Noha El-Hennawy has a great story in Egypt Today this month about Gamal Al Banna and the debate around the sanctity of the Sunna in Islam, which I referred to in my previous post.
El-Banna dismisses accusations that he is calling on the faithful to abandon the Sunnah, but insists that the orally transmitted traditions of the Prophet (PBUH) are less binding on Muslims than the Qurâ€™an itself.
â€œWe cannot deny the Sunnah, even though it has been proven that most of the sayings attributed to the Prophet (PBUH) have been made up, were narrated in other peopleâ€™s words or were transmitted inaccurately. This does not mean that there are no true sayings that set many Islamic fundamental principles; what it does mean is that itâ€™s high time to study the Sunnah in a different way,â€� El-Banna says.
â€œThe Qurâ€™an never goes into detail,â€� he continues. â€œIt talks about prayers and almsgiving and pilgrimage, but without specifying details. Does this mean the Qurâ€™an forgot to mention them? Of course not. Had the Qurâ€™an mentioned these details, they would have been eternally binding, which would have prevented the text from being compatible with different ages. In the meantime, we needed to know how to obey Godâ€™s commandments.
â€œFor example, when God commanded Muslims to pray, he let the Prophet (PBUH) show us how. The Sunnah, whether it refers to the Prophetâ€™s deeds or saying, is thus binding as long as it is compatible with progress. If it happens to be incompatible with the demands of any age, we must refer back to the Qurâ€™an.â€