Resources / Hadith - Sunna

Importance Of The Sunnah*

Translations in other Languages

The Islamic communities of different nations, means a variation of nations; a variation of cultures, a variation of manners, knowledge, traditions and customs. This means a variation of minds and opinions. The hadith generated a cultural solidarity within the Islamic community and formed a unity of conduct. This integrated the nations as one community. It protected them from deviating to innovations. In addition to degeneration, this also protected the people against integrating with foreign cultures, from adapting to them; from destruction and corruption.

Prof. Dr. M. Es’ad Cosan
(May Allah have mercy on him)

Alhamdulillâhi haqqa hamdihi wa’salatu wa'salamu ala khayri halkıhi sayyidina wa sanadina wa madadina Muhammadin wa al alihi wa ashabihi wa man tabia’hu bi-ihsanin ajma’in.

Before proceeding to explanations regarding the place and importance of the Sunnah in our present day lives and in the lives of Muslims in general, we should first consider the meaning of the word Sunnah.

In general, the word Sunnah derives from the verb “sanna”, which in Arabic means to “follow a path, maintaining a tradition”. Therefore, the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) stated that:

Man sanna fi Islami sunnatan hasanatan fa umila biha ba'dahu, kutiba lahu mithli ajri man amila biha wa la yanqusu min ujurihim shay'un.

“Whoever sets a good precedent in Islam, he will have the reward for that, and the reward of those who acted in accordance with it, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest.

There is also the opposite:

Wa man sanna fi Islâmi sunnatan sayyiatan fa umila biha ba'dahu, kutiba alayhi mithli wizri man amila biha wa la yanqusu min awzarihim shay'un.  

 “And whoever sets an evil precedent in Islam, he will have a burden of sin for that, and the burden of those who acted in accordance with it, without that detracting from their burden in the slightest.”

Although this is the general meaning, there is also several other specific meanings. The main meaning being; the words, actions, and even statements of our Prophet (pbuh)…If he did not prohibit, intervene and prevent, correct or emphasize a mistake in an act that occurred before him, this means the act is not wrong and can be practiced. Even his silence bore great meaning. This is also a source, a sign of evidence, a means of determining judgements for us. 

His words are a direct and comprehensive source; even if he did not speak but performed certain actions, these actions become an example for us. Even narrations regarding his actions such as “Our Prophet (pbuh) drank water when sitting, our Prophet (pbuh) performed such and such actions at certain places when performing hajj” are included in these traditions. Here, when we say the “importance of Sunnah” this is what is implied. The words, actions, silence, and statements of the Prophet (pbuh) are an example for us, a source of opportunity that we must follow.

The word Sunnah also exists in Islamic Jurisprudence. In the terminology order of Af'al-i mukallaf that relates the values in terms of deeds and sins of servants there is fard (obligatory), wajib (necessary), Sunnah (recommended) and mustahab(encouraged). As one of these, “Sunnah” meaning “something the Prophet (pbuh) did, but is not fard; this means it is second or third after the fard in the adilla shar'iyya (source of Islamic commands).”

In addition, this also bears different meanings in our social life. When referring to “sunnah” in Turkey, the pleasant childhood memory of circumcision may come into mind. Our Prophet (pbuh) recommended this  operation on children and signifies this in the hadith stating that “Ten things are a part of fitrah, these must be practiced.” Included in these ten things among the cutting of the fingernails and the removal of hair from under the armpits, is circumcision. This is called “khitan” not “Sunnah” in the Arabic language. In the Turkish language this is commonly known as “Sunnah.” This is because our ancestors wanted to make certain practices more appealing; they wanted to highlight the intention of practicing this, therefore they called this practice Sunnah..

The Sunnah bears great importance in the Islamic religion; there is clearly no doubt or dispute regarding this. There are many verses in the Qur’an that strongly command us to follow the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) in every aspect. I would like to quote a few of these as an example. In a verse of the Qur’an, it commands in a clear and short statement:

Aṭiʿu llaha wa-rasulahu1“Obey Allah and obey the Prophet and Messenger of Allah!”

Following this:

Wa-ma kana li-muʾminin wa-la muʾminatin ʾidha qaḍa llahu wa-rasaluhu ʾamran ʾan yakuna lahumu l-khiyaratu min ʾamrihim.2 “It is not befitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about the decision...”

