The Advice of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-‘Azeez for following the Salaf and Adhering to the Sunnah

June 4, 2008



And whosoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger, after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the Path of the Believers; We shall keep him upon the path he has chosen, and roast him in Hell. What an evil destination!” [Sooratun-Nisaa‘ 4:115]

Most muslims regardless of their culture will tell you and believe that one of the most fundamental tenets of Islam is that we understand the religion using The Quran (The Book of Allah) and The Sunnah (The sayings, actions, approval and disapproval authentically reported from the Prophet Muhammad).  What is either unknown, forgotten or neglected is that Allah has also commanded and warned us that we should also know, study and follow “The Path of the Believers.”  The “believers” in this case are none other than the Sahaba (Allah be pleased with all of them), the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah send the prayers and blessings of peace upon him).  They were the ones who were eyewitnesses to revelation, they saw how the Prophet (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) treated his family, his children and grandchildren, wives, relatives (both muslim and non-muslim), political leaders, elders etc.  They were the ones taught, as Abdullah ibn Umar ibn al-Khattab (radhi-Allah ‘anhumma) said: “what to think about a verse (from the Quran) and what our stance should be towards it” as we have reproduced here in another blog entry.  They were the ones who applied and explained the Quran after the death of the Prophet (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to thousands upon thousands of new muslims in dozens of lands and cultures.

So yes, may Allah be pleased with all of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and may Allah guide us to follow His Book, the Sunnah of His Messenger, and the Understanding of these Two Sources of Islam with the understanding of the Companions of the Prophet (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).  This is Salafiyya – the methodology of understanding and applying the Book of Allah and the Sunnah with the understanding and application of the Prophet (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his companions and all those who followed them exactly.

The following is the advice given by the great Muslim, a righteous predecessor without doubt, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-‘Azeez, may Allah have mercy upon him, and forgive him of any mistake or sin he committed, and raise his rank in Paradise.  The advice is on following the Sunnah, not innovating into it, and admonishment to follow those who preceded the muslims of their day which were the sahaba.

From Shihaab Ibn Khiraash [1] who said: ’Umar Ibn ’Abdul-’Azeez (d.101H) – rahimahullaah – wrote to a man,

May peace be upon you, to proceed:
So verily I advise you to fear Allaah, and to make His Command the objective, and to follow the Sunnah of His Messenger, and to leave off what people invented after him (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), from whatever is confirmed as his Sunnah, and his supply will suffice you.
Then know that there cannot ever be any innovation, except that a proof against it has already passed, and there is a warning in it.  So adhere strictly to the Sunnah, for verily the Sunnah is – with the permission of Allaah – a protection for you.  Verily the one who practices the Sunnah is one who indeed knows what opposes it from mistakes and error, and foolishness, and deep thorough study.
So be pleased with for yourself what the people (i.e. the Salafus-Saalih) were pleased with for themselves, for verily they stopped upon knowledge, and they sufficed with penetrating insight, and they were the strongest in studying the matters, and the virtue that was in them, in that case, they were the most adequate; since they (the Salafus-Saalih – Righteous Predecessors) have already preceded.  So indeed the guidance is not what you are upon, rather they preceded you to it.  Therefore you say, he innovated a newly invented matter after them, so no one invents something, except that he opposes their path, and considers himself to be better than them.  Indeed whatever they spoke was sufficient, and whatever they described was satisfying.  So whatever is below them is deficient, and there is no good above them.  Indeed people fell short of their mark, so they became dull, and others were too ambitious, so they went into extremes, and verily they (the Salaf) were in between the two, so they were upon the straight guidance. [2]

From Imaam Maalik [3] (d.179H) – rahimahullaah – who said: ’Umar Ibn ’Abdul-’Azeez used to say,

The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and the caretakers of the affairs (wulaatul-umoor) enacted Sunnahs, taking to them is affirmation (tasdeeq) of the Book of Allaah, and the completion of obedience to Allaah, and strength upon the Religion of Allaah. [And it is not for anyone to change it, nor to replace it, nor to oppose anything from it.[4]]  Whoever seeks guidance through them will be guided, and whoever seeks aid through them will be victorious, and whoever opposes them; he follows a path other than the Path of the Believers, and the close allies (wulaat) of Allaah are not with him, and his destination is Hell, and an evil end.[3]

Maalik said, “I was amazed at ’Umar when he obligated the Fire for such a person.”

