The Reality of Ahl al-Sunnah in Light of the ʿAqīdah of the Imāms of the Salaf
Shaykh Abū Khadījah
The way of Ahl al-Sunnah is to follow the way of the Prophet and his Companions. The Imāms of Ahl al-Sunnah all emphasised this, as one of the Imāms said: If my opinion is in accordance to the Sunnah of the Prophet then take it; however, if it is not then throw my opinion away. From a joint seminar organised by the community of Trinidad & Tobago and TROID from the early 2000s.
The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) said: The best of the people are my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them. Do not become disheartened by the trials the ummah faces of innovations and disunity. The end result is for Islām and the Muslims.
None of the Companions were upon one particular madh‘hab rather they were upon the Ḥadīth of the Messenger. This was also the way of the Imāms that came: Imām Shāfiʿī said: if the Ḥadīth is authentic then that is my madh’hab.
Imām Aḥmad said: do not blindly follow me and do not blindly follow Mālik nor Shāfiʿī nor al-Thawrī and nor al-Awzaʿī but rather take from where they took (the narrations from the Messenger).
If one wants the affairs to be rectified then they must take the affairs back to the Companions. As Imām Mālik ibn Anas said: Indeed the latter part of this Ummah will not be rectified except with the which rectified the first of this Ummah.
There should be something important known: the corruption and calamities upon the Muslims today is because of their turning away from the guidance of the Messenger. The humiliation upon the ummah will not be lifted up until the Muslims return to their dīn (religion). As ʿAbdullāh ibn ʿUmar said, the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) said: If you partake in interest-based transactions, and you hold onto the tails of cattle, and you become satisfied with the cultivation of the earth, and you abandon jihād in the path of Allāh then Allāh’s humiliation will come down upon you.
The Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) said: and the humiliation will not be removed up until you return back to your dīn (religion).
وَعَدَ اللَّـهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَى لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُم مِّن بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا ۚ يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ فَأُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ Allāh has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practise their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islām). And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided) they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me. But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the Fāsiqūn (rebellious, disobedient to Allāh). [Sūrah al-Nūr, 24:55]
Shaykh al-Fawzān mentioned: Allāh said, “And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided) that”, and Allāh laid down two conditions:
They (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me
But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the fāsiqūn (rebellious, disobedient to Allāh)
Shaykh al-Albānī said regarding this verse: There are certain things that Allāh has commanded His servants with and a result of that than Allāh will give them something (that which He has promised them).
Ibn Kathīr mentioned: the reason that this verse was revealed is that one of the Companions went to the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa salām) and said, “O Messenger of Allāh for how long, for how long will we be sleeping with our swords beside us (living in a state of fear)?”. Then Allāh sent down this verse [Sūrah al-Nūr, 24:55].
The People of Ḥadīth and the Salafīs are the most strange. The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa salām) said, “Islām began as something strange and it will return strange as it began, so tūbah (a tree in paradise) is for the strangers”.
It is not from the Sunnah to limit oneself to only one scholar by saying to follow one particular imām and to leave all the others. Imām al-Barbahārī said: He who limits himself to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allāh and that which his companions and the Jama’āh were upon, is successful. And he triumphs over all the people of innovation, he is saved and his religion is preserved.
ʿAbdullāh ibn Masʿūd said: The Jama’āh is one person so long as he is upon the truth.
When Shaykh al-Islām is mentioned it is generally referring to one of two people: Ibn Taymīyyah or Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb.
Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah said: The Companions never fought each other because of differings they had about the fundamentals of Islām, and they did not differ in anything from the principles of Islām. They did not differ about the attributes of Allāh, nor about the pre-decree of Allāh, nor in the affairs of takfīr (declaring someone to be outside of the religion), nor in the issue of imān (faith).
Some books of ʿaqīdah:
al-Sunnah of al-Khalāl
al-Sunnah of al-Tabarī
al-Sunnah of al-Marwazī
Uṣūl al-Sunnah of Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal
Sharḥ ʿItiqād Ahl al-Sunnah wa-al-Jamāʿah of al-Lālakāʾī
ʿAqīdah al-Salaf wa Asḥab al-Ḥadīth of al-Sābūnī
Sharḥ al-Sunnah of al-Barbahārī
Information is mentioned about the caliphate and the various deviant sects.
[Please note: During the time that these lectures were taken Ibrahīm al-Ruhaylī was still known as someone who knowledge could be taken from, however scholars have since refuted him and knowledge is not to be taken from him but rather he is warned against.]