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Rifqan Ahlus-Sunnah bi Ahlis-Sunnah

By Shaykh 'Abdul-Muhsin al-'Abbaad Al-Badr



Translated By Abu Rumaysah







All praise and thanks are due to Allah who united the hearts of the Muslims and inculcated in them the desire to bond and come together. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped save Allah, the One who has no partner, who created and determined, who legislated and made it easy, who is Ever-Merciful to the believers. I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger, who enjoined towards making matters easy and giving glad tidings with his words, "Make matters easy and do not make them difficult, give glad tidings and do not make people averse," O Allah, send Your peace and blessing upon him and bless him, his pure family and his Companions - those whom Allah described as being severe against the disbelievers yet merciful amongst themselves - and upon all those who follow them in good until the Day of Judgment.



O Allah, guide me and guide others through me, O Allah purify my heart from hatred and rancour. O Allah make firm my tongue so that it may speak the truth. O Allah I take refuge with You that I be misguided or misguide, that I slip and err or cause others to slip and err, that I oppress or be oppressed, that I behave foolishly or be treated foolishly.



Ahlus-Sunnah wa-l-Jama'ah are those who follow what the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, was upon and his Companions. Their attribution is to the Sunnah of the Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, which he enjoined to be followed with his words, "So upon you is to follow my Sunnah and the sunnah of the Rightly Guided Khalifahs after me; hold firm to it and grip it with your molar teeth." He warned against opposing it with his words, "Beware of the newly invented matters, for every newly invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance," and, "Whoever turns away from my Sunnah is not of me."



This is at odds to the ways trodden by other than them, by the People of Desires and Innovation: those who follow a way other than that of the Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, and his Companions. The creed of Ahlus-Sunnah became clear and manifest at the sending of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, whereas the creeds of the People of Innovation were given birth after his time: some of them appeared toward the end of the epoch of the Companions and some of them appeared after. The Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, told his Companions that whoever amongst them would live [after him] would see splitting and differing with his words, "Whoever amongst you lives [after me] shall see much differing." Then he directed us towards following the Straight Path: his Sunnah and the sunnah of his Rightly Guided Khalifahs, and he warned from newly invented matters and informed us that they were misguidance. It is neither comprehensible nor acceptable that truth and guidance be veiled from the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, and that it become clear for a people who came after them. Therefore all of the innovations are evil for were any of them to be good, they would have been preceded in by the Companions. They are evil and many who came after the Companions have been tried by them, those who deviated from the path of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them. Imam Malik, may Allah have mercy upon him said, 'The latter part of this nation will only be corrected by what corrected its first part.'



It is for this reason that Ahlus-Sunnah attribute themselves to the Sunnah and others attribute themselves to their false beliefs such as the Jabariyyah, the Qadariyyah, the Murji'ah, the Imamiyyah, the Ithna Ashariyyah; or they attribute themselves to specific personalities such as the Jahmiyyah, the Zaydiyyah, the Ash'ariyyah and the 'Ibadiyyah. However it cannot be said that the term 'Wahhabiyyah', the attribution to Shaykh Muhammad bin 'Abdul-Wahhab, may Allah have mercy upon him, is of the category just discussed. This is because Ahlus-Sunnah during the time of the Shaykh, may Allah have mercy upon him, and after his time, did not give themselves this attribution for the simple reason that he did not come with anything new that would need attribution to. He merely followed what the Righteous Salaf were upon, made the Sunnah clear, spread it, and called towards it. This attribution was employed by those who opposed and hated the corrective call of Shaykh Muhammad bin 'Abdul-Wahhab in order to spread confusion amongst the people, turn them away from truth and guidance, and to keep them following their newly invented innovations that opposed the way of Ahlus-Sunnah wa-l-Jama'ah.



Imam ash-Shatibi, al-I'tisam [1/79] said, 'Abdur-Rahman bin Mahdi said, "Malik bin Anas was asked about the Sunnah and he replied: It is that which has no other name but this: the Sunnah, then he recited the verse, "And this is my Straight Path so follow it and do not follow other paths lest they misguide you from His Path" " '



Ibn al-Qayyim, Madarij as-Salikin [3/179] said, 'One of the Imams was asked about the Sunnah to which he replied: It is that which has no other name but the Sunnah, meaning by this that Ahlus-Sunnah have no title to attribute themselves to save this.'



Ibn 'Abdul-Barr, al-Intiqa' [p. 35] said, 'A man asked Malik about who Ahlus-Sunnah were and he replied: Ahlus-Sunnah are those that have no epithet that would describe them: neither Jahmi nor Qadari  nor Rafidi.'



There is no doubt that it is obligatory upon Ahlus-Sunnah in every time and place to unify and be merciful to each other, and to cooperate upon righteousness and taqwa.



However it is distressing that in this time we see differing, coldness and indifference from some of Ahlus-Sunnah which has led to some of them busying themselves with disparagement of people, warning, and boycotting. This, whereas it is obligatory upon them to expend their efforts in combating the disbelievers and the People of Innovation who oppose Ahlus-Sunnah, and it is obligatory upon them to be merciful amongst themselves and bringing each other together, some of them mentioning others with gentleness and compassion.



