What Does the Quran Say About Following Sunnah & Hadith?
A question that arises frequently in this day and age where people to look to learn about Islam as much as they can in order to fulfill their duties, is whether the Quran has mentioned anything about us following Sunnah and Hadith.
People think that the Quran is the words of Allah and so why should they follow anything else apart from that. The hadith and Sunnah are practices of the prophet (pbuh) but he wasn’t the one that wrote the Quran. There are many arguments for and against this but will solely look into what the Quran says and what we can deduce from Allah’s message in there.
Allah SWT tells us the roles of the messengers he sent, and included in there is the final messenger Muhammad (PBUH)
Allah mentions in the Quran “Certainly did Allah confer [great] favor upon the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error.” [3:164]
From this verse we know that there have been 4 tasks assigned:
- Recite Verses – When the Messenger receives the words from Allah swt (when they are revealed to him). He is to recite them to the people and acquaint them with the glorious verses
- Purify the people – The verses and relationship with the holy book is going to have a purifying effect on people and it is the job of the messenger to facilitate that.
- Teach the people, the Book – Meaning to teach people the proper understanding of the book
- Teach the people Al Hikmah (wisdom) – When someone properly and appropriately applies a fact or knowledge that they know
For example we know fire is hot. That is not wisdom, that is a fact. Not touching fire because it is hot is applying knowledge and that is what’s called wisdom. So the job of the messenger was to show the practical implementation of the book that has been revealed. I.e. this is the sunnah the example and methodology of the Prophets (pbuh).
The question we then ask ourselves is that do we have to listen to and obey everything the messenger says?
The second major point we find in the quran about the role of the messenger and Allah swt answering this question very powerfully through the revelation when he talks about obedience.
Allah swt talks about mankind obeying Allah’s command and what’s more interesting is that in every verse Allah talks about obedience to himself, and also says to obey his messenger.
Allah mentions in the Quran:
Say, “Obey Allah and the Messenger.” But if they turn away – then indeed, Allah does not like the disbelievers. Indeed, Allah chose Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham and the family of ‘Imran over the worlds [3:32-33]
This means that the religion of Islam is defined by obedience to Allah and his Messenger.
The last point we find in the quran is about Itta’bah, which in Arabic translates as to follow somebody; like in their footsteps.
When Allah talks about this in the Quran he actually makes it a condition for someone to follow in order to attain his love.
In one of the well known verses of the Quran Allah says:
Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [3:31]
This is a really comprehensive answer in accordance to the Quran in regards to following sunnah / hadith and should clear up any misconceptions. If someone truly loves Allah and follows the Quran as they know that this is the true sacred source of guidance, they will follow the messenger too.
It does also raise the question about which Hadith should one be following, how does one know if they are legitimate or fabricated etc. Will will cover this topic in other articles In’Sha’Allah