There are some people who want to leave the Sunnah and act only in accordance with the Qur’an. What is your opinion about that issue?

Details of the Question

There are some people who want to leave the Sunnah and act only in accordance with the Qur’an. What is your opinion about that issue?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

We see some unqualified people who only accept the divine rules the Noble Quran brings and reject the Sunnah, Ijma (consensus) and Qiyas (a type of judgment reached by making analogy) which are the other main sources of the religion. Their purpose is only to spoil peoples' belief and to make them go astray. While they accept the Quran as the only school of law, underestimate the Prophet's sunnah and Islam's other evidences, they accept some hadiths which suit their purposes and reject the ones which do not. They cannot deceive conscious Muslims; they are not appreciated by them, either. They have no right for that.

As it is known, as Muslims are obliged to obey the divine rules revealed in the Quran; they are also obliged to accept the religious rules declared through hadiths.

Those people do not heed at all the valuable books written about tafsir (commentaries of the Quran), hadith, fiqh (Islamic laws) and books in other fields which have been appreciated by all scholars and intellectuals.

Yes, a person who misguides people by taking refuge in the shadow of the Almighty Quran should at least know that a Muslim, no matter how ignorant he is, knows and believes definitely that the exalted Sunnah is a secondary evidence and the mainstay of Islam and he has absolutely no doubts and hesitations about whether the Quran is Allah's word or not.

Then, not taking Sunnah into account and not esteeming it by saying: “The foundation of the religion of Islam is merely the Quran; we apply only the rules in it; we call halal (permissible) what it deems halal and we call haram (prohibited) what it deems haram” means not perceiving the Prophet's value and his mission. He is the one who notifies and comments on the Quran at first.

The Prophet (pbuh) states in one of his hadiths the following:

“I was granted the Quran and as much as it (the sunnah) together with it. If my hadith reaches someone while he is leaning against his seat and if he says We have Allah's book with us, we deem the halals in it as halal and harams in it as haram, he must know that what Allah's Messenger deems as haram is like what Allah deems as haram.” (Abu Dawud, Sunnah, 6, Imara 33; Tirmidhi, Ilm 10)

Some of the scholars state the following: Every decree the Sunnah introduces has a far or close base in the Quran. The Sunnah eventually leads to the Quran. It explains what the Quran tells in brief and it discloses the issues which cannot be comprehended.

Stating that ones who have the idea to content themselves only with the Quran are the unlucky persons who stray from the Sunnah, Shatibi says: “Many of the people of innovation (bidah) strayed themselves and also caused some others to go astray by leaving hadiths and interpreting Allah's Book wrongly.”

Allah has undertaken to guard the Quran's meanings as well as its words, that is, those two essentials, by the verse:

“Verily We: It is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (the Quran) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).” (al-Hijr,15/9)

Islamic scholars declare that the guarding here covers the Sunnah as well as the Quran. That verse undertakes the Prophets Sunnah and hadiths which have the essence of being the commentaries and explanations of the Quran; that is, the verse;

“We have sent down unto thee (also) the Message; that thou mayest explain clearly to men what is sent for them.” (an-Nahl 16/44)

Because the “declaration” stated in the verse is one of the meanings of the Quran. That declaration can only be through the Prophet's Sunnah and hadiths.

“So take what the Messenger assigns to you, and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you. And fear Allah; for Allah is strict in Punishment.” (al-Hashr, 59/7)

Elmalili Hamdi Yazir assigns the following meaning to that verse:

“Whatever the Messenger gives you, accept it; and from whatever he forbids you, keep away from it; do not do what he forbids you and fear Allah and avoid going against Allah's and His Messenger's commands, being unjust towards each other and betraying the state...”

According to that, the Quran cannot be considered without the Sunnah and the Sunnah cannot be considered without the Quran. Disregarding one of them is an illness and heresy rising from not comprehending the religion of Islam. If it is possible to say, if the Quran is a sun, then the exalted Sunnah is its light. One cannot be sacrificed for the other.

As Almighty Allah has guarded the Quran by the hafizes of the Quran (those who memorize th whole Quran), he has also guarded the Sunnah and hadiths by the scholars of Islam.

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