An Introduction to the Author
He is the Hafidh, the Imam, the Faqih, Abu Bakr 'Abdullah ibn Zubayr ibn 'Isa al-Qurayshi al-Asdi al-Humaydi. He learned from many scholars, from them: Waki' ibn Al-Jarrah, Al-Walid ibn Muslim, Ya'la ibn 'Ubayd, and Marwan al-Fazari. He also learned much from Sufyan ibn 'Uyaynah, to the point where Ash-Shafi'i said, "He memorised ten thousand ahadith from Sufyan ibn 'Uyaynah." Abu Hatim ar-Razi said, "The people are in agreement about Sufyan ibn 'Uyaynah, and he is from the companions of Sufyan ibn 'Uyaynah, and he is reliable (thiqah) and a scholar."
Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ishaq ibn Rahawayh, and Al-Bukhari testified to his scholarship, and he was from the most distinguished companions of Ash-Shafi'i in Makkah. Many people received knowledge from him, from them was Al-Bukhari who used him as an authoritative source in his Sahih, and he is the first man in his book. Al-Bukhari related from him the hadith, "Verily actions are by intentions."
The two Razis: Abu Zur'ah, and Abu Hatim also related from him, and Muhammad ibn Yahya adh-Dhuhali, and Yazid ibn Sufyan, and Bishr ibn Musa al-Asdi narrated his musnad from him. He died in the year 218H, may Allah have mercy upon him.
The Authenticity of this Treatise
Imam Al-Humaydi supplemented his musnad with this treatise, which was published in the year 1963CE, with the checking of Shaykh Habib ar-Rahman al-A'dhami. Indeed I authenticated this work from the preserved hand-written manuscript of Al-Musnad, from the preserved texts in Darul Kutubudth Dhahiriyyah in Damascus, and it is found under no. hadith - 541. The manuscript was collected in the year 681H.
Attributing the Treatise to its Writer
This treatise is authenticated from the writer, just as his musnad is. It is authentic according to the people of hadith, with sufficient proof. The Imams of the Salaf met it with approval, and it is authentically mentioned in the writings concerning the creed of the Salaf. So from that is: It was mentioned by the Imam, the accomadator of the Religion, Ibn Qudamah in Dhammut Ta'wil point no. 39, with a chain of narrators from Abi 'Ali as-Sawwaf - a narrator of the musnad - from Bishr ibn Musa, from Al-Humaydi who said, "The principles of the sunnah are ... and whatever is spoken about in the Qur'an'." So he mentioned what will follow in points 8-9. Shaykh ul-Islam ibn Taymiyyah mentioned it when he said [in Majmu al-Fatawa (4/6)], "And it is established from al-Humaydi, 'Ali ibn Bishr, Abdullah ibn Zubayr, that he said, 'The principles of the sunnah are ... ' so he mentioned some things." So he agreed with what Ibn Qudamah mentioned. Likewise, the text itself from this treatise is quoted from Al-Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim in Ijtima' al-Juyush al-Islami (p. 86). It is also mentioned by Al-Hafidh Adh-Dhahabi in Tadhkirat al-Huffadh (2/44) with a chain of narrators from Ibn Qudamah as has preceded. He quotes the conclusion of Al-Musnad.
The Name of the Treatise
It is mentioned in the beginning after the conclusion of the musnad with the following name: 'Usul as-Sunnah then 'Bishr ibn Musa informed us from Al-Humaydi. So the name of the treatise is established.
