الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي جعل النجاحَ والتوفيقَ في طاعةِ الصادقِ الأمين، وجعل سنتَه وحياتَه تفسيرا وتوضيحا لكتابه الكريم، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير،  ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدٌى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.

أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع

الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.

 

This deen comes from one source, it is true, like every deen that came before it. But like every deen that came before it, it came by means of a single conduit, a Messenger from the Source to the creation. That Messenger is the only access point for his umma – there is no other way to get to know the Creator. The entire affair lies in in his teaching and his guidance, in his example. And the only way that umma can arrive, can achieve right guidance, is through following that example, and viewing his way as the absolute and indisputable truth. Allah says,

وما أرسلنا من رسول إلا ليطاع بإذن الله

 

the translation of which is, “We did not send any Messenger but for him to be obeyed by the permission of Allah.” It is the duty of any people to whom a Messenger has been sent to obey that Messenger, and our Messenger is the Prophet Muhammad. This obedience does not simply relate to his verbal commands, but to everything he brought. Allah says,

 

وما آتاكم الرسول فخذوه وما نهاكم عنه فانتهوا 

 

the translation of which is, “Whatever the Messenger brings you you should take [on] and whatever He forbids you you should leave.” What the Messenger brought us is called the Sunna. Now there is some confusion with regard to what this word means because it is used in a number of different contexts. So let me clarify. We are not just talking about the sunna that is a category of fiqh ruling that is greater than mustahab/recommended but lesser than fard/obligatory? We are not just talking about doing supererogatory prayers, or fasting Mondays, or reciting certain duas, or dressing in a particular manner. We are talking about Sunna in its completest sense as the full life transaction of the Messenger of Allah. His words, his actions and his states. Everything he said, everything he did and everything he condoned, whether that be through silence or acquiescence, when it was done in his presence. The entire accepted practice of the enlightened city that he established and in which he made his home. The Madinan model.

It is by the degree to which they hold firm to this Sunna that the health or lack of it of any group of Muslims is determined. The more of their lives that are in accordance with it, the healthier they are and the more successful their position, while the less of it they put into practice, the sicker they become and the more intolerable their position. The Sunna is our shield and protection against the enemies of Allah and their wiles. But, too many today have left aside large sections of the Sunna, categorising those parts of the affair of our noble Messenger as merely cultural practices irrelevant to this modern day society in which we live. As we live in different times and under different conditions, they state, we should base our deen primarily on that which is timeless, namely the Book of Allah.

This argument has become fairly common in the last few centuries, with some prominent academics such as Muhammad Abdu, Taha Hussain and their ilk, even suggesting that we discard a large portion of the hadith literature (and by extension the Sunna) and turn to the Quran alone for guidance.  Does Allah not say, they argue,

إِنَّ هُدَى اللَّهِ هُوَ الْهُدَى

 

the translation of which is, “Allah’s guidance, that is the (only) true guidance,” and so what need is there for the sunna? Everything that man needs is in the Quran. While on the surface, this statement appears indisputable and true, it is, in reality, disingenuous in the extreme. Of course the Quran contains the entirety of the affair. Allah says,

 

مَا فَرَّطْنَا فِي الْكِتَابِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ

 

the translation of which is, “We have not omitted anything from the Book.” But many of its meanings and secrets are locked and require the key of the Sunna to open them. Without that key, we will remain lost and out in the cold. We will have no means of differentiating mutashabihaat from muhkamaat nor naasikh from mansukh nor aamm from khaass. Metaphorical and literal will be indistinguishable. Even its language would be unclear without reference to the one who brought it. He was more than simply its carrier and deliverer, he was its exposition. The Messenger of Allah did not say the he had left one thing with us that will guarantee our remaining amongst the guided, but two. He said,

 

‫تركت فيكم شيئين لن تضلوا بعدهما كتاب الله وسنتي

 

