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Islamic Ideology (18 Aug 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Does The Quran Ask Us To Follow The Sunnat Of The Prophet?

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam


18 August 2017


The teaching of the religion or Allah’s Deen is through revelation of the Book to the Messengers of God or the prophets. The revelations are connected with the different phases in the prophetic mission and incidents. It was also therefore experiential learning for the prophet and the people of his times. The teaching is also by way of the stories of the previous prophets and their people. The prophet is also cited as the best model to follow since he epitomizes the Book in his words and deeds in the matter of following the religion as detailed in the Scriptures or revelations. However, when we talk about the religious requirement to follow the Sunnat of the prophets, which includes besides their example in religious matters, their personal preferences, way of dressing, dietary habits etc., is such a requirement demanded by the scriptures? Do any of the Scriptures ask us to follow the Sunnat of the prophets? Let us examine the evidence from the Quran.


Sunnat which has the trilateral root Sīnnūnnūn occurs 16 times in the Quran and only once does it refer to the practices of people as under.


“….and guide you to the [good] practices (Sunana) of those before you” 4:26


We are to follow the Quran which guides us to the good practices (Sunana) of previous people. We are not asked to follow the Sunana of good people directly, but take the guidance from the Quran. Taking guidance directly has the problem that besides good practices, people may also have a few bad practices. The prophets were also not above practices that were looked upon with disapproval by Allah as we shall see.


The remaining 15 occurrences of the word in 11 different verses, describe the Sunnat or the practice of Allah. There is no verse in the Quran that refers to the Sunnat of the prophets. The prophets follow Allah and are an example to follow in the worship of Allah and in all matters of religion but there is no command to follow their Sunnat which would include their personal ways, preferences and practices.


“Similar situations (Sunanum) [as yours] have passed on before you, so proceed throughout the earth and observe how was the end of those who denied” (3:137)


The verse above speaks about repeating patterns. History repeats itself because Allah does not change His Sunnat or ways.


Say to those Kafaru (those warring against the Prophet and hindering him) [that] if they cease (from hostilities), what has previously occurred will be forgiven for them (all their past acts of hostility and persecution). But if they return [to hostility] - then the precedent (Sunnatu) of the former [rebellious] peoples has already taken place (they have already been punished on the battle field. This verse was after the battle of Badr). 8:38

 [That is Our] established way (Sunnata) for those We had sent before you of Our messengers; and you will not find in Our way (liSunnatina) any alteration. 17:77

Also 4:26, 15:13, 18:55, 33:38, 33:62, 35:43, 40:85, 48:23,

The Command to Follow the Prophets

We are asked to follow the prophets and the prophets instruct us in the religion of Allah. The Quran asks us to follow them in their religion and not in their Sunnat.

Without doubt, among men, the nearest of kin to Abraham, are those who follow him, as are also this Prophet and those who believe: And Allah is the Protector of those who have faith. (3:68)


Say, “Allah has told the truth. So follow the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth; and he was not of the polytheists." (3:95)


And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to Allah while being a doer of good and follows the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth? And Allah took Abraham as an intimate friend. 4:125


Also 16:123 in which we are asked to follow the Millat-e-Ibrahim or his religion.


We are to follow the religion of Abraham and not his Sunnat.


Follow Jesus (pbuh) 3:53, 3:55,



Follow the Messenger Muhammad (pbuh)


Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him - it is those who will be the successful. (7:157)


Also 2:143, 3:20, 3:31


The scope of what we are asked to follow the Messenger Muhammad (pbuh) is detailed in the cited verse 7:157. It does not include the Sunnat of the prophet but the religion of Allah only.


Further Evidence That the Command to Follow the Prophets Excludes Their Sunnat


Take the example of Jesus (pbuh) who never married. If we are to follow his Sunnat, then we should also not marry. Conversely, do we marry because it is the Sunnat of our Prophet? There is no command or religious duty to marry. If we marry, it is not because it is the Sunnat of our prophet, but because there is a permission to marry and we have a need or desire to get married and a religious requirement to remain sexually restricted to only our spouse. So, follow the messenger does not mean follow the messenger in non-religious matters also.  You may, if you choose to, but that is not part of your religion.


Excellent Examples to Follow


The root is Hamza Sīnwāw (Uswatun)


The Quran asks us to follow a specific example of Abraham and his followers and the example of Muhammad (pbuh).


