The foundations of the Sunnah
By the Imaam of Ahlus-Sunnah, the great Scholar of Hadeeth
& Fiqh, the Subduer of Innovations
Imaam Ahmad Bin Hanbal
Died 241 after the Hijrah (rahimahullaah).
The Fundamental Principles of the Sunnah with us are:
1.Holding fast to what the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah (salallalaahu ‘alayi wa sallam) were upon.
2.Taking them (and their way) as a model to be followed.
3.The abandonment of innovations, and every innovation is a misguidance.
4.The abandonment of controversies.
5.The abandonment of sitting with the people of Ahwaa (desires).
6.And the abandonment of quarelling, argumentation and controversy in the religion.
7.And the Sunnah with us are the aathar (narrations) of the Messenger of Allaah (salallalaahu ‘alayi wa sallam).
8.And the Sunnah explains and clarifies the Qur’aan.
9.It is the guide to the Qur’aan (containing evidences and indications as to its meanings and correct interpretations).
10.There is no analogical reasoning in the Sunnah and examples or likenesses are not to be made for it.
11.Nor is it grasped and comprehended by the intellects or the desires.
12.Rather it (consists of) following (and depending upon) it and abandoning the hawaa (desire).
13.It is from the binding and necessary Sunnah, (the Sunnah) which whoever leaves a single matter from it, has not accepted it (in its totality), has not believed in it and is not from its people:
14.To have faith in the Qadar (the Divine Pre-decree), both its good and its evil.
15.To affirm the ahaadeeth related to it and have faith in them. It is not to be said, “Why?” or “How?” It is (but) attestation (to the truthfulness of such ahaadeeth) and having faith in them.
Notes: The term Sunnah here refers to the principles and foundations of the correct Islamic ‘aqeedah (belief) and manhaj (methodology), since the Salaf would apply this term to matters of ‘aqeedah ans manhaj- as can be seen from their books and writings, for example:
(i) Kitaabus-Sunnah of Imaam Ahmad (d. 241H)
(ii) Sharhus-Sunnah of al-Babahaaree (d. 329H) (and other great books/ writings).
The term ‘Sunnah’ was employed in this context to differentiate between those matters of ‘aqeedah and manhaj that the Salaf were upon from those matters which were innovated by the deviant and misguided sects.
Explanation Of The Creed
By Abu Muhammad al-Hasan ibn ‘Alee ibn Khalf al-Barbahaaree
Died 329 after the Hijrah (rahimahullaah).
The Imaam Of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah of his time.
Text from the book:
1.Know that Islaam is the Sunnah and the Sunnah is Islaam and one of them cannot be established without the other.
The Prophet (salalaahu ‘alayi wa sallam) said: “He who turns away from my Sunnah is not from me.” [Reported by al-Bukhaari Eng. Trans 7/1-2/ no.1band Muslim Eng. Trans, 2/703/no.3236 and an-Nasaa’ee] . Abu Hurairah said that Allaah’s Messenger (salalaahu ‘alayi wa sallam) said: “All of my Ummah will enter Paradise except those who refuse.” It was said, “Who will refuse?” He (salalaahu ‘alayi wa sallam) replied, “Whoever obeys me enters Paradise and whoever disobeys me has refused.” [Reported by al-Bukhaaree Eng. Trans. 9/284/no.384.].
2.From the Sunnah is clinging to the Jamaa’ah. Whoever desires other than the Jamaa’ah and departs from it he has thrown off the yoke of Islaam from his neck and he is astray, leading others astray.
3. The foundation upon which the Jamaa’ah is built is the Companions of Muhammad Prophet (salalaahu ‘alayi wa sallam), May Allaah’s Mercy be upon them all. They are Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, so whoever does not take from them has gone astray and innovated and every innovation is misguidance, and misguidance and its people are in the Fire.
Note: Abu Shaamah (d.665H) said: “The order to stick to the Jamaa’ah means sticking to the truth and its followers; even if those who stick to the truth are few and those who oppose it are many, since the truth is that which the first Jamaa’ah from the time of the Prophet (salalaahu ‘alayi wa sallam) and his Companions, radiallaahu’anhum, were upon. The Prophet (salalaahu ‘alayi wa sallam) said: “Stick to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly-guided Caliphs after me, cling to that with your molar teeth and beware of new matters, for every innovation is misguidance.” [Reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawood (Eng. Trans. 3/1294/no.4590), at-Tirmidhee (no. 2676), Ibn Maajah (no. 42) ad-Daarimee (no.96) and Ibn Abee ‘Aasim in as-Sunnah (no. 54). Shaikh al-Albaanee declares, “It’s isnaad is saheeh, its narrators reliable.”
4. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab, rahimahulaah, said, “There is no excuse for anyone going astray thinking that he is upon guidance. Nor for abandoning guidance thinking it to be misguidance, since the affairs have been made clear, the proof established and the excuse cut off.”
That is because the Sunnah and the Jamaa’ah have consolidated and safeguarded all of the Religion. It has been made clear to the people, so it is upon the people to comply and follow. ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood, radiallaahu ‘anhu, said, “Follow and do not innovate, for you have been given that which is sufficient and every innovation is misguidance. [Reported by Abu Khaithamah in Kitaab ul-‘Ilm (no.540) and declared saheeh by Shaikh al-Albaanee].
5. May Allaah have mercy upon you. Know that the Religion is what came from Allaah, the Blessed and Most High. It is not something left to the intellect and opinions of men. Knowledge of it is what comes from Allaah and His Messenger (salallalaahu ‘alayi wa sallam), so do not follow anything based upon your desires and so deviate away from the Religion and leave Islaam. There will be no excuse for you since Allaah’s Messenger (salallalaahu ‘alayi wa sallam) explained the Sunnah to his Ummah and made it clear to his Companions and they are the Jamaa’ah, and they are the Main Body (as-Sawaad ul-A’hham), and the Main Body is the truth and its followers. So he who contradicts the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger (salallalaahu ‘alayi wa sallam) in any of the affairs of the Religion, then he has fallen into disbelief.
[Refer to Surah an-Nisaa’ (4):115]
6. Know that people never introduce an innovation until they abandon its like from the Sunnah. So, beware of newly invented matters, since every newly invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance and misguidance and its people are in the Fire.
7. Beware of small innovations because they grow until they become large. This was the case with every innovation introduced in this Ummah. It began as something small, bearing resemblance to the truth which is why those who entered it were mislead and then were unable to leave it. So it grew and became the religion which they followed and thus deviated from the Straight Path and left Islaam.
8. May Allaah have mercy upon you! Examine carefully the speech of everyone you hear from in your time particularly. So do not act in haste and do not enter into anything from it until you ask and see: Did any of the Companions of the Prophet (salallalaahu ‘alayi wa sallam) speak about it or any of the scholars? So if you find a narration from them about it, cling to it, do not go beyond it for anything and do not give precedence to anything over it and thus fall into the Fire.