Although the deeds of worship are not explained in the Quran, how were they, for instance, the number of the rak’ahs of prayers, determined? Is the source sacred hadiths since the amount is not mentioned in the Quran?

The Details of the Question

For instance, we know that the fard of the night prayer is four rak’ahs. What is the source stating that it is four rak'ahs? Is the source sacred hadiths since the amount is not mentioned in the Quran?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Sunnah: The words, deeds and approval of the Prophet (pbuh).

"If a person skips a prayer by sleeping or forgetting, let him perform it when he remembers." (Abu Dawud, Salah, II; Darimi, Salah, 26)

The hadith above is an example of verbal sunnah (sunnah based on words).

"Perform prayers in the way that you see me perform." (Bukhari, Adhan, 18, Adab, 27, Ahad, I)

The hadith above is an example of actual sunnah (sunnah based on deeds). A Companion performed prayer with tayammum because he could not find water and he did not perform his prayer again though he found water after performing the prayer; the Prophet (pbuh) approved it, which is an example of sunnah of approval. It is unanimously agreed in fiqh that sunnah is the second main source after the Quran. It is definite by verses of the Quran that sunnah is regarded as evidence:

"…So take what the Messenger assigns to you, and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you..." (al-Hashr, 59/7).

"But no, by the Lord, they can have no (real) Faith, until they make thee judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against Thy decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction." (an-Nisa, 4/65)

''He who obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah...'' (an-Nisa, 4/80)

"O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you..." (an-Nisa 4/59)

''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..." (al-Ahzab, 33/36)

Sunnah is the Prophet’s fulfilling the duty of messengership he took from His Lord by conveying the message to people. The following is stated in a verse regarding the issue:

"O Messenger! Proclaim the (message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His mission..." (al-Maida, 5/67).

The Quran states that the Prophet (pbuh) speaks based on revelation:

"Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) Desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him." (an-Najm, 53/3-4)

On the other hand, the verses of the Quran states clearly that it is necessary to believe in the Prophet (pbuh):

''So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the Unlettered Prophet, who believeth in Allah and His words: follow him that (so) ye may be guided.'' (al-A'raf, 7/158)

Sunnah has three functions in the face of the Quran. It explains the ambiguous and concise verses of the Quran, specifies general decrees of the Quran, mentions the abrogating and abrogated verses, introduces complementary decrees to the verses whose origins are certain in the Quran, imposes some decrees that do not exist in the Quran. That the way of performing prayers and paying zakah, which are orders in the Quran, are explained by sunnah, the decree that the marriage of a man who accuses his wife of adultery but who cannot prove it will end if he practices mula’ana (mutual damning), and the hadiths that prohibit eating the flesh of domestic donkeys and birds of prey are examples of it. (Muhammad Abu Zahra, Usulul Fiqh, p. 113, 114).

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