There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example (Uswatun Hasana) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often. (33:21)


The verse draws attention to the prophet’s example as far as belief and hope in Allah and the Last Day and Allah’s remembrance is concerned. It is in these matters particularly; the example must be followed. There is not even a hint that his Sunnat in matters outside the religion must be followed.


There has already been for you an excellent example in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people, "Indeed, we are disassociated from you and from whatever you worship other than Allah. We have denied you, and there has appeared between us and you animosity and hatred forever until you believe in Allah alone" except for the saying of Abraham to his father, "I will surely ask forgiveness for you, but I have not [power to do] for you anything against Allah. Our Lord, upon You we have relied, and to You we have returned, and to You is the destination. (60:4)


There has certainly been for you in them (Abraham and his followers) an excellent example for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day. And whoever turns away - then indeed, Allah is the Free of need, the Praiseworthy.(60:6)


There is an example of Abraham and his followers which is recommended to be followed and another example of Abraham when he prayed for his father that is mentioned with disapproval which is not to be followed.


Clearly, the cited verses of the Quran draw attention to the example of the prophets in certain matters approvingly for emulation and, with disapproval in a matter that must be avoided. These cannot be taken as a command to follow their Sunnat in matters that are not connected with the religion as enunciated in the Quran.


Following the Prophet’s Sunnat in our Salat


The Quran speaks of the requirement to offer regular Salat at prescribed times of the day, preferably in congregation. This is a religious requirement and we follow the example of our prophet because we are asked to follow his example in all religious matters. There is an unbroken tradition of offering Salat 5 times a day and we learn the same from our elders and pass on the tradition to our children. Where is the problem or scope for any dispute about it? The Quran mentions the positions also – standing, bowing, prostrating and since this is prescribed as a religious duty in which we are to follow the example of our Prophet, we do so.


The question of tradition can be disputed when the practice varies since the Shia follow a different ritual in their congregational prayer from the Sunni. Ritual is important in what we perform in congregation, else ritual has less importance. Ritual binds people and therefore important but serves no other purpose. So, if you are praying alongside the Shia, follow their ritual to bind with them and if you are praying alongside the Sunni, follow theirs.  Binding with fellow Muslims is good and you will be rewarded for it, and most certainly not punished if you follow the rituals of people other than your own sect. You can also pray occasionally with the Jews and the Christians, the only caveat being, you do not do anything that is prohibited in the Quran which is become like them leaving your own religion. 


The Quran Guides, the Ahadith Misguide


The Quran is the complete and only reliable guide to following the religion of Allah and since we are to follow our Prophet in all religious matters, there cannot be any better guide than the Book. If you follow any other book, the onus is on you that you do not go against the letter and spirit of the Quran in any manner. Beyond any doubt, the Quran does not ask us to follow the Sunnat of the Prophet or the Sunnat of any of the prophets, unless their Sunnat pertains to the religion and the commands and prohibitions of Allah. Even in these matters, you are asked to follow their personal example from personal experience or from what the Quran reports was their practice with approval.


Since the Prophet is not in our midst, the only reliable guide to his Sunnat in religious matters is the Quran and not the alleged sayings and practices of the Prophet based on hearsay which is what the Ahadith are. We need to be even more circumspect when the Ahadith contradict the Quran which is often the case.


The Ahadith were compiled in the 9th century by At-Tirmidhi (Uzbek died 892), Imam Bukhari – (Uzbek died 870), Abu-Dawud (Persian died 889), Ibn Majah (Persian died 887), Al-Nasai (Persian died 915), Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj (Persian died 875), Ibn Hanbal (Arab died 855) and several others. The books of the first six compilers form part of the Kutub Al-Sittah or the six books. The fact that all the six major compilers were contemporaries in the era of Islam’s Golden period under the Abbasid dynasty could be because the compilation may have been a political project to bend Islam to the political compulsions of the Caliph and the Mullahs. The Ahadith contradict the Quran on every subject and if these alleged sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) are authentic, then we should wonder whether the Prophet spent all his life preaching against the message of the Quran! Clearly this is unthinkable, and therefore we must reject the Ahadith as the work of Satan and the alleged sayings which contradict the Quran as blaspheming the Prophet and the Quran.


