In his seminal and pioneering work, al-Risala, al-Shafi’i, the founder of juridical usul al-fiqh, laid down the following maxim:
“God has obliged us to follow everything the Prophet instituted (sunna). And He has rendered adherence to this obedience to Him and turning away from it disobedience [to Him] for which He excuses no one.”
Al-Shafi’i’s discourse in al-Risala suggests that the ultimate aim of these words was to confirm the Prophet’s authority as an independent source of law whose legislation was binding even on matters about which the Qur’an was silent. Because, however, his aim was merely to establish rather than define the Prophet’s authority, al-Shafi’i’s formulations remained broad and imprecise. This imprecision raised in turn a number of perduring questions: Was indeed everything the Prophet said and did binding upon the Community? Or was there a distinction to be made between what he said and what he did, or between “binding” (wujub) and some other legal category, for example, “recommended” (nadb) or “licit” (ibaha)? Did this sunna, which al-Shafi’i identified as binding, consist only of the Prophet’s statements and actions concerning public matters, or were his statements and actions in his private life equally authoritative? What about purpose and intent; were those statements and actions in which a clear purpose was discernible equal to those that yielded no such inferences? And what would become of those actions from which no clear purpose could be inferred? If purpose and intent were material, was the Prophet to be second-guessed where he made no explicit declarations about purpose?
The Ummah of Muhammad, may God the Exaulted send prayers and blessings on him, is the Ummah of hope. It is for this reason I am an optimist: Not out of some individual code of ethics but because the Best of Creation was hopeful and inspired so many with hope.
عن أبي مالك الأشعري قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم إذا ولج الرجل بيته فليقل اللهم إني أسألك خير المولج و خير المخرج, بسم الله ولجنا و بسم الله خرجنا و على الله ربنا توكلنا ثم ليسلم على أهله
On the authority of Abu Malik al-Ash’ari, the Prophet said, ‘When a man leaves his home he should say, “O’ God, I ask you for a good entrance and a good exit. In God’s name we enter and in God’s name we leave and upon God our Lord we have placed our trust.” He should then give salaams to his family”.’ - Related in Sunan Abu Dawud, 5096.
“Idha walaja al-Rajul baytahu falyaqul: ‘Allahumma, Inni as’aluku khayra al-mawlij[a] wa khayra al-makhraj[i]. Bismillahi walajna wa bismillahi kharajna wa ‘ala Allahi rabana tawakkalna’.”
It can be a tough gig working a nine to five. Some of us do more than that. But it’s a blessing to have a house and home to come home to. So I write this down as a little means of increasing adab/manners and dhikr/awareness and ‘ibadah/worship by keeping the Prophet’s words close to our breasts, hearts and tongues. So the next time you leave to the j-o-b with that certain boss [ugh…] remember this du’ah, God willing, and great your family with some Prophetic love.
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم من قال إذا خرج من بيته بسم الله توكلت على الله لا حول و لا قوة إلا بالله تعالى يقال له كفيت و وقيت و هديت و تنحى عنه الشيطان فيقول لشيطان آخر كيف لك برجل قد هدي و كفي و وقي
The Messenger of God, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him, said: ‘He who says upon leaving his house —’In the name of God—, I have put my trust in God, there is no strength or power save in God,’ it is said to him —’All requirements have been met for you, you have been protected, and you have been guided; the devil turns away from him and says to another devil —’What can you do with a man who has been guided, whose is satiated, and who has been protected?’
Related by Abu Dawud via al-Kalim al-Tayyib by Ibn Taymiyya