Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Importance of Sunnah in Islam

Just to share about a video ceramah from DR MAZA about the importance of Sunnah and to stay away from what’s not sunnah. For the link to the video Click Here!

The ceramah begins with Dr Asri citing about two persons back in history that we can learn from. One is the Prophet’s uncle, Abu Thalib and the other, ‘Abdullah ibn Ubay the head of Munafiqeen(Hypocrites).

Abu Thalib loved the prophet dearly, probably much more than most of us and would do anything to protect him from the Quraysh tribe. As a result, he was even deserted by the tribe. But in the end, he himself didn’t follow the Prophet’s teachings and call to Islam. On the other hand, ‘Abdullah ibn Ubay ibn Salul, on the outside, followed the Prophets’ teachings and did everything the Prophet taught about Islam but in his heart lies a deep sense of hatred for the Prophet and Islam.

Both cannot be considered as Muslims, as merely the deep sense of love for the Prophet but not following his teachings(Sunnah) and also following the Sunnah of the Prophet without loving the Prophet is not enough. Therefore, it is imperative to love our Prophet and also to follow the teachings of the Prophet and to abide by it.

Dr Asri goes on to explain, that no Muslim will be safe even if he is termed as a Mufti, Imam, a King or Governer. It doesn’t constitute anything in Allah’s view. The only ones who would be safe would be those who follow the Sunnah.

The second point is about those who are inclined to religion and the wish to end up in heaven. It doesn’t just cater to Muslims only. All those of the other religions wish the same, be it they practice different forms of prayers and rituals. All of them are sincere in religious practices, hoping to go to Heaven. No sane person would go to extremes in their worship intending to go to Hell.

But in the Islamic context, sincerity is not enough. If a person is sincere but doesn’t follow the basis of Islam, the Qur’an and the Sunnah, then the person will not be safe from Hellfire. What’s the difference between Islam and other religions? Other religions innovate their form of worship and creed but Muslims practice Islam according to the words of Allah ‘Azza Wajalla,i.e. the Qur’an, through Allah’s messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Thirdly, he speaks about the basis of understanding Akidah or Creed in religion. It is natural for everybody to have an inclination for the belief that there is a Supreme Being out there, that there is a God. An simple example he brought forward was that even a tribe in a jungle that is secluded away from the civilised world , barring any influences would have a God that they belief in, according to how they justify God.

Even for a person who is only Muslim by name, and had never practiced Islam in his life, when he comes to a critical point in his life such as facing death, with the doctors saying that there were no possible causes for cure, he will search for Allah, hoping for his safety and possibly a cure through prayers.

Explaining the search for or belief of God is a natural thing, similar to a guy liking a girl or a mother caring for her child, Dr Asri described the situation during the days before Prophet Muhammad and Islam, where the people of Makkah had already believed in God and named God, Allah. Prophet Muhammad’s name is Muhammad ibn Abdullah. Abdullah, the name given by the Prophet’s grandfather to his father means ‘servant of Allah’.

He then related to an incident (citing from historian ibn Hisham) during a period of the Prophet’s grandfather, Abdul Muthalib’s where the Elephant Army under the command of Abrahah al-Ashram from Yemen intends to destroy the Ka’bah at Makkah. Abdul Muthalib’s camels had been seized by Abrahah’s army and he went to Abrahah to claim his camels. Abrahah was surprised at Abdul Muthalib’s request only for his camels and not for the safety of Ka’bah that he was about to destroy. Abdul Muthalib replied that he is the rightful owner of the camels and that Ka’bah belongs to Allah. Allah will take care of it Himself. And true enough the plan was foiled and Abrahah and his Army perished (ref to Surah al-Fil)

This proves that the Quraysh during the period before Islam already had a strong belief in Allah. They knew and believed that Ka'bah would be protected by Allah from the pending attack of Abrahah's Elephant Army. They named the Ka’bah ‘baitullah’ (House of Allah). But still, Allah sent Prophet Muhammad to them to enlighten them on the truth, as the basis of thier Creed is not right and they were not practicing their beliefs as Allah had wanted them to.

He then described how a secluded tribe in the jungle would probably get their ideas about how God would look like and how to pray to their God, without the guidance of Allah. And he sums up two important points at the end, which we shouldn’t practice in Islam. Firstly, not to try describe Allah without the guidance of Qur’an and Hadith(Prophets’ sayings). Secondly, not to think of any forms of worship other than what have been directed in the Qur’an and Hadith. Without the basis of this two, it would be similar as to how the secluded tribe would derive thier ideas about worshipping God.

He then brings up an athar sahih [athar - History about the actions and deeds of the Prophets' companions (may Allah be pleased with them)] riwayat Ad-Darimi about ibn Mas’ud stumbling upon an innovated practice, already happening just shortly after the death of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). [Read the full version in one of my previous posts] Link Here!

Dr Asri then described how people would react upon discovering that what they had previously practiced was termed as bid’ah(innovation). The person would probably think,” Hm, it can’t be that our leaders and ‘ulamas of the past had been wrong? How can they not know? Aren’t we supposed to follow ‘ijma ‘ulama?

And he explained what ‘ijma ulama means, differing from what most would have understood its meaning, assuming or understanding it as the views of ‘ulama. ‘Ijma ulama actually means the consensus and total agreement of all ‘ulamas in the world. If even one ‘ulama disagrees, it cannot be termed as ‘ijma ulama.

