Furthermore, the proponents of the independent status of the Sunnah have quoted the Hadith of Mu'adh b. Jabal in support of their argument. The Hadith is clear on the point that the Sunnah is authoritative in cases on which no guidance can be found in the Qur'an. The Sunnah, in other words, stands on its own feet regardless of whether it is substantiated by the Qur'an or not.
According to the majority of ulema, however, the Sunnah, in all its parts, even when it enacts original legislation, is explanatory and integral to the Qur'an. [73. Cf. Abu Zahrah, Usul, p. 82.] Al-Shafi'i's views on this matter are representative of the majority position. In his Risalah, al-Shafi'i' states:
I do not know anyone among the ulema to oppose [the doctrine] that the Sunnah of the Prophet is of three types: first is the Sunnah which prescribes the like of what God has revealed in His Book; next is the Sunnah which explains the general principles of the Qur'an and clarifies the will of God; and last is the Sunnah where the Messenger of God has ruled on matters on which nothing can be found in the Book of God. The first two varieties are integral to the Qur'an, but the ulema have differed as to the third.
Al-Shafi'i goes on to explain the views that the ulema have advanced concerning the relationship of Sunnah to the Qur'an. One of these views, which receives strong support from al-Shafi'i himself, is that God has explicitly rendered obedience to the Prophet an obligatory duty (fard). In his capacity as Messenger of God, the Prophet has introduced laws some of which originate in the Qur'an while others do not. But all Prophetic legislation emanates in divine authority. The Sunnah and the Qur'an are of the same provenance, and all must be upheld and obeyed. Others have held the view that the Prophetic mission itself, that is the fact that the Prophet is the chosen Messenger of God, is sufficient proof for the authority of the Sunnah. For it is through the Sunnah that the Prophet fulfilled his divine mission. According to yet another view there is no Sunnah whose origin cannot be traced back to the Qur'an.
This view maintains that even the Sunnah which explains the number and content of salah and the quantities of zakah as well as the lawful and forbidden varieties of food and trade merely elaborates general principles of the Qur'an.
More specifically, all the ahadith which provide details on the lawful and unlawful varieties of food merely elaborate the Qur'anic declaration that God has permitted wholesome food and prohibited that which is unclean (see Surah al-A'raf: 7:157).
The majority view, which seeks to establish an almost total identity between the Sunnah and the Qur'an, further refers to the saying of the Prophet's widow, 'A'ishah, when she attempted to interpret the Qur'anic epithet wa innaka la 'ala khuluqin 'azim ('and you possess an excellent character') (see Surah al-Qalam, 68:4). 'A'ishah is quoted to have said that 'his (the Prophet's) khuluq was the Qur'an'. Khuluq in this context means the conduct of the Prophet, his acts, sayings, and all that he has approved. Thus it is concluded that the Sunnah is not separate from the Qur'an.
Furthermore, the majority view seeks to establish an identity between the general objectives of the Qur'an and Sunnah: The Sunnah and the Qur'an are unanimous in their pursuit of the three-fold objectives of protecting the necessities (daruriyyat), complementary requirements (hajiyyat) and the 'embellishments' (tahsiniyyat).
It is then argued that even when the Sunnah broaches new ground; it is with the purpose of giving effect to one or the other of the objectives that have been validated in the Qur'an. Thus the identity between the Qur'an and Sunnah is transferred, from one of theme and subject, to that of the main purpose and spirit that is common to both.
And finally, the majority explains that some of the rulings of the Sunnah consist of an analogy to the Qur'an. For example, the Qur'an has decreed that no one may marry two sisters simultaneously. The Hadith (cited below on page 71) which prohibits simultaneous marriage to the maternal and paternal aunt of one's wife is based on the same effective cause ('illah), which is to avoid the severance of close ties of kinship (qat' al-arham). In short, the Sunnah as a whole is no more than a supplement to the Qur'an. The Qur'an is indeed more than comprehensive and provides complete guidance on the broad outline of the entire body of the Shari'ah.
In conclusion, it may be said that both sides are essentially in agreement on the authority of Sunnah as a source of law and its principal role in relationship to the Qur'an. They both acknowledge that the Sunnah contains legislation which is not found in the Qur'an.
The difference between them seems to be one of interpretation rather than substance. The Qur'anic ayat on the duty of obedience to the Prophet, and those which assign to him the role of the interpreter of the Qur'an, are open to variant interpretations. These passages have been quoted in support of both the views, that the Sunnah is supplementary to the Qur'an, and that it is an independent source. The point which is basic to both these views is the authority of the Prophet and the duty of adherence to his Sunnah. In the meantime, both sides acknowledge the fact that the Sunnah contains legislation which is additional to the Qur'an. When this is recognised, the rest of the debate becomes largely redundant. For what else is there to be achieved by the argument that the Sunnah is an independent source? The partisans of the two views have, in effect, resolved their differences without perhaps declaring this to be the case. Since the Qur'an provides ample evidence to the effect that the Prophet explains the Qur'an and that he must be obeyed, there is no need to advance a theoretical conflict between the two facets of a basic unity. Both views can be admitted without the risk of running into a logical contradiction. The two views should therefore be seen not as contradictory but as logical extensions of one another.
 Shatibi, Muwafaqat, IV, 8; Siba'i, Al-Sunnah, p. 383.
 Shafi'i, Risalah, pp. 52-53.
 Shafi'i, Risalah, pp. 52-53.
 Cf. Siba'i, Al-Sunnah, p. 388.
 Qurtubi, Tafsir, XVIII, 227.
 For further discussion see Chapter xiii on maslahah mursalah.
 Cf. Siba'i, Al-Sunnah, p. 388-90.
 Cf. Siba'i, Al-Sunnah, p. 388-90
 Cf. Siba'i, Al-Sunnah, p. 385.
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