English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish


Prof. Dr. M. A. Soofi

Sunnah is defined as path, method and habit. According to Shariah it is interpreted as the essential doctrine, action and discipline of Prophet Muhammad (SA). It is divided in three categories.


It means the sayings and doings of the Holy Prophet, Muhammad (SA) consistently as a duty to God.


It deals with the doings and actions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).



It occupies the place that the doings of the Companions of the Prophet in the presence of Muhammad (SA) about which the latter kept quiet.
Sunnah has got a special position in Islamic Literature, after Qur'an because it is a source of information about the doings of the Prophet Muhammad (SA). Sunnah relates to that part of religion which the Prophet (SA) taught as Instructor of Divine Law and as a Model for mankind so that his followers should mould their lives in accordance with the wishes of the Almighty Allah by performing the rituals and following the injunctions found in Islam. Transmission of the Sunnah was his duty and, therefore, it was not passed on to a few narrators merely but to the whole society at that time and was transmitted to the Muslim Ummah by the perpetual adherence of the companions of the Prophet (SA). The Sunnah refers to those established customs of the Prophet (SA) that were passed on as religion to the Muslim Ummah by the companions of the Prophet (SA) through their perpetual adherence to them.


Difference between Sunnah and Hadith

There is not much difference between Sunnah and Hadith. The description of Sunnah is called Hadith. And Sunnah are those doings of Muhammad (SA) of which he has completed the performance and the way of performance and its relation have been noted down and came to the people and this transaction or transmission of the knowledge regarding the performance and doings of the Prophet may be called as Hadith.

The news of such nat ure is called Hadith. But the news in literal sense is not taken. This news in regard to discipline and doings of Muhammad (SA) which has been discussed and talked is known as news.

Effect of such news and Hadith about the doings of Muhammad (SA) which has been communicated through Sehaba Ikram and Taabaeen (Rz).

Importance of Hadith
After revelation of Qur'an Hadith and Sunnah is the major source of information which is also description and translation of Qur'an. Because when Hazrat Ayesha (Rz) was asked , "What is the Khulaq of the Holy Prophet", she narrated, "His Khulaq is Qur'an", i.e. all doings of the Holy Prophet were in accordance with Holy Qur'an and he maintained his life with honesty and in the boundaries of the Qur'an as a trusty and Messenger of Allah. According to Scholar, Shatobah, Hadith does not give us any statement which is not proved in Qur'an. Therefore, he said it is obligatory to all the Muslims of all the thoughts to practice the Sunnah of Muhammad (SA). And in this regard Holy Prophet said, "Those who admire and are attracted by my Sunnah, they are in my heart".

To know and understand Qur'an
Qur'an is a revelation of God Almighty and Hadith is practical illustration of the Prophet of God in the sense that the whole life of the Prophet Muhammad (SA) was fulfilling the conditions laid down in Qur'an. This provides the source of conviction of truth in Qur'an that it has been revealed to a Prophet whose life is not different to the revelation. The Prophet, Muhammad (SA) possessed the high moral and spiritual integrity regarding the Unity of God and he adopted the way of life which can be followed easily by the human beings and this knowledge comes to us through Hadith. Hadith provides us the source of transformation regarding the life style of Muhammad (SA) which is the real object to know about the truth and values occupied by Muhammad (SA) in highest place.

Qur'an is a complete book and it is a book of God. It has got description in itself. But the Hadith only helps us to know clearly the doings of Muhammad (SA) in practical form and thus Qur'an in no way needs to be augmented by Hadith. Qur'an is a miracle of Islam. And it has got a challenge to the World, to produce its like, as said by God:

If Men and Jin should combine together to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like of it, though some of them aiders of other (17:88)

Therefore Hadith literature fully covers vast performance of Muhammad (SA) related to his personal and straight life for our knowledge to practice the examples and doings of Muhammad (SA) but in certain circumstances if the Hadith seems to oppose/contradict of Qur'an, this can be announced as uncertainty to the terms not to effect the thoughts of Qur'an and the life of Muhammad (SA). In fact Hadith and Sunnh establish a better understanding, cohesion between Qur'an and the triumphant life of Muhammad (SA). For example Hadith explains how the believers should understand performance of Salat. It means in Hadith:

Offer your prayer as you have seen my performance.

And this has provided a powerful understanding of Qur'an to observe the Salat. Thus the act of Holy Prophet Muhammad (SA) and the method of the prayer has become universalized institution of muslimhood. And it was started during the days of the prophet and it is being carried out by the whole world, by all the nations for all the ages. Similar example could be put forward to make the point clear regarding Hajj and Fast. For example in the month of Ramadhan.

