Part 8: The Necessity of Clinging to the Sunnah―The Foundations of the Sunnah of Imām Ahmad Ibn Hanbal: From the Explanation of Shaikh An-Najmī

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The Necessity of Clinging to the Sunnah and Having Imān in Al-Qadr (Divine Pre-Decree).

The Imām of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah, Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d.241H) stated:

السنة اللازمة التي من ترك منها خصلة – لم يقبلها ويؤمن بها – لم يكن من أهلها

“That which is necessary from the Sunnah and binding is that whoever abandons even one part of it has not accepted any of it and not believed in it, and he is not from its people.”


Meaning: he is not from Ahlus-Sunnah if he rejects any part of the Sunnah. Therefore, it is not permissible to reject any part of the Sunnah and believe that it can be abandoned, regardless of whether it is a belief, a pillar, an obligation, or a recommended deed no matter the times you live in and the so-called “advancement of science and civilisation”.

Imām Ahmad (rahimahullāh) prefaced his work Usool us-Sunnah with the statement, “The Foundations of the Sunnah with are… (أصول السنة عندنا)” He then went on to list the foundations of the Sunnah that the Salaf of this Ummah agreed upon.

Therefore, it is not permissible to reject any part of the Sunnah, regardless of whether it is an obligation or a pillar of the religion; or it is from the branches of the religion; or a recommended action, regardless of the times we are living in. None of the authentic Sunnah can be rejected or denied. The Sunnah is the revelation and it supersedes all that which people regard as important or binding from their customs, nationhood, tribal allegiances, group identities and parties. Allah the Most High has made the Sunnah binding upon us, as He says:

فَلْيَحْذَرِ الَّذِينَ يُخَالِفُونَ عَنْ أَمْرِهِ أَن تُصِيبَهُمْ فِتْنَةٌ أَوْ يُصِيبَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

“And let those who oppose the Messenger’s commandment beware, lest some fitnah should befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them.” (Surah an-Nur 24:63) And He (the Most High) also said:

قُلْ أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ

“Say! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger…” (Surah an-Nur 24:54)

And He (the Most High) stated:

قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ

“Say, if you truly love Allah then follow me, then Allah will love you and He will forgive you your sins.” (Surah Aal-’Imran 3:31).

So following the Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) must be done in every affair. There are those affairs from the Sunnah that are obligatory and some which are recommended (optional but rewardable) and all of them must be accepted as revelation, and we must believe that all of it is from Allah as long as it is authentically reported from the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam). This is why understanding who the scholars of Hadeeth are is vital in understanding the religion, as it is through these scholars that we come to know what is authentic and what is not.

Two Categories of Sunnah

As for the statement of Imām Ahmad above, ‘That which is necessary from the Sunnah and binding…’ then the Sunnah is a path and a methodology, and the intent of the Sunnah in this statement is two matters:

  1.  That which is obligatory from the path and the methodology of the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) and his companions; and from the obligatory aspects of the Sunnah would be growing the beard, trimming the moustache and raising the lower garment above the ankles (for men), eating with the right hand, the hijāb of the Muslim woman as so on.
  2. That which is recommended (not obligatory) from the righteous deeds, such as giving and taking with the right hand, and what is reported in the Hadeeth of the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) that he would love to start from the right when performing purification, combing his hair, putting on his shoes, and in all of his affairs. (Bukhāri and Muslim).

The term ‘Sunnah’ can have several connotations, as we know it can also mean the ʿAqeedah as well as that which is obligatory and recommended from the life and teachings of the Prophet (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam).

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

سبحانك اللهم وبحمدك أشهد أن لا إله إلا أنت، أستغفرك وأتوب إليك

Abu Khadeejah Abdul-Wāhid.
Copyright 2023.

This article was transcribed by Umm Maryam (may Allah reward her) from the classes of Abu Khadeejah ( Please share it with others.

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  1. Asalamualaikum,
    I wanted to ask if it is haraam to work as a travel agent. For example booking hotels, rental cars, cruises etc for tourists/clients.
    BarakAllahu Feekum

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