1. Definition of the Sunnah, and the History of the Sunnah, and the
Efforts of the Scholars in verifying the Sunnah.
For the above issues, please see the following article: The Sunnah.
One thing that must be mentioned here is that many Muslims get confused
between the general term of Sunnah, which includes all the sayings and
actions of the Prophet, and between the term Sunnah when used in fiqh
issues where it means "recommended". For example, since the Prophet used
to pray 2 rak'at before fajr prayer, we say that it is Sunnah for us to
pray these 2 rak'at, which means that it is recommended to pray these 2
rak'at and not obligatory.
In this article we are discussing the Sunnah
in the general sense, and not in the fiqh sense. We are talking about the
Sunnah as a source of Islamic legislation. Therefore, when we say it is
obligatory to follow the Sunnah, we are talking about the Prophets
commands for us in the Sunnah and not about the recommended actions such
as the 2 rak'at before fajr for example. Please make sure that you
understand the difference here.
2. What does the Authority of the Sunnah mean?
In Arabic, the wording is Hojjiyat As-Sunnah.
This basically means that the Sunnah can be used as evidence in Shariah,
and that Allah (swt) has ordered us to follow the Sunnah and avoid
anything it has prohibited for us. In other words, this means that it is
obligatory on every Muslim to believe in what the Sunnah tells us, and to
act according to the Sunnah in all aspects of our life and ensure that we
do not commit any actions that contradict the Sunnah.
3. The Sunnah and it's place in relation to the Holy Qur'an:
The Sunnah can be divided into three parts:
This is the part of the Sunnah that confirms what is in the Qur'an, and
This part of the Sunnah explains the holy Qur'an and the various Shariah
injunctions that come in the holy Qur'an. It includes four parts:
expanding on what is mentioned only briefly in the holy Qur'an,
explaining difficult verses or issues, putting limits on general
statements in the Qur'an and finally specifying generalities in the
Sunnah that brings
new legislation. This part of the Sunnah is the one that brings new
legislation, and new Shariah that is not in the holy Qur'an.