Did you KNOW what SUNNAH is?!*
*“A Brief Exposition Dispelling Misconceptions around what is meant by the Sunnah”*
This is a brief exposition explaining the sound meaning of Sunnah. The fact is that many Muslims seem to be confused of what is meant by the Sunnah as a result of the ruling given by some fiqh books. According to some fiqh books, Sunnah is mustahabb (encouraged), which is deed for which the one who does it will be rewarded, but the one who does not do it will not deserve to be punished for that. Is this referring to all the Sunnahs? NO! Why? I will explain Inshaa Allah.
The Sunnah in its lexical mean: the way, the road, the practice, the method, the regular habits, the nature etc. Technically, the Sunnah is applied to the Prophet’s guidance sallallahu ‘alyhi wasalam which is engrained in a broad sense in all of his affairs or did to be way of life for us. However, the definition of Sunnah differs depending on the area of Shari`ah. In hadith terminology it means saying, action, approval, or attribute, whether physical or moral attributed to the Prophet salallahu ‘alyhi wasalam. In Usulul Fiqh terminology whatever the Prophet was reported to have said, did, or permitted others to do. In fiqh terminology it means whatever is firmly established that are optional. The Jurists use the word “Sunnah” when explaining the ruling on doing a specific action as being liked or encouraged.
Actions of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasalam include the acts of worship, such as the way to perform Salat, Hajj, Zakat, the etiquette of fasting, etc. Allah makes Salat compulsory, the details of the Salat is not mentioned in the Quran but in the Sunnah. Since number of rakat in each Salat is not mentioned in the Quran but only mentioned in the Sunnah of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasalam, can we say four rakats of Zuhur is OPTIONAL one can pray one rakat as Zuhur? No! Because it is against the Sunnah. Al-Subki defined the Sunnah to be: “The Sunnah in religious context means: what have been known as obligatory or preferable from the saying of the Prophet” (al-ibhaaj fi sharh al-minhaaj: 1/36). Hence, salat comprises conditions, pillars, obligatory and recommendable actions, and most were derived from the Sunnah in compliance with binding expression of the terms used by the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasalam.
Usulul Fiqh provides standard principles for correct deduction of the rules of fiqh from the Shari’ah sources. Thus, Fiqh is the end product of Usulul Fiqh. Al Ahkam at-Taklifiyyah (Wajib (Obligatory), Sunnah/Mandub (Recommendable), Haram (Prohibited), Makruh (Reprehensible) and Mubah (Permissible)) are obligation creating rules, and/or set of standard values to which every believers ought to obey, and these were derived from the Quran and Sunnah. From juristic reasoning, there is no difference of opinion among the Jurists concerning the fact that some Sunnah actions are more confirmed and bring greater reward than others.
Jurists have classified Sunnah according to the nature, these include: Sunan Wajibah (obligatory) like male circumcision, letting the beard grow; Sunan Mu-akkadah (Emphasised) like two rakats of fajr; Sunan Ghair Mu-akkadah (Non-Emphasised) like two rakats before ‘Asr; Sunan Mustahabbah (desirable) like putting on one’s clothes from the right side, using siwaak; and, Sunan Mubaha (Permissible) like eating food etc.
My brethren, the Sunnah may be obligatory or recommended – all you need is to ask those who knows and don’t ask anybody. Imam Malik said: “The Sunnah is like the Ark of Noah, Whosoever embarks upon it is saved and whosoever refuses it drowned!
*Ref:* Al-sunnah wa Makanatuha fi al-Tashri’ al-Islami (p.47). Tahreer ‘Uloom al-Hadeeth, Majallat al-Manaar, 30/673. Tareekh Dimashq by Ibn ‘Asaakir, 35/183, al-Lucknawi, Tuhfa al-Abrar, chapter entitled “The Legal Status of the Emphasized sunnah and of its Abandonment” (Hukm al-sunnah al-Mu’akkada wa Tarkiha) (p. 87-92). Fataawa ibn as-Salaah, 1/139-