What is our da’wah – the call to Salafiyyah? The defining features: Sunnah and Hadeeth: Part 2

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Transcribed lecture: What is our Da’wah? –By Abu Khadeejah
Part 2

All Praise is due to Allāh, we praise Him, seek His aid and His Forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allāh from the evils of our souls and the evils of our actions. Whomsoever Allāh guides there is none to misguide and whomsoever Allāh misguides there is none to guide. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, alone, without any partners and I bear witness that Muhammad (صلّ الله عليه و سلّم) is His servant and Messenger.

To proceed:

The truest speech is the Book of Allāh, and the best way is the way of Muhammad (صلّ الله عليه و سلّم). The worst of affairs are the newly invented matters, every newly invented matter is an innovation, every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Fire.

To proceed:

Then, we proceed again today, with this topic, that is actually one of the most important subject matters in our times, and that is regarding the distinguishing signs Ahl-us-Sunnati wal-Jamaa`ah, i.e. the people who follow the Sunnah, (and) the people who are the Jamaa`ah – following the way of the Sahaabah (رضي الله عنهم), and what distinguishes their path in our times, from all of the other paths.

The last time I was here, I began with point number 1 – from the points, which should be in front of you – our Da`wah, which is something that I compiled consisting of 89 points, from the statements of the Scholars, and from the statements of the Salaf (the earlier generations) of this Ummah, with regards to those particular beliefs and methodology. They are those points of methodology and Manhaj, and `Aqeedah, that distinguishes our Da`wah, i.e. the Da`wah of the Sahaabah (رضي الله عنهم), from the rest of the calls, and the rest of the groups, sects and parties, from the time of the early generations, up until now – those groups which have arisen, and called to other than the way of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) and his Sahaabah (رضي الله عنهم).

So, last time, we covered the first 2 points, which were related to the issue of Tawheed. And we mentioned its tremendous importance that it is the most fundamental of all of the fundamentals, and the foundation of the Religion – that is the issue of Tawheed, and calling to Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) alone, to the exclusion of all else that is worshipped besides Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى). So today, we move onto point number 3, and that is:

Point 3: We hold that the Sunnah is revelation, just as the Qur’aan is revelation.

Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) has said: “And nor does he speak of his own desire. It is only an Inspiration that is inspired.” Qur’aan (53):3-4. So, Allāh stated that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) does not speak from his own desires. But rather, it is revelation that is conveyed to him.
And the next point is similar to it:

Point 4: We believe that the Sunnah is whatever was conveyed to the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) from Allāh, other than the Qur’aan.

And this, is due to the saying of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم): “Indeed, I have been given the Qur’aan, and that which is similar to it.”
And the next point:

Point 5: We believe that, the Sunnah is: a) whatever the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) uttered, b) whatever he did, and c) whatever was done in his presence which he (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) did not disapprove of, d) Additionally, the Sunnah includes, his outward description, and his inward character, i.e. the outward characteristics (his features, looks, etc.), and his inward character (manners, etiquettes, etc.).

So, these are the three points that we are discussing today, inshaa’ Allaah.

The general meaning of ‘Sunnah’:

If one considers the statements of the Salaf of this Ummah, the likes of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (رحمه الله), wherein he said, “The Sunnah with us, are the narrations of Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم)”. And this is something that we recognize. So, what we mean by Aathaar (narrations) of Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) here, are his Hadeeth (pl. Ahaadeeth), i.e. those Hadeeth, and narrations from Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) which have reached us. That was the statement of Imaam Ahmad, that the Sunnah with us are the Aathaar of Allāh’s Messenger from the authentic Sunnah: his statements, his actions, his tacit approvals, his characteristics, or his manners & etiquette. Everything that has reached us from the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) authentically, then that is the Sunnah, and they are the Aathaar.

Then when we look towards the writings of some of the early Salaf, we have the statement of the great Imam Ibn Abee Dawood as-Sijistaani (رحمه الله), in his “Al-Haa’iyyah”, which is actually, somewhere in the region of 40 lines of poetry and some Scholars say that it is lesser than that. Anyhow, it is somewhere between 34 to 40 lines of poetry, which was penned down by the great Imam, Ibn Abee Dawood. And, as the name suggests, he is the son of Abu Dawood, which is refers to the great Imaam, Sulayman Ibnul-Ash`ath, the author of the Sunan Abee Dawood. So, this Ibn Abee Dawood is Imam Abu Dawood’s son. Some of the `Ulema said that the son was greater in terms of knowledge than the father. Others have said that the father was greater. But anyway, the mere discussion between the knowledge of the son and the father shows the greatness of this Imaam, Al-Haafidh Abu Bakr `Abdullaah ibn Abee Dawood as-Sijistaani (رحمه الله), who died in the year 316 AH.

In point 2 of his lines of poetry, he states, “And practice your Religion, by way of the Book of Allāh, and the Sunnah which have come from Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), so that you will be saved, and you will be rewarded”. And this is the exact point that we made, in our Da`wah. That is: the Sunnah is Revelation. And we understand this also, from the great Scholars of the past, from the Sahaabah (رضي الله عنهم), and onwards, and even from Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم). They understood that the Sunnah of Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) was revelation.

