Importance of the Sunnah of Prophet (pBUH)

In a previous blog post on my website, I wrote about how we should adorn our lives with the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to make our lives beautiful and meaningful. In continuation of that topic, today I will attempt to write about how we can incorporate the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) into our daily lives. I will also highlight the significance of the Sunnah in our lives. I will strive to provide you with information as clearly and beautifully as possible, and I will make every effort to ensure that the information I provide is accurate. Without further ado, let’s begin in the name of Allah Almighty.

As always, I seek refuge in Allah Almighty from all kinds of harm and pray that He makes my work easy. I also pray that He considers this effort a means of salvation for us in this world and the hereafter. Whatever is good in my writing is entirely a blessing from Allah Almighty, and any faults are due to Satan (the Devil) and my own lack of knowledge. JazakAllah. (Thank you).

Before going to the actual point, I will discuss the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) in a nutshell. I know for many people it’s an unnecessary topic because we all know about the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), so we don’t need to know anything new about who he was. Respecting their opinion, I will mention a very brief introduction of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) because I will later mention a verse from the Holy Quran that will help us understand why his Sunnah is so important for us. In this case, I will not go for any traditional identification of him.

Who is Prophet Muhammad? (PBUH)

In one word Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is a mercy for the whole world. And I am not saying it, this introduction from the creator Allah Almighty himself. Allah says in the Holy Quran,

 

  • “وَمَاۤ اَرْسَلْنٰكَ اِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعٰلَمِيْنَ”
    “And We have not sent you but as mercy for all the worlds.”[¹]

Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him is a guidance for all human being. He is someone who brings people from the darkness to the light. He is the messenger of liberation for all of us. He is the greatest man of all time in human history and in him there is a good example for us. Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran,

 

  • “لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِيْ رَسُوْلِ اللّٰهِ اُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُوا اللّٰهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْاٰخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللّٰهَ كَثِيْرًا”  “There is indeed a good model for you in the Messenger of Allah – for the one who has hope in Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah profusely.”[²]

Yeah that’s enough for us. We don’t need further introduction of the Messenger of Allah Almighty (peace and blessings be upon him) for our today’s blog. Now let’s move on to the next topic.

Introduction of the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (pBUH)

Sunnah (سنه) is an Arabic term. Its lexical meanings are face, image, reflection, nature, lifestyle, way of actions, etc. [³]

The terminological meaning of the Sunnah is the comprehensive life model of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), including all types of his directives, words, actions, and approvals.

“Sunnah” also has another meaning, which is a good deed not obligatory in Islamic Shari’a. That is, after fard and wajib, not necessary actions, which need to be done, or it is better to do. Generally, this meaning is widely used among us. Most of the time, we understand this meaning when we hear the word “Sunnah.”

But in today’s blog, I will discuss “Sunnah” as the comprehensive life model of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Please remember this meaning.

Definition of Sunnah

“Sunnah refers to performing actions in the exact manner, method, amount, time, place, and for the same reasons, and with the same significance as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did. Similarly, Sunnah also entails avoiding actions with the same reasoning and significance that the Prophet (peace be upon him) avoided them.

Please note: this is my own definition of Sunnah. This is how I understand the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). You may think it’s a very complex definition, but it’s not. If you understand it properly, it’s that easy. Let me give you an example to make it easier for you.

 

At the outset, I would like to remind you once again that when we refer to Sunnah here, we mean the entire life model of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Understanding this is very important because if you do not grasp this concept, it will be difficult for you to understand the subsequent discussion. The more we comprehend this aspect, the better we can appreciate its significance.

