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What is Sunnah?

What is Sunnah?


The second main source of Islamic law is the Sunnah (سنة). Following the Quran in importance is the sunnah. Muslims have acknowledged the Sunnah as a source of Islamic law since the time of the Prophet Muhammad up until the present. Muslims are required to abide by laws that emanate from the Sunnah. The Qur’an and the consensus (إجماع) are proofs that the Sunnah is the source of law.

In other words, this signifies that it is required of every Muslim to hold to the teachings of the Sunnah. It is crucial that we live our lives in accordance with the Sunnah. We must make sure we don’t do anything that goes against the Sunnah.

Describe the Sunnah.

The word “sunnah” (سنة) is Arabic. It is described as the customs, rituals, and behaviors of the Prophet (PBUH). The Prophet (PBUH) stated in a hadith that the Sunnah is the way of guidance.

“Whoever departs from my Sunnah has no connection to me.” 

A Fiqh expert once said that “Sunnah means recommended acts of worship.” 

A legal theorist and Usul al-Fiqh scholar defined it as “what was transmitted from the Messenger (PBUH) of Allah of his words, acts, and implicit.”

The Prophet (PBUH)’s instructions, words, or tacit approval are known as the Sunnah (سنة). In other words, the Prophet’s Sunnah is the greatest example of his virtue in acting as Allah’s Prophet and Messenger. The sunnah of Muhammad (PBUH) can be found in his early years of poverty, his treatment of the populace as a leader, and his interactions with his family. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stated,

فعليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء الراشدين المهديين

“So stick to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the right-principled and rightly-guided Caliphs.” ( SUNAN ABU DAWOOD )

English Definition of Sunnah

Although the word “sunnah” is Arabic, its English translation is “habitual or customary practice,” regardless of whether the practice is right or wrong. Additionally, it might signify “tradition” or “way.” “The way of the prophet” is what Muslims refer to as the sunnah. 

Sunnah originally meant “manner of acting” in English before the Islamic era. The connotation of the phrase altered with the advent of Islam. The term “sunnah” refers to any righteous example established by people in the past, including Muhammad and his companions. 

What is the Quran’s Position on Sunnah?

The Quran uses the word “Sunnah” numerous times. But the sunnah of the Prophet or Messenger is not specifically mentioned. Muslims are urged in several scriptures to obey Muhammad (PBUH). Numerous times in the Qur’an, it is stressed how important sunnah is. 

The Muslims are commanded by the Quran to adhere to the Sunnah, or to obey the Prophet (PBUH). 

Who do you believe in? obey both Allah and the Prophet.” (4:59)

According to the Qur’an, one has to heed whatever the Prophet (PBUH) brings or says and abstain from everything he forbids. 

And take what the Messenger offers you, and refrain from taking what he forbids.” (59:7) 

Various Sunnah Expressions

The term “Sunnah” is used in three passages (8:38, 15:13, and 18:55) in various contexts. For instance, 

The term “Sunnat al-Awwaleen” (سنة الاولين) is interpreted to indicate “the way or practice of the ancients.” It is stated that it “passed away” or kept unbelievers from accepting Allah. 

In five verses, the word “Sunnat Allah” (سنة الله), which means “way of God,” appears eight times. Additionally, verse (17:77) refers to “our way,” which is Allah’s method, as well as the ways of earlier Messengers and other people.

The way (Sunnah) of those we sent (messengers) before you was (this), and Our way (Sunnatuna, ) hasn’t changed.

In light of the Quran’s exposition of legal principles, the Sunah thus plays a crucial role. There is no dispute that the Sunnah frequently affirms the Quran. Sunnah, such as Salat, Zakat, Hajj, and Riba, explains and clarifies the Quran.

Islamic prayers

The term “Sunah” (سنة) is also used in Islam to denote obligatory or voluntary religious obligations. Salat As-Sunah is one example (صلاة السنة). The scholars frequently refer to “Mustahab (مستحب)” describing various admirable activities, such as offering in addition to five prayers, as being “the way” of Islam as well. 

As a result, Allah SWT commanded us to adhere to the Sunah and stay away from anything that has been forbidden. Some sunah prayers need five obligatory prayers to be offered, such as four Rakat before Zuhr (ظهر) and two after. Certain sunah prayers are offered at specific times, such as at night or during a drought. Similar to this, some sunah prayers include Tahajjud (تهجد), Taraweeh (صلاة ترويح), Kusuf and Khusuf (صلاة الكسوف ), and Istisqa (صلاة استسقاء).

Value of the Sunnah

Sunah and the Quran have a strong link, according to Wazakir’s teachers. It is a delineation and expansion of the Quranic passages. If the Quran’s words have the potential to mean more than one thing or to convey confusing meanings. In such a situation, Sunah is the sole resource needed. 

  • Understanding the Quran is not likely until and unless we adhere to the Sunah. Sunah explains the tenets of the Holy Quran in the right way. 
  • The verses of the Quran provide a general overview of prayer, ablution, hajj, zakat, and other related topics. Sunah thus gives us a thorough understanding of how to pray, do ablution, perform the hajj, utter the proper prayers, etc.
  • In the Quran, Allah gives clear instructions on how to obey His Prophet (PBUH). Muslims therefore cannot live true to Islam without also practicing Sunah and the Quran. So, abandoning the sunnah is equivalent to abandoning the Quran.

Benefits of Adhering to the Sunnah

A believer’s life is greatly shaped and impacted by the customs, sayings, and habits of the Prophet (PBUH). For Muslims who follow the Sunah, there are long-term benefits. 