The over emphasis in our theology on following the Sunnat of the Prophet is only to make the Ahadith central to a Muslim’s faith since there is no other source for knowing the Sunnat of the prophet. Deifying the prophets is a common human failing and this human weakness has been cleverly exploited.  The Muslims are made to think that they are loving and honoring the Prophet by following his Sunnat, when, they are being misled on his real Sunnat in religious matters, for which the only authentic source is the Quran and not the unreliable Ahadith.



Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He is a frequent contributor to www.NewAgeIslam.com


URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/naseer-ahmed,-new-age-islam/does-the-quran-ask-us-to-follow-the-sunnat-of-the-prophet?/d/112243


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  • I can see that Hats Off has been doing some reading and based on his recent reading is talking about "inferential statistics". That is impressive. Does he however still understand what he is talking about? The difference between throwing around jargon based on a cursory reading and developing a "sense" of the subject requires hard work and the talent for the subject.

     He displays his utter ignorance of the subject when he asks whether the use of the null hypothesis is based on common sense or reasoning. If he requires me to tell me which one it is, it is proof that he has no understanding of it. I would be wasting my time with a fool who knows not what he does not know and lacks the humility to seek knowledge of what he does not know with proper deference.

     Why does it pain an apostate so much if I say that according to the Quran, kafir does not mean non-Muslim? Or when I say there is complete freedom of conscience in Islam? Or that war is permitted only to fight oppression? Why does he defend the bigoted view and the views of the extremists as representing true Islam? What is his agenda?

    By Naseer Ahmed - 8/22/2017 11:37:14 PM

  • there is a clear difference between using null hypothesis and significance testing for the purposes of inferential statistics - and - using null hypothesis to prove that "scriptures are of divine origin".

    which scripture? what is divine? origins are past and hence by definition not observable (only infer-able). are there observational data? what sample populations are involved? what are the parameters for divinity and for deciding what is a scripture?

    - scriptures are many and frequently contradict each other somewhere or the other.
    - divine is an over arching adjective that includes everything that was created - including the scriptures (because mr. naseer ahmed believes that allah 'created' this universe and allah is god). by extension, even murders are of divine origins. god has created one whole mess in which murders, muggings and mutilations happen. or his creations indulge in.
    - origins are not amenable to empirical investigations through observation and recording or even testing - on account of their being the very origin. they are in the past and hence only can be inferred - never observed. you cannot break rules of entropy without sound reason.

    so what is mr naseer ahmed using? common sense? reason? logic? or just a delusion of Qur'anic invincibility? freudian? confused perhaps.

    just let him define the words he so unthinkingly uses (such as 'scriptures', 'god' , 'origin' or 'divine').

    then his whole structure of thought will probably just collapse under the weight of its own fallacy.

    By hats off! - 8/22/2017 7:44:58 AM

  • mr. naseer ahmed should tell us which process he is using - common sense or logic, when he "proves" that "scriptures are divine" by "using" a null hypothesis.

    education is vastly over rated. especially from the IITs.

    By hats off! - 8/22/2017 6:53:45 AM

  • There is a clear difference between using our sense of a situation to decide and reasoning. You have a road sense, the horses have a horse sense etc.
    Having common sense helps taking quick decisions without thinking through logically. Logical Thinking is a slow process and unhelpful in the thousands of decisions we take every day. We would be paralyzed and unable to do anything if we did not use our common sense. We use our common sense to decide on most issues. To judge whether it is safe to cross a busy street which does not have a regulated crossing for pedestrians requires road sense and judgment. You don't measure the speed of the oncoming traffic and your speed for crossing the street and decide if it is safe to cross. From experience, you know when it is safe and when it is not. The accumulated experience is what gives you the sense.
    We should however possess the common sense to use reason when necessary.
    GM Sb’s original post asking “Does the Quran ask us to follow our own common sense?” was his way of asking whether we need the Quran to tell us whether we should follow the Sunna of the Prophet or not and why we cannot use our own common sense to decide.
    The question shows lack of even basic common sense. When most Muslims believe that their religion mandates them to follow the Sunna of the Prophet and when this is used to make them follow the ahadith, is GM sb going to counter it with his common sense? Is it not common sense to let the Quran which is the word of God and the final arbiter on every question speak on the subject?
    By Naseer Ahmed - 8/21/2017 11:28:10 PM

  • Naseersaab says I do not use reason. He does not know that common sense means normal native intelligence and the power to reason is a part of it. He presents himself as a champion of reason but he does not think man should use his common sense and wisdom to find answers to the problems he faces in his daily life. He wants man to turn to the Quran to get all his questions answered.  He gets lost in his own verbiage What he calls his logic and reasoning are actually the conclusions that he has reached by divorcing himself from all logic and reasoning!

