The fourth aspect: The conclusion of (Margolioth) that the meaning of the Sunnah in the beginning of Islam "was not a familiar custom": is a conclusion drawn according to inclination, with its contravention of all the texts he cited to prove what he sees as conclusion.
Dr. Al A’dhami has cited his texts with which he made his inference and his commentary on it, saying: (we see the word (the Sunnah of the Prophet) - peace be upon him – more cited in the previous texts than any other expression. This expression has been used in texts that relate to the third Successor Othman, and perhaps there was in his noble conduct, in which he differs from his predecessors, an effect in that, even though the accusations directed at him were always vague. It seems clear that the second source of Islamic legislation up to that time was not anything specific, but it is that which was a familiar custom, supported by the authority until it became an element integrated in the persona of the Prophet, peace be upon him".
He was pursued by Dr. Al A’dhami, when he said: "Although the previous texts focused wholly or mainly on: the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah - peace be upon him -, the Sunnah of His Prophet, the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet, and pursuant to the Quran and the Sunnah, we see (Margolioth) trying hard to hide the truth and shifting it to what his whims dictated to him. He alleges that the second source of legislation in that time was not specified, and that the concept of Sunnah is that which was customarily followed in the environment, although there is not what may support his in any way.
Whoever is looking for the truth and claims to follow the scientific method in his research, he would necessarily be assisted by texts combined for the sake of explaining some of them with the use of some others, so as not to fall into such confusion and contradiction.
If we accept, for the sake of argument, that the word Sunnah used to be given initially to what was known and familiar in the Islamic community; and this is not possible except in very rare cases, where the word is stated in conjunction with Muslims, or the like. This does not mean that these things have been attributed thereafter to the Prophet - peace be upon him - or, called later on the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him.
Then this research revolves around the expression of the word Sunnah and not around the idea of following the example of the Prophet, peace be upon him, for obedience of the Prophet - peace be upon him - and following his guidance is prescribed on the Muslims by Quranic text - as we have seen previously - and this obedience is the essence, and it does not affect that, if the word (Sunnah) was assigned to this or not, because what concerns us here is the prescription of his obedience – peace be upon him – by whatever designation it may take.
Therefore, these allegations cannot be accepted as long as they are not based on reasonable arguments, whether in what Goldziher alleged in the explanation of the (Sunnah) that it is (a pagan term) that Islam used, or the view of Margolioth that its meaning in the early period was (customary), or what Schacht arrived at in his study that its meaning is (the traditions of the community), or (the prevailing customs); because those allegations fundamentally contravene what is indicated by peremptory texts, which explain each other.
Ahmad narrated, with an authentic chain of narration, on the authority of Saalim, he said: Abdullah ibn Omar used to pass legal rulings according to what Allah Almighty revealed concerning the permit to do Tamattu’ (progressing from the lesser pilgrimage “Umrah” to the greater pilgrimage “Hajj” during the Hajj period), and what the Messenger of Allah - peace be upon him – initiated in this regard. People say to Ibn Omar: How can you go against your father while he had forbidden that?!
Abdullah says to them: Woe to you! Do you not fear Allah?! If Omar had forbidden that aspiring to do good from it, seeking through it completion of the Umrah, you have not forbidden when Allah Had permitted it, and the Messenger of Allah - peace be upon him – acted according to it. Is the Messenger of Allah - peace be upon him – more worthy that you should follow his Sunnah, or is it the practice of Omar?! Omar did not tell you that Umrah during the months of Hajj pilgrimage is forbidden, but he said: "The most complete Umrah is the one you perform as Ifraad (individualisation: performing the greater pilgrimage first, followed by the lesser one) during the months of Hajj (1).
This saying from Abdullah ibn Omar: " Is the Messenger of Allah - peace be upon him – more worthy that you should follow his Sunnah, or is it the practice of Omar?!” adjudicated in this issue, where it differentiated between two very different issues. It proved for the first one the right of following, and denied it to the other, in case of conflict, to show that the Sunnah which is followed in this case, is the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him.
If the prevailing custom or the traditions of the community are the Sunnah, so how do we then explain this saying of Ibn Omar? (1).
(1) The Musnad of Ahmad, together with the Tahqeeq (Ascertainment) of Ahmed Shaker (8/61, No. 5700).
(2) Studies in the prophetic Hadith (1/9-11).