Did the Prophet draw the attention to the sunna?
The way of the Prophet is the way of God, so following his way means walking
in the luminous atmosphere of the Divine Message. For this reason, rejection
of the Sunna implies disobedience to God. This is stated by the Prophet himself:
Whoever obeys me, obeys God; and whoever disobeys me, disobeys God. 3 Such a
disobedience results in punishment of Hell:
The whole of my nation will enter Paradise, except those who have rebelled.
When asked who rebelled, the Prophet answered: �Whoever obeys me will enter
Paradise; and whoever disobeys me surely has rebelled.� 4
As explained earlier, the Sunna is the link between the Muslims of the past
and the future. Only by following the Sunna can the Muslims maintain their
unity. Concerning this, God�s Messenger declares:
Those who, among you, survive me will witness many disputes and disagreements.
It is, therefore, incumbent upon you to follow my way and the way of my rightly-guided
and rightly-guiding successors. Hold firm to that way, cling to it with your
Following the Sunna gains much more importance especially when Islam is attacked
and the Muslims lose the upper hand in the world. The Messenger states that
at a time when the Muslim community breaks with Islam and consequently disintegrates,
the one who holds firm to his Sunna gains the reward of a martyr. 6
The Sunna being so important and vital in the maintenance of the Islamic
life, whether individually or collectively, those who still dare to criticize
it should be asked, as the Qur�an asks unbelievers: Where are you headed?
Other hadiths drawing the attention to the importance of following the Sunna:
The best of words is the Book of God and the best of ways to follow is the
way of Muhammad. The worst of affairs is innovations (against my Sunna). Each
innovation is a deviation. (Muslim, �Jumu�a,� 43; Nasa�i, ��Iydayn,� 22; Abu
Dawud, �Sunna,� 5.)
Everyone of my Umma will enter Paradise, except the one who rebels. �Who
is the one who rebels, O Messenger of God?� they asked. He replied: �Whoever
obeys me will enter Para-dise; whoever disobeys me means that he rebels.� (Bukhari,
The like of me in respect of my Umma is the like of the man who has lighted
a fire. Insects and butterflies flock into it. I hold you by the skirts [of
your garments to keep you away from the fire] but you pull yourselves into it.
(Muslim, �Fada�il,� 17,18; Bukhari, �Riqaq,� 26)
Let me not find any of you seated in their armchairs, who when something
I ordered or something I forbade is reported to them, respond: �We have no knowledge
of it. So, we fol-low whatever we find in the Book of God.� (Abu Dawud, �Sunna,�
5; I. Ma�ja, �Muqaddima,� 2; Tirmidhi, ��Ilm,� 10)
Take care! Surely I have been given the Book and its like together with it.
(Abu Dawud, �Sunna,� 5)
Those who outlive me will witness many controversies. You must follow my
way and the way of the rightly guided successors (Caliphs) who will guide to
truth. Hold fast to it and cling to it stubbornly with your teeth. Refrain from
newly invented things (in religion). Each thing newly invented in religion is
an innovation and each innovation is a deviation. (Tir-midhi, ��Ilm,� 16; Abu
Dawud, �Sunna,� 5; I. Ma�ja, �Muqaddima,� 6)
I have left to you two precious things � you will never go astray as long
as you hold fast to them � the Book of God and the Sunna of His Prophet. (Imam
Malik, Muwatta�, �Qadar,� 3)
3. Bukhari, �Ahkam,� 1; I. Ma�ja, �Muqaddima,� 1.
4. Bukhari, �I�tisam,� 2; I. Hanbal, 2.361.
5. Abu Dawud, �Sunna,� 5; Tirmidhi, ��Ilm,� 16; I. Ma�ja, �Muqaddima,� 6.
6. Abu Nu�aym, Hilya, 8.200; Daylami, Musnad al-Firdaws, 4.198.