Narratives in the Sunnah
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger the trustworthy, his family, companions and those who followed them in good faith until the Day of Judgment. In what is to follow…
The incident related to causes and consequences makes the hearing yearn for it. When interspersed by instances of lessons to be learned from the News of those of past times, the eagerness to know about them becomes among the strongest factors in the entrenchment of the morale behind it in the psyche. The etiquette surrounding the narrative has today become a peculiar art amongst the arts of language and literature. Among its most significant depictions, the narrative in the book and the Tradition (of the prophet).
The meaning of narratives:
The narrative is following one’s trail. It is said: I tracked his trail, i.e: I followed it, and the term “narrative” is an infinitive. The Almighty said: ((So they went back on their footsteps, following (the path they had come).)) [Al-Kahf: 64]. He said on the tongue of the mother of Moses: ((And she said to his sister: “Follow him”:)) [Al Qasas:11], ie, follow his trail to see who will take him.
A narrative is also: the News followed. The Almighty said: ((This is the true account)) [Al-Imran: 62], and said: ((There is, in their stories, lessons to be learned for men endued with understanding)) [Yusuf: 111].
The narrative: The command, the report, the matter of importance, and the circumstance.
The narratives of the Sunnah: Its reporting about the conditions of the past nations, past prophecies and incidents which occurred. The Sunnah has included many of the facts of the past, conditions of people, their news and what happened to them, and narrated about them a talking picture on how they were.
Types of narratives in the Sunnah:
The narratives in the Sunnah come in types, including:
First type: Narratives about the Prophets, by mentioning something from what has happened to them of incidents; the story of Ibrahim with his wife and his son Ismail in their coming to Makkah, and Moses with Al-Khidhr and others.
Second type: narratives relating to bygone incidents, past news, the story of the people of the cave, the man who killed ninety-nine souls, and the one who used to excuse the well to do and relieve the one in hardship and the like.
Benefits of narratives:
The narratives have many benefits, including the following:
1 – Believing the prophets, reviving their memory and showing their virtues, as in the story of Abraham in building the Kaaba.
2 – It is a kind of literature, to which the hearing listens and the lessons behind them are deeply established in the persona ((There is, in their stories, lessons to be learned for men endued with understanding)) [Yusuf: 111].
3 – To urge on doing good deeds and encourage for it by mentioning its immediate and postponed fruits, as in the story of the people of the cave.
4 – To strongly discourage bad actions, showing their bad consequences, as in the story of the three people, including the bald man and the leper.
Narratives in the Sunnah, a fact and not fiction:
We firmly believe that Mohammed, peace be upon him, is sincere in his Prophethood, sincere in his call and sincere in his words, since what he utters is from inspiration, as the Almighty says: ((Nor does he say of (his own) Desire, it is no less than inspiration sent down to him)) [AnNajm: 3 – 4].
And therefore the facts found in the narratives are fact not fiction, rather the narratives in the authentic Sunnah is among the most authoritative sources, and is stated therein is in complete agreement with reality.
The impact of narratives in education and discipline:
There is no doubt that the coherent and precise story touches the hearing passionately, penetrates the human soul with ease and facility, while taught and instructional lessons generate boredom. Young people are only able to follow them up and grasp their elements with difficulty, and for a short while. Therefore, the narrative style makes more sense and is more beneficial.
The common trend in souls is that they tend to listen to tales and stories, which remain longer in memory. Therefore educators should make use of them in the areas of teaching and education.
In the Prophetic narratives fertile material to help educators succeed in their mission, and provide them with disciplinary provisions, from the conducts of the Prophets and news the past ones. The instructor can elucidate the prophetic narratives in the style that suits the intellectual level of the learners at every stage of education.
Due to the importance of narratives in the Sunnah of the Prophet, we have chosen an adequate part of it from the books of Sunnah, according to the following process:
1 – Limitation to those (Statements) where the chain of narration has been authenticated, for there is sufficiency and wealth in them.
2 – Referencing the Statements from the books of Sunnah in use.
3 – Vocabulary of unfamiliar terms within the body of the Statement, with an overall explication of the Statement when in need to do so.
4- A mention of the most important benefits derived from the story.
5 – Return to the main sources, from the annotations of the Sunnah, Ghareeb Statements and language books, with reference to that in the footnote.
We ask Almighty Allah to benefit through it, He is the most Generous, Oft-Giving, and all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.