In the Introduction of Saheeh Muslim there appears:
بَاب بَيَانِ أَنَّ الْإِسْنَادَ مِنْ الدِّينِ وَأَنَّ الرِّوَايَةَ لَا تَكُونُ إِلَّا عَنْ الثِّقَاتِ وَأَنَّ جَرْحَ الرُّوَاةِ بِمَا هُوَ فِيهِمْ جَائِزٌ بَلْ وَاجِبٌ وَأَنَّهُ لَيْسَ مِنْ الْغِيبَةِ الْمُحَرَّمَةِ بَلْ مِنْ الذَّبِّ عَنْ الشَّرِيعَةِ الْمُكَرَّمَةِ
Chapter: A Clarification that the Isnaad is from the Religion, and that a Narration is not accepted except from trustworthy narrators, and the Criticism of narrators (Jarh) in that which is correct is permissible – rather it is an obligation, and it is not considered as blameworthy impermissible backbiting – indeed it is a protection of the noble Sharee`ah.
حَدَّثَنَا حَسَنُ بْنُ الرَّبِيعِ حَدَّثَنَا حَمَّادُ بْنُ زَيْدٍ عَنْ أَيُّوبَ وَهِشَامٍ عَنْ مُحَمَّدٍ وَحَدَّثَنَا فُضَيْلٌ عَنْ هِشَامٍ قَالَ وَحَدَّثَنَا مَخْلَدُ بْنُ حُسَيْنٍ عَنْ هِشَامٍ عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ سِيرِينَ قَالَ إِنَّ هَذَا الْعِلْمَ دِينٌ فَانْظُرُوا عَمَّنْ تَأْخُذُونَ دِينَكُمْ
Then Imaam Muslim Ibn Hajjaaj al-Qushayree an-Naisabooree (died 261H) stated with his chain of narration that Muhammad Ibn Seereen (d. 110H) said:
Indeed this knowledge is Religion, so look to whom you take your religion from. (no. 26)
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو جَعْفَرٍ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الصَّبَّاحِ حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَعِيلُ بْنُ زَكَرِيَّاءَ عَنْ عَاصِمٍ الْأَحْوَلِ عَنْ ابْنِ سِيرِينَ قَالَ لَمْ يَكُونُوا يَسْأَلُونَ عَنْ الْإِسْنَادِ فَلَمَّا وَقَعَتْ الْفِتْنَةُ قَالُوا سَمُّوا لَنَا رِجَالَكُمْ فَيُنْظَرُ إِلَى أَهْلِ السُّنَّةِ فَيُؤْخَذُ حَدِيثُهُمْ وَيُنْظَرُ إِلَى أَهْلِ الْبِدَعِ فَلَا يُؤْخَذُ حَدِيثُهُمْ
Ibn Seereen also said:
They used to not ask about the Isnaad (chain of narration) but when the Fitnah occurred, they would say: “Name to us your men!” So they would look to Ahlus-Sunnah and take their Hadeeth and they would look to Ahlul-Bid`ah and reject their Hadeeth. (no. 27)
Abdullaah Ibn al-Mubaarak (died 181H) said:
الْإِسْنَادُ مِنْ الدِّينِ وَلَوْلَا الْإِسْنَادُ لَقَالَ مَنْ شَاءَ مَا شَاءَ
The Isnaad from the Religion – and were it not for the Isnaad, any person could say whatever they wanted. (no. 32)
Imaam Muslim said: Muhammad Ibn `Abdillaah said: Al-`Abbaas Ibn Abee Rizmah said to me: I heard `Abdullaah Ibn al-Mubaarak say:
بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَ الْقَوْمِ الْقَوَائِمُ يَعْنِي الْإِسْنَادَ
Between us and the other people are these lists, meaning “The Isnaad.” (no. 32)
All of these narrations show us the importance of narrating from the trustworthy Scholars of this Ummah, visiting them and taking from them the narrations of Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam).
It is by way of visiting the Scholars of Sunnah, Hadeeth, Salafiyyah and seeking from them understanding of the Religion that one protects himself from trial and misguidance. Ibraaheem Ibn Ad-ham (died 165H) said:
“Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, has repelled the tribulations from this Ummah by way of journeying to the People of Hadeeth.”