The commands of Allah manifest by means of revelation, the Prophet’s (pbuh) judgement regarding that person, and his arbitration and decision on the event. “When a judgment is clearly manifested for a faithful man or woman by Allah and His Messenger, there is no question of any right in choose; the right of preference or choice to carry out this command or not.” This must be carried out in accordance with the command of Allah’s Messenger (pbuh). On the contrary, these individuals will be classified as sinners if they fail to fulfill the command. 

This was not an exception for the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) alone. The Qur’an reveals:

Wa-ma ʾarsalna min rasulin ʾilla li-yuṭaʿa bi-ʾbi-ʿa llahi.3

 “We sent not a messenger, but to be obeyed, in accordance with the will of Allah.”

Prophets were not sent in vain; these were not people untrusted in their words, judgements and commands. Prophets are people who were sent “to be obeyed”. This is the case of all the prophets. It is divine law that the prophets should be obeyed by their own ummah (community); obeyed by the community or people they were sent to. This is a command of Allah.

Fa-la wa-rabbika la yuʾminuna ḥatta yuḥakkimuka fi-ma shajara baynahum thumma la yajidu fi ʾanfusihim ḥarajan mimma qaḍayta wa-yusallimu taslima.4

In this verse it reveals “No! This is not as you assume, it is not as you envisioned in your mind, not how you imagine. People, those who said “I am a true believer”, those who simply gathered around the Messenger of Allah cannot have true faith. It reveals in this verse of Qur'an: “O Messenger! They will not become true believers until they accept you as an arbitrator in controversial matters among themselves; until they say “Let us go to the Messenger of Allah!”; until they say “We accept and comply with your judgements”; until they submit with such devotion; until they have no frustration, no sense of rejection and displeasure regarding your commands; until they surrender with such submission.”

So, they will accept the words of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and no sense of objection will generate within themselves. They will say “If the Messenger of Allah gave such a command, then that is how it should be.” They will accept whether this is in their favor or not.

So what is the reward for this?

Wa-man yuṭiʿi llaha wa-r-rasula fa-ʾulaʾika maʿa lladhina ʾanʿama llahu ʿalayhim mina n-nabiyyina wa-ṣ-ṣiddiqina wa-sh-shuhadaʾi wa-ṣ-ṣaliḥina wa-ḥasuna ʾulaʾika rafiqa.[5]

“All who obey Allah and the messenger are in the company of those on whom is the Grace of Allah…” Those honored by Allah in the Qur’an are included in this verse: “Prophets, the sincere, the martyrs and the righteous.”

Those who obey Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) will be with the prophets. They will be with sincere, the martyrs and righteous. This is the greatness of their reward.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) is in a much different position, status, temperament and morality than that of other people.

Wa-ma yanṭiqu ʿani l-hawa. In huwa ʾilla waḥyun yuḥa.6

 “Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) Desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him.”

Although we say “He was a human being”, there is a much different aspect to this. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) never spoke in vain, but rather he related the revelations of Allah. Islamic scholars divide the divine revelations into two categories:

  1. Wahy matluw: The recited divine revelations, the Glorious Qur'an.
  2. Wahy gayr matluw: The unrecited divine revelations. These are the meanings inspired by Allah into the heart of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). These are the words related to the people in the words of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh); that is, the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). These also bear great meaning, and are certainly not without reason.

Another verse in the Qur’an regarding the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) says:

Wa-law taqawwala ʿalayna baʿḍa l-ʾaqawil. La-ʾakhadhna minhu bi-l-yamin. Thumma la-qaṭaʿna minhu l-watin.7

Here it reveals: “If, as you claim or as an impossibility someone attributed to Allah words that He did not say; if someone fabricated certain words saying ‘Allah revealed…’, We would seize him, then sever his jugular vein. We would rip out his liver, we would tear his heart apart, we would destroy him and curse him; we would not allow him to do such a thing.”

