What is sunnah? Sunnah is the silences, deeds and sayings of Prophet Muhammad. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is not only conduit that brings us the message of the Quran. Yes the Quran is the most central thing , as the divine relation, verbatim word of God. But the Prophet is not only the conduit, is not only a channel that brings us this message.
The Prophet is also the most able interpreter and the most perfect embodiment of this message. The Quran is a timeless message and the Prophet is providing us how to apply this timeless message in the context of space and time and is providing the most perfect example of that.
So without the Prophet, the divine message, this revelation will not be properly understood. So this is why the Quran mostly gives us the general guidelines. For example the Quran does not talk about how to pray. Yes it says to pray but does not talk about how to pray and we find these details in the Prophetic example. Otherwise the whole message will be reduced to some general guidelines without specifications. And that would seriously be problematic.
From another perspective, I believe this is also equally important. Sunnah what makes this religion comprehensive. Why this is the case? Because the prophetic example is providing a very comprehensive lifestyle. The Prophet was a father, the Prophet was a husband, the Prophet was a political leader. The Prophet led armies. His life is comprehensive truly and very very relevant. He saw victories, he saw you know.. He saw victories, he saw disasters, he saw joy, he saw calamities. His life is truly comprehensive and always relevant. We can always relate the Prophetic example and find inspiration in the Prophetic example for our lives. This is another aspect of the Prophetic example that makes this religion comprehensive.
I wanna add this also. The Prophetic example, what’s allows us to have ihsan. What is ihsan, according to his definition, peace be upon him? Ihsan is to live your life as if you’re living in the presence of God. How do we live in the presence of God? It’s an act of constant remembrance of this presence. Here I am talking about the consciousness of this presence. We live our lives in the presence of God. We’re not always conscious of that but this is our reality. We are always in the presence of God. We need to remember.
How do we remember? Here, prophetic sunnah helps us. Say I am drinking this bottle water. And I drink that bottle of water in accordance with the Prophetic example. Say, you say bismillah in the beginning. Then you say subhanallah. Then you say elhamdulillah at the end. Now this act of drinking water is not only an act of drinking water. It is a ritual. It is now a type of worship. You are drinking that water with a consciousness. You’re remembering God. You’re using that opportunity to remember God. And you’re using that opportunity to remember the Prophet. Because you’re emulating his example. You’re drinking that water to remember the Prophet. Remembering the Prophet is to remember God. So you see, with this, by following the Prophetic sunnah, while we are sleeping, while we are going to bed, while we are talking to each other, while we are sitting, you are emulating the Prophetic example.
And we luckily, Thanks God, fortunately we have these details. We know how he slept, we know how he sit. We know these details. And we can emulate these details in our lives. And by doing this we can transform all life into an opportunity to remember God, also to remember the Prophet. But remembrance of the Prophet is the same as remembrance of God.
So to summarize, sunnah is the most perfect interpretation of the Quranic message. The Prophet is the most perfect embodiment of the Quran. Also sunnah what makes this religion comprehensive. Also sunnah gives us the details. It fills the gap the Quran intentionally leaves. Also sunnah what transforms every deed, everything into a type of worship, and into an opportunity to remember. So without sunnah there is no ihsan, without sunnah there is no proper remembrance and without sunnah, I believe we can say there is no Islam. Thank you.