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Unformatted text preview: ay that his Companions had shown. Shawkani, Irshad, p.33.] [10. Abu Dawud, Sunan, III, 1294, Hadith no. 4590; Al-Shawkani's interpretation might suggest that the Prophet may not have used 'Sunnah' in the exclusive sense that the ulema later attempted to attach to this term. In its juristic usage, 'Sunnah' has meant different things. To the ulema of usul al-fiqh, Sunnah refers to a source of the Shari'ah and a legal proof next to the Qur'an. But to the ulema of fiqh, 'Sunnah' primarily refers to a shar'i value which falls under the general category of mandub. Although in this sense, Sunnah is used almost synonymously with mandub, it does not necessarily mean that Sunnah is confined to the Mandub. For in its other usage, namely as a source of Shari'ah, Sunnah may authorize and create not only a mandub but also any of the following: wajib, haram, makruh and mubah. Thus in the usage of usul al-fiqh, one might say that this or that ruling has been validated by the Qur'an or by the Sunnah' whereas a faqih would be inclined to say that this or that act is Sunnah, which means that it is neither fard nor wajib, it is one of the five values which falls under the category of mandub. Nihayah, II, 170; Shawkani, Irshad, p.33; Hitu, Wajiz, p. 264.] Notwithstanding the fact that the ulema have used Sunnah and Hadith, almost interchangeably, the two terms have meanings of their own. Literally, Hadith means a narrative, communication or news consisting of the factual account of an event. The word occurs frequently in the Qur'an (23 times to be precise) and in all cases it carries the meaning of a narrative or communication. In none of these instances has Hadith been used in its technical sense, that is, the exclusive saying of the Prophet. In the early days of Islam following the demise of the Prophet, stories relating to the life and activities of the Prophet dominated all other kinds of narratives, so the word began to be used almost exclusively to a narrative from, or a saying of, the Prophet. [12. Cf. Azami, Studies, pp. 1-3 ] Hadith differs from Sunnah in the sense that Hadith is a narration of the conduct of the Prophet whereas Sunnah is the example or the law that is deduced from it. Hadith in this sense is the vehicle or the carrier of Sunnah, although Sunnah is a wider concept and used to be so especially before its literal meaning gave way to its juristic usage. Sunnah thus preferred not only to the Hadith of the Prophet but also to the established practice of the community. But once the literal meanings of Hadith and Sunnah gave way to their technical usages and were both exclusively used in reference to the conduct of the Prophet, the two became synonymous. This was largely a result of al-Shafi'i's efforts, who insisted that the Sunnah must always be derived from a genuine Hadith and that there was no Sunnah outside the Hadith. In the pre-Shafi'i period, 'Hadith' was also applied to the statements of the Companions and their Successors, the tabi'un. It thus appears that...
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2013 for the course ISLAM 101 taught by Professor Islam during the Spring '13 term at Harvey Mudd College.
- Spring '13