Beliefs & Methodology
Typography

Translator's Introduction

All praise is for Allah, we praise Him, seek His aid and ask for His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evils of ourselves and the evil of our actions. He whom Allah guides then there is none who can misguide him, and he whom Allah misguides then there is none who can guide him. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped (in truth) except Allah alone, having no partners and I bear witness that Muhammad, peace be upon him, is His slave and Messenger.

To proceed:

This is an abridgement of a small treatise written by the renowned scholar Shaykh 'Abdul-Qadir al-Arna'ut hafidhahullah who has specialised in the field of Hadith. His most famous works include the checking of Z'ad al-M'ad by Ibn al-Qayyim, Jami'-ul-Usul by Ibn al-Athir and al-Adhkar by Imam an-Nawawi.

This is the first treatise in a series regarding the Methodology of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them). It is the Methodology that was implemented by the Prophet, peace be upon him, and adhered to by the best of generations (the Companions), giving them success in this world and the ultimate success in the Hereafter. This series is entitled Tasfiyah wat-Tarbiyah{qluetip title=[1]}Tasfiyah wat-Tarbiyah: Restoration of the Din to its original pure form as it was revealed to the Prophet, peace be upon him, by removal and rejection of false beliefs, innovated practices and the fabricated and unauthentic ahadith introduced into it (tasfiyah). Educating and cultivating the Muslims upon this pure Din so that their beliefs, worship and manners become those that were taught by the Prophet, peace be upon him, and held and practised by the Companions (tarbiyah). (Publisher's note){/qluetip}, which are the two main instruments of this Prophetic Methodology that can be used to help us remain firmly established upon the Din of Islam.

This treatise was written by Shaykh 'Abdul-Qadir in response to the numerous questions that were posed to him and the general confusion concerning this important matter. In compiling this treatise the Shaykh relied upon classical works, due to the importance of returning to the understanding of the early scholars of this 'Ummah.

This treatise has been translated in an attempt to remove the confusion surrounding this crucial subject, concerning the methodology adopted by the Prophet, peace be upon him, and his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, in establishing Islam as a way of life.

Every Muslim desiring to return to Islam in its true sense, must grasp what the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and his Companions were upon, in all aspects of life. Only then can we move further towards establishing Islam as our way of life.

This treatise highlights the main principles governing the correct understanding of this topic, following the way of the early scholars in clarifying and expounding the Prophetic Methodology.

The treatise has been abridged in order to remove some of the unnecessary technical terms, and also wherever necessary, clarification of some terms and points have been included. A glossary has also been added to assist the reader.

We praise Allah and ask Him to make this treatise beneficial to the Muslims and to guide us to the Straight Path, the Path of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and his Companions. We ask Allah to make this purely for His Face for verily He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.

Abu Taher

A GLIMPSE AT THE WAY OF THE COMPANIONS

Definition of Manhaj

Linguistically and in the Shari'ah: An-nahju, al-manhaj and al-minhaj mean the clear and manifest way. Allah the Most High says in the Glorious Qur'an:

"To each among you we have prescribed a law and a minhaj." [Al-Qur'an 5:48]

Meaning a law and a way which is clearly explained. Indeed Allah, the Most High, prescribed for every nation a law and a clear way (a manhaj). Thus the people of the Taurat had a law and the people of the Injil had a law and the people of the Qur'an have a law.

These laws differ in their rules (ahkam) but are united in the tawhid of Allah (uniqueness of Allah) as Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, said:

"I am the most worthy person to 'Isa ibn Maryam in this world and the Hereafter. The Prophets are paternal brothers, their mothers are different, and their Din is one. There is no prophet between 'Isa and myself." {qluetip title=[2]}Reported by al-Bukhari in his Sahih, the Book of Prophets, chapter 'Remember the Book of Maryam', Muslim in his Sahih (no. 2365), the Book of Merits, chapter 'Merits of 'Isa peace be upon him'. From the hadith of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him.{/qluetip}

The meaning of this is that they (the prophets) are united upon the fundamentals of uniqueness (tawhid) of Allah; as for the branches of (furu') of law and legislation, then differences occurred in them. Thus their laws are different.

Allah the Most High says:

"And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad) but We inspired to him that (say) There is none who has the right to be worshipped except I (Allah), so worship Me (alone and none else)." [Al-Qur'an 21:25]

Also, the Saying of Allah the Most High:

"And verily, We have sent among every nation ('Ummah) a Messenger proclaiming: Worship Allah alone and avoid the Taghut (all false deities)." [Al-Qur'an 16:36]

This is in respect of tawhid (oneness) of Allah, the One free from all defects. As for the laws, then they differed with respect to the commands and prohibitions.

Linguistic{qluetip title=[3]}The linguistic definitions of the word Salaf are many; here the author has mentioned a few of them. (Translator)]{/qluetip} and Legal Definition of the Word Salaf

1) As-Salaf - That which has past and preceded. Hence it is said Salafa shai Salafah to mean something which has passed; Salafa fulanan Salafan to mean someone has preceded; as-salif - a predecessor; as-salaf - a group of predecessors, and as-salaf - a people who have preceded us in conduct.

Allah says:

"So when they angered Us, We punished them, and drowned them all, and made them a precedent - Salafan (as a lesson for those coming after them) and an example to later generations." [Al-Qur'an 43:55-56]

That is "when they angered Us, We punished them, drowning them all making them a precedent," predecessors for those who do action like theirs, so that the people coming after them can take heed and warn others by their example.

2) As-Salaf: Every good deed that one does. It is said: Qad salaf lahu amal salih meaning, verily he has good deeds that have preceded him.

3) As-Salaf: Those who precede you, from amongst your forefathers and relatives, who may be older than you or better than you in merit{qluetip title=[4]}This definition can be found in Lisan ul-Arab, by Ibn Mandhur al-Afriqi. (Translator){/qluetip}. The singular of this term is Salif.

Due to this the first generation (the Companions) were called as-Salaf as-Salih (the Pious Predecessors).

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and his Companions and those that follow them in Ihsan{qluetip title=[5]}Ihsan, in this usage has been explained to mean following in terms of beliefs, sayings and actions. Refer to Taysir al-Karim ar-Rahman fi Tafsir Kalamul-Mannan, the book of Tafsir by Shaykh 'Abdur-Rahman bin Nasir as-Sa'di. (Translator){/qluetip} are the Salaf of this 'Ummah.{qluetip title=[6]}The technical (Islamic) meaning of the word Salaf, as understood by the majority of the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah, has been defined as being the Companions, the Successors (tabi'un) and the Successors to the Successors (atba at-tabi'un) that is the first three generations. This has been taken from the saying of the Prophet, upon whom be peace: "The best of people are my generation then those who come after them, then those who come after them, then there will come a people in whom there will be no good." Reported by at-Tabarani from Ibn Mas'ud and declared authentic by al-Albani in Sahih al-Jami', and there are many other similar ahadith to the above, all of which have lead to the definition of the word Salaf being restricted to the first three generations.{/qluetip}

Matters Concerning their Methodology

(i) Status of the Prophet, peace be upon him

Everyone who calls to what the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, his Companions and their successors called to, then he is upon the way of the Salaf as-Salih. It is obligatory upon all Muslims to follow the Noble Book (Qur'an) and the pure Sunnah, by going back to the understanding the Pious Predecessors (Salaf as-Salih), may Allah be pleased with them all. For verily they are the ones that deserve the most to be followed, as they were truthful in their faith, strong in their beliefs and sincere in their worship.

The leader (Imam) of the Salaf as-Salih is Allah's Messenger, Muhammad, peace be upon him, whom Allah has ordered us, in His Book (the Qur'an), to follow, in His saying:

"And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad) gives you take it, and whatsoever he forbids you abstain from it." [Al-Qur'an 59:7]

The Prophet, peace be upon him, is a beautiful example, and a righteous model to be followed, Allah the Most High says:

"Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow, for him who hopes in meeting Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much." [Al-Qur'an 33:21]

The Prophet, peace be upon him, is the one who speaks by revelation sent to him from the heavens:

"Nor does he speak of his own desire. It is only an inspiration that is inspired." [Al-Qur'an 53:3-4]

Allah, the Most High, ordered that we judge by the Messenger, upon whom be peace, in all affairs in our life. Allah, the One free of all defects, says:

"But no by your Lord, they can have no faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decision and accept them with full submission." [Al-Qur'an 4:65]

Allah, the Most High, warned us about opposing the Prophet, peace be upon him, saying:

"So let those who oppose the Messenger's commandments (i.e. his Sunnah) beware lest some fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a tyrant, etc.) befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them." [Al-Qur'an 24:63]

The reference point of the Salaf, whenever they have a disagreement, is the Book of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, and the Sunnah of the Messenger, upon whom be peace.

Allah, the Most High, says:

"And if you differ in anything amongst 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." [Al-Qur'an 4:59]

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, is the conveyer of news from his Lord and the one who explains His Book. Allah the Most High says:

"And We have sent down to you (Muhammad) the reminder and the advice (the Qur'an) that you may explain clearly to men what is sent down to them." [Al-Qur'an 16:44]

The Messenger, peace be upon him, said in a hadith:

"Adhere to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided Khulafa', bite on to it with your molar teeth and beware of newly invented matters, for verily every innovation (bid'ah) is a going astray." {qluetip title=[7]}Reported by Ahmad bin Hanbal in Musnad (4/126, 127) Abu Dawud in his Sunan (4607) in the Book of Sunnah, chapter 'Adhering to the Sunnah', at-Tirmidhi in his Sunan (no.2678) in the Book of Knowledge, Chapter '16', Ibn Majah, in his Sunan (no.42) in the Muqaddimah (introduction) and others. From the hadith of 'Irbad bin Sariyah, may Allah be pleased with him, and it is an authentic hadith. Refer to the detailed explanation of the hadith in Jami' al-Ulum wal-Hikam by al-Hafidh ibn Rajab al-Hanbali rahimahullah, for verily he has done extremely well in explaining it and benefited others in doing so.{/qluetip}

(ii) Status of the Companions

The best of the Salaf after the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, are the Companions, who took their Religion (Din) from the Messenger, peace be upon him, with truthfulness and sincerity; just as Allah has described them in His Book when He said:

"Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah and showed not their backs to the disbelievers, of them some have fulfilled their obligations and some of them are still waiting, but they never changed (i.e. they never proved treacherous to their covenant which they concluded with Allah) in the least." [Al-Qur'an 33:23]

They are the ones who did righteous deeds, which Allah, the Most High, has mentioned in His Book, in His saying:

"But righteousness is the quality of one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, the Prophets and gives his wealth, in spite of love for it, to the relative, to the orphans and to the poor who beg and to the wayfarer and to those who ask and to set slaves free, and offers the prayer perfectly (iqamat-as-Salat), and gives the zakat (obligatory charity) and who fulfill their covenant when they make it, and who are patient in extreme poverty and ailment (disease) and at the time of fighting (during battles); such are the people of the truth and they are the pious." [Al-Qur'an 2:177]

This verse is the verse which professes the truth with which the Companions have been described with.

