Though it has been 1,300 years since the passing of our beloved Prophet Muhammad S.A.W., his Sunnah continue to guide us in our daily lives. As his ummah, we must keep his Sunnah alive in memory of all the sacrifices and love he gave us. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w is a great example of exemplary character and behavior, and we will be rewarded for following and exhibiting the Sunnah whenever it is followed.
The Prophet S.A.W said: “You must adhere to my Sunnah and the way of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs who come after me. Adhere to it and cling to it strongly,” Saheeh (Al-Albani)
Sunnah benefits us not only because of its rewards, but also because it protects us from challenges and influences during these end-times which could lead us astray. In our everyday lives, there are so many uncertainties and dilemmas over what is right and wrong; the Sunnah of the Prophet S.A.W can be one of the strongest defenses we have against them.
Malik b. Anas, in mursal form, reported God’s Messenger as saying, “As long as you hold fast to two things which I have left among you, you will not go astray: God’s Book and His Messenger’s Sunnah.” Hasan (Al-Albani)
As we are living in what is known as the age of fitnah, it becomes very difficult to distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong, and truth and falsehood. In order to protect us from the corruption of this world, Islam has prepared the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet S.A.W.
Your journey to keep the Sunnah alive, and protect yourself starts now. For a start, try these 5 simple Sunnah acts:
1. APPLYING 1/3 RULE WHEN EATING
We consume food and drink everyday as it is vital to our survival, but are we doing it correctly? We Muslims are taught by the Prophet S.A.W that we should always fill our stomachs by 3: one-third with food, one-third with water, and the remaining third with air. Keeping ourselves from consuming more than we need helps to avoid wasting money or filling ourselves unhealthily with too much food. Practicing this habit will protect our health, help us spend money wisely, reap us rewards, and keep the Sunnah of the Prophet S.A.W alive.
2. SMILING TO OTHERS
The Prophet S.A.W said: “Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity..” Hasan (At-Tirmidhi)
The easiest charity that does not involve money is to smile at others. Smiling is contagious and it can light up someone else’s day. Your brain releases neuropeptides, dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins when you smile. These molecules fight stress, relieve pain, and act as antidepressants. A smile will benefit everyone who sees it, and even those who don't smile will end up smiling as a result.
3. SAY GOOD OR STAY SILENT
"If you have nothing good to say, remain silent. Each time you open your mouth to speak, you’re letting others know the state of your mind & what’s in your heart." - Mufti Menk
As we are encouraged to say good and beneficial things, we are warned to be careful not to say false or harmful things too. As we will be held accountable in the hereafter for everything we say, we should monitor the words we speak.
4. SITTING WHEN EATING AND DRINKING
Anas reported Allah's Apostle (S.A.W) disapproved the drinking of water while standing. (Sahih Muslim)
People tend to drink or eat while standing and walking, but do you know that there are side effects? When we drink while standing, our bodies suffer from indigestion due to the speed and impact of the food going straight to the lower stomach from the food canal. Thus, it is encouraged to follow the sunnah by always sitting down whenever we eat or drink.
5. ALWAYS SEEK FORGIVENESS FROM ALLAH S.W.T
Whether we realise it or not, human nature always has a tendency to sin. Thus, we are encouraged to always say astaghfirullah hal adzim, to seek forgiveness from Allah S.W.T, even when we don’t feel like we have recently sinned. Allah's forgiveness lifts the burden of sins that prevent your prayers from being accepted, and keeps our hearts at ease. The knowledge that is at our fingertips allows us to start with the simple act of sunnahs among many. We should start with these sunnah and slowly get used to them, and then continuously strive for improvement, adding more sunnah to our daily routine.