I thought to write some words as an advice to all of them, asking Allah, Mighty and Magnificent, that He bring about benefit through these words. All I desire is to correct the affairs as much as I am able, and accord comes only from Allah: it is in Him that I place my trust and to him that I turn in penitence.



I have called this advice, 'Rifqan Ahlas-Sunnah bi Ahlis-Sunnah.'



I ask Allah that he grant His accord and firmness to all, and that He correct what is between them, bring their hearts together, guide them to the paths of peace, and remove them from the darknesses to the light; He is the All-Hearing, the One who responds.



The blessing of speech.



The blessings of Allah bestowed His servants cannot be counted or enumerated; from the greatest of these blessing is speech by means of which man articulates his desire, speaks an upright word, enjoins the good and prohibits the evil. Whoever is lacking the ability to speak is not able to carry out these matters and neither is he able to make others understand what he desires except through motions or writing - if he can write.



Allah, Mighty and Magnificent says, "Allah present an example of two men: one of them dumb and unable to do a thing, while he is a burden to his guardian. Wherever he directs him, he brings no good. Is he equal to one who commands justice, while he is a straight path?"



In explanation to this it is said that this is a parable propounded by Allah for Himself and the believer and it is also said it is propounded for the disbeliever and the believer; al-Qurtubi said, 'This is reported from ibn 'Abbas and it is good for it then takes on a general meaning.' This parable is clear in showing the deficiency of the dumb slave who brings no benefit to others and neither does his master benefit from him, no matter where or how he directs him.



Allah, Mighty and Magnificent, says, "By the Lord of the heaven and earth, indeed it is the truth - just as [sure is] it that you are speaking"; here Allah takes an oath by himself to stress the reality of the resurrection and the recompense of deeds, in just the same way that speech is existing and a reality amongst those who can speak. In this lies an indication towards the blessings of speech.



Allah, Glorious is He, says, "He created man; and taught him al-Bayan"; al-Hasan said that Bayan here means speech and in this lies an indication of the blessings of speech through which man clarifies and expresses his desire.



Allah, Exalted is He, says, "Have We not given him two eyes? And a tongue and two lips?"; ibn Kathir says: "Have we not given him two eyes", by which he can see, "and a tongue" by which he can speak and express what he desires, "and two lips", which aid him to speak, eat and beautify his face and mouth."



It is known that this blessing is only truly a blessing if it is used to articulate that which is good, if it is used to articulate evil, it becomes a means of punishment and misery - in this case the one who does not have this blessing is in a better situation that he.





Safeguarding the Tongue such that it speaks only good



Allah, Mighty and Magnificent says, "O you who believe, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will amend for you your deeds and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment."



"O you who believe, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed some assumption is sin. Do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would abhor it. Fear Allah, indeed Allah is the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."



"We have created man and know what his soul whispers to him; We are closer to him than his own jugular vein. When the two recording angels record, seated on the right and the left: Not a word does he utter without a watcher by him, pen in hand!"



"And those who harm believing men and women when they have not merited it have certainly born upon themselves a slander and manifest sin."



Muslim records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Do you know what backbiting is?" They replied, 'Allah and His Messenger know best.' He said, "Mentioning things of your brother that he would dislike." It was asked, 'What if what I said was actually to be found in my brother?' He replied, "If he has what you mentioned, you have backbitten him; if he does not, you have slandered him."



Allah, Mighty and Magnificent, says, "Do not pursue that which you have no knowledge of, for sure the hearing, the sight and the heart will all be questioned!"



Muslim records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Allah is pleased with three qualities for you and dislikes three from you: He is pleased that you worship Him, without associating any partners with Him, and that you hold firm to the rope of Allah and not split; He dislikes useless speech, excessive questioning, and the wasting of wealth."



The three disliked matters have also been recorded in the hadith of al-Mughirah by Bukhari and Muslim.



Abu Hurayrah reports that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "The son of Adam has had his share of fornication written for him, and he must commit it. The fornication of the eyes is looking; the fornication of the ears is listening; the fornication of the tongue is speech; the fornication of the hand is grasping; and the fornication of the foot is walking. The heart lusts and desires and the private parts either deny this or fulfil it." Recorded by Bukhari and Muslim and the wording is his.



Bukhari records on the authority of 'Abdullah bin 'Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "The Muslim is one from whose tongue and hand the Muslims are safe." The wording of Muslim is: A man asked the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, 'Who is the best Muslim?' He replied, "The one from whose tongue and hand the Muslims are safe."



Muslim also records this hadith on the authority of Jabir with the wording recorded by Bukhari on the authority of 'Abdullah bin 'Amr.



Al-Hafidh [ibn Hajr] said in commentary to this hadith, 'The hadith is general with regards the tongue and not the hand. This is because the tongue can speak with regards those who have passed away, those who are present, and those who are yet to come; this is not the case with the hand. Yes, it is possible that the hand share in this by way of allusion and in that it has a great role to play.' In this respect is the saying of the poet:



I wrote, and I realised with certainty that day

That my hand would perish but what I wrote would remain

If I worked good, it would be repaid with the likes

If I worked evil, upon me is the recompense.



Bukhari records on the authority of Sahl bin Sa'd, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, "Whoever guarantees me what is between his lips and what is between his legs, I will guarantee him Paradise," meaning the tongue and private parts.



Bukhari and Muslim record on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day: let him speak good or remain silent."



