For a long time Shia as well as honest Sunni scholars have pointed out that the narration ”I leave you two weighty things, the Qur’an and my Sunnah” is weak, whilst the authentic version is ”Qur’an and Ahlul Bayt”. While there are virtually no sunni scholars who deny the latter, there are those who insist on the authenticity of the former – ”Qur’an and Sunnah”. One such scholar is Sheikh Gibril Haddad.
What these people do not realise is that by insisting the latter is authentic, the logical conclusion is that the Ahlul Bayt = Sunnah!
”I leave you two weighty things, the book of Allah and my Sunnah”
”I leave you two weighty things, the book of Allah and my Ahlul Bayt”
Is it a coincidence that on separate occasions the Prophet [ص] said the exact same hadith, telling us in each case that he was leaving us with TWO weighty things, yet one time identifying the Ahlul Bayt [a] as the second weighty thing, and another saying it’s his Sunnah?
If Ahlul Bayt [a] were other than the sunnah, then we would have three weighty things, not two as all the hadith emphasise, would we not?
If Ahlul Bayt [a] are the Sunnah, then they are the principal source for Islamic teachings. They are the guides of the Ummah. Whatsmore, they are infallible, just like the Sunnah is infallible.
You may object that the sunnah is not infallible, otherwise there would not be so many contradictions and discrepencies between hadith. But this objection would be confusing the transmitted Sunnah, with the actual Sunnah. What is the sunnah? It all the Prophet [ص] did, said and allowed. We are obligated to follow this unconidtionally; the Prophet’s whole life is a perfect example for us. If Ahlul Bayt [a] are his sunnah, then they hold a similar position within the Ummah, and should be followed in the same way the Prophet [ص] is followed.
For references for Hadith Thaqalayn, see this article.