Importance of Hadeeth

The Objective of the Site:

The goal of this website ( is to provide the first online, authentic, searchable, and multilingual (English/Arabic at the individual hadith level) database of collections of hadith from our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.

Therefore, you can search in English or Arabic. Not only will the Arabic come up, but the translation too.

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صحيح البخاري
صحيح مسلم
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جامع الترمذي
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موطأ مالك
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رياض الصالحين
الأدب المفرد
الحديث القدسي
الشمائل المحمدية 

madinah88999Sunnah or Hadith is the second source from which the teachings of Islam are drawn. Hadith literally means a saying conveyed to man, but in Muhaditheen's terminology Hadith means sayings of the Prophet, his action or practice of his silent approval of the action or practice. Hadith and Sunnah are used interchangeably, but sometimes these are used for different meanings.

To deal with the topic it is necessary to know the position of the Prophet in Islam, because the indispensibility of Hadith depends upon the position of the Prophet.

Analyzing the problem we can visualize three possibilities:

1. The duty of the Prophet was only to convey the message and nothing more was required from him.

2. He had not only to convey the message but also to act upon it and to explain it. But all that was for the specified period and after his death Qur'an is sufficient to guide humanity.

3. No doubt he had to convey the Divine Message but it was also his duty to act upon it and to explain it to the people. His actions and explanations are a source of guidance forever. His sayings, actions, practices and explanations are a source of light for every Muslim in every age.

The learned men of the Muslim Ummah are of the unanimous view that only the third point is the correct assessment of the Prophet's position in Islam. The Qur'an contains dozens of reminders of the important position of the Prophet. For instance the Qur'an says:

"And verily in the messenger of Allah ye have a good example for him who looketh unto Allah and the last day and remembereth Allah much." [Al-Ahzab 31]

According to this verse, every Muslim is bound to have the good example of the Prophet as an ideal in life. In another verse he has been made a 'Hakam' for the Muslims by Allah Almighty. No one remains Muslim if he does not accept the Prophet's decisions and judgements:

"But no, by thy 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: 65]

While explaining the qualities of Muslims the Qur'an says:

"The answer of the believers, when summoned to Allah and His apostle, in order that He may judge between them, is no other than this: They say: we hear and we obey." [An-Nur: 51]

In many places the Qur'an has given its verdict on this issue. The Qur'an says:

"Obey Allah and obey the Messenger." [An-Nisa 59]

And: "Whatever the Messenger giveth you take it and whatever he forbiddeth abstain from it." [Al-Hashr: 7]

Qur'an is very clear in expressing its view on the position of the Prophet. According to the Qur'an, the Prophet has four capacities and he must be obeyed in every capacity. He is Mu`allim wa Murabbee, he is a law-giver and judge, he is Shaari' one who explains the Book, and he is a ruler. In all these capacities he is an ideal example for the Muslims. I am quoting a few verses of the Holy Book just to give a hint of this topic.

"Allah did confer a great favour on the believers when He sentamong them an apostle from among themselves rehearsing untothem the signs of Allah, sanctifying them in scripture andwisdom while, before that, they had been in manifest error." [Al-Imran: 164]

"And We have sent down unto thee the Message that thou mayest explain clearly to men what is sent for them."[An-Nahl: 44]

"For he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good and pure and prohibits them from what is bad and impure. He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them." [Al-Araf: 157]

"O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the apostle, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything amongst yourselves refer it to Allah and His Apostle, if you believe in Allah and the last day." [An-Nisa: 59]

"It is not fitting for a believer, man or woman when a matter has been decided by Allah and His apostle to have any option about their decision. If any one disobeys Allah and His apostle, he is indeed on a clearly wrong path." [Al-Ahzab: 36]

In all these verses, the Qur'an has explained various aspects of the Prophets personality. One can judge the importance of the Prophet from these verses. I am reminded of another important verse of the Qur'an, which is actually a verdict against those who do not believe in Hadith as an authentic source of law:

"If any one contends with the Prophet even after guidance has been plainly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that becoming to men of faith, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen and land him in Hell, what an evil refuge." [An-Nisa: 110]

The Qur'an while pressing the Muslims to obey the Prophet, goes a step further when it announces that the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) is above all the limitations of time and space. He is the last Prophet and is a Messenger of Allah for the whole of humanity for all time to come.

Hadith is nothing but a reflection of the personality of the Prophet, who is to be obeyed at every cost.

