The Explainer’s Introduction
Below is a transcription from the recorded classes I delivered at Masjid Salafi in Birmingham from Shaikh Saalih al-Fawzaan’s explanation of the Mandhoomah al-Haa’iyyah in the Creed of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah of Ibn Abee Daawud as-Sijistaanee (d. 316H rahimahullaah).*
All praise is due to Allāh, the Lord of the Worlds. May Allāh extol and grant peace and security to our Prophet Muhammad, and to all of his true followers and companions.
This is the explanation of the poem of Abū Bakr bin Abī Dāwūd as-Sijistāni (rahimahullāh). It encompasses his ‘aqīdah, what he was upon, and that he was a follower of the Salaf in that. The Muslims of the first era – the era of the companions and those who came after them from the most excellent of generations – he believed in whatever was revealed in the Qur’ān and in the Sunnah without having any second thoughts or doubts, because they believed in Allāh and His Messengers with a true and firm belief. So, they believed in [all that was revealed in] the Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger.
They believed in everything that the Qur’ān and the Sunnah contained in all of the affairs of the religion. They believed and had faith in all of that. They did not doubt any of that, regardless of whether it was in the affairs of the ‘aqīdah [creed], ‘ibādāt [worship], mu’amalāt [interactions and dealings], al-adāb [manners], akhlāq [etiquette], or the regulations of the sharī’ah, such as the halāl and the harām.
They did not reject or negate anything from that, because of all this comprises and constitutes eemān. They had true and sincere faith. They were not hesitant regarding that which is established in the Book of Allāh and in the Sunnah of His Messenger (sallallāhu alayyhi wa sallam), regardless of the subject matter – not in information related to the past nor the future. They did not exclude or make any exceptions for anything that was revealed in the Book and the Sunnah. Rather, they believed in it with necessary and binding faith. They were never been afflicted with doubt – for this affair encompasses īmān.
Then there appeared the sects of misguidance towards the end of the era of the companions, such as the sects of the Khawārij, the Shī’ah, the Murji’ah, and the Qadariyyah. All of these sects and deviated groups appeared, and the people of these sects kept themselves hidden amidst the virtuous and excellent generations. They did not openly manifest their deviation. Anyone who made anything apparent from deviation was taken by the hand and prevented. And if his deviation reached to the point of apostasy, then he would be executed as a protection of this religion from the mischief of the mischief-makers.
So, when the excellent generations came to an end, there entered into the lands of the Muslims, foreign cultures, such as the Roman and the Persian cultures. There occurred something of a breaching of the ranks and disorder, and the callers to misguidance became energetic in circulating these deviated ideologies. So, in the presence of this, the people of knowledge became active in clarifying the ‘aqīdah of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah, which the companions of the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) were upon, and that which the tabi’ūn, and the atbā’ at-tabi’īn were upon. They precisely penned down and recorded the creed in books they entitled “al-Eemān,” “ash-Sharī’ah,”, “as-Sunnah,” or “at-Tawhīd.” They refuted the deviants in these works. This was from the kindness of Allāh towards this Ummah – so that its religion would remain and continue. Allāh singled out for this religion protectors in every era, who would preserve the religion.
Imām Ahmad (rahimahullāh) said:
“All praise is due to Allāh, Who raised in every age between the Messengers, people of knowledge (scholars), who call the misguided to guidance; patiently bearing the harm they receive. With the Book of Allah, they give life to the dead, and with Allah’s Light, they give sight to the blind. How many a person killed by iblees have they given life to? How many misguided strayers have they guided? How beautiful has their effect been on the people and how despicable have the people been towards them!
They remove from the Book of Allāh the distortions of those who go beyond bounds, the false assertions of the liars, and the mis-interpretations of the ignorant, those who hoist the banner of innovations. They let loose the shackles of fitnah, so they differ regarding the Book, oppose the Book, and they are united in their separating from the Book. They speak about Allāh, regarding Allāh, and regarding the Book of Allāh without knowledge. They speak concerning the ambiguous verses and they deceive the ignorant from amongst the people regarding that which is vague and ambiguous to them, so we seek refuge from the tribulations of the misguided.”
Thereafter, the Muslims inherited these books – transmitted them and singled out the books of creed. They circulated and spoke about that which the imāms have penned down. So, these books of ‘aqīdah were available and present, and they encompassed all the affairs of the ‘aqīdah, as well as that which the salaf of this Ummah were upon.
Then there were some ‘ulāma who gave attention to the textual works of ‘aqīdah and wrote poems based upon them. This is because a poem is lighter upon the soul, is quicker to remember, and it remains in the memory. So they composed these texts of ‘aqeedah into poetic form so as to ease and facilitate their memorization. From those, is this poem before us: al-Hā’iyyah of Ibn Abū Dāwūd.
It was named “al-Hā’iyyah” because it rhymes upon the letter Haa (ح), just as al-Mīmiyyah and an-Nūniyyah of Ibn al-Qayyim due to the fact that they rhyme upon mīm and nūn respectively, such that it would be said al-Hā’iyyah, al-Mīmiyyah, or an-Nūniyyah, and so on.
If however the poem is not rhymed upon one letter, it is given the title, ar-Rajaz – and this is a type of poem – or it is also al-Urjūzah, such as the Mandhūmah as-Saffārīniyyah and the Mandhūmah al-Rahabiyyah in the subject of inheritance, or like the poem of Ibn ‘Abdul-Qawī, known as al-Muqni’ in Fiqh, or his poem al-Adāb ash-Sharī’ah.
The point being: Poems are good because they are easier to remember, and the memorization remains, and because he [the composer] arranges and composes the known affairs, even though to compose in writing is the origin, nevertheless, poetic composition also has its benefits in establishing knowledge-based affairs. From them is this excellent Mandhūma, or Qāsida: al-Hā’iyyah by Abī Bakr bin Abī Dāwūd.
Acquaintance with the Author of the Book:
Abū Bakr: His name is ‘Abdullāh ibn Abī Dāwūd (Sulaymān) ibn al-Ash’ath, as-Sijistāni.
His Father: Abū Dāwūd [and he is]: Sulaymān ibn al-Ash’ath. He is the compiler of the Sunan, which is one of the four sunans from the important collections of the Sunnah. He was from the companions and students of Imām Ahmad. He has a Masā’il that is printed, which he narrated from Imām Ahmad ibn Hanbal. It is which is entitled Masā’il Abī Dāwūd.
His son: He is the composer ‘Abdullāh, whose kunyā is Abū Bakr. He was an illustrious imām. He took knowledge from his father and other than him from the scholars of his era. He was an ocean of knowledge, in narration, and in hadīth. He has a mighty station in knowledge, no less indeed than that of his own father or at least close to his father (rahimahullāh), may Allah have mercy upon him.
So, this Qasīdah (poem) encompasses the ‘aqīdah of the salaf.
* May Allaah reward the sister who transcribed some of these classes.