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Modern Inventions and Sunnah

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Albalagh.net

Modern Inventions and Sunnah

By Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Q.) I am fine and hope the same for you. I saw the Q&A section and it looks very good and hopefully I will go through it one by one.

I would like to know the boundaries of Sunnah. Give me a clear definition of Sunnah, in the modern world, with the proper explanation of where the modern inventions stand in accordance with the Sunnah. I know that lots of new inventions you can use but what I am concerned about is that if I use some invention would it be considered following the Sunnah?

For example, using tooth brush is allowed. But say if I use the tooth brush is it the same as Miswak. Would I get all the rewards of doing Miswak or its just that I am doing cleaning (although cleaning is nothing small).

The example is just to clarify the question. Please answer in general, keeping in mind that I am not a scholar. I [Muhammad Osman Saeed, Canada]

A.) To obtain the reward of Sunnah one will have to follow the precise sunnah of Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam as was practiced by him.

However there are certain actions that Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam did just because it was the normal way of doing things at the time. e.g. riding a camel, stopping at a certain place to relieve himself during a journey. Some scholars are of the view that even these actions should be followed. Hadrat Abdullah ibn Umar (radiyallahu anhu) was also of this view.

The general law regarding these actions is that modern day substitutes for these will suffice and if we make the intention of following the sunnah when sitting in a car it is hoped that the reward will be attained.

There are also actions of Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam that were purposefully done in a certain way and Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam at times even recommended these actions. e.g. the wearing of a qamis (long shirt), use of miswak etc. The degree of stress differs in each specific case.

These actions must be done in the prescribed manner in order to obtain the reward of sunnah. We cannot introduce substitutes based on our intellect. eg. we cannot say the toothbush is the substitute of the miswak.

And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

This answer was collected from Albalagh.net, which is an Islamic site with Q&A and articles authored by many world renowned scholars from the Muslim world. Many of Mufti Taqi Uthmani’s fatawa in English are found exclusively on this site.

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