Any student of the Qur'an will see that the Holy Book generally deals with the broad principles or essentials of religion, going into details in very rare cases. The details were generously supplied by the Prophet himself, either by showing in his practice how an injunction shall be carried out, or by giving an explanation in words. The Sunnah or Hadith of the Holy Prophet was not, as is generally supposed, a thing of which the need may have been felt only after his death, for it was very much needed in his lifetime. The two most important religious institutions of Islam are Prayer and Zakat; yet when the injunction relating to Prayer and Zakat were delivered, and they were repeatedly revealed in both Mecca and Madinah, no details were supplied. Keep up Prayers (aqimoo as-salaah) the Qur'anic injunction and it was the Prophet himself who by his own actions gave details of the prayer and said: (Salloo kamaa ra'aytamoonee usaallee) "Pray as you see me praying."

Payment of Zakah is again an injunction frequently repeated in the Qur'an, yet it was the Prophet (peace be upon him) who gave the rules and regulations for its payment and collection. These are but two example; but since Islam covers the entire sphere of human activities, hundreds of points had to be explained by the Prophet (peace be upon him) by his example in action and in words.

The Scholars have discussed the question of Hadith in detail as a prophetic wisdom. I do not want to go into the details, but one thing must be stated clearly that there were cases when the Prophet, not having received a revelation, made a personal effort to formulate opinion through his own wisdom. Either it was corrected by revelation or it was approved. The importance of the Sunnah even as a second source of Islam was a settled issue for the Companions of the Prophet. I quote only one of the many examples: That of Mu'adh ibn Jabal, who said to the Prophet that he would decide according to the Sunnah if he did not find the solution to a problem in the Book. To quote Dr. Hamidullah:

"The importance of Hadith is increased for the Muslim by the fact that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) not only taught, but took the opportunity of putting his teachings into practice in all the important affairs of life. He lived for twenty three years after his appointment as the Messenger of Allah. He endowed his community with a religion, which he scrupulously practiced himself. He founded a state, which he administered as the supreme head, maintaining internal peace and order, heading armies for external defense, judging and deciding the litigations of his subjects, punishing the criminals and legislating in all walks of life. He married and left a model of family life. Another important fact is that he did not declare himself to be above the ordinary law which he imposed on others. His practice was not mere private conduct, but a detailed interpretation and application of his teachings." (Introduction to Islam, page 23)

The man, therefore, who embraced Islam stood in need of both the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Actually, Hadith is so important that without it one cannot fully understand the Qur'aan and Islam or be able to apply it in one's life.

madiinah67Sunnah in the Arabic language (without any religious context) means a way or method which can have two states, either a good Sunnah or a bad Sunnah.

As Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said in a hadith:

"Whosoever does a good Sunnah he will get the reward for it and the reward from other people doing the same thing until the day of judgment. And whosoever does a bad Sunnah he will have the punishment from doing it and the punishment of others who practice it." [Muslim]

The definition of Sunnah differs, however, depending on the area of Sharee'ah. For example, a scholar in the area of Usool (fundamental principles) will define Sunnah as whatever was reported that Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, did, or permitted to do. As an example of what he said, are the hadeeths which deal with the different Ahkaam (regulations) in different contexts, such as his (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) saying:

"The reward of deeds depends on intentions..." [Bukhari & Muslim]

An example of what he did is that which his Companions have reported of him (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) doing in the matters of 'Ibaadaat (acts of worship), such as: The way to perform Salaat (prayer), Hajj (pilgrimage) and Adab us-Siyaam (etiquette of fasting). An example of what he (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) permitted to do is whenever he kept silent upon seeing the Companions doing things; his (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) silence served as approval; or his acknowledgment to the Companions that they did the right thing. An example of his permission is when the Companions made Ijtihaad (decision by reasoning) during the battle of Bani Quraydha. He (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Do not pray 'Asr till you are at Bani Quraydha." [Bukhari & Muslim]

Some of the Companions understood that to mean that they should delay prayer till they reach the place. However, some Companions understood that to mean that they have to hurry, and so they did pray 'Asr on time. In neither case did the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) say anyone of them was wrong and he did not reject what they did. Another example where Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said something when he saw an action by a Companion is when Khalid ibn al-Waleed ate a lizard that Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) refused to eat. Some of the Companions wondered, and asked him "Is it haraam (unlawful) to eat it, O Messenger of Allah?" The Prophet replied:

"No, but it is not common in my area, and I don't feel to eat it." [Bukhari & Muslim]

Another familiar meaning of Sunnah is that of legal daleel (evidence, proof) whether it is in the Qur’aan, the Prophet's sayings, or Ijtihaad by the Companions, such as the collection of Qur’aan in one book and unifying the reading of the Qur’aan on one Harf (reading style). Opposite to this is Bid'ah (innovation); Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said clearly: "Follow my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the righteous Caliphs after me" and did not say follow my bid'ah which should not be taken to mean the same as Sunnah. This can be shown by the definition used in Fiqh where we say this is the "Sunnah" divorce and that is the "Bid'ah" divorce.

