[6] The Probativeness of the Sunna
by GF Haddad

4. Proofs From The Noble Qur'an For the Probativeness of the Sunna (Continued)

b) Verses that indicate that the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- elucidates the Book and explains its wisdom in a manner that carries authority on Allah's part

The second type of verses denoting the probativeness of the Sunna are the verses that indicate that the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- elucidates the Book and explains its wisdom in a manner that carries authority on Allah's part. Among these verses are those that state that the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- is teaching the Community the Book (al-kitab) and the Wisdom (al- hikma). The latter is, as al-Shafi'i and others said, the Sunna. Should we concede that it also means the Book, then the Prophet's teaching of Wisdom to the Community means its explanation, the exposition of its generalities, and the elucidation of its difficulties. All this dictates the probativeness of his explanation of the Book as contained in his sayings, his actions, and his tacit approval and disapproval. That is, his Sunna.

- Allah -- Almighty and Exalted -- said: {And We have revealed unto you the Remembrance that you may explain to mankind that which has been revealed for them, and that haply they may reflect} (16:44).

- And He said: {And we have revealed the Scripture unto you only that you may explain unto them that wherein they differ, and (as) a guidance and a mercy for a people who believe} (16:64).

- And He said: {Even as We have sent unto you a messenger from among you, who recites unto you Our revelations and cause you to grow, and teach you the Scripture and wisdom, and teach you that which you knew not} (2:151).

- And He said: {Allah verily has shown grace to the believers by sending unto them a messenger of their own who recites unto them His revelations, and causes them to grow, and teaches them the Scripture and wisdom; although before (he came to them ) they were in flagrant error} (3:164).

- And He said: {He it is Who has sent among the unlettered ones a messenger of their own, to recite unto them His revelations and to make them grow, and to teach them the Scripture and Wisdom, though heretofore they were indeed in error manifest} (62:2).

- And He said: {Remember Allah's grace upon you and that which He has revealed unto you of the Scripture and of wisdom, whereby He does exhort you} (2:231).

- And He said: {Allah reveals unto you the Scripture and wisdom, and teaches you that which you knew not. The grace of Allah toward you has been infinite} (4:113).

- And He said: {And bear in mind that which is recited in your houses of the revelations of Allah and wisdom. Lo! Allah is Subtle, Aware} (33:34).

Al-Shafi'i said in commentary of these verses:

Allah -- Almighty and Exalted -- mentioned the Book, and that is the Qur'an; He also mentioned wisdom. I have heard those whose opinion I trust among the people of knowledge of the Qur'an say that "wisdom" means the Sunna of Allah's Messenger -- Allah bless and greet him --. This supports what Allah -- Almighty and Exalted -- said - and Allah knows best - because the Qur'an is a reminder (dhikr) and wisdom follows it, and Allah mentioned that He lavished favor on His creatures by teaching them the Book and wisdom. It is therefore impermissible - and Allah knows best - to say that wisdom here is anything other than the Sunna of Allah's Messenger -- Allah bless and greet him --. That is because it is coupled (maqruna) with the Book, and that Allah has made obedience to His Prophet a strict obligation, imposing upon people the absolute duty to follow his commands. Thus it is not permissible to say about anything that it is a strict obligation (fard) except about Allah's Book and the Sunna of His Messenger -- Allah bless and greet him -- due to what we just said, namely, that Allah has coupled belief in His Messenger with belief in Him.1

Al-Shafi'i means to show that wisdom is the Sunna because in all these verses Allah -- Almighty and Exalted -- has joined it to the Book. This dictates differentiation (mughayara), so wisdom cannot denote the Book. However, it cannot be anything other than either the Book or the Sunna, because Allah has lavished His favor upon us by teaching them to us. Favor cannot consist in other than what is right, true, and in conformity with what is with Him. Wisdom must therefore be obligatorily followed just like the Book, especially since Allah has coupled it with the Book. But He has not enjoined upon us such obligation throughout His Book except with regard to two things: following His Book and following the Sunna of His Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him --. It follows that wisdom refers specifically to the Sunna.

Next installment:
c) Verses that indicate the obligatoriness of obeying the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- in absolute terms in whatever he orders and whatever he prohibits


1Al-Shafi'i, al-Risala (p. 78).

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