Monday, January 26, 2009

Common Sense and the Sunnah

Asalaam walikum all. Before we get into this, I'm not scholar nor am I vast in knowledge but I have some knowledge on which I can talk about, plus I have common sense :P. So anything here is not final, but Im here to help us all educate ourselves and think for ourselves. K lets proceed.

Oh I had to make a note about this. The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) was the best teachers of them all on how to live a righteous life. He would never stray us away from the right path, and all his actions were good and should should use him as example how of to conduct ourselves. Theres two types of Sunnah if you guys dont know, theres sunnah of worship and sunnah of culture. Sunnah of worship is sunnah that gets you closer to Allah, such as sunnah salaats, sunnah fasting and etc; all directly related to getting closer to Allah. Sunnah of culture is the culture of the Prophet, which is associated from where culture, such as throbes, eating dates, and etc. These are not directly associated with getting closer to Allah, these are just acts that he did which is associated with his culture (Arabian).

This is were the problem lies with some Muslims. Some Muslims take sunnah of culture as sunnah of worship and try to make this sound for all Muslims to practice, most of these people dont have common sense. There is nothing wrong with follow the sunnah of culture but this not better than following your own culture, as long as it falls along the lines of Islamic teachings. A person wearing a throbe and knitted kufi is not getting closer to Allah than a person wearing a Dashiki and leather kufi. A person wearing a one strap sandal (which the Prophet wore) is not better than a person wearing a two strap sandal. Eating with your hands is not better than using utensils. People, the Prophet was a person just like the rest of us, but Allah chose him to be the messenger of the people because he held certain characteristics which was well suited for the position, plus other reasons which I do not know. But regardless he was an individual and he had preferences, and Im sure his purpose was not to make everyone a clone. His wives came from diverse backgrounds, this is a indicator that hello he was not sameness besides religion of course. Islam is not here to strip you of your identity but to "upgrade" yourself to a higher level of awareness with Allah and yourself. Islam embraces diversity. Remember that. The sunnah of the Prophet embraced diversity in women, look at his wives. They were from different backgrounds, tribes, and ages. Some people forget that and discriminate against each other based on ethnicity or better yet families discriminate against potential spouses for their children based on ethnicity yet they ignore this sunnah but put much emphasis on using miswak and wearing pants that fall right above the ankle. This is another issue which I will get to soon (don't worry).

I love this post by raatkirani2005 on islamicaweb

"I'm not narrowing it down. I totally agree that mannerisms and behavior of the Prophet (pbuh) are important to follow. But were ALL of his actions practical for everyone? Are you a 25 year old really longing and actively looking to marry a 40-year old widow with two adult sons, just so you can be like the Prophet (pbuh)? Woe be to the Muslim Chechen construction worker who would be risking life and limb by wearing a long robe in the harsh winters while building a tower. Assuming all other things are equal, you're telling me our Chechen friend is not earning as much barakah/ajr/thawab as the Saudi real esate agent who's wearing a thobe? Islam reaches the far corners of the earth. It would make no sense alienating the national dresses of all non-Arab Muslims as being "not good as good as..." I really don't think Allah swt wants us to be clones of one type of culture. Islam thrives in all cultural practices, whether that be dress, food, physical appearance, etc. Have you made the switch to medieval Arab food? Why not each EXACTLY what the Prophet pbuh ate? Do you see what I'm getting at? Too much importance IS paid to ritualistic aspects of the Sunnah, rather than the important principles. I'm not trying to limit anyone's ideas of what earn thawab, but I'm with those that say, a tooth twig is probably not one of the ways."

MashAllah this sister hit the points. It is impossible to follow all the actions of the Prophet, but we can take heed of the actions that he did which is beneficial in gaining stronger iman (clothing, food, etc are not really something which is going to break you or make you in your iman (if it falls within Islamic principles of course). Following all the actions of the Prophet is not all forms of Sunnah worship and if you cant not distinguish the sunnah of which is actually getting you closer to Allah and the sunnah of culture you are in a very dangerous state, for you can't take information and utilize to the best of your needs which means you lack some common sense. Doing such can fall under a form of worship...which is dangerous.

So use common sense people, use what the Prophet has order us and recommended us to do and try implement this into our lives for its only beneficial to our well being. But do not take it upon yourself to imitate every single thing that he did not tell us to do for not all of his actions are not going to get you closer to Allah, like having four braids instead of five. Common sense is not taught in the Quran or sunnah, its either you have it or you don't. The Prophet is an example for us to follow which Allah has blessed us with. But remember he is a person, like all of us, having likes and dislikes. So use the information provided and try to understand the meaning of them, dont just take them blindly.