An-Nawawi said in his commentary the Forty Ahadith, 'ash-Shafi'i said, "The meaning is that when he wishes to speak, let him first think: if it becomes clear that there is no harm in what he says, he may speak; but if it becomes clear that harm will result, or he has doubt over the matter, he should refrain." It is also reported from one person that he said, "Were you to buy the scrolls on which the recording Angels write, you would then refrain from much speaking." '



Imam Abu Hatim bin Hibban, Rawdatu-l-'Uqala said, 'It is obligatory upon the intelligent to adhere resolutely to silence until he must speak. Frequently will the one who speaks, later regret! Rare will it be that the one who remains silent have a cause to regret! The people who will have the most misery and greatest misfortune are those with unrestrained tongues and encased hearts.'



He also said, 'It is obligatory upon the intelligent to treat his ears and mouth fairly. He should know that he was given two ears and one mouth so that he may listen more than he speaks, for it may well be that when he speaks, he will regret, and when he does not speak, he will have no cause to regret. Man is more able to return to its place what he did not say as compared to returning and retracting what he has actually said. When a word is spoken, it has taken control of him; but when it is not spoken, he is in control of it.'



He also said, 'The tongue of the intelligent is behind his heart: when he wishes to speak he first refers to the heart and if it is befitting that he speak, he does, otherwise he does not. The heart of the ignoramus is on the tip of his tongue: whatever comes to it, he speaks. The one who does not preserve his tongue has not understood his religion.'



Bukhari and Muslim record on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him said, "A man may speak a word and not be aware of its import because of which he is hurled in the Fire to a distance further than what is between the east and west." The wording is that of Muslim.



At the end of the hadith in which the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, gave advice to Mu'adh, he said, "What is it that throws a person face first - or nose first - into the Fire except for the harvest of the tongues?" He said this in response to Mu'adh when he said, 'O Prophet of Allah, are we taken to account for what we say!' Recorded by at-Tirmidhi who said it was hasan sahih.



Al-Hafidh ibn Rajab, Jami' al-'Ulum wa-l-Hikam, said in commentary to this hadith, 'The meaning of the "harvest of the tongues" is the recompense and punishment for prohibited speech. This is because a person sows good and bad deeds through his speech and actions and on the Day of Judgment he will reap what he grew. Whoever sowed good will reap nobility and whoever sowed evil will reap sorrow.'



He also said, 'This hadith proves that withholding the tongue, being careful about what it articulates, and bringing it to account is the foundation of all good; just as it proves that whoever takes control of it, has thoroughly taken control of his affair and made it firm.'



He also quotes Yunus bin 'Ubayd saying, 'I have never seen anyone who has his tongue under control except that I saw its good effect in all of his deeds.' And from Yahya bin Abu Kathir who said, 'The speech of a person does not become rectified except that you will see the effects in all of his deeds; and the speech of a person does not become corrupted except that you will see the effects in all of his deeds.'



Muslim records on the authority of Abu Huryarah that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him said, "Do you know who the bankrupt person is?" They replied, 'The one who has neither dinar nor dirham.' He replied, "The bankrupt person from my nation is one who will come on the Day of Judgment with prayer, fasting and zakat; but he has abused this person, accused that person, eaten the property of this person, spilt the blood of that person, and hit this person. So this one will take from his good deeds as will that one, and if his good deeds are exhausted before the mutual recompense is finished, their sins will be piled onto him and then he will be flung into the Fire."



Muslim records a lengthy hadith on the authority of Abu Hurayrah at the end of which occurs, "It is sufficient evil for a person that he look down on his brother; the whole of a Muslim is sacrosanct for another: his blood, property, and honour."



Bukhari and Muslim record on the authority of ibn 'Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both, that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, addressed the people of the Day of Sacrifice and said, "O People, what day is this?" They replied, 'The Sacred Day.' He asked, "What city is this?" They replied, 'the
Sacred City.' He asked, "What month is this?" They replied, 'The Sacred Month.' He said, "Your blood, your property, and your honour is sacred just like the sacredness of this day, in this city, in this month." He repeated this a number of times and then raised his head and said, "O Allah, have I conveyed [Your message?] O Allah, have I conveyed [Your message?]" - Ibn 'Abbas said, 'By the One in whose hand is my soul, this is his legacy to his nation.' - "Let the one present inform the one absent, and do not become disbelievers after me by striking the necks of each other." The wording is that of Bukhari.



Muslim records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Whoever calls to guidance has a reward similar to the rewards of those who follow him, without this detracting from their reward in any way. Whoever calls to misguidance has a sin similar to the sins of those who follow him without this detracting from their sin in any way."



Al-Hafidh al-Mundhiri said in commentary to the hadith, "When the son of Adam dies his deeds come to an end except for three." - 'The one who transcribes beneficial knowledge has its reward and the reward of whoever comes after him who reads it, copies it, or acts by it; this so long as his writing remains and people remain who act by it as is proven by this hadith and its likes. Likewise whoever transcribes knowledge that is not beneficial which leads to sin, he has its sin and the sin of whoever comes after him who reads it, copies it and acts by it; this so long as his writing remains and people remain who act by it as is proven by the ahadith previously mentioned, "Whoever inaugurates a good practice or evil practice." Allah knows best.'