We understand from this that Allah the Almighty chose our Prophet (pbuh) of such great morals and devoutness; sent him and appointed him to “convey the commands of Allah to the worshippers.” Allah sending the Prophet (pbuh) in this way, and within this framework is a mercy to the universe. The meaning of mercy here does not signify pity, but rather a means of “compassion.” Allah the Almighty sent the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) due to His compassion for His servants. Indeed, if the Prophet (pbuh) was not sent to the people, they would not be able to act in accordance with the pleasure of Allah. In which case, they would be subjected to the wrath of Allah, suffer punishment in the hereafter and be sent to hell. Allah sent the Prophet because He had pity, He displayed compassion for His servants; and through the Prophet He teaches them the means of gaining His pleasure.

Some of the early communities, the Jews and non-Muslims rejected the prophet-hood of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh); they assumed the opinion that “We are beloved servants of God, and we are servants who love God, we follow His path. Our own path is sufficient for us.” A verse of the Qur’an was revealed regarding these individuals. In response to this, Allah revealed:

Qul ʾin kuntum tuḥibbuna llaha fa-ttabiʿuni yuḥbibkumu llahu wa-yaghfir lakum dhunubakum.[8]

“Say: “If ye do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins…”

Therefore, following Messenger of Allah (pbuh) is the means of Allah loving His servants. These are verses regarding this topic. Of course, it is not necessary to list so many verses; one verse of the Qur’an or one sign from a verse of Qur’an is sufficient for a believer. Several commands on a topic is not necessary, even one command alone is sufficient. However, when the command is multiple, this signifies the importance of the matter.

In these terms, the Qur’an is clearly revealing that we must obey the Prophet (pbuh) in every aspect, we must comply with his commands, and not bear a sense of objection towards him and his commands; this is what is required from us.

Our Prophet (pbuh) informed us of things that Allah commanded him saying: “O Messenger, inform them!” For instance, he said:

Ana sayyid al-Arabi wa la fahra. “I am the leader of the Arabs, no boast.”

Ana sayyid al-bani Adam wa la fahra. “I am the leader of the son of Adam, no boast” meaning “I do not say this to boast, I am saying this because I was commanded to by Allah; this is the position I was given.”

Wa allathi nafsi bi yadihi la yu’minu ahadukum hatta akuna ahabba ilayhi min walidihi wa valadihi wa nasi ajma’in .

This is an authentic hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim.

“I swear by Allah, who holds my life in His hand... That is; if Allah wills He can take my life, or if He wills He allows me to live. I swear to Allah, who holds my life in His hand, none of you will have true faith until I become more dearer to him than his father, his son, and all the other people.”

A person must love the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) more than his father, his mother, his children, his wife, his friends, and other people that he loves.

In one of the hadith in Bukhari, Muslim and Nasai, this topic is summarized clearly. As narrated by Abu Hurayrah (ra), the Prophet (pbuh) said:

Man ataanî fa-kad ataa'llah. “Whoever obeys me, he has obeyed Allah.”  

Wa man asani fa-kad asa’llah “"Whoever disobeys me, and rebels against me he has disobeyed Allah.”

Therefore, there is no question of objection or opposing the Messenger of Allah (pbuh); obeying the Prophet (pbuh) with total obedience is one of the conditions of a Muslim becoming a true believer.

This means we must pay more attention to the words and actions of the Prophet (pbuh). This signifies the necessity of following him in our behavior and in every aspect of our lives.

Acting contrarily to this is known as bid’ah (innovation). If a person does not follow the path within the boundaries depicted by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and follows a different path, and this path is in the name of religion; if the path deviates then he will not be following the path of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), that is, he becomes a disbeliever. If a person envisions something the Prophet (pbuh) did not do or say, and acts upon this and presents this with the assumption that “I am doing something religious, I am worshipping, I will gain reward and the pleasure of Allah”, this is classified as bid’ah.

Those who introduce these acts of bid’ah (innovations), are seriously condemned in the hadith. The Prophet (pbuh) related:

Iyyakum wa al-bida'a. “Never introduce bid’ah (innovations) in religion! Do not create such things from your own mind, opinions and logic!”   

Fa-inna kulla bid'atin dhaialatun. “Every innovation is misguidance.” 

Wa kulla dhalatin fin-naar “And every misguidance leads to hell, and leads the person to hell.”

