Imām Ahmad b. Hanbal’s, Usūl As-Sunnah: “Holding fast to what the Companions of Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wassallam) were upon.” Explanation of Ahmad An-Najmee (Part 1)

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In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and all his Companions.

Introduction

The creed (‘aqeedah) of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah was penned down by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (may Allaah’s mercy be upon him) in his great work Usoolus-Sunnah translated as The Foundations of the Sunnah. The term Sunnah in the title refers to the belief and the ‘aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah. Indeed there were many works compiled in the early generations that dealt with clarifying and conveying the belief of the Companions of Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam), from them we have the following:

  • Usool us-Sunnah of Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241H)
  • As-Sunnah of Al-Athram (d. 273H)
  • Kitāb us-Sunnah of Abu Dawood (d. 275H)
  • Kitāb us-Sunnah of Ibn Abee ‘Aasim (d. 287H)
  • Kitāb us-Sunnah of Abdullaah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 290H)
  • As-Sunnah of Al-Marwazee (d. 292H)
  • Sareeh us-Sunnah of Ibn Jareer at-Tabaree (d. 310H)
  • As-Sunnah of Al-Khallaal (d. 311H)
  • Sharh us-Sunnah of Al-Barbahāri (d. 329H)
  • As-Sunnah of Al-Assāl (d. 349H)
  • As-Sunnah of At-Tabarānee (d. 360H)

All these works and many more were compiled by the illustrious scholars of the past in explanation of the Islamic belief as it was understood and conveyed by the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger.

Those who adhere to the creed expounded in these works are known as Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah and those who turn away and reject what these works speak of are known as Ahlul-Bid’ah wal-Furqah (the people of innovation and separation from the truth).

As for the book we are discussing, Usool us-Sunnah, then though it is small in size it is indeed great in meaning. Abu Ya’la al-Hanbali (died 526H) stated (Tabaqaat al-Hanābilah 1/241):

“If one was to travel to China in search of it, it would be no mean feat.”

This aqeedah was penned down by the Imaam of Ahlus-Sunnah by consensus – the one who remained firm and steadfast in the times of tribulation in which the people of misguidance compelled the people with their saying that the Qur’an was created along with the denial and distortion of the Attributes of Allaah. So Allaah, the Most High, made the truth clear by way of Imām Ahmad (rahimahullāh), the Imaam of Ahlus-Sunnah – born in the year 161H and died in 241H.

Isnād (chain of narration) of the Book to Imām Ahmad

This work begins with the chain of narration that connects this work to Imam Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hanbal – and one should not doubt the blessing that has been conveyed upon this Ummah by Allaah by preserving this Religion by way of the chain of narration (i.e. the isnād):

“Ash-Shaikh al-Imaam Abul-Muzafar Abdul-Malik ibn ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-Hamdaani said: Shaikh Abu Abdullaah Yahyah ibn al-Hasan ibn Ahmad ibn al-Banaa narrated to us saying: My father, Abu ‘Ali al-Hasan ibn Ahmad ibn Abdullaah ibn al-Banaa, informed us saying: Abul-Husayn ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Abdullaah ibn Bishraan al-Mu’dal informed us saying: ‘Uthmaan ibn Ahmad ibn as-Sammaak informed us saying: I read to Abu Muhammad al-Hasan ibn Abdul-Wahhaab ibn Abil-‘Anbar from his book in the month of Rabee’ al-Awwal in the year 293H and he said: Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Sulaymaan al-Munqaree al-Basree narrated to us in Tanees (a city in Egypt) and said: ‘Abdoos ibn Maalik al-‘Ataar informed me saying: I heard Abu Abdullaah Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hanbal, rahimahullāh, say:

أصول السنة عندنا:

التمسك بما كان عليه أصحاب رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وسلم) والاقتداء بهم

“The foundations of the Sunnah with us are: Holding fast to what the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wassallam) were upon.”