(Mukhtasar al-Hujjah `ala Taarik al-Muhajjah, no. 446)
Shaikh `Abdullaah Ibn Abdur-Raheem al-Bukhaaree said to us at an ‘aqeeqah gathering organised by one of the brothers in Madeenah (Dhul-Hijjah 1435H):
The affairs of battle, bloodshed and calamities are great affairs, they are not for the young inexperienced Mashayikh. It is not for them to give Fatawa whereby people may die and blood will be spilt. Rather these immense questions are for the elder, greater Scholars of this Ummah.
So by visitation of the Scholars, and seeking their guidance and verdicts protects the Ummah from trials and misguidance. The abandonment of the Scholars and abandoning travelling to them is from the calamities of the Ummah. The Salaf would travel in search of knowledge because they knew that safety lay in seeking from the carriers of the Hadeeth of Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam). Imaam Muslim Ibn al-Hajjaaj (d. 261H) stated with his chain of narration in his Saheeh in the Book of Imaan that:
Yahyaa Ibn Ya`mar said: The first one to speak about [the denial] Al-Qadr in Basrah was Ma`bad Al-Juhanee. So Humaid Ibn Abdir-Rahmaan al-Himyaree and I set out for Hajj and `Umrah and we said:
“If we meet any of the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger, we shall ask them about what these people are saying about Al-Qadr.” It so happened that we came across [the Companion of the Prophet] `Abdullaah Ibn `Umar whilst he was entering the Masjid, so my friend and I came alongside him, one on his right the other on his left. So I said: “O Abu Abdir-Rahmaan (i.e. Ibn `Umar)! There are people who have appeared in our land that read the Qur’aan and seek knowledge.” – so I spoke about them – “and they claim there is no Qadr and that things are not pre-decreed.”
So Ibn `Umar (radiyallaahu `anhumaa) said:
فَإِذَا لَقِيتَ أُولَئِكَ فَأَخْبِرْهُمْ أَنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِنْهُمْ وَأَنَّهُمْ بُرَآءُ مِنِّي وَالَّذِي يَحْلِفُ بِهِ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عُمَرَ لَوْ أَنَّ لِأَحَدِهِمْ مِثْلَ أُحُدٍ ذَهَبًا فَأَنْفَقَهُ مَا قَبِلَ اللَّهُ مِنْهُ حَتَّى يُؤْمِنَ بِالْقَدَرِ
“If you meet those people, tell them I have nothing to do with them and they have nothing to do with me. By the One whom Abdullaah Ibn `Umar swears! If One of them had gold like the mountain of Uhud and he was to give it away in charity, Allaah would not accept it from him until and unless he believed in the Pre-Decree.”
From this one narration, one can see the great importance the Scholars played in clarifying for the Ummah those affairs that would lead the people astray where it not for the fact that Allaah raises People of Hadeeth, the `Ulamaa who protect this Religion from corruption.
Shaikh Rabee’ Ibn Haadee (hafidhahullaah)
On our trip to Hajj this year, after we had completed the rites of Hajj, a handful of us (Abu Hakeem, Abu Maryam, Bilaal Hussain, Abu Zur`ah Abdullaah and myself) visited the noble Shaikh, Al-`Allaamah, Rabee` Ibn Haadee `Umair al-Madkhalee (hafidhahullaah). As he exited the humble masjid wherein he usually offers prayers, he saw us and I stepped forward to greet him and he recognised me immediately, put his hand out and offered the salutations of Salaam. Though he himself was visibly weak due to his old age and illness, he immediately asked about my health and those back in England. My companion, Abu Hakeem Bilaal Ibn Ahmad, stepped forward also and the Shaikh did the same with him. As is usual on our visits, I rode with the Shaikh in his car to his home whilst he asked questions about the affairs of da`wah – and likewise also answered questions that were posed to him. The Shaikh, may Allaah preserve him, is acutely intelligent and his old age has not slowed his intellectual faculties, walhamdulillaah. Once we reached his home, he immediately invited myself in to sit with him for a while. I agreed whilst simultaneously stating I did not wish to intrude or bother him and a mere Salaam would have been sufficient – especially considering his apparent tiredness.