Therefore, it is necessary for every human to remain on the path depicted by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), so they refrain from introducing their own innovations into religion.

Inna’l-Laha la yakbalu li-sahibi bid’atin sawman wa la salatan wa la sadaqatan wa la hajjan wa la umratan wa la jihadan wa la sarfan wa la adla, hatta yahruja min al-Islâmi kama tahruju sha'ratu min al-ajin.

This is a hadith narrated by Daylami and Huzaifah from Ibn Majah (ra).

Allah the Almighty  does not accept the fasts, prayers, charity, pilgrimage, umrah, jihad of the innovator-although jihad is a major sacrifice on the path of Allah- He does accept anything from such a person. And he comes out of religion like a hair pulled out of dough.

Therefore, this is signifying the threat of those who act contrarily, that is, those who do not comply with the Sunnah and introduce innovations.

Islamic scholars discovered and perceived the necessary conduct from these verses of the Qur’an and the hadith of the Prophet (pbuh). Since the period of the Sahabe-i kiram, the companions and the Muslims who lived during the period of the Prophet (pbuh) and personally saw him, the scholars followed the life of the Prophet (pbuh) with great attention. They confirmed their findings, their observances, what they saw and heard with substantial scientific methods and recorded these in writing. They related the life and words of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh)to us in a perfect and extensive manner.

In this aspect, they had  their own unique methods in terms of what they revealed to the realm of knowledge in a reliable way. Firstly, there was the acknowledgement of the hadith. There is the actual hadith, its text; then there was also acknowledgement, a chain of transmission relating who heard that report, the ruling and who transmitted the hadith. In fact, until the report reached the scribe of the hadith, it was determined which companion heard this, who he related this to, who that person told; who heard this, related this and memorized this hadith.

For example, let’s relate the case of Bukhari. Bukhari has a chain of transmission confirming “I heard this hadith from so and so, he heard it from Hammam ibn Munabbih, he heard it from so and so person, that person heard it from this person.” Some people objected before the works of the intermediaries existed, saying “Maybe Bukhari has not determined these accurately.” But with supporting texts found later such as the records of Hammam ibn Munabbih, this was evidence that proved these texts had been confirmed in a sound, reliable way as Bukhâri initially said.

Indeed, they collected sound narrations by criticizing accounts of individuals, writing books of jarh and ta’dil (criticism and accreditation). For example, a person can be a good person, but towards the end of his life his memory may weaken and he could confuse the hadith; they even related this when researching hadith saying “Towards the end of his life, his memory has become a little weaker so he may confuse certain things.”

The life of no individual in the world has ever been determined with such great detail as the life of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). The life of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was recorded with such extensive detail, that no other person in the world has ever been privileged until the present. What he did at night, what he did during the day, what he did when he got married; what did he speak about with his wife? How did he eat, how did he wash his hands, how did he enter the toilet, how did he leave the toilet? The life of no other human being has ever been studied in such detail.

This was a privilege granted to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) alone. Indeed, this is a great blessing for us, because the materials from our religion were transmitted to us from a sound source and by using this excellent method. People who collected this material, ashab-ı hadith, (hadith transmitted by those who were honored to see and speak with the Prophet) are positioned highly among the scholars of Islam. In fact, books such as Sharaf Ashan Al-Hadith were even written about them. These books explaining the greatness of the honor and reward the hadith scholars, who collected hadith, earned were written and published.

A scholar visited another country in the hope that “I will hear a single hadith”, “I will listen to a single hadith”. Of course, not by plane but by the means of that period, by foot and with great difficulty expecting reward from Allah for the difficulties he incurred; he traveled from Khorasan to Cairo and then onto Iraq because “such and such a person knowns a hadith from the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).” They displayed such enthusiasm.

Imam Malik ibn Anas (ra), the founder of the Maliki school of thought, was a scribe and mufti (an official learned in Islamic law and head of Islamic affairs). He was a man who had a bright personality, and was visited by everyone regarding all aspects. He was a great person, a person whom the sultans of his time relied upon. When someone knocked on his door, he would ask:

“How can I help you? What is the intention and purpose of your visit?”

If the person said something like “I want to ask a question regarding an issue on fiqh (Islamic law). Something happened and I want you to give me a fatwa on the matter.” He would say “Tell me what the problem is.” Then he would listen, and answer the question accordingly.