Just as Jibreel (عليه السّلام) came to Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) with the Qur’aan, then likewise, he came to Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) with the Sunnah. And that is why you find, many of the Scholars, they say, ‘the Sunnah is whatever emanates from the Messenger of Allāh (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), that is other than the Qur’aan’. So here we understand that the Sunnah is revelation, and so we are to treat it as revelation that Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) sent down upon Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم).

From the great Scholars of our times, Shaykh Al-Fawzaan (حفظه الله), comments on these words of Ibn Abee Dawood as-Sijistaani: “And practice your Religion by the book of Allāh, and the Sunan (plural of Sunnah)” – it means, that you should follow in your Religion, the Book of Allāh, and the Sunnah of Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم). The Sunan here, is referring to those narrations, that have reached you from Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) – this is why it comes in the plural (Sunan, as opposed to Sunnah). And it means, to make your actions in such a manner that they are taken from the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah of Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم). And they are not to be taken from the Ahwaa (desires), and nor from the Bid`ah (innovations), and not from the newly invented matters. So, they are not to be taken from one’s own desires. Take your Deen from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. This shows that, the Qur’aan and the Sunnah are both Revelation, and they are not from desires or innovations that have been added or introduced into the Religion. They are not from the innovations – those newly introduced affairs, that a person wishes to bring into Islaam, and then make it seem as if it is revelation. Rather, the revelation is the Qur’aan and the Sunnah.

So, the saying of the author (Ibn Abee Dawood), “Sunan” – then what is being meant here is the path of Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم). The Messenger of Allāh (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), who said: “Binding upon you, is my Sunnah.” Meaning, binding and obligatory upon you, is to follow his path. And Shaykh Fawzaan (حفظه الله) states that this is in terms of generality, that when we use the term ‘Sunnah’, we are talking about the general path of Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), i.e. his path and his way.

The specific meaning of ‘Sunnah’:

When the Muhadditheen, those compilers of the narrations (the ahaadeeth) which are: statements, actions, deeds and the characteristics of Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) – when they speak about the Sunnah in light of the terminologies of the sciences of Hadeeth, then, what do they intend by the term ‘Sunnah’? Shaykh Al-Fawzaan mentions that the Sunnah, when the Scholars of Hadeeth – those early Scholars of the generations, who came after the time of the Sahaabah (رضي الله عنهم), the likes of Imaams Ash-Shaafi`ee, Maalik, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Bukhari, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah, An-Nasaa’ee, Abu Dawood, and other than them, from the great Scholars (رحمهم الله) – when these Scholars compiled their books of Hadeeth, what did they intend, as they were compiling the Ahaadeeth of Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم)? Then what they intended was to gather the statements and the actions of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم).

How do you gather the actions of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) a person may ask? Then you gather the actions of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), by gathering the narrations of the Sahaabah (رضي الله عنهم), as if they were watching the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم). So, a Sahaabi would say, “On such and such a day, I saw Allāh’s Messenger (صلّىاللهعليهوسلّم) as he was performing Wudhoo. And I saw him doing such and such, and such and such”. So now, this is a companion narrating what he saw the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) doing. Similarly, `Aa’ishah for example said: “Whenever he (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) would begin an action, he would always begin with the right.” So, this is `Aa’ishah saying, how the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) did a particular action. Also, we have another example, when she said (what means): “The Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) used to pray the night prayer, and he did not exceed upon eleven rak`ahs inside of Ramadhan, nor outside of Ramadhan.” So, this is now `Aa’ishah narrating upon the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), what she saw. And other companions would do the same. So these are now Companions narrating what they saw, or Companions narrating what they heard. This is what is meant in the terminology of the Muhadditheen (the scholars o Hadeeth) when they talk about what the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) said. So, what they intend by that is, what the Companions heard, or saw from the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم). Or, it could be that the Companions were present, and they would say, “I (or someone else) did such and such an action, and the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) never criticized me (or him, for it)”. And when a Companion would do an act, that was not criticized by the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), then it is considered to be a Sunnah. Also his characteristics that were known and seen. So, those Scholars of Hadeeth would collect and they would gather together the characteristics of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم).

So, from what they would say were:
– ‘His face (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) was like the brightness of the moon’, or
– ‘The Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) was not very tall, but nor was he short’, or
– ‘The Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) had the mark of Prophethood, between his shoulder-blades’,
– Or they would say that ‘the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), when he would walk, he would walk as if with resolve’ – meaning that, it was clear that he was intending to go somewhere, and was not just strolling without a purpose,
– Some of them narrated that, ‘the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) would walk, as if he was walking on a decline’, i.e. walking downhill, or
– ‘The Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) would walk, as if he was a man that was walking upon a ship’

So, these are characteristics of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), that they would gather and narrate. So this is the Sunnah as it relates to the Muhadditheen. What did we say before? The Sunnah in general, i.e. when we use the term generally, then it refers to the path of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم). And, Ibn `Uthaymeen (رحمه الله) said, “Islaam is everything that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) came with, and that which was revealed to him (Qur’aan and Sunnah)”.

