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Whose Sunnah?

The word 'Sunnah' which is used in the Quran, means the way of doing things or methodology. Millions of Muslims today have been brought up to believe that all Muslims should follow the Quran and the Sunnah of the prophet Muhammad.

The root word for the word sunnah is the following:

Siin-Nun-Nun = to clean (the teeth), seize with the teeth, establish the law, follow a path, form. sinnun - tooth. sunnatun/sunanun - line of conduct, mode of life, behaviour, example, dispensation. masnun - formed, made/moulded into shape, polished, shiny and bright (face).

The singular word ‘sunna’ (law, way), in all its 14 occurrences in the Quran, also appears always in a negative setting, usually in reference to God’s law or Sunnat Allah, which is manifested as the divine law of requital when it involves human actions (8:38, 15:13, 17:77, 18:55, 33:38, 33:62, 35:43, 40:85, 48:23; cf. 3:137, 4:26, 6:34, 6:115, 10:64, 18:27). Exemplified by sunnat al-awalyn (the law/enactment of previous generations, 8:38, 15:13)3, it inflicted