In returning back to this great asl or usool of our belief and minhaaj which the Imaam of Ahlus-Sunnah and the Subduer of Innovations, Aboo ‘Abdullaah Ahmad ibn Hanbal (raheemahullaah ta’aala) [d.241H] brings which is Waajib upon us to follow and adhere to. That is "The fundamental principles of the Sunnah with us are: 'Holding fast to what the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) were upon.'" And Imaam Ahmad (raheemahullaah) sufficed with this statement without mentioning the Kitaab and Sunnah. Why? That is because the Sahabah (radiyallaahu ta'aala anhum) were firmly established upon the Kitaab and Sunnah.
Then Imaam Ahmad mentions next: "Taking them (the Sahabah) and their way as a model to be followed." This is to follow them because our belief is accompanied by action and the Sahabah (radiyallaahu anhum) were the best in implementing these two affairs (The Qur'aan and Sunnah). And there was no truth except that the Sahabah were upon it.
Then Imaam Ahmad went on to mention the third usool which is: "The abandonment of innovations and every innovation is misguidance." Therefore, anything that is not from the statements and actions of the Sahabah is a bid'ah and is to be abandoned because every bid'ah is misguidance.
We also have the statement of Imaam Maalik (raheemahullaah) who said, "Whosoever introduces into Islaam an innovation, which he deems is good, then he has claimed that Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) has betrayed the trust of conveying the Message. Read the Saying of Allaah Azza wa Jall: 'This day I have completed your Religion for you, and I have perfected my favour upon you, and I am pleased with Islaam as a religion for you." [Soorah al-Maa'idah (5):3] So whatever was not part of the Deen on that day, is not part of the Deen on this day. And the last part of this Ummah will not be rectified, except by that which rectified its first part." In this statement he clarifies the fact that any belief or actions that were not known during the time of the Sahabah is a bid'ah.
And Abdullaah ibn Umar (radiyallaahu anhumaa) said, "Every bid'ah is misguidance even if the people see it as something good." This is in accordance with the statement of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) who said, "Every innovation is misguidance." This is a clear refutation of those who divide bid'ah into two categories (i.e. of good and bad).
And in the narration which is well known: Al-Hakam bin al-Mubarak informed us that Amr ibn Yahyaa said my father related from his father who said:
We used to sit by the door of Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood before the Salaatul Ghadaat (morning prayer), so that when he came out we would walk with him to the masjid.
(One day) Aboo Moosaa al-Ash'aree came to us and said, "Has Aboo 'Abdur-Rahmaan come out yet? We replied, "No."
Therefore, he sat down with us until he came out. When he came out, we all stood along with him, so Aboo Moosaa said to him,
"O Aboo 'Abdur-Rahmaan I have just seen something in the masjid which I deemed to be evil, but all praise is for Allaah, I did not see anything except good!"
He inquired, "Then what is it?"
(Aboo Moosaa) replied, "If you live you will see it. I saw in the masjid people sitting in circles awaiting the Prayer. In each circle they had pebbles in their hands and a man would say 'repeat Allaahu Akbar a hundred times.' So they would repeat it a hundred times. Then he would say, 'say Laa ilaaha illa Allaah a hundred times.' So they would say it a hundred times. The he would say, 'say SubhanAllaah a hundred times.' So they would say it a hundred times."
(Ibn Mas'ood) asked, "What did you say to them?"
(Aboo Moosaa) said, "I did not say anything to them. Instead I waited to hear your view or what you declared."
(Ibn Mas'ood) replied, "Would that you had ordered them to count up the evil deeds they acquired and assured them that their good deeds would not be lost!"
Then we went along with him (Ibn Mas'ood) until he came to one of these circles and stood and said, "What is this which I see you doing?"
They replied, "O Aboo 'Abdur-Rahmaan! These are pebbles upon which we are counting takbeer, tahleel and tasbeeh."
He said, "(You should) count your evil deeds and I will assure you that none of your good deeds will be lost. Woe to you, O Ummah of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam)! How quickly you are rushing to your destruction! These are the Companions of your Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) and who are widespread (and numerous). There are his clothes which have not yet decayed and his eating utensils which are unbroken. By Him in Whose Hand is my soul! Either you are upon a deen better guided than the Deen of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) or that you are opening the door of misguidance (from this bid'ah)."
They said, "O Aboo Abdur-Rahmaan! By Allaah, we only intended good."
He said, "How many there are who intend good but do not achieve it. Indeed Allaah's Messenger said to us, 'A people will recite the Qur'aan but it will not pass beyond their throats.' By Allaah! I do not know, perhaps most of them are from you." Then he left them.
