Sunnah the actions of prohet S.A.W. and its Importance in Islam

"Tell them O Muhammad that if you love Allah then follow my footsteps {follow my Sunnah}, Allah Ta'ala will love you and He will forgive all your sins. Indeed He is Most Forgiving and Merciful."

Indeed following the Sunnah of the Rasulullah is following the Straight Path. The very purpose of The Coming of The Rasulullah was to show his followers how to put the Guidance of the Holy Quran into practice in their lives. This is also why Allah Ta’ala described His beloved messenger Muhammad in The Quran as ‘the perfect model’ for his followers. The word "Ummah" which means followers is in itself self explanatory. How can we be his Ummah without following him?

When Allah Ta’ala has mentioned in the Holy Quran that He did not create humans and Jinns but for His Worship, it is obvious that worship does not just include rituals of Salaat, Fasting, Zakah and Hajj. Since the entire purpose of our creation is to worship our Creator, our entire life is therefore to be spent in His Worship. Indeed this larger worship would include all the hours of the day, every day of the month and every day of the year. If the word worship only meant the compulsory rituals, then Rasulullah would have finished his mission in just one year. Therefore every aspect of the life of our beloved Prophet Muhammad which is his Sunnah can truly reflect the larger and wider meaning of the word worship.

It is worth dwelling upon a point here. The Sunnah is not a concept that can be dealt with separately from the Qur’aan. In the Qur’aan, it has been mentioned that the prophet removes heavy burdens, makes rules, and teaches the Ummah the open and hidden meanings of the Qur’aan. As a matter of fact, when we look at the practices of Sunnah, we see that the prophet of Allah gave His companions a lot of information about numerous subjects. This information was then interpreted by scholars of the time, continued to be practised in daily lives and has passed on to us generations to generations.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad therefore commanded his holy companions males, females, and his holy wives, very early in his mission to write down and note every action performed by him and everything said by him very carefully and then convey it to those not present. Therefore it is from the collection of the Ahadith that we get a clear, picture of his practices, which forms the sum total of the worship of Allah Ta’ala, as revealed in the Holy Quran. To complete the picture: we need to follow and obey our Beloved Prophet Muhammad to learn how to worship our Lord and Creator; We need to look and follow the Sahaba to learn how closely they obeyed and followed Rasulullah in every action of his, from the simplest and common place to the performance of all the compulsory rituals of worship.

Our religion is a whole only with the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. At that times when the Qur’aan was revealed, the people around the Prophet learned and practised the commands of our religion as required by looking at the examples of the prophet. Indeed, the Prophet has been an important example with His life, where he practised the commands of the religion, for us to understand the Qur'an.

Salaat is a clear example to understanding the commands of the religion. As well known, in Islam, performing salaat five times a day is an obligation and there are verses giving general information about how to perform it and how to perform ablution. However, we can understand how exactly we should perform prayers only by looking at Sunnah. Because there is no detailed information in the verses about the way of praying, what to say in prayer, the method of a man’s and woman's prayer, the degree of importance of the prayers, the details of ablution and what nullifies ablution. Such details can only be learnt by looking at the Sunnah of the Prophet .

It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path. (Ahzab)

As seen up to here, Allah commands in His verses a strict obedience to His Prophet . For this reason, Islam can only be lived through practising the Sunnah along with the Qur’aan. The explanations made in the verses related to this subject are certain. Therefore, putting forward a claim of turning away from the Sunnah of the prophet is completely opposite to the essence of the Qur’aan.

Imam Malik , compared the Sunnah of the Rasulullah to the ark of Nuh and said: The Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad is like the Ark of Nuh. Whoever embarks upon it reaches salvation and whoever refuses is drowned."