Sources of the Din

The Book of Allah, the Most High, is their manual (dustur) and their law then the Sunnah after the Book of Allah{qluetip title=[8]}The majority of the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah say the Qur'an and the Sunnah go hand in hand, not one before the other. One does not refer to the Sunnah only when nothing is found in the Qur'an. Rather whenever one needs to look for a verdict one goes back to the Qur'an and Sunnah, together. Shaykh al-Albani, in Silsilat-ul-Ahadith ad-Da'ifah (vol 2 no.881), says: " ... rather it is obligatory to refer to the Book and Sunnah, together, without differentiating between them, since the Sunnah explains the general (mujmal) verses of the Qur'an, restricts its unrestricted verses, specificies its general verses, as is known ... " There are many sayings from the Salaf showing that this view was held by them. Imam al-Awza'i and Imam Yahya bin Kathir and others have said: "The Qur'an is in more need of the Sunnah than the Sunnah is of the Book. The Sunnah is Qadiatun (conclusive) over the Book and the Book is not conclusive over the Sunnah." Reported by ad-Darimi (1/117). Similar narrations from the Salaf concerning this topic can be found in the books of the Salaf like Al-Ibanah of Ibn Battah. (Translator){/qluetip}. The Sunnah is the most blessed of sources and the best of sciences, the most beneficial of all, in the Din and Dunyah (world), after the Book of Allah, the One free of all defects. It is like the meadows and gardens, you will find in it all goodness and righteousness. After the Sunnah, their manual is that which the Salaf of this 'Ummah and it's A'immah have agreed upon.

The Salaf as-Salih are also: The Best Generation, about which the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said in a hadith:

"The best of the people are my generation, then those after them, then those after them ... "

And he, peace be upon him, said:

" ... then there will come a people giving witness when they are not asked to give witness. They will be dishonest and not be trusted. They will take vows but will not fulfill them. Fatness will appear amongst them." {qluetip title=[9]}Reported by al-Bukhari (5/190) in the book of Witness, chapter 'Do not be a witness to injustice is asked that,' and in the book of Merits of the Companions of the Prophet, chapter 'Merits of the Companions of the Prophet', and in the book of Softening the Hearts, chapter 'Warning regarding worldly pleasures, amusements and competing with each other for the enjoyment thereof' Muslim (no. 2535) in the book of Merits of the Companions, chapter 'Merits of the Companions then those after them then those after them' at-Tirmidhi (no. 2222) in the book of Trials, chapter 'That which has come regarding the first three generations' and (no. 2303) in the book of Witness, chapter 'Best generations.' Abu Dawud (no. 4657) in the book of Sunnah, chapter 'Merits of the Companions of the Messenger.' An-Nasa'i (7/17,18) in the book of Covenants and Vows, chapter 'Fulfilling Vows' all from the hadith of 'Imran bin Hussain. Also reported by al-Bukhari (5/191) in the book of Witness, chapter 'Do not be a witness to injustice if asked to do that', the book of Merits of the Companions of the Prophet, chapter 'Merits of the Companions of the Prophet,' and in the book of softening the heart, chapter 'Covenants and Vows'. Muslim (no. 2533) in the book of Merits of the Companions of the Prophet. At-Tirmidhi (no.3858) in the book of virtues. All from the hadith of 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, may Allah be pleased with him.{/qluetip}

From their Beliefs ...

Thus the fundamentals of the Religion ('Usul ud-Din) which were adhered to by those that preceded from the leaders (A'immah) of the Din, the scholars of the Muslims and the Salaf as-Salih and what they called people to are:

That they believe in the Book and Sunnah;{qluetip title=[10]}This includes all authentic hadith, whether it be a narration with numerous chains (mutawatir) or a hadith with just one, two or three chains (ahad). The beliefs are based upon both, refer to the book by Abul Qasim al-Asbahani Al-Hujjah fi Bayan al-Mahajjah wa Sharh 'Aqidatul Ahl-Sunnah, Ar-Risalah by Imam ash-Shafi'i and Mukhtasar Sawa'iqul Mursalah by Ibn al-Qayyim. (Translator){/qluetip} the general and the detailed aspects of it. They attest to the oneness of Allah the Mighty and Majestic, and attest to the Messengership of Muhammad, upon whom be peace.

They know their Lord by the attributes (sifat) that His revelation has spoken of, or are attested to by the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, from that which is found in authentic ahadith, narrated from him by just and reliable narrators.

They affirm for Allah, the Most High, that which He affirmed for Himself in His Book, or upon the tongue of His Messenger, peace be upon him, without making tashbih{qluetip title=[11]}Tashbih: Tamthil (resembling, comparing) the Sifat (attributes) of Allah to the sifat (attributes) of creation; "so it is not said that the Essence of Allah is like our essence neither does it resemble our essence and likewise the Sifat of Allah - we do not say that His attributes are like our attributes, not resemble our attributes. Rather it is wajib (obligatory) for a believer to stick to the saying of Allah: "There is nothing like unto Him ... " [Al-Qur'an 42:11]. Tahrif: Changing the 'terms' of the names and attributes of Allah or changing their 'meanings'; like the saying of the Jahmiyyah (a deviant sect) that istawa (being high above the throne) means istawla (seizing power over something). Thus Ahlus-Sunnah do not do this.Tabdil: see tahrif.Tamthil: see tashbih.Refer to Tambihat al-Latifah 'ala 'Aqidatul-Wasitiyyah by Shaykh Sa'di rahimahullah. (Translator){/qluetip} (resembling) to His creation, without tahrif (changing), without tabdil and without tamthil.{qluetip title=[12]}Shaykh ul-Islam ibn Taymiyyah says in 'Aqidatul-Wasitiyyah when talking about iman (belief) in Allah's Sifat (attributes): "Iman (belief) in all what Allah has described Himself by, in His Book and in what His Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, has described Him by - without doing tahrif, ta'til, takyif or tamthil." This statement shows two other principles held by Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah regarding iman in Allah and His Sifat (attributes); that is they do not do ta'til, which is to deny or reject the Sifat of Allah; and takyif - which is to ask how and question their manner.Refer to 'Aqidatul-Wasitiyyah by Ibn Taymiyyah, and Qatful-Thamr fi-Bayan 'Aqidatul Ahlul-Athar by Siddiq Hasan Khan, Mukhtasar Sawa'iqul-Mursalah by Ibn al-Qayyim and Fatawa al-Hamawiyyah al-Kubrah by Ibn Taymiyyah. (Translator){/qluetip}

Allah, the Most High, says:

"There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the all Hearer, all Seer." [Al-Qur'an 42:11]

Imam az-Zuhri{qluetip title=[13]}Muhammad bin Muslim ibn 'Ubaydallah bin 'Abdullah bin Shihab bin Zahrah, Abu Bakr. A faqih (jurist) and hafidh. His high status of proficiency is agreed upon. He is a successor, from Madinah and one of the great Imam, a scholar of Hijaz and Sham. He died in 125H.{/qluetip} said: "Upon Allah is the bayan (explaining), upon the Messenger is the balagh (conveying) and upon us is taslim (willingly accepting)." [This is reported by al-Bukhari in mu'allaq form (13/503), by Ibn Abi Asim in Kitab al-Adab and in Kitab az-Zuhd (71) and by Abu Nu'aym in Hilyah (3/179)]

Imam Sufyan ibn 'Uyaynah{qluetip title=[14]}Sufyan bin 'Uyaynah, Hafidh Abu Muhammad al-Hilali al-Kufi. He was an Imam, a Hafidh, a proof (hujja), having immense knowledge, and of great ability. A muhaddith (scholar of hadith) of the Haram of Makkah. Imam ash-Shafi'i said about him: "Were it not for Malik and Sufyan the knowledge would have disappeared from the Hijaz." He died whilst in Makkah in the year 198H.{/qluetip} said: "All that Allah has described Himself with in His Book, then its tafsir (explanation) is its reciting and keeping silent about it."

Imam ash-Shafi'i{qluetip title=[15]}Muhammad bin Idris bin al-'Abbas bin Uthman bin Shoafa ash-Shafi'i al-Muttalibi; Abu 'Abdullah. He was a mujaddid (reviver) of the Din at the beginning of 200H, a well known Imam. He died in Egypt in the year 204H.{/qluetip} said: "I believe in Allah, and that which has come from Allah, upon the intended meaning of Allah. I believe in the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and that which has come from the Messenger of Allah upon the intended meaning of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him."

The Salaf and leaders of the khalaf (those later generations after the Salaf) may Allah be pleased with them, proceeded along this way. They are all agreed upon, affirming, asserting and confirming that which is found in the Book of Allah, the Most High, and the Sunnah of His Messenger, peace be upon him, regarding Allah's attribtutes without subjecting them to interpretation (ta'wil).

Verily we have been ordered to follow their way and to be guided by their light. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, has warned us of newly invented matters, and informed us that they are from misguidance. He said in a hadith:

"Adhere to my Sunnah (way) and the the Sunnah of the rightly guided Khulafa'. Bite on to it with your molar teeth, and beware of newly invented matters, for verily every bid'ah (innovation) is a going astray." Its reference (takhrij) has preceded." {qluetip title=[16]}See footnote no. 6.{/qluetip}

'Abdullah bin Mas'ud{qluetip title=[17]}'Abdullah bin Mas'ud ibn Ghafil ibn Habib al-Huthali, Abu 'Abdur-Rahman. From the first generation of Muslims and from the major Companions in merit and intellect. He migrated to Habasha (Ethiopia) and then to Madinah. He witnessed the battle of Badr, 'Uhud, Khandaq, the pledge of Ridwan and the remaining incidents with the Prophet, upon whom be peace; he was from the fuqaha (jurists) of the Companions - may Allah be pleased with them - he died in Madinah in 32H.{/qluetip} radiallahu 'anhuma said: "Follow and do not innovate for verily you have been sufficed."

'Umar bin 'Abdul-'Aziz{qluetip title=[18]}Abu Hafs, 'Umar bin 'Abdul-'Aziz bin Marwan bin Hakam al-Amawi al-Qurashi. A righteous Khalifah. Born and raised in Madinatul-Munawwarah. He took the position of Khalifah in the year 99H and died in the land of Sham, in the year 101H.{/qluetip} said: "Do not go beyond where they stopped. For verily they stopped upon knowledge and with a perceiving view sufficed."

Imam al-Awza'i{qluetip title=[19]}'Abdur-Rahman bin 'Amr bin Yuhmid al-Awza'i. A famous Imam of Syria. He used to live in Damascus, outside Bab al-Fradis and then moved to Beirut and lived there, posted in the way of Allah, until he died in the year 157H.{/qluetip} said: "Stick to the footsteps of the Salaf, even if people abandon you. Beware of the views of men, even if they beautify it for you with words."

From the 'aqidah{qluetip title=[20]}The word 'aqidah signifies the thing that one believes in (has iman in), hence the two words ('aqidah and iman) are sometimes synonymous. The word 'aqidah being taken from the Arabic root of 'aqada - to tie - to fasten. Thus 'aqidah is those things that the heart is tied to or fastened to, worshipping Allah by it and, getting closer to Allah. Refer to classical Arabic dictionaries like Lisan ul-Arab by Ibn Mandhur al-Afriqi. (Translator){/qluetip} (beliefs) of the Salaf as-Salih is their saying: Iman is a saying of the tongue, an action by the limbs and a strong belief in the heart. Iman increases with obedience to Allah and decreases with disobedience to Allah.