Bukhari records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Allah says: whoever declares mutual enmity to a friend of mine, I give him notice of war."





Suspicion and Spying



Allah, Exalted is He, says, "O you who believe, avoid much suspicion for indeed some suspicion is sin. Do not spy on each other."



This noble verse contains the command to steer clear of much suspicion and highlights that some suspicion is sin. It is also prohibits spying: searching and hunting for the mistakes and defects of people. This only comes about as a result of evil suspicion.



Bukhari and Muslim record that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Beware of suspicion for suspicion is the most false of speech. Do not hunt for faults in others, do not spy, do not be envious of each other, do not hate each other, and do not turn your backs on each other, but be servants of Allah as brothers."



The Leader of the Believers, 'Umar bin al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said, 'Think only well of a word that leaves your believing brother so long as you find a way of understanding it in a good way,' quoted by ibn Kathir in his commentary to the above verse.



Bakr bin 'Abdullah al-Muzani said, as quoted of him in his biography in Tahdhib at-Tahdhib, 'Beware of a type of speech which if you are correct in you would not be rewarded and if you are wrong you would be sinful: evil suspicion of your brother.'



Abu Qilabah 'Abdullah bin Zayd bin al-Jurami said, as quoted in Abu Nu'aym, al-Hilyah, 'If something of your brother is conveyed to you that you dislike, expend all your efforts in finding an excuse for him; even then, if you cannot find an excuse say to yourself: perhaps he has an excuse that I am not aware of.'



Sufyan bin Husayn said, 'I mentioned a person in a bad way in the presence of Iyas bin Mu'awiyah and he looked at my face and said, "Have you fought the people of
Sind, the people of Hind, or the Turks?" I replied, "No." He said, "[The kuffar] of Sind, Hind and the Turks are safe from you but your own Muslim brother is not!" So I never repeated what I said again.' Recorded in ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa-n-Nihayah.



I say: This is truly an excellent response from Iyas bin Mu'awiyah, a person depicted as being highly intelligent and this quote shows this.



Abu Hatim bin Hibban al-Busti, Rawdatu-l-'Uqala said, 'It is obligatory upon the intelligent to adhere firmly to safety by leaving spying and hunting for the faults of people, and busying himself with correcting his own faults. Whoever is busied by his own faults away from hunting for the faults of others will bring relief to his body and will not exhaust and trouble his heart. This is because each time a person finds a fault in himself, it will be easier for him to bear the same fault he sees in his Muslim brother. However the one who busies himself with hunting for the faults of people rather than his own will find his heart becoming blind, and his body becoming weary, for he will find the excuse to ignore his own defects.'



He also said, 'Spying is one of the branches of hypocrisy just as having good opinion is one of the branches of faith. The intelligent person makes good his opinion of his brothers and reminds himself of his own problems and afflictions. The ignoramus thinks ill of his brothers and does not think of his own crimes and problems.'





Gentleness



Allah describes His Prophet, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, as being upon an exalted standard of character, "You are upon an exalted standard of character," and He describes him as being gentle and compassionate, "It is by the mercy of Allah that you were gentle with them", and He describes him as being merciful to the believers, "There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; he is concerned for you and to the believers he is kind and merciful".



The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, himself commanded gentleness and encouraged it with his saying, "Make matters easy and do not make them difficult, give glad tidings and do not make people averse," Recorded by Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Anas.



Muslim also records the hadith on the authority of Abu Musa with the wording, "Give glad tidings and do not make people averse; make matters easy and do not make them difficult."



Bukhari records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said to his Companions after the Bedouin Arab had urinated in the Mosque, "Let him be, and pour a bucket - or a large bucket - of water over it, for you have been sent to make matters easy and not to make matters difficult."



Bukhari records on the authority of 'A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "'A'ishah, Allah is gentle and loves gentleness in all matters."



Muslim also records the hadith with the wording, "'A'ishah, Allah is gentle and loves gentleness in all matters. He gives in return for gentleness what He does not give in return for harshness, or for anything else."



Muslim records on the authority of 'A'ishah that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him said, "Gentleness does not enter anything except that it beautifies it and harshness does not enter anything except that it disfigures it."



Muslim records on the authority of Jarir bin 'Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him said, "Whoever is deprived of gentleness is deprived of good."



Allah ordered two Noble Prophets, Musa and Harun, peace be upon them, to call Pharaoh with gentleness, "Go, both of you, to Pharaoh for he has transgressed, and speak to him a gentle word so that perchance he will take heed or fear."



And He also described the noble Companions as being merciful to each other, "Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful amongst themselves."





The position of Ahlus-Sunnah towards the scholar who has erred: He is to be excused and not ruled to be an innovator or ostracised



Besides the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, none is free of error. As such there is no scholar who is exempt from erring; whoever errs is not to be followed in his error, and neither is this error to be taken as a means to demean him or warn against him; rather his small number of errors are rendered insignificant when considering the many things he is correct in. Those scholars who have passed away are to be benefited from their knowledge, people are to be warned from following them in their errors, they are to be supplicated for and mercy is to be sought for them. Whoever of them is still alive, be he a scholar or a student of knowledge, is to be made aware of his error with gentleness, compassion and love that he be free of error, all this so that he may retract his error and return to that which is correct.