He was also a scholar of hadith. He was a narrator of hadith. He collected hadith and reported these to others; he transmitted the hadith of the Prophet (pbuh).

When the people said: “O Imam! We came to listen to the hadith and obtain a narration of the hadith”, he replied saying: “Come inside”, so the men would go in. The greatest offering of hospitality by the Arabs was incense. He would burn the most expensive incense and take it into the room. Maybe those who went for hajj witnessed this. Those who visited Saudi Arabia in Ramadan probably witnessed this. They bring the incense burners, and the essence of these is breathed in by those who sit in the front row; the richest, esteemed, knowledgeable, eminent figures. Holding their headpieces by the sides and breathing in the essence of the incense is a practice unique to Arabs. They perform taqwaf (circumambulation) of the Kaaba with these incense burners so “the people perform the tawaf amidst a pleasant fragrance.”

Imam Malik burned pleasant fragrances and incense in the room. He would perform ghusl (ritual bath). Although he was already clean, he would perform ghusl out of honor and respect with the intention that he would “narrate hadith”. He wore his finest clothing and his finest head wrap (turban) around his head. He would open the most beautiful rahla (carved bookstand) in the guest room, and cover the rahla with most expensive, most beautiful cloth. He would sit before his guests and listen to them with great seriousness and attention.

Imam Malik would recite slowly, letter by letter saying “I heard from so and so that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said…” And they would write all of this down. He controlled what they had written, and then he approved what they had wrote saying “This is fine you can narrate this hadith from me.” This was the method of the hadith scholars; this is also how the hadith were collected.

Someone explained about man to a scholar who collected hadith, which is also significant; he said “There is a person who narrates hadith”, so he set out on the journey with his students. They came to the town or city where the person lived, and found the man in a field. He was holding grass in his hand and showing it to his horse. When the horse came over to the man with the intention of eating the grass; the man grasped the horses reins, but he did not give the grass to the horse. He tricked the horse to catch it; he enticed the horse with grass, but did not allow the horse to eat the grass.

The scholar who came with his students to record the hadith said “We cannot accept hadith from this man, he deceived his horse, there is doubt regarding his trustworthiness. Therefore, we cannot record hadith from him!” so they left.

They worked with great care and attention, and this event is evidence of this.

This is why there are thousands of hadith books regarding the Prophet (pbuh), and there are millions of hadith. Everyone was alert, so they listened to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with great care, and made a great effort to narrate this in the best possible way.

We have hundreds of volumes of hadith collections. Books were prepared to make finding a hadith easier. Works such as Al-Mu'jam al-Mufahras li-alfaz al-hadith an-Nabawi were written.

Even regarding issues we encounter today, there is no issue, irrelevant of the period, that the hadith cannot answer if you know and read the hadith properly. Any social issues we face, disputes, incitements; an extreme opinion, an adverse opinion...Information concerning this can certainly be found in the hadith. The realm; the world of hadith contains such a rich content.

These studies and a compilation of hadith as such enabled the Qur’an to be understood in the most perfect way. Indeed, the Qur’an was revealed to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), and he first implemented the commands of the Qur’an in his own life. The Prophet (pbuh) provided explanations to enable these commands to be implemented easily in daily life.

If the hadith did not exist, we would not know how to give zakat (charity) and how much to give. We would not how to perform the prayers, as the Qur'an reveals “perform the  prayers, give zakat” but the details of fulfilling these duties is found in the hadith. However, these major efforts has enabled us to understand the Sunnah, the hadith and the Qur'an, and practice these in our daily lives in the best possible way.

In view of this, the primary source of our religion after the Qur’an -in fact, this could be the major source as this explains the Qur’an- is the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Islamic communities of different nations, means a variation of nations; a variation of cultures, a variation of manners, knowledge, traditions and customs. This means a variation of minds and opinions. The hadith generated a cultural solidarity within the Islamic community and formed a unity of conduct. This integrated the nations as one community. It protected them from deviating to innovations. In addition to degeneration, this also protected the people against integrating with foreign cultures, from adapting to them; from destruction and corruption.