Shaykh Fawzaan then mentions, in its usage, it has a general usage, and that is, the path that Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) was upon. As for the specific usage, then that is the Tafseel, or the detail of the Muhadditheen – with regards to what he said, did, and the Sunnah Taqreeriyyah (i.e. what was done in his presence, and he did not criticize it), or his Sifaat (attributes). He mentions that this has within it a necessity or an obligation to utilize the Sunnah, that the Sunnah by itself, is an evidence that is utilized after the Qur’aan. And the Sunnah, is the “masdaruth-thaani min masaadiril-Islaam” – the second source in Islaam from the sources of Islaam, after the noble Qur’aan.

The sources (or reference points) in Islaam:

Something quite important to understand, with regards to the principles of extrapolation and extraction of the rulings, held by the Usooliyyeen (Jurists, the Fuqaha). There are those which are agreed upon, and those which are differed over. When someone speaks of proofs:

– there are those fundamental principles that the Scholars agree upon, that you have no choice, but to take them as the source of the Religion, and
– there are those extrapolations, for which the Scholars differ as to whether it is a source, or not a source (of the Religion).
Source here meaning in terms of obligation of acting upon them in Religion.

With regards to that which is agreed upon, then no doubt, it is the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, and the third of them is the Ijmaa’ of the Sahaabah (رضي الله عنهم) (in the correct understanding). These are the sources, with which there is no difference among the Scholars. If something is found in the Qur’aan, then we take it unconditionally, and we obey Allāh. Why? Because the Qur’aan is the words of Allāh. And we know the Aayah: “O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger” (4:59) So you have no choice in these, and these are unconditional acts of obedience. And, the second one as was mentioned, is the Sunnah. The Sunnah Nabawiyyah (Prophetic Sunnah), is an Asl (foundation) – that a person has no choice, except to act upon. And this is the Sunnah, i.e. the Prophetic Sunnah. Because, the Prophetic Sunnah is revelation, just as the Qur’aan. Some of the Scholars mention, the likes of Ibn ul-Qayyim, Ibn `Uthaymeen, and other than them, that there are over 33 places in the Qur’aan, where Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) singles out the Messenger of Allāh (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) to be followed unconditionally. So, you have no choice, but to follow the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم). Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) mentions (what means): “And whatsoever the Messenger gives you take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain from it.” (59:7) So, this is a command from Allāh, where He is commanding you to follow the Sunnah. “And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, then take it.” This it is a command for you to follow the Sunnah. Allāh did not say, “Whatever he gives you, take it if you want.” No, rather, Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) said, “And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it.” Take it. He did not leave a choice in the matter. “And whatsoever he forbids you, abstain from it.” So, likewise, He (سبحانه و تعالى) did not give you a choice in this matter either. Furthermore, a person may say – and you do find this attitude among certain Muslims, “The Qur’aan is binding, but as for the Sunnah, then I have a choice”. Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) does not leave a choice with regards to the Sunnah. Just as the Qur’aan is binding, then the Sunnah is binding. That is why the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) said: “All of my Ummah will enter into Jannah, except for the one who refuses.” So the Sahaabah were astonished, “O Messenger of Allāh! Who would refuse?” they asked. He said, “Whomsoever obeys me, will enter into Jannah. And whomsoever does not obey me, then he has refused.” That is why the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) made that statement, because to disobey the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) is to disobey Allāh. And to obey the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), is to obey Allāh. We have the following Aayah, that Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) said: “And let those who oppose the Messenger’s commandment beware, lest some Fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, etc) befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them.” (24:63) With regards to this Aayah, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (رحمه الله) said, “Do you know what this calamity is?”. And they said, “No”. He said, “The calamity is Shirk! Because, a person disobeys the Messenger of Allāh (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), so he embarks upon a path, and that path takes him away from Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى), that may land him in Shirk.”

We find over and over again, verses in the Book of Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى), commanding with the following of the Messenger of Allāh (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), such as: “And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace, from the Prophets, the truthful, the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are!” – (4:69)

