Chapter 3, Hadith & Seerah, The Authority of Sunnah / Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Certain Arab tribes who lived in remote areas far from Madinah, after embracing Islam used to send their delegations to the Holy Prophet (SAWS). These delegations used to stay at Madinah for a considerable period during which they would learn the teachings of Islam, read the Holy Quran and listen to the sayings of the Holy Prophet (SAWS).When they returned to their homes, some of them requested the Holy Prophet (SAWS) to dictate some instructions for them and for their tribes. The Holy Prophet (SAWS) used to accept this request and would dictate some directives containing such rules of Shari’ah as they most needed.

1. Sayyiduna Wa’il ibn Hujr came from Yemen and before leaving for home, requested the Holy Prophet (SAWS)

“Write me a book addressed to my tribe.”

The Holy Prophet (SAWS) dictated three documents to Sayyiduna Mu’awiyah. One of these documents pertained to personal problems of Wail ibn Hujr, while the other two consisted of certain general precepts of Shari’ah concerning Salah, Zakah, prohibition of liquor, usury and certain other matters (Ibn Saad).

2. Munqiz ibn Hayyan, a member of the tribe of Abdulqais came to the Holy Prophet (SAWS) and embraced Islam, while returning home he was given a written document by the Holy Prophet (SAWS) which he carried to his tribe but initially he did not disclose it to anyone. When, due to his efforts, his father-in-law embraced Islam, he handed over the document to him who in turn read it before his tribe which subsequently embraced Islam. It was after this, that the famous delegation of Abdulqais came to the Holy Prophet (SAWS). The detailed narration is found in the books of Bukhari and Muslim.

3. The delegation of the tribe of Ghamid came to the Holy Prophet (SAWS) and embraced Islam. The Holy Prophet (SAWS) sent them to Sayyiduna Ubayy ibn Ka’b who taught them the Holy Quran and:

the Holy Prophet (SAWS) dictated for them a book containing injunctions of Islam (Ibn Saad).

4. The delegation of the tribe of Khath’am came to the Holy Prophet. While discussing their arrival Ibn Saad reports on the authority of different reliable narrators.

They said, “We believe in Allah, His messenger and in whatever has come from Allah. So, write for us a document that we may follow.” The Holy Prophet (SAWS) wrote for them a document. Jarir ibn Abdullah and those present stood as witnesses to that document”.

5. The delegation of the tribes of Sumalah and Huddan came after the conquest of Makkah. They embraced Islam. The Holy Prophet (SAWS) dictated for them a document containing Islamic injunctions about Zakah. Sayyiduna Sabit ibn Qais had written the document and Saad ibn Ubadah and Muhammad ibn Maslamah stood as witnesses (Ibn Saad).

6. The same Sabit ibn Qais also wrote a document dictated by the Holy Prophet (SAWS) for the delegation of the tribe of Aslam. The Witnesses were Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah and Umar ibn Khattab.

These arc only a few examples which are neither comprehensive nor exhaustive. Many other instances of the same nature are found in only one book, namely, the Tabaqat of Ibn Saad. A thorough research in all the relevant books would certainly expose a large number of like events for which a more detailed book is required.

All these examples refer to those events only where the Holy Prophet (SAWS) dictated documents containing general Islamic injunctions. He has also dictated numerous official documents in individual cases. The large number of such documents prevents us from providing even a short reference to all of them in this brief study. All these documents also form part of the Sunnah and a large number of Islamic injunctions are inferred from them. In brevity, we instead would only refer to the work of Dr. Muhammad HamiduIlah, namely, Al-Wasaiq al Siyasiyyah, in which he has compiled a considerable number of such documents. Those who desire further study may peruse the same.

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