The fundamentals of the Religion (Usool ud-Deen) which were adhered to by those that preceded from the leaders (a'immah) of the Deen, the scholars of the Muslims and the righteous predecessors and what they called people to are:
That they believe in the Book and Sunnah...
[Sunnah: This includes all authentic hadeeth, whether it be a narration with numerous chains (mutawaatir) or a hadeeth with just one, two or three chains (ahaad). The beliefs are based upon both, refer to the book by Abul Qaasim al-Asbahaanee 'al-Hujjah fee Bayaan al-Mahajjah wa Sharh `Aqeedatul Ahl-Sunnah', 'ar-Risaalah' by Imaam ash-Shaafi`ee and Mukhtasar Sawaa`iqul Mursalah by Ibn al-Qayyim.]
...; the general and the detailed aspects of it. They attest to the oneness of Allaah the Mighty the Majestic, and attest to the Messengership of Muhammad - sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam.
They know their Lord by the attributes (sifaat) that His revelation has spoken of, or are attested to by the Messenger of Allaah - sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam - from that which is found in authentic ahaadeeth, narrated from him by just and reliable narrators.
They affirm for Allaah, the Most High, that which He affirmed for Himself in His Book, or upon the tongue of His Messenger - sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam - without making Tashbeeh (resembling) to His creatures, without Tahreef (changing), without Tabdeel and without Tamtheel.
[Tashbeeh: Tamtheel (resembling, comparing) the Sifaat (attributes) of Allaah to the sifaat (attributes) of creation; so it is not said that the Essence of Allaah is like our essence neither does it resemble our essence and likewise the Sifaat of Allaah - we do not say that His attributes are like our attributes, nor resemble our attributes. Rather it is waajib (obligatory) for a believer to stick to the saying of Allaah: "There is nothing like unto Him..." (ash-Shoora 42:11) Tahreef: Changing the 'terms' of the names and attributes of Allaah or changing their 'meanings'; like the saying of the Jahmiyyah (a deviant sect) that istawaa (istawaa `alaa-l-`arsh) means istawlaa (seizing power over something). Thus Ahlus-Sunnah do not do this. Tabdeel: see tahreef; Tamtheel: see tashbeeh Refer to Tambihaat al-Laatifah `alaa `Aqeedatul-Waasitiyyah by Sh. Sa`dee. Shaykh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah says in `Aqeedatul-Waasitiyyah when talking about eemaan (belief) in Allaah's Sifaat (attributes): "Eemaan (belief) in all what Allaah has described Himself with by, in His Book and in what His Messenger Muhammad - sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam - has described Him by - without doing tahreef, ta`teel, takyeef or tamtheel."
This statement shows two other principles held by Ahl-Sunnah wal-Jamaa`ah regarding eemaan in Allaah and His Sifaat (attributes); that is they do not do ta`teel, which is to deny or reject the Sifaat of Allaah; and takyeef - which is to ask how and question their manner.
Refer to `Aqeedatul-Waasitiyyah by Ibn Taymiyyah, and Qatful-Thamr fee-Bayaan `Aqeedatul Ahul Athar by Siddeeq Hasan Khaan, Mukhtasar Sawaa`iqul-Mursalah by Ibn al-Qayyim and Fataawa al-Hamawiyyah al-Kubraa by Ibn Taymiyyah.]
Allaah, the Most High, says:
"There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the all Hearer, all Seer" - Ash-Shoora, (42):11
Imaam az-Zuhree said: "Upon Allaah is the bayaan (explaining), upon the Messenge is Balaagh (conveying) and upon us is tasleem (willingly accepting)."
[Muhammad bin Muslim bin `Ubaidallah bin `Abdullaah bin Shihaab bin Zahrah, Abo Bakr. A faqeeh (jurist) and haafidh. His high status of proficiency is agreed upon. He is a successor, from Madeenah and one of the great Imaams, a scholar of the Hijaaz and Shaam. He died in 125H.]
Imaam Sufyaan bin `Uyaynah said: "All that Allaah has described Himself with in His Book, then its tafseer (explanation) is its reciting and keeping silent about it."