These differences in looking at Sunnah is dependent on the faculty of scholars, just like any area of science where definitions vary.

In general we can define the Sunnah as whatever Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said or did to be way of life for us.

madinahbirdsThe Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) used to take the ruling on different matters in their lives from the Qur’aan, which they use to learn from Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam). In many instances, the aayaat (verses) of the Qur’aan treat a subject in a general manner without a specific condition. Sometimes the aayaat will come as an absolute ruling without any precondition or limitation required by time, place, etc. As an example of what came in a general way in the Qur’aan is the Salaat. The Qur’aan does not mention how many Rak'ahs (units of prayer) we should make, or how to physically move during prayer, or the time for prayer. Similarly, the Qur’aan does not mention the minimum amount of money to have before giving Zakaat (charity) or the conditions by which to pay it. Many of our 'Ibaadaat cannot be performed without stopping at the explanations related to the regulations, pillars, and conditions of nullification.

It is thus a must to return to Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) to know the rules in a comprehensive and clear manner.

Many times, the Companions faced incidents in which the Qur’aan didn't mention the ruling, and there was a need to return to the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) to know the ruling of such matters. It was the Prophet who was ordered by Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa) to teach humanity, and it is the Prophet who is the most knowledgeable of mankind about that which Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa) expects from us.

Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa) has told us about the duty of Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) with respect to the Qur’aan, where Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa) said:

"And We have sent down unto thee (also) the Message; that thou mayest explain clearly to men what is sent for them, and that they may give thought." [Qur’aan 16:44]

Allah also made it clear to us that the duty of Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) is to clarify the truth to people when there is a dispute:

"And We sent down the Book to thee for the express purpose, that thou shouldst make clear to them those things in which they differ, and that it should be a guide and a mercy to those who believe." [Qur’aan 16:64]

We are obligated to follow Rasoolullaah's (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) ruling in any dispute:

"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." [Qur’aan 4:65]

Allah also mentioned that Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was given the Qur’aan and Wisdom to teach people the regulations of their religion:

"Allah did confer a great favour on the believers when He sent among them an apostle from among themselves, rehearsing unto them the Signs of Allah, sanctifying them, and instructing them in Scripture and Wisdom, while, before that, they had been in manifest error." [Qur’aan 3:164]

Regarding the last aayah, most scholars and those of great knowledge said that the wisdom mentioned in the aayah means another thing besides the Qur’aan. It is what Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa) has given Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) from the knowledge of matters and regulations that the rest of humanity can not attain. Imaam Ash-Shaafi`ee (rahimahullaah) has said that:

"Allah subhaanahu wa ta`aalaa has mentioned the scripture which is the Qur’aan, and he mentioned wisdom and I have learned from the people of knowledge that the wisdom here is the Sunnah of Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam). It is from the mercy of Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa) that He has sent to us a way to practice what is in the Qur’aan."

Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa) did not stop by saying scripture only, but the inclusion of the Sunnah with the Qur’aan is an indication of its important and the obligation on us to follow it as we have to follow the Qur’aan. Imaam Ash-Shaafi'ee goes on to saying that the letter 'wa' ('and' between Scripture and Wisdom in the aayah) is a letter of conjunctions in Arabic which requires that the two parts it joins must be different otherwise the sentence will be redundant, and Allah (subhaanahu wa ta' aalaa) is far away from that; na`oodhu billaah. And so when Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa) said that he has conferred a great favor on the believers, He does not confer anything that is not correct and truthful. Therefore, this wisdom must be followed as the Qur’aan, and Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa) has never ordered us to follow anything but Him and His Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam). Which must mean that this wisdom is what came from Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) in the form of rules and sayings regarding legislation.

To clarify the concept of Sunnah and our obligation to follow it, Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa) said:

"Those who follow the apostle, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (scriptures),- in the law and the Gospel;- for he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure); He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe in him, honour him, help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him,- it is they who will prosper." [Qur’aan 7:157]

Because this teaching is mentioned in general in this aayah, then it must include the rules in the Qur’aan and Sunnah.

