Sharhus-Sunnah of al-Barbahaaree: Yunus bin Ubayd Advises his Son that Sin is better than Bid’ah

Sharh us-Sunnah of Imaam Al-Barbahaaree (died 329AH, rahimahullaah) | The Explanation of the Creed

Yunus bin Ubayd on the Company of Innovators and Sinners

The Imaam of Ahlus-Sunnah in his time: Abu Muhammad al-Hasan ibn ‘Alee ibn Khalaf Al-barbahaaree (d. 329H) stated in his monumental work, ‘Sharhus-Sunnah’, point 150 (Maktabatur-Rushd, 1429H/2008):

رأى يونس بن عبيد ابنه وقد خرج من عند صاحب هوى فقال يا بني من أين خرجت قال من عند عمرو بن عبيد قال يا بني لأن أراك خرجت من بيت خنثى أحب إلي من أن أراك خرجت من بيت فلان وفلان ولأن تلقى الله زانيا سارقا خائنا أحب إلي من أن تلقاه بقول أهل الأهواء . ألا ترى أن يونس بن عبيد قد علم أن الخنثى لا يضل ابنه عن دينه وأن صاحب البدعة يضله حتى يكفر

 

Yoonus bin ‘Ubaid saw his son exiting the house of a person of desires (i.e. misguidance) so he said: “O my son! From where have you just exited?” He replied: “From the company of ‘Amr ibn ‘Ubaid.” So he said: “O my son. That I had seen you exiting the house of shameless and lewd person would have been more beloved to me than that I see you exiting the house of so-and-so! That you should meet Allaah, O my son, as a fornicator, a sinner, a thief or as a treacherous soul is more beloved to me than that you should meet him with a saying of the people of desires (i.e. misguidance).” Do you not see that Yoonus ibn ‘Ubaid knew that the shameless and lewd person would not misguide his son away from the Religion, whereas the person of innovation (i.e. bid’ah) would misguide him until he causes him to disbelieve.”

Commentary of Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan

The following commentary of Shaikh Saalih ibn Fawzaan ibn Abdullaah al-Fawzaan is taken from “Ittihaaf al-Qaaree bi at-Ta’liqaat ‘alaa Sharh is-Sunnah” (pp. 233-235):

 

رأى يونس بن عبيد ابنه وقد خرج من عند صاحب هوى فقال يا بني من أين خرجت قال من عند عمرو بن عبيد

Yoonus bin ‘Ubaid saw his son exiting the house of a person of desires (i.e. misguidance) so he said: “O my son! From where have you just exited?” He replied: “From the company of ‘Amr ibn ‘Ubaid.”

‘Amr ibn ‘Ubaid was the shaikh of the Mu’tazilah.

 

قال يا بني لأن أراك خرجت من بيت خنثى أحب إلي من أن أراك خرجت من بيت فلان وفلان

 

O my son. That I had seen you exiting the house of a ‘khunthaa’ would have been more beloved to me than that I see you exiting the house of so-and-so!

The word “Khunthaa” is not clear, and in some manuscripts there occurs “from the house of a ‘heetiyy'” and this is also unclear [1], however the intent is that you should not sit with the people of bid’ah; and if you had exited from the company of a person of Sunnah, but one who was a sinner, then that would have been easier than that you sit with a person of bid’ah. This is what Yoonus ibn ‘Ubaid was warning his son about. This is because he sat with ‘Amr ibn ‘Ubaid, the head of the Mu’tazilah. So sitting with a Muslim, a person of Sunnah, even if he has deficiency in (practicing his) religion, then that is easier and less harmful than his sitting with the innovators, and even more so if he is learning from them! Do not study or learn from the people of desires, innovation and newly invented matters. Rather learn from Ahlus-Sunnah, from the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah, the scholars of sound and correct belief – just as Muhammad ibn Sireen (died 110H) said:

 

Indeed this knowledge is Religion, so look and investigate from whom you take your religion.

Reported by Muslim in his Muqaddimah to his Saheeh (1/14).

And if it is the case that by merely sitting with them, there is great danger, then what is the case of taking knowledge from the innovators!!

 

ولأن تلقى الله زانيا سارقا خائنا أحب إلي من أن تلقاه بقول أهل الأهواء

 

That you should meet Allaah, O my son, as a fornicator, a sinner, a thief or as a treacherous soul is more beloved to me than that you should meet him with a saying of the people of desires (i.e. misguidance).

So he saying to his son, that were you to die as a sinner, committing a major sin lesser than shirk and therefore you hope in the mercy of Allaah – as He, the Most High, stated:

 

 إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاء

 

 Indeed Allaah does not forgive that partners be associated with Him in worship, but He forgives lesser than that to whoever He pleases. (an-Nisaa 4:48) 

To the extent that even if the one who commits a major sin is punished in the Hellfire, his final abode will be Jannah – he will not remain eternally in the Fire. As for the person of innovation, then his innovation may lead him to unbelief and thus he becomes eternally a dweller of the Fire because he innovated into the Religion that which is not from it.

As for the sinner, he does not say that his sin is from the Religion (unlike the innovator who claims his innovation is from Islaam), so therefore that you die upon sin, even if it be major yet less than shirk is better than dying upon bid’ah – and this is something very clear indeed.

 

ألا ترى أن يونس بن عبيد قد علم أن الخنثى لا يضل ابنه عن دينه وأن صاحب البدعة يضله حتى يكفر

 

Do you not see that Yoonus ibn ‘Ubaid knew that the shameless and lewd person would not misguide his son away from the Religion, whereas the person of innovation (i.e. bid’ah) would misguide him until he causes him to disbelieve.

And this is the wisdom behind why he should not sit with the people of bid’ah. That he sit with a person of Sunnah, even if he is deficient in his religion and Eemaan. For indeed the harm he will receive by sitting with an innovator is more severe than the harm he will receive by sitting with a person of Sunnah who a sinner; and this is because the person of bid’ah will call you to innovations and to opposing the Book and Sunnah. And as for the sinner from Ahlus-Sunnah then he will not warn you from the Book and Sunnah, nor will he warn you from the ittibaa’ (i.e. the following) of the Sunnah, ever. So there is a difference between what the innovator directs you to and what the sinner directs you to. The most the sinner will do is beautify for you sinful acts, and as for warning you from the Sunnah, then no. He will not warn against the Sunnah – rather he honors and venerates the Sunnah, contrary to the innovator who does not honor the Sunnah.

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Footnotes

[1] In one of the manuscripts the words “min bayti Khammaar” occurs which means “from the house of a wine-seller”. (See “sharhus-sunnah“, Maktabah Daar al-Minhaaj, printed 1426H, page 121).

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