Importance of Sanad

What is Sanad?

Sanad is the chain of transmission of Islamic knowledge and understanding. It is amongst the privileges that Allah has bestowed upon the ummah of His Messenger, Muhammad ﷺ

Why is Sanad important?

Sanad is a very important part of the religion. From it, we learn about the religion the right way.

 «قَالَ الإمام مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ سِيرِينَ : «إِنَّ هَذَا الْعِلْمَ دِينٌ فَانْظُرُوا عَمَّنْ تَأْخُذُونَ دِينَكُمْ

Al-Imam Muhammad bin Sīrīn said: “Verily this knowledge is religion, so consider from whom you receive your religion.”

«قَالَ الإمام عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ الْمُبَارَكِ : «لَوْ لَا الْإسْنَاد لَقَالَ مَنْ شَاءَ مَا شَاء

Al-Imam Abd Allah bin al-Mubārak said: “If it were not for the chain of transmission, anyone would have said what he wanted. 

 «قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ «مَنْ قَالَ فِي الْقُرْآنِ بِرَأْيِهِ فَلْيَتَبَوَّأْ مَقْعَدَهُ مِنَ النَّار

 «وَفِي رِوَايَةٍ: «مَنْ قَالَ فِي الْقُرْآنِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ فَليَتَبَوَّأ مَقْعَده من النَّار

The Messenger of Allah  said: “Let him who interprets the Qur’an in the light of his opinion come to his abode in hell.” A version has, “Let him who interprets the Qur’an without knowledge come to his abode in hell.”

It is a calamity when one learns (the Qur’an) without sanad. He thinks that the Qur’an is preserved, but he doesn’t take the understanding of the Qur’an from the right understanding. This will lead to confusion amongst the community and ummah. Everyone delivers according to their understanding, negligent of what had been delivered by the Messenger of Allah 

«…قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ : «بَلِّغُوا عَنِّي وَلَوْ آيَةً

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Pass on information from me, even if it is only a verse of the Qur’an..”

Here, there is a sanad that links to the Messenger of Allah . It is not merely just passing on knowledge; It is passing on knowledge from the Messenger of Allah .

If we want to ride an aeroplane, we have to know who is piloting the plane. If we are being told that the one flying the aeroplane has over 40 years of experience in riding a bike, with little to no knowledge of flying the aeroplane, we would never trust the person to fly the aeroplane. Because riding a bike and piloting an aeroplane are very different.

Therefore, we must look and consider from whom we are taking our knowledge.