Holding Fast to the Way of the Companions Explanation and Commentary of Shaykh Ahmad an-Najmee

Shaykh Ahmad bin Yahyaa an-Najmee (rahimahullaah) said, commenting upon the above, in his book, “Sharh Usool is-Sunnah” (abridged):

The Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wassallam) said:

“Upon you is to cling to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs after me – hold onto it with your molar teeth.” [1]

And holding on to whatever the Companions were upon is holding on to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of the Messenger and to his Seerah (i.e. his biography) and to his Rightly Guided Successors, from the noble Companions.

The Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) described the sect of salvation in the hadeeth of the splitting of the Ummah:

“This Ummah will divide into seventy-three sects, all of them will be in the Hellfire except for one. He was asked: “Who are they (the Saved Sect)?” He said: They are those who are upon that which I and my Companions are upon.” [2]

So if we know this then it is upon the seeker of knowledge that he read the biography and life of the Prophet and likewise about the lives of his Companions and how they were for indeed the innovations occurred after the time of the Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) and the Companions opposed all innovations.

And the first of the innovations to befall the Ummah was the innovation of the Khawaarij [3], Then there was the bid’ah of ar-Rafd (i.e. the Shee’ah) [4], Then came the bid’ah of al-I’tizaal [5], And there also occurred the bid’ah of Al-Qadr [6].

So all of this was taking place in that time, yet the Companions withheld and never entered into innovations, rather they forbade them and opposed them as occurs in the hadeeth of Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) in Saheeh Muslim when he was informed of the bid’ah of the Qadariyyah so he said to those who conveyed that to him:

“If you meet them, then inform that I am indeed free of them and that they are free of me.”

Then he narrated the hadeeth from his father in which Jibreel came to the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) to him about the Religion. [7]

And likewise ‘Ali ibn Abee Taalib who took a position against the Khawaarij and sent his cousin, Abdullaah ibn Abbaas, to them and he debated with them after which four thousand returned to the truth and the rest remained, so ‘Ali fought them on the day of Nahrawaan. So we see the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger withheld from bid’ah which became apparent in their times – and they took positions of enmity towards bid’ah. And that which clarifies their hatred of the people of bid’ah is the narration of Abu Umaamah al-Baahilee, the noble Companion who settled and died in Shaam in the year 86H, that is reported by Abu Dawood (died 275H) in ‘Kitaab as-Sunnah’ – that when Abu Umaamah saw the severed heads of the leaders of the Khawaarij erected upon stakes he stated that they are the dogs of the Hellfire and the most evil of the creation.

Refer to “Sharh Usool is-Sunnah” of Ahmad an-Najmee (pp. 30-33, unpublished, manuscript edition, Al-Maktbah As-Salafiyyah Al-Khairiyyah bi Muhaafidhah Saamitah)

Additional Explanatory Notes

Imām Ahmad ibn Hanbal stated in Usool us-Sunnah right at the beginning:

أصول السنة عندنا:

التمسك بما كان عليه أصحاب رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وسلم) والاقتداء بهم

“The Foundations of the Sunnah with us are holding fast to that which the Companions of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) were upon, following and emulating them.”

We do not follow those ahzāb and parties that oppose the Sahābah. Someone may say about the various groups and sects such as Ikhwān ul-Muslimeen, Jamāt at-Tabligh, the Sufis and others, that they praise the Sahābah, so how can you say that they oppose them? This is because in the eyes of Ahlul Bid’ah, the Sahābah were just luminaries – righteous people who inspired others – however they were not taken as examples to be followed. They will mention the piety of Abu Bakr (radiAllahu ‘anhu), the courage of ‘Umar, or the humility of ‘Uthmān, the good character of ‘Ali, the recitation of Ubay bin Ka’ab, and so on, but merely mentioning their virtues is not the same as following them. The lives of the Sahābah are no more than bedtime stories for them; but they do not take them as examples in ‘Aqeedah or manhaj, or in their everyday lives.