And these people did not make khurooj but Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood (radiyallaahu anhu) saw something in them as is seen by him relating the hadeeth about the Khawaarij.
Umar ibn Salamah (the sub-narrator) of the narration said: "We saw most of those people fighting against us on the day of Nahrawaan, along with the Khawaarij."
When the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) spoke about this Ummah becoming divided and stated, "The Jews have split and divided into seventy-one sects and the Christians have split and divided into seventy-two sects and my Ummah would split into seventy-three sects. All of these sects will be in the Fire except one." They said, "And which one is this O Messenger of Allaah?" He said: 'The Jamaa'ah." and in another narration he (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "That which I and my companions are upon."
And Jamaa'ah is of two types: the first is the Sahabah they are the Jamaa'ah and the main body to be followed. The second type of Jamaa'ah is the body of Muslims who are united upon an oath of allegiance to a Muslim ruler. Therefore, khurooj (revolting) is of two types: the first type is revolting against that which the Sahabah were upon and the second type is revolting against the ruler. And no doubt the first type of khurooj is more dangerous and no one does the second without doing the first and this is what Ibn Mas'ood (radiyallaahu anhu) saw in those people. Also as Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (raheemahullaah) mentioned, "The khawaarij are the most apparent of the people of innovation and fighting against the rulers."
Similarly, when Alee ibn Abee Taalib (radiyallaahu anhu) sent Ibn Abbaas to debate with the khawaarij after they had gathered their units he said to them, "I have come to you from amongst the Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) - the Muhaajiroon and the Ansaar and from the son of the uncle of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam), who is his son-in-law. And upon them descended the Qur'aan; they are more knowledgeable about it than you and there is not one of them (the Companions) amongst you." Ibn Abbaas (radiyallaahu anhu) drew their attention to this point which shows they were upon misguidance because none of the Companions were with them. And it is mentioned that 2,000 of them repented and left what they were upon wa lillaahi hamd.
Imaam al-Awzaa'ee (raheemahullaah) said, "Knowledge is what comes from the Companions of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) and that which does not come from a single one of them is not knowledge." And Ibnul-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (raheemahullaah) said, "Knowledge is: Allaah said, the Messenger said, and the Companions said."
Allaah Azza wa Jall says, "…those who have been given knowledge may know that it (this Qur’aan) is the truth from your Lord, and that they may believe therein, and their hearts may submit to it with humility." [Soorah al-Hajj (22):54] In this Ayah, Allaah has addressed the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) telling him that those who are endowed with knowledge know that the revelation he has received is the truth from his Lord and they are the Sahabah (radiyallaahu anhum).
Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood (radiyallaahu anhu) once said: "If you are willing to follow a good example, then you have an option in the tradition of the deceased, because the living are likely to fall as easy prey to oppression (so they might hesitate in faith). Follow the step of Muhammad’s Companions. They were the best in this nation, the most pious, the most learned and the least compromising. Allaah chose them to accompany the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) and establish His religion. Therefore, become familiar with their virtues, follow their righteous way and adhere as much as you can to their manners and assimilate their biography, for indeed they followed the unwavering guidance."
Allaah has ordered us to follow the way of the Sahabah in His saying, "And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger 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 – what an evil destination." [Soorah an-Nisaa (4):115]
Allaah also said about them, "You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind." [Soorah Aali-Imraan (3):110] And the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "The best of mankind is my generation…"
In order for us to be successful we must adhere to the Qur’aan and Sunnah upon the understanding of the Sahabah and the Salaf us-Saalih, those who do so are the People of the Sunnah. As for the People of innovation they are those who innovate into Islaam that which is not from it whether it be beliefs or actions or they try to understand the text of the Qur’aan and Sunnah with their own desires rather than basing their understanding upon the understanding of the Salaf us-Saalih.
Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (raheemahullaah) then continues with the fundamental principles (usool) of the Sunnah by saying: "The abandonment of controversies and the abandonment of sitting with the people of Ahwaa (desires)." This Usool, unfortunately has been forgotten or intentionally neglected by many in these times who ascribe themselves to the Sunnah and the Madhhab of the Salaf.
Therefore, it is worthy to mention a very important point which must be understood and that is: after shirk, bid’ah is the most evil of affairs. As the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) would say, "The most evil of affairs are the newly invented affairs." He (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) did not say the most evil of affairs is a woman dressed improperly, he did not say a man dragging his thobe past his ankles, he did not say drinking khamr or doing drugs. He (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "The most evil of affairs are the newly invented affairs." Abdullaah ibn Abbaas (radiyallaahu ta’aala anhumaa) the interpreter (turjumaan) of the Qur’aan amongst the Sahabah said, "Verily, the most detested of things to Allaah, the Exalted, are the innovations." And the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "Whoever innovates something in this affair of ours that is not of it will have it rejected."
