LIVE THE SUNNAH TODAY
Our Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) was appointed as Allah
(Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa)’s last Messenger to establish Islam on earth as
guidance for humankind before the final reckoning. He is the leader of Muslim Ummah;
their guide and role model.
His actions, both personal and public, were divinely guided, so much so that he
became the epitome of lofty, righteous conduct and character; he was loved and
looked-up-to by the first Muslims, who emulated, imitated, and admired him by
incorporating his actions completely into their own practical lives:
قُلۡ إِن كُنتُمۡ تُحِبُّونَ ٱللَّهَ فَٱتَّبِعُونِي
يُحۡبِبۡكُمُ ٱللَّهُ وَيَغۡفِرۡ لَكُمۡ ذُنُوبَكُمۡۚ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٌ
“Say (O Prophet!): If you really love Allah, then follow me, and Allah shall
love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very- Merciful.” (Aale
`Imran 3: 31)
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa)’s love and pleasure with a believer, man or
woman, is conditionally dependent upon the level at which he or she loves and
obeys Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam); that love should be
reflected as adopting the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam)’s habits,
qualities and personality into his lifestyle.
Challenges of the Contemporary World
Following the Sunnah was something done automatically and wholeheartedly by the
Sahaabah (Companions) of Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam).
Now, times have changed, and following the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe
WaSallam)’s Sunnah in the everyday life has gradually become quite a challenge
for today’s Muslims. Here are only a few reasons for that:
1. Modernity; advances in science, aviation, technology and industrialization
have rendered life fast-paced and hectic.
It is considered old-fashioned or primitive if one follows methods that are
“obsolete” viz discovered centuries ago, instead of the result of some modern
research, scientific findings or data study.t is a “modern” fashion, for
example, to shave off the beard, instead of growing it.
2. Peer pressure and corporate culture; everyone nowadays works for a living –
even the elderly, women, teenagers, and sometimes children. Lives revolve around
career rat races and corporate ladder ascension. People are reluctant to
compromise on careers when practice of a Sunnah becomes an obstacle in them.
For example, a Muslim man might not be allowed to grow beard at his workplace
because of its strict rules or a Muslim woman, in need of employment, might not
be allowed to observe Hijab in her organization due to implemented dress code.
3. Pressure to ‘assimilate’; Muslims living in non-Muslim majority areas are
constantly under the pressure to prove the steadfastness of their Imaan (Faith),
or else relinquish it for the secular lifestyle. Adherence to strict Halaal dietary
laws, for example, might be a challenge, if no other food alternatives are
Sending children to public schools might undermine their religious upbringing;
however, home schooling poses the risk of social isolation.
A Muslim who refuses to drink “socially” viz not attending banquets that serve
alcohol as per Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam)’s instructions,
might eventually be relinquished by his social circle altogether.
4. Ethnic Culture and Tradition; many Muslims who want to practice Islam face
pressure from older generations of Muslims in their own geographical and ethnic
environment. The older generation sometimes gives preference to culture over the
Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam)’s Sunnah.
5.Invasion by Technology; technological devices and information sharing has now
enabled pictures, videos and other content to be viewed and shared with others
anywhere, at any time. Explicit and impermissible content is no exception.
Muslims today face the challenge of how to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (SallAllaho
Alaihe WaSallam) in totality, despite fitnah (a trial or hardship that puts
Imaan to severe test) surrounding them e.g. lowering the gaze when women herself
or pictures of women appear even on cell phones whilst reading the news.
6. Deviant Islamic Group;
unfortunately, some groups among Muslims have fallen
into innovations in Islam. Innovations are those religious practices that have
no basis in Islam; which the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) did not
endorse. Whenever someone falls into practicing innovations, he relinquishes
Can the Challenges Be Overcome?
Overcoming the above challenges to stick to and follow the Sunnah of Prophet
Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) is, though, an uphill task but not
impossible even today, if Allah Wills.
A Muslim nowadays has to not just guard his or her faith from the onslaught of
modernism and the prevalence of more fitnah (worldly allurements), but he also
has to strive to prove, through his actions, that Islam is practical and easy to
implement in all times.
