In part (1) & (2) of this article, we have seen that disbelievers in fundamentalsm/ ‘hujjiat e sunnah’ argue that sunnah is not follow-able for the people for all times to come. They say that some Sunnah was people and time specific and such sunnah was follow-able only for the people who were commanded to follow such sunnah in the period of our Nabi (s.a.w). Similarly some sunnah which was relating to non-religious matters was not follow-able for the people even in the age of our Nabi (s.a.w). We have also seen that such a view held by disbelievers of sunnah is not tenable in the light of Quran. Quran mentions about two main types of ‘wahi’. The first type is what has been called ‘Kalam e Allah’/Quran, and the second is what has been called as ‘kalam e rasool’ and ‘kalam e Gabriel’. This second type of ‘wahi’ has been called sunnah. We have seen how Quran stresses the fundamentalsm/ hujjiat of sunnah which is ‘Kalam e rasool’. Now we would see in the succeeding lines how Quran emphasizes fundamentalism/ hujjiat of sunnah which is ‘kalam e Gabriel’.
Quran says in sura al-takveer:
“[That] indeed, that (wahi) is a word of a noble Messenger [Gabriel] (19). [Who is] possessed of power and with the Owner of the Throne, secure [in position] (20). Obeyed there [in the heavens] and trustworthy (21). And (O people!) your companion is not one possessed (22). He certainly saw him (Gabriel) high up on the horizon in his original form (23). And he [Muhammad (s.a.w)] is not a withholder of [knowledge of] the unseen (24). And this ‘wahi’ is not the word of a devil, expelled [from the heavens] (25). So where are you going (26)? It is not except a reminder/guidance to the worlds (27). For whoever wills among you to take a right course (28). And you do not will except that Allah wills - Lord of the worlds (29)”.
In this paragraph, in the first verse i.e. 19, word 'hoo' has been used. This word 'hoo' is a third person pronoun; So 'hoo' means 'that'; it does not mean 'this'. If word 'this' has been used, it would mean mention has been made to Quran. But word 'that' has been used; it means mention is being made to something apart from Quran, and that something apart from Quran is Sunnah.
These above quoted verses of sura al-takveer state that the ‘wahi’/sunnah which is the words of hazrat Gabriel (a.s) is a reminder/guidance for all the worlds. It is a guidance for whoever wants to take a right course. It is not that it is people and time specific and is guidance only for the people who were living in the period of our Nabi (s.a.w); rather it is guidance for the people belonging to all ages/ worlds. It is not that this ‘wahi’/ sunnah is the guidance only in religious matters; rather it is guidance for everyone who wants to take a right course both in religious and non-religious matters.
We have already seen in my article “Concept of Meezan and Essentiality of Sunnah” how sunnah provides guidance to people in all ages and in all religious and non-religious matters. A brief of this article is given below:
“We have already sent Our messengers with clear evidences and sent down with them the Scripture/Book and the balance/ ‘meezan’ that the people may maintain [their affairs] in justice….” (al-hadid-25).
This verse states that Allah has revealed to His Messengers the Book and “meezan”/balance/justice so that people may establish justice. It may be noted that the Book and ‘Meezan’ have been used side by side in this verse. Allah has revealed both things i.e. the Book and the ‘Meezan’. It means ‘Meezan’/justice revealed is not contained only into the Book i.e. Quran; whole guidance is not confined to apparent/written words of Quran, though whole guidance may be adduced from Quran through unwritten words/inferences/hidden meanings of Quran; Sunnah is actually hidden meanings of Quran revealed to our Nabi (saww). 'Meezan'/justice is contained in Quran and in a source other than Quran/the Book. That other source is our beloved Nabi’s (saw) Sunnah. ‘Adl’ and ‘qist’ constitute whole edifice of system of justice; ‘qist’ is legal dispensation of justice and ‘adl’ is legal and other than legal dispensation of justice. ‘Adl’ and ‘qist’ both cover all the spheres (religious and non-religious) of a society in all ages. It means Sunnah i.e. source of ‘Meezan’ /Justice is not only source of Islamic Laws but also source of other than legal systems in Islam; sunnah provides justice in a society not only through legal systems but also through non-legal (social) systems. This is how sunnah provides guidance for people in all ages and in all religious and non-religious matters.
Now we turn to the point how ‘Sunnah’ may be practiced though it is not as protected as Quran.
Firstly we should be clear in our minds that if Allah has made ‘sunnah’ essential/ fundamental source of Islamic systems, it means original sunnah is available all the time for guidance of people. Even if sunnah is not protected in the way Quran is; even if sunnah may be found in modified forms, we must be sure that original sunnah is available and may be discovered out of the modified forms of sunnah. To deny something is very easy job; but to prove something, hard work is required. To deny the essentiality and ‘hujjiat’ of sunnah is a mark of incompetence, incapability, inefficiency and ignorance; competence and efficiency demands that hard work should be done to discover and ascertain the original sunnah out of the modified sunnah forms. By the Grace of Allah, we have a benchmark/ standard in the form of Quran on the basis of which original sunnah may be ascertained. Christians do not have any such benchmark/ standard available to them to certify original Bible out of the modified Bibles available to them; but even then Christians are stick to modified Bibles and continue to take them as a source of guidance. Apart from Quran as a benchmark, we also have ‘Sihah Sitta’ among sunni schools of thoughts and ‘Sihah Arba’ among Shia schools of thoughts; these books may help us a lot to ascertain the original sunnah.
We need to undertake the task of ascertainment of original sunnah as a jihad. According to our Nabi (s.a.w), ‘ a mujtahid earns two rewards, if he succeeds in extracting the correct finding as a result of ‘ijtihad’; and he earns one reward, if he does not succeed in reaching the correct finding. Instead of denying essentiality/ hujjiat of sunnah, we may undertake ‘ijtihad’ to ascertain true original sunnah out of the modified sunnah. Such a jihad should be a continuous process to resolve any issue faced by the society. Government may also establish a big permanent institution consisting of large number of prominent ‘ulema’ from all schools of thoughts for this purpose.