Let’s start with a basic example:

  • Specific action: Obligatory (fard) prayers. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) performed obligatory prayers throughout his life, so for us, performing these prayers is following his Sunnah.
  • Specific method: We should perform obligatory prayers exactly as he did—this includes the manner of bowing (ruku) and prostrating (sujood), along with all other rules associated with these prayers. By doing so, we can abide by His Sunnah.
  • Specific quantities: The Prophet (peace be upon him) performed the obligatory prayers in specific quantities: two rak’ahs for Fajr, four for Dhuhr, four for Asr, etc. Therefore, performing these prayers in the same quantity is following his Sunnah.
  • Specific place: Regarding the place of prayer, the Prophet (peace be upon him) always prayed the obligatory prayers in the mosque. Thus, for us, praying these prayers in the mosque is following his Sunnah.
  • Specific time: Concerning the timing, the Prophet (peace be upon him) prayed the obligatory prayers at their designated times. If we were to pray Fajr at 2 PM or Maghrib at 6 AM, we would not be following his Sunnah.
  • Specific reason: Now, let’s consider the reason for worship. The Prophet (peace be upon him) performed obligatory prayers because they were commanded by Allah. We too must perform these prayers for the same reason. If our intention in performing the obligatory prayers is to lose weight, without the intention of obeying Allah’s command or following the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him), then our action would not be in accordance with his Sunnah. Regular prayer might indeed lead to weight loss, but if our primary intention is to fulfill Allah’s command, then we would also be considered complete worshipers.In Islam, intention (niyyah) is crucial. It can fundamentally change the nature of our actions. If you are interested, you can read my writing on the importance of intention.
  • Specific importance: The importance given to obligatory prayers by the Prophet (peace be upon him) should be mirrored by us. If we treat obligatory prayers with the same importance we give to optional (nafl) prayers, we would not be following the Sunnah correctly. Generally, the significance and reason for worship are often determined by our intention. Therefore, I recommend reading my post on this topic.

I hope you now understand my definition of Sunnah. I have repeatedly mentioned that by Sunnah, I am referring to the complete lifestyle of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Please do not forget this point.

Importance of the Sunnah from the Quran

Many verses of the Quran command complete obedience and adherence to the Messenger (peace be upon him). In fact, there is no way to obey Allah, the Lord of the worlds, without obeying the Messenger (peace be upon him). Complete obedience, imitation, and adherence to the Messenger in all aspects of life—following his Sunnah—is the only means of achieving salvation, success, and guidance. This has been instructed in various ways. Here, I present some of those verses to you. Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran in various places:

You may think I gave you lots of verses from the Holy Quran. But believe me, you will find more verses besides these about this matter. It’s just a brief summary of this phenomenon. Now let’s move on to the Hadith, where the Sunnah is emphasized very significantly.

I think I have mentioned enough Qur’anic verses and hadiths before you to understand the importance of the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) in our lives. For this reason, I am not elaborating on this matter. Now I will write about how we can implement the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) in our lives so that our lives become meaningful and beautiful.

Ways to structure our lives according to the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (pBUH)

It is not difficult to adorn our lives according to the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Because we deeply love Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), and loving someone encourages us to follow them. Similarly, following someone gradually increases our love for them. Both complement each other. Moreover, none of us can be complete believers if we do not love the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) most.

Here is a Hadith to support this sentence:

 

  • Narrated Anas: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “None of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father, his children, and all mankind.”[²²]

Now let’s talk about some practical ways to implement the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) in our lives.