Then, he threw out a question. Is it true that each and every views of ‘ulamas are all correct? While respecting the past ‘ulamas in view of their tireless, extraordinary efforts and sincerity, still, they are unlike Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who are free from mistakes. If we find a view from an ‘ulama that is different from Qur’an and Hadith, are we suppose to accept the view on top of what is clearly from the Qur’an or Hadith?

And he explains that normally, it is hard to find any differences in ‘ulamas views on the Qur’an as it is quite clear. The difference in views is normally on the Hadith due to the existence of a large volume of collection of Hadith. And he explains that if an ‘ulama’s view is different from the Qur’an or Hadith, it doesn’t mean that he intended to go against them. He had probably made a mistake, forgot or he didn’t know about the existence of the Hadith that had been found many years later, after he had decided on his views.

This is because the total collection of Hadith had not been completed, unlike the Qur’an, perfect, all in one compilation. The Hadiths from the Prophet had been passed down to his companions and after the Prophets’ death, many companions migrated and dispersed to many different countries and continents along with the Hadiths that they had memorised or recorded. So it is not impossible that ‘ulamas have different views about a certain ruling in Islam, different from what is stated in a hadith. He may have yet to discover about the hadith during that time.

That is probably why Imam asy-Syafie adviced his student.. (translated)"Every word that I say and if it is found from what is sahih(agreed upon most or all scholars) that is said to have come from RasullulLah which is against my opinion, then that(Prophet's s.a.w Hadeeth) is to be placed first and foremost, don't you follow mine"- Al-Zahabi, Siyar 'Alam al-Nubala', 10/33 [i.e. dont follow him in his opinions which is not in accordance to RasululLah s.a.w. sunnah]

So, if we ever find a hadith that is different from the views of ‘ulama, we should put the view from hadith first and foremost. If we were to regard all the views and sayings of ‘ulama as perfect, in the end as a result, the Qur’an and Sunnah will be neglected.

Then, he discussed about the reality of the general forms of understanding and practicing Islam among all Muslims. If we were to ask Shi’ites or 'Sisters in Islam', or any Muslim political groups in Malaysia or Mu’tazilah or Jabariyyah or even different states in Malaysia, what’s the basis of their practice in Islam? Everyone would say, the Qur’an and Sunnah. But why are they different in some or many areas? That’s because, many of them interprete Qur’an and Sunnah according to how they think.

So, is there a way that we can possibly be safe from the wrong interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunnah? Yes, there is a way and that is described by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the following hadith,

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “My Ummah (nation) will split into seventy three sects, all of which will go to Hellfire, except for one.” The companions asked: “Which one is that O Messenger of Allah?” He replied:”The one that will be upon the way of me and my companions.” (at-Tirmidhi and Ahmad)

So, to cease the disparity as to which group is correct according to each different version of interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunnah, we can take the way that is advised to be safe by our Prophet (peace be upon him), that we practice Islam according to the Qur’an and Sunnah, according to how it was practiced and understood during the time of the Prophet, the companions, at-tabi’in and atba’u tabi’in ('ulamas who lived shortly after). The companions and 'ulamas who lived shortly after had the best knowledge and understanding of Islam as they lived during or closest to our Prophets' time and they are mentioned by the Prophet himself.

Lastly, he reminded and explained the importance and responsibilities of ‘ulamas, Muftis, Imams in being truthful and careful in imparting the correct Islamic knowledge to the Muslims under them.

That’s about it, just a brief summary of the ceramah, for myself and to share with others. Click on the link above for the whole ceramah in Malay. Please correct me if I have erred in the post.

May Allah guide us all to the right path and to practice Islam according to the way that He would like us to. Ameen.

And Allah Almighty knows best.


madame blossom said...

Syukran for the link.

I like Dr Asri punya ceramahs.

i think he is an examplary leader. I'm not sure about other mufti's activities lah.. but he is good, giving guidance to the imams and all. :)

redtide said...

Ur welcome..

Yea, same here.. i've been following his ceramahs since 2005 and have heard his past ceramahs back to 2003 through audio mp3, before he was offered the Perlis' Mufti post.. and he's always been an active da'ie and consistent with his views and stand till now.. always striving for the truth, resolving misconceptions in Islam and upholding the sunnah..

many of the views that he's brought forward as a Mufti were the same as when he was a lecturer at USM..

when he started out as Mufti, people said he was controversial and looking for popularity by 'airing' his views and criticizing any un-Islamic situation happening in Malaysia, unlike other Muftis..

And there were even accusations of siding with the ruling party and even the possibility that he may use his Mufti position to enter a political post.. though he criticized all areas, regardless of political party or race or leader and does similarly where acknowledgment or praise is due, for upholding the sunnah for example..

but it's just like he said when he was considering the Mufti position..

that his future position would allow him to da'wah on a bigger scale..and he would not be interested in joining politics, especially the with the dismal and negative way how Malaysia's politics are played even though majority are Muslims..

And now, many who may have been skeptical or blindly critical of him in the past have been more accepting.. Alhamdulillah..

There are others too, similar to him, only less known like Dr Juanda Jaya, Dr Azwira Aziz and so on..