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Rejecting Sunnah Same As Rejecting the Quran?

14 May, 2017
Q Is rejecting the Sunnah the same as rejecting the Quran?


Asalamu Alaikum,

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.

Dr. Shabir Ally addresses this question in the video below:

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Safiyyah  Ally: OK, Brother Shabir, here’s a question about rejecting the Sunnah. So, the question is: isn’t rejecting the Sunnah the same as rejecting the Quran in many respects. So, of course you have to explain what this Sunnah is.

Dr. Shabir Ally: Yeah, the Sunnah is … this term generally refers in Islamic circle to the practice of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). And that practice may be known by looking at some of the hadith reports about him.

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So, there are collections of little snippets of information about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Each report is called a hadith.

And they may tell us about something the Prophet did or something he said or something that was done in his presence and he did not object to it.

So, this is taken as a precedence for Islamic law. And all of this together is referred to as the Sunnah, the practice of the Prophet (peace be upon him), even though obviously, all of this was not his practice.

So, when we think about the Sunnah, we shouldn’t confuse it with the hadith reports. And it is true that the Quran tells Muslims to obey and follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). And so it becomes a necessary part of our religious practice that we do follow him.

But some people take simplistically the hadith as though this is to be followed and if you reject that that means you are rejecting the Sunnah of the Prophet. That’s not true because the Sunnah of the Prophet is not to be established by only one hadith.

Sunnah means his general practice. And more than this, we should think also of what the Prophet (peace be upon him) did by way of showing us what we should do in order to follow him because he did many things as a human being which had nothing to do with the religion itself.

And by which he did not intend to be followed. As a human being, he ate, he slept, and he walked, and he talked. And he did so many things like we all do. We breathe, for example. He rode camels. He did things which an Arab at the time would have done, but had nothing to do with the religion per se.

But then there are things that he did to show us how we should be as Muslims. He says for example {Quoting in Arabic} take your practices from me, meaning the religious practices, like the practices of the Hajj.

He said {Quoting in Arabic} pray as you have seen me praying. So, these are the religious practices that we must follow. But then there are other things which sometimes he gave his opinion about and he said this is only my opinion as a human being.

I hope this helps answer your question. Please keep in touch.

Walaikum Asalam.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:


Store of Prophet’s Legacy: Why Hadith is Important

Where Lies the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad

About Dr. Shabir Ally
Dr. Shabir Ally holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, with a specialization in Biblical Literature. He also holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto with a specialization in Quranic Exegesis. He is the president of the Islamic Information and Dawah Centre International in Toronto where he functions as Imam. He travels internationally to represent Islam in public lectures and interfaith dialogues. He explains Islam on a weekly television program called "Let the Quran Speak". Past episodes of this show can be seen online at: www.quranspeaks.com.