A very strong indicator of the obligation upon us to follow the Sunnah can be found in this aayah:

"...And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam)) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it) , and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is severe in punishment." [Qur’aan 59:7] Allah has also made the obedience of Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) in conjunction with the obedience to Him:

"And obey Allah and the Messenger, that ye may obtain mercy." [Qur’aan 3:132]

We are asked by Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa) to answer any command by Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam):

"O ye who believe! give your response to Allah and His Messenger, when He calleth you to that which will give you life." [Qur’aan 8:24]

Allah made the obedience of Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) an obedience to Him, and following Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) an indication of the love of Allah, subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa:

"He who obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah." [Qur’aan 4:80]

"Say: If ye do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive your sins." [Qur’aan 3:31]

And Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa) warned us from not following the instructions of Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam):

"Then let those beware who withstand the Messenger’s order, lest some trial befall them, or a grievous penalty be inflicted on them." [Qur’aan 24:63]

Not only that, but Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa) told us that disobeying Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) is Kufr (disbelief):

"Say: Obey Allah and His Messenger. But if they turn back, Allah loveth not those who reject Faith." [Qur’aan 3:32]

It was never allowed by Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa) that a believer disobey Rasoolullaah's (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) order:

"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: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path." [Qur’aan 33:36]

To show that not following the ruling of Rasoolullaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) when a dispute occurs is a sign of hypocrisy, Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa) says:

"They say, 'We believe in Allah and in the apostle, and we obey'; but even after that, some of them turn away; they are not (really) Believers. When they are summoned to Allah and His apostle, in order that He may judge between them, behold some of them decline (to come)....The answer of the Believers, when summoned to Allah and His Messenger, in order that He may judge between them, is no other than this: they say, "We hear and we obey"; it is such as these that will attain felicity." [Qur’aan 24:47-51]


Abdullah ibn Al-Mubarak used to often stay at home, so he was asked, "Don’t you get lonely?" He replied,

"How can I get lonely when I am with the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wasallam, i.e. I read his hadith)?"

(Ibn ‘Asâkir, Târîkh Dimishq, Vol. 32, p.458.)


Even if I were to spend my whole life,

Fighting off the soul’s strife,

Completing the day-to-day chores of a wife,

But studying the Prophetic Narrations with a heartfelt drive,

By the Will of Allah, the Most Wise,

I’d surely have made the most of my life.


Each time the soul endures,

The painstaking hours by which to adore,

Each word from the ahaadeeth of the Prophet of our Lord,

Allowing each breath and heart beat to run with it in unison and flow,

Pushing away the sadness and worries deep inside below,

By walking into a door,

Not only travelled by me, but also by many of those who lived afore.


I wasn’t given the chance to live in his time,

Nor see the Prophetic seal, the Prophetic Sign,

But I will strive hard to go back in time,

And live those moments through the narrations passed down in line…

Regarding the man who was the last Prophet before the end of time.


Then, just maybe, maybe I will see him,

Allah is All Forgiving, although right now the chances seem dim,

For I have a lot yet to learn and win,

But I hope that I am on the path, even if it’s just virtually on the brim,

Of catching on to something great,

By studying about him and refuting those who hate

His Noble ways, before it’s too late.


O Allah make me not wait,

Till the hereafter to see him, make it in my fate,

That I see him in this life within my dreams,

Beams upon beams, light upon light,

To take away my heart’s plight,

And give me the drive to study, teach, write and cite,

Although I know I’ll never truly fulfil his blessed right.


Even if I were to spend my whole life on this path,

I ask Allah for sincerity, His Pleasure and to save me from His Wrath,

So that although I came from the last,

I hope to be among the first to run into Paradise

….at last.


It was once said to ‘Abdullah b. Al-Mubârak, “O Abû ‘Abd Al-Rahmân, you often sit alone at home.” He said,

“I am alone? I am with the Prophet – Allâh’s peace and blessings be upon him – and his Companions.” Meaning: reading hadîth. (Ibn ‘Asâkir, Târîkh Dimishq Vol. 32 p458.)

Shaqîq b. Ibrâhîm reports:

It was once said to ‘Abdullah b. Al-Mubârak, “After you have prayed with us you don’t sit with us?” He replied,

“I go and sit with the Sahâbah and the Tâbi’în.”