And eat and drink,
Until the white thread
Of dawn appear to you
Distinct from its black thread
Then complete your fast
Till the night appears

Muhammad (SA) in his practical life explained that this is the true dawn, after the fast begins. The first appearance of thin white in definable street lights in the east; then a dark zone supervenes; followed by beautiful pinkish white zone, clearly defined from the dark. Thus practical eating of the fast with this light of Muhammad (SA) explains every bit of it. Similar case is of the Hajj.

The following of the Prophet, Muhammad (SA) is therefore, obedience to God and a way to obtain mercy of Allah as quoted Sura Aal-Imran (2: 132).

And obey God
And the Apostle
That ye may obtain mercy

Similarly an other Ayat adds:

Say; If ye do love God
Follow me; god will love you
And forgive you your sins;
For God is Oft-Forgiving
Most Merciful

So Hadith is the practice of doings of Prophet Muhammad (SA) the way to love God and to be loved by God, and therefore knowing of Hadith and Sunnah, loving of Hadith and practice of Hadith and Sunnah is that path of glory help us to obtain the mercy of Allah and pleasure of Muhammad (SA) The actual sense of the knowledge regarding the Hadith that it takes us away from ignorance, darkness and superstitious irregular knowledge brought to the society by self styled people. The real Hadith shows us the knowledge regarding the practical examples of Muhammad (SA) and enables us to widen our vision about the concept of Unity of God and the practical features of the last Prophet. It provides us the evidence to facilitate all matters in regard to belief, Kalma Tayyaba, Salat (Prayer) Fasting (Ramadhan), Zakat (charity) and Hajj (Pilgrimage).

Aal-Imran (97:2) - Pilgrimage thereto is a duty
Men owe to God
Those who can afford
The joinery;

Hajj is a recognized institution and the context of this Ayat shows clearly that Hajj is to be performed once in life and Muhammad (SA) performed his Hajj as Hajatul Widaa once in life because it is essential for those who can proclaim to be self-sufficient and the Prophet of God advised the pilgrimage to be performed. That is Tua'f running between Safa and Marwa, because Safa and Marwa are among the sings of Alah, so whoever makes pilgrimage to the House of God or pays a visit to it, there is no blame on him if he goes around the (2:158).

Then going to Arfat and Madalfa is also spoken of :

So when you hasten on from Arfat, remember Allah near the Holy Monument. (2:198).

And there is a clear injunction to accomplish the Hajj - And the Umra for Allah (2:196)

These details of Hajj are the institutions which were practiced and recognized by Muhammad (SA) and his performance of Hajj in the presence of more than one lakh people at that time has given a practical shape to the title of Hajj which was revealed to Muhammad (SA) as in Qur'an.

Allah Says: That those who obey the Prophet this amounts to obey to God (Al-Nisa (80)

And thus we can get knowledge from Hadith because the Apostle was sent to preach against the idols, to instruct for their better life and show the right way to deal human beings and has warned against evils. His duty was therefore to convey the message of God, they are not disobeying Muhammad (SA) but they are disobeying God and in the same way, those who obey the messenger they are obeying God. So the doings of Muhammad (SA) and his sayings are witness in Sunnah and Hadith. And this spiritual and practical knowledge is needed to be known and to be practiced by Muslim society.

Aal-Imran-80: He who obeys
The Apostle, obeys God
But if any turn away
We have not sent thee
To what over
Their (evil deeds)

Al-Hashr-7 - So take what the
Apostle assigns to you
And deny yourselves that
Which he withholds from you
And fear God;
For god is strict in punishment.

The Qur'an reflects and presents absolute truth in all respects regarding the creation of the Universe and behind the creation it provides beams of illumination through this divine revelation on Muhammad (SA) through angel Jaba'el and thus the tradition or the Hadith provides us the knowledge of a deep angle for those seeking guidance and direction of practical conduction of the discipline of Islam by Muhammad (SA). So to seek knowledge of all the ways of living of the Prophet will surely enable us to travel on the path which is our destiny in obedience to the Creator.

In conclusion the knowledge and spirit of these Ayats mentioned above are beneficial to those who love Qur'an and Sunnah.

The practice on Hdith is a lawful process in all respects in accordance with the provision of the definition of a Muslim, because:

  • Knowledge and practice of Hadith maintains fully a family, children and community on the right path.
  • It maintains and supports the life style of the Prophet and belief of Creator, and Muhammad (SA).
  • It provides the ultimate benefit as expressed in Ayat and is recognized as a part of religion in all chapter of Hadith. No person can be benefited by it merely unless he abides by rules of Creator expressed in Quran, which are truth absolutely in the life of Muhammad (SA).