The Sunnah is the Ideal Way for all of Mankind
The Sunnah is the ideal way for all of mankind, and as Muslims, we are required to hold tightly onto the Sunnah at all times.
A young Sahabi (radiyallahu ‘anhu) was on his way on some errand when he passed by the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam) who noticed a distinct difference in the dressing of this Sahabi (radiyallahu ‘anhu). Rasulullah (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam) immediately reprimanded him saying:
‘Am I not a sufficient example for you?’
(Shamail Tirmidhi, Hadith: 120, Fathul Bari. vol.10. pg. 213 Hadith: 5791)
This heart-rending statement of Rasulullah (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam) is sufficient for every believer to realize the importance of adhering to the blessed Sunnah in every facet of life.
Every aspect of the life of Rasulullah (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam) has been accurately and meticulously recorded in the books of Hadith.
The Distinct Identity of the Sunnah
Rasulullah (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam) had on a numerous occasions exhorted the Ummah to remain steadfast upon the Sunnah and not become affected by the ways of Kuffar. It was always his concern that this Ummah should not follow the previous nations in their deviation. To this end, is his warning and caution, ‘He who imitates a nation is from amongst them.’ (Sunan Abi Dawud, Hadith: 4027 and Takhrijul ihya, Hadith: 851)
Rasulullah (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam) had ensured that the Sunnah remains unique and that it bears no resemblance with the manners of the non-believers in any aspect whatsoever, be it in acts pertaining to ‘ibadah (the act of worship), one’s appearance or personal life. A Muslim has a unique code of practise which was chosen by Almighty Allah and personally demonstrated by the paragon of all creation (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam). This distinction in the religion of Islam is highlighted in the Quran in Surah al-Kafirun wherein Almighty Allah instructed Rasulullah (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam) to proclaim to the non-believers: ‘lakum deenukum wa liya deen’ (you have your own way of life whilst I have mine).
In Surah Hud, ayah: 113, Allah Ta’ala states: ‘And do not incline towards the oppressors (disbelievers).’
Allamah Qurtubi (rahimahumallah) has related the following interpretation of this Ayah: ‘Do not adore their ways and do not follow them’.(Tafsir al-Qurtubi, vol. 9 pg. 112)
One of the wisdoms behind this prohibition is that when one assumes the habit or even the appearance of any specific sector of society, this affects one’s inner feelings too. One becomes more inclined towards those whom one imitates. It is natural and generally accepted that those who share the same profession or something in common, experience a familiarity, irrespective of race or nationality. The closer the resemblance, the stronger the bond between the two, ‘Birds of a feather flock together.’
How would one who fails to imitate the life of Rasulullah (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam) defend the personality of Rasulullah (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam)?
As Muslims residing in Western countries, we need to be more particular about maintaining our Islamic values and culture, or else we stand to lose our identity altogether.
Innovation replaces Sunnah
The ‘Ulama have cautioned that whenever any Sunnah is abandoned, it is automatically replaced with innovation. Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mas’ood (radiyallahu ‘anhu) is reported to have warned the Ummah: ‘If you abandon the way of your Prophet (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam), you will certainly deviate.’ (Sahih Muslim Hadith 1486)
In the light of the above, we can now understand why Rasulullah (sallallahu ’alayhi wasallam) had expressed himself with the following, ‘Hold on fast to my Sunnah and that of my [four] rightly guided successors. Hold onto it and Grip it with your molars!!’(Sunan Abi Dawud, Hadith: 4599; Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Hadith: 2676)
May Allah ‘Azza wa Jall bless us to follow the Sunnah in all affairs, till our last breaths.