We said, “And how can you sit with the Sahâbah and Tâbi’în (when they have all passed away)?” He replied,

“I go and read the knowledge I have collected, I find their narrations and deeds. What would I do with you? You sit around backbiting people.” (Al-Dhahabî, Siyar A’lâm Al-Nubalâ` in his biography of ‘Abdullah b. Al-Mubârak)

booksreadIt is reported that once a heretic was brought to Harun al-Rashid (the ‘Abbasi Khalif) who subsequently ordered his execution.

The heretic said to him, ‘Why are you executing me?’

He said, ‘To relieve the worshippers of you (and your heresy).’

The heretic said, ‘And what can you do about the one thousand narrations that I attributed to the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) although he did not utter a single letter of them?’

Al-Rashid then said to him,

‘O enemy of Allah! And what can do you about Abu Ishaq al-Fazari and Ibn al-Mubarak who will sift through them and extract them one by one!’

Source: Tadhkirat al-Huffadh by Imam al-Dhahabi.


The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to teach the Sunnah to his companions in word and deed, and urged them to follow it, as he said in his hadeeth: “Adhere to my Sunnah” and “Whoever neglects my Sunnah does not belong to me.”

‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no Prophet whom Allaah sent to any nation before me, but he had disciples from among his nation, and companions who followed his Sunnah and obeyed his commands.” (Narrated by Muslim, no. 71). Some aspects of the Sunnah are waajib (obligatory) and some are mustahabb (encouraged). The Muslim should follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), whether it is waajib or mustahabb, as long as it is proven in sound reports.

The Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) used to spread the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) among people and they called people to follow it. Some examples follow:

The proper number of Takbeeraat during prayer is Sunnah

‘Ikrimah said: I prayed behind an old man in Makkah (i.e., Zuhr) and he said Takbeer twenty-two times. I said to Ibn ‘Abbaas that the man was a fool. He said,

“may your mother lose you! The Sunnah of Abu’l-Qaasim (saas) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was to say Takbeer five times in each rak’ah, plus the Takbeer for ihraam and for standing up for the third rak’ah." (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 746).

Sitting muftarishan in prayer is Sunnah

‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abd-Allaah narrated: I used to see ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) sitting with his legs crossed when he sat (to recite Tashahhud during the prayer). I was a mere youngster, and I did the same, but ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar told me not to do that. He said the Sunnah is to put your right foot upright and to fold the left foot beneath you [this is what is meant by Iftiraash or “sitting muftarishan” – Translator]. I said to him, ‘You do not do that.’ He said,

‘My legs do not let me [i.e., because of old age or sickness].’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 784).

It is Sunnah for a traveller to shorten his prayers if he misses praying a prescribed prayer with an imaam

Moosaa ibn Salamah al-Hudhali said: I asked Ibn ‘Abbaas, "How should I pray if I am in Makkah and I do not pray with the imaam?" He said,

"Two rak’ahs is the Sunnah of Abu’l-Qaasim (saas) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)." (Narrated by Muslim, no. 1111).

Hajj al-Tamattu’ is Sunnah

[Hajj al-Tamattu’: this is when the pilgrim enters ihraam for ‘Umrah only, performs ‘Umra, finishes ihraam and then later enters a new ihraam for Hajj – Translator].

Muhammad ibn al-Muthannaa and Ibn Bashshaar said, Muhammad ibn Ja’far told us, Shu’bah told us: I heard Abu Jamrah al-Duba’i say: “I wanted to do Hajj al-Tamattu’, and some people told me not to do that. I went to Ibn ‘Abbaas and asked him about it, and he told me to do it. Then I went home and slept, and someone came to me in my dream and said,

"An accepted ‘Umrah and Hajj Mabroor [Hajj done in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet (saas) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and accepted by Allaah]."

I came to Ibn ‘Abbaas and told him about what I had seen (in my dream) and he said:

"Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, the Sunnah of Abu’l-Qaasim (saas) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)." (Narrated by Muslim, 2183, and by al-Bukhaari, no. 1465).

Praying two rak’ahs after each Tawaaf is Sunnah

Ismaa’eel ibn Umayyah said: I said to al-Zuhri that ‘Ataa’ was saying that the prescribed prayer was sufficient and there was no need to do two rak’ahs after Tawaaf. He said:

"The Sunnah is better. Abu’l-Qaasim never did Tawaaf seven times around the Ka’bah but he prayed two Rak’ahs afterwards." (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, Baab salaa al-Nabi (saas) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) li suboo’ihi rak’atayn.)