“I have left you two things with which you will never go astray, the Book of Allah and my Sunna.” In other words, they are inseparable, the one cannot be relied on without the other. Only those who know the Sunna can ever claim to know the Quran. Umar ibn al-Khattab famously wrote to his governors when this tendency of using the Quran alone to back up arguments first started to become popular and said to them,

 

إن أناسًا يجادلونكم يعني بالقرآن فخذوهم بالسُّنَنِ فإنَّ أصحابَ السنن أعلمُ بكتاب الله

 

“People will try to argue with you (i.e. by using the Qur’an), so overcome them with the Sunna. The people of the Sunna have the greatest knowledge of the Book of Allah.”

This Sunna includes not just the words and actions of the Prophet, but the words and actions ofe4 those who lived with him and observed him on a daily basis, and followed and obeyed him unconditionally. That is to say, the Companions of the Messenger of Allah. The Prophet said,

أصحابي كالنجوم بأيهم اقتديتم اهتديتم

 

“My Companions are like stars. Whichever of them you follow, you will be guided.” Their actions were the actions of the Messenger of Allah, for they never embarked on anything until they had first consulted him and made sure it was part of his practice, even if that thing seemed of little consequence or they did not understand the reason why it was done. This applied especially to the khulafa ar-rashidin, for they were the closest to the Messenger of Allah and the most firmly upon his Sunna. In the Shifa, Qadi Iyad mentions that when ‘Umar looked at the Black Stone, he said, “You are a stone and can neither help nor harm. If I had not seen the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, kiss you, I would not have kissed you.” But, because the Messenger did, he did. And this applied to every part of his life without exception. And so the sunnas that he, Abu Bakr, ’Uthman and ‘Ali established have a similar legal weight to sunnas established by the Prophet himself.‘Umar ibn Abdal-Aziz said,

 

سنّ رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ووُلاةُ الأمر بعده سُنَنا، الأخذُ بها تصديقٌ بكتابِ الله، واستعمالٌ بطاعة الله، وقوةٌ على دين الله

 

“The Messenger of Allah made a Sunna and the people in command after him made sunnas. To adopt them is to affirm the Book of Allah, and to act on them is to obey Allah and strengthen the deen of Allah.” The Sunna is clear and has been preserved in the books of fiqh. Each and every law is a part of the Sunna, and so to seek to change or alter or do away with any part of them is to oppose the Sunna. We cannot pick and choose. We cannot reinterpret the Quran in the light of the norms and mores of modern enlightened humanist society. We must simply follow and obey. That is Islam and that is what it entails to be Muslim. Otherwise it is simply a name without a reality. The Prophet said,

 

من اقتدى بي فهو مني، ومن رغب عن سنتي فليس مني

 

“Whoever follows me is of me and whoever is disdainful of my sunna is not of me.” Rather, he has left this milla and joined the milla of those with whom Allah is angry.  So hold firm to the Sunna and keep the Prophet alive within our communities. For, as he said,

 

من أحيا سنتي فقد أحياني ،ومن أحياني كان معي في الجنة

 

“If someone brings my sunna to life, he has brought me to life, and someone brings me to life, he will be with me in the Garden.”

 

أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم

 

الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.

أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته.

قال رسول الله صلّى الله عليه وسلّم: لا ألفين أحدكم متكئا على أريكته يأتيه الأمر من أمري مما أمرت به أو نهيت عنه فيقول: لا أدري، ما وجدنا في كتاب الله اتبعناه

 