They have love for the Sahābah (radiAllahu ‘anhum) and the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) in their hearts, and they may have good intentions, but this is not enough, and it does not protect them from the misguidance that they embrace. This is evident in the example of the people who were counting the stones in the masjid in the time of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’oud and Abu Musa al-’Ashari (radiAllahu ‘anhumā). When ibn Mas’oud rebuked and refuted them they said, “We only intended good,” – perhaps the general folk amongst them intend good, however, the leaders of Ahlul Bid’ah know that they are calling to misguidance, yet they still claim to love Allah and the Sahābah and the Messenger of Allah (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam). The proof of true love for Allah is to follow the Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) as Allah the Most High states:

قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ

“Say O Muhammad (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) to mankind: ‘If you really love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins…’ (Surah Al-’Imrān 3:31)

How many of Ahlul Bid’ah follow the Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam)? Rather they follow their various paths of Sufism, or they follow their hizb. When they mention the Sahābah or some of the early Salaf, they do not do it with the intention of calling others to follow them, rather it is just a matter of narrating stories.

Imāms of Misguidance

In another work of his, (the explanation of Kitāb ut-Tawheed), Sheikh Ahmad an-Najmi mentions a tremendous narration which was collected by Abu Dāwud and declared Saheeh by Sheikh al-Albāni. In this narration, the Messenger of Allah (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, with the meaning: Indeed I fear for my Ummah the Imāms of misguidance, and when the sword is drawn between them it will not be withdrawn until the Day of Resurrection. And the hour will not be established until a part of my Ummah attach themselves to the mushrikeen (polytheists), and until factions from my Ummah worship idols. In my Ummah there will appear thirty liars (Dajjāloon/Kadhāboon), each of them claiming to be a prophet but I am the last of the prophets and there is no prophet after me. There shall not cease to be a group from my Ummah upon the Truth; aided and victorious, not harmed by those who betray them; they will remain like this until the Command of Allah comes, the Blessed and Most High.

Sheikh Ahmad An-Najmi stated that these Imāms of misguidance mentioned above, are those who ascribe themselves to the Da’wah of Islām. They leave off the call to Tawheed and they legislate for their followers worship that is based upon innovation. This is apparent in practices such as ‘Eid Milād un-Nabī, celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam), marching in the streets against the Muslim rulers, innovated adhkār, tawāf and duā around the graves: innovation upon innovation.

Included among the leaders of misguidance are those who legislate for the students the permissibility of performing takfeer upon the Ummah of Muhammad (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam), upon the rulers and the scholars, declaring them to be apostates. These so-called ‘Imāms’ oppose the methodology of all of the prophets and messengers because their call began with Tawheed. This is the reality of the manhaj of Ikhwān ul-Muslimeen, the Surooris, the Qutubis, and all of these are an infiltration from the methodology invented by Jamāl ud-Deen al-Afghāni who was surrounded by doubts and suspicions.

Ikhwān ul-Muslimeen

In recent times, Ikhwān ul-Muslimeen, which was founded by Hasan al-Bannā in 1928, has been outlawed and criminalized in many Muslim lands, alhamdulillah. Its aim was, and remains till this day, to gain political ascendency, power and leadership. They use innovated means and methods and are far away from the Prophetic methodology, and that of the early Salaf. In their history, from 1928 up until today, they have used assassination, killing, rebellion, suicide bombing, terrorism, social unrest, marching in the streets, demonstrations and even the ballot box – they will use whatever it takes to gain political control and power.

Sheikh ‘Abd ul-’Aziz bin Bāz (rahimahullah) declared this group to be from the seventy-two sects of misguidance alongside Jamāt at-Tabligh of India.