Keeping the khutbah short and hastening to stand at ‘Arafaah is Sunnah

Saalim said: ‘Abd al-Malik wrote to al-Hajjaaj telling him not to differ from Ibn ‘Umar concerning the (rituals of) Hajj. Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) came at noon on the Day of ‘Arafaah, and I was with him. He called at the pavilion of al-Hajjaaj, who came out wearing a wrap dyed with safflower. He said, “What is the matter, O Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmaan?’ [Ibn ‘Umar] said, ‘Let us go, if you want to follow the Sunnah.’ [Al-Hajjaaj] said, ‘Now?’ [Ibn ‘Umar] said, ‘Yes.’ Al-Hajjaaj said, ‘Wait for me, while I pour water on my head, then I will come out.’ So Ibn ‘Umar waited until al-Hajjaaj came out, then he walked between me and my father. I said,

‘If you want to follow the Sunnah, keep the khutbah short and hasten to stand at ‘Arafaah.’

He looked at ‘Abd-Allaah and when ‘Abd-Allaah noticed that, he said, ‘he is telling the truth.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, no. 1550).

Going from Muzdalifah to Mina at daybreak is Sunnah

‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Yazeed said: “We went out with ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) to Makkah, then we came to Muzdalifah and prayed the two prayers [Maghrib and ‘Ishaa’], each with its own Adhaan and Iqaamah, and we ate dinner between the two prayers. Then he prayed Fajr when dawn came and some were saying that dawn had come and others were saying that it had not come. Then he waited until the day got brighter, then he said:

if the Ameer al-Mu’mineen [‘Uthmaan] moves on towards Mina now, he will be following the Sunnah.

I am not sure which came first, ‘Abd-Allaah’s comment or ‘Uthmaan’s setting out for Mina. He kept reciting Talbiyah until he reached Jamrat al-‘Aqabah and threw the stones on the Day of Sacrifice (Yawm al-Nahr).” (al-Bukhaari, 1571).

Doing the prayer before the khutbah on Eid is Sunnah

Taariq ibn Shihaab said: the first person who put the khutbah before the prayer on Eid was Marwaan. A man stood up and said to Marwaan, ‘You have gone against the Sunnah.’ Abu Sa’eed said,

‘This man has done what he was supposed to, for I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say, “Whoever sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand [by taking action], and if he cannot, then with his tongue [by speaking out], and if he cannot, then with his heart [by feeling that it is wrong], and that is the weakest of faith.”’ (Abu ‘Eesaa said: a saheeh hasan hadeeth, 2098).

Sacrificing a camel whilst it is standing up and its left foreleg is tied is Sunnah

Ziyaad ibn Jubayr said: I saw Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) come to a man who had made his camel sit down so he could slaughter it. He said to him,

‘Make it stand up with its foreleg tied, for this is the Sunnah of Muhammad (saas) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).’ (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1598).

When drinking, one should pass the vessel to one’s right

Anas ibn Maalik said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to our house and asked for something to drink. We milked a ewe then added some water from this well of mine. We gave it to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he drank. Abu Bakr and ‘Umar were to his left, and a bedouin was to his right. When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) finished drinking, ‘Umar said, ‘Here is Abu Bakr, O Messenger of Allaah,’ pointing to him. But the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave the cup to the bedouin, not to Abu Bakr or ‘Umar. T

he Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Those who are on the right, those who are on the right, those who are on the right.”

Anas said,

"This is Sunnah, this is Sunnah, this is Sunnah." (Agreed upon; this version narrated by Muslim, 3785).

Dividing one’s time equally among co-wives is Sunnah

Anas said:

"It is part of the Sunnah, if a man marries a virgin after having married a previously-married woman, he should spend seven nights with her, then divide his time equally (among the co-wives). And if he marries a previously-married woman after having married a virgin, he should spend three nights with her, then divide his time equally…” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4813).

In cases of divorce the Sunnah should be followed

Chapter: the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning): {O Prophet, when you divorce women, divorce them at their ‘Iddah (prescribed periods), and count (accurately) their ‘Iddah (periods)…} [al-Talaaq 65:1]. We should count the days and know how many days have passed at any given time. The way of divorcing according to the Sunnah is to divorce a woman when she is taahir (pure, i.e., not during her period or post-natal bleeding) and without having had intercourse with her since she became taahir, and the divorce should be witnessed by two witnesses. (Saheeh al-Bukhaari).