In increasingly secular societies, religion has been divorced from politics and
government; progress and advancement is now synonymous with secularism and lack
Sadly, the economic progress and military power of these societies urge modern
Muslims to abandon, rather than follow, the teachings of Islam that were
revealed centuries ago.
Challenges of Muslim Women in the Modern Life
Muslim women are ardent followers of the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaho
Alaihe WaSallam) as well.
However, those teachings of his Sunnah that are relevant to men are not supposed
to be followed by women, as the Prophetic teachings clearly marked the different
requirements of the roles of both genders in society. For example, growing a
beard and offering Fardh Salaah (Obligatory Prayers) regularly in Masjid with
congregation, are applicable to Muslim men rather than women.
Muslim women, therefore, look up to practical examples from within the Prophet’s
life, of women who obeyed and practiced Islam according to his teachings, to get
guidance towards how to apply his Sunnah in the modern context today. Foremost
among these noble women are his wives and daughters, some of who had significant
expertise in matters of Islamic jurisprudence.
Today, the greatest challenge Muslim women face on a global level, when they
choose to practically live the Sunnah as a way of life, is the assumption that
they are oppressed by Muslim men and forced to cover themselves with modest
clothing and focus on their homes and families, instead of careers.
Many Muslim women obey Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaho
Alaihe WaSallam) and willingly adopt the highly fulfilling Islamic way of life.
However, misconceptions about women in Islam, purported by a few gender-based
but legitimate differences in Islamic laws and commands, abound in global media,
nurturing unjustified stereotyping and propaganda.
Today, several Muslim women who adhere to Islamic guidelines in their practical
life have carved a niche for themselves, especially in the field of Da’wah (calling
others to Islam) through communications medium without exposing them to
strangers and without breaking the limits set by Islam for women. They are wives
and mothers, but also writers, journalists, doctors, and teachers, who are
active in their community and in service of Islam.
Their Hijab and other aspects of adherence to Islamic principles do not thwart
them from being educated, proactive members of society.
In order to implement the Sunnah in one’s daily life in this day and age, there
is no one, clear-cut methodology. Rather, a broad strategy that, when applied in
the long-term, leads to surefire results:
1. Gain Knowledge of Islam; by learning Quraan recitation with Tajweed (Proper
accent), mastering Arabic, studying Quraan and listening to Islamic lectures of
pious Ulamaa of Islam, a Muslim can keep himself steadfast upon his practice of
Islam, including the Sunnah of the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam).
2. Study Seerah -- life story of Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam)
-- and Hadeeth (Prophetic Traditions): This can be easily done through reading
and listening to pious and authentic Ulamaa of Islam. The more one knows about
the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam), the more easily he or she love and
3. Carry out the Religious Obligations; no matter how tough it might be, always
follow the obligations of Islam primarily – such as offering the five daily Fardh Salaah and observing Sawm (Fasting) in Ramadhaan. They keep the Muslim
grounded in Imaan, and prove to be stepping-stones for further spirituality.
4. Pious Company; strive to hang out with practicing Muslims and their families.
This will automatically keep you tied to faith-based social events and knowledge
circles among the righteous Muslims of the Ummah.
The challenge today is not whether Muslims can practice Islam and Prophet
Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam)’s Sunnah effectively or not. The challenge
is to overcome the various tangible, social and prejudice-based obstacles that
are thrown their way repeatedly by society, which dares them to prove that they
can go on in their chosen path without being deterred. This can only be achieved
when Muslims make efforts to make their Imaan stronger through company of pious
Muslims. Stronger the Imaan of a Muslim, easier for him / her to wrestle with
his / her own Nafs (Worldly desires) and resist the outside obstacles. The
history and events of Muslim Ummah endorse the fact that all can be accomplished
with the help and Nusrah (Support) of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa), the
Omnipotent Owner and Controller of the universe.
May Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) give Tawfeeq (Ability and opportunity) to
Muslims Ummah to care about their most important treasure -- Imaan. Aameen!