One other note I want to hit, theres a hadith in which it says help your fellow Muslims brothers when they are in need of help. Ok with everything there are limits. You do not help a Muslim who has raped someone and stolen money, and try to bail them out of jail. Hello you're retarded if you help this person. The meaning of the hadith is help those who are in true need of help in which they did no harm to others or caused upon themselves. Not help those Muslims who have done wrong and take part in helping them cover up or participate in their wrong doing. Some muslims seriously take it this far, and its ridiculous. I call them retarded muslims for they take everything word for word and do not use common sense.

Ok Im done now, sorry I know this is not in good format, but hopefully I made clear what I wanted to point out about the sunnah of worship and culture. InshAllah this was of some help. k love you guys, peace.


Millz said...

Salaams! Great Post! I totally agree.

Bella C. Joe said...

Assalamu alaikum sister...interesting post-- great point=-)
however, just want to let you know that there is only one Sunnah and the Sunnah talks about everything the Prophet(PBUH) did-- complete way he did everything(handled himself in the times of anger, how he ate, how he greeted his companions, how he treated his family/wives, how he prayed, sat, spoke, cleaned himself and everything else you can possible think of. No culture--the problem is people try to lock Islam inside of their culture. i agree, we cannot do everything as the Prophet (PBUH)--but we can try as much as we can inshaAllah and our actions of good is pleasing to Allah(SWT)--which inshaAllah can bring you closer to Jannah. Remember the Prophet(PBUH) was chosen by Allah (STW) to show us the way of good manners and character to help us inshaAllah perfect our deen. Nothing goes unnoticed by Allah (swt). InshaAllah we should do as much good as we can and try to follow the sunnah, inshaAllah, as much as we can--and try to have our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds inshaAllah without being too overbearing all while considering the new day and time we're living in.

Almallena said...

I agree with you sis, but Sunnah means tradition of the Prophet, which theres tradition of what he liked to do that's not directly linked to religion and then tradition of whorship, but of the sunnahs were recorded. Like the theres a story about him disliking lizard meat, but the point of the story is that he did not tell others not to eat it because he didnt like it, for it was just his personal taste. That was his tradition of not eating lizard meat, the same can go for him wearing four braids, he did not say you cant wear more than four braids, but some people say ohh you cant wear more than four, for he didnt wear more than four. This is his just his personal preference, not something that relates to pleasing Allah, stw. This is what Im aiming at, stop getting sunnah of worship mixed up with sunnah of customs. But yeahhh sunnah of character which is like worship should be followed, no doubt. ;) For he had the best character, subhanAllah!

Almallena said...

LOL yeahhh I know what you mean, yeah theres no book separating the sunnah of worship and cutoms, for its all combined in one, yeah. But we must take heed of what is necessary, like character worship, not get bogged down in the little stuff which was his preferences that aren't going to make us get closer to Allah.

Aalya said...

I really like this post... mashallah it is so true. People are focusing too much on the trivial things! Like the pants falling below the ankles, I mean really maybe your pants are short but you do not keep the prayers or give charity... Does the Quran not emphasize salat and zakat over and over again? Inshallah we can all strive to be better Muslims, and live how Allah wants us to live!

Mohamed said...

Schacht asserts that hadiths, particularly from Muhammad, did not form, together with the Qur'an, the original bases of Islamic law and jurisprudence as is traditionally assumed. Rather, hadiths were an innovation begun after some of the legal foundation had already been built. "The ancient schools of law shared the old concept of sunna or ‘living tradition’ as the ideal practice of the community, expressed in the accepted doctrine of the school." And this ideal practice was embodied in various forms, but certainly not exclusively in the hadiths from the Prophet. Schacht argues that it was not until al-Shafi`i that ‘sunna’ was exclusively identified with the contents of hadiths from the Prophet to which he gave, not for the first time, but for the first time consistently, overriding authority. Al-Shafi`i argued that even a single, isolated hadith going back to Muhammad, assuming its isnad is not suspect, takes precedence over the opinions and arguments of any and all Companions, Successors, and later authorities. Schacht notes that:

Two generations before Shafi`i reference to traditions from Companions and Successors was the rule, to traditions from the Prophet himself the exception, and it was left to Shafi`i to make the exception the principle. We shall have to conclude that, generally and broadly speaking, traditions from Companions and Successors are earlier than those from the Prophet.