So, in the above Aayah, look how Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) couples obedience with him, alongside obedience to the Messenger of Allāh (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم). And with regards to the truthful – then they are those who are so staunchly truthful, that they cannot find it within themselves to lie. So, it is not just someone who is truthful, but it is the one who is so staunchly truthful, that he just cannot lie. That is why, the Siddiqoon are placed before the Shuhadaa (Martyrs) – because, the Siddeeq, is the likes of Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq (رضي الله عنه). He believed in the Messenger of Allāh (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) so ardently, that it did not matter what doubts the people brought, against the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) to him, he would never disbelieve in what Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) told him. And, he would affirm the truthfulness of that. That is why, the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) mentioned, that he would not allow anyone to criticize Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr said to the Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), when a dispute occurred between him (Abu Bakr) and `Umar, “O Messenger of Allāh! Maybe it was my fault.” And the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) said, “No! When the people called me a liar, you believed in me.” So, Allāh mentions the Prophets, then the Truthful, then the Martyrs, and then the Pious. And how excellent – as Allāh has mentioned – this companionship is! Meaning, the ones who obey Allāh, and obey the Messenger, then they will be alongside all of these on Yawm al-Qiyaamah (the Day of Resurrection), i.e. with the Prophets: with Nooh, Ibraheem, Isma`eel, Ishaaq, Dawood, Sulaymaan, Moosaa, Haroon, `Eesaa (عليهم السّلام). So, the one who obeys Allāh and His Messenger, even from us, i.e. even from the believers today – then on Yawm al-Qiyaamah, will be alongside these Prophets. Why? Because of this trait, i.e. this trait of obedience to Allāh and the Messenger. So such a person will be alongside:

– the Prophets, and
– the Truthful – the likes of Abu Bakr, and those who resemble him, and
– the Martyrs from the Companions of Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), and from the Companions of the Prophets that came before them, and also the Shuhadaa after them, and
– the Saaliheen, the Pious.

What an excellent companionship this is! That is why Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) has mentioned in the Qur’aan (what means): “And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and made to enter Paradise).” (33:71)

And this is a tremendous achievement, because, you obeyed Allāh and you obeyed the Messenger. So, what is this achievement? This achievement is Jannah. Jannah alongside these illustrious and noble men! That is why it is a great achievement. And, that is why Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) commands over and over again in the Qur’aan, in almost 33 places, directly commanding the people to obey Allāh, and obey the Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم). We have the following Aayah: “O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger.” (4:59) Those of you who believe means, those of you who have been described with Eemaan, such that you have believed. Shaykh Al-Fawzaan mentions regarding this Aayah: Look how Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) addresses these people. He addresses them with the most noble characteristic that an individual can possess, and that is Eemaan, “O you who believe” – So, Allāh has described you as believers.

Obedience to other than Allāh and His Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم):

Allaah (سبحانه و تعالى) stated, “Obey Allāh and obey the Messenger, and those in authority amongst you.” So, Allāh mentions here the word obey twice, but not on the third occassion. So Allāh said, “obey Allāh and obey the Messenger, and those in authority”. Obey is not mentioned a third time, even though we are to obey those in authority. Why is it it mentioned a third time? The scholars explained, those in authority over you are your Rulers, and they are your Scholars, but they are not to be obeyed unconditionally, unlike Allāh and His Messenger, who are to be obeyed unconditionally. When Allāh commands you with something, then you have no choice. And when Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) commands you with something, then you have no choice. But when a scholar or a ruler commands you with something, then this is conditional upon the fact that whatever they command us with is in agreement with the revelation. If it opposes the revelation, be it from the greatest scholar in the world then he is not to be obeyed. How can we disobey the revelation, and obey the one who did not receive revelation? Even if he be the greatest scholar!

This is why when we talk about the Sunnah of Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), we understand that, no one is given obedience over and above obedience to Allāh and His Messenger.

And, it is not permissible for an individual to make ta’weel (false interpretation) and say, “we will not leave the obedience of the scholar, but what we will do is inerpret the texts to fit around the opinion of our shaikh.” No! Rather, you should abandon your partisan fanaticism and desires, to fit in with the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. You do not twist the Qur’aan and the Sunnah to fit in with your desires, and to fit in with the opinions of such and such a shaikh.

And likewise with the rulers, they are to be obeyed. And the scholars are to be obeyed, respected, honored and revered, as long as the Scholar is from Ahlus-Sunnah, Ahlul-Hadeeth in the true sense, and so long as he is a man of Sunnah, and follows the way of Salafiyyah, and is not upon misguidance. Then yes, he is to be respected and honoured. But alongside his greatness, obedience to him does not supersede obedience to Allāh and His Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم). That is why Allāh mentions in that very same Aayah: “And if you differ in any matter between yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.” (4:59)

The Ahadeeth and Books that we refer back to:

How do you refer something back to Allāh? Then, it is done, by referring it back to the Qur’aan. And, how do you refer something back to the Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم)? Then, it is done, by referring it back to the books that have been compiled by the Muhadditheen – the likes of Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim, Musnad Ahmad, Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Sunan Ibn Maajah, Sunan An-Nasaa’ee, Sunan Abu Dawood, Muwatta of Imam Malik, Musnad of Shafi`ee and so on. So, you refer it back to these books of Hadeeth – and specifically, back to those Ahaadeeth within them that are authenticated by the precise scholars, because not all of these books contain authentic Ahaadeeth. There are those which are weak, and those which are authentic. So the Scholars of Hadeeth, in that time and after their time, went back to these books and they checked them. And the most authentic of them without doubt is, Saheeh Al-Bukhari, followed by Saheeh Al-Muslim. And also included thereafter, are the books such as the Saheeh of Ibn Khuzaymah and other than them – in general, authentic books, and alhamdulillaah, the other books too, then they have been checked by the likes of Al-Albaanee such as the four books of Sunan.