Some of the scholars who have passed away have mistakes and defects in issues of creed, yet despite this the scholars and students of knowledge cannot do without their knowledge. Indeed their works are from the most important reference points for those devoted to knowledge: Imams such as al-Bayhaqi, an-Nawawi, and ibn Hajr al-'Asqalani.



With regards Imam Ahmad bin Husayn Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi, adh-Dhahabi, as-Siyar, said about him, 'He is the Hafidh, the 'Allamah, the Legal Jurist and Shaykh al-Islam. He was blessed in his knowledge and authored beneficial works. He secluded himself from the people of his town so that he may devote himself to collating and authoring, and he wrote as-Sunan al-Kabir in ten volumes, and none has written something comparable to it.', he went to mention many of his other works and his book, as-Sunan al-Kubra, is published in ten volumes. Adh-Dhahabi also quoted the words of al-Hafidh 'Abdu-l-Ghafir bin Isma'il concerning him, 'His works come to about one thousand volumes, such works as none has preceded him in. He combined the science of hadith with fiqh, elucidation of the defects in hadith as well as the means for reconciling various ahadith.' Adh-Dhahabi also said about him, 'The works of al-Bayhaqi are great and full of benefit. Few are those who excelled in writing as did Imam Abu Bakr, as such it is desired for the scholar to give them their due status, especially the Sunan al-Kubra.'



With regards Imam Yahya bin Sharaf an-Nawawi, adh-Dhahabi, Tadhkiratu-l-Huffadh, said, 'The Imam, the Hafidh, the Unique scholar, the Exemplary scholar, Shaykh al-Islam, the star amongst the Awliya'. author of beneficial works.alongside his great strivings, acting by the finer points of wara' (scrupulousness), muraqabah, and purifying the soul from its defects and breaking its base desires, he was a hafidh of hadith, its related sciences, its defects, and the authentic from the weak. He was a pillar in knowledge of the [Shafi'i] madhab.' Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa-n-Nihayah, said about him, '.then he devoted himself to authoring and wrote a great deal, some of which he completed and some which he did not. From the books he completed were: Sharh Muslim, ar-Rawdah, al-Minhaj, ar-Riyad, al-Adhkar, at-Tibyan, Tahrir at-Tanbih wa Tashihi, Tahdhib al-Asma wa-l-Lughat, Tabaqat al-Fuqaha, and others. From the books he did not complete was Sharh al-Muhadhdhab in which he reached the chapter dealing with usury, and had he completed it there would not have been a work like it, comparable to it. This book was written in an excellent manner and he precisely and accurately laid out the fiqh of the [Shafi'i] madhhab and others; he also analysed the ahadith precisely, as is befitting, and explained any difficult words and other important matters that you will only find in this book.I know of no book of fiqh better than it, this despite the fact that it is need of addition and addendum.'



He wrote all this and excelled in what he wrote, yet he did not live to reach an old age, rather he passed away at the age of forty-five: being born in 631H and passing away in 676H.



With regards al-Hafidh Ahmad bin 'Ali bin Hajr al-'Asqalani, he is the Imam famous for his many works, the most important of which is Fath al-Bari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari which is a great reference point for the scholars. Also from amongst what he wrote was al-Isabah, Tahdhib at-Tahdhib, Taqrib at-Tahdhib, Lisan al-Mizan, Ta'jil al-Manfa'ah, Bulugh al-Maram, and others.



From the contemporary scholars is the Shaykh, the 'Allamah, the Scholar of Hadith, Nasir ad-Din al-Albani. I know of none like him in this time with regards his devotion and attention to hadith and his vast knowledge in it, yet despite this he was not free from falling into matters that many viewed to be erroneous. Examples of this lie in his holding that covering the face of the woman is not obligatory rather recommended, and even if what he said is true, it would have been befitting to withhold from stating it due to what it leads to of some women becoming lax in wearing the hijab. Similarly his saying in his book, Sifatu-s-Salat an-Nabi, that placing the hands back on the chest after ruku' is a misguiding innovation even though this is an issue in which their exists a difference of opinion. Likewise what he mentioned in as-Sahihah [#2355] that not trimming the beard beyond a fist length is an augmentative innovation (bid'ah idafiyyah), and likewise his prohibition of the wearing of gold ornaments that are circular for women. Despite the fact that I strongly disagree with him on these issues, I cannot do without, and I do not think that others can do without, his books and benefiting from them. Truly amazing is the saying of Imam Malik, 'Everybody's saying is taken or left except for the inhabitant of this grave,' and he pointed to the grave of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.



Here are quotes from a group of the People of Knowledge concerning this issue:



Sa'id bin al-Musayyib said, 'There is no scholar, no noble, no person possessing excellence except that he has flaws. However, whoever's noble traits are more than his flaws, his flaws disappear in the face of his noble traits; likewise whoever's flaws are more than his noble traits, his noble traits disappear.'