Bishr ibn Musa related to us that Al-Humaydi said:
The Sunnah is that a man believes in is:
- Pre-Decree, the good of it, and the evil of it, and the sweetness of it, and the bitterness of it. He should know that whatever afflictions befall him are not due to his wrong-doings, and his wrong-doings are not due to his afflictions; rather all of that is a virtue from Allah, the Mighty and Majestic;
- Iman is statement and action, it increases and decreases. A statement is not beneficial except with an action, and neither is an action or statement beneficial, except with an intention, and neither is an action, statement, or intention beneficial, except with the Sunnah. To pray for forgiveness upon all of the Companions of Muhammad, peace be upon him. So verily Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, says: "And those who came after them saying, 'Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith.' " [Al-Qur'an 59:10] So do not enjoin except with forgiveness for them. So whoever reviles them, or finds fault in them, or in one of them, then he is not upon the Sunnah, and he does not have any right to the booty. It was reported to us about Malik from more than one person that he said Allah, the Exalted, divided up the booty when he said "For the poor emigrants who were expelled from their homes." [Al-Qur'an 59:8] He said, "And those who came after them saying: 'Our Lord, forgive us.'" to the end of the verse. So (whoever) does not say this about them, then there is no booty for him;
- The Qur'an is the Word of Allah. I heard Sufyan saying, "The Qur'an is the Word of Allah, and whoever says that it is created, then he is an innovator. We have not heard anyone saying this.";
- I heard Sufyan saying, "Faith (iman) is knowledge and action, it increases and decreases." So his brother Ibrahim ibn 'Uyaynah said to him, "Do not say that it decreases." So he became angry and said, "Be silent you child, until nothing like this remains.";
- The affirmation of the ru'yah  after death;
- Whatever the Qur'an and ahadith speak about, like "And the Jews say the Hand of Allah is fettered. May their hands be fettered." [Al-Qur'an 5:64] Likewise, "And the Heavens shall be rolled up in His Right Hand." [Al-Qur'an 39:67] Whatever resembles this from the Qur'an and ahadith, we do not increase in them, and we do not explain them away. We say, "Ar-Rahman (The Most Merciful) has ascended above the Throne." [Al-Qur'an 20:5] Whoever alleges other than this, then he is a lying Jahmi;
- We do not say as the Khawarij say: whoever commits a major sin, then he has indeed disbelieved. We do not declare a person to be a disbeliever due to something of sins, disbelief is only for the one who abandons the five, about which the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said: "Islam is built upon five: testifying that none has the right to be worshipped, except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and the establishment of prayer, and giving charity (zakat), and fasting in the month of Ramadan, and pilgrimage to the House."  So as for three from them, then there is no difference concerning the one who abandons them: Whoever does not testify to the two testimonies, and does not pray, and does not fast, even though there is nothing to delay from him from its time. There is no punishment for the one who makes it up after his intentional negligence in it from its time. So as for charity (zakat), then when does not offer it, being content with it - then he is a sinner for holding it back. So as for pilgrimage (hajj), then it becomes obligatory upon him, if the means for him is present. It is not generally obligatory upon him, until he has no reason to avoid it. When he performs it, he becomes one of those who have performed it, and he is not a sinner for delaying it if he performs it, as he would be a sinner in charity. This is because charity is a right of the needy Muslims, if he holds it back from them, then he is a sinner until he gives it to them. So as for pilgrimage, then it is between the servant and his Lord. If he performs it, then he has indeed performed it. If he dies and the affordability was present, yet he did not perform pilgrimage, he will ask to be returned to this world for pilgrimage. It is obligatory for his family to perform pilgrimage for him, and it is obligatory upon the one who offers it for him to return it to him as if it were a debt upon him, so he recompenses him after his death.