As for those Ahadeeth which are established to be authentic by the scholars of Hadeeth, then you refer back to them if you do truly believe in Allāh and the last day. In the time of the Sahaabah (رضي الله عنهم), if they differed over a matter, then they went back to the Messenger of Allāh (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) and he would tell them the truthfulness of what they were upon, or the incorrectness of what they thought. And he would clarify it for them. So, we obey Allāh and we obey the Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), and our differences go back to this very same Sunnah. Proving yet again that, it is a source of revelation, and that, it is a source that we refer back to, and that we have no choice in the matter. And Allāh said: “And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the path of the Sahaabah (the first belevers), We shall leave him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell, and what an evil destination.” (4:115) So, in this Aayah, and the one which was mentioned previously, Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) does not mention Himself. Rather, He singles out the Messenger. What is intended by “one who contradicts and opposes the Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم)” is the one who contends and breaks away from him (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم). It is someone who splits away from his command, from his path, from his belief, from his methodology, and away from how he behaved, and how he taught. So, anyone who breaks away from him (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), and contends with him after the guidance has been made clear to him, then the end result, is as mentioned in the Aayah.

Refutation of those who abandon and disregard the Sunnah:

The Aayah mentioned previously (4:115) is also of course a refutation of Ahlut-Takfeer (the Takfiris) who without any clarification or establishing the proof, declare the Muslims to be unbelievers. So verse this is a refutation upon them, wherein Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) refutes the people of Takfeer, the Khawaarij. They are those who declare the Muslims to be kuffaar, based upon Major sins. Or those from the Muslims rulers whom the Khawaarij declare to be apostates based on their judging by other than what Allāh has revealed. The Khawaarij declare such Muslims to be kuffaar, without any question. So this Aayah is a refutation upon them because here Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) stated, “And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the guidance has been shown clearly to him.” And He (سبحانه و تعالى) mentions, “and follows other than the path of the believers. We shall leave him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination”. So, Allāh will burn him in the hell-fire for what? For opposing and contending with the Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), and for following a path other than the path of the believers. Because, the believers are those who follow the Sunnah. So, whosoever opposes the Messenger of Allāh (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), then Allāh will burn him in the hell-fire, and what an evil destination!

So, there should be no doubt in our minds, with regards to our position towards the Sunnah of Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم). Shaykh Al-Fawzaan (حفظه الله) mentioned that when a Hadeeth is authentically established from the Messenger of Allāh (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), then it is obligatory upon us to take it, follow it, and to act upon it – regardless of whether it is Mutawaatir, or whether it is Aahaad. So we accept the Hadeeth of Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), so long as they are authentic. We are not really concerned whether there is one chain of narration, or ten chains of narration, or even a hundred chains of narration or a hundred narrators at every level of the chain. So long as the chain of narration that has reached us, through these great scholars of Hadeeth, the likes of Imam Al-Bukhari, Imam Muslim, and other than them, as we mentioned previously – and so long as the chain of narration goes back from those scholars of Hadeeth to the Messenger Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) whereby there is a narrator narrating from another narrator, who narrates from someone else, who narrates from someone else, narrating finally from the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم)] – and all of them are trustworthy and precise, and truthful, then we accept that chain of narration, and we accept that narration. And, we do not distinguish in acting upon the Sunnah, between that which is Mutawaatir, or that which is Aahaad. The Hadeeth of Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), then they can be either Mutawaatir, or Aahaad.

– Mutawaatir are those hadeeth of Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), which reached the collectors of Hadeeth, through many narrators at every level of the chain of narration, thereby making it impossible for them to have gathered together upon a lie. So this is a Hadeeth Mutawaatir. It has no agreed upon number of narrators at each level that the scholars have mentioned. Some of the Scholars mention that it is eighteen, and some of them mention that it is seventy. Some of them mention that it is even as low as twelve. So, there is no fixed number. But, it is a type of terminology, in the sciences of Hadeeth, to distinguish between those Ahadeeth, that have numerous chains of narration, and those Ahadeeth which don’t.

– Aahaad Ahadeeth, are those Ahadeeth, which have lesser number of narrators at every level of the chain than that of a Mutawaatir hadeeth – as mentioned previously. Aahaad doesn’t mean that there is only one narrator at some point in the isnaad (chain of narration). An Aahaad narration is that narration which is less than Mutawaatir. It could be four or five narrators at every level of the chain of narraton. If that chain of narration (the isnaad), going back to the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), is an authentic chain of narration then we accept it as a Sunnah of Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم).

