Episode (4): the linguistic definition of the Sunnah (2-2)

    A consensus on the meaning of this word – the Sunnah – language: is that it implies the pursued way, due to its origin, in that it is from their saying: I sharpened “sanantu” the thing by means of a sharpener “bil-misanni”, if I carried on repeating it on it, and passing it through it until it produced an edge “sanan” for it "ie: a way.
    And close to it, to say: this utterance states continuity, permanence and their enjoinment, and is apparent when you say: I spewed “sanantu” the water, ie: I carried on pouring it on a regular, permanent basis.
And, when combined together, it becomes clear to us: that the Sunnah implies the command to follow a particular way, to keep to it and move along it, so that it is the way and course, where an alternative is not permitted, in the intention of whom commanded keeping to it.(1)
    Thus, we find that the legal terminology for the Sunnah, which is understood by these linguistic meanings, is the following: the conduct and the way the Prophet – peace be upon him – followed in his words, deeds, and endorsements in general.
    While it became clear, according to the above demonstration, the meaning of "Sunnah" in the language, one must watch out for certain matters, which are:
    1. That the Sunnah, in the sense of way and conduct - good or bad - had been used in the language of the Arab tribes before Islam, and was mentioned in poems from the era of ignorance, as mentioned previously.
    2. The word "Sunnah" has been mentioned in the Holy Quran and the Noble Statement, by its former linguistic meaning.
    That the Sunnah, even though Islam specified it according to the way the Prophet - peace be upon him – followed in his words, deeds and endorsements, this does not mean that its linguistic meaning was made obsolete or nullified, but rather its use persisted, albeit in a narrow scope.
 


(1) The Sunnah in the face of its enemies, p. 38.

 

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