Hence, bid’ah is something that is the most evil of affairs, it is something rejected by Allaah Tabarak wa Ta’aala, and Allaah Azza wa Jall curses the one who brings about an innovation. Allaah also curses the one who accommodates and shelters a person of innovation meaning by assisting them, defending them, spreading their books and tapes, when someone warns against him you hear the person say ‘no akhee don’t talk like that about the brother’. This is a person who shelters a person of innovation and the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "Whoever innovates or accommodates an innovator then upon him is the curse of Allaah, His Angels, and the whole of mankind."
Imaam as-Saaboonee (raheemahullaah) who died in the year 449 after Hijrah said about the People of the Sunnah, "They follow the Salafus-Saalih, the Imaams and the Scholars of the Muslims, and they cling to the firm deen that they clung to and to the clear truth. And they hate Ahlul-Bid’ah who innovate into the Deen that which is not from it. They do not love them and they do not keep company with them. They do not listen to their sayings, nor sit with them, nor argue with them about the Deen, nor debate with them. Rather, they protect their ears from hearing their futility, things which if they pass through the ears and settle in the hearts, will cause harm and cause doubts and wicked ideas to appear. And concerning this Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic sent down:
"And when you see people engaged in vain discourse about Our Signs, then turn away from them unless they turn to a different theme." [Soorah al-An’aam (6):68]"
Ibn Qudamah (raheemahullaah) said, "The Salaf used to forbid sitting with the People of innovations, looking into their books and listening to their words." As al-Hasaan al-Basree (raheemahullaah) said, "Do not sit with the people of innovation and desires, nor argue with them, nor listen to them." Yahyaa ibn Katheer (raheemahullaah) said, "If you meet a person of innovation along the path, then take a path other than it." Al-Fudayl ibn Iyaad said, "I met the best of people, all of them people of the Sunnah and they used to forbid accompanying the people of innovation." And athaar such as these from the Salaf are numerous.
Likewise, there are numerous athaar from the Salaf concerning judging one by his companionship. The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "A person is upon the Religion of his friend. So let each one of you look to whom he keeps as a friend." And al-A’mash (raheemahullaah) said, "They (the Salaf) did not used to ask anything more about a person after having asked three affairs: whom he walks with, whom he enters upon, and whom he associates with amongst the people."
Aboo Daawood as-Sijistaanee said, "I said to Aboo Abdullaah, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, "If I see a man from Ahlus-Sunnah sitting with a man from the people of innovation, should I abandon speaking to him?’ He said, ‘No. You should first inform him that the one whom you saw him with is a person of innovation. Either he will cease speaking to the innovator, so continue speaking to him, or if not, then regard him to be like him." Ibn Mas’ood said, "A person is like his friend."
Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood (radiyallaahu anhu) also stated, "The regions are known by their names and a person is known by his companions." Muhammad ibn Ubaydullaah al-Ghulaabee (raheemahullaah) said, "The people of desires hide everything except friendship and companionship." And Qataadah (raheemahullaah) said, "By Allaah, I have not seen a man accompanying anyone, except that he is like him and resembles him. So accompany the righteous from amongst the servants of Allaah, so that you may be with them and like them."
Shaykhul-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah (raheemahullaah) said, "It is obligatory to punish everyone who ascribes himself to them – the People of Innovation – or whoever defends them, or whoever praises them, or whoever reveres their books, or who detests that they should be talked about, or who begins to make excuses for them by saying that he does not understand what these words mean, or by saying that this person authored another book and what is similar to these types of excuses, which are not made, except by an ignoramus or a hypocrite. Rather, it is obligatory to punish everyone who knows of their condition and does not assist in repelling their evil, for repelling their evil is one of the greatest obligations."
And the Noble Scholar, Shaykh Saalih ibn Fawzaan al-Fawzaan (hafidhahullaah) was asked, "Whoever opposes the usool (foundations) of Salafiyyah from amongst those who are around us, and assists and supports other methodologies and their thinkers, is it obligatory to associate him with them in order that people may take caution from him and so that they do not become deceived by his manhaj (methodology)?" So he answered, "Whoever opposes the methodology of the Salaf and praises those who are upon it, then he is considered to be upon the actual opposing methodologies himself. It is necessary to advise him and to give him da’wah. So he must return to the truth , but if not, then he is to be abandoned and cut-off."
And in closing with some advice to the one who sits with the people of desires by the Noble Scholar, Shaykh Rabee' bin Haadee al-Madkhalee (hafidhahullaah) when he was asked, "What is your advice O Shaykh to the one who sits with the people of desires, attends their gatherings and gives them salutations in order that they may be certain about what they (the innovators) say, so that they may (use this information) to debate them?
The Shaykh replied: 'Most of the time a person like this will end up becoming a hizbee (partisan), either a tablighee, some type of sufi, or a shi’ite. It is incumbent that the likes of these individuals be punished by Allaah The Most Mighty and Exalted because verily they are going against the way and guidance of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam), and the Salaf while putting their religion at risk; most of the time they become lost, go astray and join the (evil) hizbee groups.
Ibn ‘Aqeel was a mountain from the mountains of the intellectuals, profoundness, and knowledge. He was advised not to go and (sit with) the mu’tazilah, (he however, did not heed the advice); he went to them and became mu’tazilee. Abu Thar was from the students of Ad Daaruqutnee the Imaam of the Sunnah, he (Abu Thar) heard a statement (from the people of innovation) which overwhelmed him and he became a shi’ite. Abdur Razaaq used to sit with Ja’far Bin Sulaimaan Ad Dabi’ee who had with him some shi’ite ways and thus he (Abdur Razaaq) changed. He adopted shi’ism and thus became a poor impoverished one from the shi’ite; although the shi’ism he had with him was not extreme, and he is not to be faulted (to the same extent of the shi’ite that is extreme); never the less he fell into shi’ism and was affected by it.
Therefore, the one who sits with the people of falsehood will most definitely be affected by them despite what they want and will. No matter what they claim, they will definitely be affected because the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) is the truthful one who is trusted. He (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) has warned against this and said,
"Verily the example of the righteous sitting and the evil sitting is like that of the merchant of fine perfumes and the ironsmith. As far as the merchant of perfume, he may either give you a sample as a gift, or you may purchase some perfume from him, or (at least) you find from him a good smell. Whereas, the ironsmith will either burn your clothes (due to the flying sparks of iron oar), or you will find from him a bad smell."
The righteous sitting –masha Allaah- has three possible scenarios, all of them being good. Either he will give you a sample as a gift saying "here you may have this", put some on you, or give you a bottle of perfume (as a gift). Or, you may buy some perfume from him. You will benefit from him and this is good. You’re not buying from him alcohol or something that is prohibited; rather you are buying from him fine oils that Allaah loves. Something that you are encouraged to put on before you pray and/or enter into the Masjid. So like this you will benefit from him. Or, (at least) you will find a good smell from him and this too is good.
The evil sitting is like sitting with the ironsmith. Either he will burn your clothes or you will find from him a repugnant smell (whose fumes) may cause cancer or some other type of sickness and we seek refuge in Allaah from this.
So the evil sitting will most definitely afflict you in a bad way and with evil.
"An individual is on the religion of his companion and close friend, so let each of you look carefully to the one whom they befriend."
"The friends on that day will become enemies one to another except those who are pious." [Soorah Az-Zukhruf (43):67]
The people of desires and innovation are not from them (i.e. the pious). You have verses and ahaadeeth that warn you (about sitting with the people of innovation). (Yet despite all of this) you say, "No, get out of here (that’s not going to happen to me)." Who has granted you an impermeable protection? The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) used to warn the Sahaabah (from sitting with the people of innovation), the Salaf who where like mountains (of knowledge, faith, adherence to the truth, etc.) used to plug their ears (from listening to the people of innovation) and did not want to hear anything from them. But you, you go to them, visit them and attend their gatherings, (you will be) afflicted by their evil, deceptions, and accusations.
We have tried abundantly; we have tried abundantly, for more than thirty years we have been trying (to get across to the likes of these people). They have been deceived, lost and broken down. Their end result has already been determined; they WILL be lost (and miserable). We ask Allaah for safety!
No matter what level of intelligences you achieve, (if you sit with them), verily Allaah will punish you. Your intelligence will not avail you. You must take the necessary steps and means to safeguard and protect this religion that Allaah has given to you. Do not play with this bounty!
Presently, you will find that the hizbees of this country (Saudi Arabia), all of them where originally Salafi as the origins of this country is Salafiyyah. All of these (indigenous Saudi citizens) who became hizbee where lost due to them mixing (with the hizbees), living along side of them, reading their books and listening to the (tapes) of the people of desires.
Everyone you see now, who it is said about them that they are hizbee, all of them where lost due to this path; they were all taken and destroyed by the evil (philosophy), "I am taking the truth and leaving the evil." (In reality), they are taking the evil and leaving the truth, they become enemies to the truth. They (end up) becoming of those who war against the people of the truth!"
SubhanAllaahi wa Bihamdihi! Take Heed O Muslim and Hold Tightly to these Usool!