Al-Risālah by Imām al-Shāfi’ī
A Summary on Chapter V: The Authority of the Prophet
By: Edi Kurniawan
(Master Candidate at Centre for Advanced Studies on Islam, Science and civilization (CASIS) – University Technology Malaysia)
Allah SWT has placed the Prophet Muhammad SAW as an Apostle in relation to His religion, His Command and his Book, so that we have to follow his sunna and to be prohibited to deny it. He has made His merits evident by associating belief in His Apostle with the belief in Him. He has explained it in Q.S an-Nisā’: 171 and Q.S al-Nūr: 62. Thus, for if a person believes only in Him, not in His Apostle, the perfect faith will never apply to him until he believes in His Apostle together with Him.
In the Qur’ān surah al-Baqarah: 151 and 231, Ali ‘Imrān: 164, al-Jumu’ah: 2 and al-Ahzāb 34 Allah SWT mentions that the term of Qur’ān and Wisdom (hikmah). Wisdom here is the sunna of Apostle of Allāh SWT.
The purpose of the sunna is to make evident what Allāh SWT meant (in the Qur’ān), indicating His general and particular. Never has Allāh SWT given this purpose for any of His creatures except His Apostle. The other purpose of the sunna is for every textual (communication) in the Qur’ān the Apostle laid down in conformity with divine communication.
The sunna of Prophet falls in three categories:
- For whatever acts there is textual (legislation) provided by Allāh SWT in the Qur’ān, the Apostle specified clearly what is in the text of the Qur’ān.
- As to any ambiguous communication in the Qur’ān laid down by Allāh SWT, the Prophet specified the meaning implied by Him.
- The sunna which has no relation with the Qur’ān.
Among the things with which was inspired is his sunna. This sunna is the wisdom that Allāh SWT mentioned in the Qur’ān, and whatever He sent down to him is Qur’ān, all of these have been given to him as favors from Allāh SWT and by his will. These favors are either embodied in one Favor or take different forms.
Allāh SWT imposes the duty of obedience to his Apostle, and he has given none of mankind an excuse to reject any order he knows to be the other of the Apostle of Allāh SWT. Then He has rather made men have need for him in all matters of religion as well as He has given the proof for it by providing that the sunna of the Apostle make clear the meaning of duties laid down in the Qur’ān.
When the disputes happen after his death, Allāh SWT commands to decide in accordance with Allāh SWT’s judgment and His Apostle like what He mentions in the Qur’ān Surah Al-Ahzab: 36, al-Niā’: 59. But if a text is not applicable, that matter is dicided by analogy on strength of precedent sought either in the Qur’ān or sunna.
Allāh SWT Also commands to obey of His Apostle like what He mentions in the Qur’ān Surah al-Fath: 10, al-Nisā’: 65 and 80, and al-Nūr: 48-52. The Prophet’s judgment is Allāh SWT’s Judgment, for his judgment is imposed by Him and by His established knowledge. Rendering him a man of destiny and assisting him by preserving him from error and success and by testifying the He guides and causes him to obey His order.