[1] He is Shihaab Ibn Khiraash Ibn Hawshab ash-Shaybaanee, from Koofah.  He moved to Shaam, and lived in ar-Ramlah inside of Palestine, and he died there.  He was sadooq (truthful), a person of the Sunnah.  Refer to Tahdheebul-Kamaal (12/568-572).
[2] Related by Ibn Battah in al-Ibaanah (1/321-322), and by al-Laalikaa‘ee in Sharh Usoolul-I’tiqaad (no. 16)
[3] This is Imaam Maalik Ibn Anas, Imaam Daarul-Hijrah (the scholar of the place of migration, i.e. al-Madeenah)
[3] The proof for this is the statement of Allaah, “And whosoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger, after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the Path of the Believers; We shall keep him upon the path he has chosen, and roast him in Hell.  What an evil destination!” [Sooratun-Nisaa‘ 4:115]
[4] Related by Ibn Battah in al-Ibaanah (1/352-353)

The People of Hadeeth – Aspire to Them Else Conspire Against Them

May 27, 2008

Hadeeth (arabic, plural ahadeeth) – A saying, statement of story that can be authentically traced to the Prophet Muhammad, Allah send the prayers of peace and blessing upon him.  So to be “People of Hadeeth” or “Companions of Hadeeth” is for a person to let the hadeeth guide him, teach him what the Qur’an means, inform him of the various decisions of everyday life that keep him on the right path;  in essence it is to be “saved” from every evil and guided-to and rewarded-with every good.

A very beneficial, brief, yet comprehensive, survey of the characteristics of this group can be found in the following words of al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee, may Allah have mercy on him.

al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee (d.463H) said,

And if only the people of blameworthy opinion [about the religion] busied themselves with beneficial knowledge, and seeking the Sunnah [hadeeth] of the Messenger of the Lord of Creation, and followed the way of the fuqahaa’ [scholars of fiqh] and muhaddithoon [scholars of hadeeth] – then they would find that this would be sufficient for them.

And the narration would take the place of his opinion which he used to hold; since the Hadeeth comprehends the fundamentals of Tawheed, the reported Threats and the Promises, the Attributes of the Lord of Creation – who is High above the saying of the apostates, it also contains information about Paradise and Hell-Fire, and what Allaah has prepared therein for the pious and the wicked, and what Allaah has created in the earths and the heavens, and the remarkable things and great signs, and a mention of the nearest Angels – those drawn up in ranks and those who recite tasbeeh [rememberance of Allah].

And the Hadeeth comprehends stories of the about the pious ascetics and Awliyaa’ [friends of Allah], wonderful admonition and sayings of the Scholars. It contains histories of the kings of the ‘Arabs and non-‘Arabs, and the accounts of past nations, and descriptions of the battles of the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam); his expeditions, rulings, judgements, sermons, warnings, predictions and miracles. It also contains information about the number of his Wives and Children, his Relatives and Companions, and a mention of their excellence and merit, and a mention of their lives, their actions and their ancestry. And the Hadeeth contains tafseer

 of the Qur’aan, information and the wise remembrance contained in it.  It contains the sayings of the Companions about its preserved rulings, the different sayings they held, as well as those of the Scholars and mujtahideen [scholars who exert great effort in understanding the rulings and giving decisions on issues].

And Allaah made Ahlul-Hadeeth (the People of Hadeeth) the pillar of the Sharee’ah [Divine Law] and the destroyer of every despicable innovation.  So they are Allaah’s wardens amongst His creation, and the link between the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his Ummah, and the strivers to preserve His Religion. So their light shines brightly, their excellence remains, their signs are clear, their positions evident and their proofs are over-powering.

And all the sects coil themselves around vain desires and prefer opinion which they cling to – except for Ahlul-Hadeeth, since the Book is their provision, the Sunnah is their proof, the Messenger their leader and to him is their ascription. They do not deviate upon vain desires, nor turn to mere conjecture. They accept what is reported from the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and they are the trustworthy and reliable ones, who memorise the Religion and are its treasurers, its storehouses of knowledge and its bearers. If anyone differs about a hadeeth, then it is referred back to them [scholars of Hadeeth who refer it back to the Quran and the Sunnah]. Thus, their judgement is accepted and listened to. From them is every Scholar and Imaam, and every true ascetic, and one of excellence, and precise reciter and righteous Khateeb. They are the Saved-Sect and their way is the straight one…”**

Many people have heard of or believe they know what “Salafi” or “Salafiyya” is and it is mostly wrong.  The above description by al-Baghdaadee is exactly what Salafiyya is.  It isn’t hatred for the illustrious Imaams, it isn’t about deducing fiqh for yourselves (as is commonly misuderstood or propagated)…it is precisely:  (1) How do you follow and understand the religion of Islam and (2) Who/What do you turn to for that understanding and direction.  It’s that simple.  This is all falls under the rubric of Islamic Methodology.

**Sharafu Ashabul Hadeeth pgs7-9  (The Honor/Nobility of the People of Hadeeth)

The Importance of Aqeedah

November 1, 2007

 Link: The Importance of Aqidah

Author: Dr. Abdul Aziz al-Qari

The Messenger informed Mu’adh bin Jabal, when he was going to the land of Yemen, “You are going to a people from the People of the Book. Let the first thing that you call them to be the worship of Allah. If they acknowledge Allah, then inform them that Allah has obligated upon them five prayers during their days and nights.” [Al-Bukhari, Muslim] This hadith is clear. It does not require much of an explanation. The Prophet applied this principle in his practical calling to Islam. He stayed in Makkah for thirteen years to each the people iman and to educate his Companions on this point and to correct the beliefs of the people. That is the pattern upon which the Companions were brought up.

Jundub Ibn Abdullah al-Bajaly said, “We learned iman (faith) and then we learned the Quran and it increased our iman.”

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