Others said, 'No scholar is free of error; therefore whoever is wrong rarely and correct frequently, such a person is a scholar; and whoever is correct rarely and wrong frequently is an ignoramus.' - ibn 'Abdu-l-Barr, Jami' Bayan al-'Ilm



Ibn al-Mubarak said, 'When the good deeds of a person outweigh his bad, his bad deeds are not mentioned; and when his bad outweigh his good deeds, his good deeds are not mentioned.' - adh-Dhahabi, Siyar



Imam Ahmad said, 'The likes of Ishaq [ibn Rahawayh] is not to be found in Khurasan even though he has opposed us in some things; but the people have always differed with each other.' - adh-Dhahabi, Siyar



Abu Hatim ibn Hibban, ath-Thiqat, said, 'Abdul-Malik - i.e. ibn Abu Sulayman - was from the best of the inhabitants of Kufah and one of their Huffadh. It is common for one who memorises and narrates from memory that he err; therefore it is not fair that the hadith of a Shaykh, who is firm and his integrity is actualised, be abandoned because of errors he has made in his narration. Were one to traverse this path we would have to leave the ahadith of az-Zuhri, ibn Jurayj, ath-Thawri, and Shu'bah; all of these were Huffadh and precise, but they would narrate from memory and they were not free from error such as it would not creep into their narrations. The best course here is to accept what an established narrator narrates and to leave that which is proven that he has erred in, this so long as it does not become something that can be overlooked: i.e. when his errors become greater than that which he is correct in, in which case he deserving of being abandoned.'



Shaykh al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah, Majmu' Fatawa, said, 'It is necessary to know that the various groups that are attributed to those who are followed with regards the foundations of the religion and Kalam or of varying levels: some of them have opposed the Sunnah in great foundations and others who have opposed the Sunnah in some of the more finer issues.



Those, amongst these groups, who refuted other members of these groups who were farther from the Sunnah than he is to be praised for the falsehood he refuted and the truth he spoke. However it is also possible that he left the balanced path in his refutation in that he rejected some truth and spoke some falsehood: he could have refuted a major innovation when an innovation that is lesser than it, or refuted falsehood with falsehood lesser than it - and this is the case with the majority of Ahlu-l-Kalam who are attributed to the Sunnah and the Jama'ah.



The likes of these people, if they do not make what they have innovated to be something that splits the Jama'ah of the Muslims such that they based their allegiance and enmity upon it, then it is to be considered an error. Allah, Glorious is He, will forgive the errors of the believers in such cases.



Many of the Salaf of this nation and its Imams fell into the likes of this through taking to stances, through ijtihad, that opposed what is established in the Book and Sunnah. But their stances in these issues were different from those who based allegiance and enmity on these issues and split the Jama'ah of the Muslims: declaring disbelievers and sinners all those who differed with them, and allowing the spilling of their blood in issues that were just opinion and ijtihad! Such people are the people of splitting.'



He also said, 'Many of the Mujtahids amongst the Salaf and the Khalaf said and did things that were innovation but they did not know it was so. They did this because they took to a hadith thinking it was authentic when it is was in reality weak, or understanding a verse of the Qur'an in a way that was not intended, or because of an opinion they held in an issue and the texts concerning it had not reached them. If a person fears Allah as much as he is able he falls under the saying of Allah, "Our Lord, do not take us to account if we forget or err," and in the Sahih it is reported that Allah, Exalted is He, said, "I have done so".'



Imam adh-Dhahabi, as-Siyar, said, 'Moreover a senior figure from amongst the Imams of knowledge, if what he is correct in is great, and his great concern for attaining the truth is known, and his knowledge is vast, and his intelligence is plain, and his righteousness is seen, as is his wara and following, his slips are forgiven and we do not rule him to be misguided, nor do we abandon him and forget all his good deeds! For sure we do not follow him in his innovation and error and we hope that he repents from it.'



He also said, 'If, every time an Imam erred in his ijtihad with regards individual issues, we ruled him to be an innovator and abandoned him, none would be safe from us, not ibn Nasr, nor ibn Mandah and neither those who are greater than them. Allah is the One who guides the creation to the truth, and He is the Most Merciful of the merciful, and we take refuge with Allah from desires and uncouthness.'



He also said, 'If everyone who erred in his ijtihad, along with the correctness of his faith and his concern for following the truth, was to be declared an innovator by us and abandoned, few would be the Imams who are safe from us. May Allah show mercy to all through His grace and blessings.'



He also said, 'We love the Sunnah and those who follow it, and we love the Scholar for what he contains of following and his praiseworthy qualities, but we do not love what he may have innovated by reason of permissible interpretation. Consideration is given to his many good deeds.'



Ibn al-Qayyim, I'lam al-Muwaqqi'in, said, 'Knowing the excellence of the Imams of Islam, their rights, and rankings; and knowing that their excellence, knowledge, and sincerity to Allah and His Messenger does not necessitate that everything they say be accepted. What judgments they passed, the truth of which was hidden to them, such that they spoke based upon their knowledge but said that which opposed the truth, does not necessitate that all of their opinions be discarded, or that they be demeaned or abused. These are two extremes that are far from the balanced path, for that lies between the two: we do not declare him to be a sinner and neither do we declare him to be free from error.. Whoever has knowledge of the Shari'ah and reality will know with certainty that a great man, who has a righteous place and effect in Islam, could slip and err, but he be excused for this, even rewarded for his ijtihad. In this case it is not permissible to follow the error nor to invalidate his ranking, being an Imam, and the status he holds in the hearts of the Muslims.'



Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, al-Qawa'id, said, 'Allah has not allowed any book to be free of error save His Book and the just one is one who considers a few errors of a person to be drowned in the ocean of what he is correct in.'





