According to you the source of Sunnah is the consensus of the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) and the practical perpetuation of the companions as well as all the subsequent generations of Muslims.
Now, how do you know the consensus of the companions of the Prophet (pbuh)? Through Hadith? If yes, then you also have to accept rajam as punishment for adultery and death as punishment for apostasy, something which you don’t do (and I agree with you here). Havn’t these punishments (seemingly) been used perpetually?
I find your definition of Sunnah very confusing.
I find your site very informative and have learned a lot.
I have explained the method of determining Sunnah in the present times in one of my earlier responses to a related questions titled: ‘How Can we Determine Sunnah in the Present Times?‘.
I do acknowledge that Hadith can provide invaluable information in determining whether or not there was consensus of the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) on a given issue. Nevertheless, Hadith is not the only source for this information. All the scholarly work done by the Muslims – in the field of Seerah, History, Fiqh etc. – provides this information. In other words, this information is not gained through one source alone, but, on the contrary, all available sources, directly or indirectly, point towards this fact.
I have tried to explain the scope of the Sunnah in one of my previous responses to a question titled ‘Some Questions Relating to Sunnah‘. If you look closely at the referred response, you shall see that the scope of Sunnah does not include the interpretation of the Qur’an or any of the Prophet’s directives. Thus, even if an interpretation of the Qur’an or any of the Prophet’s directives is established to be held by each and every one of the Prophet’s companions (even though it is impossible to establish such a consensus), it would still not become a Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).
Thus, even though it is an established historical fact – but still not a Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) – that the Prophet (pbuh) subjected a few people to the punishment of stoning to death, yet the reason for this stoning to death is in fact an interpretation of the Prophet’s action. This interpretation does not come within the scope of the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).
I hope this helps.
January 17, 2003