what is similar thereof.’

‘What is similar thereof’ is nothing but the Sunnah.

Therefore, it is no good work for someone to author a book about Islam and rely on only the Qur’aan.

Whoever holds to the Qur’aan alone at the expense of the Sunnah or vice-versa, has not held to either.

Allâh our Lord said:

من يطع الرسول فقد أطاع الله

“He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad), has indeed obeyed Allâh.” [Nisâ: 80].

He also said:

فلا وربك لا يؤمنون حتى يحكموك فيما شجر بينهم ثم لا يجدوا في أنفسهم حرجا مما قضيت ويسلموا تسليما

“But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith, until they make you (O Muhammad ) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission. [Nisâ: 65].

He also said:

وما كان لمؤمن ولا مؤمنة إذا قضى الله ورسوله أمرا أن يكون لهم الخيرة من أمرهم ومن يعص الله ورسوله فقد ضل ضلالا مبينا

“It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allâh and his Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allâh and his Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error.” [Ahzâb: 36].

He also said:

وما آتاكم الرسول فخذوه وما نهاكم عنه فانتهوا

“And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it)…” [Hashr :7]

So the Qur’annites have a big force to contend with! Let them get their weapons ready on the Day of Resurrection.

Conclusion: We have seen from the foregoing the fact that it is obligatory on every Muslim to follow the Sunnah as we follow the Qur’an. It is misguidance to think one can make do with either at the expense of the other. So the Sunnah is the way to safety. The Sunnah is Islam and Islam is Sunnah as said by al-Imâm al-Barbahaaree in Shar’hus-Sunnah. Thus without the Sunnah one can never have the perfect Aqeedah and Manhaj in Islam.

Lastly, the opposite of the Sunnah is Bid’ah in one level, and Kufr in another level. For instance, whoever carries out any act of worship not sanctioned in the Sharî’ah will have it rejected, that is a Bid’ah. Whoever however has a belief other than what is stipulated in the Sunnah may land in Kufr, an example is the belief that Qur’aan is created.

So O Muslim, be a follower of the Sunnah to the letter. Leave your beard, do not drag your pants below the ankle, pray as the Prophet (salaLlâhu alayhi wa sallam) used to pray, seek the knowledge of the Sunnah. Above all, have the proper creed and methodology.

We pray Allâh make us among those who follow the Qur’aan and Sunnah as expected.

Wa salaLlâhu alaa nabiyyinaa muhammadin wa ahlihi wa sahbihi wa sallam.

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