The term Hadith is used to denote a saying, act or tacit approval, validly or invalidly, ascribed to the Prophet (saw).
The Muhadditheen (experts in the science of Hadith criticism) also use the term Taqrir for tacit approval. It means that, in the presence of the Prophet (saw), a believer did something, which the Prophet (saw) noticed but did not disapprove or condemn. Thus, the act done by a believer acquired tacit approval from the Prophet (saw).
Literally the word sunnah means clear, well trodden, busy and plain surfaced road.
The word sunnah in this context denotes the practice of the Prophet (saw) that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar. This practice is to be adhered to in fulfilling the divine injunctions, carrying out religious rites and moulding life in accord with the will of God. This duty, as the Qur’ān states, was a part of the responsibility of the Prophet (saw) as a Messenger of God:
لَقَدْ مَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ بَعَثَ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًا مِنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِنْ كَانُوا مِنْ قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُبِينٍ
Verily Allah has shown grace to the believers by sending to them a messenger of their own who recites to them His verses, and purifies them, and teaches them the law and the wisdom; although before his advent they were in manifest error. (Aale Imran:164)
لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا
You have indeed in the life of the Messenger of Allah the best example; for those who expect meeting Allah and the Last Day and remember Him much. (Al-Ahzaab:21)
The Prophet (saw) set the best example for us in every aspect of life. He not only taught us all religious injunctions and etiquette – that we need to learn and adopt – but also showed us the practice of how to follow and carry them out.
-Maulana Amin Ahsan Islahi in Mabadi Tadabbur-e-Hadith
To understand more about the Hadith, Types of Hadith, Sunnah, visit: