Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān

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Tradition and Custom
(1,526 words)

The way things have been done, or are understood as having been done, in the past. In many societies the appeal to tradition and custom as the basis for current practice serves to legitimize the present. For a religion emerging in opposition to some of the beliefs and practices of its society, however, appeal to tradition or custom by its opponents is an obstacle to be overcome. At the same time, adherents of the new order may well attempt to justify it by reference to the past.

In Islam the positive value of tradition is most obviously manifest in the concept of sunna (q.v.), the accepted pract…

Cite this page
Hawting, G.R., “Tradition and Custom”, in: Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān, General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Georgetown University, Washington DC. Consulted online on 10 April 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1875-3922_q3_EQSIM_00423>

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