The Fitna of Disparagement and Boycotting coming from some of Ahlus-Sunnah in this time and the method of absolution from it



In this time some of Ahlus-Sunnah have busied themselves with disparaging and warning against people which has led to splitting, differing and boycotting. Instead it is befitting, rather necessary, that there be mutual love and mercy amongst them, and that they stand as one united rank against the People of Innovation who oppose Ahlus-Sunnah wa-l-Jama'ah.



This problem has arisen due to two factors:



1.               From amongst Ahlus-Sunnah in these days are those whose days revolve around highlighting and investigating the errors of a person, be it from his books or cassettes, then warning against whoever is found to have mistakes.



An example of one these 'errors' for which a person is disparaged is his co-operating with one of the Jam'iyyat by giving a lesson on their behalf or participating in their conference, and this Jam'iyyah, Shaykh 'Abdu-l-Aziz bin Baz and Shaykh Muhammad bin 'Uthaimin, may Allah have mercy upon them, would deliver lectures on their behalf via tele-link. This Jam'iyyah is being censured for entering into matters the verdict for which these two noble scholars have already given. A person accusing his own opinion is more befitting than his accusing the opinion of somebody else, especially if it be an opinion that has been given by the senior scholars! Some of the Companions would say, after the events of the treaty of Hudaybiyyah, 'People, censure opinion in the religion!'



Amongst those who have been disparaged are those whose benefit is great; be it through lessons, writing, or sermons; and he is warned against, for example, because it is not known that he has spoken against such-a-such a person or such-a-such a group!



Indeed this disparagement and warning has even reached the last remaining remnants [of Ahlus-Sunnah] in some of the Arab lands, those whose benefit is wide-spread and whose efforts are great in bringing forth the Sunnah, spreading it and calling to it. There is no doubt that warning against the likes of these serves to sever the route between the students of knowledge and those from whom they could take knowledge and manners from.



2.               From amongst Ahlus-Sunnah are those who, if they see an error in someone else, write a refutation against him. Then the refuted writes a response to this refutation. Then both of these busy themselves with reading what the other has written, of old and recent, and listening to his cassettes so that he can hunt for any of his mistakes and deficiencies; and some of these could be just slips of the tongue. Then both of them make moves towards increasing the numbers of those who support him and oppose the other. Then the supporters of each side expend their efforts in commending and spreading the opinion of others which supports the opinion of the side they themselves support. Then the supporters force whoever they meet to take a stance against the one they do not support, and if he does not they declare him to be an innovator in following of their declaration of innovation for the opposing side, this then leads to his being boycotted.



The efforts of these supporters are from the greatest causes of the emergence of fitna and its proliferation. The matter increases in evil when the opponents and their supporters spread their critique of the other in well known web-pages of the internet, then some of the youth of Ahlus-Sunnah from different countries busy themselves by keeping up to date with what these web-pages publish: words and writings that bring about no good, instead only causing harm and splitting, leading to both sides of supporters resembling those who regularly visit bulletin boards to see what the latest released news is, and also resembling those who are obsessed by sports clubs who encourage everyone to become rival factions, thereby resulting only in antagonism, alienation and in-fighting.



The method of absolution from this fitna is as follows:



Firstly: In matters connected to disparagement and warning it is necessary to observe the following



1. The person who busies himself with disparaging the scholars and students of knowledge, and warning against them, should fear Allah! He should busy himself with investigating his own defects so that he may efface them instead of busying himself with the defects of others. He should do his utmost to preserve his own good deeds and not waste them in the slightest such that they be distributed amongst the one he has put to trial by disparaging and accusing. He is in more need of his good deeds than others on that Day in which neither wealth nor sons benefit, only one who comes to Allah with a sound heart.



2. Rather than busying himself with disparagement and warning he should busy himself with learning beneficial knowledge, and expending his efforts in doing so, so that he may benefit and give benefit to others. From the good in store for a person is that he busy himself with knowledge by way of learning, teaching, calling and writing when he becomes firm in that so that he could be from amongst those who build [rather than destroy]. He should steer clear of busying himself of disparaging the scholars and the students of knowledge of Ahlus-Sunnah, and from severing the route that would lead to benefiting from them such that he becomes amongst those who destroy [rather than build]. Such a person who busies himself with disparagement will not leave behind him knowledge that can be benefited from, and when he dies, people will not have lost a scholar from whom they would benefit, rather with his death they would finally be safe from his evil.



3. The students of knowledge amongst Ahlus-Sunnah, in all places, should direct their attention to busying themselves with knowledge: reading beneficial books, and listening to cassettes by the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah such as Shaykh ibn Baz and Shaykh ibn 'Uthaymin instead of contacting such-a-such a person and asking him, 'what is your opinion concerning so-and-so', 'what should we say concerning the statement of this man and that man.'



4. When the students of knowledge ask about the state of some people who are devoted to knowledge it is necessary that they refer to the committee for passing legal rulings in Riyad and ask them: can we take rulings or knowledge from this person? It is possible for whoever has knowledge concerning specific personalities to write to this committee explaining what he knows so that they may look into it. In this way disparagement and warning will come from a direction that can be depended upon. There is no doubt that the ones who are referred to for legal rulings in issues should also be referred to for legal rulings concerning who knowledge should be taken from, and one should steer clear of making himself a reference point for such essential matters! From the excellence of a person Islam is his leaving that which does not concern him.