We are not like the Ashaa`irah (those upon the Ash`ari creed) and the Mu`tazilah, and other than them from the people of Bid`ah, who claim that the Ahadeeth which are Mutawaatir, are the only ones that can be accepted in matters related to the `Aqeedah. And the Ahadeeth which are Aahaad, they say, can only be accepted when it is related to the matters of the Ahkaam of the Religion, or the outward acts of worship, such as wudoo, prayer, fasting, etc. But as it relates to the matter of `Aqeedah, then they say, ‘No. We can only accept the Mutawaatir.’ Then, this is a qaa’idah bid’iyyah (an innovated principle), it is a bid`ah. This is why we mention it here, because there are people, such as Hizb-ut-Tahreer, the Ash`aris, the Mu`tazilah – that they hold that, the Ahadeeth which do not have multiple narrators at each level, and does not reach the level of Mutawaatir – then we cannot accept those Ahadeeth in matters of `Aqeedah. This is a false, innovated principle of Ahlul-Bid`ah. This is why, the Shaykh al-Fawzaan mentions it here, that we accept all of the narrations that go back to Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), so long as the chain of narration is authentic. Whether it be singular narrators, or whether it be multiple narrators at every level – whether it be two, three, whether it be Mashhoor, `Azeez or even Ghareeb (only one narrator at some point in the chain of narration). An example of a ghareeb narration is, “Indeed, actions are by intentions.” This Hadeeth of `Umar ibn al-Khattaab (رضي الله عنه) – is a Hadeeth Aahaad. It is not Mutawaatir. At one point in that chain of narration, there is only one narrator. It is Aahaad, and it is ghareeb. Even though there is only one narrator, at some point in that chain of narration, we accept it and act upon its rulings. If the Hadeeth is in Al-Bukhari, then who is going to come along now, and say that we don’t accept the Hadeeth in Bukhari, because it is not Mutawaatir?! Who will come? None except the Mu`tazilah, the Ashaa`irah, Hizb-ut-Tahreer, and other similar groups. Why? Because the more Ahadeeth they can reject, then the stronger their Madhhab becomes. That is why. The more Ahadeeth, about which they can say that, ‘we don’t have to act upon that one, or we don’t have to believe that one, we don’t have to agree with that one’ – then what does that do? As some of the Scholars have mentioned, is that, they raise the bar so high, that they don’t accept any Hadeeth, except maybe seventy or eighty Ahadeeth from all of the Sunnah! They reject all of the others because they regard them to be from the Aahaad. So, the more Ahadeeth that they can reject, then the more of the Sunnah they can reject. So, if you say to them, “Allāh’s Messenger (صلّىاللهعليهوسلّم) said such and such…”, they respond, “Brother! Is it Mutawaatir?” What is astonishing is that previously, the Salaf used to say, “Is the Hadeeth authentic? Is it reported by al-Bukhari, or Muslim – where is this Hadeeth found in?” But now, the people of Bid`ah say, “Is it Mutawaatir?”

Imam Shaafi`ee (رحمه الله) – and of course, he came before the great collectors of Hadeeth. He was from the early collectors of Hadeeth – and he compiled a Musnad collection of Hadeeth. Imam Ash-Shaafi`ee debated the deniers of Aahaad Ahaadeeth. And it is mentioned in the Risaalah of Imam Shaafi`ee (رحمه الله), where he debated these individuals, and established the proof against them, with regard to their Bid`ah – and, he established that. A Hadeeth is accepted, even if the chains of narration are few, or even if there is only one or a few narrators at every level – like the Hadeeth narrated by `Umar, mentioned previously. So, we accept them.

So, what we intend by this, is that we care not whether there are many narrators at every level of the chain of narration, or whether they are less than that. We accept the Mutawaatir and Aahaad, in opposition to these innovators – those who reject the Sunnah. They make any excuse, and what did we say before, regarding this? I want you to connect this, with what we said earlier – that, we do not accept the false ta’weel (interpretations) of these people. Just to make their ideas fit into Islaam, they start rejecting the Ahadeeth by any means. One of the means that they use to do so, is this, i.e. discarding the Hadeeth Aahaad.

We have, for example, the founder of what is commonly known today as the Khilaafah movement of our times, Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Their founder was an individual by the name of Taqiyyud-Deen an-Nabahaani (died in the 1970s). This individual came along, and he said that, we do not take except the ahaadeeth that are mutawaatirah in matters of creed – taking this principle from the offspring of those who debated with Imam Ash-Shaafi`ee (رحمه الله). And Imam Shaafi`ee of-course annihilated them with the evidences from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. Like for example, who did the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) send to Yemen? He sent Mu`aadh ibn Jabal (رضي الله عنه). Mu`aadh ibn Jabal is one man. He (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) sent him to Yemen. Did the people of Yemen say, “Well, you’re not mutawaatir. You’re aahaad and ghareeb. We’re not accepting it from you up until eighteen of you come”?! So Imaam Ash-Shaafi`ee’s arguments were like this. And what about the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) – how many men? Just one Messenger. The people were not allowed to bring the argument against the Messenger of Allāh (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) saying, “You are not mutawaatir. We need more messengers, all of you come at the same time and if there is twenty or thirty of you, then we might accept the Religion from you.”

