The Relationship Of The Sunnah To The Qur’an

Allah says in the Qur’an that this was one of the Prophet’s specific roles:

“And, we have also sent down onto you the thikr(reminder and the advise – that is the Qura’an), that you may explain clearly to men what is sent down to them, and that they may give thought.” [16:44]

The two commands stated in this verse indicate that the Prophet (P.B.U.H) is vital to our understanding and practice of The Qur’an.
* The first command contained in the verse is the reciting of the Book on th people in terms of its words and its arrangement as it was revealed to him. The same is confirmed by another verse,

“O Messenger! proclaim(the messege) which has been sent down to you from your lord.” [5:67] And reciting,conveying and proclaiming is exactly what he did in the most perfect and complete fashion. Aisha(R.A), the Prophet(P.B.U.H) wife,is reported to have said,in reference to this verse,

“Whoever say that Muhammad,sallalahu alayhe wasalam,concealed something which was commanded to communicate,it is a great calumny against Allah.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

She is further reported to have said that if he(P.B.U.H) was to have concealed anything,he would concealed Allah’s saying, “And when you said to him on whom Allah has bestowed grace and you have done favor ‘keep your wife to yourself,and fear Allah’, but you did hide in yourself that which Allah will make manifest ….. ” [33:37] (Muslim)

* The second command indicated in the verse is that of explaining and clearyfing of the Qur’an:
It is understood that the Prophet(P.B.U.H) did not explain every single verse of the Qur’an. On the contrary, as-Suyooti has outlined only a few hundred narrations,authentic or not,in which the Prophet(P.B.U.H) explicitly explained a verse or verses of the Qur’an.

As-Suyooti as well as other major scholars,however, are of the opinion that the Prophet(P.B.U.H) explained all of the Qur’an in that he left us with all of the knowledge that is neccesary for us to properly understand the Qur’an -i.e. his Sunnah.
In addition,Aisha(R.A) has reported that the Prophet’s character embodied the Qur’an (Bukhari). Therefore, the Prophet(P.B.U.H) explained the Qur’an by his words as well as his character and example.

Another narration which proves the same principle is that of Umar Ibnul Khattab when he said, “Amongst the last verses to be revealed were the verses pretaining to intrest, and the Prophet(P.B.U.H) passed away before explaining them to us.” (Ahmed). This narration demonstrates that the only reason which kept the Prophet(P.B.U.H) from explaining these verses to his Companions was his death. This proves that it was a normal course of action to explain the verses to the Companions after they were revealed.


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