Command to follow the Sunna and its adab

Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous)

by Imam Nawawi

16. Chapter: On the command to follow the Sunna and its adab

Allah Almighty says, "Whatever the Messenger gives you you should accept, and whatever he forbids you you should forgo," (59:7)

and the Almighty says, "He does not speak from whim. It nothing but Revelation revealed." (53:3-4)

The Almighty says, "Say: 'If you love Allah, then follow me and Allah will love you and forgive you for your wrong actions," (3:31)

and the Almighty says, "You have an excellent model in the Messenger of Allah for all who put their hope is in Allah and the Last Day." (33:21)

The Almighty says, "No, by your Lord, they are not believers until they make you their judge in the disputes that break out between them, and then find no resistance within themselves to what you decide and submit themselves completely," (4:64; H4:65)

and the Almighty says, "If you have a dispute about something, refer it back to Allah and the Messenger." (W4:58; H4:59) Scholars say that this means the Book and the Sunna.

The Almighty says, "Whoever obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah" (W4:79; H4:80) and the Almighty says, "Truly you are guiding to a Straight Path," (W42:49; H42:52)

and the Almighty says, "Those who oppose his command should beware of a testing trial coming to them or a painful punishment striking them." (W24:61: H24:63)

The Almighty says, "And remember the Signs of Allah and the wise words which are recited in your rooms." (33:34)

156. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Stay with what I have left you [without asking more]. Those before you were destroyed by their excessive questioning and disagreeing with their Prophets. When I forbid you to do something, avoid it, and when I command you to do something, do it as much as you are able." [Agreed upon]

157. Abu Nujayh al-'Irbad ibn Sariya said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, gave us a profound exhortation which made our hearts afraid and our eyes weep. We said, 'O Messenger of Allah, it is an exhortation which is as if it were bidding us farewell, so advise us. He said, 'I commend you to be fearful of Allah and to hear and obey, even if an [Abyssinian] slave is put in command over you. Any among you who live will see much disagreement, so you must hold to my Sunna and the Sunna of the rightly-guided and guiding khalifs. Hold onto it with your teeth. Beware of new matters. Every innovation is misguidance." [Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]

158. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "All of my community will enter the Garden except those who refuse." He was asked, "Who are those who refuse, Messenger of Allah?" He said, "Those who obey me will enter the Garden and those who disobey me refuse." [al-Bukhari]

159. Abu Muslim - and it is said Abu Iyas - Salama ibn 'Amr ibn al-Akwa' reported is that a man ate with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, using his left hand, and he said, "Eat with your right hand." He said, "I cannot." He said, "Then you cannot." Only pride had stopped him and he could not raise it to his mouth. [Muslim]

160. An-Nu'man ibn Bashir said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, "Make your rows straight or Allah will cause disagreements between you." [Agreed upon]

In a variant of Muslim, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to straighten our rows to such an extent that it was as arrows could be straightened by them. This continued until he saw that we had understood that. Then one day he came out to us and stood for the prayer until he was about to say the takbir. Then he saw the chest of a bedouin man protruding from the line. He said, 'Slaves of Allah! Make your rows straight or Allah will cause disagreements between you.'"

161. Abu Musa said, "A house burned down on top of its inhabitants in Madina one night and when the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was informed about it, he said, 'Fire is an enemy to you. When you go to sleep, put it out.'" [Agreed upon]

162. Abu Musa reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The example of the guidance and knowledge with which Allah has sent me is like the abundant rain which strikes the earth. Some of it is fertile and accepts the water and brings forth plants and grass in abundance. Some of it is hard and holds the water enabling Allah to let people use it. They drink from it, water their animals and irrigate. Some of the land it strikes is level and barren and does not retain the water nor produce plants. The first is the example of someone who understands the deen of Allah and benefits from that with which Allah has sent me and learns and teaches. The last is the example of the person who pays no attention to it and does not accept the guidance with which I have been sent." [Agreed upon]

163. Jabir reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The metaphor of me and you is that of a man who lights a fire and the grasshoppers and moths begin to fall into it and he chases them away from it. I pull you by your belts back from the Fire while you are doing your best to slip from my hand." [Muslim]

164. Jabir reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, commanded people to lick their fingers and the plate, saying, 'You do not know where the blessing lies.'" [Muslim

In one variant of it, "When one of you drops a morsel of food, he should pick it up, remove any dirt on it and then eat it, not leaving it for Shaytan. He should not wipe his hand with a cloth until he has licked his fingers. He does not know in which part of his food the blessing lies."

In one variant of it, "Shaytan is present with each one of you in every thing you do, he is even present with you when you eat. So when you drop a morsel of food, you should remove any dirt on it and eat it and not leave it for Shaytan."

165. Ibn 'Abbas said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, stood up among us to admonish us and said, 'O people! You will be gathered to Allah Almighty barefoot, naked and uncircumcised. "As We originated the first creation, so We will regenerate it. It a promise binding on Us. That is what We will do." (21:103) The first of creatures to be clothed on the Day of Rising will be Ibrahim. Men of my community will come and will be taken to the left. I will say, "O Lord, my Companions!" and it will be said, "You do not know what innovations they introduced after you." I will say the same as the righteous slave ('Isa) said, "I was a witness against them as long as I remained among them" to "The Almighty, the All-Wise." (5:117-118)) I will be told, "They never stopped turning back on their heels from the time you left them."'" [Agreed upon]

166. Abu Sa'id 'Abdullah ibn Mughaffal said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade flicking pebbles with two fingers and said, 'It does not kill game and does finish off the enemy, but rather it gouges out an eye or breaks a tooth." [Agreed upon]

In one variant is that a relative of Ibn Mughaffal flicked a stone and he forbade him to do it and said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade flicking stones and said, 'It does not kill game.'" Then he did it again and he said, 'Did I not tell you that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade it and yet you again flick stones! I will never speak to you again.'"

167. 'Abis ibn Rabi'a said, "I saw 'Umar ibn al-Khattab kiss the Black Stone. He kissed it and said, 'I know that you are a merely a stone which can bestow neither harm nor benefit. If it had not been that I had seen the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, kiss you, I would not have kissed you.'" [Agreed upon]