hakuna-mataataa:

What if you were too negligent about ensuring they were according to the sunnah?

What if you were too proud of them?

What if your intentions were impure?

What if your aqeedah was distorted?

What if you were showing them off?

What if you stood before your Lord on the Day of Resurrection, empty handed because all of your efforts were wasted while you were living in this dunya with a mindset of a guaranteed Jannah?

How do you know you haven’t yourself invalidated your actions?

Indeed Allah is the Most Merciful but what happens to us in the hereafter, will be brought forward by our own hands.

[They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work.”

-18:104

I would agree with this post entirely if it weren’t for the first question it raises. I do not for a second dismiss the importance of the Sunnah, and fully support every effort to re-establish it in the correct way. But surely by suggesting that actions will not be accepted if not carried out in line with the Sunnah, as a blanket statement, elevates the Sunnah to actually being Fard (compulsory)? 

At times when the Sunnah demonstrates the method of performing a compulsory act, then yes. This statement would be unconditionally correct. But there is a lot in the Sunnah that is optional, the absence of which will not invalidate a good deed. Shaking hands is a simple example. I recall reading that Rasulullah (SAW) would never withdraw his hand first when greeting another, but the act of shaking hands when meeting a Muslim (gender rules apply of course) in consideration of the Sunnah will surely be rewarded as well, not so? Or else, based on the above statement, the person that withdraws first would not be rewarded for their gesture/action? 

It may seem like a trivial matter to try to differentiate what is implied in these matters, but given how ritualistic Muslims have become, I guess my sensitivity to this issue is somewhat heightened. Most people go through their entire life performing salaah while omitting many of the Sunnah methods of rukhu or sujood, etc. Does this imply that their entire lifetime of worship was rejected? 

It doesn’t seem right to me. Not that I’m questioning the Sunnah, but rather I am questioning both the interpretation and application of the Sunnah according to the principles embodied in the Sunnah and not just the dogmatic implementation of its directives. 

This all reminds me of the Hadith that was posted recently advising us to make things simple. I honestly think we miss the entire point of the Sunnah at times. Also, a final thought on this is that from what I recall, the verse quoted above is specifically directed at the polytheists/disbelievers where Allah warns them that their good actions will not benefit them because they are classified as the losers, because their intentions were always to serve someone other than Allah. 

After reviewing the above quoted verse, it is obvious that this has been quoted out of context. Here is the verse within context where it clearly indicates who this warning is intended for:

18:103 – Say, [O Muhammad], “Shall we [believers] inform you of the greatest losers as to [their] deeds?

18:104 – [They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work.”

18:105 – Those are the ones who disbelieve in the verses of their Lord and in [their] meeting Him, so their deeds have become worthless; and We will not assign to them on the Day of Resurrection any importance.

Source: http://quran.com/18/101-110

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