The Relationship Between Quran & Sunna
The relationship between the Quran and Sunnah in Islam is highly sophisticated and interconnected. The Quran and Sunnah work together to provide a complete and comprehensive guidance for Muslims to live their lives according to the teachings of Islam.
This relationship is essential to understand the Quran and apply it in the right manner, as it shapes the foundation of Islamic belief and practice. The Quran is the word of God and the Sunna, on the other hand, is the way of life or example of the Prophet Muhammad, based on his sayings, actions, and tacit approvals.
Aisha, the beloved wife of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), once said: "His (i.e., Prophet Muhammad's) character was the Quran." (Sahih Muslim) This statement further emphasizes the idea that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) not only recited and taught the Quran, but he also lived by its principles and values in his daily life. His character and actions reflected the guidance and teachings found in the Quran, making him a walking example of its message.
The relationship between the Quran and Sunnah is so sophisticated that the two are often referred to as "the two weighty things" (al-thaqalain) in Islam. Muslims are encouraged to follow both the Quran and Sunnah in their daily lives to achieve a deeper understanding of Islam and to live a life that is pleasing to Allah.
The Quran provides Muslims with a comprehensive framework for their beliefs, worship, ethics, and morality. Its teachings form the basis of Islamic theology, law, and spirituality. The Quran itself stresses the importance of following the Prophet Muhammad's example, which is known as the Sunna:
"Say, [O Muhammad], 'If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.'" (Quran 3:31)
The Sunna provides further elaboration on the Quranic teachings and demonstrates how the Quranic principles can be applied in daily life. It serves as a practical guide for Muslims to follow the teachings of the Quran in their daily lives. The Sunna includes the Hadith, which are collections of the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad.
One example of how Sunna explains a revelation in practical life can be seen in the concept of prayer (Salah) in Islam. The Quran lays down the basic principles of Salah and its importance, but the details of how to perform the prayer are explained in the Sunna through the actions and words of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). For instance, the Quran instructs Muslims to "establish prayer"
"And establish prayer and give zakah and bow with those who bow [in worship and obedience]." Quran 2:43), but it does not provide the specific details of how to perform the prayer, such as the number of units (Rak'ahs) or the specific words to recite during each part of the prayer. These details are provided by the Sunna through the examples and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as recorded in the Hadith literature.
Thus, the Sunna supplements the Quranic verses on prayer by providing practical guidance on how to perform the prayer in a manner consistent with the Prophet's example. This shows the complementary relationship between the Quran and Sunna in guiding the practical aspects of Islamic worship and daily life.
Muslim scholars consider the Quran and Sunna as complementary sources of guidance, with the Sunna serving as a means of understanding and applying the Quranic teachings. The Prophet Muhammad's actions and sayings have been inspired by Allah and are therefore considered to have the same level of authority as the Quran. The Quran itself acknowledges the importance of following the Prophet Muhammad's example:
"Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah, you have an excellent example to follow for whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah often." (Quran 33:21)
Islamic scholars have developed a methodology for deriving legal rulings from the Quran and Sunna, known as the Shariah. The Quran and Sunna are the primary sources of Islamic law, with the Sunna providing additional elaboration and clarification on Quranic principles. The importance of following the Quran and Sunna is emphasized in the following Hadith:
"I have left among you two things, as long as you hold fast to them, you will never go astray: the Book of Allah and my Sunna." (Hadith, Malik)
We have to understand that the Sunna has the same level of authority after the Quran and is essential for understanding and implementing the Quranic teachings.
The analogy suggests that, just as a train needs two rails to run parallel to each other to complete the journey, the Quran and Sunnah work together to provide a comprehensive and complete understanding of Islamic teachings. The Quran provides the foundational principles and values of Islam, while the Sunnah provides practical examples of how these principles can be applied in daily life.
In this way, the Quran and Sunnah are intertwined and complementary to each other, providing a comprehensive and holistic approach to Islamic guidance.
"O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result." (Quran 4:59)
Maintaining a strong relationship between the Quran and Sunna in one's daily life is crucial for Muslims to follow the teachings of Islam properly. Here are some ways that Muslims can maintain this relationship:
1. Regular Quranic recitation and study: Muslims should regularly recite and study the Quran to gain a better understanding of its teachings. This includes studying the Quranic verses in their original Arabic language and reading commentaries on the Quran to gain a deeper understanding of its meaning.
2. Studying the Sunna: Muslims should also study the Sunna, including the Hadith collections, to gain a deeper understanding of the Prophet Muhammad's example and how to apply it in daily life.
3. Following the Sunna in daily actions: Muslims should strive to follow the Prophet Muhammad's example in their daily actions, including in their personal and social lives. This includes following his teachings on etiquette, manners, and moral conduct.
4. Seeking knowledge from qualified sources: Muslims should seek knowledge from qualified scholars who have a deep understanding of the Quran and Sunna. They can provide guidance on how to apply Islamic teachings in one's daily life.
5. Applying the teachings of the Quran and Sunna in daily life: Muslims should strive to apply the teachings of the Quran and Sunna in their daily lives, including in their interactions with others, their work, and their personal conduct. This includes following Islamic teachings on honesty, justice, and compassion.
There has been a growing movement among some Muslims to reject the role of the Sunnah and follow Quranism. However, this approach comes with several disadvantages and potential pitfalls. Firstly, the Quran was revealed over a period of 23 years and contains general principles that need to be understood and applied in context. Without the guidance of the Sunnah, it is easy to misinterpret and misapply the teachings of the Quran. Secondly, the Sunnah provides practical examples of how to implement the teachings of the Quran in daily life, which is crucial for Muslims who need guidance on how to perform acts of worship and conduct their daily affairs in accordance with Islamic teachings. Thirdly, ignoring the Sunnah means rejecting the central role of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who was chosen by Allah as a guide for humanity. Finally, Quranism can lead to divisions within the Muslim community, as it rejects the consensus of the majority of Muslims throughout history, who have always considered the Sunnah an essential source of Islamic guidance. Therefore, it is vital to exercise caution with Quranism and other deviant movements within Islam, seeking guidance from reliable and trustworthy scholars who have studied and understood the Quran and Sunnah in-depth and following the mainstream understanding of Islam based on the Quran, Sunnah, and the consensus of the ummah.
The idea of following the Quran alone without considering the Sunnah is known as Quranism, and it is considered a deviant and misguided movement within Islam.
Yes, following Quranism and rejecting the Sunnah can lead to a distorted mentality that may lead to extremism, terrorism, or atheism. This is because Quranism often leads to a narrow, literalist interpretation of the Quran, which may not take into account the broader context of Islamic teachings and the role of the Sunnah.
Extremist groups such as ISIS have used a literalist interpretation of the Quran to justify their violent and terrorist actions, ignoring the role of the Sunnah and the consensus of the Muslim community. Similarly, rejecting the Sunnah may lead to questioning the authenticity of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his role as a guide for humanity, which may ultimately lead to atheism.
Therefore, it is important for Muslims to approach the Quran and Sunnah with a balanced and nuanced understanding, taking into account the broader context of Islamic teachings, and seeking guidance from reliable and trustworthy scholars who have studied and understood the Quran and Sunnah in depth.