The Quran is the primary religious text in Islam and is the word of God revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through the Angel Jibril. It is the ultimate source of guidance and serves as the foundation of Islamic belief, morality, and law.
There are other Islamic texts that can help in better understanding the Quran for ordinary Muslims. Some of these texts are:
1. Hadith, or as known as verbal Sunna or the sayings and approvals of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are recorded in the Hadith. The Hadith is considered the second most important source of Islamic law after the Quran.
The Prophet (peace be upon Him) said: "Verily, I have been given the Quran and something like it along with it." (Sunan Ibn Majah)
This Hadith indicates that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was given not only the Quran but also additional guidance and teachings (the Sunna) to help explain and implement the Quran teachings.
Hadith refers to the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), , as recorded by his companions, and later transmitted through a chain of narrators. Hadith provides valuable insights into the Prophet's life and teachings and helps to clarify the meaning of certain verses in the Quran.
2. Practical Sunna, which is the actions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), provide valuable insights into the Prophet's understanding of the Quran and how he applied its teachings in his own life. Practical Sunna offers practical guidance on how to follow the Quranic principles in our practical daily lives.
"He who obeys the Messenger has indeed obeyed Allah..." (Surah An-Nisa, 4:80)
For example, the Quran instructs Muslims to pray, but it does not provide detailed instructions on how to perform the prayer. Practical Sunna, on the other hand, provide specific guidance on the performance of the prayer, including the number of rak’as (units of prayer) and the specific actions and recitations involved. The practical Sunna provides a roadmap for how to live a fulfilling and righteous life.
3. Tafsir, which refers to the interpretation or explanation of the Quran. It provides context and details about the verses of the Quran, including their historical and linguistic context, and the reason for their revelation.
"And We have sent down to you the message, that you may explain clearly to the people what is sent for them, and that they may give thought." (Quran 16:44)
4. Seerah, it refers to the biography of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It provides an account of the life and teachings of the Prophet, including his character, manners, and interactions with others.
"And We did not send any messenger except to be obeyed by permission of Allah..." (Quran 4:64)
Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said: "The character of the Prophet of Allah was the Quran. His behavior was the Quran. His manners were the Quran. Whoever saw him, thought he was the Quran walking." (Musnad Ahmad)
5. Sunnah, it refers to the way of life and practices of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It includes his actions, sayings, and teachings, and is considered an important source of Islamic law and ethics.
Abdullah ibn Mas'ud (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "Whoever holds fast to my Sunnah at a time when my Ummah is misguided will have the reward of a hundred martyrs." (Al-Bayhaqi)
The Prophet PBUH said: "I have left among you two things; you will never go astray as long as you hold fast onto them: the Book of Allah and my Sunnah." (Al-Muwatta)
This Hadith emphasizes the importance of holding onto both the Quran and Sunna to stay on the right path and avoid going astray.
6. The Sunna of the righteous caliphs, it refers to the example and teachings of the first four caliphs of Islam, namely Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali (may Allah be pleased with them). It includes their actions, sayings, and teachings, as they followed the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and implemented his teachings in their lives. Following their example is seen as an essential part of understanding and practicing Islam correctly.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Follow my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided caliphs after me; hold onto it firmly. And beware of newly invented matters, for every innovation is a misguidance." (Sunan Ibn Majah)
7. Fiqh, it refers to Islamic jurisprudence, or the study of Islamic law. It provides guidance on various aspects of Muslim life, including Islamic jurisprudence of human interactions and Islamic worship law.
"And whatever the Messenger has given you - take; and whatever he has forbidden you - refrain from." (Quran 59:7)
8. Aqidah, it refers to Islamic theology, or the beliefs and principles of Islam. It includes beliefs about God, the prophets, the angels, and the hereafter.
"Allah witnesses that there is no deity except Him, and [so do] the angels and those of knowledge - [that He is] maintaining [creation] in justice. There is no deity except Him, the Exalted in Might, the Wise." (Quran 3:18)
9. Adab, it refers to Islamic ethics and manners. It provides guidance on proper conduct and behavior, including etiquette, courtesy, and respect for others.
"There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often." (Quran 33:21)
All these Islamic texts are important for understanding the Quran and Islam and can be studied and understood by ordinary Muslims with varying degrees of depth and expertise.
The Quran as the Sole Authority for Sharia: Examining the Claim
It is wrong to follow the Quran without the Sunna because the Sunna provides practical guidance on how to understand and apply the teachings of the Quran in daily life. Ignoring the Sunna can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the Quran, which can result in ignorance, violence, and deviation from the true teachings of Islam.
For example, some extremist groups have used selective interpretations of the Quran excerpted from the context of the verses to justify acts of violence and terrorism. However, when we look at the Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) Sunna, we see that he never condoned such actions and in fact taught his followers to live in peace and harmony with others.
Similarly, without the Sunna, it can be difficult to understand the context and background of certain Quranic verses. The Sunna helps to clarify the meaning and intent behind these verses and provides practical examples of how to implement them in daily life.
Those who claim that the Quran is the only authentic source of Islam are forgetting the critical role that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) played in conveying and explaining the Quranic teachings to his followers. Allah ordered us to follow the Prophet's Sunna, and it has been preserved just as the Quran has been. Ignoring the Sunna is akin to disregarding the guidance that Allah has provided us through His Prophet and can lead to a skewed and incomplete understanding of Islam.
The claim that the Quran is the sole source of Sharia is wrong and leading the umma astray for several reasons:
1. The Quran itself mentions the importance of the Prophet's Sunna in several verses. For example, in Surah Al-Ahzab,
"Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much." (Quran 33:21) This verse clearly emphasizes the importance of following the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him), which can only be done through the study and practice of his Sunna.
2. The “Quran-only” advocates or the Quranists often lack the necessary knowledge and qualifications to interpret and understand the Quran in its proper context. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the final messenger of Allah and was given the responsibility of conveying the message of the Quran to his followers. He provided commentary and explanation on the Quranic verses through his actions and sayings, which have been recorded in the Sunna. Without the necessary knowledge and understanding of the Prophet's Sunna, it can be difficult to fully comprehend the true meanings and implications of the Quranic verses.
3. The “Quran-only” advocates often promote their own personal interpretations of the Quran, which lead to division and confusion within the umma. The Sunna provides a unifying force within the Muslim community, as it is universally accepted as a source of guidance and authority. Without the Sunna, there is a risk of different unqualified individuals and groups interpreting the Quran in their own ways, which can lead to fragmentation and discord within the umma.
While the Quran is the ultimate source of guidance for Muslims, the Prophet's Sunna plays a critical role in understanding and interpreting the Quranic verses. It is important for Muslims to recognize the importance of both the Quran and the Sunna in their religious practice and understanding.
The Quran's relationship to other Islamic texts is one of interconnectedness and interdependence. Together, these texts provide a comprehensive understanding of Islam and serve as a guide for Muslims to live a fulfilling and righteous life.