Approaching the Sunnah
By Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi
The Sunnah still provides the stable moral framework – the grammar – that enables Muslims, by formal rules and inward sense, to know right from wrong. However, separation from the mainstream of life puts the Sunnah in danger of becoming rigid – an archaism. Addressing that danger, this book explains how the Sunnah can function as the grammar of a living, adaptive language, capable of guiding (and not shying from) the mainstream.
The first chapter sets out the qualities that characterize authentic application of the Sunnah: universality, coherence (so that different spheres of human responsibility are not split), compassionate realism, moderation, and humility. The second explains standards and procedures for determining the Sunnah in the fields of jurisprudence and moral instruction. The third chapter illustrates through detailed examples common errors in understanding the Sunnah – reading hadiths singly without sufficient context, confusing legal and moral injunctions, means and ends, figurative and literal meanings…–and it proposes remedies for these errors.