Therefore, a Muslim can easily correspond and agree with a Pakistani, Sudanese, Egyptian, Algerian Muslim or a Muslim from the Balkans; in general with a Muslim who is familiar with the hadith in every aspect, because there is cultural solidarity. A sense of brotherhood, a consolidation of pleasure, of conduct; solidarity of lifestyle transpired from the hadith. The Islamic faith protected the people from corruption, falsifications, and distortions that occurred in the former religions. The preservation of the hadith to such an extent prevented the Islamic religion from being subjected to falsification; this preserved the Islamic religion.

So, in order to understand the importance of this, we should compare this with the different periods: Fourteen centuries have passed since the time of the Prophet (pbuh) until the present. However, only a century after the period of Prophet Jesus (Isa), a degeneration in Christianity and the doctrines that the Prophet Jesus would never consent to begun to emerge. The Prophet Jesus never said “I am the son of God.” He never said “Abandon God and worship me.” All of these emerged later and in a very short time despite the Prophet Jesus, and against his will.

There is also degeneration in the other religions. The late Hikmet Tanyu, professor of the History of Religions, said even Zoroaster was a prophet. Principally, while Zoroaster was a prophet, Zoroastrianism transformed into fire worshipping. (Muhammad) Hamidullah claimed that Buddha was a prophet. Then Buddhism turned into idol worshipping. In the Turkish language, the word idol is related to the word Buddha. A proper noun changed and became a common noun; sanam (god of idol worshippers), fetish (idolized object) became the names of objects to be worshiped rather than worshipping Allah.

This means  degeneration is occurring in religions; there is deterioration. We know from the stories in the Qur'an; the Jews became corrupted in the time of Moses. When he was alive; while he was occupied with the divine revelations on Mount Sinai, his people gathered jewelry beneath the mountain and made a statue of a calf. An idol worshipper and artisan named Samiri;

Fa-ahraja lahum ijlan jasadan lahu huwar..[9] “made out of ornaments, the image of a calf that had a lowing (mooing) sound.”

This was a form of art. There was a flow of air from inside the statue; the air entering from one side made the sound of the calf while exiting the other side. Indeed, we may not be able to make sounds from a ney (reed flute), whereas artisans are capable of producing pleasant musical sounds by blowing into a ney.

Of course the statue is only making the sound of a calf. What is all the commotion regarding this sound? It cannot walk or move; it is of no benefit and causes no harm. Under the influence of the diseases inherited from Egyptians, the old culture began to degenerate in the time of the Prophet Moses…and while he was still alive.

The Egyptians worshipped cows; they also worshipped many other things; they worshipped gods in the form of crocodiles, cows and death gods in the form of a dog heads. They had an eagle-head god named Horus which is now the emblem of the Egyptian Airlines. Unfortunately, they used the eagle-headed Horus idol as an emblem.

This degeneration never occurred in Islam. All praise to the Creator, this never happened. But why? Because there were hadith scholars, and because the Sunnah of the Prophet was compiled excellently.

The means of changing Muslims, distancing them from Islam is only possible by corrupting the hadiths, and by contesting the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). As they are aware of this, the enemies of Islam; missionaries, and Orientalists continuously attacked the hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) and the books of the hadith scholars, and attempt to defame and destroy these.

I remember in the early years of my university studies, we were reading an Arabic book called Kristometi (hrestomatiya) which contained selected texts. It was an Arabic teaching book written by Europeans. As a result, you will read Arabic texts, and develop your Arabic knowledge from the book. A fabricated story was selected; all based on lies and chosen ruthlessly, the examples were based on denigration and ulterior motives:

 “A hadith scholar was traveling on a ship. He was accompanied by a Nasrani and a Jew. He poured wine from the Nasrani’s wine jug and began to drink it.” But hadith scholars do not drink wine, that’s what it says. Then the Jew said, “Stop! Do not drink it, what are you doing? This is wine!” So the hadith scholar said, “How can you be sure it is wine?” He replied, “The owner bought it from the wine shop, this is wine.” The scholar said: “I am a scholar of hadith, I do not rely on a narration a Jew related from a Nasrani.”