Based on these conclusions, Schacht offers the following schema of the growth of legal hadiths. The ancient schools of law had a ‘living tradition’ (sunna) which was largely based on individual reasoning (ra'y). Later this sunna came to be associated with and attributed to the earlier generations of the Successors and Companions. Later still, hadiths with isnads extending back to Muhammad came into circulation by traditionists towards the middle of the second century. Finally, the efforts of al-Shafi`i and other traditionists secured for these hadiths from the Prophet supreme authority.

Goldziher maintains that, while reliance on the sunna to regulate the empire was favoured, there was still in these early years of Islam insufficient material going back to Muhammad himself. Scholars sought to fill the gaps left by the Qur'an and the sunna with material from other sources. Some borrowed from Roman law. Others attempted to fill these lacunae with their own opinions (ra'y). This latter option came under a concerted attack by those who believed that all legal and ethical questions (not addressed by the Qur'an) must be referred back to the Prophet himself, that is, must be rooted in hadiths.These supporters of hadiths (ahl al-hadith) were extremely successful in establishing hadiths as a primary source of law and in discrediting ra'y. But in many ways it was a Pyrrhic victory. The various legal madhhabs were loath to sacrifice their doctrines and so they found it more expedient to fabricate hadiths or adapt existing hadiths in their support. Even the advocates of ra'y were eventually persuaded or cajoled into accepting the authority of hadiths and so they too "found" hadiths which substantiated their doctrines that had hitherto been based upon the opinions of their schools’ founders and teachers. The insistence of the advocates of hadiths that the only opinions of any value were those which could appeal to the authority of the Prophet resulted in the situation that "where no traditional matter was to be had, men speedily began to fabricate it. The greater the demand, the busier was invention with the manufacture of apocryphal traditions in support of the respective theses."

In summary, Goldziher sees in hadiths "a battlefield of the political and dynastic conflicts of the first few centuries of Islam; it is a mirror of the aspirations of various parties, each of which wants to make the Prophet himself their witness and authority." Likewise,

Every stream and counter-stream of thought in Islam has found its expression in the form of a hadith, and there is no difference in this respect between the various contrasting opinions in whatever field. What we learnt about political parties holds true too for differences regarding religious law, dogmatic points of difference etc. Every ra'y or hawa, every sunna and bid`a has sought and found expression in the form of hadith.

And even though Muslim traditionalists developed elaborate means to scrutinize the mass of traditions that were then extant in the Muslim lands, they were "able to exclude only part of the most obvious falsifications from the hadith material." Goldziher, for all his scepticism, accepted that the practice of preserving hadiths was authentic and that some hadiths were likely to be authentic. However, having said that, Goldziher is adamant in maintaining that:

In the absence of authentic evidence it would indeed be rash to attempt to express the most tentative opinions as to which parts of the hadith are the oldest material, or even as to which of them date back to the generation immediately following the Prophet’s death. Closer acquaintance with the vast stock of hadiths induces sceptical caution rather than optimistic trust regarding the material brought together in the carefully compiled collections.

Almallena said...

yeah I agree with you Aalya, having high water pants on is not going to make you better muslim if you are not praying. I mean its all about the intentions. So yeah, and going with Mohammad, some hadiths are fabricated, asturguallah. I think that when it comes to hadiths which the Prophet tells us to do, be mindful of them, and try to implement them if they are strong hadiths. Allah knows best and knows everyone's intentions.

Naseem said...

great post sister!

i once had a sister who told me it is better to eat arab food than my native trinidadian food. i was like uhhhhhh what? there aint no pork in my food and the meats halal so how hell is it any worse than your warakah einab? it was very annoying.

oh and i forget if it's new but i love the background and that pic of you is so cute!

*~Ange~* said...

i agree with that persons opinion in your post.

we dont have to do everything 100% like the prophet did. as long as we follow his EXAMPLE and do the right thing.

looktotheskiesabove said...

"You do not help a Muslim who has raped someone and stolen money, and try to bail them out of jail. Hello you're retarded if you help this person."

LOL of course lah xD

Narated By 'Abdullah bin 'Umar : Allah's Apostle said, "A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim. So he should neither oppress him nor hand him over to an oppressor. And whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs."

Narated By Anas : Allah's Apostle said, "Help your brother whether he is an oppressor or an oppressed," A man said, "O Allah's Apostle! I will help him if he is oppressed, but if he is an oppressor, how shall I help him?" The Prophet said, "By preventing him from oppressing (others), for that is how to help him"

Jazakallah khair

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