When departing this world

Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that when the deceased was placed in the grave [Abu Khaalid said on one occasion: when the deceased was placed in the lahd (niche) of his grave], the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Bismillaah wa Billaahi wa ‘ala millati Rasool-illaah (in the name of Allaah and by the help of Allaah and on the religion of the Messenger of Allaah).” On another occasion, he said: “Bismillaah wa Billaahi wa ‘ala Sunnati Rasool-illaah (saas) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) (in the name of Allaah and by the help of Allaah and on the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (saas) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)).” (Abu ‘Eesa said: this is a ghareeb hasan hadeeth with this isnaad. 967).

Seeking permission to enter three times is part of the Sunnah

Abu Sa’eed said: Abu Moosa sought permission to enter upon ‘Umar. He said, "Assalaamu ‘alaykum, may I enter?" ‘Umar said, "That was once," then he kept silent for a while. Abu Moosa again said, "Assalaamu ‘alaykum, may I enter?" ‘Umar said, "That was twice", then he kept silent for a while. Abu Moosa again said, "Assalaamu ‘alaykum, may I enter?" ‘Umar said, "That was three times." Then Abu Moosa went away. ‘Umar asked the doorkeeper, "What happened?" The doorkeeper said, He went away. ‘Umar said, "Bring him back." When he came back, ‘Umar said, "What is this that you have done?" Abu Moosa said,

"It is the Sunnah."

‘Umar said: is it? Then he said, I did not know this… (Abu ‘Eesa said: a saheeh hasan hadeeth, 2614)

Ibn ‘Abbaas recited al-Faatihah aloud during a Janaazah (funeral) prayer in order to teach people the Sunnah

Talhah ibn ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Awf said: 'I prayed the Janaazah prayer behind Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him), and he recited the Opening of the Book (i.e., he recited al-Faatihah aloud). He said:

"(I did that) so that they might learn that this is Sunnah."' (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1249)

The Imaam denounced those who go against the Sunnah.

Al-Tirmidhi narrated in his Sunan that one of the scholars of the madhaahib said: Salaat al-istisqaa’ (prayer for rain) should not be done, but they should make du’aa’ and then leave, all of them.

Abu ‘Eesa said:

'This is against the Sunnah.'

Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his Saheeh:

Chapter on following the Sunnah of the Prophet (saas) (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):

Ibn ‘Awn said: "There are three things which I love for myself and my brothers: this Sunnah, that they should learn about it and ask about it; the Qur’aan, that they should seek to understand it and ask about it; and that they should leave people alone unless it is for a good reason.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-I’tisaam bi’l-Kitaab wa’s-Sunnah).

Let those people fear Allaah who think of the Sunnah as unimportant and say it is only the matter of externals and does not matter, and they go against it deliberately, thinking that this proves how moderate and reasonable they are, as they claim. They are doomed and lost, for the Sunnah of our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is most dear to us.

Even if a particular aspect of the Sunnah is mustahhab (encouraged) rather than waajib (obligatory), is there not a reward for us in following it? Do we have so much hasanah that we do not need to seek more?

O my brothers and sisters, may Allaah have mercy on me and on you, strive to follow every proven Sunnah that you learn from your Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and do not neglect it, for it will benefit you on a Day when neither wealth nor sons will be of any avail. Adhere to the Sunnah and teach it to your children. Revive it in the midst of those who are unaware of it, so that you may be among the most blessed of people through the intercession of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

O Allaah, help us to follow the Sunnah. Cause us to live in accordance to the Sunnah and to die adhering to the Sunnah. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad. Aameen

ourbelovedRasoolSawsThe promise made by Allah (SWT) in Qur'an 15:9 is obviously fulfilled in the undisputed purity of the Qur'anic text throughout the fourteen centuries since its revelation. However, what is often forgotten by many Muslims is that the divine promise also includes, by necessity, the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH), because the Sunnah is the practical example of the implementation of the Qur'anic guidance, the wisdom taught to the Prophet (PBUH) along with the scripture, and neither the Qur'an nor the Sunnah can be understood correctly without the other.

Allah (SWT) preserved the Sunnah by enabling the companions and those after them to memorize, write down and pass on the statements of the Prophet (PBUH), and the descriptions of his way, as well as to continue the blessings of practicing the Sunnah.