  • The sunah is what makes up Allah’s graces in this life and the next. 
  • The Sunah will point those who follow it in the proper route. Heaven will always be his reward. 
  • As per the Holy Qur’an,

It will be a tremendous accomplishment for whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger to be permitted entry into gardens where rivers flow to live there (forever)”. (4:13)  

Another statement made by the Prophet was, “He who obeys me (is like the one who) enters Paradise, and he who disobeys me refuses to enter paradise.” (Bukhari). 

During this existence, one will also be able to enjoy the sweetness of the Sunah. The Prophet’s method is ideal in that it offers advantages on the levels of the body, the spirit, and the mind.  

The Sunah offers total direction. Anyone who adheres to it will never deviate. According to Muhammad (PBUH), “I have left among you two things; as long as you hold fast to them, you will never err The two are the Quran and the Sunnah “

various Sunnahs

According to “fiqh,” there are three different forms of Elsunah:

  • Sunnah Al-Qauliyah The Sunnah in this sense is a synonym of “Hadith,” and it refers to the sayings of Muhammad (PBUH) that have been recorded. These are the Prophet’s (PBUH) admonitions intended for laws and regulations.
  • Sunnah Al-Fi’liyyah The Prophet (PBUH)’s deeds, including his prayer, fasting, and hajj, as well as worldly deeds with a legal purpose.
  • According to Sunnah Al-Taqririyyah This kind is the Prophet’s (PBUH) blessing of the Companions’ customs. Two processes resulted in the approval
  • when the Prophet (PBUH) remained mute and did not object to any course of conduct.
  • When He (PBUH) expressed his gladness and expressed his appreciation for a companion’s deed.

For instance, the Prophet (PBUH) did not object when two boys played with spears in the masjid. 

Sunah is categorized based on how it was transmitted.

List of the Sunnah

which the All-Powerful said 

“Indeed, you have a good example to follow in the Prophet of Allah” (33:21)

The Prophet (PBUH) exemplified religion in its ideal form. We should therefore model our behavior and morality after his by looking at him. The list of Elsunah that we can practice on a daily basis is provided below.

  1. Making a donation
  2. the practice of sewak before worship.
  3. responding to the call to prayer.
  4. Prayers before entering and leaving the mosque.
  5. Funeral benedictions .
  6. cleansing prior to a bath.
  7. preventing rage.
  8. eliminating danger from the road.
  9. face washing three times.
  10. Before drinking water and eating food, make a prayer.
  11. Forgiveness.

the ideal example for Christians, therefore. Elsunah serves as the foundation for all of Islam’s practices, including the most banal ones. Says the Holy Prophet (PBUH) 

فمن رغب عن سنتي فليس مني 

“Whoever turns from my Elsunah is not of me,” the prophet said. (Muslim; Bukharian)

Hadith vs. Sunnah

Hadith and Elsunah are frequently used interchangeably. Elsunah and hadith are closely related because both were given by the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Without studying Elsunah, one cannot study hadith. These two phrases are frequently used synonymously by academics. 

  • Elsunah refers to the Prophet’s (PBUH) deeds, endorsements, pronouncements, and attitudes. 
  • The hadith, on the other hand, is the documentation of reports and comprises his wise sayings, comments, etc. Later generations read and analyzed these reports that the Companions and followers had prepared. 
  • Elsunah refers to the customs and practices that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and his Companions imitated. 
  • Elsunah is the result of his (PBUH) deeds, which make him a wonderful leader, a kind person, a tolerant religious lecturer, and a dedicated politician. His (PBUH) statements do not at all conflict with his behavior. 
  • As a result, Elsunah is the practical part of Muhammad’s (PBUH) life, whereas the hadith is the theoretical.
  • Sayyid Nasr asserts that the Prophet (PBUH)’s words are strengthened by the hadith. While Elsunah describes his words and deeds as well as the pre-Islamic customs he condoned. 

Elsunah is so frequently used as a synonym for hadith. Since most of our beloved Prophet’s (PBUH) character qualities are known from depictions of him, 

Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah Meaning

A group of Muslims known as “Ahlus Elsunah Wal Jamaah” (اهل السنة والجماعة ) adheres to the Prophet’s (PBUH) direct Elsunah in all of their words, deeds, and beliefs until the day of judgement. These are the Sunni community members who follow the tradition. Some Ahlus Sunnah Muslim scholars reportedly used the term “Elsunah” narrowly, including Imam Abu Hanifa, Abu Dawud, and Abu Nasr Al-Marwazi. As opposed to the tenets of non-Sunni sects, they made reference to Sunni doctrine. 

As a result, “Ahlus Elsunah Wal Jamaah” (اهل السنة والجماعة) are those who are persistent in their commitment to Elsunah. They continue to adhere to Elsunah and do not innovate in terms of religion.


In a nutshell, Elsunnah is a Prophetic tradition to which the Ummah was commanded by the Quran.

“Say, (O Muhammad), “If you love Allah, then follow me. Allah will love you and pardon your sins,” replied the All-Powerful Allah. And Allah is Merciful and Forgiving. (Al-Imran). 

According to Hassan Basri, “Following the Elsunah of His Prophet (PBUH) is a symbol of their devotion for Allah. Because the degree of a believer’s devotion to the Prophet (PBUH) might be used to gauge their status. Therefore, Allah will elevate him in accordance with how closely he is adhering to Elsunah. 

Take advantage of online Islamic classes to read and learn about Islam, the Quran, and the Sunnah from qualified teachers at Wazkar Academy.

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