So, this Taqiyyud-Deen an-Nabahaani came along in the 1950s, and he said, “When we look at the Hadeeth of the punishment of the grave (the questioning, punishment, reward in the grave), then they are Aahaad. So we don’t accept them, because the punishment of the grave is from the matters of the Unseen. Anyone who believes in the punishment of the grave, then he is a sinner.” He actually said that, one is a sinner if he believes in the punishment of the grave. So then, look at the contradiction in him. He said, however, one may recite at the end of their prayer, what the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) used to recite at the end of the prayer. According to them, you can accept the Aahaad Ahadeeth in matters of Fiqh. So, what did the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) recite at the end of his prayer? He used to seek refuge with Allaah from four things, and one of the things is seeking refuge from the punishment in the grave! So Taqiyyud-Deen an-Nabahaani said: to believe in punishment of the grave is not allowed, and that it is a sin. But, to seek refuge from the punishment of the grave, is allowed in the Prayer because the du`aa at the end of the tashahhud is an action, so you can do it, even though it is Aahaad. You see now the contradictions in Ahlul-Bid`ah! This is the founder of Hizb-ut-Tahreer, and they are still present. You can see them running around talking about the Khilafah! They don’t even know about the punishment of the grave!

Ahl-ul-Bid`ah have these contradictions in them, and they were exposed by the Scholars – the likes of Ibn Taymiyyah, who exposed them in this issue, and the likes of Imam Ash-Shaafi`ee (رحمهم الله). In fact, Imam Al-Bukhari has a chapter heading about the acceptance of the Khabr al-Aahaad (narrations that are Aahaad).
So, these are the Muhaddithoon – the great Imams of the Sunnah, who would accept such narrations, because they understood what was authentic from that which was weak, and this acceptance was not related to how many narrators there were in every level of the chain of narration, but instead, was related to the authenticity of those narrations.

So, the Ahl-ul-Bid`ah they reject the Sunnah, and they have contradictions within them. As for Ahlus-Sunnati wal-Jama`ah, then it is sufficient for us that it is authentic, and therefore we accept it. But as for those individuals, then the more Ahaadeeth they can reject then the more avenues they have to introduce their deviations and innovations into Islaam. Shaykh Fawzaan (حفظه الله) states, “that which is firmly established is that acting upon the Sunnah is to act upon the Qur’aan itself, ” because, Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) said: “And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain from it.” (59:7)
Who is this command from? It is from Allāh! So Allāh has commanded you. So, whomsoever acts upon the Sunnah, then in reality, he has acted upon the Qur’aan. “He who obeys the Messenger, has indeed obeyed Allah.” (4:80) How clearer evidences can we then give to those people who reject the Sunnah outright.
Furthermore, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (رحمه الله) himself said in his treatise Usoolus-Sunnah, “The Sunnah explains the Qur’aan, and it is a guide to the Qur’aan.” i.e. You cannot understand the Qur’aan without the Sunnah.

– How do you pray without the Sunnah?
– How do you know when to pray in the day, without the Sunnah?

This is why the Shi`ah are so confused in their Prayers. They pray three times a day, and even then, they do not know what they are doing when they pray! Those Qur’aaniyyoon – they call themselves that, but they are unbelievers in reality, because they are those who reject the Sunnah outright. They believe that only the Qur’aan is to be followed, and the Sunnah is to be rejected. So, anyone who rejects the Sunnah outright, then he is not a Muslim. He cannot be a Muslim, why? Because, he has denied the verses of the Qur’aan. And they say, “We don’t follow the Sunnah, and we are not obligated to follow the Sunnah, and we only take from the Qur’aan and we leave everything other than that.” Then, they are unbelievers, because they have rejected the verses of the Qur’aan and Allāh has commanded in the Qur’aan: “And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain from it.” (59:7) “And let those who oppose the Messenger’s commandment beware, lest some Fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, etc.) befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them.” (24:63) “And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the way of the believers, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination.” (4:115) “O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger.” (4:59)

All of these Aayaat in the Qur’aan, are rejected by them! So, they don’t know how to pray, because the Qur’aan actually doesn’t give you the details of the prayer. Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) revealed to Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم), the details of the Prayer. How do you know the details of what you have to say when you are standing in prayer? Is that in the Qur’aan?

– Does Allāh say in the Qur’aan, “Recite Surah al-Faatihah when you’re standing in the Rak`ah”? No, it doesn’t say that in the Qur’aan.
– Does Allāh mention to you, what should be said in the Rukoo` and the Sujood? He doesn’t.
– Does Allāh mention to you, and does He state in the Qur’aan, what you should say when you’re coming out of Rukoo` – Sami`Allāhu li-man Hamidah? He doesn’t.
– Does Allāh mention to you, what should be recited in the Tashahhud, when you’re sitting down? It is not found within the Qur’aan.
– Likewise, the details of fasting, and the details of Hajj. In generality they are there, but in detail, they are in the Sunnah.

That is why, Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (رحمه الله) said, “The Sunnah explains the Qur’aan, and it is a guide to the Qur’aan.” Allāh also states this in the Qur’aan, and It is not just Imam Ahmad, and we have mentioned all those verses previously and it is the proof in the Qur’aan itself, where Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) has informed us, that the Messenger of Allāh (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) explains the Qur’aan.