The Surooriyoon

As for the Surooriyoon, they are the followers of the political doctrine of Muhammad Suroor (a former Syrian member of Ikhwān ul-Muslimeen) who was expelled from Saudi Arabia for his views and his ghuloo (extremism). He then moved to Kuwait, then from Kuwait to Birmingham in the U.K. where he founded Dār ul-Arqam. Thereafter, he was involved in the establishment of al-Muntada al-Islāmi in London. He is revered by the extremists such as the Khawārij from Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqāwi, Abu Muhammad al-Maqdasi, to Safar al-Hawāli and Salmān al-‘Awdah (in fact he even taught some of them). Muhammad Suroor was a political ideologue who declared the scholars and rulers to be apostates, and nothing more than the ‘puppets of the West,’ saying that they are ‘the slaves of the slaves of the slaves, and their masters are Jews and Christians.’ He had a magazine that was refuted by several major scholars, which he would fax from the U.K. into Saudi Arabia to incite discord and separation among the people.

The Qutubis

The Qutubiyoon (Qutubis) are the followers of Sayyid Qutub, or the followers of his methodology. They are driven and committed to the teachings of this figurehead of Ikhwān ul-Muslimeen. He was an Egyptian ‘thinker’ and writer (not a scholar) who was eventually executed in 1966 for his attempted overthrow of the Egyptian regime which was at that time under Jamāl Abd un-Nāser. He is probably the most influential personality and revered ideologue of every jihādist, extremist group in the world. His books such as Ma’ālim fit-Tareeq (Milestones) are published in scores of languages, and they are widespread. His books infiltrated the Muslim Ummah in the 1970s and 80s – there is not a single extremist, whether he be Rāfidi or Khāriji, ISIS, al-Qaeda, Ikhwāni, FIS, GIA, Hammās, except that they draw inspiration from Sayyid Qutub. In fact, in 1984 Sayyid Qutub’s picture was put onto the Iranian stamp due to Khomeini’s admiration for him.

Sayyid Qutub considered the world to be in a state of Jāhiliyyah (Pre-Islamic ignorance) where there was no concept of ‘Ummah’ – he said the Ummah was ghā’iba (absent) – it did not exist, and he said the rulers, the Imāms of the masājid, the mu’adhins and the subjects had all abandoned the laws of Allah and have all apostated. He said that the meaning of ‘Lā ilāha ill-Allah’ is that there is no judgement except for Allah – thus giving it a new interpretation. He also said that to return the Ummah back to its former glory, a vanguard must rise up from the ashes with a revolutionary army of God, to bring about upheaval and to destroy the political elite, and replace it with the ideals of Ikhwān ul-Muslimeen (which was nothing more than ‘taking the seat of political power’ – as was seen a few years ago when they gained power in Egypt – all they achieved was nearness to the Rāfidah Shi’ah in Iran, the enemies of Allah – inviting them to their lands. So, they did not bring about any good.

Sayyid Qutub was declared to be a Khāriji, Mubtadi’ and Dāl (misguided) by almost every Salafi scholar. Even the heads of Ikhwān ul-Muslimeen such as al-Qardāwi affirmed his extremism. Qutub’s famous work ‘Milestones’ is seen as the Khāriji Manifesto of the century.

Jamāl ud-Deen al-Afghāni

Sheikh Ahmad an-Najmi then mentions Jamāl ud-Deen al-Afghāni who is often quoted by orientalists and western writers who incorrectly ascribe him to Salafiyyah. He died in 1897 and his actual origins are shrouded in a certain amount of mystery. It appears that he came from a Shi’ah family. This is backed by certain evidence such as his frequent visits to Iran and to the shrines of the Shi’ah, and his political reform efforts in Iran. In his adulthood he was a political activist, calling for Islamic differences to be put to one side and to unite to gain political power. He called for the modernization of Islamic thought, attempting to reconcile the Islamic beliefs with modern western European values such as nationalism, democracy, enlightenment and western Eurocentric reason. In essence, he was a rationalist who saw the benefits of borrowing from other religions, ideologies and thoughts to gain power and political ascendency. The term Salafiyyah is used erroneously to refer to Jamal ud-Deen al-Afghāni’s ideology. Likewise, his student Muhammad ‘Abduh, who later became the mufti of Egypt, also had the same ideology. They were not Salafi, rather they were both modernists and rationalists, more akin to the Mu’tazilah than to Salafiyyah. This is because Salafiyyah rejects innovation in the religion and deviation from the manhaj of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the Sahābah in every sphere, including the political arena.

