In the Quran, God Almighty, in His Wisdom and Mercy, sends down the laws, rules, and regulations, by which a Muslim should abide. Whilst the laws etc. are stipulated by God, what He does not explain in detail are the practicalities of abiding by these laws.
To take an obvious example, Allah orders the Muslim to establish the prayer, but in the Quran, there is no mention of how many times a day, what form they take, how to perform wudhu, the ritual ablution in preparation for the prayer. What we are told in the Quran is to establish the prayer and make it at its prescribed time.
To find out how to pray we have to turn to the Hadith(the words, sayings, and instructions of Prophet Muhammed PBUH) and the Sunnah(The actions and deeds of the Prophet)
Islam is a complete way of life, therefore there is a way of performing everything you do in such a way that it is pleasing to God. Equally, there are ways of doing things that we are warned about that are displeasing to God.
We are told to enjoin what is good and abstain from what is evil. God tells us in the Quran, that if we obey the Messenger, then we obey God. The explanation of this is that Muhammed would say that in the matters of this world, his knowledge is like that of any other person, but in the matters of Islam, he only knows what God has revealed to him, he has no knowledge of it which is of his own making.
So, if we obey Muhammed in the matters of Islam, it is the same as obeying God. Muhammed PBUH was a Messenger of God and his duty was to convey that Message exactly as it had been given to him.
When Muhammed gave verbal instruction and advice in matters of the religion, he was merely repeating what had in turn been revealed to him. Whatever he said was noted word by word by the Companions, so that as some point, it could be written down exactly as Muhammed had spoken.
This is one of the blessings of Islam that Almighty God in His Wisdom and Mercy chose the Arab nation at that time due to their love of the language in literature and poetry and the spoken word. Coupled with this is the complexity of Arabic which allows the speaker to be so precise in the expression of his thoughts.
The result of this is that virtually everything that Muhammed related about Islam has been recorded. More than that, every hadith has at the front of it a chain of narrators, that is to say, that this person heard from this person who heard from this person etc, until it comes back to the Prophet, thereby authenticating the wording of the hadith. The truthfulness and honesty of these chains of narrators were beyond question. These hadith are available to read today in Arabic, word for word as they were transmitted at the time of the Prophet, plus having an English translation.
The Quran is the Word of God and therefore every word is the truth. The hadith were compiled by man and therefore are not perfect because only God is capable of perfection, but they are as near perfect as possible. Muslims understand that man is incapable of perfection but his purpose in this world, whilst he cannot attain perfection, is to strive and struggle to get as near as possible.
The Sunnah are the actions and the deeds of Prophet Muhammed PBUH. Muhammed was no more than a human being, but he was the best example of how to live a life pleasing to God, and therefore Muslims try to follow his example as much as possible in their daily life.
Of the worldwide population of Muslims 85% are Sunni Muslims, i.e. they try to follow the ways of the Prophet, the Sunnah. These too have been compiled in books and in translation, so that everyone can study the life of our beloved Muhammed PBUH. and strive to implement the Sunnah into his or her life.
Every action performed by a believer, no matter how small, is an act of ‘ibadat’ the nearest translation in English being’ worship’.If a believer passes the day making their prayers on time and only doing what is right, just and pleasing to God, then that person has spent the whole day in ibadat.
Several times Allah in, the Quran, says that if “ God is pleased with His servant and His servant with Him, this is the best and greatest of rewards.” God is pleased with His servant because he has tried his best to do only that which is pleasing to God, and His servant is pleased with God by being content with what God has provided for him in this world, be it a little or a lot.
And all praise is due to God, the Lord of all mankind.