  •  Prayer and Worship: Regularly performing the five daily obligatory prayers and optional prayers (like Tahajjud) as practiced by the Prophet.
  •  Kindness and Compassion: Showing compassion to all creatures, following the Prophet’s example of kindness even to animals.
  •  Character and Manners: Emulating the Prophet’s exemplary character traits such as honesty, patience, humility, and forgiveness.
  • Family and Relationships: Treating family members with love and respect, as demonstrated by the Prophet’s teachings on maintaining good family relations.
  • Dress and Appearance: Dressing modestly and in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet regarding clothing and grooming.
  • Diet and Nutrition: Following dietary guidelines, including moderation and consuming halal and wholesome foods.
  •  Community and Social Interaction: Engaging positively with the community, being helpful, and promoting unity and brotherhood.
  •  Seeking Knowledge: Prioritizing seeking knowledge, both religious and worldly, as the Prophet encouraged lifelong learning.
  •  Charity and Generosity: Giving to those in need, practicing charity, and helping others, reflecting the Prophet’s generosity.
  •  Du’a (Supplication): Making supplications more and more and seeking guidance from Allah, following the Prophet’s teachings on the power of prayer.
  •  Gratitude and Patience: Cultivating gratitude for blessings and practicing patience during challenges, following the Prophet’s example of gratitude and endurance.
  •  Sincerity and Intention: Performing actions with sincerity (ikhlas) and intending them for the sake of Allah alone, as emphasized in the Prophet’s teachings.
  •  Environmental Responsibility: Caring for the environment and avoiding wastefulness, in line with the Prophet’s teachings on respecting nature and conserving resources.
  •  Simplicity and Minimalism: Embracing simplicity in lifestyle and avoiding extravagance, reflecting the Prophet’s modest way of living.
  •  Good Speech and Behavior: Using kind and gentle speech, avoiding gossip and harmful language, as taught by the Prophet in his interactions.
  •  Healthy Lifestyle: Taking care of physical health through balanced eating, exercise, and cleanliness, following the Prophet’s emphasis on maintaining good health.
  •  Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Forgiving others and seeking reconciliation in conflicts, embodying the Prophet’s teachings on forgiveness and peaceful resolution.
  •  Honesty and Integrity: Upholding honesty and integrity in all dealings, business transactions, and personal interactions, as exemplified by the Prophet’s trustworthiness.
  •  Eid and Special Occasions: Celebrating Islamic holidays such as Eid with joy and gratitude, following the traditions established by the Prophet.
  •  Constant Remembrance of Allah: Engaging in regular remembrance (dhikr) of Allah throughout the day, as taught by the Prophet to maintain spiritual connection.

I know that there are many more Sunnahs you can find in books of Hadith besides these. Even so, by integrating these mentioned practices into our lives, we not only adhere to the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) but also enrich our spiritual journey and contribute positively to our communities. We can also strive to live a life that is pleasing to Allah and beneficial to ourselves and others.

 

As I wrap up today’s blog, there’s one crucial point to address: our sincere efforts to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) mean everything to us. While we may not perfectly emulate all his teachings, our earnest endeavor is what truly counts, for Allah judges us by our intentions. Moreover, while not all Sunnahs are obligatory, following all of them brings immense benefit to our lives. May Allah grant us all the guidance to wholeheartedly follow the Prophet’s Sunnah and assist us in shaping our lives accordingly. Ameen.

footnote

1. Surah Al-Anbiya 21:107
2. Surah Al-Ahzab 33:21
3. Ibnul Manjur, Lisanul Arab, 13/224-225
4. Surah Aal-e-Imran 3:31
5. Surah Aal-e-Imran 3:32
6. Surah Al-Hashr 59:7
7. Surah Aal-e-Imran 3:132
8. Surah An-Nisa’ 4:13
9. Surah An-Nisa’ 4:59
10. Surah An-Nisa’ 4:69
11. Surah Al-Anfal 8:20
12. Surah An-Nur 24:52
13. Surah An-Nisa’ 4:80
14. Surah Al-Anfal 8:1
15. Surah Muhammad 47:33
16. Sahih Sahih al-Bukhari, 7280 in-Book Reference: Book 96, Hadith 12 USC-MSA web (English) reference: Vol. 9, Book 92, Hadith 384 (deprecated numbering scheme)
17. Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 5063.
18. Sunan Abu Dawood, Hadith 4607.
19. Sahih Muslim, Hadith 867.
20. Muwatta Malik, Book 46, Hadith 3 (Imam Hakim and Imam Jahabi said, this an authentic Hadith)
21. Sahih Sahih al-Bukhari, 7288 In-Book Reference: Book 96, Hadith 19 USC-MSA web (English) reference: Vol. 9, Book 92, Hadith 391 (deprecated numbering scheme)
22. Sahih Sahih al-Bukhari, 15 In-Book Reference: Book 2, Hadith 8 USC-MSA web (English) reference: Vol. 1, Book 2, Hadith 15 (deprecated numbering scheme)

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