All praise is due to Allah, and may exaltation and safety be granted to Muhammad, his family, his companions, and those who aid them. To proceed:
The people of the Sunnah (1) have foundations and a methodology that they have adhered to since the earliest times of Islam, and these principles and methodology are what distinguish them from others.
The noble Shaykh, Dr. Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab al-‘Aqeel (2), may Allah preserve him, presented a summarized version of these foundations and methodology in five principles (3). This was done during a recorded explanation of Ibn Abee Dawood’s [d. 316 AH] well-known poem on creed, “al-Haa’iyyah.”
Before the reader are my own personal shorthand notes from that portion of the lecture. I ask Allah, the Most High, to make this effort solely for Him, and to make it a source for understanding the creed (4) and methodology (5) of the People of the Sunnah.
Principle #1: Understanding the Qur’aan and Sunnah by their apparent meanings, especially in issues related to creed.
Connected to the topic [of understanding creed] are a few points: not separating the Qur’aan from the Sunnah, giving the upmost importance to the Sunnah, and accepting and implementing all authentically reported hadeeth related to ‘aqeedah, whether they be widely-narrated (6) or not (7).
Question: What represents an apparent meaning?Anyone who claims that he is carrying a text upon its apparent meaning must be scrutinized by what follows:
- That the [claimed] apparent meaning is in accordance with other verses of the Qur’aan and wordings of the Sunnah;
- That the [claimed] apparent meaning is in agreement with the understanding of the pious predecessors: the Companions and those upon their way;
- That the [claimed] apparent meaning is in agreement with Arabic language;
- That the [claimed] apparent meaning is in agreement with sound natural disposition
Principle #2: Giving upmost importance to narrations of the pious predecessors: the Companions and those upon their way, and giving their understandings precedence over ours. This is something that distinguishes the People of the Sunnah
Principle #3: Guarding our intellects from that which it cannot fathom in affairs of creed, especially affairs of the unseen
Allah, the Most High, said: “Whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he prohibits you from, stay away from it.” [Soorah al-Hashr (59): 7]
The mind has a limit and boundary, just as the eyes do.
Principle #4: Abandoning sitting with the people of innovation, abandoning reading their books, and not debating with them – also, from the angle of current affairs, abandoning visiting their websites and watching their channels.
This (point #4) is a foundation of the People of the Sunnah, and it represents loving and hating for the sake of Allah.
The People of the Sunnah stay away from the people of innovation for the following reasons:
- Due to their harm to the Muslims, and if the People of the Sunnah were to mix with them, the general population would not know who to follow, and they would not know who is correct from who is incorrect, mixing with them gives the false-notion that everyone is equal;
- A representation of Islamic allegiance and Islamic disownment;
- Protecting one’s self from the disease of doubts that the people of innovation spread;
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah exalt his mention and grant him safety, said:
“Flee from the leper as you would flee from a lion.” [al-Bukhaaree]
- As a punishment for them for leaving off the Sunnah;
- As a cure for them, so they don’t think that their behavior is correct
Principle #5: The people of the Sunnah show love for all of the Muslims, and they strive to bring them together upon the truth (8). We must add this last part: upon the truth. Allah, the Most High, says: “Indeed, the Believers are brothers.” [Soorah al-Hujaraat (49): 9] (9)
I ask Allah to make me and you from those who bring the Sunnah to life and from those who cause innovation to die.
(1) Ahlul-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah
(2) A lecturer at the Islamic University of al-Madeenah.
(3) [TN]: “Focus on learning principles; they are a way to efficiently organize various issues,” Imam as-S’adi, al-Qawaa’id al-Fiqhiyyah, Line #8.
(8) [TN]: In contrast to the erroneous methodology of the Muslim Brotherhood and those who apply their principles. They seek to unite the Muslims upon any and everything, applying the unrestricted principle of their founder: “We will overlook what we disagree about and cooperate on what we agree upon.” May Allah protect us.
(9) The original audio for this recorded lecture can be accessed here: al-Haa’iyyah – Class#1 (21:40m-52:00m)
(10) Taken from the foreword of Imam al-Aajooree’s book “ash-Sharee’ah, 1/159.
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