Apart from Quran, Sunnah and Hadith are two important sources of the Islamic Shariah. How Sunnah is different from Hadith?

Answer: [A] While Sunnah denotes the way Prophet Muhammad lived his life, Hadith refers to what has been approved or disapproved by the Prophet

Islamic Shariah stands for a compendium of Islamic Laws. Shariah is an Arabic word that means a stream of water where people come to quench their thirst. The Islamic Shariah has two fundamental sources: the Quran and Hadith, the sayings and guiding acts of the Prophet. Some sources say that Shariah has two fundamental sources viz. Quran and Sunnah.


  • In Islam, the Arabic word sunnah has come to denote the way Prophet Muhammad lived his life. The Sunnah is the second source of Islamic jurisprudence, the first being the Quran. Both sources are indispensable; one cannot practice Islam without consulting both of them.


  • The Arabic word hadith (pl. ahadith) is very similar to Sunnah, but not identical. A hadith is a narration about the life of the Prophet or what he approved – as opposed to his life itself, which is the Sunnah as already mentioned.

The Quran says that Allah has sent His prophets to all peoples in different periods of time, to establish justice, equity and morality. Prophet Abraham was sent to the land that we know today as Iraq. To his prophetic chain belongs Moses, who was bestowed by God His book, the Torah, and His Law, which is called the Shariah of Moses. Likewise, Jesus was blessed by God with the Bible. In the last of the Abrahamic chain of prophets came Mohammad who was born in the Arabian city of Mecca. He was blessed with the divine word, the Quran and Islamic Shariah.

This question is a part of GKToday's Integrated IAS General Studies Module