So Abu Hakeem and myself were led upstairs to his private quarters where he sat upon his bed with books spread out and open all around him. He invited us to sit next to him. He started to reach for the teapot, Abu Hakeem reached also and poured the sweet ginger tea for the Shaikh, myself and himself – the Shaikh asked us to join him and eat some dates. Then the discussion began. He asked about the da`wah and the efforts of the brothers in the United Kingdom in their various Mosques and Salafi Centres. He asked about the strength of the call to Salafiyyah, and regarding those who oppose it. He asked about those who pretend to be upon the Sunnah, yet they are partisans upon the methodology of “Al-Ikhwaan Al-Muslimoon”, such as “Jam`iyyah Ihyaa Turaath Al-Islaamee” and “Green Lane Mosque” and its associates around the country.
The Shaikh for over 20 years has been acquainted the deviations of these groups, and he has continually advised us not to co-operate with them, but rather to continue spreading the true Salafi Da`wah free from any mixing or interference from these callers to misguidance. In the past he has asked us to respond to the deviations of Abu Usamah, Suhaib Hasan, Jamiat AhleHadith (Green Lane), Turaath and others. We informed him that there are still some who who attend and cooperate with the likes of these organisations – the Shaikh clearly stated that they are wrong to do so, and this is from their negligence. And this exactly mirrors the statement of `Allaamah Saalih al-Fawzaan (hafidhahullaah) who likewise stated it was impermissible to speak upon the platforms of the people of misguidance, who one day invite a Salafi, then the next day (week) invite a person of Bid`ah.
He was pleased to hear that over 13 Salafi Mosques and Centres are co-operating with one another throughout the country with duroos, conferences, dawraat, schools, etc. We attained some valuable words from the Shaikh who advised us with steadfastness upon the truth and patience. Before we left, Abu Hakeem asked the shaikh for a parting advice that we can convey back to our brothers and sisters in the West. He responded:
“I advise them with:
- The fear of Allaah,
- Maintaining the ties of brotherhood,
- To exert every effort in seeking knowledge,
- To be united in that which is between them,
- And to repel and abandon the causes of differing between themselves.”
These are from the beautiful fruits of Hajj and Umrah, that ones reaches the Scholars and benefits from them. I advise that you are not deceived by the comforts of your homes, your jobs and your families. Go out, perform the Hajj, perform the `Umrah and visit the Scholars. Too many people in our countries talk and enter into affairs they have no knowledge concerning – they speak about our brothers, the Du`aat, they speak about our teachers, (and our Scholars) they speak about our Maraakiz and Masaajid – they see themselves as “authorities” in da`wah, yet they they have never sat with the Scholars, they never visit them, they do not know them – nor would a scholar recognise them! This is from the calamities of being distant from the People of Knowledge yet being so audacious, vain and opinionated!
So put that yearning into your hearts to travel for knowledge. Abdullaah Ibn Mas`ood (radiyallaahu `anhu) said:
“By Him besides Whom there is none worthy of worship. There is not a Soorah revealed in the Book of Allaah except that I am the most knowledgeable of where it was revealed – and there is not a verse that was revealed in the Book of Allaah except that I am the most knowledgeable concerning whom it was revealed for. And if I knew that any person was more knowledgeable concerning the Book of Allaah than me, and he is at a place camels could reach, then I would ride to him.”
(Bukhaaree, no. 5000. Muslim, no. 2462)
Imaam al-Bukhaaree stated in his Saheeh that Jaabir Ibn `Abdillaah (radiyallaahu `anhu) travelled an entire month’s journey for just one hadeeth. And Sa`eed Ibn Al-Musayyib (rahimahullaah) stated:
“Indeed I used to travel days and nights in seeking after just one Hadeeth!”
(Tahdheeb al-Kamaal, 11/71)
“Masrooq rode all the way to Basrah to ask about a single verse and who had gathered it. He was informed that the one who gathered it was in Shaam, so he headed to Koofah where he prepared himself for travel, and then left out to Shaam until he reached there and asked about the verse.”