Secondly: In matters concerning the refutation of one who has erred it is necessary to observe the following



1. The refutation should be carried out with gentleness, compassion and the great desire to see the person who has erred retract his error, in the case where the error is obvious and clear. It is desired to refer to the refutations of Shaykh ibn Baz, may Allah have mercy upon him, to derive from them the way in which it is required to undertake refutation.



2. If the error that is being refuted is not clear, rather it be that the person could be right or wrong in it, it is necessary to refer to the Committee for passing Legal Verdicts to get the judgment on this. In the case that the error is clear, it is upon the refuted to retract his error for returning to the truth is better than obstinately sticking to falsehood.



3. When a person has refuted another, he has done what is upon him to do. As such he should not busy himself by investigating the one who has been refuted, instead he should busy himself with knowledge whose great benefit will come to him and others. This is the way of Shaykh 'Abdu-l-'Aziz bin Baz, may Allah have mercy upon him.



4. It is not permissible to test another student of knowledge that he must have a stance against the refuter or refuted such that if he conforms he is safe but if he does not, he is declared an innovator and boycotted. It is not for anyone to attribute to Ahlus-Sunnah the likes of this anarchic behaviour in passing verdicts of innovation and boycotting. Neither is for anyone to describe whoever does not traverse this anarchic path that he is someone who is watering down (mumayyi') the methodology of the Salaf. The type of boycotting that is beneficial in the eyes of Ahlus-Sunnah is that boycotting which brings about benefit for the boycotted, such as the father boycotting his son and the Shaykh boycotting his student. The same applies with regards boycotting coming from somebody who has great status, for the boycotting by these type of people is the boycotting that will bring about benefit for the boycotted. As for some students boycotting others, especially if it is in matters in which it is not allowed to boycott in the first place, this brings about no benefit for the boycotted, rather it leads to antagonism, turning their back to each other, and severing off all ties.



Shaykh al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah, Majmu' Fatawa, said when talking about Yazid bin Mu'awiyah, 'The correct stance is the stance of the Imams that he is not specifically singled out for love nor cursed. Moreover a sinner or an oppressor could be forgiven by Allah, especially if he has great good deeds. Bukhari records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said, "The first army to fight Constantinople will be forgiven", and the leader of the first army to fight them was Yazid bin Mu'awiyah, and with him was Abu Ayub al-Ansari, may Allah be pleased with him.Therefore it is obligatory to take a balanced path in this and turning away from mentioning Yazid bin Mu'awiyah and testing the Muslims by him, for this is an innovation that opposes the way of Ahlus-Sunnah.'



He went on to say, 'The same applies to splitting and dividing the nation and testing it in matters that were not commanded by Allah or His Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him.'



He also said, 'It is not for anyone of this nation to appoint a person to whose way one is called to, and upon which allegiance and enmity is based - except for the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him - neither is it permissible to assign their speech and words as something that one bases allegiance and enmity upon - except for the words of Allah and His Messenger and what this nation has unanimously agreed upon - indeed such practice is from the actions of the People of Innovation who set up a particular person or speech through which they divide the nation; basing their allegiance and enmity upon that speech or attribution.'



He also said, 'If the teacher enjoins that a person be boycotted, or ignored, or distanced, or the likes; his case is looked into: If he has committed a sin as determined by the legal law, he is requited proportionally with no increase; if he has not committed a sin as determined by the legal law, it is not permissible to punish him because of some personal goal of the teacher or anyone else. It is not for the teachers to divide the people into parties and to do that which would implant enmity and hatred amongst them, rather they should be like brothers aiding each other towards righteousness and piety, as Allah, Exalted is He says, "And cooperate in piety and righteousness and do not cooperate in sin and transgression."'



Al-Hafidh ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Jami' al-'Ulum wa-l-Hikam, said in commentary to the hadith, "From the excellence of a person's Islam is his leaving that which does not concern him" - 'This hadith constitutes a great foundation from the foundations of manners. Imam Abu 'Amr bin as-Salah quotes from Abu Muhammad bin Abu Zayd - the Imam of the Malikis in his time - that he said, "The sum of good manners can be are derived from four ahadith: Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak good or remain silent; From the excellence of a person's Islam is his leaving that which does not concern him; Do not become angry; A believer loves for his brother what he loves for himself."'



I say: How great is the need for the students of knowledge to take to these manners that bring them, and others, good and benefit; and for them to distance themselves from coarseness and rudeness that only brings about antagonism, splitting, hatred of the hearts, and the fragmentation of  unity.



5. It is upon every student of knowledge who is sincere to himself to turn away from keeping up to date with what is published on the internet of what such-and-such said, and to instead turn to using the internet to look at pages such as the site of Shaykh 'Abdul-'Aziz bin Baz, may Allah have mercy upon him, and study his treatise and legal rulings which have so far reached twenty-one volumes, and study the legal rulings of the Lajna ad-Da'ima which have so far reached twenty volumes. Similarly he should look at the site of Shaykh Muhammad bin 'Uthaymin, may Allah have mercy upon him, and study his books and many legal rulings.





Conclusion



In conclusion I advise the students of knowledge to thank Allah, Mighty and Magnificent, for His tawfiq to them

.