[Sufyaan bin `Uyaynah, Haafidh Aboo Muhammad al-Hilaalee al-Koofee. He was an imaam, a haafidh, a proof (hujja), having immense knowledge, and of great ability. A muhaddith (scholar of hadeeth) of the Haram of Makkah. Imaam ash-Shaafi`ee said about him: "Were it not for Maalik and Sufyaan the knowledge would have disappeared from the Hijaaz." He died whilst in Makkah in the year 198 hijree.]
Imaam ash-Shaafi`ee said: "I believe in Allaah, and that which has come from Allaah, upon the intended meaning of Allaah. I believe in the Messenger of Allaah - sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam - and that which has come from the Messenger of Allaah upon the intended meaning of the Messenger of Allah - sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam.
[Muhammad ibn Idrees bin al-`Abbaas bin Uthmaan bin Shoafa ash-Shaafi`ee al-Muttalibi; Aboo `Abdullaah. He was a mujdaddid (reviver) of the Deen at the beginning of 200 Hijree, a well known imaam. He died in Egypt in the year 204 Hijree.]
The predecessors and leaders of those who followed, may Allaah be pleased with them, proceded along this way. They are all agreed upon, affirming, assserting and confirming that which is found in the Book of Allaah, the Most High, and the Sunnah of His Messenger - sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam -, regarding Allaah's attributes without subjecting them to interpretation (ta`weel).
Verily we have been ordered to follow their way and to be guided by their light. The Messenger of Allaah - sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam - has warned us of newly invented matters, and informed us that they are from misguidance. He said in a hadeeth:
"Adhere to my Sunnah (way) and to the Sunnah of the rightly guided Khulafaa'. Bite on it with your molar teeth, and beware of newly invented matters, for verily every bid`ah (innovation) is a going astray."
[Reported by Ahmad bin Hanbal In Musnaad (4/126-7), Aboo Daawood in his Sunan (4607) in the Book of Sunnah, chapter 'Adhering to the Sunnah', at-Tirmidhee in his Sunan (no.2678) in the Book of Knowledge, Chapter '16', Ibn Maajah, in his Sunan (no.42) in the Muqaddimah and others. From the hadeeth of `Irbaab bin Saariyah (radiyallaahu `anhu), and it is an authentic hadeeth. Refer to the detailed explanation of the hadeeth in Jaami` al-`Uloom wal-Hikaam by Haafidh Ibn Rajab al-Hanbalee (rahimahullaah), for verily he has done extremely well in explaining it and benefited others in doing so.]
`Abdullaah bin Mas`ood (radiyallaahu `anhu) said: "Follow and do not innovate for verily you have been sufficed."
[`Abdullaah bin Mas`ood bin Ghaafil ibn Habeeb al-Huthalee, Aboo `Abdur Rahmaan. From the first generation of Muslims and from the major companions in merit and intellect. He migrated to Habasha (Ethiopia) and then to Madeenah. He witnessed the battle of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq, the pledge of Ridwaan and the remaining incidents with the Prophet - sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam -; he was from the fuqahaa (jurists) of the Companions - may Allaah be pleased with them - he died in Madeenah in 32 hijree.]
`Umar ibn `Abdul `Azeez said: "Do not go beyond where they stopped. For verily they stopped upon knowledge and with a perceiving view sufficed."
[Aboo Hafs, `Umar ibn `Abdul `Azeez bin Marwaan bin Hakam al-Amawee al-Qurashee. A righteous Khaleefah. Born and raised in Madeenatul- Munawwarah. He took the position of Khaleefah in the year 99 Hijree and died in the land of Shaam, in the year 101 Hijree.]
Imaam al-Awzaa`ee said: "Stick to the footsteps of the predecessors, even if people abandon you. Beware of the views of men, even if they beautify it for you with words."
[`Abdur Rahmaan bin `Amr bin Yuhmid al-Awzaa`ee. A famous Imaam of Syria. He used to live in Damascus, outside Bab al-Fraadees and then moved to Beirut and lived there, posted in the way of Allaah, until he died in the year 157 Hijree.]