The Messenger of Allah said, “Do not let any of you be found reclining on his bed, saying, when he hears of something I have commanded or forbidden, ‘I do not know about this. We only follow what we find in the Book of Allah.’” There were already people in the immediate aftermath of the death of the Prophet who sought to belittle his Sunna, and give themselves carte blanche to interpret the Quran according to their own whims and desires. It was these people, in the time of the great fitna, who caused the first great splits in the umma, and it is these people who are weakening and destroying us today. For it this approach that is very much at the very heart of modern Islam – only by abandoning the Sunna can they justify adopting the institutions of kufr and adapting Islam to ‘meet the times’. And Islam must modernise, they say, otherwise the world will leave us behind. The Sunna, they say, is but guidelines. It is the principles we must take from it, not the specifics. Allah wants the Muslims to be strong and we must do whatever will guarantee their strength. But, unfortunately, like the people of Pharaoh, their eyes have been bewitched and deceived, so that what is empty and fake appears to be solid and real. They see strength and power where there is none, and therefore fail to see what the actual cause of our weakness is. They have attributed the power to the system that seems to have ensnared everything in its web, and therefore see our failure to effectively adopt that system as being the reason for our weakness and backwardness. They are much like the people who when they saw Qarun said,

 

يَا لَيْتَ لَنَا مِثْلَ مَا أُوتِيَ قَارُونُ إِنَّهُ لَذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ

 

the translation of which is, “Oh! If only we had the same as Qarun has been given! What immense good fortune he possesses.” They looked admiringly at the success of their enemies and the system which had brought them it and wanted it for themselves. They thought that the only way for the Muslims to regain their power was for Islam to stop looking back and start looking forward, for Islam to abandon medieval ‘barbaric’ practices such as polygamy, slavery and hadd punishments, and adopt the enlightened ideas of the modern age – democracy, banking, insurance etc. – all they had to do was make them Islamic.

They viewed the weakness of the Muslim umma as being a sign of the weakness of the deen, whereas in fact the weakness lay not in the deen but in the Muslims themselves. The deen is complete and perfect in every way, as Allah Himself says:

 

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِى

 

the translation of which is, “Today I have perfected your deen for you and completed My blessing upon you.”, and does not require any updating. The deen is perfect. The sunna is all there. And it is the staff of Musa that will show up the illusions of our enemies and show how weak and powerless they actually are. The model provided to us by the Messenger of Allah and his Companions is truly timeless, piercing through all cultural differences to the heart of what it means it be human. For it is a model not based upon technique or ideology, but based on honourable, believing right-acting people and their transactions and interactions with their Lord, their world and environment and one another, people who, through the guidance of the Messenger of Allah, embraced their essential fitri nature.

If any part of the deen does not fit in with the modern world, then that is a sign that modern society is incomplete and missing some vital component, not Islam. So it is not Islam that should be modernised and adapted to fit the modern world, but the modern world that should be adapted to accommodate Islam. We do not have to redesign Islam to accommodate banking, paper currency, standing armies or democracy, but rather must restore free markets, non-usurious currency and business practices, and true and meaningful leadership. We do not need to beat the bankers and politicians at their own game, for such an endeavour – involving as it does disobedience to Allah – will only ever lead to failure. All we have to do is obey Allah and His Messenger and bring his sunna back to life. The key to the entire affair lies in the restoration of the Madinan model – therein lies our ultimate success and victory. This does not imply a worldwide Muslim mono-culture or anti-culture, as some have concluded. It does not imply that we must all become Arabs and take on their customs and their garb. That is a misunderstanding of Islam at a fundamental level. Just as Islam affirmed practices of the previous faiths and abrogated others, so too does it affirm some cultural practices and reject others. One has only to look around the world to see the truth of it – the Pakistani Muslim is distinct from the West African, the Malaysian is distinct from the Arab. There is much in which they share and much in which they differ. What is needed is people of discrimination, people who view everything through the lens of the deen of Allah, accepting and affirming whatever filters through and rejecting what does not. That is the essential hallmark of the community of Madina and the quality that is lacking in too many today.

We ask Allah to establish the sunna of the Prophet in us, through us and by us. And make us at the forefront of those who re-establish the deen and restore the Madinan model.

 

إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً.

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ  أَجْمَعِينَ. وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وعن أم المومنين عائشة التي أمرنا الله في سورة النور أن ندافع عنها، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.

اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ، وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.

رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.

إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ.