I have a great confusion in my mind concerning both Hadith and Sunnah. In the words of the article “what is Sunnah?” The Sunnah is a set of practices that the Prophet taught the Muslims to follow. For twenty-three years, five times a day, he showed them how to purify themselves for payer (ablution, Wudu). For the same amount of years and the same number of times a day, he showed them how to pray. He showed them to eat with their right hands, and invoke God’s name and blessings upon the food and to thank God when finished.”
We are talking of practices showed by the Prophet like ‘Namaz’ which was practiced 5 days a week for 23 years yet we have shia’s who pray 3 times their call to prayer is different and how they offer it is also different, in sunnis there are differences in how you offer the prayers so why are there differences? Why do shia’s break fast later than sunni’?. The sermon given by our Prophet on the last Hajj was heard by a lot of Muslims yet now we have 3 versions one by Shias and 2 by Sunni so which to accept and which one to reject?
The sunnah of eating with the right hand, that was because the Prophet was right handed born that way. What of children born left handed why can’t they eat with their left hand? Like a right handed muslim child eats with his right hand and cleans himself with his left hand so muslim left handed child uses his left hand to eat and do other chores and cleans himself with his right hand. Being right handed or left handed is not learnt behavior it is what you are born with so logically if the Prophet was born left handed then he would have used the left hand for eating and doing other work and right hand for cleaning himself, then I guess the muslims irrespective of their brain placement would have to do as what the Prophet did. So making it as part of something we need to follow as part of religion is something I don’t understand. I think the logic behind this Sunnah is what hand you use for eating you should not use for cleaning yourself and what everyone can practice.
As for Hadith being different I understand and I love how you explained it as students in different generations. There is another thing as how each generation understood the idea presented, was it understood as was intended or maybe understood it differently like in a class when a teacher presents an idea even a simple one is interpreted by some differently. So I guess this could have happened to Hadith narrations too a word different here can change the whole context. I would be grateful if you could answer my questions and I could remove my confusion.
We are talking of practices showed by the Prophet like ‘Namaz’ which was practiced 5 days a week for 23 years yet we have shia’s who pray 3 times their call to prayer is different and how they offer it is also different, in sunnis there are differences in how you offer the prayers so why are there differences?
The assumption that Shias perform only three prayers daily is incorrect. The fact is that they pray five times a day. The misconception that they only pray three times comes from the Shias taking advantage of the permission to combine prayers and simply expanding the allowance that the Prophet (pbuh) himself had given. Even then, all Shia scholars agree that praying five times is better and that no learned Shia scholar says that the Sunnah of the Prophet was to read the 5 prayers in 3 times. Thus, they pray the morning prayer (Fajr) then they may pray the noon/afternoon (Dhur/`Asr) prayers immediately after one another and when the time is proper the evening/night (Maghrib/`Isha) prayers back-to-back as well. They stop between each individual prayer so that every prayer is distinct from one another even if they pray two different prayers one after the other. The important point to remember is that they pray a total of five prayers not three. The same is true for the call to prayer; it is no different than the one that Sunnis recite. Shias add Ali’s (pbuh) name to the Athan but it is not held as a religious thing. They recognize that this is not part of the Athan as it was originally instituted and they readily admit that they have added it to the Athan. The same goes for prayer, in that it is no different than the Sunnis and in accordance to what the Prophet taught. When one studies the teachings of the Prophet it should be clear that there was a variety of accepted actions that did not violate the framework of the prayer. So the differences stem from the Prophet allowing, and himself, performing the prayers in different ways.
The sermon given by our Prophet on the last Hajj was heard by a lot of Muslims yet now we have 3 versions one by Shias and 2 by Sunni so which to accept and which one to reject?
There are two versions according to the Shias and one version according to the Sunnis. Nevertheless – and quite beyond the scope of this response – every report needs to be closely examined for its veracity. Please refer to Regarding one of the Chain of Narrators of the ‘Hadith Al-Thaqalayn’ and A Further Exchange for an in-depth explanation. Keep in mind parts of the sermon may have doctrinal significance but has no bearing on the overall religious consequences and experience. The decision to accept something lays with your personal understanding and stance with what you believe.
Why do shia’s break fast later than sunni’?
Ascertaining when Maghrib (sunset) is depends on the understanding of the individuals who are investigating the matter in question. Part of this investigation is related to the understanding of Islam and the Islamic Shari’ah. Again, this is not a religious matter as it has no effect on the person’s relationship with the Almighty. Lastly, the difference is merely minutes apart and should not be a source of antagonism and animosity.
What of children born left handed why can’t they eat with their left hand?
This question has been answered in one of our previous responses:
Eating with the right hand is a Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). It, therefore, entails a significant importance. A person who appreciates the importance of the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) is expected to follow it in letter and spirit. Nevertheless, a child who has yet to learn the significance of the Sunnah cannot be held responsible for deviating from it. It is the responsibility of his elders to teach him the importance of following the directives of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, at the right time and in the right way. Sometimes, we force our children to do certain things in such a way that they are irritated and consequently develop an aversion for these actions. In my opinion, teaching and modifying the behavior of a child requires a lot of care.
Furthermore, it should be clear that the Prophet did not establish eating with the right hand merely because he was right-handed. In fact, it is because he established this practice that we must realize that it was not as a result of his personal tastes and preferences or his natural disposition. Eating with the right hand has its obvious sanitary merits but carries with it an important symbolic aspect, which is why it pertains to the practice of Islam. The “right hand,” in Semitic cultures represents goodness and righteousness. In the Qur’an, it is mentioned that the virtuous people in this life will bear their records in their right hand in the hereafter, signifying their closeness with God. Consider that that just as right-handed people are used to do specific things better with their left hand (like washing themselves after toilet), it is not impossible for a left-handed person to get use to eat with his right hand. Nevertheless obviously this is not our field of expertise and no one is supposed to do what is beyond one’s capacity therefore if a left-handed person really finds it difficult to eat with his right hand then there is nothing wrong with this and these exceptional cases do not negate the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).
To sum up, the points in question have no bearing on a Muslim’s relationship with God and do not invalidate the definition of Sunnah. In fact, these points have been exaggerated by some to deepen the divide between the adherents of Islam. In addition, each contention, if closely examined, show that in some respects there are no hard and fast rules. The differences stem either from the Prophet (pbuh) giving latitude in the Sunnah because he himself did some things differently at various times or simply because the Prophet (pbuh) did not establish any particular form of practice for some of the details of Sunnah, which means these details are left up to the individuals.
I hope this helps.
God knows best.