From the `aqeedah (beliefs) of the righteous predecessors is their saying: Eemaan is a saying of the tongue, an action by the limbs and a strong belief in the heart. Eemaan increases with obedience to Allaah and decreases with disobedience to Allaah.
[The word `aqeedah signifes the things that one believes in (has eemaan in), hence the two words (`aqeedah and eemaan) are sometimes synonymous. The word `aqeedah being taken from the Arabic root of `aqada - to tie - or fasten. Thus `aqeedath is those things that the heart is tied to or fastened to, worshipping Allaah by it and getting closer to Allaah. Refer to classical Arabic dictionaries like Lisaan ul-Arab by Ibn Mandhoor.]
From the beliefs of the Predecessors is that good and evil by the Qadaa (decree) of Allaah the Most High and His Qadar (pre-estimation). However evil is not ordered by Allaah, as some of them say: "All of it is ordered by Allaah," since Allaah has ordered good and prohibited evil. He did not order us with abominable acts, indeed He prohibited us from them. The human is not forced, he chooses his acts and beliefs. He deserves punishment or reward, depending upon his choice and he is the chooser in (doing or leaving) the ordered and prohibited things.
Allaah, the Most High, says:
"Then whosoever wills let him believe, and whosoever wills let him disbelieve." [Al-Kahf (18):29]
From the beliefs of the Predecessors is that they do not make takfeer...
[Takfeer is the action of declaring a Muslim to have left Islaam. This is left for the people of knowledge (`ulamaa) to do and it must be done following strict guidelines. Refer to the book al-`Uzar bil-Jahal wa Rad `alaa Bid`atut Takfeer (the Excuse of Ignorance and Refutation of the Innovation of Takfeer) by Ahmad Fareed.]
...of anyone of the Muslims due to a sin, even if it is from the major sins. Except if he denies (rejects) a thing that is known in the religion by necessity and is known by the scholars as well as the generality of people, and is based firmly upon the Book and the Sunnah and Concensus (Ijmaa') of the Predecessors of this Ummah and its leaders.
From the beliefs of the righteous predecessors is that they worship Allaah, the Most High, and do not associate anything with Him. Thus they do not ask any one except Allaah, the Most High, of a need no one else can satisfy. They do not seek help (in which no one can help) from anyone except Allaah, the One free of all defects. They do not call upon anyone for aid (for an immediate need that no one can fulfil) except upon Allaah. They do not make tawassul (seeking nearness) to Allaah except by obeying Him, worshipping Him and doing good/righteous deeds(See Tafseer ibn Katheer, Soorah Al-Faatihah).
This being taken from His saying:
"O you who believe! Do your duty to Allaah and fear Him, seek the means of approach to Him." [al-Maa'idah, (5):35]
That is, draw close to Allaah by obedience to Him and by worship of Him.
From the beliefs of the righteous predecessors is that Prayer (Salaat) behind all righteous people and sinners is permissible if the external nature of the prayer is correct.
[What is implied by the statement 'if the external nature of the prayer is correct' is that all the pillars and obligatory actions of the prayerare enacted by the one leading the prayer. For example that he faces the Qiblah etc.]
We do not certify with certainty for anyone, whoever he may be, of being in Paradise or in Hell; except whoever the Messenger of Allaah - sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam - testified for. However we hope Paradise for the righteous and fear Hell for the sinful.
We testify for the ten people given the glad tidings of Jannah (Paradise), that they will be in Jannah; just as the Prophet - sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam testified this for them. We testify, as being in Jannah, for everyone that the Prophet - sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam - testifies this for them. This is because the Prophet - sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam - does not speak of his own desire. Indeed it is nothing but revelation revealed to him.
["Nor does he speak of his own desire. It is only an inspiration that is inspired." an-Najm (53):3-4]
We take the Companions of Allaah's Messenger - sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam - as awliyaa (friends). We refrain from showing their defects and that which happened between them. Their affair is with their Lord. We do not abuse anyone of the Companions. This is taken from the Prophet's - sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam - saying:
"Let none of you abuse (slander) my Companions. For by Him in whose Hand is my life, if one of you spent (in the way of Allaah) the equivalent of mount Uhud in gold it would not reach a handful nor half a handful of what they spent."
[al-Bukhaaree 7/27-8, Muslim 2541, Aboo Dawood 4658, at-Tirmidhee (3860), from Aboo Sa`eed al-Khudree, radiyallaahu `anhu, and from Aboo Hurairah in Muslim 2540.]
The Companions are not infallible from error. Infallibility is for Allaah, the Most High, and His Messenger - sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam - in conveying the message. Allaah, the Most High, has protected the collective Ummah from mistakes (and not individuals) as the Prophet - sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam - said:
"Indeed Allaah will never unite this Ummah upon misguidance and the Hand of Allaah is upon the Jamaa`ah."
[at-Tirmidhee 2168, from the hadeeth of Ibn `Umar. Its chain has a weakness, however it has a shaahid (supporting narration) with at-Tirmidhee from the hadeeth of ibn `Abbaas (no.2167) and another supporting narration with ibn Abee `Asim in as-Sunnah (no.81) from the hadeeth of Usaamah bin Shaarik. Thus the hadeeth is an authentic hadeeth.]
We are pleased with the wives of the Messenger of Allaah, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, they are the mothers of the believers and we believe that they are pure and innocent from evil. [The wives of the Messenger sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam were termed "the mothers of the believers" in Soorah Al-Ahzaab (33), Verse 6].
From the beliefs of the Pious Predecessors is that they do not make it obligatory upon any Muslim to restrict himself to a specific madhhab. [Madhhab is a school of thought or a position held by a scholar.] He can move from one madhhab to another, due to the strength of evidence (in a particular point). The layman has no madhhab. Rather his madhhab is the madhhab of his mufti (scholar who gives religious verdicts).
[Refer to the book Risaalatul-Taqleed by Ibn al Qayyim for it is very important. The layman follows the scholars, as Allaah has ordered him to do so in the verse: "Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know." (an-Nahl (16):43) The layman by following their scholars is indeed following the Qur'aan and Sunnah and not doing taqleed (blind following), rather this is called ittibaa' for him. However he does not follow the scholars in their mistakes, when it is made clear to him that it is a mistake. This is what is required of the laymen, as ibn al-Qayyim points out in his book. The one who has the ability to weigh up evidences, i.e. a student of knowledge, he can look into proofs and follow the strongest proof, but the one who does not have the ability, i.e. a layman, then he follows the scholars, as Allaah has ordered him to do.]
If a student of knowledge (taalibul-`ilm) has the ability to recognize the proofs and evidences of the Imaams, he should act by it, moving from a madhhab of an Imaam, in any issue, to the madhhab of another Imaam, due to the strength of the evidence, and the more correct understanding, in an issue. Thus he becomes a muttabi` (a follower) and not a mujtahid [one who is qualified to extract rulings from the Qur'aan and Sunnah, i.e. to do ijtihaad]. For indeed ijtihaad is the extracting of Islamic rulings from the Book and Sunnah, as the four Imaams and other Imaams of the fiqh (jurisprudence) and the muhaddithoon (scholars of hadeeth) have done.
From the beliefs of the Pious Predecessors is that the four Companions: Aboo Bakr, `Umar, `Uthmaan and `Alee (radiyallaahu `anhum) are the rightly guided Khulafaa' and with them existed the Khilaafatun-Nabuwwah (Khilaafah upon the Prophetic Way) lasting for thirty years including the Khilaafah (ruling period) of Hasan (radiyallaahu `anhu). This is taken from the saying of the Prophet, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam:
"The Khilaafah in my Ummah is for thirty years then after it is a kingship."
[Reported by Ahmad in Musnad (5/220, 221), at-Tirmidhee (no.2227) in the book of Fitan, chapter, "That which has come regarding the Khilaafah", Aboo Dawood (no. 4646 and 4647) in the book of as-Sunnah, chapter "Khulafaa", Ibn Hibbaan (no. 1534/1535 - in Mawarid) in the book of Imaarah, chapter of "Khilaafah", al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak (3/71, 145) from the Hadeeth of Safeenah. It is an authentic hadeeth and the thirty year period was the period of the rightly guided Khulafaa up to when Hasan abdicated from his Khilaafah.]
From the beliefs of the Pious Predecessors is that it is obligatory to have eemaan (faith) in all that the Qur'aan has come with, and what Allaah, the Most High, has ordered us with, and leaving all that Allaah, the Most High, has prohibited us from, the general and the detailed. We believe in all that the Prophet, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, has informed us of, when its transmission from him is authentic, in that which we witness or do not witness, regardless of whether we comprehend it, or are ignorant of it or we have not come accross the reality of its meaning.
We carry out the orders of Allaah, the Most High, and the orders of his Messenger, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam. We refrain from what Allaah, the most High has prohibited us from and what the Messenger of Allaah, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, prohibited us from. We stop at the hudood (boundaries) of the Book of Allaah, and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, and that which has come from the rightly guided Khulafaa. Our duty is to do ittibaa` (following) of that which the Prophet, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, has come with: from beliefs, actions and sayings, to follow the way of Allaah's Messenger, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, and the four rightly guided Khulafaa', in their beliefs, actions and sayings. This is the complete Sunnah, as the Sunnah of the rightly guided Khulafaa' is adhered to like the following of the Prophetic Sunnah.`Umar ibn `Abdul `Azeez said:
"The Messenger of Allaah, sallaallahu `alaihi wa sallam, and the leaders of the Muslims after him set examples (Sunnah), the taking of which is holding on to the Book of Allaah, the Most High, and strength upon the Deen of Allaah. It is not for any one to change or alter it, nor to look at a matter in opposition to it. Whoever is guided by it then he is truly guided, and whoever seeks help by it then he is truly helped. Whoever leaves it and follows a way other than the way of the believers, Allaah will turn him to what he has chosen and burn him in hell, what en evil abode!"
This is confirmed by the saying of Allaah's Messenger, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam:
"...and beware of newly invented matters, for verily every bid`ah is a going astray."
This hadeeth is a great principle from the principles of the Deen and it resembles another saying of the Prophet, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam:"Whoever innovates in to this Deen of ours that which is not from it, then it is rejected."
[Reported by al-Bukhaaree in ta`leeq form (without mentioning the chain) (4/298) and in the full form (5/221), Muslim (no. 1718), Aboo Daawood in the book of Sunnah (no. 4606), Ibn Maajah (no. 14).]
In it is a warning from following newly invented matters in the Deen and worship. The meaning of bid`ah is that which has been invented and has no root in the Sharee`ah pointing to it. As for what has a root in the Sharee`ah pointing to it it is not legally (technically) a bid`ah; even though linguistically the term bid`ah may be applied to it. Thus whenever something new is introduced into the Deen, having no root (in the Deen) to return it to, then it is a misguidance - deviation. The Deen is free of it, regardless of whether it is connected to issues of beliefs, actions or sayings.
As for the istihsaan (approval and condoning) of bid`ah, which occurred in the words of the predecessors, then that is in relation to bid`ah al-logawee (linguistic use of bid`ah) and not in the legal (technical) use of the term bid`ah. From these saying is the saying of `Umar bin al-Khattaab, when he gathered the people in Qiyaam-ur-Ramadaan - Taraaweeh prayers - behind one Imaam in the masjid. He went out and saw them praying and he said: "What a wonderful bid`ah."
This has a root in Sharee`ah. Verily the Messenger of Allaah, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam prayed it (this prayer) in congregation in the masjid and then he left it, fearing that it might become obligatory upon his Ummah and that they would be unable to perform it. Indeed they became free of this fear after the Prophet, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam.So `Umar (radiyallaahu `anhu) revived it. As for that which is a matter confirmed, in worship, then it is not permissible to make additions to it.
So, for example of the adhaan, remains in the form in which it was legislated, without addition or subtraction. The Prayer remains upon the manner it was legislated as the Messenger of Allaah, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam said:
"Pray as you have seen me praying."
This is an authentic hadeeth, reported by al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh.
Hajj remains upon the manner in which it was legislated, because the Messenger of Allaah, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, said:
"Take from me your rites (of Hajj)." [Saheeh Muslim, Book of Hajj, 1297]
Indeed the Muslims have done things that were not present in the time of the Messenger of Allaah, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, due to them being daroorah (necessities) in preserving Islaam. Indeed they have permitted it and kept quiet about it. Like the gathering of the people to one mushaaf (that which the Qur'aan is written upon), by `Uthmaan bin `Affaan (radiyallaahu `anhu), fearing the splitting of the Ummah. Indeed it was approved of by the Companions (radiyallaahu `anhum) and that was for a maslaha (benefit).
The example of writing down Prophetic traditions (hadeeth) fearing its loss due to the death of its people. The writing of Tafseer of the Qur'aan and the Hadeeth. The compilation of `Ilm an-Nahw (science of grammar) to safeguard the Arabic language, which is a means of understanding Islaam. The formation of `Ilm al-Mustalah (science of hadeeth). Thus, these are permissible to safeguard the Islamic Sharee`ah. Verily, Allaah, the Most High, has taken the responsability of safeguarding His Law - from His saying:"Indeed it is We who sent down the Dhikr (Qur'aan) and surely We will guard it (from corruption). [al-Hijr (15):9]
The Messenger of Allaah, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, said:
"This `Ilm (Deen) will be carried by the trustworthy of ones of each generation. Negating from it the tahreef (alterations) of the ones going beyond bounds, the false assumptions of the liars, and the ta'weel (false interpretations) of the ignorant."
This hadeeth is hasan due to all its chains and shawaahids (supporting narrations).
This is the belief (`aqeedah) - of the group of this Ummah (i.e. the Companions radiyallaahu `anhum) and it is a pure belief like the purity of fresh drinking water, strong as the firmly fixed mountains, firm as the firmest of hand holds. It is a flawless `Aqeedah, a straight way, upon the methodology of the Book and the Sunnah and the sayings of the Predecessors of this Ummah and its A'immah (leaders). It is the way which revived the hearts of the pioneers of this Ummah.
THE BELIEF OF THE PIOUS SCHOLARS OF ISLAAM
It is the `Aqeedah of the Righteous Predecessors, Firqatun-Naajiyah (saved sect) Ahl us Sunnah wal-Jamaa`ah. It is the `Aqeedah of the four Imaams - the founders of the well known and followed madhhabs and of most of their followers.
[Nu`maan bin Thaabit Aboo Haneefah - One of the Imaams of Islaam and leading personalities. Born 80 Hijree during the era of the young Companions, he saw Anas bin Maalik (radiyallaahu `anhu) (at a young age). His main students are Aboo Yoosuf and Muhammad al-Hasan ash-Shaybaanee. The Hanafee madhhab is ascribed to him but more than a third of the madhhab is from other later scholars. He died 150 hijree.
Maalik bin Anas, Imaam of Daar-ul-Hijrah (Madeenah). Born 93 hijree, the year Anas bin Maalik died. An Imaam of the Muslims and a leading scholar of Islaam. The Maalikee madhhab is ascribed to him.
Muhammad bin Idrees ash-Shaafi`ee (a brief note was given before).
Ahmad bin Hanbal, known as the Imaam of Ahl-us-Sunnah wal Jamaa`ah. Born in Baghdaad 164 hijree. He was from the few who at his time preserved the way of the Companions, fighting away the innovations of the deviant sects and upholding the way of the Predecessors. From amongst his students were Aboo Daawood, `Alee bin al-Madanee, Aboo Zu`arah and Aboo Haatim and many more famous scholars of Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa`ah. He died 241 hijree.
May Allaah have mercy upon them, they are konwn as the four well followed Imaams.]
It is the `Aqeedah of the generality of the fuqahaa, the muhadditheen, the scholars that act on what they know, and those that traverse along their way, to this day and until the Day of Judgement. Indeed the ones that differred are the ones that altered their (the Imaams') sayings, from amongst those of the later generations (muta'akhireen) who ascribe to their madhhabs.
