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The Sealed Nectar

 The Sealed Nectar by Shaykh Safi ur-Rahman

The Arabic word “Sunnah” can be literally translated as a “well-trodden path,” and may be understood to mean the customary practice of a person or group. Within an Islamic context, the Sunnah refers to the religious teaching and customary religious practice of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). With regard to the Sunnah, the Qur’an repeatedly proclaims that Muslims are to obey the Prophet Muhammad and to follow his illustrious example of behaviour and conduct. As such, the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is religiously authoritative and binding on all Muslims. The following Qur’anic passages are among the many that illustrate the authoritative nature of the Sunnah.

Say:"If ye do love Allah, Follow me:Allah will love you and forgive you your sins:For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." Say:"Obey Allah and His Messenger.:But if they turn back, Allah loveth not those who reject Faith. (3:31-32)

And obey Allah and the Messenger. that ye may obtain mercy. (3:132)

Those are limits set by Allah. those who obey Allah and His Messenger will be admitted to Gardens with rivers flowing beneath, to abide therein (for ever) and that will be the supreme achievement. But those who disobey Allah and His Messenger and transgress His limits will be admitted to a Fire, to abide therein:And they shall have a humiliating punishment. (4:13-14)

On that day those who reject Faith and disobey the apostle will wish that the earth Were made one with them:But never will they hide a single fact from Allah. (4:42)

O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination. (4:59)

He who obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah. But if any turn away, We have not sent thee to watch over their (evil deeds). (4:80)

If anyone contends with the Messenger 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! (4:115)

Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and beware (of evil): if ye do turn back, know ye that it is Our Messenger's duty to proclaim (the message) in the clearest manner. (5:92)

"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." (7:157)

Say: "Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger. but if ye turn away, he is only responsible for the duty placed on him and ye for that placed on you. If ye obey him, ye shall be on right guidance. The Messenger's duty is only to preach the clear (Message). (24:54)

Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah. (33:21)

A Muslim is to follow the Sunnah or religious teaching and customary religious practice of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). One should note that the key adjective; “religious” should not be too quickly overlooked. That the Prophet (peace be upon him) reportedly was unaccustomed to eating a certain type of meat does not mean that all Muslims should also withhold from eating it also. [1]

Acts of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that are easily explained on the sole basis of personal taste [2], history or culture do not have the same binding authority on Muslims as his customary religious practice and his religious instructions. However, a caveat is necessary at this point, as a person may begin dismissing the actual religious teachings and practice of Muhammad (peace be upon him) based on nothing more than subjective intuition that the act or statement in question was culturally determined or was precipitated by a specific historical situation that no longer applies.

[1] Although the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) disliked the idea of eating lizard-meat, he did not forbid others to eat it, as is reported in the following story: “Khalid ibn al-Waleed reported that some grilled lizard meat was brought to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and put in front of him. He stretched out his hand to take some, but one of the people present said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, it is lizard meat,’ so he pulled his hand back. Khalid ibn al-Waleed asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, is lizard haram?’ He said, ‘No, but it is not known among my people and I cannot face eating it.’ So Khalid took some of the lizard meat and ate it, whilst the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) looked on.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 4981, al-Nisaa'i, 4242, and Abu Dawood, 3300).

[2] As mentioned in the previous footnote regarding the hadith of the lizard.

Sources:

Dirks, Jerald F., Understanding Islam – A Guide for the Judaeo-Christian Reader, Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2003, p.217-219.

http://islam-qa.com/index.php?ref=2005&ln=eng&txt=lizard

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