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the authority of the Quran and the status of the Sunnah

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!IT Series-Books-In-Brief

The IIIT series is a valuable collection of the Institute's key publications written in condensed form, designed to give readers a basic understanding of the main contents of the original.

Written in a short, easy-to-read, time-saving format, these compendiums offer a faithful and carefully written overview of the larger publication and will hopefully stimulate readers to delve further into the original.

Restoring the Balance: The Authority of the Quran and the Status of the Sunnah clarifies the relationship between the Sunnah, the sayings and deeds of the Prophet (SAAS)*, and the Quran. This relationship has been described in various ways, giving rise to different forms of knowledge and experience, thus influencing the way Hadith scholars examine the Sunnah.

Consequently, Islamic schools of thought - both legal and philosophical - have acquired different positions regarding the narratives of the Sunnah that reflected the practical life context of the aforementioned scholars. Similarly, differences in classifying a given narrator as reliable or unreliable reflected different legal, theological, or philosophical principles that may lead some to reject one narrator while approving another, to accept a hadith while rejecting OR reinterpreting those that contradict it, or to accept or reject the criteria for criticizing the content of the hadith narratives. The problem of how to deal with the Sunnah had not yet arisen in the time of the Prophet, who had instructed his followers to emulate him in the way he had adhered to the Qur'an. It was he who showed them how to put the Koran into practice, implementing its teachings with concrete behavior and applying them as a guide in life. The Quran provides the explanation for everything, while the Prophet's example provides a complete demonstration of how to apply the teachings of the Quran.

In order to ensure that the Sunnah fulfilled the practical role for which it was intended, the Prophet advised the Muslim community against dealing with any text other than the Qur'an, even if it claimed divine authority for this. However, once the Sunnah had been collected, the Muslim community began to neglect the Quran in favor of narratives about what the Prophet had done and said, under the pretext that these narratives "contained" the Quran. They eventually began to neglect the narratives of the Sunnah in favor of Islamic jurisprudence, under the pretext that Islamic legal texts tacitly included both the Quran and the Sunnah. This book is a response to this serious situation, directly addressing controversies and disagreements among those involved in the study of the Prophetic Sunnah and Islamic tradition. The book proposes a series of criteria to support scholars in the critical mission of re-establishing the relationship between the Prophetic Sunnah and the Quran. The Prophetic Sunnah must be inextricably linked to the Qur'an in a way that does not allow any contradiction or conflict between the two, and in a way that allows Islam to fruitfully address the existing social, economic, intellectual and spiritual challenges that Muslims face in their daily lives.

Chapter One

Prophecy and the duties of the Prophet

The Prophet as Messenger and Human Being

God's final message includes the experiences of all previous prophets. The Quran presents us with many of these experiences and addresses the differences between prophecy and divinity, fearing that the new community of faith will repeat the mistakes of previous nations who had lost the ability to distinguish between prophecy and apostolate on the one hand, and between lordship and divinity, on the other, as well as between human free will and divine predestination. Regarding the concept of a prophet, the Quran emphasizes the humanity of the Messenger and the need to obey whatever commands he received from God. The Messenger warned people against venerating him excessively. The Arabic words for Prophet (nabi) and Prophecy (nubuwah) come from the root nb-', meaning to be elevated, lofty, or eminent. However, at a certain point the Muslim community found itself in a state of such discord that its members approached the Prophet differently. Among the Arab Bedouins, some thought of him as nothing more than a tribal leader. Returning to the concept of the prophet, among Jews and Christians, the prophet was an inspired individual who informed others about the kingdom of the invisible. In ancient Hebrew, the term prophet was used to refer to someone who spoke about legal matters. Among Muslims, the term nabi refers to someone to whom God has given a revelation.