    My last post in this thread.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 8/21/2017 1:55:34 PM

  • GM Sb,
     You are among those people, who have never used their reason but only their common sense. So, you have absolutely no idea of the difference between the two.
    The experience of the people on the earth and using only their common sense, would not lead them to believe that the earth is both spinning on its axis and moving through space. As a matter of fact, the common-sense view of the people for many centuries was that the earth is stationary, and therefore must be at the center of the Universe. What changed this common-sense view was using reason and it is reason that goes against the prevailing common-sense view that ensure progress in the sciences.
    The Mullahs do not use reason, they use their common-sense and that is why they can never make progress. Your common sense is only slightly different because of your education but as a thinker, you belong to the class of people who can never go beyond their common sense.  Such people do not think at all – they go by what feels right and think that what they feel right must be both logical and reasonable. I have never seen you accept anything that is presented logically. In fact, you called me a charlatan for proving with logic and reasoning that Kafir does not mean disbeliever in the Quran.
    The following is from an article and vividly describe your responses and comments:
    Thinking that feels right
    The appeal to common sense, therefore, is usually nothing more than an appeal to thinking that just feels right.
    When we say to each other “that sounds right”, or “I like the sound of that”, we are generally not testing someone’s argument for validity and soundness as much as seeing if we simply like their conclusion.
    Whether it feels right is usually a reflection of our own world view, and that frame how we interact with new ideas. When new ideas are in accord with what we already believe, they are more readily accepted. When they are not, they, and the arguments that lead to them, are more readily rejected.
    We too often mistake this automatic compatibility testing of new ideas with existing beliefs as an application of reason. But, in reality, it is more about judging than thinking.
    As the psychologist and Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman notes in his book Thinking Fast and Slow, when we arrive at conclusions in this way, the outcomes also feel true, regardless of whether they are.
    Instead of debating any further, I challenge you to prove any of my articles wrong based on reason and logic. Each one of them does not conform to the common-sense view of the Mullahs. Show me that you are not just another kind of Mullah but a person who is capable of using his reason.
    By Naseer Ahmed - 8/21/2017 12:03:23 AM

  • Naseersaab continues to maintain that men should not try to find answers to their problems by using their own common sense or wisdom. Such mullahish beliefs may be the reason why our community is so backward.

    I do not know why he has so much difficulty dealing with the concept of 'common sense'. The definition from Dictionary.com makes it very simple: "sound practical  judgment that is
     independent of specialized 
    knowledge, training, 
    or the like; normal 
    native intelligence."

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 8/20/2017 12:49:07 PM

  • Correction:

    When speaking of common sense with someone, my definition of common sense would cover what could be considered as common sense to both the persons. It would therefore vary based on the person or group with whom I am communicating.

    If it is a group of specialists, then what is common to such group and if it is the educated, then depending upon the minimum level of education in the group etc.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 8/20/2017 4:19:01 AM

  • Did I say that we should go looking for answers in the hadiths?

    We should look for answers in the Quran because it is the Quran, and the previous scriptures before that, which have given us the criteria of right and wrong and the "common sense"  about right and wrong that we have developed based on it.

    My definition of common sense does not juxtapose the word 'common' against the word 'personal' or 'individual' but against the word 'special' only.
    However, what is considered common sense among the educated would differ from what is common sense for the uneducated.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 8/19/2017 9:54:44 PM

  •  url below links to an article by mr' ali goma. ali goma is not some random london street joker. he used to be the grand mufti of al-azhar.

    by the way he is NOT an IIT trained engineer. thank allah for small mercies. in many ways his article is better argued, more rooted in islamic traditional practice. more importantly he never whitewashes verses, words and injunctions of the Qur'an. he tells it as it is.

    By hats off! - 8/19/2017 7:46:00 PM

  • Naseersaab says, "The "common" in common sense relates to common values, common beliefs, common knowledge and common wisdom which among similarly  common people are accepted without argument and require no proof."

    That is wrong. The word 'common' is not juxtaposed against the word 'personal' or 'individual' but against the word 'special'. Thus 'common sense' is differentiated from 'scientific acumen' or 'mathematical genius' or 'clairvoyance'.