(Taareekh Ibn Abee Khaithamah, 3/111)
Shaikh `Abdullaah al-Bukhaaree (hafidhahullaah)
After Makkah, we travelled to Madeenah. On my first evening in Madeenah, my beloved friend and brother Abu Saarah Abdulilaah Lahmami (hafidhahullaah) collected me from the Movenpick al-Anwar Hotel to visit a gathering with Shaikh `Abdullaah al-Bukhaaree (hafidhahullaah), who is from the Scholars of Madeenah. Though younger in age than the other Mashayikh, he is nevertheless strong in `aqeedah, manhaj, memorisation, fiqh and Qur’aan – he is brave and firm upon the Salafi da`wah. We sat for over an hour in a gathering wherein he spoke powerfully about steadfastness upon the Sunnah, holding staunchly and sincerely to the truth; being aware of falling into the traps of Ahlul-Bid`ah and the misguidance of the terrorist Khawaarij, the Ikhwaaniyyah and others. He brought many examples from the Imaams of the Salaf. He emphasised over and over about returning the affairs back to the Scholars, and small students of knowledge not issuing fatawa in affairs that are beyond their capabilities. His speech reminded of some words of the Salaf that are weighty with respect to the place of the students of knowledge as compared to the Scholars:
Al-Baihaqee recorded in al-Madkhal ilas-Sunanil-Kubraa (no.679):
“Abu ‘Aasim said: A youth from the people of knowledge was present the gathering of Sufyaan Ath-Thawree (d. 161H); so the youth put himself forward at the head of the gathering, and started talking and boasting with his knowledge in front of those who were older than him.
So Sufyaan (rahimahullaah) became angry, and said:
“The Salaf were not like this! One of them would not claim leadership for himself and he would not sit in the forefront of the gathering until he had sought knowledge for thirty years! And you display arrogance in front of one who is older than you. Get up from me and don’t come near my gathering.”
And Sufyan al-Thawree (died 161H) said:
“If you see a youth speaking in the presence of Mashaayikh; even if he has acquired a portion of knowledge, then lose hope in his goodness, for verily he has no shame.”
Subhaanallaah! This is a foul trait we find all too often in the West, often amongst people are the most ignorant, and the most distant from the Scholars – and Allaah’s aid is sought! How quick they are to speak, and to Tweet their opinions believing that the Ummah is in need of their insight! And Allaah’s refuge is sought from being amazed with oneself.
After the class, he took several questions related to the affairs of `aqeedah, fiqh, prayer, tawbah and forgiveness. Beautiful answers. I remember a particular question about which books should be studied in `aqeedah from Al-`Aqeedatul-Waasitiyyah of Ibn Taymiyyah and Al-Qawaa’`id Al-Muthlaa of Ibn `Uthaimeen. After praising these works, Shaikh Abdullaah mentioned that from the greatest of scholars who explained the `aqeedah was his own Shaikh, the `Allaamah Muhammad Amaan al-Jaamee (rahimahullaah). For several minutes, Shaikh `Abdullaah stated the numerous virtues and immense knowledge of `Allaamah Muhammad Amaan al-Jaamee that highlighted the excellence of this Scholar. Shaikh Abdullaah encouraged us to listen to the audio recordings of Shaikh Al-Jaamee (rahimahullaah) in explanation of the `aqeedah.
I hope one day, this audio of Shaikh Abdullaah is published so that many more people can benefit. I approached the Shaikh after the session concluded and he stood to embrace me, but I asked that he remain seated – we spoke for a while about the Hajj and the da`wah back in the UK. It was nice, as always, to meet him and exchange pleasantries – showing the concern the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah have for their brothers around the world.
Several of us were then invited to share a platter of food with Shaikh `Abdullaah. He asked about the evil effects of the Khawaarij “Daesh” (ISIS) in the UK and the West and the restrictions that have resulted due to their evil call. He proceeded to refute their misguidance and falsehood saying that the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) was never adamant upon killing any people, yet he was adamant upon the annihilation of the terrorist insurgent Khawaarij.
I asked him to visit us in the UK for a lecture series and conference. He said he would certainly give it consideration, inshaa’Allaah. Then several other Manhajee questions were posed to him – He spoke against the Jam’iyyah Ihyaa Turaath (of Kuwait), and against the Jam’iat Ahl-e-Hadith as they call themselves. He was told that this group who call themselves Ahl-e-Hadith they are split into over 20 groups in Pakistan, their ideology being one of two orientations. One is upon the way of the Khawaarij: revolution, speaking against those in authority, marching and demonstrating and the other orientation calls to parliaments, voting for parties and seeking authority. He advised that the Salafis are to keep away from both of these misguided orientations – Indeed the Salafis are to remain steadfastly upon the Truth, not swerving away from it.
He further went on to refute the evil path of HAMAS in Palestine who bring so much harm, death and calamity upon the Muslims of Palestine, whilst at the times serenading the Shi`ites of Iran and standing at the graves of their leaders!
