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Unformatted text preview: rchase, for freeing a slave was not known in the custom of the Arabs nor were the inhibitions over oath-taking (ayman). The general support of this ayah is thus given a concrete application in the light of the prevailing custom. [Khudari, Usul, p.211.] Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 46 Chapter Three: The Sunnah Introduction Literally, Sunnah means a clear path or a beaten track but it has also been used to imply normative practice, or an established course of conduct. It may be a good example or a bad, and it may be set by an individual, a sect or a community. [1. Thus we read in a Hadith, 'Whoever sets a good example - man sanna sunnatan hasanatan - he and all those who act upon it shall be rewarded till the day of resurrection; and whoever sets a bad example - man sanna sunnatan sayyi'atan - he and all those who follow it will carry the burden of its blame till the day of resurrection ' For details see Isnawi, Nihayah, II, 170; Shawkani, Irshad, p. 33.] In pre-Islamic Arabia, the Arabs used the word 'Sunnah' in reference to the ancient and continuous practice of the community which they inherited from their forefathers. Thus it is said that the pre-Islamic tribes of Arabia had each their own sunnah which they considered as a basis of their identity and pride. see Guraya, Origins, p. 8ff; Ahmad Hasan, Early Development, p. 85.] The opposite of Sunnah is bid'ah, or innovation, which is characterized by lack of precedent and continuity with the past. In the Qur'an' the word 'Sunnah' and its plural, sunan , have been used on a number of occasions (16 times to be precise). In all these instances, sunnah has been used to imply an established practice or course of conduct. To the ulema of Hadith, Sunnah refers to all that is narrated from the Prophet, his acts, his sayings and whatever he has tacitly approved, plus all the reports which describe his physical attributes and character. The ulema of jurisprudence, however, exclude the description of the physical features of the Prophet from the definition of Sunnah. [3. Siba'i, Al-Sunnah, p. 47; Azami, Studies, p. 3.] Sunnah al-Nabi (or Sunnah al-Rasul), that is, the Prophetic Sunnah, does not occur in the Qur'an as such. But the phrase uswah hasanah (excellent conduct) which occurs in sura-al-Ahzab (33:21) in reference to the exemplary conduct of the Prophet is the nearest Qur'anic equivalent of Sunnah al-Nabi. you have, in the Messenger of God, an excellent example' (al-Ahzab, 33:21).] [4. The ayah in question addresses the believers in the following terms: 'Certainly The uswah, or example of the Prophet, was later interpreted to be a reference to his Sunnah. The Quran also uses the word 'hikmah' (lit-wisdom) as a source of guidance that accompanies the Qur'an itself. Al-Shafi'i quotes at least seven instances in the Qur'an where 'hikmah' occurs next to al-kitab (the Book). In one of these passages, which occurs in sura Al-Jum'ah (62:2), for example, we read that God Almighty sent a Messenger to educate and to pu...
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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