Al-Afghāni and his followers would adopt ideologies foreign to Islam as a ‘rational’ path to revival, which is in line with the ideas of the Mu’tazilah. Al-Afghāni, Muhammad ‘Abduh and thereafter Muhammad Rasheed Rida, all called for the opening of the doors of Ijtihād (Islamic deductions or drawing juristic opinions). However, their intention was not the traditional Salafi approach of the great jurists of the early centuries. The early jurists based their ijtihād on the Book, the Sunnah and the Sahābah, but with Jamāl ud-Deen al-Afghāni and his followers, their intention was to reconcile with western political thought and amalgamate its concepts with the Islamic Shariah.

Salafiyyah in its true sense has no binding doctrinal or theological attachments to the teachings of al-Afghāni or ‘Abduh; these two started a movement that can be termed ‘Islamic modernism.’ They were modernists, which refers to the Mu’tazilite doctrine, where reason, thought and rationale are given precedence over the religious texts. So, everything they concocted was based upon reason and intellect – not religious texts – rather they distorted the texts in order to fit into their reasoning, or they re-interpreted the texts to suit their ideas.

Al-Afghāni envisioned the overthrow of the Muslim Rulers (who he claimed were lax and subservient to foreign powers), and to replace them with patriotic rulers. When he arrived in Egypt, a young Muhammad ‘Abduh became enthralled by him (al-Afghāni) and became his devoted disciple. Those who ascribe Salafiyyah to al-Afghāni and ‘Abduh, have no understanding of Salafiyyah, nor of al-Afghāni. It was this doctrine that shaped al-Hasan al-Bannā, the founder of Ikhwān ul-Muslimeen. To this day in Kabul there is a huge tomb dedicated to Jamāl- ud-Deen al-Afghāni, and in Tehran (in Irān) there is a street named after him.

Muhammad ‘Abduh

His student, Muhammad ‘Abduh (d. 1905) was a neo-Mu’tazili, a devoted disciple of al-Afghāni, and is regarded as the founder of Islamic Modernism. Like his teacher al-Afghāni, he tried to reconcile Islamic Shariah and faith with European political and social values. These early modernists used the term Salafiyyah to refer to their struggle to revive Islamic thought, and in doing so they contradicted the very essence of Salafiyyah – which is to revive the ‘Aqeedah and the manhaj of the first three generations. What they (al-Afghāni etc.) managed to achieve was the revival of the Mu’tazili doctrine.

‘Abduh studied at al-Azhar University in Cairo, he learnt philosophy, logic and the paths and esoteric beliefs of the Sufis. Both ‘Abduh and al-Afghāni developed the idea of ‘pan-Islamism’ to confront European imperialism – but their ideas of reform were not upon the methodology of the early Salaf, and they were consequently criticized for their approach. So, Muhammad ‘Abduh was exiled to Lebanon, then to Paris where he joined his mentor al-Afghāni. From Paris, they published their magazine called al-’Urwatul Wuthqā- ‘the Firm Handhold,’ (this name is based upon the ayah in Surah Baqarah 2:256). On his return to Egypt Muhammad ‘Abduh was appointed as the Grand Mufti of Egypt in 1899. He argued that the early interpretations and explanations of the texts from the earliest generations could not be relied upon to solve the problems faced by the Muslims in the modern world. He also argued that one should use intellect and reason to deal with issues facing Muslim Societies. ‘Abduh, like al-Afghāni, was also a member of a Masonic Lodge – the scholars have said that these were Freemasons. The Masonic Lodge was called كوكب الشرق ‘The Star of the East,’ and he propounded the idea of the unity of the three major religions.