The Arabic word for messenger, rasul, comes from the verb arsala, meaning to send. The verb arsala is used in a negative context in Sürah Maryam, where it is used to refer to God's "forcibly inciting" satanic forces against those who willfully disbelieve. The difference between God's sending (irsal) of His prophets and His forcefully inciting (also irsal) the satanic forces

against His enemies is that in the first case, He sends His prophets to

warn others of the judgment to come.

The Quran distinguishes between prophet and apostle, or messenger. Both the prophet and the messenger received a revealed message from God.

However, the message that was revealed to a messenger (rasil) is legislative in nature, while the revelation given to the prophet (nabr) does not contain new legislation. The function of the prophet or nabi is to teach and guide others by inviting them to follow the message brought by the messengers who came before him. Prophecy entails a pedagogical mission; therefore a prophet is subordinate to the messengers who preceded him.

The Quran further distinguishes between the prophet and the messenger, making another distinction based on the notion of what is referred to in Arabic as ismah, which can be translated as "divine protection." Prophets are afforded no such protection. Rather, like all other human beings, some of them were killed. They are not even granted divine protection from human weaknesses and defects, such as error, forgetfulness, and disobedience.

The 'ismah or protection offered to a messenger is characterized by two aspects: protection from being killed and protection against errors when announcing the words of the revealed message. The revelation is thus preserved, both in the memory of the messenger and in the way it is spoken, so that there can be no error in the process of transmission to others. When a messenger finishes communicating the message, his role as a messenger comes to an end and his role as a prophet begins. Then the prophet must act on the revealed message, teach it to others, invite them to accept it and apply it themselves.

However, the Prophecy did not deny the prophet's humanity. Rather, he accorded him the role of wise man and teacher. Not even when a prophet became a messenger was his humanity or his role as a prophet denied. Rather, maintaining his full humanity and prophetic role, he equally assumed the role of messenger, saying at God's command: "I am none other than a man like you" (Surah al-Kahf, 18:110). Furthermore, since Prophecy confers the character of a teacher, and since the prophets are the most illustrious scholars, consequently the prophets are the most qualified of all to engage in the interpretative effort (iitihad) of the message

divine. The prophet engages in jtihad when he teaches, deduces norms and gathers information from the divinely given message and when he invites others to embrace and practice it. If, on the other hand, he is

(also) a messenger, he uses the message that has been revealed to him.

Therefore, having made these three distinctions between a prophet and a messenger with respect to the message brought, in relation to the type of protection offered and the practice of ijtihad, it is generally agreed that a messenger is a prophet to whom divine legislation has been revealed, and that a prophet is subordinate to a messenger, hence the principle that "every messenger is a prophet, but not every prophet is a messenger". Prophecy is linked to time and place, while the apostolate is universal and perpetual after the death of the person who exercised this role. Having established this distinction, it can be said that Muhammad's prophetic mission was for the Arabs, while his apostolic mission is for all people everywhere.

Prophets in the Quran

The Quran sets out the general guidelines for examining and responding to the prophets.

The Quran also rehabilitates the prophets who came to the children of Israel from the false accusations that were brought against them, and emphasizes their full humanity in Surah al-Anbiva (21:7-8). Both the Quran and the Sunnah affirm the infallibility ('ismah) of the prophets, so no true prophet could commit a grave sin. After all, in order to achieve the purposes for which they were sent, prophets must be worthy of emulation.

As shown in Surah al-Ambiya' (21:92), God's prophets constitute "one community" with respect to their messages, the source from which these messages have come, their demand for adherence to God-given ideals, and of self-purification and their appeal, lay the foundation of human civilization on Earth. The Quran establishes the points of commonality and difference between the prophets and messengers. Similarly, it shows the constants and variables in the messages they brought, particularly across four important dimensions: doctrine, human and moral values, divinely revealed law, and human interactions in society. However, the detailed and newly formulated laws differ from one society to another based on the variables of time and place.

Scholars of the foundations of Islamic jurisprudence are divided into at least three categories regarding the question of whether the acts of worship in which the Prophet engaged, before and after receiving his divine calling, were based on the laws and traditions that

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