From the beliefs of the Salaf is that good and evil is by the qada' (decree) of Allah the Most High and His qadr (pre-estimation). However evil is not ordered by Allah, as some of them say: "All of it is ordered by Allah," since Allah has ordered good and prohibited evil. He did not order us with abominable acts, indeed He prohibited us from them. The human is not forced, he chooses his acts and beliefs. He deserves punishment or reward, depending upon his choice and he is the chooser in (doing or leaving) the ordered and prohibited things.

Allah, the Most High, says:

"Then whosoever wills let him believe, and whosoever wills let him disbelieve." [Al-Qur'an 18:29]

From the beliefs of the Salaf is that they do not make takfir{qluetip title=[21]}Takfir is the action of declaring a Muslim to have left Islam. This is left for the people of knowledge ('ulama) to do and it must be done following strict guidelines. Refer to the book al-'Uzar bil-Jahal wa rad'ala bid'atut Takfir (The Excuse of Ignorance and the Refutation of the Innovation of Takfir) by Ahmad Farid. (Translator){/qluetip} of anyone of the Muslim due to a sin, even if it is from the major sins. Except if he denies (rejects) a thing that is known in the religion by necessity and is known by the scholars as well as the generality of people, and is based firmly upon the Book and the Sunnah and Consensus (Ijma') of the Salaf of this 'Ummah and its leader.

From the beliefs of the Salaf as-Salih is that they worship Allah, the Most High, and do not associate anything with Him. Thus they do not ask any one except Allah, the Most High, of a need no one else can satisfy. They do not seek help (in which no one can help) from anyone except Allah, the One free of all defects. They do not call upon anyone for aid (for an immediate need that no one can fulfil) except upon Allah. They do not make tawassul (seeking nearness) to Allah except by obeying Him, worshipping Him and doing good and righteous deeds.

This being taken from His saying:

"O you who believe! Do your duty to Allah and fear Him, seek the means of approach to Him." [Al-Qur'an 5:35]

That is, draw close to Allah by obedience to Him and by worship of Him.

From the beliefs of the Salaf as-Salih is that Prayer (salat) behind all righteous people and sinners is permissible if the external nature of the prayer is correct.{qluetip title=[22]}What is implied by the statement if the external nature of the prayer is correct is that all the pillars and obligatory actions of the prayer are enacted by the one leading the prayer. For example that he faces the Qiblah etc. (Translator){/qluetip}

We do not certify with certainty for anyone, whoever he may be, of being in Paradise or in Hell; except whoever the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, testified for. However we hope Paradise for the righteous and fear Hell for the sinful.

We testify for the ten people given the glad tidings of Jannah (Paradise), that they will be in Jannah (Paradise); just as the Prophet, peace be upon him, testified this for them. We testify, as being in Jannah, for everyone that the Prophet, peace be upon him, testifies this for them. This is because the Prophet does not speak of his own desire. Indeed it is nothing but revelation revealed to him.

We take the Companions of Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, as 'awliya (friends). We refrain from showing their defects{qluetip title=[23]}The proof for this is abundant, found in the books of 'aqidah and hadith, like the saying of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, "When my companions are mentioned then refrain." Reported in Hilyatul-Awliya' (41108), at-Tabarani in al-Kabir (2/78/2) from the hadith of Ibn Mas'ud, may Allah be pleased with him. Also in Kitab Sharh-us-Sunnah by Imam al-Barbahari, point 104, " ... and if you see a man criticising the Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, then know that he is a person of wicked speech and desires, since Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, said: "When my Companions ore mentioned then refrain." Since the Prophet, peace be upon him, knew any slips they would make after his death yet still he did not speak about them except good and said: "Leave my Companions for me. For by Him in whose Hand is my soul, if you were to spend the like of 'Uhud or of the mountoins in gold, you would not reach their actions." Do not discuss about their slips or their wars, nor of that which the knowledge of which escapes you, and do not hear from anyone who speaks it, since your heart will not remain safe and sound if you hear it." Thus Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah do not talk about such things, knowing that Allah has forgiven them (the Companions) their errors. (Translator){/qluetip} and that which happened between them. Their affair is with their Lord. We do not abuse anyone of the Companions. This is taken from the Prophet's, upon whom be peace, saying:

"Let none of you abuse (slander) my Companions. For by Him in whose Hand is my life, if one of you spent (in the way of Allah) the equivalent of mount 'Uhud in gold it would not reach a handful nor half a handful of what they spent." {qluetip title=[24]}Reported by al-Bukhari (7/27,28) in the book of Merits of the Prophet's Companions, chapter 'If I was to take a Khalil', Muslim (2541) in the book of Virtues of the Companions, chapter 'Prohibition of abusing the Companions'. Abu Dawud (4658) in the book of Sunnah chapter 'Prohibition of abusing the Companions', at-Tirmidhi (3860) in the book of Virtues. All from the hadith of Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him. Also reported by Muslim (2540) in the book of Virtues of the Companions in the chapter 'Prohibition of abusing the Companions' from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him.{/qluetip}

The Companions are not infallible from error. Infallibility is for Allah, the Most High, and for His Messenger, peace be upon him, in conveying the message. Allah, the Most High, has protected the collective 'Ummah from mistakes (and not individuals) as the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said:

"Indeed Allah will never unite this 'Ummah upon misguidance and the Hand of Allah is upon the Jama'ah." {qluetip title=[25]}Reported by at-Tirmidhi from the hadith of Ibn 'Umar (No. 2168) in the book of Fitan, chapter 'That which has come in adhering to the Jama'ah'. Its chain has a weakness, however it has a shahid (supporting narration) with at-Tirmidhi from the hadith of Ibn 'Abbas (no. 2167) and another supporting narration with Ibn Abi 'Asim in as-Sunnah (no. 81) from the hadith of Usamah bin Sharik. Thus the hadith is an authentic hadith.{/qluetip}

We are pleased with the wives of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, they are the mothers of the believers and we believe that they are pure and innocent from all evil.

From the beliefs of the Pious Predecessors is that they do not make it obligatory upon any Muslim to restrict himself to a specific madhhab{qluetip title=[26]}Madhhab is a school of thought or a position held by a scholar.{/qluetip}. He can move from one madhhab to another, due to the strength of the evidence (in a particular point). The layman has no madhhab. Rather his madhhab is the madhhab of his mufti (scholar who gives religious verdicts).{qluetip title=[27]}Refer to the book Risalatul-Taqlid by Ibn al-Qayyim for it is very important. The layman follows the scholars, as Allah has ordered him to do in the verse: "Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know." [Al-Qur'an 16:43]The layman by following the scholars is indeed following the Qur'an and Sunnah and not doing taqlid (blind following) rather this is called ittiba' for him. However he does not follow the scholars in their mistakes, when it is made clear to him that it is a mistake. This is what is required of the layman, as Ibn al-Qayyim points out in his book. The one who has the ability to weigh up evidences, ie. a student of knowledge, he can look into the proofs and follow the strongest proof, but the one who does not have the ability, ie. a layman, then he follows the scholars, as Allah has ordered him to do. (Translator)Refer also to Blind Following of Madhhabs, by Shaykh Muhammad Sultan al-Ma'sumi (Al-Hidaayah, 1993). [Publisher's note]{/qluetip} If a student of knowledge (talib ul-'ilm) has the ability to recognise the proofs and evidences of the Imams, he should act by it, moving from a madhhab of an Imam, in any issue, to the madhhab of another Imam, due to the strength of the evidence, and the more correct understanding, in an issue. Thus he becomes a muttabi' (a follower) and not a mujtahid (a mujtahid is one who is qualified to extract rulings from the Qur'an and Sunnah, i.e. do Ijtihad - translator). For indeed Ijtihad is the extracting of Islamic rulings from the Book and Sunnah, as the four Imams and others Imams of fiqh (jurisprudence) and the muhaddithun (scholars of hadith) have done.

From the beliefs of the Salaf as-Salih is that the four Companions: Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman and 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with them, are the rightly guided Khulafa' and with them existed the Khilafat un-Nabuwwah (Khilafah upon the Prophetic Way) lasting for thirty years including the Khilafah (ruling period) of Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him. This is taken from the saying of the Prophet, upon whom be peace:

"The Khilafah in my 'Ummah is for thirty years then after it is kingship." {qluetip title=[28]}Reported by Ahmad in Musnad (5/220, 221), at-Tirmidhi (no.2227) in the book of Fitan, chapter 'That which has come regarding the Khilafah', Abu Dawud (no. 4646 and 4647) in the book of as-Sunnah, chapter 'Khulafa'. Ibn Hibban (no. 1534 1535 - in Mawarid) in the book of 'Imarah, chapter of 'Khilafah', al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak (3/71, 145) from the hadith of Safinah. It is an authentic hadith and the thirty year period was the period of the rightly guided Khulafa up to when Hasan abdicated from his Khilafah.{/qluetip}

From the beliefs of the Salaf as-Salih is that it is obligatory to have iman (faith) in all that the Qur'an has come with, and what Allah, the Most High, has ordered us with, and leaving all that Allah, the Most High, has prohibited us from, the general and the detailed. We believe in all that the Prophet, peace be upon him, has informed us of, when its transmission from him is authentic, in that which we witness or do not witness, regardless of whether we comprehend it, or are ignorant of it or we have not come across the reality of its meaning.

We carry out the orders of Allah, the Most High, and the orders of his Messenger, upon whom be peace. We refrain from what Allah, the Most High, has prohibited us from and what the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, prohibited us from. We stop at the hudud (boundaries) of the Book of Allah, and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and that which has come from the rightly guided Khulafa. Our duty is to ittiba' (following) of that which the Prophet, peace be upon him, has come with: from beliefs, actions and sayings, to follow the way of Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, and the four rightly guided Khulafa', in their beliefs, actions and sayings. This is the complete Sunnah, as the Sunnah of the rightly guided Khulafa' is adhered to like the following of the Prophetic Sunnah.

'Umar ibn 'Abdul-'Aziz said:

"The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and the leaders of the Muslims after him set examples (Sunnah), the taking of which is holding on to the Book of Allah, the Most High, and strength upon the Din of Allah. It is not for any one to change or alter it, nor to look at a matter in opposition to it. Whoever is guided by it then he is truly guide, and whoever seeks help by it then he is truly helped. Whoever leaves it and follows a way other than the way of the believers, Allah will turn him to what he has chosen and burn him in hell what an evil abode!"

This is confirmed by the saying of Allah's Messenger, upon whom be peace:

" ... and beware of newly invented matters, for verily every bid'ah is a going astray."

This hadith is a great principle from the principles of the Din and it resembles another saying of the Prophet, upon whom be peace:

"Whoever invents into this Din of ours that which is not from it, then it is rejected." {qluetip title=[29]}Reported by al-Bukhari in ta'liq form (without mentioning the chain) (4/298) and in the full form (5/221), Muslim (no.1718), Abu Dawud in the book of Sunnah (no.4606), Ibn Majah (no.14).{/qluetip}

In it is a warning from following newly invented matters in the Din and worship. The meaning of bid'ah is that which has been invented and has no root in the Shari'ah pointing to it. As for what has a root in the Shari'ah pointing to it then it is not legally (technically) a bid'ah; even though linguistically the term bid'ah is may be applied to it. Thus whenever something new is introduced into the Din, having no root (in the Din) to return it to, then it is misguidance - deviation. The Din is free of it, regardless of whether it is connected to issues of belief, actions or sayings.

As for the istihsan (approval and condoning) of bid'ah, which occurred in the words of the Salaf, then that is in relation to bid'ah al-logawi (linguistic use of bid'ah) and not in the legal (technical) use of the term bid'ah. From these sayings is the saying of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, when he gathered the people in Qiyam-ur-Ramadan - Tarawih prayers - behind one Imam in the masjid. He went out and say them praying and said: "What a wonderful bid'ah."

This has a root in the Shari'ah. Verily the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, prayed it (this prayer) in congregation in the masjid and then left it, fearing that it might become obligatory upon his 'Ummah and that they would be unable to perform it. Indeed they became free of this fear after the death of the Prophet, peace be upon him. So 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, revived it. As for that which is a matter confirmed, in worship, then it is not permissible to make additions to it.

So, for example the adhan, remains the form in which it was legislated, without addition or subtraction. The Prayer remains upon the manner it was legislated as the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

"Pray as you have seen me praying."

This is an authentic hadith, reported by al-Bukhari in his Sahih.

Hajj remains upon the manner in which it was legislated, because the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

"Take from me your rites (of Hajj)." {qluetip title=[30]}Reported by Muslim (no.1297) in the Book of Hajj{/qluetip}

Indeed the Muslims have done things that were not present in the time of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, due to them being darurah (necessities) in preserving Islam. Indeed they have permitted it and kept quiet about it. Like the gathering of the people to one mushaf (that which the Qur'an is written upon), by 'Uthman ibn 'Affan, may Allah be pleased with him, fearing the splitting of the 'Ummah. Indeed it was approved of by the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, and that was for a maslaha (benefit).

The example of writing down Prophetic traditions (hadith) fearing its loss due to the death of its people. The writing of tafsir of the Qur'an and the Hadith. The compilation of 'Ilm an-Nahw (science of grammar) to safeguard the Arabic language, which is a means of understanding Islam. The formation of 'Ilm al-Mustalah (science of hadith). Thus, there are permissible to safeguard the Islamic Shari'ah. Verily Allah, the Most High, has taken the responsibility of safeguarding His Law - from His saying:

"Indeed it is We who have sent down the Dhikr (Qur'an) and surely We will guard it (from corruption)." [Al-Qur'an 15:9]

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

"This ilm (Din) will be carried by the trustworthy ones of each generation. Negating from it the tahrif (alterations) of the ones going beyond bounds, the false assumptions of the liars, and the ta'wil (false interpretations) of the ignorant."

This hadith is hasan due to all its chains and supporting narrations.

This is the belief ('aqidah) - of the first group of this 'Ummah (i.e. the Companions), may Allah be pleased with them, and it is a pure belief like the purity of fresh drinking water, strong as the firmly fixed mountains, firm as the firmed of hand holds. It is a flawless 'aqidah, a straight way, upon the methodology of the Book ad the Sunnah and the sayings of the Salaf of this 'Ummah and its A'immah (leaders). It is the way which revived the hearts of the pioneers of this 'Ummah.

The Belief of the Pious Scholars of Islam

It is 'Aqidah of the Salaf as-Salih, Firqatun-Najiyah (saved sect) Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah. It is the 'Aqidah of the four Imams{qluetip title=[31]}Nu'man bin Thabit (Abu Hanifah) - One of the Imams of the Islam and leading personalities. Born 80H during the era of the young Companions, he saw Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, (at a young age). His main students are Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Hasan ash-Shaybani. The Hanafi madhhab is ascribed to him but more that a third of the madhhab is from other later scholars. He died 150H. Malik bin Anas, Imam of Dar ul-Hijrah (Madinah). Born 93H, the year Anas bin Malik died. An Imam of the Muslims and a leading scholar of Islam. The Maliki madhhab is ascribed to him.Muhammad bin Idris ash-Shafi'i - see footnote 14.Ahmad bin Hanbal, known as the Imam of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah. Born in Baghdad 164H. He was from the few who at his time preserved the way of the Companions, fighting away the innovations of the deviant sects and upholding the way of the Salaf. From amongst his students were Abu Dawud, 'Ali bin al-Madani, Abu Zu'arah and Abu Hatim and many more famous scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah. He died 241H.May Allah have mercy upon them, they are known as the four well followed Imams. (Translator){/qluetip} - the founders of the well known and followed madhahib and of most of their followers. It is the 'Aqidah of the generality of the fuqaha, the muhaddithin, the scholars that act on what they know, and those that traverse along their way, to this day and until the Day of the Judgement.

Indeed the ones that differed are the ones that altered their (the Imams') sayings, from amongst those of the later generations (muta'akhirin) who ascribe to their madhahib.

So our duty is to return, with a pure 'Aqidah, to the fountain which the best of our Pious Predecessors drank from. To keep quiet about that which they kept quiet about, to perform our 'Ibadah (worship) the way they performed their worship, to adhere to the Book and Sunnah, the ijma' of the Salaf of this 'Ummah and its A'immah, and the correct qiyas in new matters. Imam an-Nawawi rahimahullah, said in al-Adhkar [in p. 137 of my (Shaykh Abdul Qadir's) checking of al-Adhkar in the book of Janazah, chapter 'What one who is walking with the Janaza says']:

" ... and know that the selected, correct way is that which the Salaf as-Salih were upon, and that is the truth. Do not be fooled by the large number that oppose it. For indeed Abu 'Ali Fudayl bin 'Iyad said (the meaning of which it), 'Stick to the ways of guidance and you will not be harmed by the smallness of numbers that follow it. Beware of the ways of misguidance and do not be fooled by the multitude of the ones that will be destroyed.' "

This is the only way that will reform the rest of the 'Ummah. Imam Malik bin Anas rahimahullah, the scholar of Madinah spoke the truth when he said:

"The latter part of the 'Ummah will never be reformed except by that which reformed the former part."

Never will good disappear from this 'Ummah, because the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said in a hadith:

"There will not cease to be a group from my 'Ummah manifestly upon the Haqq (Truth). The ones that abandon them will not harm them, until the Order of Allah comes and they are like that (upon the Truth)." {qluetip title=[32]}Reported by Muslim in his Sahih (no. 1920) in the book of 'Imarah, chapter 'The saying of the Prophet: There will not cease to be a group ... ' Abu Dawud (no. 4252) in the book of Fitan, chapter 'Mention of the fitnah and its signs', at-Tirmidhi (no. 2177) and (2230) in the book of Fitan. All from the hadith of Thawban, may Allah be pleased with him. The hadith has various narrations from the hadith of Mughirah bin Shu'bah, Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas, Mu'awiyyah bin Abi Sufyan, 'Imran bin Hussain and others, may Allah be pleased with them.{/qluetip}

The Prophet, peace be upon him, further said:

"The example of my 'Ummah is like of rain. It is not known whether the initial part (of the rain) is good or the latter part." {qluetip title=[33]}Reported by Ahmad in Musnad (3/130), at-Tirmidhi (no.2873). Also reported in Ahmad (4/319). This is an authentic hadith.{/qluetip}

Indeed the 'Aqidah of the Salaf as-Salih has been stipulated by a great many of the scholars.{qluetip title=[34]}Here it is fitting to mention some of the early books, in which the early scholars have stipulated this pure 'aqidah:Kitabul-Iman by Abi 'Ubaydah Qasim bin Sallam (d. 224H),Rad 'ala Zanadiqa wal-Jahmiyyah by Imam Ahmad, Rad 'ala Jahmiyyah by Imam al-Bukhari,Khalq Af'al al-'Ibad by Imam al-Bukhari, Al-Iman by Ibn Mandah (d. 390H), As-Sunnah and 'Usul as-Sunnah by Imam Ahmad, As-Sunnah by Abu Bakr bin Athram (d. 272H), Kitab us-Sunnah by 'Abdullah ibn Ahmad (d. 290 H), As-Sunnah by Nasr al-Marwazi (d. 294H), As-Sunnah by al-Khallal (a student of Imam Ahmad) (d. 311H), Kitab Sharh us-Sunnah by Imam al-Barbahari (d. 329H), Kitab ut-Tawhid by Imam of the A'immah Ibn Khuzaimah (d. 311H), Al-Ibanah al-Kubra and al-Ibanah as-Sughra by Ibn Battah (d. 387H), Sharh Usul al-'Ittiqad Ahl-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah by Imam al-Lalaka'i (d. 418H), which is in 9 parts, but printed in 5 volumes, containing the beliefs of the Salaf and many small treatises traced back by isnad to the Salaf, it is a masterpiece and an essential reference book for all students of knowledge [Translator]{/qluetip} From them, Abu Ja'far at-Tahawi{qluetip title=[35]}Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Salamah al-Azdi at-Tahawi. Died in the year 320H in Egypt and is buried in Qarafa.{/qluetip}, and his 'Aqidah has been explained by Ibn Abil-'Izz al-Hanafi{qluetip title=[36]}Abul-Hasan Sadruddin 'Ali bin 'Alauddin ibn Abil-'Izz al-Hanafi. He died in the year 792H.{/qluetip} one of the students of Ibn Kathir al-Dimishqi naming Sharh al-'Aqidah at-Tahawiyyah and, from them is Abul-Hasan al-Ash'ari{qluetip title=[37]}'Ali bin Isma'il bin Ishaq from the descendants of Abu Musa al-Ash'ari, may Allah be pleased with him. Died in the year 323H.{/qluetip}, in his book al-Ibanah 'an Usul ad-Diyanah. This being the 'Aqidah which he finally settled upon. He said: " ... our saying, which we state, the Din which we profess belief in, is adherence to the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of our Prophet, peace be upon him, and that which is related from the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, the Tabi'un and Imams of hadith, we cling on to this, and we say that which Abu 'Abdullah Ahmad bin Hanbal used to say and distance ourselves from ones that opposed his sayings."

From those that wrote about the 'Aqidah of the Salaf as-Salih is as-Sabuni{qluetip title=[38]}Abu 'Uthman bin 'Abdur-Rahman as-Sabuni, Imam, Muhaddith, Shaykh ul-Islam. He died in the year 449H.{/qluetip} in his book 'Aqidat us-Salaf and Muwaffiq ud-Din ibn Qudamah al-Maqdasi al-Hanbali{qluetip title=[39]}Muwaffiq-ud-Din Abu Muhammad 'Abdullah bin Ahmad ibn Qudamah al-Maqdasi al-Hanbali. Shaykh ul-Islam, a major faqih, he died in the year 720H.{/qluetip} in his book Luma'tul 'Itiqad al-Hadi ila Sabil ar-Rashad, and other glorious scholars, may Allah reward them with good.

We ask Allah to guide us to the pure 'Aqidah (beliefs) and to a pure and clean heart, we ask for virtuous and pleasing manners, and to give us life as Muslims and to take our life while being upon the Shari'ah of our Prophet, Muhammad, upon whom be peace.

O Allah let us die as Muslims as make us meet the Salihin (righteous) without being disgraced or tried. Forgive us, our parents, and the believers on the Day of Judgement. We ask Allah for inspiration to the correctness of sayings and actions. Indeed He is all powerful over all things and the most worthy of answering calls, and our final du'a is, all praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.

(s) The text has been kept as that published by al-Hidaayah. However, aa has been changed to a, ee to i and oo to u in keeping with the style of this website. Some smaller footnotes have also been incorporated into the main text.

FOOTNOTES

Translator's Introduction

All praise is for Allah, we praise Him, seek His aid and ask for His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evils of ourselves and the evil of our actions. He whom Allah guides then there is none who can misguide him, and he whom Allah misguides then there is none who can guide him. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped (in truth) except Allah alone, having no partners and I bear witness that Muhammad, peace be upon him, is His slave and Messenger.

To proceed:

This is an abridgement of a small treatise written by the renowned scholar Shaykh 'Abdul-Qadir al-Arna'ut hafidhahullah who has specialised in the field of Hadith. His most famous works include the checking of Z'ad al-M'ad by Ibn al-Qayyim, Jami'-ul-Usul by Ibn al-Athir and al-Adhkar by Imam an-Nawawi.

This is the first treatise in a series regarding the Methodology of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them). It is the Methodology that was implemented by the Prophet, peace be upon him, and adhered to by the best of generations (the Companions), giving them success in this world and the ultimate success in the Hereafter. This series is entitled Tasfiyah wat-Tarbiyah{qluetip title=[1]}Tasfiyah wat-Tarbiyah: Restoration of the Din to its original pure form as it was revealed to the Prophet, peace be upon him, by removal and rejection of false beliefs, innovated practices and the fabricated and unauthentic ahadith introduced into it (tasfiyah). Educating and cultivating the Muslims upon this pure Din so that their beliefs, worship and manners become those that were taught by the Prophet, peace be upon him, and held and practised by the Companions (tarbiyah). (Publisher's note){/qluetip}, which are the two main instruments of this Prophetic Methodology that can be used to help us remain firmly established upon the Din of Islam.

This treatise was written by Shaykh 'Abdul-Qadir in response to the numerous questions that were posed to him and the general confusion concerning this important matter. In compiling this treatise the Shaykh relied upon classical works, due to the importance of returning to the understanding of the early scholars of this 'Ummah.

This treatise has been translated in an attempt to remove the confusion surrounding this crucial subject, concerning the methodology adopted by the Prophet, peace be upon him, and his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, in establishing Islam as a way of life.

Every Muslim desiring to return to Islam in its true sense, must grasp what the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and his Companions were upon, in all aspects of life. Only then can we move further towards establishing Islam as our way of life.

This treatise highlights the main principles governing the correct understanding of this topic, following the way of the early scholars in clarifying and expounding the Prophetic Methodology.

The treatise has been abridged in order to remove some of the unnecessary technical terms, and also wherever necessary, clarification of some terms and points have been included. A glossary has also been added to assist the reader.

We praise Allah and ask Him to make this treatise beneficial to the Muslims and to guide us to the Straight Path, the Path of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and his Companions. We ask Allah to make this purely for His Face for verily He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.

Abu Taher

A GLIMPSE AT THE WAY OF THE COMPANIONS

Definition of Manhaj

Linguistically and in the Shari'ah: An-nahju, al-manhaj and al-minhaj mean the clear and manifest way. Allah the Most High says in the Glorious Qur'an:

"To each among you we have prescribed a law and a minhaj." [Al-Qur'an 5:48]

Meaning a law and a way which is clearly explained. Indeed Allah, the Most High, prescribed for every nation a law and a clear way (a manhaj). Thus the people of the Taurat had a law and the people of the Injil had a law and the people of the Qur'an have a law.

These laws differ in their rules (ahkam) but are united in the tawhid of Allah (uniqueness of Allah) as Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, said:

"I am the most worthy person to 'Isa ibn Maryam in this world and the Hereafter. The Prophets are paternal brothers, their mothers are different, and their Din is one. There is no prophet between 'Isa and myself." {qluetip title=[2]}Reported by al-Bukhari in his Sahih, the Book of Prophets, chapter 'Remember the Book of Maryam', Muslim in his Sahih (no. 2365), the Book of Merits, chapter 'Merits of 'Isa peace be upon him'. From the hadith of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him.{/qluetip}

The meaning of this is that they (the prophets) are united upon the fundamentals of uniqueness (tawhid) of Allah; as for the branches of (furu') of law and legislation, then differences occurred in them. Thus their laws are different.

Allah the Most High says:

"And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad) but We inspired to him that (say) There is none who has the right to be worshipped except I (Allah), so worship Me (alone and none else)." [Al-Qur'an 21:25]

Also, the Saying of Allah the Most High:

"And verily, We have sent among every nation ('Ummah) a Messenger proclaiming: Worship Allah alone and avoid the Taghut (all false deities)." [Al-Qur'an 16:36]

This is in respect of tawhid (oneness) of Allah, the One free from all defects. As for the laws, then they differed with respect to the commands and prohibitions.

1) As-Salaf - That which has past and preceded. Hence it is said Salafa shai Salafah to mean something which has passed; Salafa fulanan Salafan to mean someone has preceded; as-salif - a predecessor; as-salaf - a group of predecessors, and as-salaf - a people who have preceded us in conduct.

Allah says:

"So when they angered Us, We punished them, and drowned them all, and made them a precedent - Salafan (as a lesson for those coming after them) and an example to later generations." [Al-Qur'an 43:55-56]

That is "when they angered Us, We punished them, drowning them all making them a precedent," predecessors for those who do action like theirs, so that the people coming after them can take heed and warn others by their example.

2) As-Salaf: Every good deed that one does. It is said: Qad salaf lahu amal salih meaning, verily he has good deeds that have preceded him.

3) As-Salaf: Those who precede you, from amongst your forefathers and relatives, who may be older than you or better than you in merit{qluetip title=[4]}This definition can be found in Lisan ul-Arab, by Ibn Mandhur al-Afriqi. (Translator){/qluetip}. The singular of this term is Salif.

Due to this the first generation (the Companions) were called as-Salaf as-Salih (the Pious Predecessors).

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and his Companions and those that follow them in Ihsan{qluetip title=[5]}Ihsan, in this usage has been explained to mean following in terms of beliefs, sayings and actions. Refer to Taysir al-Karim ar-Rahman fi Tafsir Kalamul-Mannan, the book of Tafsir by Shaykh 'Abdur-Rahman bin Nasir as-Sa'di. (Translator){/qluetip} are the Salaf of this 'Ummah.{qluetip title=[6]}The technical (Islamic) meaning of the word Salaf, as understood by the majority of the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah, has been defined as being the Companions, the Successors (tabi'un) and the Successors to the Successors (atba at-tabi'un) that is the first three generations. This has been taken from the saying of the Prophet, upon whom be peace: "The best of people are my generation then those who come after them, then those who come after them, then there will come a people in whom there will be no good." Reported by at-Tabarani from Ibn Mas'ud and declared authentic by al-Albani in Sahih al-Jami', and there are many other similar ahadith to the above, all of which have lead to the definition of the word Salaf being restricted to the first three generations.{/qluetip}

Matters Concerning their Methodology

(i) Status of the Prophet, peace be upon him

Everyone who calls to what the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, his Companions and their successors called to, then he is upon the way of the Salaf as-Salih. It is obligatory upon all Muslims to follow the Noble Book (Qur'an) and the pure Sunnah, by going back to the understanding the Pious Predecessors (Salaf as-Salih), may Allah be pleased with them all. For verily they are the ones that deserve the most to be followed, as they were truthful in their faith, strong in their beliefs and sincere in their worship.

The leader (Imam) of the Salaf as-Salih is Allah's Messenger, Muhammad, peace be upon him, whom Allah has ordered us, in His Book (the Qur'an), to follow, in His saying:

"And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad) gives you take it, and whatsoever he forbids you abstain from it." [Al-Qur'an 59:7]

The Prophet, peace be upon him, is a beautiful example, and a righteous model to be followed, Allah the Most High says:

"Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow, for him who hopes in meeting Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much." [Al-Qur'an 33:21]

The Prophet, peace be upon him, is the one who speaks by revelation sent to him from the heavens:

"Nor does he speak of his own desire. It is only an inspiration that is inspired." [Al-Qur'an 53:3-4]

Allah, the Most High, ordered that we judge by the Messenger, upon whom be peace, in all affairs in our life. Allah, the One free of all defects, says:

"But no by your Lord, they can have no faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decision and accept them with full submission." [Al-Qur'an 4:65]

Allah, the Most High, warned us about opposing the Prophet, peace be upon him, saying:

"So let those who oppose the Messenger's commandments (i.e. his Sunnah) beware lest some fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a tyrant, etc.) befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them." [Al-Qur'an 24:63]

The reference point of the Salaf, whenever they have a disagreement, is the Book of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, and the Sunnah of the Messenger, upon whom be peace.

Allah, the Most High, says:

"And if you differ in anything amongst 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." [Al-Qur'an 4:59]

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, is the conveyer of news from his Lord and the one who explains His Book. Allah the Most High says:

"And We have sent down to you (Muhammad) the reminder and the advice (the Qur'an) that you may explain clearly to men what is sent down to them." [Al-Qur'an 16:44]

The Messenger, peace be upon him, said in a hadith:

"Adhere to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided Khulafa', bite on to it with your molar teeth and beware of newly invented matters, for verily every innovation (bid'ah) is a going astray." {qluetip title=[7]}Reported by Ahmad bin Hanbal in Musnad (4/126, 127) Abu Dawud in his Sunan (4607) in the Book of Sunnah, chapter 'Adhering to the Sunnah', at-Tirmidhi in his Sunan (no.2678) in the Book of Knowledge, Chapter '16', Ibn Majah, in his Sunan (no.42) in the Muqaddimah (introduction) and others. From the hadith of 'Irbad bin Sariyah, may Allah be pleased with him, and it is an authentic hadith. Refer to the detailed explanation of the hadith in Jami' al-Ulum wal-Hikam by al-Hafidh ibn Rajab al-Hanbali rahimahullah, for verily he has done extremely well in explaining it and benefited others in doing so.{/qluetip}

(ii) Status of the Companions

The best of the Salaf after the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, are the Companions, who took their Religion (Din) from the Messenger, peace be upon him, with truthfulness and sincerity; just as Allah has described them in His Book when He said:

"Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah and showed not their backs to the disbelievers, of them some have fulfilled their obligations and some of them are still waiting, but they never changed (i.e. they never proved treacherous to their covenant which they concluded with Allah) in the least." [Al-Qur'an 33:23]

They are the ones who did righteous deeds, which Allah, the Most High, has mentioned in His Book, in His saying:

"But righteousness is the quality of one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, the Prophets and gives his wealth, in spite of love for it, to the relative, to the orphans and to the poor who beg and to the wayfarer and to those who ask and to set slaves free, and offers the prayer perfectly (iqamat-as-Salat), and gives the zakat (obligatory charity) and who fulfill their covenant when they make it, and who are patient in extreme poverty and ailment (disease) and at the time of fighting (during battles); such are the people of the truth and they are the pious." [Al-Qur'an 2:177]

This verse is the verse which professes the truth with which the Companions have been described with.

Sources of the Din

The Book of Allah, the Most High, is their manual (dustur) and their law then the Sunnah after the Book of Allah{qluetip title=[8]}The majority of the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah say the Qur'an and the Sunnah go hand in hand, not one before the other. One does not refer to the Sunnah only when nothing is found in the Qur'an. Rather whenever one needs to look for a verdict one goes back to the Qur'an and Sunnah, together. Shaykh al-Albani, in Silsilat-ul-Ahadith ad-Da'ifah (vol 2 no.881), says: " ... rather it is obligatory to refer to the Book and Sunnah, together, without differentiating between them, since the Sunnah explains the general (mujmal) verses of the Qur'an, restricts its unrestricted verses, specificies its general verses, as is known ... " There are many sayings from the Salaf showing that this view was held by them. Imam al-Awza'i and Imam Yahya bin Kathir and others have said: "The Qur'an is in more need of the Sunnah than the Sunnah is of the Book. The Sunnah is Qadiatun (conclusive) over the Book and the Book is not conclusive over the Sunnah." Reported by ad-Darimi (1/117). Similar narrations from the Salaf concerning this topic can be found in the books of the Salaf like Al-Ibanah of Ibn Battah. (Translator){/qluetip}. The Sunnah is the most blessed of sources and the best of sciences, the most beneficial of all, in the Din and Dunyah (world), after the Book of Allah, the One free of all defects. It is like the meadows and gardens, you will find in it all goodness and righteousness. After the Sunnah, their manual is that which the Salaf of this 'Ummah and it's A'immah have agreed upon.

The Salaf as-Salih are also: The Best Generation, about which the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said in a hadith:

"The best of the people are my generation, then those after them, then those after them ... "

And he, peace be upon him, said:

" ... then there will come a people giving witness when they are not asked to give witness. They will be dishonest and not be trusted. They will take vows but will not fulfill them. Fatness will appear amongst them." {qluetip title=[9]}Reported by al-Bukhari (5/190) in the book of Witness, chapter 'Do not be a witness to injustice is asked that,' and in the book of Merits of the Companions of the Prophet, chapter 'Merits of the Companions of the Prophet', and in the book of Softening the Hearts, chapter 'Warning regarding worldly pleasures, amusements and competing with each other for the enjoyment thereof' Muslim (no. 2535) in the book of Merits of the Companions, chapter 'Merits of the Companions then those after them then those after them' at-Tirmidhi (no. 2222) in the book of Trials, chapter 'That which has come regarding the first three generations' and (no. 2303) in the book of Witness, chapter 'Best generations.' Abu Dawud (no. 4657) in the book of Sunnah, chapter 'Merits of the Companions of the Messenger.' An-Nasa'i (7/17,18) in the book of Covenants and Vows, chapter 'Fulfilling Vows' all from the hadith of 'Imran bin Hussain. Also reported by al-Bukhari (5/191) in the book of Witness, chapter 'Do not be a witness to injustice if asked to do that', the book of Merits of the Companions of the Prophet, chapter 'Merits of the Companions of the Prophet,' and in the book of softening the heart, chapter 'Covenants and Vows'. Muslim (no. 2533) in the book of Merits of the Companions of the Prophet. At-Tirmidhi (no.3858) in the book of virtues. All from the hadith of 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, may Allah be pleased with him.{/qluetip}

From their Beliefs ...

Thus the fundamentals of the Religion ('Usul ud-Din) which were adhered to by those that preceded from the leaders (A'immah) of the Din, the scholars of the Muslims and the Salaf as-Salih and what they called people to are:

That they believe in the Book and Sunnah;{qluetip title=[10]}This includes all authentic hadith, whether it be a narration with numerous chains (mutawatir) or a hadith with just one, two or three chains (ahad). The beliefs are based upon both, refer to the book by Abul Qasim al-Asbahani Al-Hujjah fi Bayan al-Mahajjah wa Sharh 'Aqidatul Ahl-Sunnah, Ar-Risalah by Imam ash-Shafi'i and Mukhtasar Sawa'iqul Mursalah by Ibn al-Qayyim. (Translator){/qluetip} the general and the detailed aspects of it. They attest to the oneness of Allah the Mighty and Majestic, and attest to the Messengership of Muhammad, upon whom be peace.

They know their Lord by the attributes (sifat) that His revelation has spoken of, or are attested to by the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, from that which is found in authentic ahadith, narrated from him by just and reliable narrators.

They affirm for Allah, the Most High, that which He affirmed for Himself in His Book, or upon the tongue of His Messenger, peace be upon him, without making tashbih{qluetip title=[11]}Tashbih: Tamthil (resembling, comparing) the Sifat (attributes) of Allah to the sifat (attributes) of creation; "so it is not said that the Essence of Allah is like our essence neither does it resemble our essence and likewise the Sifat of Allah - we do not say that His attributes are like our attributes, not resemble our attributes. Rather it is wajib (obligatory) for a believer to stick to the saying of Allah: "There is nothing like unto Him ... " [Al-Qur'an 42:11]. Tahrif: Changing the 'terms' of the names and attributes of Allah or changing their 'meanings'; like the saying of the Jahmiyyah (a deviant sect) that istawa (being high above the throne) means istawla (seizing power over something). Thus Ahlus-Sunnah do not do this.Tabdil: see tahrif.Tamthil: see tashbih.Refer to Tambihat al-Latifah 'ala 'Aqidatul-Wasitiyyah by Shaykh Sa'di rahimahullah. (Translator){/qluetip} (resembling) to His creation, without tahrif (changing), without tabdil and without tamthil.{qluetip title=[12]}Shaykh ul-Islam ibn Taymiyyah says in 'Aqidatul-Wasitiyyah when talking about iman (belief) in Allah's Sifat (attributes): "Iman (belief) in all what Allah has described Himself by, in His Book and in what His Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, has described Him by - without doing tahrif, ta'til, takyif or tamthil." This statement shows two other principles held by Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah regarding iman in Allah and His Sifat (attributes); that is they do not do ta'til, which is to deny or reject the Sifat of Allah; and takyif - which is to ask how and question their manner.Refer to 'Aqidatul-Wasitiyyah by Ibn Taymiyyah, and Qatful-Thamr fi-Bayan 'Aqidatul Ahlul-Athar by Siddiq Hasan Khan, Mukhtasar Sawa'iqul-Mursalah by Ibn al-Qayyim and Fatawa al-Hamawiyyah al-Kubrah by Ibn Taymiyyah. (Translator){/qluetip}

Allah, the Most High, says:

"There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the all Hearer, all Seer." [Al-Qur'an 42:11]

Imam az-Zuhri{qluetip title=[13]}Muhammad bin Muslim ibn 'Ubaydallah bin 'Abdullah bin Shihab bin Zahrah, Abu Bakr. A faqih (jurist) and hafidh. His high status of proficiency is agreed upon. He is a successor, from Madinah and one of the great Imam, a scholar of Hijaz and Sham. He died in 125H.{/qluetip} said: "Upon Allah is the bayan (explaining), upon the Messenger is the balagh (conveying) and upon us is taslim (willingly accepting)." [This is reported by al-Bukhari in mu'allaq form (13/503), by Ibn Abi Asim in Kitab al-Adab and in Kitab az-Zuhd (71) and by Abu Nu'aym in Hilyah (3/179)]

Imam Sufyan ibn 'Uyaynah{qluetip title=[14]}Sufyan bin 'Uyaynah, Hafidh Abu Muhammad al-Hilali al-Kufi. He was an Imam, a Hafidh, a proof (hujja), having immense knowledge, and of great ability. A muhaddith (scholar of hadith) of the Haram of Makkah. Imam ash-Shafi'i said about him: "Were it not for Malik and Sufyan the knowledge would have disappeared from the Hijaz." He died whilst in Makkah in the year 198H.{/qluetip} said: "All that Allah has described Himself with in His Book, then its tafsir (explanation) is its reciting and keeping silent about it."

Imam ash-Shafi'i{qluetip title=[15]}Muhammad bin Idris bin al-'Abbas bin Uthman bin Shoafa ash-Shafi'i al-Muttalibi; Abu 'Abdullah. He was a mujaddid (reviver) of the Din at the beginning of 200H, a well known Imam. He died in Egypt in the year 204H.{/qluetip} said: "I believe in Allah, and that which has come from Allah, upon the intended meaning of Allah. I believe in the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and that which has come from the Messenger of Allah upon the intended meaning of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him."

The Salaf and leaders of the khalaf (those later generations after the Salaf) may Allah be pleased with them, proceeded along this way. They are all agreed upon, affirming, asserting and confirming that which is found in the Book of Allah, the Most High, and the Sunnah of His Messenger, peace be upon him, regarding Allah's attribtutes without subjecting them to interpretation (ta'wil).

Verily we have been ordered to follow their way and to be guided by their light. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, has warned us of newly invented matters, and informed us that they are from misguidance. He said in a hadith:

"Adhere to my Sunnah (way) and the the Sunnah of the rightly guided Khulafa'. Bite on to it with your molar teeth, and beware of newly invented matters, for verily every bid'ah (innovation) is a going astray." Its reference (takhrij) has preceded." {qluetip title=[16]}See footnote no. 6.{/qluetip}

'Abdullah bin Mas'ud{qluetip title=[17]}'Abdullah bin Mas'ud ibn Ghafil ibn Habib al-Huthali, Abu 'Abdur-Rahman. From the first generation of Muslims and from the major Companions in merit and intellect. He migrated to Habasha (Ethiopia) and then to Madinah. He witnessed the battle of Badr, 'Uhud, Khandaq, the pledge of Ridwan and the remaining incidents with the Prophet, upon whom be peace; he was from the fuqaha (jurists) of the Companions - may Allah be pleased with them - he died in Madinah in 32H.{/qluetip} radiallahu 'anhuma said: "Follow and do not innovate for verily you have been sufficed."

'Umar bin 'Abdul-'Aziz{qluetip title=[18]}Abu Hafs, 'Umar bin 'Abdul-'Aziz bin Marwan bin Hakam al-Amawi al-Qurashi. A righteous Khalifah. Born and raised in Madinatul-Munawwarah. He took the position of Khalifah in the year 99H and died in the land of Sham, in the year 101H.{/qluetip} said: "Do not go beyond where they stopped. For verily they stopped upon knowledge and with a perceiving view sufficed."

Imam al-Awza'i{qluetip title=[19]}'Abdur-Rahman bin 'Amr bin Yuhmid al-Awza'i. A famous Imam of Syria. He used to live in Damascus, outside Bab al-Fradis and then moved to Beirut and lived there, posted in the way of Allah, until he died in the year 157H.{/qluetip} said: "Stick to the footsteps of the Salaf, even if people abandon you. Beware of the views of men, even if they beautify it for you with words."

From the 'aqidah{qluetip title=[20]}The word 'aqidah signifies the thing that one believes in (has iman in), hence the two words ('aqidah and iman) are sometimes synonymous. The word 'aqidah being taken from the Arabic root of 'aqada - to tie - to fasten. Thus 'aqidah is those things that the heart is tied to or fastened to, worshipping Allah by it and, getting closer to Allah. Refer to classical Arabic dictionaries like Lisan ul-Arab by Ibn Mandhur al-Afriqi. (Translator){/qluetip} (beliefs) of the Salaf as-Salih is their saying: Iman is a saying of the tongue, an action by the limbs and a strong belief in the heart. Iman increases with obedience to Allah and decreases with disobedience to Allah.

From the beliefs of the Salaf is that good and evil is by the qada' (decree) of Allah the Most High and His qadr (pre-estimation). However evil is not ordered by Allah, as some of them say: "All of it is ordered by Allah," since Allah has ordered good and prohibited evil. He did not order us with abominable acts, indeed He prohibited us from them. The human is not forced, he chooses his acts and beliefs. He deserves punishment or reward, depending upon his choice and he is the chooser in (doing or leaving) the ordered and prohibited things.

Allah, the Most High, says:

"Then whosoever wills let him believe, and whosoever wills let him disbelieve." [Al-Qur'an 18:29]

From the beliefs of the Salaf is that they do not make takfir{qluetip title=[21]}Takfir is the action of declaring a Muslim to have left Islam. This is left for the people of knowledge ('ulama) to do and it must be done following strict guidelines. Refer to the book al-'Uzar bil-Jahal wa rad'ala bid'atut Takfir (The Excuse of Ignorance and the Refutation of the Innovation of Takfir) by Ahmad Farid. (Translator){/qluetip} of anyone of the Muslim due to a sin, even if it is from the major sins. Except if he denies (rejects) a thing that is known in the religion by necessity and is known by the scholars as well as the generality of people, and is based firmly upon the Book and the Sunnah and Consensus (Ijma') of the Salaf of this 'Ummah and its leader.

From the beliefs of the Salaf as-Salih is that they worship Allah, the Most High, and do not associate anything with Him. Thus they do not ask any one except Allah, the Most High, of a need no one else can satisfy. They do not seek help (in which no one can help) from anyone except Allah, the One free of all defects. They do not call upon anyone for aid (for an immediate need that no one can fulfil) except upon Allah. They do not make tawassul (seeking nearness) to Allah except by obeying Him, worshipping Him and doing good and righteous deeds.

This being taken from His saying:

"O you who believe! Do your duty to Allah and fear Him, seek the means of approach to Him." [Al-Qur'an 5:35]

That is, draw close to Allah by obedience to Him and by worship of Him.

From the beliefs of the Salaf as-Salih is that Prayer (salat) behind all righteous people and sinners is permissible if the external nature of the prayer is correct.{qluetip title=[22]}What is implied by the statement if the external nature of the prayer is correct is that all the pillars and obligatory actions of the prayer are enacted by the one leading the prayer. For example that he faces the Qiblah etc. (Translator){/qluetip}

We do not certify with certainty for anyone, whoever he may be, of being in Paradise or in Hell; except whoever the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, testified for. However we hope Paradise for the righteous and fear Hell for the sinful.

We testify for the ten people given the glad tidings of Jannah (Paradise), that they will be in Jannah (Paradise); just as the Prophet, peace be upon him, testified this for them. We testify, as being in Jannah, for everyone that the Prophet, peace be upon him, testifies this for them. This is because the Prophet does not speak of his own desire. Indeed it is nothing but revelation revealed to him.

We take the Companions of Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, as 'awliya (friends). We refrain from showing their defects{qluetip title=[23]}The proof for this is abundant, found in the books of 'aqidah and hadith, like the saying of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, "When my companions are mentioned then refrain." Reported in Hilyatul-Awliya' (41108), at-Tabarani in al-Kabir (2/78/2) from the hadith of Ibn Mas'ud, may Allah be pleased with him. Also in Kitab Sharh-us-Sunnah by Imam al-Barbahari, point 104, " ... and if you see a man criticising the Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, then know that he is a person of wicked speech and desires, since Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, said: "When my Companions ore mentioned then refrain." Since the Prophet, peace be upon him, knew any slips they would make after his death yet still he did not speak about them except good and said: "Leave my Companions for me. For by Him in whose Hand is my soul, if you were to spend the like of 'Uhud or of the mountoins in gold, you would not reach their actions." Do not discuss about their slips or their wars, nor of that which the knowledge of which escapes you, and do not hear from anyone who speaks it, since your heart will not remain safe and sound if you hear it." Thus Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah do not talk about such things, knowing that Allah has forgiven them (the Companions) their errors. (Translator){/qluetip} and that which happened between them. Their affair is with their Lord. We do not abuse anyone of the Companions. This is taken from the Prophet's, upon whom be peace, saying:

"Let none of you abuse (slander) my Companions. For by Him in whose Hand is my life, if one of you spent (in the way of Allah) the equivalent of mount 'Uhud in gold it would not reach a handful nor half a handful of what they spent." {qluetip title=[24]}Reported by al-Bukhari (7/27,28) in the book of Merits of the Prophet's Companions, chapter 'If I was to take a Khalil', Muslim (2541) in the book of Virtues of the Companions, chapter 'Prohibition of abusing the Companions'. Abu Dawud (4658) in the book of Sunnah chapter 'Prohibition of abusing the Companions', at-Tirmidhi (3860) in the book of Virtues. All from the hadith of Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him. Also reported by Muslim (2540) in the book of Virtues of the Companions in the chapter 'Prohibition of abusing the Companions' from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him.{/qluetip}

The Companions are not infallible from error. Infallibility is for Allah, the Most High, and for His Messenger, peace be upon him, in conveying the message. Allah, the Most High, has protected the collective 'Ummah from mistakes (and not individuals) as the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said:

"Indeed Allah will never unite this 'Ummah upon misguidance and the Hand of Allah is upon the Jama'ah." {qluetip title=[25]}Reported by at-Tirmidhi from the hadith of Ibn 'Umar (No. 2168) in the book of Fitan, chapter 'That which has come in adhering to the Jama'ah'. Its chain has a weakness, however it has a shahid (supporting narration) with at-Tirmidhi from the hadith of Ibn 'Abbas (no. 2167) and another supporting narration with Ibn Abi 'Asim in as-Sunnah (no. 81) from the hadith of Usamah bin Sharik. Thus the hadith is an authentic hadith.{/qluetip}

We are pleased with the wives of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, they are the mothers of the believers and we believe that they are pure and innocent from all evil.

From the beliefs of the Pious Predecessors is that they do not make it obligatory upon any Muslim to restrict himself to a specific madhhab{qluetip title=[26]}Madhhab is a school of thought or a position held by a scholar.{/qluetip}. He can move from one madhhab to another, due to the strength of the evidence (in a particular point). The layman has no madhhab. Rather his madhhab is the madhhab of his mufti (scholar who gives religious verdicts).{qluetip title=[27]}Refer to the book Risalatul-Taqlid by Ibn al-Qayyim for it is very important. The layman follows the scholars, as Allah has ordered him to do in the verse: "Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know." [Al-Qur'an 16:43]The layman by following the scholars is indeed following the Qur'an and Sunnah and not doing taqlid (blind following) rather this is called ittiba' for him. However he does not follow the scholars in their mistakes, when it is made clear to him that it is a mistake. This is what is required of the layman, as Ibn al-Qayyim points out in his book. The one who has the ability to weigh up evidences, ie. a student of knowledge, he can look into the proofs and follow the strongest proof, but the one who does not have the ability, ie. a layman, then he follows the scholars, as Allah has ordered him to do. (Translator)Refer also to Blind Following of Madhhabs, by Shaykh Muhammad Sultan al-Ma'sumi (Al-Hidaayah, 1993). [Publisher's note]{/qluetip} If a student of knowledge (talib ul-'ilm) has the ability to recognise the proofs and evidences of the Imams, he should act by it, moving from a madhhab of an Imam, in any issue, to the madhhab of another Imam, due to the strength of the evidence, and the more correct understanding, in an issue. Thus he becomes a muttabi' (a follower) and not a mujtahid (a mujtahid is one who is qualified to extract rulings from the Qur'an and Sunnah, i.e. do Ijtihad - translator). For indeed Ijtihad is the extracting of Islamic rulings from the Book and Sunnah, as the four Imams and others Imams of fiqh (jurisprudence) and the muhaddithun (scholars of hadith) have done.

From the beliefs of the Salaf as-Salih is that the four Companions: Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman and 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with them, are the rightly guided Khulafa' and with them existed the Khilafat un-Nabuwwah (Khilafah upon the Prophetic Way) lasting for thirty years including the Khilafah (ruling period) of Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him. This is taken from the saying of the Prophet, upon whom be peace:

"The Khilafah in my 'Ummah is for thirty years then after it is kingship." {qluetip title=[28]}Reported by Ahmad in Musnad (5/220, 221), at-Tirmidhi (no.2227) in the book of Fitan, chapter 'That which has come regarding the Khilafah', Abu Dawud (no. 4646 and 4647) in the book of as-Sunnah, chapter 'Khulafa'. Ibn Hibban (no. 1534 1535 - in Mawarid) in the book of 'Imarah, chapter of 'Khilafah', al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak (3/71, 145) from the hadith of Safinah. It is an authentic hadith and the thirty year period was the period of the rightly guided Khulafa up to when Hasan abdicated from his Khilafah.{/qluetip}

From the beliefs of the Salaf as-Salih is that it is obligatory to have iman (faith) in all that the Qur'an has come with, and what Allah, the Most High, has ordered us with, and leaving all that Allah, the Most High, has prohibited us from, the general and the detailed. We believe in all that the Prophet, peace be upon him, has informed us of, when its transmission from him is authentic, in that which we witness or do not witness, regardless of whether we comprehend it, or are ignorant of it or we have not come across the reality of its meaning.

We carry out the orders of Allah, the Most High, and the orders of his Messenger, upon whom be peace. We refrain from what Allah, the Most High, has prohibited us from and what the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, prohibited us from. We stop at the hudud (boundaries) of the Book of Allah, and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and that which has come from the rightly guided Khulafa. Our duty is to ittiba' (following) of that which the Prophet, peace be upon him, has come with: from beliefs, actions and sayings, to follow the way of Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, and the four rightly guided Khulafa', in their beliefs, actions and sayings. This is the complete Sunnah, as the Sunnah of the rightly guided Khulafa' is adhered to like the following of the Prophetic Sunnah.

'Umar ibn 'Abdul-'Aziz said:

"The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and the leaders of the Muslims after him set examples (Sunnah), the taking of which is holding on to the Book of Allah, the Most High, and strength upon the Din of Allah. It is not for any one to change or alter it, nor to look at a matter in opposition to it. Whoever is guided by it then he is truly guide, and whoever seeks help by it then he is truly helped. Whoever leaves it and follows a way other than the way of the believers, Allah will turn him to what he has chosen and burn him in hell what an evil abode!"

This is confirmed by the saying of Allah's Messenger, upon whom be peace:

" ... and beware of newly invented matters, for verily every bid'ah is a going astray."

This hadith is a great principle from the principles of the Din and it resembles another saying of the Prophet, upon whom be peace:

"Whoever invents into this Din of ours that which is not from it, then it is rejected." {qluetip title=[29]}Reported by al-Bukhari in ta'liq form (without mentioning the chain) (4/298) and in the full form (5/221), Muslim (no.1718), Abu Dawud in the book of Sunnah (no.4606), Ibn Majah (no.14).{/qluetip}

In it is a warning from following newly invented matters in the Din and worship. The meaning of bid'ah is that which has been invented and has no root in the Shari'ah pointing to it. As for what has a root in the Shari'ah pointing to it then it is not legally (technically) a bid'ah; even though linguistically the term bid'ah is may be applied to it. Thus whenever something new is introduced into the Din, having no root (in the Din) to return it to, then it is misguidance - deviation. The Din is free of it, regardless of whether it is connected to issues of belief, actions or sayings.

As for the istihsan (approval and condoning) of bid'ah, which occurred in the words of the Salaf, then that is in relation to bid'ah al-logawi (linguistic use of bid'ah) and not in the legal (technical) use of the term bid'ah. From these sayings is the saying of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, when he gathered the people in Qiyam-ur-Ramadan - Tarawih prayers - behind one Imam in the masjid. He went out and say them praying and said: "What a wonderful bid'ah."

This has a root in the Shari'ah. Verily the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, prayed it (this prayer) in congregation in the masjid and then left it, fearing that it might become obligatory upon his 'Ummah and that they would be unable to perform it. Indeed they became free of this fear after the death of the Prophet, peace be upon him. So 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, revived it. As for that which is a matter confirmed, in worship, then it is not permissible to make additions to it.

So, for example the adhan, remains the form in which it was legislated, without addition or subtraction. The Prayer remains upon the manner it was legislated as the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

"Pray as you have seen me praying."

This is an authentic hadith, reported by al-Bukhari in his Sahih.

Hajj remains upon the manner in which it was legislated, because the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

"Take from me your rites (of Hajj)." {qluetip title=[30]}Reported by Muslim (no.1297) in the Book of Hajj{/qluetip}

Indeed the Muslims have done things that were not present in the time of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, due to them being darurah (necessities) in preserving Islam. Indeed they have permitted it and kept quiet about it. Like the gathering of the people to one mushaf (that which the Qur'an is written upon), by 'Uthman ibn 'Affan, may Allah be pleased with him, fearing the splitting of the 'Ummah. Indeed it was approved of by the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, and that was for a maslaha (benefit).

The example of writing down Prophetic traditions (hadith) fearing its loss due to the death of its people. The writing of tafsir of the Qur'an and the Hadith. The compilation of 'Ilm an-Nahw (science of grammar) to safeguard the Arabic language, which is a means of understanding Islam. The formation of 'Ilm al-Mustalah (science of hadith). Thus, there are permissible to safeguard the Islamic Shari'ah. Verily Allah, the Most High, has taken the responsibility of safeguarding His Law - from His saying:

"Indeed it is We who have sent down the Dhikr (Qur'an) and surely We will guard it (from corruption)." [Al-Qur'an 15:9]

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

"This ilm (Din) will be carried by the trustworthy ones of each generation. Negating from it the tahrif (alterations) of the ones going beyond bounds, the false assumptions of the liars, and the ta'wil (false interpretations) of the ignorant."

This hadith is hasan due to all its chains and supporting narrations.

This is the belief ('aqidah) - of the first group of this 'Ummah (i.e. the Companions), may Allah be pleased with them, and it is a pure belief like the purity of fresh drinking water, strong as the firmly fixed mountains, firm as the firmed of hand holds. It is a flawless 'aqidah, a straight way, upon the methodology of the Book ad the Sunnah and the sayings of the Salaf of this 'Ummah and its A'immah (leaders). It is the way which revived the hearts of the pioneers of this 'Ummah.

The Belief of the Pious Scholars of Islam

It is 'Aqidah of the Salaf as-Salih, Firqatun-Najiyah (saved sect) Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah. It is the 'Aqidah of the four Imams{qluetip title=[31]}Nu'man bin Thabit (Abu Hanifah) - One of the Imams of the Islam and leading personalities. Born 80H during the era of the young Companions, he saw Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, (at a young age). His main students are Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Hasan ash-Shaybani. The Hanafi madhhab is ascribed to him but more that a third of the madhhab is from other later scholars. He died 150H. Malik bin Anas, Imam of Dar ul-Hijrah (Madinah). Born 93H, the year Anas bin Malik died. An Imam of the Muslims and a leading scholar of Islam. The Maliki madhhab is ascribed to him.Muhammad bin Idris ash-Shafi'i - see footnote 14.Ahmad bin Hanbal, known as the Imam of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah. Born in Baghdad 164H. He was from the few who at his time preserved the way of the Companions, fighting away the innovations of the deviant sects and upholding the way of the Salaf. From amongst his students were Abu Dawud, 'Ali bin al-Madani, Abu Zu'arah and Abu Hatim and many more famous scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah. He died 241H.May Allah have mercy upon them, they are known as the four well followed Imams. (Translator){/qluetip} - the founders of the well known and followed madhahib and of most of their followers. It is the 'Aqidah of the generality of the fuqaha, the muhaddithin, the scholars that act on what they know, and those that traverse along their way, to this day and until the Day of the Judgement.

Indeed the ones that differed are the ones that altered their (the Imams') sayings, from amongst those of the later generations (muta'akhirin) who ascribe to their madhahib.

So our duty is to return, with a pure 'Aqidah, to the fountain which the best of our Pious Predecessors drank from. To keep quiet about that which they kept quiet about, to perform our 'Ibadah (worship) the way they performed their worship, to adhere to the Book and Sunnah, the ijma' of the Salaf of this 'Ummah and its A'immah, and the correct qiyas in new matters. Imam an-Nawawi rahimahullah, said in al-Adhkar [in p. 137 of my (Shaykh Abdul Qadir's) checking of al-Adhkar in the book of Janazah, chapter 'What one who is walking with the Janaza says']:

" ... and know that the selected, correct way is that which the Salaf as-Salih were upon, and that is the truth. Do not be fooled by the large number that oppose it. For indeed Abu 'Ali Fudayl bin 'Iyad said (the meaning of which it), 'Stick to the ways of guidance and you will not be harmed by the smallness of numbers that follow it. Beware of the ways of misguidance and do not be fooled by the multitude of the ones that will be destroyed.' "

This is the only way that will reform the rest of the 'Ummah. Imam Malik bin Anas rahimahullah, the scholar of Madinah spoke the truth when he said:

"The latter part of the 'Ummah will never be reformed except by that which reformed the former part."

Never will good disappear from this 'Ummah, because the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said in a hadith:

"There will not cease to be a group from my 'Ummah manifestly upon the Haqq (Truth). The ones that abandon them will not harm them, until the Order of Allah comes and they are like that (upon the Truth)." {qluetip title=[32]}Reported by Muslim in his Sahih (no. 1920) in the book of 'Imarah, chapter 'The saying of the Prophet: There will not cease to be a group ... ' Abu Dawud (no. 4252) in the book of Fitan, chapter 'Mention of the fitnah and its signs', at-Tirmidhi (no. 2177) and (2230) in the book of Fitan. All from the hadith of Thawban, may Allah be pleased with him. The hadith has various narrations from the hadith of Mughirah bin Shu'bah, Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas, Mu'awiyyah bin Abi Sufyan, 'Imran bin Hussain and others, may Allah be pleased with them.{/qluetip}

The Prophet, peace be upon him, further said:

"The example of my 'Ummah is like of rain. It is not known whether the initial part (of the rain) is good or the latter part." {qluetip title=[33]}Reported by Ahmad in Musnad (3/130), at-Tirmidhi (no.2873). Also reported in Ahmad (4/319). This is an authentic hadith.{/qluetip}

Indeed the 'Aqidah of the Salaf as-Salih has been stipulated by a great many of the scholars.{qluetip title=[34]}Here it is fitting to mention some of the early books, in which the early scholars have stipulated this pure 'aqidah:Kitabul-Iman by Abi 'Ubaydah Qasim bin Sallam (d. 224H),Rad 'ala Zanadiqa wal-Jahmiyyah by Imam Ahmad, Rad 'ala Jahmiyyah by Imam al-Bukhari,Khalq Af'al al-'Ibad by Imam al-Bukhari, Al-Iman by Ibn Mandah (d. 390H), As-Sunnah and 'Usul as-Sunnah by Imam Ahmad, As-Sunnah by Abu Bakr bin Athram (d. 272H), Kitab us-Sunnah by 'Abdullah ibn Ahmad (d. 290 H), As-Sunnah by Nasr al-Marwazi (d. 294H), As-Sunnah by al-Khallal (a student of Imam Ahmad) (d. 311H), Kitab Sharh us-Sunnah by Imam al-Barbahari (d. 329H), Kitab ut-Tawhid by Imam of the A'immah Ibn Khuzaimah (d. 311H), Al-Ibanah al-Kubra and al-Ibanah as-Sughra by Ibn Battah (d. 387H), Sharh Usul al-'Ittiqad Ahl-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah by Imam al-Lalaka'i (d. 418H), which is in 9 parts, but printed in 5 volumes, containing the beliefs of the Salaf and many small treatises traced back by isnad to the Salaf, it is a masterpiece and an essential reference book for all students of knowledge [Translator]{/qluetip} From them, Abu Ja'far at-Tahawi{qluetip title=[35]}Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Salamah al-Azdi at-Tahawi. Died in the year 320H in Egypt and is buried in Qarafa.{/qluetip}, and his 'Aqidah has been explained by Ibn Abil-'Izz al-Hanafi{qluetip title=[36]}Abul-Hasan Sadruddin 'Ali bin 'Alauddin ibn Abil-'Izz al-Hanafi. He died in the year 792H.{/qluetip} one of the students of Ibn Kathir al-Dimishqi naming Sharh al-'Aqidah at-Tahawiyyah and, from them is Abul-Hasan al-Ash'ari{qluetip title=[37]}'Ali bin Isma'il bin Ishaq from the descendants of Abu Musa al-Ash'ari, may Allah be pleased with him. Died in the year 323H.{/qluetip}, in his book al-Ibanah 'an Usul ad-Diyanah. This being the 'Aqidah which he finally settled upon. He said: " ... our saying, which we state, the Din which we profess belief in, is adherence to the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of our Prophet, peace be upon him, and that which is related from the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, the Tabi'un and Imams of hadith, we cling on to this, and we say that which Abu 'Abdullah Ahmad bin Hanbal used to say and distance ourselves from ones that opposed his sayings."

From those that wrote about the 'Aqidah of the Salaf as-Salih is as-Sabuni{qluetip title=[38]}Abu 'Uthman bin 'Abdur-Rahman as-Sabuni, Imam, Muhaddith, Shaykh ul-Islam. He died in the year 449H.{/qluetip} in his book 'Aqidat us-Salaf and Muwaffiq ud-Din ibn Qudamah al-Maqdasi al-Hanbali{qluetip title=[39]}Muwaffiq-ud-Din Abu Muhammad 'Abdullah bin Ahmad ibn Qudamah al-Maqdasi al-Hanbali. Shaykh ul-Islam, a major faqih, he died in the year 720H.{/qluetip} in his book Luma'tul 'Itiqad al-Hadi ila Sabil ar-Rashad, and other glorious scholars, may Allah reward them with good.

We ask Allah to guide us to the pure 'Aqidah (beliefs) and to a pure and clean heart, we ask for virtuous and pleasing manners, and to give us life as Muslims and to take our life while being upon the Shari'ah of our Prophet, Muhammad, upon whom be peace.

O Allah let us die as Muslims as make us meet the Salihin (righteous) without being disgraced or tried. Forgive us, our parents, and the believers on the Day of Judgement. We ask Allah for inspiration to the correctness of sayings and actions. Indeed He is all powerful over all things and the most worthy of answering calls, and our final du'a is, all praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.

(s) The text has been kept as that published by al-Hidaayah. However, aa has been changed to a, ee to i and oo to u in keeping with the style of this website. Some smaller footnotes have also been incorporated into the main text.

FOOTNOTES

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

Be Mindful O Mankind!

No man can have anything better after faith (iman) than a woman of righteous character, loving and child-bearing. And no man can have anything worse after unbelief (kufr) than a sharp-tongued woman of bad character.
'Umar ibn Al-Khattab (d. 23H), Commander of the Faithful, may Allah be pleased with him