‘Abduh and his disciple Muhammad Rasheed Rida both wrote in different ways about their acceptance of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, and they both became proponents of Darwinism. Together they launched the famous magazine ‘al-Manār’ in 1898. After ‘Abduh’s death in 1905, Muhammad Rasheed Rida continued to develop the ideas of modernism of al-Afghāni and ‘Abduh. It was their political modernist and revolutionary ideas that formed the foundations of the political thought of al-Hasan al-Bannā and his group Ikhwān ul-Muslimeen.

Al-Hasan al-Bannā and Ikhwān ul-Muslimeen

Al-Hasan al-Bannā was inspired by Muhammad Rasheed Rida’s magazine ‘al-Manār,’ and he founded the political group Ikhwān ul-Muslimeen in 1928. He was heavily influenced by Sufism (as mentioned previously), and he was a revolutionary, Sufi, modernist, like al-Afghāni. What we have seen over the previous decades that Ikhwān ul-Muslimeen is merely a melting pot of all the ideas of al-Afghāni, ‘Abduh, Muhammad Rasheed Rida and Hasan al-Bannā. There is no Kitāb or Sunnah in their methodology except for misinterpretation of them! They try to gather between the Rāfidah and Ahl us-Sunnah. Their speeches indicate that all they are really after is power.

Many people do not know about the history of al-Ikhwān ul-Muslimoon and all their splinter groups. Such groups are in fact the advocates of modern-day terrorism, revolutionary movements, marching in the streets and causing mayhem in the Muslim and non-Muslim lands that only lead the rulers to become firmer with their subjects due to their fear of attacks and bombings.

Ahmad An-Najmi stated: If we ponder over the methodologies of these groups; do we see them upon the path of the believers (the Sahābah) as Allah has commanded in the Qur’ān? Or are they on other than the path of the believers? The fact is that they are on other than their path.

Jamāt ut-Tabligh and the Deobandiyyah

Likewise, with Jamāt ut-Tabligh, founded by Muhammad Ilyās al-Kandahlawi – a Deobandi, Chishti, Sufi. His upbringing was upon the Māturīdi creed, he was educated in a Deobandi school and he was upon Sufi mysticism – as is confirmed by the Tablighis themselves in their biographies of him. Salafis should not be confused by these people. Muhammad Ilyās deviated in his belief and methodology far away from that of the first three generations of Muslims. He was ardently loyal to the Hanafi Deobandi movement, who are Hanafi in Fiqh, Sufi in the spiritual path and Māturidi in ‘Aqeedah. He was born in 1885 and died in 1945 and the Deobandi school was established in 186, so these sects are not old. They are new, modern-day groups that have nothing to do with the early Salaf, rather they are Ahlul Bid’ah, and from the seventy-two deviated sects as Sheikh Bin Bāz (rahimahullah) has stated.

Muhammad Ilyās gave his pledge of allegiance upon Sufism to Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi (d.1905) and he took some of the sciences of the religion from Ashraf ‘Ali Thānawi – the famous Deobandi ideologue (d.1943) – looking at these dates clearly shows that these figureheads and their ideologies are all modern – not from the early Salaf.

When we quote ‘Abul ‘Aaliyah (d.90H) Umar ibn ‘Abd ul-’Azeez (d.101H), Muhammad ibn Sireen (d.110H), Sufyān ath-Thawri (d.161H), Mālik bin Anas (d.179H), Fudhayl bin Iyyād (d.187H), Ahmad bin Hanbal (d.241H) and Bukhāri (d.256H) – you can see that these Imāms are all from the early generations – not only do we quote from them, but we follow their methodology. These are our Salaf. Compare this to the dates for Ahlul Bid’ah: Deobandiyyah 1867, Jamāt ut-Tabligh 1928, Ikhwān ul-Muslimeen 1928 – they do not refer to the early Salaf, rather they are from recent times.

