Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Sunnah Definition:

An alternate proposed source of Muslim law: in addition to the Koran.

Related Terms: Islamic Law, Ijtihad

Relying on the 1982 book of John Esposito on Women in Muslim Family Law, Brenton writes:

"the Sunnah, or the behavior of the Prophet Muhammad, is divided into three categories: 1) the statements and sayings of Muhammad (al-sunnah al-qawliyah), 2) Muhammad's actions (al-sunnah al-filiyah), and 3) Muhammad's approval of or silence toward practices he has knowledge of (al-sunnah al-taqririyah).

"Combined, the Sunnah is considered an authoritative source of God's will: "0 ye who believe, obey God and obey the Apostle .. . if ye differ in anything, refer it to God and His Apostle. Consider also the pronouncement of Sura 33 and Ayat 21: "Ye have indeed in the Apostle of God a beautiful pattern of conduct for any one whose hope is in God and the Final Day."

The Sunnah of the Prophet was recorded in the hadiths, a compendia of Muhammad's actions and sayings."


  • NOTE 1: Kinker, Brenton, An Evaluation of the Prospects for Successful Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Islamic World, 35 MJIL 443 at 455 (2012)

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