    I agree with Naseersaab in that we should respect our prophets as messengers and not as role models. But I disagree with him in that I believe we must use our commonsense and our wisdom to solve our problems rather than go looking for answers in the hadiths.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 8/19/2017 1:11:11 PM

  • Can Nasser Ahmed explain, when Mouhmmad paigmaber self declared himself prophet what wa the reason human's around him used to convince themselves that this self declaring manis prophet while he was using the stories if jews Christian, greek tradition were  commonly talked among the people of Arabia. What is so called last prophet was telling new and what the people of Arabia took as reason and Mordern man has to use the reason.

    Changing the narrative will not work, Islam and Muslims had brought curse to mankind from the day Mohmmad paigamber became more powerful.ISIS is not wrong when it says there was never single time in history of Islam that had seen the time of peace.

    What commonsense a comman man will had to let go away and use reason after the bloodshed of mankind by Islam.

    More you guys pathetically lie more will be curse.

    By Aayina - 8/19/2017 7:30:33 AM

  • Yunus Sb,
    I am aware of your views on the ahadith. The fact remains is that our voices (including Rashid Sb's) are mostly (not completely) lone voices, that get lost in the wilderness.
    To add to what common sense means, it is also a function of our education. Is it common sense for those without education to believe that a feather and an iron ball released from a height of 100 m in a vacuum will reach the ground at the same time?
    The "common" in common sense relates to common values, common beliefs, common knowledge and common wisdom which among similarly  common people are accepted without argument and require no proof.
    Why would anyone argue against the fact that the Quran is created when the Quran itself says that it is produced/created by Allah? Is the argument for uncreatedness based on reason, common sense or simply emotion?
    Those into him the theology has been dinned have never learnt to use or trust their reason but to shun it. For them the uncreatedness of the Quran is common sense and anyone who argues against it is lacking in common sense!
    By Naseer Ahmed - 8/19/2017 3:22:13 AM

  • You have a woman in one of the articles that said she got a message, of one religion and they put her is a psych ward, as I read.  People will not here if we come and stand before you and speak.  You will find a reason not to.  Even long ago, when Jesus came, the politicians and money changers said, "What good can come out of Nazareth."  In the mean time you argue about how to do that word religion.  Pray 5 times a day, where a head covering, don't wear a head covering, pray for forgiveness, believe that God will come down to save you and this earth, alleviating any responsibility you have to change course.  Your rules are man made and not of God, which I consider to be of Energy.
    That Energy hates it when men pollute the earth and commit social injustice.  That Energy loves wisdom and knowledge.
    That Energy says, love me with all your hearts, souls and minds and love your brother as yourself.  Who is your brother?  Anything created of atoms. 

    By Amy - 8/19/2017 2:53:14 AM

  • Dear Naseer Sahab,

    Your last comment to hats off ends with this remark: "He is quite right in saying that my voice is mostly a lone voice in the wilderness. That is a pity"

    Let me assure you, hats off is wrong.
    I have the following remarks in my jt publication, Essential Message of Islam dated June 2009, which says practically the same thing in an elaborate and explicit manner:

    "It has been long overdue for Muslims to make an objective and honest assessment of their secondary theological literature, notably the Hadith sciences. There can be no doubt that they are essential to understanding how the Prophet and early Muslims complied with various Islamic rites and rituals, including Salat, Zakat and hajj. But the truth remains, their evolution is purely a construct of history, and accordingly they are conditioned and corrupted by a wide array of factors impacting across some two to three hundred years as analyzed earlier (Enc.4). Hence, considering the canonized Hadith as we have in our hands today, on their face value as truths supplementing and complementing the Qur’an as many orthodox scholars advocate, or indirect inspiration as the classical theory of Islamic law suggests,may lead to the following, to the great detriment of the Muslim community…….
         Therefore, as suggested by some of the eminent Muslim scholars, Muslims must endeavor to take guidance directly from the Qur’an. The best way to accomplish this, as the Qur’an advocates, is to probe into it,and seek the best meaning,as attempted in this work.
    2. Shakib Arsalan (1869-1946), an influential writer, poet and historian of Islam said this: “If Muslims will resolve and strive, taking their inspiration from the Qur’an, they can attain the rank of the Europeans, the Americans and the Japanese in learning and science and making progress,”

    By muhammd yunus - 8/19/2017 1:35:26 AM

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