Episode 9: The Sunnah in the terminology of the fundamentalists
Sunni fundamentalists define the Sunnah as: utterances of the Prophet - peace be upon him - other than the Quran, his actions and endorsements, which could form evidence in a legal rule (1).
As if what was issued from him as quotes, actions and endorsements, which are seen as his characteristics - peace be upon him - are not included in the definition of the Sunnah, as far as the fundamentalists are concerned, as well as his attributes - peace be upon him -; because they do not serve a legal opinion which, people use for their worship.
Therefore, we see that the fundamentalists often overlook talking about matters that are of his characteristics - peace be upon him - and whoever among them discussed them, it is rather for the purpose of showing that they are not binding on people.
The Sunnah in the terminology of jurists:
1 – It is all that which is substantiated to be from the Prophet - peace be upon him - was not imposed nor is it a duty, such as the trinity of ablution, rinsing the mouth, inhalation through the nostrils for some, favouring right over left, the two units of prayer (Raka’at) prior to the compulsory morning prayer, and so on.
2 – Jurists may assign it, to mean by it what reciprocates innovation, such as saying: he who divorces his wife while in non-menstruation and both in non-ritual cleanliness - this is a Sunni divorce - in reciprocation to innovated divorce, which occurs while in ritual cleanliness, or occurs while in menstruation; where Islam rejects, by its general system, to put hardship on divorcees by lengthening the period of waiting (2).
This difference in terminology is due to differing objectives that are of concern to each group of scholars.
Scholars specialising in the Statements of the Prophet: searched on the Messenger of Allah - peace be upon him – the guiding figure-head, which Allah told of him that he is an example and a role model for us, they transferred all that which relates to him of conduct and morals, merits and accounts, words and actions, whether that proved a legal ruling or not.
Scholars specialising in principles: searched on the Messenger of Allah–peace be upon him – the legislator, who sets the rules for the independent interpreters after him, and makes clear to people the code of life. So, they took care of his utterances, actions and endorsements, which prove the rulings and decide them.
While, scholars specialising in jurisprudence: searched on the Prophet of Allah–peace be upon him – whose actions do not go outside of pointing out to a legal ruling, and searched for legal rulings over peoples’ actions, duty-binding, forbiddance, permissibility or other than that. (3).
(1) See: Fawaatih Ar-Rahamut with the explanation of Muslim Ath-Thuboot (2 / 96), at the of Almustasfa of Al-Ghazali, Al-Ahkaam fi Usul Al-Ahkaam of Al-Aamidi (1 / 127), At-Tahreer fi Usul Al-Fiqh of Ibn Al-Humaam (3/19/20), Irshaad Al-Fuhool of Ash- Shawkaani, p. : 33.
(2) Irshaad Al-Fuhool of Ash- Shawkaani, p.: 33.
(3) As-Sunnah and its place in Islamic legislation, p.: 47-49.