This is mocking the chain of narration. This is attacking the narrators control mechanisms in the authenticity of the narrations. This is an attempt to humiliate him, but this is unjustified. If you do not criticize the authenticity of a narration, how would the hadith  sciences exist? Criticizing a narration is one of the most important aspects of this.

Orientalists acted so ruthlessly that they said “None of the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad are authentic, they are wrong.”

There was a history professor from the faculty next to me, but his religious knowledge was weak. His mother and father were Alevi; he had not received religious knowledge from his family, his life style was corrupt and he had no taqwa (piety).

He said: “So many hadith were written, but they say that around only 18 of these hadith are authentic.”

He is not a hadith narrator, he does not understand hadith and he does not speak Arabic. He has faults in his own profession, I am aware of this, in fact I even told him this. Furthermore, the philosopher Suleyman Hayri Bolay, who is also a very intelligent person, held his hands up and said:

“Be fair! The Messenger of Allah was a prophet for 23 years. Do you really believe he only related 18 hadiths in all these years? Is it possible that only 18 reports were narrated from such a famous person?

He is a reputed Prophet; he gained notability in his time, and his name became known all over the world. His cardigan, his shoe, even his hair has been preserved. When he shaved, the companions would compete with one another to collect his hair as a souvenir, a keepsake; as remembrance. As a person whose every detail has been preserved as remembrance, whose traditions are observed by command of the Qur’an, and a person who had hundreds of thousands of companions around him…how can there be confirmation of only 18 hadith?

So what is this based on?

As the hadith is the most important source of the Islamic faith, the main objective of the Orientalists, anti-Islamists, non-Muslims and the enemies of Islam is to attack these sources. I related these two examples to reflect this point. This is somewhat similar to a vaccine. In terms of explaining the issue, I will give this example: “We will do a vaccine in advance so you will not catch this disease.”

There is a tactic here. As the hadith is the main target and the focal point in the conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims, the hadiths are attacked frequently.

Sunnah is the steel wall that faces the enemies of Islam in their efforts to deceive, distort and confuse Muslims; to corrupt them and make them deviate from Islam. They are not capable of damaging or destroying the Sunnah; this is impossible as the hadith were compiled with great precision and the material of the hadith was perfect. There is a steel wall, an indestructible wall, and they continuously collide with this wall.

The Sunnah is an issue that irritates the transgressors and sinners the most; that obstructs them the most; the Sunnah obstructs all their justifications, eliminates their excuses for ignoring the religious commands.

Want I am trying to say here is there are some people, they do not practice Islam, they do not allow others to practice their faith, but they say “I am a Muslim!” They do not say “I am sorry but I am not a practicing Muslim”, these kinds of individuals try to prove that the deviated path complies with Islam, or believe that their own path is the most suitable, but the path you chose is not. The greatest obstacle they face is the hadith, the Sunnah of the Prophet; which restricts their claims.

They say there will be reforms in religion; “Alcohol is permissible, interest is permissible.” And when someone says “It is clear, this is not a topic open for dispute. Islam has forbidden this” they try to rule out the hadith to eliminate this. If they are sucessful, they will continue without any difficulty, and this is why they oppose the hadith with great determination. But this is something that others do when the caravan has already left…Dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.

So why is this material, which is so important, so valuable in the scientific terms, necessary for us in this century?

Of course, first and foremost we are believers, we are Muslims; we have faith. Our main objective is gaining the pleasure of Allah. The means of gaining His pleasure is being familiar with the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh); knowing and practicing our religion to perfection.

In this respect, the hadith is just as important for us as it was for the companions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The hadith is just as important for the believers in this century, as it was for believers of the past centuries and for the people of the future centuries.

May Allah the Almighty favor us with the Sunnah and never allow us to stray from the path of our Prophet.

May Allah be pleased with you all.

May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you...


* England, 15.07.1995 dated sermon

1.Al-Anfal 8:20.
2.Al-Ahzab 33:36.
3.An-Nisa 4:64.
4.An-Nisa 4:64.
5.An-Nisa 4:69.
6.An-Najm 53:3-4.
7.Al-Haqqah 69:44-46.
8.Ali-Imran 3:31.
9.Al-A’raf 7:148.

Article “Sünnetin Önemi” Prof. Dr. M. Es’ad Coşan