He was asked about Adnaan Ar’oor (Syrian) and Abu Is-haaq al-Huwainee (Egyptian). So he spoke of their innovations and hizbiyyah, and how they call to revolutions and speak ill of the Scholars.
From the demeanour and speech of Shaikh Abdullaah, it is clear he has great love and concern for Ahlus-Sunnah, and he smiled often whilst addressing us. One particular brother (whom neither we nor the Shaikh knew) kept asking lingering questions about Syria and the situation there, and about the ‘Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith’ in Pakistan, so the Shaikh (hafidhullaah) remained patient with him, but maintained his robust stance against all the misguided transgressors.
Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Haadee (hafidhahullaah)
Two days laters Uwais Taweel, Abdulilaah Lahmami, Abu Maryam Taariq, Abu Zur`ah Abdullaah and myself visited the house of `Allaamah Muhammad Ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee (hafidhahullaah). Upon seeing us, and recognising us – he immediately came forward and gave salutations of Salaam and embraced me then the others, took me by my hand and invited all of us into his home. The Shaikh (may Allaah preserve him) has been quite ill over the last couple of months, and now was in his recovery phase, may Allaah hasten it for him. The weakness was apparent, but so was his recovery, alhamdulillaah. We sat for a nearly two hours, drinking Arabic coffee with dates in his home – and it was from the most beautiful gatherings of hospitality, affection and advice that we have attended in years. I sat right next to the Shaikh, and the gesture was not lost on him – he asked about the brothers, the Hajj, and the da`wah, the Mosque, the Maktabah, its strengths, its oppositions. He made plentiful supplications and strongly refuted the people of falsehood, whilst encouraging us with sincerity and steadfastness upon the truth. It is truly amazing that Allaah has endowed these Scholars with so much strength and clarity – that they never weaken in their resolve – they maintain the energy to continue year in and year out upon a singular path, the path of the Salaf, may Allaah preserve the living and have mercy upon the dead. Neither illness nor calamity stops them – may Allaah protect and preserve our Scholars. The Shaikh (hafidhahullaah) condemned the evil of “Daesh” (ISIS) and stated that many of the Scholars consider the Khawaarij to be unbelievers due to their immense deviations – so we care little if they are destroyed – in fact that is what we wish for, since they are a calamity upon the Ummah! Indeed the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) was adamant upon killing them were he to live to see them. The Shaikh also spoke against “Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith (Green Lane Mosque)” and “MadeenahDotCom” mentioning once again that they are not to be cooperated with.
He was informed of the da`wah in the UK and he asked about the Salafi Mosques and Centres across the UK – he was pleased to hear that Salafiyyah is growing – alongside the fact that these Mosques and centres (approximately 13 in number) co-operate and work together. He was very pleased to hear that in Birmingham, the Salafis had managed to purchase a Church in the north of the city that they have converted into a Masjid, and a large piece of land (in the south-east) upon which another Masjid could be built. He was further informed that our brothers in East London (Al-Athariyyah) had also purchased a Church building that is close to being opened as Masjid Ibn Baaz. Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Haadee commended the efforts, and made plentiful supplications for the da`wah. Truly a memorable sitting.
I truly thank Allaah, and praise Him for these tremendous opportunities that He gives us every year. After that I thank my brothers at www.PremierHajj.com who, in my opinion, have fine tuned the art (or science) of the administration of Hajj and `Umrah for those coming from the West to a level I have not seen in my lifetime. A team of five, with myself and Abu Hakeem as guides. The other three: Abu Maryam Taariq, Abu Tahera (Juel) and Abu Reshma (Zak) worked tirelessly before and during the Hajj season making sure every aspect was covered. Seventy people, families included, were catered for in every way possible: Flights, accommodation, food, 5-Star hotels, tents, pre-Hajj seminars, back packs, travel, luggage tags, t-shirts, two guides, talks for Mina, wheelchairs for the disabled and elderly, Saudi mobile SIM cards, Ihraams, Hajj books, Hajj guide cards, supplication cards, lectures on coaches, buffet breakfasts in luxury hotels after Hajj. Subhaanallaah! An amazing journey made easy for us by Allaah, and then the organisers of Premier Hajj. Follow them on Twitter: @PremierHajj and @PremierUmrah.
I would encourage anyone to use Premier Hajj and Umrah as their preferred package for Hajj and Umrah. You can call myself if you want more details of what to expect with Premier Hajj.
And all praise is due to Allaah, Lord of the worlds, and may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and his Companions.