You will find peculiar, superstitious stories from the Deobandiyyah which are filled with superstition and polytheism. Stories where a woman will speak to a naked soothsayer who tells her that she will have a grandson who will be a pious saint. In addition to this, Jamāt ut-Tabligh place a huge emphasis on graves and esoteric practices that have no basis in the Qur’an and Sunnah. It is known that Jamāt at-Tabligh and the Deobandiyyah venerate the graves of their leaders and seek intercession from the deceased through adherence to the various Sufi orders – although it is more discrete with them than it is with the Barelawis. It is sufficient to know that Muhammad Ilyās Kandahlawi is buried in the Nizām ud-Deen masjid; the headquarters of Tablighi Jamāt in Delhi, India. In fact, there are four graves inside the mosque complex, behind the rear pillar of the prayer area. So, they bury their leaders inside their mosques whereas the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

“Those that came before you used to take the graves of their prophets and righteous ones as places of worship, so do not take the graves as places of worship, indeed I forbid you from that.

He (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) also said, “When a righteous man (or pious servant) from amongst them would die, they would build a place of worship over his grave, and they are the worst of creation in the sight of Allah.”

Their book Fadā’il ul-A’māl is filled with fabricated narrations, invented stories of Sufi mysticism, veneration of the graves, worship at the shrines and innovated types of dhikr and worship. Some of these stories reach the level of shirk and kufr and it is also filled with huge amounts of Bid’ah: saints that see visions of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) claiming that he gives them Hadeeth that have never been recorded before.

In Fadā’il ad-Darood, which is one of the chapters in the above book, they claim that one of their saints saw the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) in a dream and he gave a Hadeeth saying that whoever wants something from anyone should go to his grave and supplicate to Allah for it. This is similar to what Paul used to say after ‘Isa ibn Maryam (‘alaihis-salam) was raised into the heavens. He claimed that he saw him in a vision and he told him such and such, and such and such.

We do not make takfeer of Jamāt ut-Tabligh, saying that they are Kuffār, but they are deviated and misguided, and they are amongst the seventy-two deviated sects of Muslims. Therefore, we do not join them, neither do we accompany them, and likewise for Ikhwān ul-Muslimeen, the Sufis and other than them. The true religion of Islām is not based upon mystic dreams.

Al-Kandahlawi also reports from another of their sheikhs who said that he travelled to Madinah and went to the blessed grave of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam). He said that he gave salutations and then he heard from within the chamber of the grave: ‘Wa ‘alaika as-salaam.’

Their book is filled with stories such as this and other foolishness: bread being delivered to them from the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam), the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) floating on a cloud and descending into Makkah, coming off the cloud, and wiping the belly of someone’s sick mother, thus curing her. Where is the Sunnah in all of this? Even their so-called fatwas (as mentioned in the previous lesson) are baseless and not supported by any evidence from the Book or the Sunnah.

Sheikh Ahmad an-Najmi concludes this chapter regarding following the Sahābah, by clarifying the meaning behind ‘al-mu’mineen’ (the believers) in the statement of Allah:

وَمَن يُشَاقِقِ الرَّسُولَ مِن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدَىٰ وَيَتَّبِعْ غَيْرَ سَبِيلِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ نُوَلِّهِ مَا تَوَلَّىٰ وَنُصْلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ ۖ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا

“And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way, We shall keep him in the path he has chosen and burn him in Hell and what an evil destination.” (Surah an-Nisā 4:115).

Therefore the intent of ‘mu’mineen’ – (the believers whose path cannot be opposed), in this noble ayah, is the Sahābah (radiAllahu ‘anhum) and those who follow their manhaj (methodology), and emulate their path, from the People of Hadeeth, the Imāms of guidance – those through whom Allah the Most High protected and preserved His religion and the Sunnah of His Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam).

والحمد لله رب العالمين وصلى الله على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين.

