Importance of Hadith & Sunnah

Importance of Hadith & Sunnah

There are two main fundamental sources of knowledge in Islam – The Qur’an and the Hadith and there is also Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) which define the practicality of Islam.The Sunnah shows how the Islam should be practiced and it completely voids all those arguments which challenge the practicality of the teachings of Quran. Sunnah doesnt leave room for statements like “It is was an easy way for Allah (SWT) to reveal but really hard for humans to practice” Allah also mentions in Quran:

And what has kept people from believing when guidance has come to them, except that they said: “Has God sent a mortal man as the Messenger?” Quran 17:94

Say: “If angels had been walking about on earth as their abode, We would surely have sent down upon them an angel from heaven as Messenger.” Quran 17:95

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By sending human messengers for humans, Allah (SWT) left no space for the argument that following the path of Allah (SWT) is not practical and Allah (SWT) knows best. Whatever the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said, did or allowed also acted as a revelation because it is all from Allah (SWT).



Hadith is basically an Arabic word which means conversation, a story or a tale, an item of news. The secondary meaning of Hadith as  an adjective is new vs the old. But like the other words of Arabic e.g. salah or zakat, the meaning of Hadith changed in Islam. But after Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) became the messenger of Allah (SWT), his communications, sayings and actions began to termed exclusively as Hadiths.

Hadith & Sunnah:

The terms Hadith and Sunnah are often used as a synonym for one another though there is a minute difference between them. Sunnah according to the Arabic means a conduct, a way of life or a manner in which someone acts. According to the science of Hadith, it terms as whatever acts, statements, and a physical conduct or a physical action done by the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) during his prophethood is specifically and exclusively termed as Sunnah. According to the legal side of the Fiqh the recommended actions are termed as Sunnah. The different examples of Sunnah according to the Hadith are mentioned below.

Example of ‘Statement’

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (P.B.U.H) said,

“Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, God is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. God will not accept his fasting.)” Volume 3, Book 31, Number 127 (1903) (Bukhari)

Example for ‘Acts’

Malik b. Huwairith reported:

The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) raised his hands apposite his ears at the time of reciting the takbir (i. e. at the time of beginning the prayer) and then again raised his hands apposite the ears at the time of bowing and when he lifted his head after bowing he said: Allah listened to him who praised Him, and did like it (raised his hands up to the ears).  (Muslim 4:762)

Example of ‘Approval’

Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar:

I used to sell camels at al-Baqi for dinars and take dirhams for them, and sell for dirhams and take dinars for them. I would take these for these and give these for these. I went to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) who was in the house of Hafsah. I said: Apostle of Allah , take it easy, I shall ask you (a question): I sell camels at al-Baqi’. I sell (them) for dinars and take dirhams and I sell for dirhams and take dinars. I take these for these, and give these for these. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) then said: There is no harm in taking them at the current rate so long as you do not separate leaving something to be settled. (22:3348) Suna Abu Dawud [Thus Prophet(PBUH) allowed money exchange with condition]

Example of character ‘Description’

Anas b. Malik reported:

I served the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) for ten years, and, by Allah, he never said to me any harsh word, and he never said to me about a thing as to why I had done that and as to why I had not done that. (Muslim 30:5720)



The Hadith can also be termed as revelations by Allah (SWT) but unlike Quran, these revelations are more on a personal level and direct with the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H). the Hadith are the fundamental source of guidance along with the Quran. Concerning the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H), Allah (SWT) says in the Quran:

He does not speak on his own, out of his own desire; That is but a Revelation that is revealed to him.[Quran 53:3-4]

The Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) reiterated this point in one of his recorded statements,

Indeed, I was given the Qur’an and something similar to it along with it.” [Sunan Abu Dawud]


The protection and preservation of the Quran is not only restricted to its wordings and if that was the case than the manipulation of the words would have been done according to the human desire, while maintaining the wording of it. But, Allah (SWT) swore to protect the core essence and meaning by entrusting the explanation of the meanings of Quran to the Prophet (P.B.U.H) himself. Allah states the following in the Qur’an regarding its interpretation:

(We sent them) with Clear Signs and Books of dark prophecies; and We have sent down unto thee [Muhammad (pbuh)] the Message; that thou mayest explain clearly to men what is sent for them, and that they may give thought. [Qur’an 16:44]

So, if anyone wants to understand the meaning of the Quran one must consider what the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said or did. For example if we take Salah and Zakat, Quran only orders to pray and pay Zakat but it is described by the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) the proper way of performing a prayer and paying the Zakat. In one of the Hadith Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) says:

Pray as you saw me pray,”[ Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 1, no. 604.] and he specified that surplus wealth, unused for a year, should be given as zakat


One of the major duties of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) was to be the judge in conflicts and resolve issues among them. As all the judgements of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) are based on the revelations by Allah (SWT), so they are to be considered primary source of principles in an Islamic state to carry out judgements. Allah (SWT) says in the Quran:

O believers obey Allah, obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. If you dispute about anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger. [Quran 4:59]

Thus, Hadith are essential for the smooth running of the law courts in an Islamic State.

O believers obey Allah, obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. If you dispute about anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger. [Quran 4:59]

Moral Ideal:

Sunnah and Hadith also defined moral conduct in Islam. As Allah (SWT) guided the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) through revelations, so his personal life, interactions, behaviour and character became the prime examples of the moral conduct for every Muslim. Allah (SWT) says in Quran:

Surely there is for all of you a good example (of conduct) in the way of Allah’s Messenger [Qur’an 33:21]

Consequently, the daily life of the Prophet (pbuh) as recorded in hadith represents an ideal code of good conduct.

Preservation of Islam:

The preservation of Islam is indeed an integral part of the whole concept of Islam. It is due to the fact that the message of Allah got destroyed or lost before the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) because there was no set mechanism defined to preserve the message of Allah (SWT) but for the preservation and protection of the Quran, Allah (SWT) took the responsibility of protecting it and Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) defined a mechanism to protect is as well. Allah (SWT) says in Quran:

“Indeed, I have revealed the Reminder, I will, indeed, protect it.” [Qur’an 15: 90]

Hadith is the comments said by Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H)


Following the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) is the integral part of Islam and it is mostly ignored by the Muslims out of arrogance or ignorance. Some people might argue that following Sunnah is not mandatory but it is necessary to understand it completes our deen and adopting Sunnah is the way to success and prosperity. Following are the Quranic verses and Hadiths that defines the disasters of ignoring Sunnah.

How many of our decisions might go against messenger if we don’t know/sideline/reject Sunnah

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.(33:36 Quran)

Ignoring Sunnah may lead to punishment here or in hereafter

Just to give one example through a Hadith,

Salama b. Akwa’ reported on the authority of his father that a person ate in the presence of Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) with his left hand, whereupon he said: Eat with your right hand. He said: I cannot do that, whereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: May you not be able to do that. It was vanity (excessive pride) that prevented him from doing it, and he could not raise it (the right hand) up to his mouth.  (Book 023, Hadith 5011)(Bukhari)

-The very fact of sending messengers?-

We sent not a messenger, but to be obeyed, in accordance with the will of Allah. If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah’s forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful. (Quran 4:64)

Take WHAT messenger assigns

What Allah has bestowed on His Messenger (and taken away) from the people of the townships,- belongs to Allah,- to His Messenger and to kindred and orphans, the needy and the wayfarer; In order that it may not (merely) make a circuit between the wealthy among you. 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.(Qur’an 59:7)


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