Sunnah means what is liked and recommended in Islām.
Sunnah is that which is commanded in the Sharee‘ah but is not obligatory.
One who applies it will be rewarded and one who does not apply it will not be punished.
Examples of the eagerness of the Salaf (pious predecessors) to apply the Sunnah:
1) Imām Muslim reported through An-Nu‘mān Ibn Sālim through ‘Amr Ibn Awss that he said, “‘Anbasah Ubn Abi Sufyān told me in his illness in which he died about a Hadeeth so that he might be relieved by it. He said, ‘I heard Umm Habeebah saying: I heard the Messenger of Allāh (PBUH) saying, “He who prays twelve Rak‘ahs in a day and night, a house will be built for him in paradise because of them.”.’.” (Muslim no. 1727)
Umm Habeebah said, “I have never left them since I heard about them from the Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him.”
‘Anbasah said, “I have never left them since I heard about them from Umm Habeebah.”
‘Amr Ubn Awss said, “I have never left them since I heard about them from ‘Anbasah.”
An-Nu‘mān Ubn Sālim said, “I have never left them since I heard about them from ‘Amr Ibn Awss.”
2) ‘Aliy (ABPWH) narrated that Fātimah, may Allāh be pleased with her, went to the Prophet (PBUH) complaining about the effect of the stone hand-mill on her hands. She heard that the Prophet had received a few servants. When she came there she did not find him, so she mentioned her problem to ‘Ā’ishah. When the Prophet came, ‘Ā’ishah informed him about that. ‘Aliy added, “So the Prophet came to us when we had gone to bed. We wanted to get up on his arrival but he said, ‘Stay where you are.’ He then came and sat between me and her and I felt the coldness of his feet on my chest. He said, ‘Shall I direct you to something better than what you have requested? When you go to bed say “Allāhu Akbar” thirty-four times, “Subhān Allāh” thirty-three times, and “Al-Hamdu Lillāh” thirty-three times, for that is far better for you than a servant.’.” (Al-Bukhāriy no. 3705, Muslim no. 2727)
In another narration, ‘Aliy (ABPWH) said, “I have never left them since I heard about them from the Prophet (PBUH) .” He was asked, “Even on the night of the battle of Siffeen?” He said, “Even on the night of the battle of Siffeen.” (Al-Bukhāriy no. 5362, Muslim no. 2727)
It is known that ‘Aliy (ABPWH) was one of the leaders in the battle of Siffeen, and despite being occupied with his role in it, he did not abandon this particular Sunnah.
3) Ibn ‘Umar (ABPWH) used to lead the people in the funeral prayer and then he would get up and leave. He would not follow the funeral procession to the grave as he did not know about its virtue. When he was told about the Hadeeth of Abi Hurayrah (ABPWH) , he regretted it. So, imagine what he said? Ibn ‘Umar threw the pebbles he had in his hand on the ground and said, “We missed so many Qeerāts.” (Al-Bukhāriy no. 1324, Muslim no. 945)
An-Nawawiy said, “This Hadeeth reveals how eager the the companions were towards forms of obedience, and how regretful they were when they missed any act of Sunnah, even if they had not been aware of its virtues.” (Refer to Al-Minhāj 7/15)
Some of the fruits of following the Sunnah:
Respected reader, there are many fruits which result from following the Sunnah:
1) Reaching the stage of love, i.e. drawing closer to Allāh. By performing Nawāfil (Supererogatory Prayers), a believer attains Allāh’s love.
Ibn Ul-Qayyim, may Allāh have mercy upon him, said, “Allāh will not love you until you love His beloved Prophet, Muhammad (PBUH) , both internally and externally, believe him, obey his commandments, reply positively to his call, resort to his judgment, prefer his love over the love of others, and prefer his obedience over the obedience of others. Otherwise, do not overburden yourself. Go back to your previous state, and try to find another light (pathway), because you are not on the straight path.” (Madārij Us-Sālikeen, 3/37)
2) Gaining the company of Allāh, so that Allāh will guide one to the good.
Accordingly, one’s organs would only do what pleases Allāh Almighty, because if one gains Allāh’s love, he will gain His company.
3) Having his supplications answered, which entails Allāh’s love.
One who draws closer to Allāh through voluntary prayers will attain Allāh’s love, and he who attained Allāh’s love will have his supplications answered.
The following Hadeeth indicates the above three fruits of following the Sunnah:
Abu Hurayrah (ABPWH) reported that Allāh’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “Allāh, The Most High, says, ‘He who is hostile to a Waliy (Companion) of Mine, I declare war against him. My slave approaches Me with nothing more beloved to Me than what I have made obligatory for him, and My slave keeps drawing closer to Me with voluntary acts until I love him, and when I love him, I become his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he seizes, and his foot with which he walks, if he asks Me I will surely give him, and if he seeks refuge in Me I will surely protect him.’.” (Al-Bukhāriy no. 6502)
4) Compensating for any shortcomings incurred in the performance of the
This is indicated by the following Hadeeth: Abu Hurayrah (ABPWH) reported that Allāh’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “The first thing one will be called to account for on the day of judgment is his prayer. If it is found to be valid, he will be safe and successful, and if it is found to be invalid, he will be in misfortune and loss. If there were shortcomings in his obligatory prayers, Allāh will say to His angels (even though he already knows), ‘See if my servant has voluntary prayers,’ and the shortage of his obligatory prayers will be compensated with his voluntary prayers, then the rest of his deeds will be dealt with in the same manner.” (Ahmad no. 9494, Abu Dawud no. 864, At-Tirmidthi no. 413)
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