Later, as the purity of the knowledge of the Sunnah became threatened, Allah (SWT) caused the Muslim Ummah to produce individuals with exceptional memory skills and analytical expertise, who travelled tirelessly to collect thousands of narrations and distinguish the true words of prophetic wisdom from those corrupted by weak memories, from forgeries by unscrupulous liars, and from the statements of the large number of Ulama (scholars), the companions and those who followed their way. All of this was achieved through precise attention to the words narrated, and detailed familiarity with the biographies of the thousands of reporters of hadith.

The methodology of the expert scholars of hadith in assessing the narrations and sorting out the genuine from the mistaken and fabricated, for ms the subject matter of the science of hadith. In this article a brief discussion is given of the terminology and classifications of hadith.

Components of Hadith

A hadith is composed of three parts (see the figure [below]):


Matn (text), isnad (chain of reporters), and taraf (the part, or the beginning sentence, of the text which refers to the sayings, actions or characteristics of the Prophet (PBUH), or his concurrence with others action). The authenticity of the hadith depends on the reliability of its reporters, and the linkage among them.

Classifications of Hadith

A number of classifications of hadith have been made. Five of these classifications are shown in the figure [below], and are briefly described subsequently.


  1. According to the reference to a particular authority
    Four types of hadith can be identified.
    • Qudsi - Divine; a revelation from Allah (SWT); relayed with the words of the Prophet (PBUH).
    • Marfu - elevated; a narration from the Prophet (PBUH), e.g. I heard the Prophet (PBUH) saying ...
    • Mauquf- stopped: a narration from a companion only, e.g., we were commanded to ...
    • Maqtu' - severed: a narration from a successor.


  2. According to the links of Isnad - interrupted or uninterrupted
    Six categories can be identified.
    • Musnad - supported: a hadith which is reported by a traditionalist, based on what he learned from his teacher at a time of life suitable for learning; similarly - in turn - for each teacher until the isnad reaches a well known companion, who in turn, reports from the Prophet (PBUH).
    • Mutassil - continuous: a hadith with an uninterrupted isnad which goes back only to a companion or successor.
    • Mursal - hurried: if the link between the successor and the Prophet (PBUH) is missing, e.g. when a successor says "The Prophet said...".
    • Munqati - broken: is a hadith whose link anywhere before the successor (i.e., closer to the traditionalist recording the hadith) is missing.
    • Mu'adal - perplexing: is a hadith whose reporter omits two or more consecutive reporters in the isnad.
    • Mu'allaq - hanging: is a hadith whose reporter omits the whole isnad and quotes the Prophet (PBUH) directly (i.e., the link is missing at the beginning).
  3. According to the number of reporters involved in each stage of Isnad
    Five categories of hadith can be identified:
    • Mutawatir - Consecutive: is a hadith which is reported by such a large number of people that they cannot be expected to agree upon a lie, all of them together.
    • Ahad - isolated: is a hadith which is narrated by people whose number does not reach that of the mutawatir.
      It is further classified into:
    • Mash'hur - famous: hadith reported by more than two reporters.
    • Aziz - rare, strong: at any stage in the isnad, only two reporters are found to narrate the hadith.
    • Gharib - strange: At some stage of the Isnad, only one reporter is found relating it.
  4. According to the nature of the text and isnad
    • Munkar - denounced: is a hadith which is reported by a weak narrator, and whose narration goes against another authentic hadith.
    • Mudraj - interpolated: an addition by a reporter to the text of the hadith being narrated.
  5. According to the reliability and memory of the reporters
    This provides the final verdict on a hadith - four categories can be identified:
    • Sahih - sound. Imam Al-shafi'i states the following requiremetts for a hadith, which is not mutawatir, to be acceptable "each reporter should be trustworthy in his religion; he should be known to be truthtul in his narrating, to understand what he narrates, to know how a different expression can alter the meaning, and to report the wording of the hadith verbatim, not only its meaning".
    • Hasan - good: is the one where its source is known and its reporters are unambiguous.
    • Da'if - weak: a hadith which fails to reach the status of hasan. Usually, the weakness is: a) one of discontinuity in the isnad, in which case the hadith could be - according to the nature of the discontinuity - munqati (broken), mu'allaq (hanging), mu'dalmursal (hurried), or b) one of the reporters having a disparaged character, such as due to his telling lies, excessive mistakes, opposition to the narration of more reliable sources, involvement in innovation, or ambiguity surrounding his person. (perplexing), or
    • Maudu' - fabricated or forged: is a hadith whose text goes against the established norms of the Prophet's sayings, or its reporters include a liar. Fabricated hadith are also recognized by external evidence related to a discrepancy found in the dates or times of a particular incident.