- This is the tahqiq and text of the treatise 'Usul as-Sunnah by Imam Abu Bakr al-Humaydi (d. 218H), one of the teachers of Amir ul-Mu'minin fil Hadith, Muhammad ibn Isma'il al-Bukhari. We have taken it from the Al-Hikmah Arabic quarterly, issue no. 1. The checking is by Abu Muhammad 'Abdullah ibn Yusuf al-Juday' who is probably best known for his recent work, Al-'Aqidat as-Salafiyyah fi Kalami Rabb al-Barriyah. All footnotes are by the checker unless otherwise stated. May Allah reward brother 'Uthman Sheikh who played a major role in it's translation. ^back
- See his biographies in Tahdhib al-Kamal of Al-Mizzi (14/512), and in Siyar A'lamun Nubala of Adh-Dhahabi (10/616).^back
- This is affirmed by the hadith of Sufyan in Sahih Muslim (no. 2999), where he reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, "How remarkable is the affair of the believer! Verily all of his affair is good, and none is like that except the believer. If a good thing befalls him, he is thankful, so it becomes good for him. If an evil affliction befalls him, he is patient, so it becomes good for him." ^back
- In the original, the word is 'believe'. This is because of a misplacement of the diacritical marks as Al-A'dhami points out in his checking. ^back
- This is authentically reported from Malik, and Al-Lalika'i reported it in his As-Sunnah (no. 2400) by way of Ma'in ibn 'Isa who said, "I heard Malik ibn Anas saying, 'Whoever reviles the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, he does not have a right to the booty. Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, says, 'For the poor emigrants who were expelled from their homes and their properties, seeking bounties from Allah and His Approval ... ' to the end of the verse. These were the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, who migrated with him. Then He said, 'And those who were settled in their homes and adopted faith', these were the Ansar (helpers). Then He said, 'And those who came after them saying: 'Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith.' ' So the booty is for these three. So whoever reviles the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, he is not from these three, and he does not have a right to the booty.' " I say its chain of narrators is authentic. Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said, "This is known from Malik, and other than Malik from the people of knowledge such as, Abu 'Ubayd Qasim ibn Sallam" [Minhaj As-Sunnah (2/20)]. I say it is reported from Abu 'Ubayd by Abu Bakr al-Khallal in his As-Sunnah (no. 792). ^back
- This is an unavoidable addition from the published version. ^back
- This is upon its real sense ('ala haqiqatihi), with letters (huruf) and meanings. This is one of the matter in which the various groups from among the people of the Qiblah have differed. I have explained it in detail in my book, Al-'Aqidat as-Salafiyyah fi Kalami Rabb al-Barriyah, so the reader may refer to it. ^back
- He is Sufyan ibn 'Uyaynah. ^back
- That is the believers' seeing their Lord, the Blessed and Exalted, and the narrations concerning this aspect of belief are recurrent and authentic. They have been collected by many scholars, such as Al-Ajurri, and Ibn Al-A'rabi, and Ad-Daraqutni, and other than them. ^back
- There is no difference amongst the people of knowledge regarding the disbelief of the one who abandons the two testimonies, likewise, there is no difference between them concerning the disbelief of the one who denies the obligation of one of the other pillars, if the proof has been established upon him. Rather, there is a difference amongst the schools of law (madhahib) concerning the abandonment of these four in action. See: Al-Iman (p. 245, 287, 354), and Majmu' al-Fatawa (7/600-616). ^back
- Translators Note: This hadith was reported by Ibn 'Umar. It was related by Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, and Nisa'i. Shaykh Al-Albani declared it authentic, see Sahih Al-Jami' (no. 2840), Ar-Rawdh (no. 270), Irwa' al-Ghalil (no. 781). ^back
- This meaning is related as a hadith that is not authentic. It is reported by 'Abd ibn Humayd (no. 693), and by Tirmidhi in his Jami' (no. 3313), and Ibn Jarir in his tafsir (28/118), and Tabarani in Al-Kabir (12/114-115), and Ibn 'Adi in Al-Kamal (7/2670), by way of Abi Jinab al-Kalabi, from Adh-Dhihab ibn Mazahim, from Ibn 'Abbas who said, "Whoever has wealth should go for pilgrimage, or if he has wealth, charity is obligatory upon him. So if he did not give charity, he will ask to be returned from death." They said, "O Ibn 'Abbas, we thought this was a disbeliever?" He said, "I shall read to you from the Qur'an", then he read, "O you who believe, do not be distracted by your wealth, nor by your children, from the remembrance of Allah ... " until he read, "So give charity, and be from amongst the righteous." This refers to the man. I say its chain of narrators is weak due to three defects; Firstly, this Abu Jinab - and he is Yahya ibn Abi Hamzah - is weak in hadith, not strong, and he was notorious for tadlis (concealment). Secondly, Ad-Dahhak never heard from Ibn 'Abbas. Thirdly, there is a difference as to whether Ibn Jinab related this narration as marfu' (elevated), or maquf (stopped). So Ath-Thawri, and 'Umar ibn 'Adi report it from him as marfu', whereas Ja'far ibn 'Awn - as Tirmidhi reports (no. 3313) - and Sufyan ibn 'Uyaynah report it from him as mawquf. I say that if these three defects are proven, then the tadlis of Abi Jinab completes a fourth. ^back