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Footnotes

[1] Reported by Ahmad in his Musnad (4/126, 127); Abu Dawood in Kitaabus-Sunnah, Chapter: In Adhering to the Sunnah 4/200, 201 (4607); At-Tirmidhee in Kitaabul-‘Ilm, Chapter: That which has been reported regarding taking from the Sunnah and abandonment of innovations 5/43 (2676), and he said concerning this hadeeth: Hasan Saheeh; Ibn Maajah in al-Muqadimah, Chapter: Sunnatul-Khulafaa ar-Raashideen al-Mahdiyeen 1/15, 16, 17 (42,43,44); Authenticated by al-Albaanee in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Maajah 1/13 (40, 41, 42); And ad-Daarimee in his Sunan, Chapter: Ittibaa’ as-Sunnah 1/57 (95).[2] Reported by Imaam Ahmad in his Musnad 3/229 (8404); Ibn Maajah in Kitaab al-Fitan, Chapter: The Splitting of the Ummah 2/1322 (3992, 3993); Abu Dawood in Kitaab as-Sunnah, Chapter: The Explanation of the Sunnah 4/197 (4596); At-Tirmidhee in Kitaab al-Imaan, Chapter: That which has been reported concerning the Splitting of the Ummah 5/25 (2640); and likewise this hadeeth has been reported by Ibn Abee ‘Aasim in Kitaab as-Sunnah 1/32,33, from chains of narration from ‘Awf ibn Maalik, Anas, Mu’aawiyah, Abu Hurairah and Abu Umaamah. Authentication by Al-Albaanee in his notes on Kitaabus-Sunnah of Ibn Abee ‘Aasim, in which he said: “This hadeeth is clearly and absolutely saheeh because it has six other chains of narration from Anas and supporting narrations from a group of the Sahaabah.”

[3] They were called Khawaarij due to their khurooj (rebelling) against ‘Ali ibn Abee Taalib (radhi Allaahu ‘anhu) on the day when two Companions were appointed to judge between some differing that had occurred, so they despised the judgment and the arbitration, and they said, “The is no judgment except for Allaah” – so they exited his authority. They settled in a place called Harooraa, so they were also labelled, for that reason, as the Harooriyah, and they have other titles that they were known by such as: Muhakkimah due to their denial of arbitration and their saying: “There is no judgment except for Allaah”; they are also known as al-Maariqah (the renegades or deserters) due to their leaving the Religion just as an arrow leaves the bow as occurs in an authentic hadeeth regarding them; they are known also as the Nawaasib (the plural of Naasib), and a person is called a Naasibee due to his extreme hatred of ‘Ali ibn Abee Taalib (radhi Allaahu ‘anhu).

[4] Ar-Rafd means to abandon and reject. And they rejected the Imaamship of the two Shaikhs: Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (radhi Allaahu ‘anhumaa). They freed themselves from them both and they criticised and cursed the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger. See the work ‘Badhal al-Majhood fee Ithbaati Mushaabahatir-Raafidah lil-Yahood’ 1/850. They are known as the Raafidah and the Shee’ah, the Ithnaa ‘Ashariyyah (the Twelvers), the Ja’farees.

[5] They are the Mu’tazilah. They were the followers of Waasil ibn ‘Ataa who abandoned and broke away from the gatherings of the great Imaam al-Hasan al-Basree (died 110H). They believed that the one who commits a major sin is not a believer or an unbeliever, rather he is between two positions and in the Hereafter he will be cast into the Hellfire. They have many other deviations besides. See ‘Al-Milal wan-Nihal’ 1/38.

[6] They are the Qadariyyah. This was the title given by Ahlus-Sunnah to those who claimed they were creators of their own actions free of Allaah the Mighty and Majestic. They denied the intercession of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) for the major sinners to be removed from the Fire; they denied that the beloved servants of Allaah will see their Lord in the Hereafter; they denied the Punishment of the Grave, the questioning of the two Angels, Munkar and Nakeer, in the grave, and the setting up of the Scales on the Day of Resurrection; they claimed that the Qur’an was created and other than that from deviations. And there occur some narrations describing their characteristics and stating that they are the Magians (fire-worshippers) of this Ummah. And they share much with the Mu’tazilah in their deviation.

[7] Reported by Muslim in Kitaab al-Imaan, Chapter: A clarification of Imaan, Islaam and Ihsaan and the obligation of having Imaan in the Decree of Allaah, the Perfect and Most High 1/36.