THE SUNNA IN THE TRADITIONS

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The way of the Prophet is the way of God. As the Sunna is the way of the Prophet, those who reject it are, in essence, rejecting (and disobeying) God. As the Prophet stated: “Whoever obeys me, obeys God; whoever disobeys me, disobeys God.” [1] Such disobedience is “rewarded” with Hell: “My nation will enter Paradise, except those who rebel.” When asked who these rebels were, the Prophet answered: “Whoever obeys me will enter Paradise; whoever disobeys me rebels.” [2]

The Sunna links all past, present, and future Muslims. It also enables Muslims to maintain their unity, as it forms a unique culture and system. Concerning this, the Messenger declared: “Those who survive me will witness many disputes and disagreements. Therefore, follow my way and the way of my rightly-guided and rightly-guiding successors. Hold firm to that way—cling to it with your teeth.” [3]

Following the Sunna, on both the individual and the collective level, becomes vital when Islam is attacked and Muslims lose their supremacy. The Messenger stated 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.” [4] Given this, those who criticize it should be asked, as the Qur’an asks unbelievers: Where are you headed?

 

[1] Bukhari, “Ahkam,” 1; Ibn Ma’ja, “Muqaddima,” 1.
[2] Bukhari, “I’tisam,” 2; Ibn Hanbal, 2:361.[3] Abu Dawud, “Sunna,” 5; Tirmidhi, “‘Ilm,” 16; Ibn Ma’ja, “Muqaddima,” 6.
[4] Abu Nu’aym, Hilya, 8:200; Daylami, Musnad al-Firdaws, 4:198.