So our duty is to return, with a pure `Aqeedah, to the fountain which the best of our Pious Predecessors drank from. To keep quiet about that which they keep quiet about, to perform our `Ibaadah (worship) the way they performed their worship, to adhere to the Book and Sunnah, the ijmaa of the Predecessors of this Ummah and its A'immah, and the correct qiyaas in new matters. Imaam an Nawawee (rahimahullaah), said in al-Adhkaar:
"...and know that the selected, correct way is that which the Pious Predecessors were upon, and that is the truth. Do not be fooled by the large number that oppose it. For indeed Aboo `Alee Fudayl ibn `Iyaad said (the meaning of which is): 'Stick to the ways of guidance and you will not be harmed by the smallness of numbers that follow it. Beware of the ways of misguidance and do not be fooled by the multitude of the ones that will be destroyed.'"
This is the only way that will reform the rest of the Ummah. Imaam Maalik bin Anas (rahimahullaah), the scholar of Madeenah spoke the truth when he said:
"The latter part of the Ummah will never be reformed except by that which reformed the former part. "Never will good disappear from the Ummah, because the Messenger of Allaah, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, said in a hadeeth:
"There will not cease to be a group from my Ummah manifestly upon the Haqq (Truth). The ones that abandon them will not harm them, until the Order of Allaah comes and they are like that (upon the Truth)." [Saheeh Muslim, no. 1920 and others]
The Prophet, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, further said:
"The example of my Ummah is like that of rain. It is not known whether the initial part (of the rain) is good or the latter part. This is an authentic hadeeth (related by Ahmad in Musnaad, 3/130, 4/319, and at-Tirmidhee, no.2873).
Indeed the `Aqeedah of the Righteous Predecessors has been stipulated by a great many of the scholars. From them, Aboo Ja`far at-Tahaawee, and his `Aqeedah has been explained by Ibn Abil-`Izz al-Hanafee one of the students of Ibn Katheer ad-Dimishqee naming it Sharh al-`Aqeedah at-Tahaawiyyah and, from them is Abul-Hasan al-Ash`aree, in his book al-Ibaanah `an Usool ad-Diyaanah. This being the `Aqeedah which he finally settled upon. He said, "...our saying, which we state, the Deen which we profess belief in, is adherence to the Book of Allaah, the Sunnah of our Prophet, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam, and that which is related from the Companions (radiyallahu `anhum), the Taabi'oon and Imaams of hadeeth, we cling on to this, and we say that which Aboo `Abdullaah Ahmad ibn Hanbal used to say and distance ourselves from ones that opposed his sayings."
From those that wrote about the `Aqeedah of the Righteous Predecessors is as-Saaboonee (d. 449 hijree) in his book `Aqeedat-us-Salaf and Muwaffiq-ud-Deen ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdasee al-Hanbalee in his book Luma`tul `Ittiqaad al-Haadi ilaa Sabeel ar-Rashaad, and other glorious scholars, may Allaah reward them with good.
[Among the early scholars who stipulated this pure `aqeedah are:Abee `Ubaydah Qaasim bin Sallam (d.224), Imaam Ahmad, al-Bukhaaree, Ibn Mandah (d.390), Aboo Bakr ibn Athraam (d.272), `Abdullaah ibn Ahmad (d.290), Nasr al-Marwazee (d.294), Al-Khallal (d.311), Imaam al-Barbahaaree (d.329), Imaam of the A`immah Ibn Khuzaimah (d.311), Ibn Battah (d.387), Al-Laalakaa`ee (d.418) and others.]
We ask Allaah to guide us to the pure `Aqeedah (beliefs) and to a pure and clean heart, we ask for virtuous and pleasing manners, and to give us life as Muslims and to take our life while being upon the Sharee`ah of our Prophet, Muhammad, sallaallaahu `alaihi wa sallam.
O Allaah let us die as Muslims and make us meet the Saaliheen (righteous) without being disgraced or tried. Forgive us, our parents, and the believers on the Day of Judgement. We ask Allaah for inspiration to the correctness of sayings and actions. Indeed He is all powerful over allthings and the most worthy to answering calls, and our final du`aa is, all praise belongs to Allaah, Lord of all worlds.