So Shaykh Al-Fawzaan (حفظه الله) mentions that those who deny and say, “we will act upon the Qur’aan, and we will not follow the Sunnah,” then in reality, they are not acting upon the Qur’aan when they negate the Sunnah. He said, the Qur’aan contains generalities and the Sunnah makes clear those generalities, and gives detail to them. Just as Allāh said: “And We have also sent down unto you O Muhammad the reminder (the Quran), that you may explain clearly to men what is sent down to them, and that they may give thought.” (16:44) Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) not only brought the revelation, but he was commanded to explain the revelation. So, the Sunnah has a strong connection to the Qur’aan. Because, it explains the Qur’aan, and it clarifies the Qur’aan, and gives details to its generalities. It restricts its categorical statements, and,

– the Sunnah may abrogate the Qur’aan,
– the Qur’aan may abrogate the Sunnah,
– the Qur’aan may abrogate the Qur’aan,
– the Sunnah may abrogate the Sunnah.

So, no doubt, the Sunnah is binding. One is obligated by these mighty demands, and this mighty call of Allāh, that you obey Allāh, and you obey the Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم).

“Allah has sent down to you the Book, and the Wisdom (i.e. The Sunnah)”  (4:113) What is intended by Wisdom? The Hikmah here, is the Sunnah, regarding which, Imam Ash-Shaafi`ee said, “I met such and such a number, of my Shaykhs, and every single one of them said that, the Hikmah is the Sunnah.” Just as Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) mentioned: “Indeed, Allah conferred a great favour on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from among themselves, reciting unto them His Verses, and purifying them, and instructing them in the Book (the Quran) and Al-Hikmah [the wisdom and the Sunnah], while before that they had been in manifest error.” (3:164) The Book here is the Qur’aan, and the Hikmah is the Sunnah. So, one should not be in any doubt regarding this affair, whatsoever! And no attention and consideration is to be given to those pretenders – those who turn away and shun away from the Sunnah, because those individuals, who have exited from the Sunnah, then they are either the Khawaarij, or they are Juhhaal (ignorant people), or they are pretenders and feigners of knowledge. And they have evil intent towards the Sunnah, when they speak with the abandonment of the Sunnah, or when they try to re-interpret the Sunnah to fit in with their desires. Their intent is to extinguish the Deen, piecemeal by piecemeal. Slowly but surely, when they start stripping away the Sunnah by saying, ‘You don’t have to do this, or you don’t have to do that’, ‘Our Shaykh says this, or our Shaykh says that’, ‘you don’t have to follow this and we have an explanation for that Hadeeth’, ‘that Hadeeth is not to be acted upon’. So when they start talking like this, slowly but surely, they are trying to dismantle and extinguish the Religion. So no importance is to be given to their opposition to the Sunnah whatsoever! Rather, what is to be taken is the authentic Sunnah regardless of whether it is in the matters of the branches of the Religion, or the foundations of the Religion; and whether it be in the `Aqeedah or whether it be in the Fiqh rulings. With regards to the rulings of the Religion such as how to make Wudoo, how to pray, how to pay Zakaat, how to fast, how to perform Hajj, how to get married, how to get divorced, how to bury your dead, how to welcome the newborn into this world – then all of this is in the Sunnah! Similarly, with regards to the events that will occur in the hereafter: what will happen, and what will not happen; who will be questioned, and how they will be questioned; the Meezaan (Scales) – then all of this is in the Sunnah, as well as in the Qur’aan. So no importance is given to those individuals who say that the Sunnah is something speculative, and a non-conclusive evidence. They are Kaddhaaboon, liars, because they have denied and have belied all of these verses in the Qur’aan that we have mentioned over and over again. So therefore, we follow the Qur’aan, and we follow the Sunnah, and we follow the Ijmaa’ of the Sahaabah (رضي الله عنهم) as we will come to see, in the later part of this series.

So upon this, even though, to be honest much more can be said, and there are many more Ahadeeth and narrations which could be quoted in this topic. For example, the statement of Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم): “Indeed, I have left you upon clear proof. Its night is like its day. And no one strays from it, except that he is destroyed.” And then he (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) said, towards the end of that: “And you are obligated to follow that which you know of my Sunnah, and the Sunnah of the rightly guided Caliphs after me.” And this is a command, from Allāh’s Messenger (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم). And likewise, we have the statement of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم): “Indeed, I have left among you two things, that, were you to hold onto them, you would never go astray after me. The Book of Allāh, and my Sunnah.” Over and over again just as we mentioned earlier from the other narrations of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم).

So, upon us, my brothers and sisters, upon all of us – man, woman, young, old, regardless of which nation you come from – is to follow that which was revealed to Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) because he (صلّى الله عليه و سلّم) never spoke from his desires.

و جزاكم الله خيرا و الحمد لله ربّ العالمين
و صلّى الله على نبيّنا محمّد و على آله و صحبه و سلّم

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply